Sooo, like all new things, Bordeaux has taken a little bit of time to get used to, but I have officially decided that I like it here A LOT. At first, the fact that it was going to take me at least 40 minutes to commute to school every morning, as a combo of walking and the tram, made me not happy, but I've realized that 1) the commute is NOT bad, and 2) I live super close to downtown, which is super awesome, and which makes hanging out with people much easier because I have to depend on the trams less for non-school related things.
Also, it's MUCH more urban and city-like than Irvine or Burbank, but it's also apparently very small, and I have yet to feel lost. The main mode of transport here are the city trams, but it's great because the stops aren't too far apart from each other, so it really doesn't matter if I accidentally take the wrong one (like I did yesterday), because it's ridiculously easy to just hop off and walk in the opposite direction for 2 minutes to find what I need. As someone who gets nervous about getting around by myself, the fact that I feel super comfortable here means a lot. And it's safe, too. I walked home from a friend's birthday get-together at 1 AM last night for 20 minutes and it was fine.
Also, I adore my host family, and my room is excellent.
I have a canopy, which I have always wanted at home.
I have a couch, and a poster of someone with really nice fake eyelashes that I'm kind of jealous of.
There were France guidebooks when I got here, and incense.
I have a big desk with a map of France, a nice view, and a radiator.
The sunglasses and the postcard from Versailles are mine, but the room came with the seashells.
And of course I have a dresser.
So things here are very good. Joana, my homestay mom, is a vegetarian and an amazing cook. We eat a lot of good food all of the time. She's really great about making sure I stay warm in the cold spell too -- she lent me her boots the first day I was here, and she is always making sure that I'm carrying an umbrella just in case. She's a jazz musician. Her ten-year-old son..I don't know how to spell his name...is very friendly, and the very first thing he every said to me was to offer me ice cream when I met him on my first afternoon here.
Also, right now the Soldes are going on, so downtown (mostly Rue St. Catherine) is super busy. France's government doesn't allow things to be on sale during the year -- this is the store's only opportunity, so EVERYTHING downtown is 50% off. It doesn't mean a lot of us, because the dollar is still so weak, but it's convenient to have arrived now, because everyone in my program is realizing that warmer clothes are needed.
Right now, all of the UC kids are taking French language classes to prepare for real classes, so that's what I've been busy with. We start our 6-8 hour days this week.
So, I'm happy. Musee D'Aquitaine today.