A broke girl with a bucket list

1: Problématiques & Pickpockets

1: Problématiques & Pickpockets

It’s one thing to say that you’re going to travel to the opposite side of the world for a year and its quite another to actually do it. It wasn’t until I’d made it all the way through security and sat down that I started feeling very small and very very alone. Surprisingly though, being incredibly hungover from the night before actually made me tired enough to sleep most of the first 14 hours to Abu Dhabi, after which seven hours in the air with a few movies went pretty fast. When I rushed off the plane at Charles de Gaulle, there was barely enough time for bisous with my french roommate’s parents before we rushed off to the car. Claude and Gaëlle made me feel at ease almost immediately – welcoming me into their home in the north of Paris just so that I could complete my course registration…and then not judging at all when I passed out at 7pm without food.

The next day I was driven to and then shown around Reims by Gaëlle, which included setting me up with an ‘English speaking’ bank assistant (who would later use Google Translate to overcome the language barrier), and pointing out the local grocery store. Negotiating an almost entirely french-speaking city when jet lagged is not something I’m planning to do again in a hurry – the best I could manage was a weak je ne peux pas when the cashier at the grocery store told me off in rapid french for not knowing how to weigh my fruit and veg.

Lucky for me, Reims is beautiful and full of paninis and other exchange students desperate to make friends. It doesn’t seem like a week and a half since we all met but our little group of friends has already bonded over an excess of kebabs, the merits of Canada vs. America (vs. Australia) and €1,29 champagne. We’ve stuck out 4 hour seminars that started at 8am hungover, been moral support when the local gay bar turned out to be a pickpocket hell and made sure that a guy we just met got to the ER when he broke his ankle falling down the rickety stairs in my flat (though some people insisted it was only a ligament! Shoutout to absolute legends Jess and Tom who spent one of their three nights in France in the ER waiting room with me, taking photos of me napping and holding the slowly defrosting bag of frozen spinach that we’d used as a makeshift icepack. You guys are the best.

I’m struggling to summarise the most intense two weeks in a long time but I feel that just about covers it. As for me, in between getting talked into going out almost every night, I’m set up in the cutest flat imaginable (think Parisian-style white walls and hardwood floors with so much space it makes you dizzy) with the most incredible roommate who doesn’t judge me for being a little shy with my french speaking skills. Days are spent between uni (a four minute walk from my front door), centre ville (15 minutes in the opposite direction) and the carrefour or one of the many boulangeries across the street in search of paninis. Nous paninons très souvent.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten a million little things that made me happy this week so I’m just going to end now with a little photo tour around centre ville. Bisous.

French word of the week: assurance – insurance (as in the word that my banker had to google translate for me)

 

Cathédrale Nôtre Dame de Reims: the biggest (and coldest) Cathedral I’ve ever been in and basically a map of the history of Reims

 

Inside the Cathedral

 

My little living room ft. Jess

 

Cute af panini sign

 

One of the little back streets in centre ville

 

Sunset on rue Gambetta

 

One of the streets in centre ville I forget which one

 

More cute panini signs!

 

Eglise Saint-Jacques de Reims

 

Polki saying hi from the window of my building