Before heading to Strasbourg I considered myself a pretty adaptable person. I felt more than prepared to dive in to this journey. Now that I’m here I’ve realized I was terribly wrong, but I’m happy about this.
I can remember thinking how I would easily get accustomed to life in France. I imagined I would arrive, have no problem since I spoke the language and “knew” about the customs.
As I’ve mentioned living in a city is new to me. I refer to Lafayette and Baton Rouge as cities, but I’ve never lived in a bustling, walking city. A “city” like in the movies.
Honestly, this has been a little hard for me. I hate not knowing where I’m going, I hate being lost, and I hate that despite these difficulties people just disregard the fact that it seems like you may be having troubles.
I hate the fact that when you’re trying to find your way and look around to ask for help it feel like you’re inconveniencing someone because they have earphones in.
I also hate that I always feel tired before I even leave my house because I know as soon as I step out the door I won’t just be walking right to my car.
However, I am getting accustomed to the walking. I can successfully get home now from the city center and I know how to navigate to where I need to be once I’m on main roads. There are 2 main roads here that bring me to where I would want to be (either city center or home, or the tram stations). “Allée de la Robertsau” or “Avenue de la Forêt-Noire” (my university is on this road).
As for how I’ve been the past few days besides the complaint above, Strasbourg in all has proved to be quite lovely.
Although I complain about city living in these posts, it’s a love hate relationship. In a city, there’s always something to do. Since I’ll be getting my student ID soon I’ll receive lots of discounts for events and entertainment around the area!
Not only the city though, but the location!
It’s my first fall!
The trees are changing colors, there are leaves that blow in the wind; it’s beautiful!
As I had mentioned earlier, I hate thinking about leaving my apartment because it means walking and navigating and thinking, and not knowing how long it’ll be till’ you get where you want because you need to leave room for getting lost in the schedule.
However, this past Sunday my housemates and I headed to the Cathédrale de Strasbourg and I’m sooooo glad that I went. There was a show going on there called “Le Ballet des Hombres Heureuses” (The Ballet of Happy Men). It was a light show where several projectors illuminated the cathedral at night and it went on for 15 minutes, it was incredible! If you’ve ever been to Disney World and seen the Wishes parade with Cinderella’s castle lit up, it was a little like that but soooooo much better. Here is a youtube video with the exact show I watched.
****Watch this because my pictures came out bad, and this is the coolest thing ever, and I wish you would have been there to see it!
There were old people, young people, couples, and tourists all gathered to watch in the square and when the music began everything went quiet and all you heard was the ooing and ahhhing as the lights were projected on to this magnificent cathedral. I debated staying home because I was watching a movie on Netflix but decided to go because I could do that anytime! Plus, that was the last evening of the show!
I was pretty lucky to have had a chance to see it!
Monday was the beginning of orientation we got introduced to the business school’s staff and a rough run through of what this transition to Europe might be for us.
After Monday’s intro to orientation, they had American students stay a little longer in order to discuss our presentations for the study abroad fair we would all be participating in to promote our universities to European students.
It’s mandatory for them to go one year abroad!
Anyway, the women speaking to us had several of us introduce ourselves and essentially wanted us to brainstorm what we would prepare and the things we would discuss about our school.
Y’all….this woman KEPT coming up to LSU students and we kept giving her answers of things we thought made our school attractive -Football, Mardi Gras, Tailgating, Tigerland, Outdoor Sports, etc.
Well, she came up to me once more, and I said food, and she kept the microphone up to my mouth so I just started blurting out cajun dishes, it was pretty awkward, a kid from Tulane stuck his thumbs up pleased to find a fellow Louisiana local .
At orientation I met a girl from Sweden named Mimie and two girls from Mexico named Karla and Valeria.
We all had lunch together and it was a lovely afternoon.
Yesterday and today have mostly been submitting paperwork and paying fees so we won’t begin classes until next week (the latest I’ve ever started a semester!)
I bought a basket for my bike, and rode it to run some errands. We live right near Parc d’Orangerie which is well known in the area and it has a lovely botanical garden, I can’t wait to spend time here throughout the year!
Other than this, we’ve been hanging out with our housemates in the evening, and due to their English education in Europe, they use lots of British English words.
I.E. Rubbish can and Queue.
We discuss our differences a lot, and they constantly point out how much we live up to American standards based off of our preferences, mannerisms, etc.
In Europe a to go box is called a “doggy bag”……I’ll just let you think about that.
We were told asking to take food home was not custom and seen as “cheap”
Furthermore, our Parisian housemate said that it was rude to eat everything in your plate and you had to leave something, so it wasn’t too clean like you’d been starving. I’m not sure how true this is but he was very insistent on this cultural difference. Apparently, this is only custom in Paris. Sarah from Le Mans,France proudly cleaned hers till it was shining!
LOL. Imagine if you did this in Louisiana, I know some mama’s and relatives who would not be too enthused if I didn’t clean my plate! (P.S. Momma, I love most of your cooking 🙂
In addition, I had a paper from Vermillionville with Cajun French words and the Standard French ones that I brought to show my housemates. They thought it was interesting and were amazed at some of the words and how old they were saying that their grandparents used this type of “old French”. They did go on to express how this was uneducated “farmer” French, which honestly stung a little. I look forward to this year and enlightening them as well as what the Cajun Culture is all about! I love something that Mavis says at NUNUs all the time!
“It’s our French”.
As many similarities as there are to French customs, the Cajun Culture has evolved and become it’s own, and I love how distinct and unique it is! As much as I enjoy tracing back the roots of some of the customs, I love to point out the ones we’ve made better!
*If anyone has any resources, or history, or family stories about their French Ancestry, I’d love to share.
Other than this, I’ve managed to mount the stairs and not be winded, and conquered my measurements to not overflow my coffee cup in the morning.
For the first day of orientation I woke up late and Abi burst into my room exclaiming that I needed to get ready and my first thought was I won’t be able to “day person” without coffee…….priorities…..I was able to do makeup and all, but it was a close one.
Other than this, politics is a pretty common topic in conversation, which in America, is usually avoided. So this has been something hard for me to get accustomed to as I’m not really interested in debates, confrontation, or trying to prove to someone else that they’re wrong and I’m right (well, maybe sometimes)…
Regarding this, I’ve been doing a lot of listening, which is good. I’m a big talker. Going out of my comfort zone and just being in the presence of a political conversation is huge for me, even though I don’t chime in that much. There are lots of strong feelings, and lots of different views…..very different than the American one’s that have always surrounded me. I’m being exposed to several different perceptions on global issues, as well as European ones.
I hope this encourages me to WANT to watch the news more often so I can chime in…..however, baby steps.
Lastly, I just want to express how much this 7 hour time difference stinks!
It’s hard not being able to talk to my family whenever I want, or my boyfriend. I didn’t think this would bother me or be as hard of a transition as it is, but when you’re telling someone goodnight and it’s your morning, or there’s no real convenient time to have a conversation, it’s a little frustrating.
I’m sure in time I’ll become more acclimated to all of the changes that have happened since moving here.
I’m currently washing clothes, and just want to let you guys know…..dryers are not a thing here……I’m about to hang up a whole load of laundry on a little rack in my room, and I am NOT AMUSED.
Macaroon- coconut meringue pastry
Macron- President of France
Macaron- French Pastry Awesomeness
**just in case you didn’t know