I had my orientation yesterday. My host mom realized I had no clue when or where I had to be so she drove me to the University and walked me inside. She was a bit lost as well, but eventually we found the USAC kids. Hearing English was so comforting. During the day, we were told about behavior in our homes, how the classes work, ect. We were also shown the small mall across the street and had lots of free time to converse and become acquainted. I really like the USAC group! They are approachable, friendly and most seem like they will be easy to get along with. There are a couple I already sense I probably won’t like, but far more who I see as potentially great friends.
Today we had our placement tests. Once again I slept from 10:30 – 3:15, making me very tired and cranky for the test. I hope I am placed correctly, I butchered my oral exam. My sleep depravity put me in that state where far off noises seem really loud. The only thing quiet was the woman asking me questions. I had to ask for repetition several times because I couldn’t hear her, but I could her all the other students in the room at an irritably loud volume. I will be happy as long as I am put at a level above 2nd year, 1rst semester. The system here is complicated though as they have about 15 different levels of French to start people off at.
I felt very depressed after the test. It was extremely gloomy outside and simultaneously made me homesick and downhearted. After I got some sugar in my system and returned from my run home to get my passport I started to feel better. I spoke with some girls as we waited for out next event to start. Soon I felt excited again and my gloominess was gone. I think my lack of sleep has made me an emotional roller coaster lately =S
This afternoon, the directors led us downtown for a walking tour. It was so pretty! I am going to go back to explore more as soon as possible. We saw many restaurants, historic sites and boutiques. There is something about the old rundown buildings of France that is so precious. It’s a romance that cannot be duplicated.
After about an hour of the tour, a girl named Kim who I’ve been talking to a lot decided to ditch the group. It was freezing outside and she has been as sleep deprived as myself lately so we just wanted coffee. We abandoned USAC to find a cafe. I had a Cafè Krème, which is the proper term for a Cafè au Lait nowadays. Kim told me how lost she got walking home last night and she was wandering around the dark for an hour with no phone and a map that wasn’t helping at all. Poor girl! She finally made it in tears and her family just laughed as if it happens all the time. It reminded me of Sarah’s family who we lost multiple times in Paris without phones. No one seemed to care, they just had this “meh, we’ll find each other eventually” attitude that astounded me. My family flips out when we are separated and without communication – we’ve had many hours of frantic searching chases spent on the ski slopes to prove it.
As Kim and I were sitting in the Cafe, our fear that the group would walk right past us came true. In the darkening town our group walked past us in a lit Cafe. Shortly thereafter a second USAC group passed by. Some waved, one gave me a dirty look, but it wasn’t a big deal. The tour had been optional to begin with so I didn’t feel too guilty…
I apologize for the rambling in this blog, I will try to keep it a bit more structured in the future. I am happy with my group though and excited to get to know them! Hopefully I can meet some French students too!
Oh and here’s a pic of my house at my father’s request. Dad- you should have Paige get on FB to show you more pics of Pau and Paris.