Friday, October 5, 2012

Saint-Louis, the first few days

Monday morning, I moved into my apartment at the school and signed a lot of papers. My first emotion upon seeing my apartment building was horror, because to be honest, it looks even worse than Batiment C! I don't yet have a picture of it, so here is the picture from google street view:
Really, it's even worse than this picture would lead you to believe
It's much better inside though, and will be perfect for 7 months. It's not without its flaws (the oven/stove is the more or less the size of an easybake oven, and we can hear every bell of the highschool, for example). But all in all it's a pretty nice place. 

My room from all the possible angles...
There was a lot of stress and nervousness, what with meeting my new roommates, my new professors, and doing it all (almost) in French (which is quite difficult, and exhausting). It's safe to say I am speaking French way more here than I did in Bordeaux. I'm certain my French is terrible. I speak in the wrong tense, with the wrong verbs. Essentially, I throw out a jumble of words related to my message and hope that my meaning can be divined. I have found that I can understand much better, however. Though occasionally, I encounter a fast speaker who throws out so much information that I get lost.
So far my roommates have been very friendly and nice, though I imagine almost anyone is capable of appearing nice for a short period of time. But I think things will continue to go well. We speak almost exclusively in French. This is difficult, but much less annoying than speaking French with Americans. I think this is because it feels much less artificial (less game-like). When one attempts to speak French with someone who speaks fluent English, it seems like a frustrating waste of time. You know you will be able to understand each other, and therefore get to know each other much better if you speak English, so speaking French is just a chore. With my roommates, French is a tool (though they do speak some English), a way to communicate. And I have found we can have fun even though it sometimes requires several rephrasings to get each other to understand each other.
There have been ups and downs since I arrived, but I think that, in general, things will continue to improve.

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