Sunday, January 11, 2009

Finally Settled In

The past week has been hectic, but so much fun. Monday started my search for an affordable apartment. I had to sit down with French students from the school to look at a list of possible residences. Unfortunately, the school requires its exchange students to sign contracts stating they will only schedule three appointments for apartment visits. I like having options, so this immediately made me a little nervous. The first apartment I went to see was practically attached to the school and would have been extremely convenient. However, the whole experience of visiting the apartment was bizarre. The woman showing me the apartment looked exactly what I think of when I think of a witch. Seriously, she wore all black with striped leggings and a skirt. Her hair was knotted on top of her head and I couldn't help but to think I probably shouldn't tick her off or I would be turned into a frog. As for the apartment, it was tiny and had a 550 Euro per month price tag. I could have taken it, but that would have meant no trips in Europe and many nights eating bread and drinking water.

I heard from a friend that an apartment was available that was modest, but clean. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and found myself in the center of the city looking at the servants' quarters of a really nice building. After discussing rent and included services, I signed a contract for a small studio apartment. I probably wouldn't be inclined to choose an apartment like this in the U.S., but it works really well for me here.

(Below: Pictures of the new apartment)

A group of exchange students took at trip to IKEA to get odds and ends for their apartments. I hadn't been to one in the states, so I didn't know what to expect. This place was huge and all of the items seemed to be really well priced. My favorite part was eating at the restaurant inside. I had a salmon filet with green beans and a Coke and it was delicious. Honestly, it was the best meal I've had since I've been here. Hopefully, I will be able to find some places other than IKEA to eat dinner.

The activities this week have been so much fun. The French students have worked very hard to help the exchange students acclimate to the new culture. We had a very fun restaurant night and they have thrown welcome parties 6 out of the 7 days since we started.

I have finally found a place to buy groceries on the outskirts of town that has affordable groceries. Even though the groceries aren't too expensive, I still can't find exactly what I like to eat. Thus, my diet mostly consists of bread, jelly, Nutella and clementines. The clementines are very fresh and are shipped here from Spain. I have to say, so far, that they are my favorite thing to eat in France.

Classes start tomorrow and I'm getting very excited about getting back into a routine!

I would love to hear from all of you. My email is

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