I have been in Caen, Normandie for about six days now. The first two were extremely rough, but I’m doing fine now. I think I am entering the “honeymoon” phase of study abroad. On Thursday and Friday we did a lot of registration sorts of things. We had to sign up for health insurance and obtain a student identity card and all sorts of things—most that we did not understand. Today we opened up our French bank accounts and signed even more papers that we did not understand. Oh well! Hopefully our new bank accounts will help us get our own wifi plans.
The town is gorgeous and clean. Walking to town involves going through the castle of William the Conqueror (Chateau de Caen, I think). The castle’s moat has long been dry and that and the rolling hills and gardens surrounding it are popular places for people to picnic and lounge with a book. Boulangeries and patisseries are everywhere. I’m rarely able to resist the temptation of citron tartelettes and pain au chocolat! Amazing food is everywhere. . . baguette sandwiches, gelato, kebabs, crepes. . . Even the cafeteria is pretty good, and McDonald’s has some pretty nice pastries as well. McDonald’s (which I only go to for the free wifi!) has four styles of hamburgers: American, Australian, British, and Canadian. We have yet to learn the difference, except that the Canadian burger has French fries on it.
Today Kylie and I went to a mall sort of place called Carfourre. There are shops and restaurants inside and a large, Wal-Mart like store. C’est tres americain! After lunch at a boulangerie we headed back to our dorm to rest and to get ready for a fete on the port. We got all dressed up, really, for no reason, because it was more like a little carnival, but getting dressed up is fun anyway. At the port children were riding a carnival ride and kayaking, and everyone else was listening to live music, eating, and shopping at the booths.
My parents called from home, My aunt and uncle called from skype, and Missy from where ever in France she happens to be. I love phone calls! I love hearing familiar, American voices. I listen to the Bob & Sheri show podcast all the time here because I listened to their show every morning when getting ready for school my senior year of high school, and even hearing their voices is comforting! As homesick as I can be, I am having a good time here and am looking forward to classes beginning.