Friday, November 30, 2012

Turkey update

Sorry for the absence everyone! Let me catch you up;

Thanksgiving was fantastic, food from all over, wine and lots of wonderful people. After wolfing down all the food and being told by our neighbors that the building “is not a nightclub” (perhaps they were enraged by our choice of Spice Girls' hits?) we headed out on the town. The group got split up a bit but we ended up at a bar with live music and later on, some of us made it to Arena, a local night club. Arena is actually a proper club, one that would not at all be out of place on Austin's 6th street. However, given that “carding” does not exist here, the clientele is a little different. And by different I mean teenagers. That didn't bother us given that we had our own fun group going, but it did catch up with me on Monday morning.

Student: "Miss, Do you, uh, fête, uh, celebrate Thanksgiving by drinking and dancing?"
Me: "Not really, it's a day to be with family and friends."
Student: "Oh, I saw you at the, uh, boite de nuit, uh club, this weekend."
Me: fml (vdm)

Ah, well. You can't have everything. Now the list of “Things my students will see me doing and I will be embarrassed by” will be shortened as everything is already on it anyway.

Since Thanksgiving I've been into Clermont- Ferrand again. Life as an immigrant means paperwork. Last week I went into Clermont for a chest x-ray (to prove I don't have tuberculosis) which took all of 5 minutes and then I was free for the rest of the day. I walked around a lot and had a lovely lunch at a tea shop. Sadly, my sense of direction failed me again and it was only as I was leaving that I saw where all the main (chain) shops were. Oops. It was probably better for my bank account anyway.

This week I was in again on Tuesday, this time for the 5 minutes (but hour long wait) medical exam that basically consists of height, weight, “have you ever been to Africa? Yes. Did you have malaria? No.” and being shuffled out the door with more papers with official stamps all over them.

The immigration office wasn't open at that point in the day, so I had to spend the night. Ania, another assistant, and one who was at Thanksgiving very kindly offered me a place to stay at her apartment. We had a great night with some very strong beers from the beer bar around the corner from her. Even better, I was actually able to get up and out the door to the OFII office before it closed. Ania also came along on my adventure to find the H&M which was located on kind of a highway in a shopping mall. I have to admit, it kind of makes me feel like I'm at home in Jersey when I'm in a mall. I was able to get a sweater and some socks at H&M which was nice as well. It was after taking the train back and arriving to my apartment that my roommates told me we had been paid early and I could have gone on a real shopping trip! Once again, it was probably better for my bank account that I didn't know this.

I really love Montluçon and I'm sad to think about leaving here, even though my departure date is still months away. That being said, I've had a bad case of the homesick lately. I haven't really worked out my Christmas plans yet which I think is a major factor. (On that note, anybody interested in an impromptu trip to Europe? I'll be your tour guide!) I'm sending out some couchsurfing messages and I'm hoping to go to Strasbourg and some of the surrounding towns for picturesque and lively Christmas markets. My NYE plans are still very much up in the air, but might have me end up in Paris. After that I think it will be back to Montluçon to spend some time with the families and friends I've met here.

Do you guys have any suggestions of what I should do? Know of someone else in Europe looking for a travel buddy? I'm all ears; send me an email, fbook me or leave a comment.  

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