Week 1: Depression, & Strasbourg

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Monday: Our train depart Paris to Nancy at 8:09 a.m. We did not finish checking out the hotel until 7:30. The train station was 25 mins away and uber drivers are known to get lost on their way to our hotel. But we requested one anyway. While we were waiting, we waved down a taxi driver on the side of the road. We threw 6 big luggage and 3 back packs into a Prius. We told the driver that we are super worried we will miss our train so he will need to get us there fast. And boy did he drive. We were weaving in and out on the road going 50-60 in the city streets. He cut about 8 minutes of travel time. I thought I was gonna die!

When we got to the station. Miguel ran inside to see which train it was while Jon and I unload the rest of the bags. We ran right behind him with two luggage in on each hand and a 20 lb backpack on. We sprinted across that station with all our stuff. I was so out of breath I could barely grasp for air. We showed an employee our ticket and he said it was the correct train but we had 2 minutes to get to our seats which was the LAST seats on the 4 section train. Once we got all our suitcases on board the train took off. If we had been 1 minute late we would’ve missed it.

Miguel and Jon used their man muscles to put all the luggages on the overhead compartments. We were obnoxiously bumping into everyone and making loud breathing sounds of reliefs. Jon tops it off by accidently punching a lady in the head while taking his coat off. Ahahaha She was soooo pissed off the entire way. When we got to Nancy, Miguel went to take down my 50lb luggage and it made him fall over. Ahahah We were a hot mess!

There are 2 exits after getting off the train. We turned the wrong way, of course! When we finally go to the correct side, we got in line to buy breakfast and I happened to look over and saw a girl, Estelle, holding a paper with “UCF” on it. I was so happy !!! So when they said they were coming to “pick us up.” They actually meant meeting us and walk with us across town with all our stuff.

We couldn’t go to our apartment until 3 p.m so we walked around and had lunch. This week, the shops have a big sale so everyone was out and about. I saw a lot of H&M bags. I bought a heavy coat at Zara.

The heater at our apartment barely generate any heat and it will probably take 2-3 days to warm up the entire place so Estelle was kind enough to let us stay at her place for the night.

Tuesday: First day of class. Anyway, our professors are from Denmark, they are super nice and have a cute accent. Everyone seemed like they were sitting within their own group of people. There were one big group of Asians, a good amount of Hispanics, and the rest are from North and South America. Class was from 10-12 p.m then again 2-5p.m. The French take 2-hour lunch breaks here.

After class, we went to Estelle place to get our belongings to move it to our apartment. We called a cab and this guy was an asshole! We told him we have suitcases and he still parked down the street and made us bring it all to him instead of pulling up closer. He started the meter as soon as he got there. It also started at 3euro. AND he charged us extra for having luggages -__- !

Wednesday: When we got to campus it was nice to see Miguel since he doesn’t have wifi at his apartment and we didn’t know if he was alive or not. The first thing he said was “I want go home. Fuck this place. I hate fucking walking…Last night I got lost walking to the grocery store. I’m lactose intolerant but I wanted some milk and I asked them if they have any milk without milk and they brought me to the orange juice aisle. No, I don’t fucking want orange juice, I wanted milk. I got lost on the way home so I sat on the sidewalk eating a baguette. I started crying!”

I was dying laughing! I told him I’ve cried every day since I got here and we had a huge group hug and laughed. Everyone tells us that it will get better and I’m sure but right now… I miss my family and just America in general. I need like 15 hugs a day #needy

Thursday: I haven’t cried today, so…that’s good. I was super excited when I saw the blue sky outside the window. In the mornings, I’ve been boiling a pot of water and put my face over it to open up my nose and get all the mucus out. It also gives the apartment a little bit of humidity since it’s so cold.

In class, we’ve been learning a lot about Denmark. Classes are structured like the Integrated business classes at UCF. Our professors lecture and then we have “workshops” which means we break up into groups to discuss the case studies or questions then present to the class. We also have discussions about American companies. The first day of class one of our professor warned us that he says “ironic” things. People of Denmark have a very different humor than us I guess. He says things like:

“When I find a room, I will try to do something with you.”
“If you are cold, I will come warm you up myself “
“Maybe we will have food in class and the Mexican students can bring it. “ (it wasn’t the exact words but it did actually sounded super racist)

“I HATE dogs, I like cats, dogs are dumb animals”

Our new friend Roxanne is a French student who studied at UCF last semester is now taking classes with us here at ICN. She drove us to the store today to get things for the apartment and food. I bought a hair dryer here for 20 euro because everyone said that even if you use an adapter your hair electronics (is that what it’s called? lol) will blow up. Tonight everyone is going to Mojito night but I’m a grandma so I’m staying in to unpack and then pack again for our Morzine Alps Seminar next week. I was informed that people here pre-game then don’t go to the club until 2 a.m and don’t go home until 5-6a.m because anytime before 2 a.m it’s dead.

Friday: Last day of Corporate Communication class. It was cool to see students from South America talk about SWOT analysis during their presentation. It was nice to know that we all learn the same information all over the world so that when we enter the business world we are all familiar with those concepts. 

The schedule here is very different from the US. We have a different class schedule each week. We’re also divided into 2 different groups. This week, all 162 national students doing the English track have class together.

My classmates are super nice. I’ve met people from Argentina to China to Africa to Canada. People from places that ends with “A.”

I finally unpacked everything which felt so nice to have a clean apartment.

Saturday: Roxanne drove Alex, Jon, Miguel and I to Strasbourg. It is about an hour and 45 minutes away. The countryside of France was covered in snow and there were a lot of windmills on the way. I had a Nutella croissant for breakfast. I’ve GOT to stop eating so much carbs and chocolate here but it’s sooo good!

Strasbourg was beautiful and freezing cold. We went to a local restaurant for lunch and to defrost our bodies. I had knack (It was sausage, taste like spam to me) with fries and salad. The meal was 8.90 euro. An important lesson of the day: Do NOT order 3 cheese pasta like Miguel and Jon. It was almost 15 euro for pasta and very interesting (bad) cheese.

We got to meet Roxanne friends at their apartment. They surprised her with a cake for her birthday since they didn’t get to celebrate with her. After, we went back out to the center area where the Cathedral and shopping were. It was even prettier at night when all the lights were lit up. It started showing when we were heading home. It was SO beautiful!!

I definitely want to go back to Strasbourg to spend more time wandering around there…maybe when it’s warmer.

Sunday: We will be spending the whole day traveling to Morzine French Alps for our seminar and skiing.

Overall, this week has been crazy. We are all getting adjusted and meeting new people. Things are getting better, however, colder. It’s been great having Jon by my side to keep me company. I talk to my sister or parents every day. They don’t seem to miss me at all. They are busy with their friends doing Tet (Vietnamese New years) festivities.

Anyway, I’ve never been skiing before so wish me luck !

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