9/4/08

L'épuisement

Today was exhausting. Don't ask me what I'm doing blogging about it instead of sleeping; I wouldn't have a good answer. It's a relief to write in English again - we signed the Language Pledge today, so no more cheating by speaking English with my host mother, but communication with friends and family is sort of exempt, so I'm filing blogging in that category. As the day wore on, my French got worse, not better - when I'm tired, I lose all grasp of syntax, grammar, vocabulary (I forgot the word for "dog" this afternoon), pretty much everything you need to communicate effectively. Oh well.

This morning we met with Viviana and M. Paoli for introductions, lectures about French university life, classes, professors, all the logistics. We had lunch at a RestoU, but I haven't really been hungry since I got here (between the walking, the worrying, and the lack of appetite, I'm going to lose weight instead of gain it), so I can't really report on the quality of the food. The afternoon was more lectures and then, for three of us, meetings with professors in the math and science departments. It seems that math professors are the same everywhere - quiet, awkward, hard to engage in conversation - and I felt that he underestimated Lauren's and my level of proficiency. We're both taking Combinatoire (combinatorics) this semester, which is a third-semester course, and for next semester I had to talk him out of wanting me to take courses I've already covered. As it is he barely agreed to let me into a fourth-semester course in Euclidian/Hermitian spaces that I think I'm quite well-prepared to take. Oh well. Lauren and I present ourselves at the Université at 8h30 tomorrow morning to register for our math class, and the class itself starts at 10h30 and goes till 12h30. We'll grab something to eat and take the bus to centre ville to meet M. Fabrice Vigier, a history professor, who's taking our group on a walking tour of Poitiers. Then I'm going to take the bus home and go to sleep.

Speaking of buses, so far I haven't gotten too lost. I almost took the wrong bus this morning, but la conductrice fortunately asked me where I was going (I guess I do look like a foreigner) so it all ended up all right. Living in Mignaloux (a suburb of Poitiers) puts me closer to the campus that most people, but it's a bit of a hassle with the bus system. The routes end early in the evening (we ate dinner in centre ville tonight, so my host mother kindly came and picked me up from the closest bus stop to Mignaloux that I could get to) and you have to call ahead of time to get a bus on Saturday. They don't appear to exist on Sunday at all. I'm thinking of buying a bike, as it's not too far to the Parcobus Champlain stop (though a bit far for walking) where buses run much later and more frequently. We'll see.

I'm pretty nervous about my first class tomorrow, but at least Lauren and I will be together. I'm looking forward to settling into a schedule, at least; hopefully one that permits more sleep than I'm currently getting. I still need to buy a cell phone. I feel slightly naked without one, but they're so expensive here! If you use the pay-as-you-go variety, it's about €40 for the phone, and then €30 for two hours of call time (which comes out to about $0.75 a minute). I'm trying to decide if a one-year plan is worth it. Hopefully I'll have some time to figure that out on Saturday. And now I'm going to bed.