Thursday, December 30, 2010

Three states and back...

This morning I got up way before the sun at 4:30 a.m. in order to leave earlier than necessary to make it to my appointment at the French Consulate at 10:40a.m.  My father thought that it would take about 4-5 hours to get there instead of about 3.5.  The drive was rather boring as to be expected.  My father choose to take a back road until the S.C./G.A. border, so there was a whole lot of nothing but trees, dead grass and a cow or two to look at. We drove through this extremely small town, with one stop light and as soon as we start to leave the town what do we see in the rear view mirror?  Yes, those unnerving flashing blue lights. The trooper was pretty nice but the way he crept around the car was unsettling and we still got a speeding ticket for going 44 in a 35 mph.  As you can imagine this put a damper on the drive.

O, and Georgia  what is with the bread crumb trail of dead chickens on I-85? We saw about four or five chickens strung across the side of road within about ten miles.  I thought of zombies when I saw the first chicken, the way the talon was sticking up looked like a severed hand to me.  I attributed this to the George A. Romero  interview that was playing earlier. Anyways, I suspect some chickens were not secured properly on a truck and tried to fly the coop but were shocked by the 70 mph gust.

The French consulate is not a big deal as long as you are prepared.  I arrived 20 minutes early and went up to the window straight away.  The two men that work there are a bit meticulous, apparently they make people cry often. Their security system doesn't make a whole lot of sense, they have a metal detector and trays to put stuff in but no one to monitor this. They didn't understand how my financial aid worked so I  had to explain it to the man at the window for about three minutes and I'm still not sure that he understood.   Even though I was over prepared the experience was still a little stressful, so if you are planning on getting any sort of visa make sure you double check your forms and documents.

I ventured from North Carolina, South Carolina, to Georgia and back all before 5 O'clock, how was your day?

Now, let us hope my visa arrives on time!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Planes, Trains, and Avatars?

Many firsts will be conquered during my adventure abroad.  To start, I have never been on a plane or out of the country.  I bought my ticket today via Student Universe, I highly recommend them for discounted plan tickets, rail ticket information, etc. I will leave as planned on the 25th of January from Charlotte with one stop in Washington D.C. and then to Paris where I will arrive at about 1:00 a.m. eastern time about 7 am their time.  I plan on trying to set my sleep pattern ahead of time by going to bed earlier and waking up earlier but knowing me, I doubt that I will actually be successful in doing so. Looks like Melatonin supplements and I are going to become best friends for this flight.

This will also be my first time on a train let alone a TGV 200 mph train that I will take from the airport in Paris to Angers where my host family will hopefully be waiting to pick me up.  I will have the pleasure of spending about 2 hours and 20 minutes seeing France from a train window,  that's right I got a window seat! Did I mention that I will be doing this all by myself.  It is too soon for me to tell if I am nervous or scared about flying or traveling alone. Right now I feel perfectly fine about it, but I'll let you know if that changes.

So I have spent some time looking for tips and blogs about Angers, studying abroad in France and general travel advice.  I came across this blog that featured a 3D Angers site where you can make an Avatar and experience the city....AWESOME. I have registered for the site and I am waiting for my confirmation email so I can start exploring the site.  It doesn't surprise me that I haven't received an email yet, even though it should probably be automatic, I have learned the French don't rush to do anything.  But I am rather excited to play around with this if it works and thought some of you might want to check it out as well.

Welp, that's all for now. The next item on my list is making the journey down to Atlanta to apply for my French visa, wish me luck!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Time for the First Post: MY FRENCH HOME

I created this blog to document my time abroad in France. As many people know I will be studying at the  Universit√© Catholique de l’Ouest-Angers in the language school, CIDEF. I have been waiting for something exciting to post other than how expensive the process has been already and my frustrations with CampusFrance. Word of advice: if you are planning on studying in France register for CampusFrance as soon as possible and use the right user guide since there are several of them.  When it says you must read this before registering please don't skip over it because if you make mistakes it is very hard to get CampusFrance to answer your questions.

So what made today worthy of my first post?  I received the names and address for the house that I
will be living in.  I will be living with M. and Mme. Sabatier. The house is a bit more modern looking than I expected but it is still extremely awesome.  It is very close to campus and the road is extremely cute.

The house is pretty much a straight shot to campus which is great since I was planning on walking everyday.  Knowing where I will be living has sparked my excitement. I can't wait.