I hope you are all enjoying your well-earned reading week! Here in France I am only mid-way through my third week of classes. I can’t believe that you are halfway done your semester and my courses were just finalized last week!
The past couple of weeks have been full of (more) administrative work, making sure I was in the right classes, getting a meal card so I could go to other restaurants (cafeterias) on campus. I also have picked up my bank card (so now I can use debit terminals) and my textbook came in at the bookstore. For my seven classes, I only need a textbook for one class, so my new bank account was very happy about that. Since getting my meal card I have been able to indulge (I really mean « indulge ») in the cafeteria food, which is unlike any cafeteria food I have seen in any other country in the world. Yesterday when I got to the front of the line (and only had a plate of chicken and peas on my tray) the cashier said to me « why don’t you grab a salad and a dessert, its the same price without it! » So I have learned that if you just get your main plate, or your main plate, cheese and chocolate mousse, the same amount of money is going to come off your card. So today, cheese, and sausages and broccoli, and bananas with chocolate sauce it was!
A big place of interest is the market in the main part of town Sunday mornings. It is huge! There are hundreds of vendors that sell everything from pajamas to paella to fresh cut flowers to fruits and vegetables.
This has so far been a highlight of my trip (did I mention I bought 3 huge onions for .39?!) and I was very happy to have found, when reading through one of the dozens of tour books I have collected, that there is a market every day of the week except for Mondays. So, happily on Tuesday morning, because I didn’t have class until 12:45, I took the tram to the end of the line where one of the Tuesday Markets is held. It was a significantly smaller market, with maybe about 20 vendors (with the same range of goods) and equally as friendly people!
During the day my classes are pretty spread out, I have early morning classes then no classes again until 2:30. So, technically, I just have a really long lunch break! After getting lunch in one of the cafeterias, I head over to the Maison de l’ Étudiant for a coffee and some wifi and usually try to get some homework or other work done (the beginning of this post was written there!)! After class, I head to the languages library and flip through my homework and then catch the tram back to my residence! I then either make myself dinner, or go grab something to eat at the restaurant behind my residence.
In reference to the title of this post, I think I need to give a bit of a background. I knew that people in France dress well, but I think I was unprepared for the students to dress so well too. I have yet to see anyone wear a hoodie (except for other exchange students) and there are definitely no sweatpants. I saw a teenaged girl on the tram a few days ago with pajamas on, but contrasted them with beautiful, elegant make up and her hair perfectly coiffed. I noticed when I was first driving through town in the shuttle that there were lots of hairdressers/barbers. Then I came to notice that most of the people I see walking around have very nice haircuts! Even if girls are wearing their hair in a ponytail, it is curled, or styled. I haven’t been brave enough until today to put my hair up and go to class. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about! Everything is just fine.
Enjoy the rest of your reading week, and be refreshed to tackle the remaining half of your semester!