September 29, 2009

Venturing into the city

Posted in la vie bordelaise tagged , , , at 4:31 am by Fat Girl Dancing

Written on Saturday, September 26 2009 – 12:39am

I can’t believe I’ve just been sitting around in Talence all week and not going in to Bordeaux.  Bordeaux is AMAZING.  I’ve been feeling so disconnected, so alone, so bored, but the instant I stepped off the tram into the middle of the town, I felt alive again.  I needed to be in a big city.

I like living in Talence – it’s a good halfway point between my schools, which are even further south, and Bordeaux, but it’s not as vibrant as a real city.  It’s a nice, quiet suburb, and it was quietly stifling me.

I spent a very lazy day in bed most of the morning, showered, did my French studying in the backyard, watched some videos, had some lunch, and then got ready to go out.  The English assistants of the CUB (Communité Urbaine de Bordeaux) were meeting for dinner!  Finally I was going to meet people my age!  Who spoke English!  I’ve been surrounded by so much French this week – it’s been good for me, but it’s also been very lonely.

I took a walk around the south of Talence first.  I don’t know why, but I didn’t think we’d do much walking in Bordeaux and I wanted to keep my stamina up and explore a little more.  I walked back up to the town square and visited the little bookstore.  I definitely wanted a manga in French, but I couldn’t decide which to buy.  One I already owned in English?  Or a new one?  I chose a new one that sounded good, Comme Elles.  I have no idea what it’s called in English.

I was dying of thirst so I sat outside at the bookstore café since I had a half an hour before I planned to catch my tram.  I tried a citron pressé….not so good.  I thought it would be like a lemonade, but it was more like lemon juice with water.  I tried adding sugar, but it wouldn’t absorb.  I drank it anyway; I was so thirsty.

The tram to Bordeaux comes right through the center of Talence, so I hopped on.  I have a 10-ride pass, but no one seemed to be validating their passes, so I didn’t bother.  Free ride!  As we got closer and closer to the city center, I was getting more and more excited.  Bordeaux was a real, big, beautiful city!

I stepped off in the prime shopping district.  I found the restaurant we’d agreed to meet at and then wandered around since I was an hour and a half early – on purpose, I wanted time to wander.  I found the beautiful Place de Bourse, tiny little alleyways, and lots of shops that I want to come back and explore.

I also found The Phone House, so I walked in and bought a French cell phone.  It’s a pay-as-you-go phone, but now I can keep in contact with my French family, other assistants, and my teachers at the school without me calling from US to France and them calling from France to US.  It’s kind of a pain to have two phones, but that’s what I’ve got to do.  My Blackberry has already proven itself invaluable with the Google Maps application.  I just plug in the address I want to go to, and it tells me how to get there on the bus or tram, which line to take, and what time they’ll be at the stop!

When the assistants started arriving at the rendez-vous point, it was happy but awkward.  Happy because I was so glad to meet other people my age (approximately) to hang out with and speak English with, and awkward because we’re all standing around asking each other the same questions (where are you from, do you have housing, where are you teaching).  We gathered a good-sized group and decided that the restaurant was too expensive, so we’d split off, find food to go somewhere, and eat it along the river.  I joined the group looking for kabobs, even though escargot and a chevre chaud salad had sounded pretty good to me.

I got what was pretty much tuna and lettuce in a wrap and a can of Orangina, and we walked to the stairs by the river.  I turned to look at the Place behind me, all lit up, and it was breathtaking in its beauty.  One of the assistants had bought cups and champagne for everyone, so we had a little toast to ourselves and to our arrival and to LIVING IN BORDEAUX!

After awhile a few people wanted to go to some bars, so we walked a few blocks to a place near one girl’s apartment.  I stayed outside talking to one other assistant who didn’t want to drink.  I’d spent so much money on alcohol in Paris, I don’t really want to do a lot of drinking every night in Bordeaux.  We moved on to the Victoire and got a table at a café, so I ordered a Monaco.  That’s becoming my go-to alcoholic drink.  Three other assistants split a “Girafe,” a long 2.5 liter tube full of beer.  It was hilarious.

I left at about 10 till midnight since the trams stop running at 1am, and I wanted to make sure I was home in plenty of time.  My family is at their weekend home right now, so I have this house to myself, and I’m kind of glad for the time to relax.  I’m running a load of laundry (I think I figured out the washing machine), and I’ll hang it outside to dry tomorrow.

Yay for good evenings!


1 Comment »

  1. Charlebok said,

    Frozen rabbit meals? I had rabbit as a kid, it is weird and sweet. And if I remember correctly, oily.

    I’m glad you are putting yourself out there. I think that’s probably why you are so exhausted (as well as your brain working over time to become a Franch).

    We miss you here. Let me know as soon as you get your package. I need to know how long it takes, so I don’t send you something that will be gross when you get it.

    Love to you!

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