I started off the week by walking with my roommate downtown and then to a park.
On Monday, we went to our classes and then to McDonald’s for dinner (we had a short time before a school event and were too hungry to wait for the other restaurants to open at 7pm). The food was more expensive than in the States (€6.50 for a salad, €4-ish for a burger) and only slightly better quality. We went back to the school and partnered up with French students. I’m in a group with a Chinese girl and a French girl. They had different events set up, including Just Dance, musical chairs, and karaoke. Someone chose We Will Rock You for karaoke; apparently it’s well-known around the world.
We went to class in the afternoon on Tuesday. That night, Emily ran into my room because there was a big spider on the inside of her shutters as she went to close them. I still haven’t figured out why Europe doesn’t invest in screens for their windows.
I got up on Thursday and had a “French” breakfast: a slice of bread with black cherry jam and a pear. I did some homework and then took a bus downtown. It was warm and sunny and there were a lot of people walking around downtown, so it felt much livelier than when I had walked there before. I bought a chicken sandwich from a sandwich shop downtown and then walked over to the Jardin des Plantes (park count: 2) to eat and walk around. The park had a pond and a little gated off area with goats and rabbits. I then walked around the outside of the downtown area and by the river and castle.
I stayed at Parc du Haras to study until it was time to go to class.
I went on another walk with my roommate after class for an hour. Yes, I was tired… I took the bus everywhere on Friday to recover.
Saturday came and I was ready to walk again. Emily and I took a bus over to the other side of the river and we walked between the river and the lake at the Parc de Balzac (park count: 4).
On Sunday, I walked to the Parc de l’Arboretum (park count: 5) and watched all the birds flying around. I’ll have to wait and get a picture when all of the flowers are in bloom. Yeah, I went to a lot of parks. I couldn’t resist; there was no rain and it was warm.
While walking around a French town, you never know when you might stumble upon a church or cathedral:
Aside from seeing more of the city, I’ve been getting more settled in to a routine here, so I can catch you all up on a few other things.
Update on classes: I tried out a French literature class, but the professor spoke too fast and I couldn’t understand her. I’m required to take a 6-credit language class and I’ve decided on four other classes. Oral expression is a class of only 8 students and we’ll be practicing speaking French and giving presentations in front of the class. In sociocultural studies, we’ve begun to discuss symbols of France, but we’ll also be learning about the education, work, and health care systems, as well as politics and traditions. Art history will cover 19th and 20th century French paintings. Music history will also cover works of the 19th and 20th centuries including operas and Russian ballets (many performances were held in Paris). I have class most of the day on Monday and Wednesday, afternoon and evening classes on Tuesday, one afternoon class on Thursday, and one morning class on Friday.
Update on food: I’ve tried a few different cheeses (didn’t like roquefort, loved comté), seafood (mussels and crab- I liked both), and dessert (a coffee cake pastry and mille-feuille: flaky pastry layers, pudding layers, and frosting- do I even have to tell you if I liked them?). We eat dinners with the family 3-4 nights a week and then cook the other nights. Breakfast is provided by the family. We’re on our own for lunch, so we usually eat on campus a few days a week and eat at home on the other days.