Week 3

Monday afternoon, it rained for the first time since I arrived in Nice, which was actually kind of nice because the weather cooled down for a bit. But earlier that day, I bought a bottle of water and a “Sandwich américain” for lunch, only to discover that the so-called sandwich consisted of nothing but a piece of beef and some fries. Like, who puts fries inside the hamburger bread?

*******

Tuesday was a bit bumpy. I froze up during class, because the professor called on me and wanted me to choose a subject and spontaneously talk about it. As a shy person, extemporaneously talking is the very last thing I want to do in front of an entire class. Fortunately for me, someone else volunteered to go, and after most of the class went, thus giving me time to think, I felt more prepared when it was finally my turn. I chose to talk about one of my favorite books, Unwind, and the experience wasn’t too bad. The professor looked impressed when I used the term “au fur et à mesure,” and when I finished, she said that my presentation had been interesting and thanked me.

Here comes the worst part of the week: while I was walking back to my dorm, two boys passed me, and one of them put his hands together, bowed mockingly, and said something that sounded like “chienne.” I had a pretty good sense of the word, though I wasn’t sure whether he was insulting me for being Asian or for being a woman, so I looked it up online. He’d called me a bitch. Great. Thanks. I hate misogynistic men.

*******

Fortunately, things went uphill from there. On Saturday, the Czech girl and I went out for breakfast at 9am. (Way too early for me, but hey, it’s lonely here in the dorms. I’ll take what I can get.) We forgot that most places, except touristy areas, are closed during the weekend, so we ended up buying random food from the supermarket and eating at the beach for maybe an hour or so.

At 2:30, I met four of the Marylanders at Place Pierre Gautier to visit museums with them. (I felt bad for intruding, but the Czech girl’s basically the only person I know in the dorms, and she doesn’t speak French… But they’re all really nice, so I don’t think they minded? At least, I hope not.) Anyways, we looked at some books—which I resisted the temptation to buy, even the gorgeous old hardcovers—and then visited the Masséna Museum. Although the architecture was pretty, I didn’t think the museum was all that special; there were just a bunch of random paintings and artifacts, though I guess the stole that Josephine wore to Napoleon’s coronation was pretty cool.

Some of the architecture:

I must have been on my feet for about five hours, so around 5:30, I took the bus back to the dorm. There was no way I was going to walk for another hour, especially up those three hills, when I was tired and starving. But even though my feet hurt, the exhaustion was worth it, because I’d almost forgotten how nice it is, to be able to just socialize with and be around people from your country and culture.

*******

Sunday, I met two of the Marylanders at Place Garibaldi at 2 to visit the crypt. (It still takes a lot of courage to message them on Facebook and ask if I can come along, because I feel like I’m being clingy, but I don’t know who else I’d travel with, and I’m afraid to go alone?) Except, this weekend was Heritage Days, meaning that a bunch of museums and historical sites are free of charge, and there was a long line to get into the crypt.

After moving maybe half a foot in an hour, one of the other Marylanders and the nephew of her host family walked by, and we abandoned the line to go to the Grotto of Lazaret with them. Unfortunately, after at least an hour and a half of waiting, we were in the cave for all of five minutes, listening to some dude talk while we stared down at a bunch of rocks and theoretical mandibles that nobody could see from the platform. All five of us had thought that we’d be able to walk around, but nope. I mean, I’m grateful for the experience, but in the end, it wasn’t really worth the ninety minutes of standing.

This was legitimately all you could see:

The walk to and from the grotto was far more interesting:

I don’t think I’ve ever done so much walking in my life: I basically walked from one end of the city to the other, and I was on my feet from 1:15 to 6:30. Even though I all but inhaled my dinner when I got back to my room, and don’t want to move from my chair for the next few hours, I think this weekend went pretty well—I got to talk to people and explore the city, although I’ve realized there’s still so much of Nice that I haven’t yet seen.

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