I have survived a week of driving on French roads! While not as scary as Italian roads, I am quite proud of myself. With a French speaking GPS, a really unpractical car and a million roundabouts, I am still quite surprised the car was returned in its original state. Throwback to two Sundays ago, my cousin, Regi arrived in Bordeaux. It was really sweet to realize how familiar I have gotten with Bordeaux. I seem to have finally figured out all of my favourite places to hang out, take pictures and of course where you can find the best food. Reuniting with my travelling sister was also awesome, as we simply started were we left off on our last trip.
From the nude beaches of Marseille to the fairytale castles of the Lorie Valley, I’ve travelled some whopping 1,456km in the last 7 days. With great distance come great adventuring stories, starting with my very first night in Marseille, last Tuesday night. I was exploring the old port area around 6ish which meant it was already dark outside. I found out later, through friends, that you should never walk alone in that area when it is dark. However, considering it was the middle of the downtown I didn’t think much of it. I had a man, likely in his early 40’s, ask me to take his picture. Considering I was holding a DSLR camera I simply assumed he thought I was a good photographer. I continued walking around the Christmas market and then down the street in search of food.
You won’t always find someone who has the time, money or motivation to pack his or her bags and discover the world. So, pack your bags, buy the ticket and venture off on your own. This week I’ve packed my bags and am venturing through the south of France. Since Saturday, I’ve been filling my belly with crêpes and baguettes, soaking in the sunshine and discovering unfamiliar places.
Despite my rather lengthy list of things you will hate about Kedge, there is also a long list of things you will love about it. In simple terms, think of it like the ultimate love hate relationship. For everything I really dislike about Kedge, there is something else that I absolutely love. Furthermore, once you accept the things you hate as the norm it really doesn’t seem like such a bad place.
In my managing world operations class this afternoon, the professor urged us to not spend our time abroad complaining about everything that is different. He said we should embrace the differences or we will get nothing out of it. While I tend to agree with him, I think it’s important to create what the French call a “mélange.” Simply translated it means a mixture. I think you need to celebrate the things that are similar and embrace the things that make it different.
Good news folks, I’m at the Laundromat! Why is that good news? Well it seems to be the only place where I can find enough quiet time to sit down and start typing as fast as my mind can think. Today is also exciting as it sums up a week filled with milestones, accomplishments and more than a few firsts. For starters, as of 6pm this past Tuesday, I officially have a permanent housing solution! I am so excited to finally put this house hunters international nightmare to rest but am even more pumped because my contract already started. This means that as soon as I have a few hours to pack all my things up I can move out the AirBnb place. Which in case you didn’t gather from my prior post may be even more exciting than Christmas morning!
This weekend I finished my first ever solo hiking trip. I travelled from Bordeaux to a little village in the Pyrenees Mountains where I spent two days doing a section of the G10 trail. When I first told some of my new friends what my plans were for the weekend, so many of them couldn’t believe that I was traveling alone. Never mind the fact I was hiking alone. My response to those who question my solo travel adventures is always the same; “While I sit around and wait to be invited to go somewhere time doesn’t stop.”
When I first got to France, I started jotting down some rough notes about things I found surprising, norms that were very different or things that were just plain weird. Somehow the few early observations have turned into numerous scribbles on the side of my notebooks, jots notes on my computer and more than a few reminder texts while out and about.