After 24 hours flight from Sydney, one snowy train ride from Lyon, I am officially here in the little town of Grenoble, France!
Grenoble is a little town in Southeastern France, which resides on the foot of French Alps. It’s been two weeks since I got here, and so far I’m loving my french life! Just like what I predicted, it was snowing when I got to Grenoble! I was tired and I had to drag my two suitcases under the freezing snow while hailing a cab to get to my residence, but gosh, those snow painted the town gorgeously! Afterwards, I headed to the first day of semaine d’integration (orientation week) right after my residence lady told me how to get to uni by tram. It doesn’t take me that long to figure out how the tram system works here. It’s actually pretty easy and similar with how trains in Sydney work!
They say that the city is as good as the people. If that’s so, then Grenoble is a foreign land filled with bunch of friendly people. I realised that everyone here is so used to greet people around like it’s nothing! “Bonjour!…… Au Revoir!” The two words that you would often say here if you run into strangers on the lift or when you just bummed into them at the door.
Anyways, I’m so glad that I didn’t skip the semaine d’intergration, or else I’ll be forever alone here lol. I have made few new friends from different parts of the world (more on that later :D) from attending the orientation! Oh, and the general conception that the French is the snobbiest people in the planet is not true! I’ve met few french students in my friend’s dorm and they’re really nice, despite that I speak Franglish in front of them HAHA. They’re pretty understanding, and I’m so excited that I actually HAVE few French friend now. It’s about time to sharpen my French speaking skill! Although between the international students, sometimes we TRY so hard to speak french all the time, yet the temptation to speak in English is just TOO BIG.
Life in Grenoble is so much different from back home. Imagine that you’re having few drinks at the common room and the numerous conversation that floats around the table is in multi-lingual languages. Sometimes we speak in English and French (or Franglish!). Yet the next thing you know, some people reverts back back to the mother tongue and you hear Portugese, Spanish and un petit peu German and Dutch filling up the conversation! Everyone of us are lost in translation, but it’s seriously the best melting pot experience one could ever had. And it gets really exciting to tell people that I’m an Indonesian who comes from Sydney, Australia! 🙂 (“OMG THAT’S SOO COOL, you’re trés internationale!”, said my Brazilian friend Elisa HAHA no kid). In the minds of European and American, Australia is a far, far away country and I guess they label Australia as something that is extremely foreign hmmm….
The first few days, I wasn’t used to the freezing winter up here. UGG BOOTS IS A LIFE SAVIOR! All this time I always avoid cold winter time, and I’m missing the fun! It hasn’t snowed again since last week, but to tell you the truth I secretly wish it will snow again next week because I wanna make my first snow man and snow angel!! I didn’t get to enjoy the snow when I first got here. But I’m finally learning to embrace the beauty and excitement of winter 😀
Never take things for granted. It doesn’t take me a long time to realise that everything in France takes AGES to be processed!! I don’t know why, I guess it’s just French lifestyle thing. They just like to take things slow and overtly relax (most shops also close on Sunday too! Bummer). Coming from a country that gets everything done in express, it’s really frustrating to wait for one week to get your phone fully running and I was THIS CLOSE to live with only €5 for a week because I couldn’t withdraw my money from the bank because I haven’t got my debit card and the teller closes at 12 p.m! And dealing with language difference is also makes it even harder. I think I must have looked so stupid when I opened my bank account, because I almost didn’t understand all of French bank terms that the lady blurted out to me lol. Trés difficile, indeed. But hey, I’m learning!
EVERYTHING HERE IS SO CHEAP. It’s awesome to be a student in Europe!! For instance, I only have to pay €20 for an UNLIMITED tram past per month! Back in Sydney, I think I spent AUD200 every month for a train + bus ride. And I think I went nuts when we had our first grocery shopping in Casino (French version of Coles + Target, I assume) here. We can get a bucket of strawberries for less than €5!! And alcohol, in this case, wine, costs less than 1.5L water HAHA. We found €1.5 worth of wine and they sell aisles of it. AND RENT! I only paid €320 for a room near Centre Ville, while it costs AT LEAST AUD350 / week for a single room in Sydney CBD (SAAAY WHAAT?!) Australia, all this time you’ve been ripping me off! I’m staying here forever HAHAHAAAA kiddinggg 😀
Class started last week and so far it’s been hard and exciting at the same time. French has a particular way of teaching, there are few classes where lecture + tutorial are combined together in two-hours block. Most of the times, the lecturers would just talk and students would just take notes. I took 7 subjects, which is twice the amount from the usual class amount I took in Sydney. But each subject has less credit which is why I have to take more classes. I took 5 subjects in French and 2 subjects in English. I don’t think I can manage to take EVERYTHING in French, that would kill me! I am actually freaking out, because there are few classes where the lecturers would talk French in maximum speed. Yet it’s a relief to know that other international students that were in the same classes with me also didn’t understand the words the lecturer said “Don’t worry, it gets better and you’ll be used to it”, said a friend of mine who has been in Grenoble since last year. Argh, I don’t know. We’ll see how it goes. I might have to alter my uni schedule again and I seriously need to revise my French grammar book again!
Anyways, I’ll write more about my new friends in my next blog post. There are so many things that I wanna write about my first two weeks in Grenoble, but that’s just gonna make this blog even more lengthier lol. France, you’ve been treating me well so far. I’m so excited to see the upcoming surprises you have in store for me for the next 5 months! Here are some of the pictures that I’ve taken around Grenoble so far (with short captions too!). Nikii’s so excited to finally get to see Europe with her own eyes! And I’m surely excited too to snap more awesome sights around the town!:)