Administrative hell

14 Sep

I haven’t updated in a couple of days cos I’ve been busy doing various things, some important, some not so much (I just can’t say no to any kind of social event), but most seem to have involved queueing outside G006, the computer/timetabling room at Bordeaux 3. Tuesday morning was spent trying to organise my unit choices and checking there were no timetabling clashes online through the university’s ‘hyperplanning’ website. None of the names quite seem to match those offered on the ‘formation’ web page, and all of the unit codes have different endings depending on some factor which I am yet to figure out. In the afternoon a few of us headed up to Jardin Public again, although this time the weather was decidedly more manageable for us Erasmus students. Meanwhile the French have gotten out their coats and scarves. Thankfully we didn’t get shouted at by any French men this time either. Aaron and I then headed to Auchan, one of the biggest supermarkets I have ever seen. I now understand why the French have the word hypermarché and we don’t – when it comes to food shopping, we really don’t know anything about choice. While there we came across this self-serve type thing where apparently you can choose your own quantity of any product as long as it comes in tiny pieces. Handy if you like industrial amounts of cereal.

I managed to find some sheets (after some general confusion about pillow sizes) for the bargain price of 5.95€. Sure they may feel a bit like they’re made of hessian, but they do the job. That evening we headed up to Danny and Conor’s for another sophisticated wine-based party, which was cut short by the fact that the last tram leaves at around midnight. Emily and I are thinking of buying a couple of  2nd hand bikes to avoid this, apparently they go for under 50€ at the market at St Michel.

On Wednesday I headed back into uni with Chynna to try and officially register for my classes. I did have to queue for 90 minutes for one of the 3 helpers to sort me out but I now officially have some lectures to go to next week! I seemed to get off lightly, having heard that some people queued for 3+ hours to organise their’s. We then headed up to the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, which turned out to be a bit of a let down as there wasn’t a huge amount of art there, and we didn’t really get what the artist was aiming for with the pieces we did see. Although there was a pretty cool half pipe installation thing going on:

In the evening I succesfully managed to throw together a spaghetti bolognese using the questionable utensils provided in the kitchen. The only chopping board we had was a small A6 size piece of wood, and none of our pots and pans have lids, but it still turned out ok in the end. Late that night Emily and I went to Sinead’s house with Kévin, and found that their apartment is exponentially better than ours purely because it has a lounge. The best we can offer at ours is 3 wooden chairs round a small kitchen table.

When we got home later that night I found out that I had somehow been added to a comparative literature class which I hadn’t signed up for, which meant a 9am wakeup on Thursday morning in order to try and beat the queue outside G006 and sort out my timetable before a meeting with our year abroad coordinator at 10.30. When I got there, there were already about 5 people in front of me, but with only 2 helpers doing official timetabling duties I ended up waiting until 10.15 to spend all of 30 seconds fixing the problem. Apparently one of the girls doing timetables had accidentally added ‘everyone’ to the literature class. The meeting that morning was basically for someone to sign our learning agreement forms so we could fax them off to Bristol and hopefully get our Erasmus grants on Saturday (fingers crossed).

Our coordinator seemed to have a major problem with anyone not doing her literature class. She tried to talk various people into doing it by suggesting that, for example, the medieval literature class they had chosen was ‘too difficult’, and that hers was better, or plainly stating that they were ‘stupid’ for not doing hers. I managed to get away relatively lightly, although she seemed slightly angry and baffled and as to why anyone would want to speak Japanese, let alone take a beginner’s class in it. It took a bit of talking on my behalf plus showing her Chynna’s signed form to prove that Bristol had agreed to let us take it at all. After lunch Dan, Helena, Charli, Chynna and I went to the Musée du Vin to learn a bit about the history of wine in the region. And to do a bit of tasting of course. We found a bottle that holds 24 standard bottles worth of wine. Prelash anyone?

I then went on a trip up to Ikea with Sinead’s flat to pick up essentials, like a glass that’s bigger than a thimble. French people seem to only drink from little glass tumblers which hold about 100ml and I need something more substantial. After coincidentally bumping into my landlord in the lighting section, I now also have my very own desk lamp. It’s the little things. In the evening we headed up into Bordeaux, aiming to go on a bar crawl with some Bristol people, although we ended up drinking at a small café where we took up most of the street outside as there were about 25 of us in total. A check-up on my timetable has also shown that yet another problem has popped up as I’ve been put into 2 French > English translation classes instead of 1 French > English and 1 English > French. I really can’t be bothered wasting hours of my life queuing outside of G006 again this week so it’s going to be Monday’s problem instead!

Sights of the day

Self-serve machines for ordering food at McDonalds. Didn’t manage to get a picture, but it’s one of the few examples of how France is (occasionally) better than England at making life a little bit more efficient.

This isn’t that interesting but I just thought this plug socket in my room was weird because it’s completely recessed into the wall. However like many cool novelty items in France, it doesn’t work.

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One Response to “Administrative hell”

  1. Rachel B September 17, 2012 at 12:49 #

    I like the last sentence. It conveys the entire tone/message of this blog.

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