France has been treating me so well and I’m trying to keep up and not missing out the fun. Yet my body starts to collapse and here I am in my dorm room, snuggling inside my blanket and trying to get over this dizziness and stuffy nose before the next weekend comes up again. Here’s the way universe telling me that I need to take a better care of myself and seriously fix my ruined sleeping pattern. I hope few flu pills and strepsils will get me back in shape before Saturday, because we’re heading off to Lyon! Yup, I’m sooo excited indeed 😀
As you know, being in a small Francophone city means that you have to step out your comfort zone and start to actually speak their languages. Back in Sydney, we learned the technicality of the language, we learned about how this and that grammar are used, but then we didn’t actually get enough time to practice the basic conversation skill. When I got here and did my grocery shopping, I just realised that I couldn’t name any name of basic vegetables in French! All I know is banane (banana), pomme (apple), ananas (pineapple) and fraise (strawberry)…. oh wait, that’s not even veggies’ names! HAHA. So yeah, everyday is an ongoing learning process for me. It’s a combination of information overload, devastating yet exciting experience all in one package that I go through everyday. The good thing is that most of the locals that I met here are really nice and in a way, they become my daily French teacher. So, my conversation with the locals goes on something like this everyday if I wanna search for something and IF I don’t know the French word for it:
“Bonjour Madame, j’ai un…… flu? (pointing at my nose while sniffing)”
The pharmacy lady chuckled, “C’est grippe, Mademoiselle!”
“Ahh oui, j’ai un grippe, haha! Vous avez un medecin pour mon grippe? (Ah yes, I have flu! Do you have a medicine for my flu?)”
“Bien sûr, attendez ici… (Of course, wait here)
Sometimes we become so paranoid due to these assumptions that people put on your head. Before I arrived, I heard how people always says that the French are so arrogant and they will be annoyed you if you speak English with them etc etc, but that’s not really the case really. I mean, I guess they know that we’re students and we’re still learning. At least we try, and I’m pretty sure that they give you a credit for that. And as for the tourists, well they know that you’re a tourist and they don’t really expect you to go all french frency with them. Most cases they take the interest to know your nationality and/or where you come from, because it intrigues them that there are people who come far, far away to reside in their little city!
As you know, I’m taking 8 subjects here and 2 of them are completely in English, US Civilisation subject and Civilisation du Monde Anglophone (complementary subject to US Civilisation). HAHAAA yeah I know, you’d think that it’s so silly for me to go all the way to France to learn US History from the 14th century! Although geographically speaking, US And Europe are quite close to each other, as compared to Australia to US! So it’s not THAT weird that I’m learning US history in France. Jesse, one of my friends here who’s from USA told me that Americans are always raised to be proud of their country and most times they’re constantly reminded that America is the best country in the world from the young age. Yup, this is a true opinion coming from an American citizen, I didn’t make this up! No hate for fellow Americans out there hahahah. Well, the point is that it’s interesting to learn about US history through French perspective. You could say that one is able to learn from a more objective point of view, and we’re able to get more diverse readings and opinions from different scholars which may not be presented when you learn the history in the said country.
How about Indonesian history, Michelle?”
“Oh, we Indos suffered a lot because we were colonised back and forth by the Dutch for almost 300 years!
This was a conversation that took place during one dinner that we had together. I looked at Kitty, our Dutch friend. Beforehand, we talked about country’s stereotype and we all just laughed about it. It was a random talk :p
Perhaps the least advantageous thing about being an exchange student from Australia is that all the teachers assume that you’re an Anglophone. Well not exactly… Sometimes I get uncomfortable to be labelled as Anglophone, given that English ISN’T my first language! At first I wasn’t aware that by taking class taught in English, it would put me in the position where I would become the only international student amongst the French student in the class. The situation turns the other way around. Suddenly, I am not the clueless exchange student anymore, and no I’m not the one who speaks really slow! Meanwhil,e I struggle to convey my thoughts in few of my completely-French classes HAHA. Language difference is a barrier, but it’ll get better for sure! 🙂
Anyhow, this little city is growing on me day by day. There are still so many things to see and paths to walk. After spending most of our times hanging around in Centre Ville, we realised that we were going in circle and always stayed on the same corner of Notre-Dame and Sainte-Claire, two of the busiest tram stops in Grenoble. Thus, we decided to explore the other side of Notre-Dame, and we walked down the little lanes at the back of the Notre-Dame Square.
We were walking down to Place des Tilleuls and thus, we found the shops that we all love: an old antique shop hidden in the corner of the lane.
It got all of us really excited. The room is infused by the smell of old furnitures and parchments, the smell of authentic antiquity and untold story. The madame who owned the store was really nice, and she even allowed me to go on her attic if I wanna take more picture of cool old stuff. But I just smiled and said that everything down here is lovely enough. “Merci Madame, c’est bien ici.” 🙂
And just right besides the antique shop, there’s another thing that got Lisa really excited: Pirate Bar! It is called Barbareuse, and I ended up going there last week with fellow Americans. Yup, weekend starts on Thursday up here in Grenoble!
In Barbareuse, you could really feel that you were inside a pirate ship packed with lots of people! We were greeted by old school music (yup, some serious parents tunes like It’s Raining Man and uhhmm…. even old Celine Dion Remix? HAHA) and I tried my the local liquor, which I later learned was called Chartreuse. We took one shot and the burning sensation immediately started to spread all over my tongue. IT TASTED SOOOOO HORRIBLE. I feel like I was drinking herb juice mixed with vodka and spirit UGHHH I still have a goose-bump when I remembered the nasty taste again :X So yeah, I’m sticking with my wine and beer. And wonderful, less-strong fruity drinks! It was a fun night out, and I managed to avoid aggressive French guys HAHAAA.
Things are also going really well back in my dorm, well despite the drama of me almost getting KICKED OUT from my place because of a stupid misunderstanding. There are four of us now, two girls me and Elisa (she’s British btw), and two guys: Alberto and the recent addition into our flat, Hector from Brazil! At first Alberto (whom I secretly called Spanish Sheldon Cooper behind his back HAHA! Mainly because he has a haircut which exactly ressembles Sheldon and he occasionally wears a light brown bomber jacket :p). At first he was reluctant to talk to me but then I think we sort of bonded after talking about Elisa’s habit for not washing the dishes for days and my accommodation drama lol. We speak Franglish obviously, and most of the times his Spanish mates come around to hang in the common room. Fun fact about Spanish people: They have lunch at 3 P.M and dinner at 9 P.M! Yup, that’s just how the Spanish roll.
Anyways, I guess it’s time for me to call it a night. So bummed that I have to miss out on Taco Night Thursday… Although I hope that the weather will be nice and sunny up in Lyon this saturday. Nasty flu, please get out of my system soon! 🙂
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