I can’t believe I have only been gone a little over a week. Going from L.A. then to London then to Cannes. I feel like I’ve been gone a month with all the flights and buses. Getting up 3am to make our 6am flight from Gatwick to Nice was definitely the most challenging. There was close to 40 of us going from London to Cannes, and 3 hours was not enough time for us to get on the bus (with the large amounts of luggage) and to go through security. We practically had to run to make it on our gate but it worked out in the end. The plane was a lot smaller than the one to London but the view was gorgeous during the descent (but my left ear plugged, sad face). We could see the coast of nice with the palm trees and cliffs. Then we waited for close to 20 minutes outside of customs for the AIFS people to show up with the bus. The bus ride to Cannes (ps it’s pronounced like a “can” of soup) was about 30-40 minutes and we drove pretty close to the coast so we could see the water and some very small towns. At first it just felt like a weird part of California, with the sun and the palm trees but it was definitely too cold to be California. It didn’t seem as impressive as London at first, but obviously it has more of a Mediterranean and Italian feel. Then we arrived at “Le Collège International de Cannes” it’s not that pretty because it’s under major construction but the view from our 4th floor room is beautiful! We can see the ocean and the trees and during the sunset it gets like 10x prettier. We had a meeting (but I was so tired and hunger I really don’t remember anything we were told) and then, finally, we had brunch. And then I passes out at around 4pm until 6am, fully clothed, contacts still in and all the makeup still on.
We’ve had a lot of meetings about how we need to be cautious of the very skilled pickpockets here, how we can’t have food in the room and how it cost 5 Euro to do laundry here!!!!! I guess I’ll just do laundry in the sink…We also learned the story of «Le Collège» which used to be called «Maison d’Enfants» It was a place for kids with a skin disease, parents would ship there kids off here, in hopes that the sea air would cure them. I assume it worked but it kind of weirds me out that it used to house kids with skin diseases. But our rooms our nice so I’m okay ( I just wish we had more than 1 pillow).
Then since it was Super Bowl Sunday we went looking for somewhere that was playing it. We heard of a place called Morrison’s Irish Pub, so we went to the center of Cannes about about 10 pm but we needed to eat dinner first, but the only thing open was McDonalds… So I got a salad but some french guys tried to sit down next to us but when they saw the face Jordan made they quickly got up. Ha. Then we went to the pub where (thank god) they spoke English. We have a mutual friend with the bartender, aka Michel, like from Gilmore Girls except he’s English and not very sassy. We only made it through the first quarter because we were tired and it takes about 30 minutes to walk back from the city.
Monday we had to take our french placement test, and I haven’t studied french in over a year so I did pretty awful and it was kind of terrifying. I got placed into a lower french class, which is totally fine with me. Then we had a tour of Cannes but it was very long and cold so we bailed after about 2 hours of it. It wasn’t terribly exciting but we learned the story behind Cannes emblem, the palm. It’s as follows: Monks were the original settlers of the Côte d’Azur but the land was filled with snakes, very dangerous snakes. So the monks prayed and prayed for a miracle to make them disappear. Soon after that a big tsunami was headed for Cannes. So the monks climbed way up into the palm trees and when the tsunami hit, it wiped away all the snakes but did not touch the monks way up high. Now that story is a load of bull because 1.) no way would that happen, all the snakes dying but the monks are fine. and 2.) Palm trees are not native to Cannes, like California. They were imported from Africa not so long ago. But anyways we ditched the tour and ended up at Ladurée, a Parisian macaroons place. It’s the cutest little shop I’ve ever been too! Also they had perfume that made me smell like a marshmallow for the rest of the day! It’s very expensive but I’m obsessed so clearly that is where I’ll spend all my money. Then tuesday was our first day of classes. I’m in the same class as Jordan and a few other friends (YAS!) and I am even more grateful for being in a lower level (A 2 2, it goes up to C 2 3) but we are supposed to move up at least once or twice, which means I will get upper level credit, which is great! Our professor, Christel, is so nice but she has crazy eyes sometimes when she is asking a question no one responds too. The class is 3 hours every day. It is spoken only in French. And we are strictly forbidden to speak English. I only semi-understand our teacher but she is so sweet that it’s okay to be confused and not understand. We also picked our seminar class, that will start at the end of the month. I am taking Art History, where we get to take trips to museums including the Chagall museum, which I’m excited about. It’s pretty much been the same thing every day since then plus or minus a crêpe or a panini or a trip to Monoprix (which is like target). The down side of this week: the wifi is poop. It barely works in our rooms and if a lot of people are using it, just forget about using the internet at all. Also it’s very cold and raining. Plus I got sick so the wind and rain is not helping my runny nose. Then the cherry on top: I hurt my arm (probably from hauling the luggage around) so I can barely move it. But I’m in France so none of the bad stuff really matters! I think it will be really hard to leave here in 4 months.