À Cambrai!

We got Internet at our house today! Yay! So finally I can post what I’ve been writing…and of course pictures!:) Hopefully I can remember what James showed me.

Here’s what has happened so far. Its probably a little long, so if you want to skip straight to the pictures I understand. (Turns out I can’t remember…but they’ll be coming soon!)

Thursday/Friday:
James took me to the airport Thursday afternoon, much to my dismay since I told him I changed my mind and didn’t want to go anymore. Thankfully, James’ friend’s dad was working the ticketing counter and gave James a gate pass. He stayed with me until few minutes before I boarded and let me use his shirt to mop up my tears. I waved at him until I couldn’t see him anymore. Only 2 1/2 months until Christmas, right?

After James left I thought I would be fine, but not so much. I walked on to the plane fairly hysterical and quite the mess since I had already used up all my kleenexes with James. The flight attendant plus one other woman gave me tissues. How embarrassing. I felt like a little kid who didn’t want to leave for summer camp.

My flight to Paris wasn’t bad, mainly due to the Tylenol PM I took. I had a middle seat (boo), but the people I was next to were nice and didn’t smell weird or anything like that. The guy next to me was French and when I told him where in the U.S. I was from he was surprised, he said, because my accent was so slight. (?) I said “thank you” but I’m not sure that was the appropriate response. He was less enthusiastic about Cambrai, but refrained from saying anything too bad. He grew up in Paris so I’m sure anywhere else in France is less exciting to him.

There was a small fiasco about getting me into my apartment. Sylvie had forgotten to request the keys, but thank goodness a few people were still working when we got to the school and we were able to get them! Otherwise it would’ve been a weekend at Sylvie’s house…

My apartment is actually more of a little house right in the middle of the school grounds. Since I beat the Spanish and German assistants here, I get my own room! We have a large living room equipped with various forms of furniture, even a TV! Our kitchen is très petite, but they stocked it with food to get us started. And of course there’s the lovely washing machine I was told about. As for my room…its small aussi, the bed is about a third of the size I’m use to, but I was prepared for that. I have a little dresser, some shelves, and a small table/desk in addition to mon petit lit. My only complaint so far is that its SO cold! They gave me one blanket, but its definitely not enough. Is it too early to turn on the heat?

The shower is simple and small, but has hot water. Of course the toilet part is separate and is downstairs, which is mildly annoying.

After Sylvie (and her husband) picked me up from the train station, and we found my keys, she invited K (another English Assistant) and me to dinner at her house. I willingly agreed since I hadn’t eaten anything to speak of all day. After I took a quick shower we went grocery shopping (one place we went was this HUGE supermarket on the outskirts of town. Comparable to a Wal-Mart, so I have a feeling I’ll be heading back there for some blankets soon).

Sylvie’s husband thought I was part Native American because of my eyes…apparently he knew someone else whose eyes looked just like mine and they were.  He was quite disappointed when I said “non, désolée”.

Dinner at Sylvie was interesting…I really just don’t know what to think of this region of France yet. I was warned that it’s not the most desirable place to visit, but the people are really nice. It’s no Paris or Strasbourg, that’s for sure.  I have a feeling it will grow on me though, especially when I start to explore some more.  The upsides to Cambrai are the very cheap housing and the fact that no one speaks English. After all, that’s what I came here for!

Saturday:

I unpacked all my stuff this morning, and had note saying they searched my bag. I didn’t even notice anything was touched until I got to my wellies. They took out the BBQ sauce I packed in them…including all the underwear stuffed around it. LOL. I’m amazed they got everything back in so well.

K and I spent the day exploring and chatting. She already had a problem with her cell phone so we went to get that fixed and I got my own too. I feel so official having a French cell phone! We also bought calling cards that turned out to be a total rip off.  James is just calling the pay phone outside my apt for now. Skype is AMAZING!

Our German assistant (L) has arrived! She’s super nice and from a town close to Strasbourg (I can’t remember the name she said…and I probably couldn’t spell it anyways). Maintenant dans notre apartement, on doit parler seulement le francais!

Diner avec les professeurs d’anglais:

They took me out for a real French dinner, which of course lasted 3 hours. We had an aperitif, un entrée, un plat, et une dessert. They had coffee (which looked more like espresso) but I opted out. It was an AMAZING dinner! The food was all delicious and all of the teachers were super nice. They gave me advice on where to visit in the area and basic info about the school. And of course complained about their students. J We spoke all in French which was quite exhausting; I only chimed in now and then and when asked a direct question. They told me my French was good and I had un bon accent…but I’m pretty sure they were just being nice.

Monday:

I met with Sylvie again this morning and she gave me a tour of the school. The only place I really remember how to get to is where I can access Internet! I’ll have two weeks of observation and then the class will be mine…eek! She gave me a schedule that will start on Thursday, but it’s quite hard to decipher what abbreviation means what. Hopefully she’ll show me to my first few classes.

Après ça, we went to the bank and then just about everything other place I would need to go in Cambrai.  Sylvie is SO nice! We’re going to have lunch again tomorrow a la cantine.



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