Early Friday (the 20th) morning, I took a train from Lyon to Nîmes. Now here I am, in the place that will be home for about the next 8 months. J’habite en France!
It remains a bit surreal. Virginie, a young English teacher from my school picked me up from the train station and took me to her apartment for breakfast. She’s been so sweet to me. She took me to the phone store and put in her bank info so I could get a sim card and then took me to the bank so I could get an appointment to open an account. Which I have now done and succeeded in getting a bank account all by myself, as well as apartment insurance. Bonus, I even set up appointments for my apartmentmates to do the same.
I must say, I’m pretty proud of my success in opening the account. Work that French bureaucracy! My first day in Nîmes, Virginie and I went to another English teacher’s house for lunch- ratatouille, one of my favorite meals to cook and eat! Yay! Then, the English teacher who is my professor relais picked me up and took me took me to le Jardin de la Fontaine and we climbed up the Tour Magne. It may have once been a Roman watchtower. You can see all of Nîmes from the top! The garden itself is really lovely. I feel it would be a wonderful place to relax, nice and calm and scenic. I may have to grab my book and journal and head out there for a relaxation session. Afterwards, my professeur relais took me to her house. She and her husband were so kind and it was great talking to them. We snacked on some brandades de morue, which is the specialty of Nîmes. She let me use her daughter’s bedroom to take a nap before dinner because she noticed that I was quite exhausted. I hadn’t slept well in Lyon, though my friend was more than accommodating. I think my best sleep was my nap at his kitchen table. Whoops.. Can you say jetlag? Not to mention I’d been doing a fair amount of walking and that a dépaysement is bit overwhelming at first. Then for dinner- quiche lorraine!! For Lauren : ) Later that night, another teacher, Boris, came and took me to his apartment where I would stay until I could move into my own place. He had two kids who were absolutely adorable. The next day Boris’ teacher’s union as well as other regional teacher unions were having a party at the beach in Sérignan. I went with Boris, his young son, and a French teacher who came over and joined us. Boy did I learn about syndicalisme!! That night, we were joined by a Spanish teacher for crêpes chez Boris. The next day, I went with Boris and his kids to visit his father in the countryside. His garden looked like it came straight from a scene in Manon des sources!! I wish I’d gotten pictures of the back by the well and chicken coop… Oops. After lunch there, we went to a medieval little town, Sommières. I’ve got to get back there for their festival! I do love medieval and Renaissance things. Swords, knights, castles, it all has a sort of charm for me. Now I’m installed in my apartment right in the centre ville.
New expression learned: “C’est à la bonne franquette” – a potluck meal, “à la bonne franquette” meaning no-fuss or simple.
In church in France, I’m a bit confused about the communion bit. I remember being a little confused in Nantes, too, but not to the same extent. Everyone just seemed to get up and go down the aisle whenever they wanted.