Today was the first day of our (apparently) two and a half week long orientation. It was crammed full of stuff, not the least of which was a lot of walking around Toulouse proper. So, at the moment I have this feeling that Toulouse is HUGE, but I don't think that is actually the case. My friend Sasha is under the impression that you can walk most anywhere...and I believe this to be true...if you are willing to walk for an hour. And then I remember I used to walk at least 40 minutes from El Centro to my house in Guadalajara, and realize I shouldn't give her such a hard time about it. But so today we went on these very small tours with the ladies that work in the Dickinson Center and a much bigger adventure with one of the fall semester students that got us downtown and then home via the Metro/bus.
(Ok, quick segway for anyone who is going "Erica, you go to Wash U, you are studying in Toulouse, what is this name Dickinson that keeps popping up? The program I am on is actually a Dickinson College program that Wash U sends students on. Colleges play nice like that. Dickinson is a small school in Carlilse, Pennsylvania and they have roughly fifteen kids here to Wash U's 8. There is also a random girl from Hood College, I don't even know where that is. SO whenever I refer to my program it will be Dickinson this and Dickinson that. I still get credit from Wash U, but it is not there program. Ok, good, glad that is all worked out)
Toulouse will be much more manageable as soon as I can charge my metro pass that lets me ride the bus and the metro an infinite number of times for 10 Euro a month. Gotta love European student rates. When does that happen? As soon as I get my bank card. I can also charge the phone I am getting from one of the fall students as soon as I get my bank card. My life more or less begins once I get this card, and that is in ten days or so. OY.
My family remains quite sweet, I am figuring out how to not disturb Vincent, who goes to bed at 8:30 and talking a lot to the parents, who are quite kind. Haha, Nino (my host mom) seems disturbed by my habit of wearing short sleeved shirts all the time (much like my real mother) and insists on giving me long sleeved shirts or sweaters to wear. Adorable, but does very little for my fashion sense, which is already not up to par with the French. We also have our own napkin holders (numbered so we remember our number) so we can put our napkin in it if it is unused and use it the next day. Quite handy, no?
This evening some students are headed to a cafe near me (I am getting very familiar with the walk from the Jean Jaures metro stop to my house) for a kids birthday tonight, but between all the orientation and an uncle that is coming into town tonight, I might not go. Or maybe I will. The students from fall semester tell me profite bien des temps quand tu n'as pas de travail! (Enjoy the time you don't have work!) So we shall see.
Hope all of you are well, I miss everyone and hope to hear from people soon!