First of all, thanks to the few of you who gave me encouraging words about this “blog” thing. I guess I’ll keep going…
I’ve been here about five days so far and I feel like I’m doing a good job getting my bearings. Though Besançon compared to other French cities might not be as beautiful, or as big, or as quaint, I feel like it’s just as good as any place to get settled and learn. And hell, living in France is living in France. I’ve gotten to see some of the sights, eat some of the food (which I’ll cover in its own proper post later on), and meet some more of the people I’ll be sharing this next year with.
Last Saturday I went with a few other assistants (new friends?) to the Citadelle. It overlooks Besançon and is part of Vauban’s fortifications built during the early 1700s. Just expecting a tour of an old fort or whatever, seeing baboons hanging out in what used to be the moat definitely surprised me! The Citadelle now houses a couple of great museums and even a zoo complete with monkeys climbing around on the old stones (reminded me of the Jungle Book) and a tiger that I like to think of as Mike’s French cousin, Michel. Besançon is big on being “green” so I guess they even found a way to reduce, reuse, recycle their old monuments. Impressive. As were the views… click here to see!
Sunday there was a big flea market. Some of the items being “antiques” they were a bit expensive but I bought a lamp for 1€, as in, ONE EURO, so like $1.50? $1.70? AND it works! For some reason, this makes me more excited than anything so far, I’m like, seriously giddy about this lamp. It isn’t that cute, but it administers light! I wonder if this is what the cavemen felt like when they created fire…haha.
Unfortunately, as far as my job goes, I’m still in the dark. It looks like I might be at two schools now and I know a rough idea of the number of classes and students and their ages, but I know nothing of my schedule or my responsibilities or expectations. I meet my contact person tomorrow morning, she’s even picking me up! Hopefully then I’ll get a better idea of my job, you know the reason I’m here and all.
A runner-up to the greatness of the lamp purchase: For 7€, I bought the Advantages Jeunes, an ID card and coupon book for young people that got me into the Citadelle free and a 6€ coupon to the bookstore that I used to get a “Mini Anglais” dictionary. Not only will it help me save money but I also think that I’ll get out more and do more if I have these motivating coupons.
Last but not least, I am proud to say: I got my French bank account! After all my worrying and procrastinating it was so easy. The lady helping me at Banque Populaire was so sweet and helpful, walked me though everything and even complimented my French (on that part I’m sure she was lying, but still, very nice). In about two weeks I’ll have my debit card and then I’ll be in business. It was also nice to get at some of the money I made this summer that’s been in traveler’s cheques. Now I can buy a hairdryer… and some cheese.