quarta-feira, 2 de setembro de 2009


The starting post of a blog is a difficult thing to compose. The images of my last few days and the words representing them are presently only thoughts in my mind. Translation isn't easy. So bear with my when I become hard to follow, or too careless or informal. My mind is scattered, and pulling it into a cohesive whole can be at times an unrealistic expectation.

So there's my disclaimer. And now a hello to you all: to my family in South Dakota, Chicago, and over the US. To my family in Brazil. To my friends in Nebraska and Kansas, my friends at Notre Dame, and those others who are scattered elsewhere--I'm not forgetting you; I can only name so many places. I love each and every one of you, will miss you dearly this year, and, trust me, am missing you as I type this in my bedroom in France. I hope through this blog I am able to keep you feeling closer to me and more informed about my travels and daily European life. But it isn't a one-way street. Comment on my posts, facebook message me, email me--> let me know what YOU are up to, what you think of my experiences, and whatever else is on your mind. Just because I'm halfway across the globe doesn't mean I'm any less interested.

One more disclaimer: I am not going to try to write everything here. I tried that with my last blog from my summer in Brazil, and it was rather disastrous, discouraging me from writing because of the enormity of the task. Here, expect to find anecdotes, thoughts, and basic background information about things I do think necessary for you to know. I cannot and will not promise to write either regularly or often, so we'll just see how the year progresses.

Now to begin. I arrived in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France on August 1st, 2009, around 6:30am. I am beginning a year-long study abroad program with the University of Notre Dame, and will be here until mid-June, 2010. I am living in a city called Angers, located in the Loire Valley, about 2 hours southwest of Paris. I will be studying at CIDEF--Centre International d'Etudes Françaises--which is a part of UCO--Université Catholique de L'Ouest. CIDEF has been hosting foreign students for over 50 years, bringing them to France solely for the purpose of teaching them French. Our classes are with other non-native speakers, unless we place high enough in which case we can take regular classes at UCO (which is actaully the same building and everything). I anticipate being able to do that my second semseter here.

Angers is really charming--much of it is typically European, including a centuries-old Cathedral and Castle, both in the center of town, and a downtown comprised of trendy shops in old buildings. People are constantly riding bikes (indeed I'll be getting one soon--the city has a program to lend out free bicycles) and walking, and everything is pretty close together. The city has a population of about 250,000, of which during the school year 30,000 are university students. Just about a block away from my university here is the ordained "student street," which has everything imaginable, from haircutters to cheap kebab places to a school supplies store.

All CIDEF students, of which this semester there are 120, from 22 countries, live with host families. My host family is comprised of Andre and Anne-Marie T., and their 19-yr-old daughter Lucie. They are extremely welcoming and pleasant, and have been hosting ND students for 10 years. I can't say a whole lot about them because my conversational French is so extremely limited that there just hasn't been very much dialouge as of yet. But they are very nice, and Marie is a fabulous cook of French cuisine, so I'm definitely looking forward to my once-weekly meals here. My room is very cute and completely wonderful--I haven't had my own room for a few years now, and it's really nice. The one frustrating thing is that I'm a half hour walk from the university (mainly called the Catho, which is nicer to say than UCO) in the opposite direction from everyone else and from the center of town. I have a bus pass but buses stop running at 8:30pm, so as a result I'm here in my room now instead of being out with the others for the first night of bar-hopping. I don't mind a whole lot this time because I'm exhausted anyway, and someone else is taking a taxi home, so I'll see how afforable that will be. Otherwise on the weekends I may be spending quite a few nights away.

Today we took our placement tests and tomorrow will start our préstage--a full month of intensive language training, before beginning classes. I'm grateful for it, because it will let me start meeting other non-ND students, and will help my atrocious French, which is really good for nothing currently.

Well there's your introduction. Tata for now my darlings.

3 comentários:

  1. Your writing has all of the sudden turned from the Marquez-South-American stream of consciousness to a very proper, European, and well-organized style!

    Looved the news!

  2. Hah, I read Alli's blog and she was so proper and so was Patrick that I just couldn't be shown up. Plus here I actually have time to think, due to wireless, which generally makes for better writing. Hehee.

  3. Claudi, I'm flattered, and you really are a beautiful writer! Keep posting, even if there's nothing to say, because you chose nice words that are pleasant to read. I miss you, can't wait til you come to Firenze, and am putting together our itinerary for your visit! (I've already found *the* gelato place) Ciao ciao bella!