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Veronica: First week of school

February 3, 2010

Class started last week. I like my classes with Americans. Well, except Phonetics and maybe Grammar. I feel like an idiot in Phonetics making noises into a headset. Not fun. And grammar is always useful. I like having grammar, but we’re starting with things I’ve understood very well for 8 years. I do not need to re-learn passe compose (can’t do accent marks on here for some reason..). I think the ingregrated class will be difficult to like just because I can’t understand everything. It will be slightly frustrating, I think.

The school system is really strange. Everything is very unorganized. And classes only meet once a week (which is nice, really, but hard to remember what we’ve been talking about). The campus looks pretty ghetto actually. The buildings are all obviously built in the 60’s and there is graffiti everywhere. And it’s really small, which, coming from the enormous U of M, is weird.

Before coming here, I knew France was a very stylish country. I knew that very well. But seeing it is another story. Imagine how you dress up to look your absolute best. That’s their everyday look. Bring clothes you think are fancy and you’ll be fine. And everything looks really expensive and nice because it is expensive and nice. Be aware. The casual American look will not cut it here. At all.

I’ve been noticing so many things that are different here since I arrived. The way they eat is different (obviously). I can always tell when I’m eating like an American because I feel sick afterwards. We eat disgustingly and don’t even know it until we eat the (better) French way. Also, they don’t drink a lot of water. I’ve been so, so thirsty here because at home I drink water all the time, but it just doesn’t happen here. I don’t understand traffic, so it’s hard to know when it’s okay to cross the street and pedestrian etiquette. I know that sounds silly, but really, it’s hard.

I’m working on planning a trip to Italy (Rome->Florence->Venice) with my friends, and it’s so difficult to plan a trip like that! There are so many things to take into consideration that you wouldn’t realize, like getting from the train to the plane to the hostel and when it all has to happen. It’s crazy. And taking forever.

Everything has been hard. I’m homesick and miss my family and friends. Sometimes I want to go home. Sometimes I never want to leave. It’s so weird.

Before I finish my post I’m going to do a quick ‘day in the life’ to show you what it’s like:
Get up and eat a quick breakfast, make lunch and go to class (via tram–the Montpellierain version of the light rail) for a few hours. The time depends on when my classes start. Two of them start early, otherwise I start super late. After class I usually go to the U of M office near the Corum (conference center) and hang out, see my friends, steal food if they have any. Then I go home and have dinner with my family (late in the evening), which is always really good, and doesn’t take as long as I was told French meals take. Then we watch TV with our laptops at the ready for when the commercials start. Then it’s bedtime. It’s not incredibly exciting. I have tons of time to kill because my longest day of class is only 4 hours, straight. So I go and come back and try to find things to do.

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