I’ll start at the beginning. Just as a warning this might be a bit long for the first France update.  I left St. Louis after having a wonderful breakfast with some friends at Meshuggah.  The company and food were wonderful! I always like leaving a place on a full tank.  I’ll fast forward now to the last plane ride because I want to mention this amazingly beautiful sunrise that I saw as I flew into Paris.  I would’ve taken a picture of it, but honestly I don’t think any photo could have done it justice.  Along the horizon was a strip of pomegranate red that then faded into a burnt orange and later mixed with some greens and blues.  It was a beautiful way to kick start an adventure.

Finally, I land in Paris and rather than thinking “Holy crap!  I am finally here”, I immediately think to getting my bags and getting to the train so I can find space for my suitcases.  Some of the trains in France aren’t exactly equipped with baggage space suitable for international travelers.  I got lucky with the first train and was able to relax a bit.  The next train however, I was not so lucky.  The storage space was the size of a linen closet and the train was pretty full.  I was standing in between both cars along with a French woman who had a giant iMAC box and huge suitcase.  The whole train ride towards the west, we were playing musical suitcases.  It got even more complicated as more passengers got on the train.  At one point, we had 5 people crammed in this small pathway with all these suitcases.  Infact, one of the suitcases fell out from the storage space and hit this poor girl on the head.  I really wanted to tell her to go get it checked out by a doctor because the same thing happened to the Oxy-Clean guy while he was on a plane and we all know what happened to him!  However, I continued being a mute.  When we arrived at the next stop, we all arranged the suitcases again, I got off the train briefly with another passenger so others could debark.  This cranky old man started shoving all the suitcases and cussing about because he couldn’t get by. Everyone in the pathway was trying to explain the situation to him, but he wouldn’t hear it.  (Note: I’m standing alongside iMac girl behind the French man and we are all facing the train).  The next thing I hear is that the old man calls this one woman a “salope”, which means bitch/cunt/slut.  Everyone’s jaw just dropped! We were all speechless. No time to waste, back on the train I go!

After that little show, I arrive 20 minutes later to Lorient! Finally! I get picked up from the train station and driven to my new place.  The English teacher, Jean-François made it seem like I lived so far, when in reality the train station is right around the corner from where I live.  Anyways, my place is great! There are four French students that live here and two couples.  One couple lives on the top floor and the other lives on the bottom.  All of the students and myself have our own separate rooms.  On each floor we share a bathroom and a toilet. We all share a well-equipped kitchen! Everyone has their own set of dishes and cabinets.  The great thing is that if I ever want a kitchen utensil like a blender or something, all I have to do is call my landlady and she will get it for me. Yay!  Also, I learned that I can apply for government housing assistance.  My landlady, Mme. Guèymard, told me that the last assistant received 200 euros a month.  That’s awesome because that’s my rent not including utilities! Money in the bank!

I’m trying really hard not make this so long!  So, my housemates are adorable! They are absolutely the cutest! I’ll break it down like this:

Jule: I have met him once. Homeboy is never home because he is probably at his girlfriends or at least thats what we think.

Cécile:  Fine arts student.  Super kind, patient, and vibrant!  Loves Balkan music.

Sophie: English student.  Loves Reggae and men with dreads.  Absolutely adorable.

(I loved when I asked Cécile and Sophie what kind of music they like, they both responded with two unique answers that I definitely did not anticipate.  Usually when you ask someone what kind of music they like, they say, “I listen to everything except for country.” I was completely thrown off by these two!).

Adeline:  Don’t know too much about her, but I think she studies Insurance.

My first full day in Lorient was amazing!  I definitely didn’t expect it.  I was just easing into my day and about to take a nap then I heard a knock at my door.  It was Cécile.  She introduced herself and we talked a bit.  Then I told her I needed to go to the government housing assistant office sometime and she said we could go right then and there.  Sophie came along as well! We found that the office was closed, but the girls were so kind to show me around town and give me the lowdown on where to go if I need certain things.  Both girls asked if I had any questions and I told them the story about Carre-four.  The day when I had arrived, I went to Carre-four, which is a grocery store here and tried to buy bananas.  The weight machine for produce is intimidating with all its buttons and numbers!  I don’t know!  I just remember standing 5 feet away and thinking well maybe I can get away with not weighing it.  Wrong! The cashier said there’s no sticker and I mumbled something in French and shook my head like a crazy person.  Cécile and Sophie laughed about it and took me to Carre-four to show me how to buy bananas.  It was cute because they both clapped their hands together at the same time and said, “Alors! Les bananes!”.  Later on in the evening, I had the most MIND BLOWING dinner EVER!!!!  Cécile and Sophie made caramel crêpes from scratch.  Hoooooooooly cow!  As soon as I took a bite, I almost fell off my stool.  I’ve never tasted anything like it!  Sophie and I just giggled with pure joy.

WHEW!  Ok, so I think that is a good place to end! There has been lots more that has taken place since, but I will update about that later on this week.

I learned a few things in the first two to three days such as how to buy bananas, don’t wear socks when going down the stairs because you will fall and hurt yourself, and how to make crêpes!  I definitely realize how hard it is for little children to communicate with adults and how frustrating it can be! I find myself mentally exhausted at the end of the day.  Not only do I talk like a little kid, but I fall down like one too!  Luckily, Cécile was there to bandage me up afterwards.

3 Responses to “Bruises”
  1. Jason says:

    first. long. fun!

  2. otherpeoplesprojects says:

    so im sitting in my bed piled with covers because its so cold that even though ive moved on to work time from sleep time, there’s no getting out of here for me.

    portland has turned winter and your life has turned french. if only you could put one caramel crepe in an envelope for me and my roommate could walk it into my room (not worth going outside for – sorry).

    listening to yann tiersen – guilty. dedicating it to you. cant wait for more updates.

    love thinking about your sunset. xo

  3. Chelsea says:

    I just read your update to Gypsy and she is purring so loud I fear she’ll wake the housemates!!
    We’re both so happy you have found such a wonderful roost to land in.

    School is eating my brain, but I still have time to stop, look meaningfully into the sunset, and wonder what your laugh sounds like in French.

    Hurry up, Spring!

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