I have found, to my delight, that the room I paid for is ‘self contained’, no roommate(s) or anything (yay!). After unpacking, I decide to get a bite to eat, as the last time I ate properly was yesterday morning and right now, the time is 4.00pm. The cafeteria is closed till 6.45pm, so I decide to brave it to the city centre; surely there would be something there to eat.
Here, I quickly find that these people do not speak a word of English as I assumed, so it’s left for me to use a mixture of broken French and sign language, to be able to get something to eat (smh). After this, the day goes by in a blur; I pay for internet service, email the International Students’ Manager to let her know I have arrived, she emails back to set up an appointment for the next day, I shop for groceries, eat dinner, etc. Boring stuff, really.
PS: Chimneys have got absolutely nothing on these guys. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
I have to meet with the International Students’ Manager by 11am this morning, so I try to brush up on my French, and I head out. I have an address, so locating her office should be easy enough, no? No. The 1st thing I do is I enter an annex of the school, which is just opposite my ‘house’ (I refuse to call it a hostel or lodge, I’m not in secondary school anymore), go to the administrative office, and ask if they know * International Students’ Manager‘s name*. No, they don’t. Me: okay, “est ce que vous comprendez l’Anglais?” (“Do you understand English?”) French Lady: “un peu” (“a little”). Fair enough, so I show the woman the address, and ask if she knows how to get there. She’s not sure, because she usually doesn’t take the bus, she drives…but she suggests something, and I thank her and leave. I really cannot begin to detail all the stress I went through, before I finally got to the ISM’s office. Suffice to say I missed my stop, paid too much, gallivanted up and down, etc. Thank God for the kindness of strangers who speak (a little) English. And I wasn’t even frustrated.
Yeah so just before I enter the school building (that’s where her office is located), a girl stops me to ask where I made my hair, I tell her “at home, in my country”. “Oh, me too, where are you from?” Turns out she’s from Tanzania, and she’s in my program too. Awesome. She also knows this ISM’s office, and she takes me there. While I’m there, this white girl starts talking to me, in English! Of course I’m shocked, I’ve heard nothing but French since I got here. She is waiting for the ISM too, and she’s from Belarus.
We finally see this famous ISM, get ourselves sorted, and then I have to send a letter to the post office. I have a crudely drawn map in my hand, but this time I have company, which I’m grateful for *sigh*. After posting the letter, we’re both famished but decide to head back to the city centre for a bite, instead of eating at one of these cafes.
PS: Have I mentioned that I eat dinner at the cafeteria every day, but have no idea what the heck it is that I’ve been eating? Well, you see, the food is somewhat strange, but I don’t speak French, so even if the lady serving were to tell me what it is, I still wouldn’t understand. I’ve eaten rice here too though. The food could do with a little more spice, but then they give you as many packets of salt, pepper and sugar as you’d like, so you can make the food better if you want. Also, I’m about to sound like a bush girl, but I get the appetizer (all sorts of salads, and you can pick from them all), main menu, and dessert (yoghurt, chocolate, all sorts of fruit) for <3.50€, so I can’t complain biko.