On Thursday (the 2nd), we toured the university. Here is the entrance:
On Friday, four of us students went shopping downtown and tried to understand European clothing sizes. A lot of the people working in the stores heard us speaking in English to each other or could hear our accent when we asked them something, so they would speak English to us. Because of this, we feel very proud when people speak only French to us.
We went to a dance club (discothèque) Friday night. For some reason, the bouncer didn’t want to let us in because we were American, but when he found out we spoke French, he did. They played mostly American pop songs from about 10 years ago and a few songs with some French lyrics.
The bus system is great in Angers; they’re almost always on time and the buses come often. The only problem is that very few bus lines run on Sundays and there’s no public transportation after 9pm or midnight, depending on where you need to go. This meant that we had a fifty-minute walk home from the dance club in the rain. My shoes took about five days to dry.
Speaking of rain, Saturday was my first day in Angers without rain! My roommate and I took advantage of it and took a bus over by La Maine, the main river in Angers. We crossed the bridge in the picture below and then walked along the river.
Since kitchens and refrigerators are typically small in France and since we share the kitchen with our host parents, we have to buy most of our food the day we’re going to eat it. We decided to make a stir-fry, so we bought vegetables and it felt pretty weird grabbing one small head of broccoli, one little carrot, etc. We went looking for soy sauce in the international food aisle and found a USA section full of Lucky Charms, Reese’s and Hershey’s chocolates, and peanut butter. Great.
The castle (château) and some museums have free admission on the first Sunday of every month, so we wandered around the castle and then went to a sculpture museum. We headed home around 4pm and realized that all the grocery stores and restaurants were closed, so we made egg sandwiches and ate leftover peas from the day before.
On Monday, we all went to the school for informational meetings. The people who work for the international student program are all really nice. Since some of the students have never learned French before, they had to use exaggerated facial expressions and gestures to explain things. On Tuesday, we got our results from the placement test. We have about a week and a half to try out different classes and then we decide which ones to sign up for.
We are required to take a 6-credit language class, and one of the main assignments for the class is to research a current topic of debate in France and then give a 15-20 minute presentation for the class. On Friday, we went to a computer lab to do some research. The keyboards are slightly different in France, so I still have to get used to using the school computers because a couple letters are in different places and you have to press shift for all the numbers since the accented letters have to fit on the keyboard as well.
My roommate and I saw Moonlight at the theater on Saturday. The film was in English with French subtitles. It was interesting reading the subtitles and realizing how many phrases did not have a direct translation and lost part of their meaning in translation.