Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bonjour, Angers!

I arrived in Angers, France on Sunday (finally) after a long 20 hours of traveling. The plane rides weren't too bad, but I was definitely jet lagged for a couple of days! I have spent the past few days getting to know the city of Angers, which is beautiful, historic, and and really French (people actually do walk around carrying baguettes).

The residence I'm staying at is really wonderful and honestly better than I was expecting. I have my own room, which comes with plenty of storage, a little kitchenette, and a bathroom. There are some things I need to get adjusted to, including the fact that the French like to save water and electricity. This means that even though the weather is a consistent 50-60 degrees, which is really cold to me, we have to keep our heaters on only when we are in the room. The French also apparently don't enjoy showers as much as I do and take "military style" showers, which means you're supposed to turn off the water when you aren't using it. However, I will not sacrifice my love for a warm shower even if that does result in a large pile of water all over my bathroom floor.

The food is also another thing to become accustomed to - going to the grocery store is hard. Basically, you're not really quite sure what you're getting because everything is in French. They do have a great selection of wine, chocolate, and gummy candies though! I also found these packaged ham and cheese crepes that they sell, and all you have to do is put it in the microwave for 2 minutes. I'm all about that for a quick and easy dinner!

The University itself is a bit underwhelming, but luckily we have our own "international student" wing of the building, which is where the St. Edward's University classrooms are. It is about a 20-30 minute walk from our residence, which is a nice walk. I am taking French 1 and an adolescent psychology class. I'm incredibly happy that I chose to take French, because there are definitely less English speaking people in this city than I expected. The only phrases I know are "Bonjour," "Merci," and "Pardon." This small knowledge of words makes looking for things nearly impossible.

For example, yesterday me and a friend went out looking for a hairdryer. I didn't realize how hard finding a hairdryer actually would be, and it seems like no one actually uses one here. This may be because of their electricity saving love, but sorry people, my hair is thick and air drying isn't gonna cut it. We went to their version of a big grocery store, which is called Monoprix, to try to look for one. We couldn't find one anywhere, and I tried asking a really sweet, young French woman who spoke minimal English if she could help me. When I was explaining the hair dryer, it seemed as if she literally had no idea what I was talking about. I even tried making the hair dryer noise and everything. No luck.

Today, we are going to visit a Chateau in Angers and also tour around some medieval parts of the city, so that will be exciting.

Here are some pictures that I have accumulated over the past couple of days!

The "downtown" center of Angers - I haven't figured out what this beautiful building is yet! All it says is "exposition" in the front. Maybe a museum? 

Some wines at the local grocery store.

A little apartment with beautiful greenery - I thought it was so French!

One of the notorious French pharmacies. 


I thought this was funny - all they're American cuisine restaurants say things like this. 

A cathedral we visited! So beautiful! 

My first French crepe! Ham and cheese or "jambon et fromage"

Two essentials I purchased from H&M - a coin purse and an umbrella (thank god)

Some things I got from my first trip to the grocery store. I thought it was funny how the bread says "American sandwich"

Our meal at our welcome dinner, which was at a really nice restaurant! 

My first Belgian beer.

An abundance of Bioderma products at a pharmacy (in love)... I need to stay away.

The Sephora in Angers.

Downtown Angers. 

Another French Pharmacie.

Bourjois products at Monoprix... It took all I had not to buy more. 


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