Thursday, May 24, 2012

Arriving in Clermont-Ferrand - 8/31/00


Well, I'm here.  What an experience.  The train ride wasn't bad, though it took a long time before I got up the courage to wake the lady next to me so I could carefully make my way to the bathroom.  Train bathrooms are fun.  [Sarcasm doesn't translate well when writing.]  When I arrived at the gare, two men who worked there carried my bags for me and put them in a taxi.  Good thing, since I didn't have a 10f piece for the one remaining cart.  The taxi driver brought me to a big building he said was (basically) the main one for Dolet.  There are a bunch that are actually Dolet!  The lady here gave me a "look" and said "you all arrive too late" and told me to go outside, up the stairs, and knock on the office door.  Even though she said the office was closed.  So I did and the lady took my last name and then told me to go back to the other building and wait for a key.  argh.  So I went back and waited - for an hour.  During the hour,  I heard an American (midwest, I guessed) talking to another student, and introduced myself.  His name was Luke, and he was from Emporia State.  I don't know how long he'd been here, but he was leaving to tour Europe a bit and then I think he was going back to the States.  He told me to go to Cézeaux tomorrow morning and just settle in - he said I could get my key at 9:00am.  [I stayed in the Dolet dorm for the 1st night while they figured out what to do with me.]  The lady finally gave me a key and looked really confused when I asked if I go to Cézeaux tomorrrow... so she told me to go back to the other office in the morning and talk to them. 

Hearing Luke talk to that French girl earlier, it sounds like I'll want to be in Cézeaux - they both hate Dolet.  Seeing these rooms, I think I'll want Cézeaux if it's any different.  The room itself isn't horrible, but I don't like the set-up.  There was a sign saying "W.C." down the hall, then you enter a door for your room and it's a tiny little foyer with (I think) a sink (maybe a shower?) and two more doors, for two actual rooms.  I want to make French friends, but I'd like the person next to me to be a nice, English-speaking American, if possible.  Without a loud TV!  I'm glad Nicole made me two sandwiches.  I ate one for lunch and I can have one now, too.  But I really want to call Jamie tonight and I'll have to leave the room for that.  In about 45 minutes.  But that means finding a place to buy a telephone card.  And a phone.  I feel like crying.  I knew things weren't going to be easy, but right now they feel absolutely impossible.  Right now, I think I'd prefer being in Cèzeaux and having the bus and other students.  I think what I really want it a familiar face - no, a familiar language.  I want to have someone here who also has no idea where to go or anything.  How in the world am I going to find Jamie?  I meant call Jamie.  Find a phone and a phone card to call Jamie.  Well I've made up my mind to leave and find a telephone, etc.  I desperately need to hear Jamie's voice.  I can ask the lady downstairs.  Good!  I hope the public phones here have their number on them like in the States.  [It was cheaper to have someone from the States call me back at the pay phone number rather than me using up a phone card to call them.]  This nose of mine is making me miserable.  I wish I was in my room in Cézeaux now.  I really want to unpack and put my stuff away on shelves and things so it feels like home.  And I want to be able to buy a rug and hangers and a blow dryer and an alarm clock among other things.  And I need to find an ATM that takes my card!  It's about 25 til.  I'm trying to work up my courage to go.  (This horrible nose!)  I should probably bring my jacket, huh?  I don't even know where I'm going!!!  Here I go, though.


I'm allergic to something.  And I think it's cigarette smoke.  I have too many things to write - I don't know where to start!  When I left the room, I went downstairs to ask the lady where to go for a telephone card.  She told me where & asked me to buy her a sandwich, too (which I thought was fairly odd).  When I went outside, I saw Luke and got directions I could understand.  I set off, and on the way met a guy (whose name I later learned was Ahmet) who walked me to the sandwich place (Crusti/Crousti Pan) and then to the Tabac for my phone card.  He's from Morocco and goes to school here - some kind of engineering.  (w/ computers, perhaps?)  Got back to Dolet and found out the card didn't work.  He drove me to another Tabac, and I still can't believe I got in the car.  I didn't know his name until right before I got in, and I know I never would have gone if I was in my normal state of mind.  At the time, I was extremely confused and frustrated and desperately in need of hearing Jamie's voice.  Anyway, we found an open Tabac and I bought another phone card, returned, and called Jamie!!!  While I was talking to him, a girl I kinda know from OU arrived and then there were about 5 American girls and me, and I don't think I've ever felt so relieved in my life.  Finally!  People in my situation!  Almost - they knew where the international students' office was and already had their rooms (2 of the them did) and addresses and everything.  Sarah and Christina and Joanna are in Cézeaux with me.  Jennifer is in Dolet.  (And so is Tanner, that we met a bit later.)  I had to cut my conversation with Jamie a bit short so I could find out some things from Sarah before she left.  I wish I could call him now.  (I love you, Jamie!!)  Joanna is in Dolet tonight like me (most people have been here a couple days at least) and she and Jennifer are going to wake me up in the morning.  There's a 9:00 orientation that we all have to be at.  (Or is it a test at 9:00?)  Anyways... I'm not going to shower in the morning.  Just get dressed and go.  We're coming back for our bags later.  I keep wondering if I should just be content with Cézeaux?  I think if Sarah stays, I will, too.  Someone to ride the bus with every day.  And then I can unpack and put everything away and go shopping so it feels more home-like.  After Sarah and a couple other girls left, Jennifer, Joanna, & I walked to the city (Place Jaude?  I can't remember the exact name) and sat at a café.  They both smoke, but I didn't want to be rude since I'd just met them,  And here, you can't really ask someone not to smoke.  Especially at a café.  (sigh)  I feel miserable (physically).  And I'm really missing Jamie.  I'm going to skip my crunches and just write to Jamie and go to bed.  I think that this year would be easier if I didn't have Jamie to miss.  But, as much hurt as it causes, I thank God every day that I have Jamie to miss!  I don't think he realizes just how much I love him.

View from my temporary dorm room window in Dolet (Clermont-Ferrand, France)

View of Clermont-Ferrand, France

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