this post has been a few days coming (sorry, michelle) but i’m still working on getting internet set up in the apartment. so my internet access has been limited to using the free wifi in quick (a sort of french mcdonald’s) where yesterday I was attacked by a pigeon. so yeah.
anyway, i flew out on sunday afternoon and the trip here was fairly uneventful. the french girl seated next me on the flight from dc to paris discovered my achilles’ heel of getting me to do whatever you want (mistaking me for also being french) so i ended switching seats with her friend so they could sit together, which landed me in the middle seat of the middle row where it is impossible to sleep without permanently damaging your neck and/or drooling on your neighbor. but it did give me a chance to watch a couple of movies, which i rarely do unless confined by two sleeping bodies, so that was good.
i had a short layover in paris so I got to have a patisserie at paul (which made me miss you, emily barrios). i actually had a window seat on the flight down to marseille so I got out my pillow and eye mask and slept for about 60 minutes of the 63-minute flight. i woke up for the descent into marseille, which was breathtaking. i’ve been lucky to have been able to travel a fair amount, but i’m still always taken with modern travel, how i can leave charlottesville, virginia and 15 hours later be descending on the south of france.
i take a bus from marseille into aix and then a taxi to the school. unfortunately, the teacher with whom i had been communicating hadn’t told anyone else when i was arriving, so my apartment wasn’t ready and i had to wait a few hours while it was cleared out and cleaned. the professors were very friendly and accommodating while I was waiting and took the chilean language assistant and me to lunch in the cafeteria. but i was at 24 hours of being awake with 1 hour of sleep and was quickly slipping into the shivering, nauseated stage of exhaustion.
luckily, not too much later i was able to get into my studio. it’s a fairly small room on the first floor of the logement, in which some school employees and the two other language assistants live as well. i have a single bed, bedside table, desk, table with a giant tv that doesn’t seem to even work, mini-fridge, and a toaster oven/hot plate combo. so far the only thing i’ve ventured to actually cook is pasta, aside from that i’ve been living on baguette, cheese, yogurt, coca light, hummus and carrots. which is, honestly, not much different from my normal diet. i also have a closet and a small bathroom.
the room is, frankly, pretty stark, but i’m doing what i can to warm it up. laurel and sam gave me pictures to bring with me and I brought my painting of bethany’s which do so much to make me feel more at home.
send me photos, drawings, pictures you colored, whatever, and i promise they will have a place on my wall you will have a place in my heart. my address is: b.p. 60010, 13181 aix-en-provence, cedex 5, france.
this week i’ve been trying to set myself up here, groceries (one bus trip at a time) bank account, cell phone, mounds of paper work, etc. but it hasn’t taken as long as i was expecting, which has led to me being bored, which has led to me being more homesick than i’ve been before. i haven't started teaching yet and we haven't had orientation with all the other assistants yet so it's a lot of time alone. i know that this will pass and soon enough i’ll have friends here and too much to do, so i’m trying to power through. but right now it just kind of sucks.
luckily, my best friend elizabeth is doing her student teaching in cambridge, so I get to see her over my break in 22 (22!) days.
sorry this is so long; one of the results of having a lot of time to myself is that I’m writing A TON so you’re actually getting the edited version here. if you can imagine. okay, i’m done now.
except for one more plea to write me. pretty please?
cedex 5, france.