I panicked a bit after waking up, because I’d somehow managed to sleep for thirteen hours. But I decided to dedicate Thursday to actually exploring the city, not just going to the supermarket and collapsing in my room.
That plan fell through when I learned that I had to do more important things, like pay for my room. There goes 488 of the euros from my parents, though I’m supposed to get 244 back if my room is undamaged at the end of the year.
So Day 3 was just as (un)productive as yesterday: I went to Leader Price again, bought some more things, and had a nice lady let me in front of her in line. (She kept calling me “jeune fille,” so while I suppose it’s annoying to be repeatedly mistaken for a young girl, looking years younger than you actually are does have its benefits.) Then I wandered into a pharmacy, where I learned that, at 4.30 euros, floss is more expensive than 1 liter of milk, 6 eggs, a 135g bag of chips, a tuna sandwich, and 500g of pasta combined. And then I sadly began my trek up the three giant hills, which was probably more grueling than yesterday’s trip now that I knew what to expect. Up until now, I never realized how small and flat R-MC’s campus is.
That about sums up the excitement of the day. Maybe tomorrow, Saturday, or Sunday, I’ll explore the city for real.
The night before, I’d agreed to meet my contact at 9:30, but unfortunately and embarrassingly, my alarm never went off, and so I woke up to a concerned knock on the door.
She shepherded me to the Office of International Relations, and then dropped me off at the amphitheater where I was supposed to sign up for classes. I walked into a fairly large lecture hall (maybe the size of Copley 100 or 101?), where there were approximately 15 equally overwhelmed and confused students. Oddly enough, there were also a few adults (when I say adults, I mean actual adults, not college-aged students between 18 and 22). I was hoping to meet or talk to some students, but we were rather occupied by a professor shoving a bunch of class-related information into our heads. I did, however, talk a bit to some lady next to me, but mostly to borrow a pen and to exchange bewildered questions. Finally, we just sort of walked out in a daze.
Classes start on Monday, and I have 15 hours of classes from Monday to Thursday. I’m taking: Grammar Practice, Written Language, Oral Language, French Society through the Media, France in the Contemporary World, and Literature, which consists of Literary Themes + Literary Texts from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century.
After eating lunch and glaring at the multiple mosquito bites I somehow manage to keep accruing, I decided that it was time to go out and do some exploring. The weather was actually really nice; it was partly cloudy, and there was the occasional cool breeze. I found le Promenade des Anglais first, and wow, the Mediterranean is impressively blue. The water’s basically a gradient of blues—a clear, light blue closer to the shore, and then it gradually grows darker, but it’s still so…blue. (Yes, I know I’ve overused the word blue, but I don’t know how else to describe the water. I suppose I could try using azure, cerulean, sapphire, etc., but that requires too much effort.)
You can kind of see how blue the Mediterranean is in this photo:
I nearly got lost on the way to the more touristy area of the city, La Place Masséna and L’Avenue Jean Médicin, but with the help of a map from my helpful contact, managed to find it. First stop? A bookstore, of course. Then I just sort of wandered around, taking in the gorgeous architecture and bustling streets. Eventually, I decided that I should head back since my feet hurt from all the walking, and I stopped at a self-serve gelato place to rest for a bit. (There’s no tax on food here. It’s weird. Also, my order was 1.73 euros, but the lady rounded it down to 1.70, and I’m wondering whether that’s because I look so young, or whether she didn’t care about the three cents.)
Sadly, the sun had come back out, and the trek back was pretty hot. When I was almost back to the dorm, I ran into a perplexed girl asking an equally puzzled lady where the university residence was, so I took one of her suitcases and helped her out. Soon, some guy came along and took her other suitcase, and apparently thought that she was my mother (Sigh. Seriously? Do I look that young? The girl couldn’t have been more than twenty-four, and I think that’s stretching it.)
Who knew that four hours of trekking through an unknown city could be so exhausting?