Monday, October 10, 2005

Welcome to the Hellmouth

I am in Caen…well, my mother told me if I didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t blog about it. *shrug* It is not Paris.

I really don’t like it here. From the soviet ghetto-type dorms to the fact that the language placement exam was a fiasco and no one seems to have been placed accurately*; the fact that the only people I know here are American and speak in English to me all the time, and that they all insist on doing things in a big group like we are all in jr. high and not capable of going to the mall by ourselves (meet ya’ in front of the Orange Julius)!
It’s just a lot of change and a lot of stress all at once—and I don’t have internet (my solace) in my room, building, or the whole north side of campus. And the rooms with internet are only open until 5 p.m. each night. I should be able to sit outside the Wi-Fi hot zones at night and catch the signal, but I still can’t seem to configure my browser.

I have had to buy all new bedding, towels, dishes, and even rugs for my room as it is a complete hole, and the rotting pieces of fabric issued to me by the school aren’t cutting it. The kitchenettes on each floor consist of one hotplate, and a large sink that (on my floor) is always plugged with hair. There is no refrigerator or microwave, and neither are allowed in the rooms. I have no way of keeping or preparing meals as I have no pots or pans, and no cooler. Fortunately, the weather has been very poor and I have just enough room on my windowsill for yogurt and milk. This means I eat out for close to every meal, and am bleeding money.

I am really trying hard to stay positive: if I don’t I won’t make it through the semester, let alone the year.
I am still mourning my move from Paris. I have plans to go back in November for the Rufus Wainwright concert (yea!), and will be there at Christmas for a few days… *sigh*

The city isn’t bad, not nearly as expensive as Paris, and the public transport is great (a brand new tram system and really easy, clean buses). There are two enormous markets, and I think Sunday mornings for the rest of the school year will be dedicated to the market. Caen also has some great nightspots, but I’m not really a club kid—or even a barfly. Two of the three cinemas play films in both French and their original English versions, and there are lots of ancient and medieval buildings, ruins, and sites (including an enormous medieval castle in the middle of town, and across the street from the university).

*The school policy requires that students spend the first TWO WEEKS!!! of class in their original placement before moving them to another—perhaps better suited level. So, regardless of what class I end up in—and I can assure you it won’t be the one I’m in now—I will have missed the first two weeks of class!


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