Getting accustomed to a new city is, in most ways, entertaining and easy, and in a few ways, a little challenging. For instance, I have the navigational instincts of a hibernating bear. I'd like to explain why I used this metaphor— I couldn't think of a single example of a living creature that has worse directional sense than me, so I chose one that is often unconscious. That being said, the scenery is a buffer to the fact that I can't find my way around, because at least I get to see amazing things as I zigzag or circle a block until I* can figure out which way I need to go. Not to be dramatic, but I sometimes think that if I walked down a straight street for a mile and then turned directly around to get back home, I’d end up in the river.
I literally thank god every day for my savvy roommates who seem to always know where we are, and how to get from point A to point B. I’m like a little duckling following the mother’s every turn, except I’m the only baby and I’m being led by five moms, rather than the other way around. I like to think that that’s adorable and endearing. But, in the name of bettering my travel skills, I really am working on it! I try so hard to remember my steps and to observe every detail of the journey, but this is not something I can do while multi-tasking yet. Like, even if the other task is telling a story, or just listening to the group conversation. One knee-slap laugh later and suddenly we’re on a hilltop overlooking the bridge I was literally just crossing. I will get better at this. I will.
It’s been so nice to be able to acclimate with my roommates, and travel everywhere with them. It’s lucky that the six of us got matched together, because there’s always at least one other person to do something with, if not the whole squad. One night last week, after we all woke up from naps around 11pm and sleepily agreed to go to our favorite bar, ended up being the night that a French rugby player and his teammates invited me to go with them to an American ’90’s pop underground club around the corner. My roommates came with, and that’s where we all hung out for the rest of the night, and decided that they were possibly the coolest people we’d ever met. This was enthusiastically reciprocated. I tried to teach them an American betting game called What Are the Odds, which ended up being one of the funniest language barrier miscommunications I’ve ever witnessed. I still can't believe we almost napped through that whole night.
Nothing about studying abroad is predictable, and I love that. This weekend, I was in the south of France, and everyone in Nice was exceptionally nice (heh) and eager to speak English with us, which I was not expecting based on my memories of Paris. On the second night, we befriended four Italian guys on our way back from dinner while my roommate was buying a lemon in a convenience store, and then all of a sudden, we’d been hanging out with them for three hours. Earlier that day, two of my roommates and I tried to go paddle boarding on the Mediterranean, and ended up tubing instead, at basically the speed of light, because our boat driver was fucking psychotic. In a good way, for sure, but we had absolutely no time to prepare. He just started the engine and booked it, and I guess it’s a good thing we happened to have already grabbed onto the handles, because this dude was the definition of zero to a hundred real quick. No instruction, whatsoever. Legitimately, our tube bounced on the waves so vigorously the entire time that I almost bit my tongue off. Like, my body was in the air more often than it was on the tube. I cannot stress enough that I was hanging on for my goddamn life. I fell off at one point, and it was during a hair pin turn. No, I flew off. I probably looked like a Chinese throwing star being skipped like a pebble on the water. To top it off, my friends and I were laughing or screaming uncontrollably the entire time, and our driver was blasting Eminem.
I literally never know what’s going to happen next. And I really can’t wait to find out.