After an exhausting 26-hour travel itinerary, I arrived in Grenoble.
In transit, I spent 12 hours in one of London Heathrow’s terminals… because the security standpoint to the gates were closed. It took me a while to figure this out because I’d already been on an 8-hour flight where I may have slept with my mouth open the entire time.
So I hobo-d it up with the two plane blankets I stole from American Airlines… with the help of this Hungarian man who sat next to me on my first flight. Despite what I heard about London Heathrow being the worst place to sleep, it was actually really easy and there were people sleeping everywhere!
I slept in the only option given me—the terminal outside security checkpoints. There are a few seats here without the dividing armrests. Once I stumbled sleepily inside, I found what looked like any refugee hideout. People sleeping, talking quietly. And again, many seats without dividing armrests.
Once in Grenoble, the places I saw first were under construction so even though I knew that I was in an awesome foreign place, it kinda looked exactly like what I had at home.
Oh wait, except this.
Found this gem right under La Bastille while walking around.
Ever wonder where these pictures come from?
That’s right, it’s how you get to La Bastille. Of course, I didn’t go there yet because today was to familiarize myself with the city. But trust me, it’s going to happen.
Honestly, today was kind of the first day where I was able to reclaim the wonders of being here and having this opportunity. The combination of fatigue and being bombarded with new and foreign things is so tiring and defeating the first few days. Today, before I told myself to get out of bed, I was kinda dreading the day. I had two things I needed to get done and zero language ability. I know it’s only been one day, but I’m tired of looking stupid and miming—but I know that to overcome that, I’m going to need to look stupid and mime a lot more often.
I’m thankful that I kicked myself out of bed this morning (after googling to death all the details I needed to head out) because today, I started to see the utter beauty in being here and I’ve started to reconstruct my bucket list as I explored the city. Of course, I forgot every single SD card I owned so I was unable to take pictures with the DSLR.
So I had to use my iPhone instead. Which I still take around with me when I need to pump some happy feels in me via iTunes.
But here are some quality shots from yesterday
Anyways, regarding adjustment. I knew the adjustment was going to be difficult—mostly from knowing myself and knowing how I like to take things slowly—I spread my obligations throughout the week/weekend (or until Saturday here because everything’s closed on Sunday). I hoped this schedule would make me less skittish in using French and more able to accept/explore the way they do things here.
But it seems that even this schedule I set myself is still a little too ambitious for the pace here.
For example, I walked into a bank today hoping to open an account (which I also need because of housing) and the kind gentlemen told me that I would need an appointment. Surprisingly, I was able to follow this conversation without translating things back into English. But I think that was mostly because he was speaking like he would to a 3 year old. But he was really nice and corrected/tested my French.
The lady at the Tourism Office was not so patient. But I understood since there was a long line vs. none at the bank. And that her broken English was better than my broken French. It was like a broken-language-off. My French lost.
The line for a mobile phone company was about 20 people long with only two employees in the store. I got halfway and it took a little over an hour. But by that time, I was basically shaking with hunger because of my messed up food schedule. So I ousted, to the surprise of many of my fellow linegoers. I learned from one of their pamphlets that I could do it online anyways, so HA!
There are some times where I’m surprised at how much I can understand—I can catch the gist of conversations, I can get business done, etc. But other times where it’s too tiring and I just let what sounds like gibberish wash over me. I’ve been telling my friends and family that I’ve become proficient in my new two first languages: Stutter and Mime.
But I promised myself to always use French first. And I’ve been doing that. And so far only one lady’s had the impatience (This might skill? But I’m going to say impatience.) to switch quickly to English. Actually that’s been the only time I spoke English here. Before you get all impressed, let me first say that I haven’t really interacted with people in the dorms (yet) because when students return to the dorms, they shut their doors.
I’ve also been thinking about my choice in direct enrollment vs. through a program, which I’ll touch upon later because there’s already too much text in this one.
Also, if you haven’t noticed, the site’s been undergoing some changes. None of which permanent. I knew I was going to be using more photos than usual so I wanted a site that could display those. However, I didn’t know how hard it was to find one and then adjust it to make it yours. Sigh.
To a High Five Friday in France! Linking up with Lauren.