Finally in France

Well, after about 15 hours of rushing through airports and flying in planes, and then missing my flight from Paris to Nice because of walkway problems, here I am, in Nice, France!

To be honest, my first glimpse of France didn’t give me a very grand impression. Granted, it was about 5:45 in the morning when I gazed upon Paris for the first time, so all I saw were scattered constellations of city lights. Also, I was running on two hours of sleep, so my attention may have been lacking. As for Nice, when I finally set eyes upon the city, I just saw miles and miles of brown, sad-looking mountains. I watched the terrain stretch below us, and couldn’t help but feel a bit cheated. Where was the beautiful Mediterranean coastline I had been promised?

It turned out to be a pretty good promise. Clusters of tiny trees and houses started appearing, and soon afterwards, I saw the Bay of Angels. The coastline provided a gorgeous contrast, highlighting sandy houses against an expanse of blue sea. In fact, the Mediterranean was a shade of blue that I don’t even know how to describe—it’s not that gross brown or gray of some disgustingly polluted waters, but it’s not gray-blue or green-blue either. Just blue, the sort of blue that would make a flawless gem. I wish I had taken pictures, but like the idiot I am, I’d put my camera in my backpack, which was, in turn, in an overhead compartment.

When I finally left the plane, grabbed my luggage, and stepped out of the terminal for good, I was so relieved when my contact (I’m omitting names for the sake of anonymity) started speaking in English to me, because my brain was in no condition to process French, much less conjugate verbs. She was incredibly helpful—she drove me around the city like a personal tour guide, helped me set up a bank account, made sure that I ate and bought food and drinks so that I didn’t starve or die of thirst, and helped me sign into the dorm—even though I was sort of just deliriously following her around, thanks to jetlag.

My dorm, Baie des Anges, is a lot different from what I’m used to at R-MC. I was trapped in the horrors of Smith Hall freshman year, and then lucky enough to get into the Honors House (RIP) last year, but this is like another world. It’s tiny, and I don’t have a roommate, which is so weird—I already miss my lovely one back at R-MC. But at least Smith and the Honors House had AC, though in all fairness, the gorgeous view sort of makes up for the lack of AC. (It’s too bad that the sun sets in the other direction. All I could see during sunset were pastel blue, lavender, pink, and yellow, and a departing airplane. No sun.) I have my own tiny fridge, as well as an equally tiny bathroom. And when I saw tiny, I mean tiny. Even if I wanted to lie down on the floor, I wouldn’t fit.

Close-up of the view from my window:

The furniture is this bright teal blue, mixed with white, which is a lot more interesting than the depressing brown-and-white color schemes of Macon’s dorms (or brown, white, and weird green, if you have a carpeted floor.)

Most of my room (ignore the stuff everywhere):

Unfortunately, thanks to a very unlucky fluke with the Internet cord, I also have no Internet in my room, and the wi-fi signal is too weak, so I have to walk over to the computer room in the lobby in order to access the Internet. At least I’m on the first floor, where everything is within easy access, meaning I don’t have to run up and down multiple flights of stairs.

It’s just so surreal, being in a different country, immersed in a different culture, surrounded by a different language. There’s so much to get used to—the fact that milk isn’t refrigerated and instead sits in boxes on the shelves, that I have to essentially rehearse what I’m going to say before I speak, and that French fashion isn’t all that different from America’s (as long as you don’t wear holey clothes, ripped jeans, and baggy sweatshirts, you’ll fit in.)

For the past few days, I’ve been counting lasts: last Saturday in the US, last time I see my friends, last homecooked meal by my parents, last time I see my house. But now that I’m here in France for good (well, for another eight months), I should start counting firsts.

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