Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hello, Dijon!

So here I am in France.

To be honest, I didn't think it would actually happen. I didn't realize that I was leaving until I stood in line at San Francisco International, sandwiched between two French men, and thought, "Oh dear...I'm leaving for France...for 5 months." I seem to recall begging my mom to let me stay in the States. But I got on the plane, panicked for 10 hours as I realized that I didn't understand/speak any French, and then stepped off the plane and found myself in Paris.

Here's the deal with me speaking French: I took 4 years of French in high school. I passed the AP exam. I even had a few French exchange students stay with my family. But the difference between speaking French in the States and speaking French in France is the same difference between taking a class about skydiving and actually jumping out of a plane.

In Paris, I met up with my friend Sasha, and we stumbled around trying to find a train to Dijon. We missed our first train, but still got to Dijon relatively on time, thanks to a very nice SNCF employee and an extremely kind older gentleman.

My first two weeks have been kind of a blur. I've gotten lost countless times and have had to scold myself, saying, "Katy Trujillo, don't you dare start crying. You are twenty years old and living in France. You can certainly find your way back to the dorm." I have met amazing friends. I truly enjoy my professors. I have more classes than I expected, but no class on Fridays! I've gone out a lot and made French friends. I don't think I could be any luckier.

First impressions of France:
- Wow, everyone wears a lot of black. My winter coat is orange. Fabulous.
- Dijon is cold. I am from California. It's going to be an interesting first few months.
- The French speak very softly in public. The Americans generally do not.
- Why did I EVER think that I could speak French???

My CIEF friends are going to Paris this weekend, and I'm venturing out on my own to visit Liz in England. I'm praying that I'll make it there, that I won't get lost, and that I won't cry if I happen to misplace myself for a moment.