Yesterday afternoon I headed out again, this time to the TBC centre at Arts & Métiers, a few minutes on the tram from here. I just missed the tram as I walked down to the closest tram stop (I could have caught it, but I didn’t feel like running…) , so instead of sitting there and waiting, I walked down to the next tram stop, Francois Bordes, and got on the tram there. Unfortunately, as soon as I got off the tram at Arts & Métiers, I saw the was a long line coming out of the TBC office, covering half the pavement. I went and joined the queue anyway, but an employee who was talking to people in the line told us that everyone wouldn’t be seen in the hour left before they closed. She told me I could either do it online, or come back some other time.
I went back to my room, tried to figure out how to work the hot plates in the kitchen, commiserated with someone else who was also new, and also trying to figure out how to get the hot plates hot. While he went off with his pan and glass of rice, I persevered and when he came back 15 minutes later, I’d finally got the tomato soup boiling.
Here’s my very first ‘home’-cooked tea!
And so, at quarter to 7 this morning (I meant to get up at 6:30 but my alarm didn’t go off…), I got up and started getting ready to head out to the office at Gambetta. After a few mouthfuls of cereal and a quick phone to wish my little brother luck for his first ‘proper’ day at college, I eventually headed out. Again, the next tram at my stop wasn’t for a few minutes, so I walked to the next one and got on there. I felt very student-y, wearing boots, my denim shorts, a t-shirt and a plaid shirt (that I got for 2 euros at Carrefour – I like cheap things 🙂 ), and with my hair up in a student-y bun, reading a copy of Ender’s Game that I pinched off Dad…
At about 8 I got to the office, where there was already half a dozen people waiting or talking to the employees. Luckily there were 4 employees working, and after a few minutes waiting, my turn came and I starting sorting out my new tram card. It was a lot quicker and easier than I thought, and I even managed to write my very first cheque all on my own! I wasn’t expecting to get the actual card for at least a few days, so I chose that it be activated on the 10th, next Monday. She did give me the card straight away, but I might as well use up the 7-day tickarte the parents got me and start using it next Monday, on my first day of classes at uni.
Feeling very grown-up and proud of myself, I bought myself a pain au chocolat from a little ‘La Mie Câline’ shop I saw yesterday, which I ate sitting on one of the benches in the central square by the Cathédrale Saint-André while reading my book. Just as I was getting up to leave, a nice lady sat down next to me and started asking me if I was interested in some pamphlets she had. We have our ‘own’ Jehovah’s Witnesses back on the farm who pop round occasionally – mainly to see the animals rather than convert us, I think! – and leave us those little magazine-y things, so I recognised the titles and replied that I already had a few at home, and that yes, I had read some, and no, I wasn’t interested, and I didn’t mean to be rude, but I was just leaving… The lady was very polite and let me go with a smile. I think that while their religion isn’t the healthiest mentality, especially not for women (like most religions), all the Jehovah’s Witnesses I’ve mean are genuinely nice and well-meaning, so I try to be as polite as possible talking to them, especially as they probably get a lot of rudeness on a daily basis.
I decided to check out an Aldi on the other side of Bordeaux, across the river, so I set off in what I thought was the right direction (but wasn’t – at all!) towards Porte de Bourgogne, where I could get a tram across the river and to the Jean Jaurès stop. After about wandering around happily for about a quarter of an hour, I eventually gave up, and got on a tram at Quinconces, where I’d ended up, to the Porte de Bourgogne tram stop where I switched from line C to line A and finally set off in the right direction. Unfortunately, they had neither the Festy Croc crisps nor the cheap peanut butter I was looking for. I did however get 2 own-brand ‘Milk Shake’ for 67 c each.
I drank the chocolate one on the way to the tram stop (I decided to walk down to Galin instead of going back up to Jean Jaurès), and it was, suprisingly, delicious! The trip wasn’t a waste of time; I’ve located the store, and got some delicious fudz!
Back at Porte de Bourgogne, I got off and walked back to the Hôtel de Ville stop where I got on a line B tram direction Pessac centre to go home. On the way back, I stopped off at Roustaing to get some things from the Simply Market there. I paid and used my new ‘Be Simply, Be Happy!’ fidelity card, and again, felt very grown-up!
While waiting for the tram back, I was approached by a pregnant lady asking for money. I was rather confused as she seemed to be well-dressed, but as no-one else at the tram stop gave her anything, and I wasn’t sure what to do, I pretended I couldn’t speak French… Not having French as my first language does have some benefits! I’m still not entirely sure what to do in situations like that – I don’t want to be mean or uncaring to someone in need, but France has a good healthcare and social system, so I’m pretty sure if she really needed help she could get some. Thoughts?
I finally got back to my room at 11. Here’s my morning’s haul:
Note the TBC tram card- I’m a real ‘Bordelaise‘ student now! I got the poppyseed (graines de pavot) demi-baguette and coeur de boeuf tomato for lunch. And no, those aren’t cookies you see – they’re, errr… celery! Celery cunningly disguised as cookies! I got the two newspapers as I was walking through Bordeaux (although there’s often lots of people giving them out at tram stops in the morning), but I haven’t read them yet. I’ve spent 2.34€ on the pain au chocolat and milkshakes, and just under 5€ on the shopping. I’m not entirely sure if I’m budgeting well or not, but hopefully I’ll have that mastered by the end of the month.
When I got back to my room, I made myself some popcorn for no other reason than because I can! Having made it, I realised I had no sugar or salt, or any other seasoning to put on it. The tomato soup powder tasted strange, so I made myself hot chocolate flavoured popcorn, because that’s all I had!
It’s already Wednesday! I was worried this week would pass slowly and that I’d have nothing to do, but so far it’s going fast! I’m really enjoying myself so far, and not feeling homesick – although I suspect I might this weekend, as while I’m used to being away from home during the week, I would always be home on the weekends. I do regret not being able to see my little brother off to collège and be there to really see what he thinks of it…
One more day ’til my rentrée on Friday, when I’ll hopefully get my timetable and find out what class I’m in and stuff. I’m going to wait ’til then to start sorting out a new Judo club, as by then I’ll know when I have free evenings – I also think there’s a university Judo club, so I plan to find out more about that then.
I’m quite tired now, so I think I’ll stay in and finally unpack and sort all that out. I was planning getting something else sorted out tomorrow, but I can’t remember what… Hopefully by then I’ll have remembered!