Sometimes when I stop and actually think about where I am and what I’m doing right now, I just want to laugh. I’m in France, living and working here for two months. What? Really?
Last winter I applied for a summer job that involves assistant supervising an eight-week study abroad program in Tours, France. Now it’s the second week of June and here I am, in France!
I’ve been desperately wanting to come back to this magical place since I spent a semester here my junior year of college (which, omg, was FIVE years ago), but I haven’t had the opportunity to until now. I’ve been here for almost two weeks now, so I’m starting to finally get settled in.
While I am incredibly happy to be back, I have to admit that the first few days were a little rough. Aside from the 3-day long jet lag and adjusting to the new time zone (I guess I can’t spring back and recover as quickly as I did when I was 20), I was kind of surprised that it took me some time to get adjusted to the culture, way of living, language, all that stuff. I guess I kind of took for granted the fact that I had lived here for several months before, and that I speak the language much more fluently now than I did then. I assumed that I would jump right in sans aucun problème. However, this wasn’t the case. At first I was upset that I wasn’t feeling right at home right off the bat. But then I realized that HELLO, I am in a foreign country. Everyone needs time to adjust to a new place, no matter how excited you are about going there.
One of the biggest difficulties for me wasn’t the fact that people speak French all the time (I still feel surprised when I wake up in the morning and hear people speaking French outside), or going from a grain-free diet to one that pretty much revolves around bread, nor was it learning how to use my (really scary) European washing machine and having to hang my clothes (socks, underwear, everything) to dry.
I don’t know if it’s just this city, or this summer, or if it’s like this every year and throughout all of France, but apparently the late onset of summer has caused all of the plants to release their pollen in massive amounts. My allergies have been absolutely horrible. On most days, if I leave the house, I have about 25 minutes to get indoors again or I turn into a sneezing, dizzy, zombie person. And on other days, I don’t even have to steps outdoors, but just wake up feeling this way. It’s great.
I finally went to the doctor today and he gave me some prescription allergy meds, so hopefully that will help, at least a little.
Other than the allergies totally raining on my parade, I feel for the most part adjusted to my little life here. I’m living by myself in an apartment, which can be lonely at times, but also gives me absolute freedom to do whatever I want. I’m beginning to step out of my comfort zone (I’m kind of anti-social) and force myself to go out and do things on my own. I would like to be able to spend some more time outdoors, having pique-niques by the Loire, so hopefully I’ll be able to do some more of that soon without suffering (too much).