rebecca_in_blue: (raised eyebrows)

In the last 48 hours, Rebecca has....

  • Bought three goat cheese pizzas and eaten two. Also had Heather take pictures of me eating the pizza. (Yeah, we all know what I’m going to miss.)
  • Bought a chocolate bar, a bag of nougat (it's a little different from what we know as nougat in the US; it's little white cubes of dough with peanuts in it, and damn, is it delicious), and two île flottant desserts (these are basically meringue with English cream and caramel sauce – so good). I’m determined to stuff as many French desserts as I can into my body during my last few days.
  • Donated the English-language books that I can’t take back with me to the médiathèque.
  • Made three visits to the bank to arrange to have my money transferred into my American bank account. The third time I came in, I said, “Okay, this is the last time, really.” The woman who sat at the front desk all day said, “Oh, but we’ve missed you.”
The left side of my neck has been very stiff lately. I thought I might have slept on it at an odd angle, but there also seems to be something wrong with the left side of my jaw, which is sore, and my left ear, which feels funny, like I have a head cold or something. The teeth and gums on the bottom right side of my mouth are also sore, but I think this is from my last appointment to the dentist. It wasn’t really painful this time, but there was a lot of pressure on my mouth.

A list for future reference:
rebecca_in_blue: (Default)

Sunday afternoon was sunny and almost hot, and Heather and I walked to the theater and saw Nim's Island. All the beautiful white-sand beach scenes made it pretty to look at, but the plot was rather thin. (Heather insisted there was no plot.) I'd like to see it again after I get back to the United States; the theater here showed it dubbed in French, obviously, so I'm sure I missed out on a lot. For some reason in this movie I thought that Abigail Breslin looked a lot like Rachel Hurd-Wood at that age, even though I'd never noticed a resemblance between them before.

The nice weather continued yesterday, and I walked to the cemetery in Villers-Cotterêts (a different one where I'd never been before). It never rained, but it got very windy and cloudy in a cool sort of way. I stayed there for a few hours, longer than I had intended. Alexandre Dumas's parents were buried there, and Dumas used to be buried there too, but his body was moved to the Pantheon in 2002.
 
One thing I like about Villers-Cotterêts is that is so much easier to see the seasons change here. When I arrived here back in September, the apple orchard across the street was full of apples; during winter the tree branches were bare and empty; now they're full of tiny pale green leaves and white blossoms. There are several trees near the school that are blooming bright pink flowers, and on the way back from the cemetery I saw the wind blowing the petals off one of them. It was so beautiful that I just stood and stared; it looked like a rainfall of pink light, and when it hit the ground, it made a solid pink carpet on the pale green grass. Just as I got back to the lycée, the clouds rolled in again and it started raining (perfect timing). Sarah and I watched it fall against the windows in the computer room.
 
Today it rained hard, but I went out anyway and tried to get some albuterol from the pharmacy (the inhaler I'm using now is almost empty). They looked at me like I was nuts when I showed them my inhaler, but in the end they gave me one like it for only 5€ -- except I'm not sure if it's what I need or not. I'm going to try to get a prescription from a French doctor before I leave, but since I've left this to the last minute, I'm not sure if I'll be able to.
 
Today Sarah and Mariana both said the same thing (in different languages) when I told them when I was leaving. "Monday? This Monday?" It was depressing, to say the least. Tomorrow I'm going to start packing and taking my room apart in earnest, something I've been dreading doing for over a month.
 
Nathalie, to me, just now: "Rebecca, have you seen Nakeisha? I mean, not Nakeisha, Marlene. I mean, not Marlene, Mariana. Have you seen Mariana?"
 
rebecca_in_blue: (Natalie & Rusty)
Some of the school teachers all ate dinner together at this Tunisien resteraunt in Villers-Cotterêts Friday night. It's not the sort of thing I would usually be interested in, but I'm trying to do as much as I can during my remaining time in France, so Heather, Sarah, and I went together. The dinner started at eight, so we guessed we would be back around midnight, because that's how long dinners like this last in France. I had couscous and two desserts (I shared a banana split with Sarah and these honey pastry things with Heater), which was good but hardly 17€ good, which is how much I had to pay after we all split the bill. I was exhausted and ready to walk back to the lycée when it was finally over, but no, because some of the teachers wanted to have after-dinner drinks, and even though Rebecca doesn't drink, she got lassoed into going by a lot of sneaky people, but she's not going to talk about that now. Anyway, I finally got back to the lycée around one in the morning and collapsed into bed.

This morning I woke up early and went to Paris to see the Pére Lachaise Cemetery. It was unbelievably big, beautiful, and peaceful. The sun was out and it seems like every flower in France is in bloom. I was able to take a lot of pictures for findagrave.com and will get them up as soon as Sarah lends me her USB port.

Abigail Breslin's new movie Nim's Island has actually come to the theater here in Villers-Cotterêts, and I've managed to talk Sarah and Heather into seeing it with me tomorrow! *geekily excited*

Heather and me, in the kitchen Thursday night...
Heather: So, are you gonna miss your students after you leave?
Me: (incredulous) Miss my students? Now, I'm going to miss a lot of people, but my students are not one of them.
Heather: Well, I'm gonna miss mine.
Me: (mockingly) Well, I'm gonna miss mine.
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
Funny Chinese Sarah Moment. When Nathalie took us shopping last Wednesday, Sarah bought one thing, a bottle of vinegar, which she drinks by itself out of a glass. She opened the bottle the minute we got back to the lycée and took a swing right there in the parking lot, while Nathalie watched in horror, literally screaming, "Sarah, don't drink that! Sarah, that's vinegar! Stop! Oh, no! No! She's drinking it out of the bottle! Oh, I can't watch! It gives me a stomach ache just to watch!" (She then asked me if we drank vinegar out of the bottle in America, too.)

I've been meaning to post since Wednesday, but I've been busy lately. And I mean busy with unimportant crap, so I really don't have much to say, anyway. The lycée is giving us a three-day weekend for Easter, which is nice, and this morning, Madame Camus, one of the English teachers I work with, totally surprised me by giving me a little chocolate bunny as an Easter present. It is so cute that I'm not sure if I'll be able to eat it! And American Sara and I are finally starting to make plans for her trip here (hooray!).


The sun came out today, and I immediately dropped what I was doing and went for a walk. I initially headed for the train station to go to Crépy-en-Valois, the next town over, but then I realized I had forgotten my debit card and my carte 12-25, so I instead headed for the Villers-Cotterêts cemetery. I enjoyed about 45 minutes of sunlight and blue skies before the clouds rolled in again.

I think I have found a solution to the goat cheese and baguette problem. Today when I walked to Leclerc Express for my baguette, I also picked up a few kiwis, figuring that eating something cool and juicy with the goat cheese would take the edge off. It seemed to work, although my tongue is a bit sore from all the citric acid and Marlene said she was surprised to see me eating something healthy. Haha.

The other night I had a dream that a Piano-era Anna Paquin and a Chocolat-era Victoire Thivisol were making a movie together. I woke up disappointed that I couldn't see it.
rebecca_in_blue: (Natalie & Rusty)
At first I was disappointed that I probably won't be doing any travelling during the February vacation, but now I'm content with it. The weather was beautiful yesterday, so I walked to the park, sat on a bench, and watched some French kids playing a strange game involving a ball, a frisbee, and what looked like a giant yo-yo. It was sunny and almost hot. So I left the park and kept walking, past the houses and over the train tracks, until I was at the edge of the forest that surrounds the town. Just in front of the forest, beside the French equivalent of the highway, there was an enormous life-size crucifix. I mentioned it to Marlene today, and she said that displays like that aren't uncommon in France.

The good weather continued today, and Marlene and I went to the post office together to get the $10 that Grandma mailed me exchanged into €. The elderly man behind us overheard us talking in English and introduced himself. He was French, but he spoke English perfectly, so well that I couldn't believe it wasn't his first language. After we left the post office he treated us to drinks at a local bar. We talked about the difficulties we've had living in a foreign country, and he told us about his second home in Anchorage, Alaska, where it's dark for months on end during the winter. After that Marlene and I walked to the hotel, and she made reservations for her parents, who are coming to visit her in March. We came back through a path in the forest. One day during this vacation, I hope to pack a lunch, hop on the bike Nathalie gave us, and spend the whole day riding through the forest. I also want to take a tour of François I's château and attend Mass in the thirteenth-century church. Sarah is using the vacation time to learn German from Marlene. Why she wants to learn German I don't know, because she makes many mistakes in English and even more in French, and I think trying to learn another language will just make her more confused, not less. But Marlene said she was a good student.

Since I arrived in Villers-Cotterêts, I've heard this town put down an amazingly times, both by the other assistants and the French people who live here. This town is so small. There's nothing to do here. Everything is closed by 8 pm. As I standing in front of the crucifix on Monday, I struck  by the beautiful view of the hills and the forest, and I thought about those complaints, and about what it means to happy. For a long time I thought that happiness was something that was given to you, that it depended on the things and people around you. But it's occurred to me that happiness is something we have to look for, and it depends on us and our own ability to find and recognize it. In Ponette, one of my favorite movies, Ponette says of her late mother, "She told me to learn to be happy." This made me think about Dad. He never graduated from college, but he was so smart, and he could have had a much better job than he did. But I still laugh when I remember when he told me the meaning of his license plate number (X27 TFJ, which meant he was Agent X27 of the Texans For Justice, for those of you who never heard the joke). I know this sounds cheesy, but I think real happiness comes from things like that, finding the humor, joy, or beauty of everyday moments. And I'm writing this down because I feel like I have traveled somewhere recently, not in France but inside myself, and I don't want to forget that place or how to get there.
rebecca_in_blue: (Default)
Sarah lent me her USB port (or whatever the damn thing is called) that allows photos to be uploaded to the computer from my digital camera. And I'm very glad, because today I took a lot of fun pictures!

rebecca_in_blue: (2006)
Harry: What does this song mean? My whole life I don’t know what this song means. I mean, "Should old acquaintance be forgot." Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happen to forget them we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot them?
Sally: Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something.

Well, it’s the last day of 2007, and how has Rebecca spent it? First I went out and printed some photos of my trip to London to mail home. Then I went back to the lycée, labeled every single photo, filled out some postcards, carefully arranged them in a box with all my souvenirs, addressed it, and sealed it shut. Then I went out again, only to discover than the post office is closed today. So it looks like my box will have to wait until January 2 to be mailed.

On a similar note, if anyone is mailing me a package anytime soon, I would really appreciate it if you could include any of the following items. (If you can only send one, please send it in this order.)

1. Dental floss. Any kind. I have been unable to find any in France.
2. Arrid Extra Extra Dry. This is the only deodorant that works for me. There are deodorants in France, despite rumors to the contrary, but they just don’t cut it.
3. AIM toothpaste. The toothpastes here are okay, but this one has always been my favorite.

P.S. Shame on YouTube! Benazir Bhutto is assassinated, and they don't even feature one video about it? Britney Spears's death (which will probably happen any day now) would have gotten more coverage.
rebecca_in_blue: (red riding hood)

Marlene and Heather went to Paris last weekend, and Nakeisha went to visit some Jamaican friends, so Sarah and I were pretty much by ourselves. On Friday evening I went into town to do a little shopping just as the sun was setting. All the lights in town were coming on, and all the French people were out shopping or heading home with a long baguette sticking out of their grocery bags. A few Christmas decorations were up in the centre-ville, and lots of stores had shiny window displays, including the bakery, which had a little Christmas village set up in one window and tinsel-trimmed rows of pastries and chocolates in the other (you know which window I liked best). Nathalie says that there will be a lot more Christmas decorations in the centre-ville soon.

Saturday was sunny, so I decided to finally go for a ride on the bike Nathalie gave us. It was a little difficult at first, because this one is a racing bike and mine is a cruiser bike, and I hadn’t ridden a bike since August. The seat was as hard as a rock (my butt is still sore, I am not kidding) and the handlebars were tiny, which made steering difficult, but I rode all the way to McDonald’s and back and only stopped to use my inhaler once. It’s a 35-minute walk to McDonald’s, but it only took about 15 minutes on the bike, and it was a lot warmer, since I got my blood pumping. On Saturday night Sarah and I simultaneously logged into Google Mail (her in Chinese, me in English) and chatted with our siblings (her with her brother, me with my sister). Then we realized what we were doing and laughed.

I spent Sunday cleaning. It was my turn to clean the kitchen and my and Heather’s bathroom. Then I cleaned my room – and it sure needed it, I think that was the messiest it’s been since I got here – and took my clothes to laundromat, where I read two more chapters of L’Idée géniale de Kristy while they washed.

Work went very well today. My classes spoke English well! often! without me having to prompt them! And as bonus good news — hell, as the best news of all — I have finally, officially figured out how to post YouTube videos in France!

My ears are both 6.5 centimeters tall from top to bottom.

rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)

Last weekend was beautiful here – blue skies, and the trees around the school were flaming orange and red. I went for a little walk on Sunday and took some pictures, and I'm glad I did, because the weather was horrible this weekend. On Friday there was a heavy rainstorm that washed all the pretty leaves off the trees, and it was so windy that many of them blew right inside the school. The commons area inside the main entrance was so covered with leaves that I should have taken a picture of it before the cleaning ladies sweeped it up. Nathalie (who says she's our "replacement mother" while we're here) asked us later if the storm had scared us, and I told her no because in Louisiana we have hurricanes every day. She believed me!

And since then, the weather has been cloudy and very windy. I've been able to hear the wind roaring outside my window almost 24/7. It reminds me of the sound the wind made during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but it's different; more than anything it reminds me of the first line of a very cheesy Celine Dion song. Anyway, the unfortunate thing is that Nathalie has given us assistants a bike to share, and I wanted to go for a ride this weekend, but with this weather all I did was be lazy. Fortunately I think that's all the other assistants did too, so I don't feel quite so bad.

For those of you who don't know, on Friday the shit hit the fan with regards to Rebecca's phone bill. Apparently the Singulair representative we spoke with before we left was a great big liar, and now I basically don't have a phone anymore. It was depressing to think that I wouldn't be able to talk to Sara anymore, but Rebecca's new motto is, "When life gives you problems, eat goat cheese," so I had a goat cheese pizza for dinner Friday night and felt better about everything. Later Sara and I figured out how to chat to each other online. I kept laughing and banging my hand on the table the entire time, which got me a lot of weird looks from the other assistants.

rebecca_in_blue: (stiff shoulders)

The cafeteria closes on the weekends, so on Friday night I decided to cook some spaghetti for dinner – and by cook spaghetti, I mean boil noodles and microwave sauce. Simple, right? Wrong. Heather happened to be in the kitchen making her dinner at the same time, which was very good, because left to my own devices I probably would have burnt down the school. Heather spent the evening saying, "No, you can't put the noodles in until the water is boiling. No, you can't put a plate over the pot, that's dangerous. No, it's not ready yet; it's not ramen noodles." [Hmph. How did she know that I'd spent four years of college eating ramen noodles?] "No, the sauce goes in the refrigerator, not the cabinet." Heather sounds very nagging here, but she was actually very helpful. Yesterday I made another plate of spaghetti for dinner – all by myself!

On Sunday I finally went out to the cemetary here in Villers-Cotterets, and it was lovely. I had never seen a cemetary like this one before. It was nothing like the cemetaries I saw in Lake Charles, many of which were either overgrown or right next to noisy, busy streets. This one was entirely surrounded by a high stone wall, which made it very isolated and quiet. It was so well-kept and clean, with benches and even a faucet and watering cans for people who brought flowers. It was on a big sloping piece of land that overlooked the forest that surrounds Villers-Cotterets. I was amazed by how big the veteran part of the cemetary was, and that only had soldiers from World War I.

I will be mailing some letters and photos of our trip to Paris home tomorrow.

rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)

Today was extremely busy but also extremely productive – probably my best day in France so far. A new teaching assistant, Nakeisha from Jamaica, arrived just after lunch. She will actually be teaching at a middle school in a little town about fifteen mintues away, but the school there can't provide housing for her, so she will be living here. And with her was Eric, an English teacher from her school, who was not only incredibly nice but also spoke English and French fluently. After Nakeisha had seen the school, she and Eric wanted to see the town, and since I was free, I offered to show them around. I got a little disoriented in Eric's car, since I have been traveling on foot so much, but I managed to show them the way to the centre-ville, the bank, the post office, and the train station.

The best news was that Nakeisha is working under the exact same program as me, which means she will also be going to the training day in Amiens this Monday. We bought tickets at the train station so that we can travel there together; we paid for them of course – and they were cheaper than I had expected – but Eric ordered them for us. It was unbelievable how much easier everything became with someone who spoke French fluently. Nakeisha had already reserved a hotel room to spend the night in Amiens, and Eric called and reserved a room for me at the same hotel. Again, he was incredibly nice and made everything much easier. He said that he taught French in America with a similar program a few years ago, so he understood everything we were going through. I am so relieved to have all my plans for Amiens taken care of; it feels like big weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

After we bought our tickets, Eric and Nakeisha said that they hadn't eaten yet and asked me if I knew of a place we could go for lunch. I didn't, because I've been eating all my meals in the school cafeteria, but it didn't matter anyway, because it was about 3:00 in the afternoon by now. It wasn't lunch or dinner time, so all the resteraunts were closed; in France, it is almost unheard of to eat between meals. I told Eric that there was a McDonald's in town, but I didn't know where. After asking for directions several times, Eric finally found it (it is pretty far from the school, so I probably won't be eating there much). I have never been so happy to see a McDonald's. It looked and smelt and tasted so familiar that it was like taking a tiny trip back to America. It was so comforting.

After we got back to the school, I went to Nakeisha's room and we talked for a long time. Since we're with the same program, we have to go through the same red tape to get paid and apply for the carte de sejour. She asked me if I would help with her forms because, I was shocked to learn, she doesn't speak any French at all (this is why Eric was traveling with her – she would have been totally lost on her own). I don't know how in the world she was accepted into this program without speaking it, and I can't decide whether her decision to come to France was incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. Nakeisha said the hardest thing for her isn't the language but the weather; again, she's from Jamaica, and the weather here today was very unpleasant, wet and cold. While we were in her room, I met another assistant from Mexico. She has been here for a while, but I hadn't met her before because she and Nakeisha are living in a separate building than me and Sara. I imagine it will be very difficult for them to communicate, since Nakeisha speaks only English and the girl from Mexico (I can't remember her name now) speaks only French and Spanish. I had to translate just for them to be able to introduce themselves.

And there is still one other assistant, the one from Germany, who hasn't arrived yet. I hope that all of us will be able to eat together sometime, just to see what a confused lunch table we would make – me, from America, who speaks English and French; Sara, from China, who speaks Chinese, and some English and French; Nakeisha, from Jamaica, who speaks only English; and the assistant from Mexico, who speaks French and Spanish. Sounds interesting!

rebecca_in_blue: (Default)

I'm sure all my professors would have cringed if they had heard me this morning, when a French woman asked me what my dog-tag was, and as I tried to tell her, like an idiot, I used vous instead of on. What would Yeager say?

My level of French seems to keep changing. When I went to the bank to open an account today, the clerk seemed to understand everything I said perfectly (!!!). But when I went to the post office across the street to change the last of my American money, the clerk looked at me like I was crazy and asked me to repeat everything. There must be something distinctly foreign about me, because just after that, I went into this wonderful little second-hand bookstore to browse, where I said "Ca va" to an elderly couple inside. Somehow they knew just from hearing me say two words that I wasn't French, because the woman turned to her husband and said (in French), "I think that girl is English." I told her I was American and we talked for a little while. I said that I was from Louisiana, and they said that they had been to America once, but they had stayed in Texas, which was "nowhere near" Louisiana. They were very surprised when I told them that the two states were right next to each other.

So far I have found three fountains in this town (although one of them is bone-dry, it still has very impressive gargoyle in the middle of it), and I was shocked to discover that French people apparently do not throw coins in their fountains. They all looked so empty and depressed that I would have thrown in some pennies if I had had any with me.

One good thing about passing out on Friday… I overslept a little this morning and probably would have missed breakfast, but the staff was afraid I would pass out again if I didn't eat right away.

rebecca_in_blue: (Inhaler & Me)

While I was eating lunch in the cafeteria today, another teacher, a perfect stranger, came up to me and asked (in French), "Are you the American? Are you all right?" I really ought to wear that says, "Yes, I fainted, but I'm fine now, so please leave me alone!" and hold it up whenever I see anyone coming.

The weather here today was nasty, very wet and windy, and what made it worse was that it was Monday, which many businesses in France treat as a continuation of the weekend. I knew this, but I had forgotten, so I went out today to run errands – I still need to open a bank account and buy a train ticket for Amiens – only to find that almost all of the businesses in town were closed. Fortunately I finally found the big store (it's on the outskirts of town, but so is the school, so it actually isn't far), which was open, and for comfort I bought a chocolate bar, plus all the things that they didn't have at the mini-supermarket in town.

I've seen a lot about the rugby matches on CNN International (it's the only English channel I get on my little TV, so I've been watching it a lot; it's boring, but it also makes me feel very educated). Does anyone else think rugby is, to say the least, a very strange-looking sport? The way the players all start grabbing each other and form that big pile – I don't think that will ever seem normal to me.

rebecca_in_blue: (bemused shrug)

Today was another day I spent walking around the town. Did I mention that an elderly couple who keeps chickens and geese lives just down the street from the school? I can sometimes hear their roosters crowing in the morning. They also have a German Shepherd named Leo (pronounced Lay-O); I know his name because he spends most of his time barking and one of his owners is always yelling at him to stop. Today I found the town's park, a war memorial, and train station. I'm hoping to go there this week and buy a ticket for Amiens, where there's a mandatory training day on October 1. After that, I'm told, I'll spend about a week observing classes before I start teaching myself. I still find the idea very scary. These students are uncomfortably close to my own age – I'm sure it won't take them long to figure out I'm really one of them.

And my adventures with French dining still continue. Today for dinner I microwaved a can of beef ravioli, and it didn't taste much like the Chef Boyardee brand, which is good, because I ate so many cans of that during my four years of college that I may never eat it again. So far the supermarket food has been pretty tasty. And I finally tried some of Marcel Proust's little madelines. They tasted a lot like angel food cake.

Sara gave me a copy of this really wonderful book, The Dogs of Babel, just before I left. The main character, Paul, is a linguistics professor who plays a lot of different word games, his favorite being to make as many words as you can out of a person's name. I got bored last night and gave it a try. My first and last names can form a surprising number of words; tell me in comments if you think of any new ones, although I'm pretty sure I've exhausted all the possibilities.

rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)

Rebecca has had her first crisis in France. I'm all right now, so please don't overreact like the French people did. Here's what happened… I must still have been jetlagged, because I slept right through lunch yesterday. When I woke up, I went down to the principal's office to pay for a meal plan, and then I asked him if he knew where I could buy an electrical adapter (which allows American appliances to be plugged in European outlets), because I needed to charge my cell phone and the adapter Aunt Vickie had given me doesn't work for the outlets in my room.

The next thing I remember is thinking that someone had thrown something hard at my forehead. Then I realized that what had hit me in the head was the floor; I had fallen down. So I sat up, confused, and asked, "Qu'est qui se passe?" (What happened?) And then everybody panicked. It seemed that every teacher in the school was suddenly swarming around, asking if I was diabetic or epileptic, and my understanding of French had never felt so poor. I managed to tell them that I would be all right if I just drank some water and rested, but while they were helping me back to my room, lo and behold, I fainted again! I came to very quickly, but not before they had called an ambulance, and all too soon a lot of paramedics arrived big dark suits that made them look just like a SWAT team. They measured my blood pressure and pricked my finger to test my blood sugar. I'll spare you the rest of the details, suffice to say that it was extremely embarrassing and hardly how I had hoped to spend my time in France. Ever since then, the teachers have all been asking, "Do you feel all right? Have you eaten?" every single time they see me.

The good news is that today was infinitely better. I spent a solid two hours wandering around the town, figuring out where things are. The centre-ville is really lovely; there's a a fountain, a church that was built around the twelfth century, and big statue of Alexandre Dumas, who was born here. I also found a nice little bookstore with several copies of French Harry Potter books – although the store did not seem very organized; obviously becuase Sara didn't work there – and I spent some time playing with a sweet little kitten I met on a tennis court near the school. The cantine was closed, so for dinner I had a frozen pizza I bought from the supermarket. I have heard that there is a McDonald's somewhere in this town, but I have yet to find it.

Here's something to think about… The school where I'm staying is a high school. Its students are 15 to 18, and about half of them board at the school. Yesterday I found on the wall in a hallway accessible to anyone, a machine that dispenses condoms for one Euro. My mind was blown. Can you even imagine what would happen if they tried to put one of those in an American high school?

rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)

I am going to try to update this journal every day until I get the hang of this keyboard.

I walked around the town a little today, and I found a small supermarket where I was able to buy most of the things I need. Not only do they not bag your groceries for you in France, but they don't even give you any bags. Fortunately I had forseen this and worn my backpack, which was able to fit most of my groceries, and it wasn't a long walk from the store to the school. One familiar thing was the smell; it smelt just like all supermarkets, and if I had closed my eyes, I could have been in the Market Basket in Lake Charles or the Winn-Dixie in Baton Rouge.

I hope to get out and see more of the town tomorrow. I need to open a bank account and find a place that sells tape, because I brought a lot of family photos with me and my bedroom walls are terribly bare. The town is really very lovely. There are so many growing things – an apple and pear orchard across the street from the school, big bushes of red things that look like a cross between a radish and a tomato, blooming flowers in almost every windowbox, and Chinese Sarah and I found trees with some kind of nuts on them (walnuts, she thinks). It's very cold in the mornings, but in the afternoon the weather is warmer and very nice.

Today I had my first three meals in France, and I have to say that thus far, I am not terribly impressed. The food was edible and filling and none of it made me sick, but after everything I've heard about French food, I was expecting to be blown away, and I just wasn't. Maybe it's because I'm eating in a school cafeteria, or maybe it's because everything here is still so foreign to me.

People keep telling me that the school is small, but I saw more of it today and it seems big to me – certainly bigger than St. Louis. I wonder what the French people would say if they could see that. I still don't know my mailing address here, but I will try to find out before noon in Louisiana on Friday.

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