Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Don't take this as whining!

There are just a few things I wish were different about my experience here in Caen. Overall, I can't tell you what a wonderful experience it has been so far. The semester ends in a little over a month, and I think that if that was going to be the end of my stay here I'd be very, very upset. I'm so grateful that I get six weeks to spend with my family in Kansas (even longer than I'd get if I was going to UK!), but I know I'll be happy to return! It's not perfect, though. . . but I guess if it was, I'd never be able to come back home.

Firstly, I'll just say that the whole not-having-internet-in-my-room thing is a pretty big inconvenience. Because the internet shuts off at 8:00 PM (about 1:00 PM central) it's a very rare occasion that I get to Skype or chat with any of my friends in the United States at a time that is convenient for them, and even if I do, there's no privacy. The internet also just doesn't work very well, so Skype calls get dropped so often that it's hardly even worth it to try!

Secondly, and this is more important-- it's really difficult to meet French people who will actually speak French to you. I don't feel like my conversational French has improved much at all. I think this could be greatly improved if the dorms had a common room-- some place where students can gather (without having to ask the front desk for a key) to watch TV, eat, or just sit and read. There is a campus bar/coffee shop that's pretty nice, but I usually only meet Germans there! They're hilarious, though-- they speak in a 50-50 mix of French and English. Fortunately, I know both of those languages well enough to understand! I'm worried about next semester because after level B1, there is a lack of conversation in the classroom.

Thirdly, and this is the least important, is that I miss the coffee shop atmosphere that so many college students cherish. I miss sinking into a comfy chair at Starbuck's, Coffee Times, or Common Grounds and reading, doing homework, or enjoying a Pumpkin Chai Latte with a good friend. There are a lot of coffee shops here, but they don't have that relaxed, living room atmosphere. When I come home I'll be complaining about America's lack of kebab stands and galleteries, so I had better enjoy those now and not think too much about squishy couches and Pumpkin Chai!

Well, now to eat some Serpentini with Basil Pesto! I had better stop eating that pesto soon before I get sick of it (remember the Great Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil Triscuits with Cheddar Cheese Cubes fiasco of 2007, Heidi?), but it's so darn delicious!


Bruce said...

I know what you mean about the coffee shops. I miss my Chevychase Starbucks. The coffee shop here isn't as busy and doesn't really have that living room feel either. Love you! Dad

Heidi said...

I still can't eat those!

Chris Symes said...

Those crazy Germans!