I’ve only been here 3 days and I feel like so much has happened; I suppose a lot has. I’m going to give a brief summary of what’s happened every day, because I honestly don’t have the patience to describe in detail tonight.
Thursday/Friday: Not a lot of exciting action at the airport. I met up with my travel buddy, Jeffrey (from MSU for those of you who don’t know he is). We flew from St. Louis to Detroit to Amsterdam to Geneva. Our flights were all good, no running to gates to get to connections on time. I wasn’t expecting to go through customs in Holland because I thought that would happen at our last destination but…customs was seamless. The only real problem we had (and we originally didn’t think anything of it) was that we had to check a piece of our carry-on luggage in St. Louis because there wasn’t enough room for it in the overhead compartments when we boarded. They lost it somewhere along the way and neither of us have our little luggage yet (that’s a little stressful) but we know that they made it to the Geneva airport.
After flying forever, we made it off the plane in Geneva and then headed to the train to go to Chambery. Mostly because of our exhausted state we just did not understand the train situation. It’s a long story that still brings up some bad memories but we did in fact make it to Chambery on the right train thoroughly exhausted.
We were met at the Chambery train station by two guys from the school (around our age) and another group of Americans were there as well. We were driven to the residence and taken to our rooms. The apartments are two bedrooms, with bathroom and kitchenette (no oven or microwave). My roommate is a girl from America named Jordan and we get along thankfully. Jordan and I went exploring for a while getting some basics; I needed shampoo, conditioner, and body wash because those items were in my carry-on/checked bag. When we got back to the apartment I crashed for an hour.
When I woke up I really felt a combination of exhaustion, stress, homesickness and the reality of being in a different country (far from home); the biggest part being exhaustion and the other feelings being heightened by this. I had met a girl named Sam earlier and she said to come to her room anytime and I knew I needed to be around people because of my extremely exaggerated emotions (also I had not been able to contact my mom to tell her I had arrived yet and that stressed me out because I figured she was stressing out). I went up to Sam and her roommate Chelsea’s room and hung out with them for a couple of hours, and Sam kindly let me text my mom so I felt a lot better after that.
I went back to my room and then was getting ready for bed and I borrowed my roommate’s outlet converter and ended up blowing the power out, good times! At least it was at night and we could just go to sleep. Jordan figured out how to fix it in the morning because she’s amazing! Waking up and the lights working on Saturday made my day!
Saturday: Woke up and got ready for the day; we had plans to go to the market and have a picnic. There was also an International Festival going on, which was a blast to explore.
You know how randomly you meet some of your friends, well randomly we had a group of people by the time we went to the market to get lunch food. It consisted of me, Jordan (my roommate), Jeffrey (my travel partner), Sam and Chelsea (the room I went to when I was emotionally imbalanced), Kris (a guy from Iowa), Michael (a guy from Indiana), and Laura (from upstate New York).
We ended up going shopping which included riding the bus for the first time, at Carrefour a store similar to Wal-Mart. It was inside of a mall which seemed random to me, and the mall looks like a warehouse from the outside, no joke. We explored the mall and there are some cool shops in it.
After our mall adventure and a small rest, we found a tavern to eat dinner at. We had a really nice waitress who helped some of us order (including a hand gesture to go along with the description of a flat fish). We were definitely enjoying ourselves and then realized we were being the loudest group in the restaurant. Most Europeans are more soft spoken then Americans, in public at least.
We went to a pub with our guide Guillome, after dinner. It was a lot of fun, don’t worry I didn’t drink but two sips of beer. We met more nice French people and some creepier ones (but I’m being extremely safe). For the most part I’ve met very nice and helpful French people, they don’t hate Americans and they don’t look at you like you’re an idiot when you don’t understand, they try to help you,
Sunday: It was a very interesting day; We rode a charter bus to a Fromagerie in the mountains and then to Annecy. The roads up the mountain weave back and forth as they rise up the mountain, this is a slightly nauseating and terrifying experience in a charter bus, but the view was absolutely gorgeous. Imagine a stereotypical French country house and that’s exactly what was along the road; there were beautiful wildflowers, giant pines, giant cows, small villages, and the mountains in the background.
When we reached the fromagerie (cheeses making place), we got to see the goats being herded up the mountain, it was a sight to see. Then a woman explained to us how cheese was made at that fromagerie and we got to taste it. It was delicious, and I don’t even like cheese that much!
When we made it to Annecy, I was astounded by the beauty once again. Annecy is on a huge lake and the mountains are just hanging out in the background. I went on a paddle boat with Sam, Chelsea and Laura, and it was great fun. We didn’t walk around too much because we were exhausted from walking so much the day before. Walking here is something that I’m already adjusting too because you have to. I was content with just laying in the grass by the lake and talking to everyone. It’s amazing how everyone in the group of people on this program seems to get along, and in this sort of situation it’s impossible not to make friends quickly because it’s a bonding situation.
I know this wasn’t nearly as short as I intended and I’ve don’t know how blogs are supposed to be so I hope you enjoy!
More to come soon.