19 Sep

Monday meant trekking back into uni (lol jks I live 10 mins away) to register, get my student card, and fix what will hopefully be the last problem with my timetable. It did mean saying goodbye to Mondays off and hello to 3.30 translation, although I finish at 11.30 on Fridays so can still go eurotripping at the weekends if I want. A quick trip up to Rue Sainte Catherine meant more frozen yoghurt, and an attempt to find reasonably priced lip balm and paracetamol. I didn’t actually believe that 1€ for a pack of 16 tablets was the lowest price going considering how cheap they are in England so I went to ask at the till and made them see if they had anything cheaper, which of course they didn’t. If there’s one valuable lesson to take away for any of you who get the occasional headache or always get freshers flu like myself, it’s to take as much medication with you from England as you can, because it’s mega expensive over here. The pharmacies are also full to the brim with bottles and bottles of…stuff. None of it really seems to do anything useful. The only thing I really recognise in there is toothpaste.

Earlier that day a major disaster struck, in that I ran out of grenadine. I’d been feeling a bit twitchy all day about returning home to there being pretty much nothing to drink (for those of you who don’t know me so well, I don’t like water) and was thankful to find a well-stocked Carrefour which has enabled my addiction for at least another 4 days. My plans for the evening originally started out as relaxing for a bit, roasting some chicken for dinner, then heading to the pub. Apparently the gas oven had other plans for me. Having planned ahead and defrosted some thigh pieces, I was excited to finally use the oven, as I’d been living off spaghetti all week. A friend of ours had explained how you simply turn the gas on, chuck a lit match in the bottom, and voilà, hot oven. This all went pretty well until we noticed a while later that we couldn’t hear the fire any more…and it smelled an awful lot like a chemistry lab. Shrugging this off as a minor setback, Gilles kindly offered to relight it for me, since I thought that by that point the kitchen was full of gas and we were inevitably all going to die in the ensuing flamey chaos. After using up all our matches, we got no further in having a usable oven so I had to fry chicken on the bone. I boiled some carrots and potatoes to go with it, and somehow managed to set my oven glove on fire while lifting off the plate that I had been using as a lid. Not my finest hour. Before being able to sit down to  my overcooked chicken and undercooked vegetables, I received I slightly angry call from my landlord along the lines of “Où est mon argent?” so I promised I’d Skype my parents to sort it all out as soon as I had eaten. Pub plans went out the window at that point.

On Tuesday I had my first lecture at Bordeaux 3, beginner’s Japanese. The uni did nothing to improve their image in my mind as the lecture hall didn’t have enough seats for everyone and was cramped and wayyyy too hot. Things were definitely a bit claustrophobic to begin with. The lecturer started off by comparing written Japanese to Chinese and Korean, writing a few examples on the board without really explaining which example matched which language, good start! Later on he also started writing up the Japanese alphabet, without going into a huge amount of detail, so we all ended up getting a bit lost. Hopefully Thursdays lesson will be a bit better structured! As Erasmus students don’t do the January exams, we’re supposed to liaise with the teachers ourselves to sort out some form of continuous assessment. When we asked M. Asari, he said he didn’t really know (/didn’t want to be responsible) and suggested we go and talk to Mme Suzuki. Upon further questioning, he couldn’t give us much information about where her office was or when we could see her. I probably should be getting used to this by now.

On the way home I stopped by Leader Price for the obligatory baguette. It’s a bit of a pain (wheeey get it?…no…ok) that it’s only really at its prime on the day you buy it, but I guess that’s all part of French life, much like us having to buy milk every few days in England. In the afternoon there was a test for the DEFLE evening classes which I have decided to take to make sure I have some structured French lessons while I’m here and so I don’t forget how to write! They said it was one test but it turned into an hour and a half 3-parter, although hopefully it means they’ll be able to put me in the right group. Fingers crossed for not the bottom one. At dinner Emily and I played the game ‘masculin ou feminin’ with Kevin to help our French vocab. It’s pretty self-explanatory, he points to an object, we name it, and say whether it’s masculine or feminine. For him it’s the equivalent of playing with 3 year olds, but hey, it helps us, and in return we teach him all the bad words in English. I also made an awesome dinner to make up for last night’sdepressing one: 

Sights of the day

I can’t really think of a better name for a pizza place than this.

I think this is officially the ugliest building on campus. I have no idea what’s in it, I didn’t really want to go any closer.


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