Have not posted in a while, which is apparently a good sign. I’ve been keeping myself relatively busy since the last week. So I think I posted last right after my meditation class on Sunday. Afterwards I went to see Manchester by the Sea (in English) with one of my American friends. Not that movie really needs a dialogue to be understood. It’s mostyl just depressing images and crying. Anyway, I’ve hung out with her quite a bit since. It’s interesting to think how seemingly minor social norms are actually significant. FOr example when I make plans with her there’s a very familiar rythm to our conversation. Idea proposed, idea accepted, time decided, event commences. It’s not quite so direct with the Europeans I met. Especially when it comes to picking a time.
So on Sunday the movie ran a little bit longer than I expected so I was running late to the Erasmus meeting afterwards. I had been talking with the Erasmus student network here before I even arrived in France, so it was something I was really looking forward to. The meeting ended up being at the buildling where one of people who went to the movie with us lived. So even though I was late we all walked over together. Good thing too because it was quite hard to find!
Once we got there we met a lot of students who had just arrived in Aix. I guess I arrived in Aix one week before the university students returned. So now is when everyone is arriving and starting up again. It was a great opportunity to meet people who are also new to the city! Everyone was meeting for the first time, a lot of contact info was exchanged, and everyone was really friendly.
Then, the Monday afterwards, my French class got 3 new students! And 2 of them are my age!! They are also super friendly and dont really know anyone around here. Right after class, we went to go get coffee and spent a few hours just talking.
So overall I met a ton of people in the span of a few days. And throughout this whole week, I have just been hanging out with them. I went to a French screening of The Godfather, explored several new coffeeshops, went to Museum Granet, and went out quite a few nights. There are a lot of nice bars and clubs here, but the Europeans like to stay out until 3 or 4 am!! It’s insane. So it’s hard to recover afterwards, but bread really helps.
The people I met are also just great solid people. I va bit a way from where most of the them lived, and the first night I didnt know how to get home and there were no Ubers around. So I was going to Google maps my way home, but they all instited on walking back with me so I wouldnt go alone. It was a 25 minute walk in the freezing cold and it was so sweet for them to come with me (and walk back 25 minutes after!). So I think I have found some great people. They also speak Engish, so that means that my French is suffering a bit.
Actually, right now I am on the TGV to visit a bike shop alum in Paris. And at the train station I noticed that I understood the announcements and could communicate here and there with the people at the ticket counter, etc. So there is some improvement to my French, and I think maybe after a little while longer I’ll conquer the learning curve.
This new group seems really up for adventure and going places so I’m excited to make some more plans with them. Its interesting how much more socially competent I am now than back during Oweek. At Oweek, even though I met people, I didnt know how to go about being proactive about making friends. I would go to events, but I didnt invite people to come with me, or go out of my way to see someone. Now I know how to do all that and I guess its fairly easy to make friends (atleast when traveling). I think alot of my social skills have improved after working in finance. Maybe because those people are so intimidating and I had to navigate 2 months with them, now I dont feel intimidated by any social situation with anyone.
So coming up to present times, as I mentioned im on the TGV currently. It will be interesting to see Paris with someone who actually lives there. My train ticket said 14:15, so I thought that meant the train would arrive at 14:15 and leave at 14:20. It actually meant that the train arrives at 14:14:30 and departs at 14:15:00. I had been at the station for about an hour at that point, but I was still surprised how everyone shuffled into the train and we took off before everyone was even seated. Europeans dont mess around with their trains.
My task at hand is to finalize plans for the winter recess in February. I also need to keep chugging along on my project, even though I did do a good amount of working and brainstorming this past week. Wow the train just left Provence I think because we crossed from very sunny skies to very cloudy skies. There was like a distinct row of clouds and now everything is couldy. I should catch up on sleep because I didnt sleep much last night.