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January 12th 2010
Published: January 13th 2010
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I let myself sleep as long as I wanted today, the first time since I arrived. I took my time getting ready; my socks and boots were warm from drying on the radiator and felt cheery against my tired feet. Last night, Regine and I watched FRIENDS in French and then met up with her boyfriend Hocine. He's a really funny guy, and is good at making people feel at ease. We wandered around, trying to decide what to eat, and settled on a North African burger/sandwich joint. The fries had curry seasoning and were so good! And they came with various sauced, like curry, Marocain (dill, and some curry), and other neat ones like that. It was a small place that seemed to be popular for congregating. Someone would walk in, and everyone would know him! cool. after, I caught the bus back to the CROUS (dorms) and rushed up to my floor because i really had to use the bathroom when i discovered......

......that apparently toilette paper is not supplied in the dorm bathrooms! also, there appear to be no toilet seats. hmmmmmmm. so what to do? well, i tore some blank pages out of my journal, and kicked myself because it was then that I remembered that someone warned me about this little quirk long ago.

So this morning I went out to buy my bus pass and of course, some toilet paper! I had a cafe and a chocolate pastrie upstairs in a restaurant, as I watched water melt off of the roof, and a woman in the street begging for money stretching and repositioning herself between the flows of people. After I bought my pass, I wandered. I found a store called 'It's Two Euros!', which is like the dollar store--everything is 2 euros! What a great place! I bought glasses, a plate, a cutting knife, and cutting board, cooking spoons, and Tupperware for 10 euros! Then I found my way into a big indoor market with fresh produce, fish, cheese, etc. and stopped at the cheese counter to buy some comte--a cheese made here that is named after the region (Franche-Comte). I had it at Christine's house, and it's really good! Like a saltier Swiss cheese. I bought a huge slice, and then went to a wine shop and bought a 3 euro bottle of rose wine to bring to Regane's house tomorrow, because there's a fondu party.

Now that the sun is out, Besancon looks like one of those picturesque snow globe cities. The sun casts lavender shadows on the snow, and pigeons peck at the salted ground near the lighted carousel in Place 8 Septembre, the main square. After walking around, I was tired and returned to take a nap. I rested several hours. in the hall I heard American, so I ran out and accosted these two girls in the stairwell : "Are you American?!" I hadn't seen any since I got here, and I was thrilled and the thought that I wasn't alone. Turns out one was, and the other was Canadian. We went to dinner together at the CROUS dining hall with some other Americans they had met. They're nice, but I was disappointed. I guess I expected for us to get along like old chums since we were from the states, but I found myself missing the company of Regane and Hocine.

Back in my room, Regane texted me to see if I wanted to go out with her, Hocine, and his friends. So around 9:45 I met them in the centre-ville (downtown) and we went to the university bar. Tuesday nights there is always a party for international students, and there were a lot of drunk Spaniards wearing HUGE sombreros! At the bar, two of Hocine's guy friends arrived, and one in particular was really handsome. We played some Foosball, which apparently I suck at. hahaha, i suppose i will never be athletically coordinated....After we went to the other guy's house and hung out and watched the French version of COPS.

As we headed to the bus stop it started to snow heavily! And now, back at the CROUS, it's still snowing! Hocine says class (for whose who have already started) will be cancelled tomorrow, and there will be no bus. I hope not! Because I want to go into town tomorrow to see Christine.

It seems like I am settling in here. There have been some ups and downs, but everything is coming together, like the bits of snow that compact and gather weight and speed as it races (or falls) down the slope at speedometer-boggling velocity. Yeah.


13th January 2010

ashley, what a hoppin social life you already have! yea! right on! i love imagining the excitement you expressed when you heard those americans in the hallway. btw, hahaha "in the hall I heard American." hahaha. love that 2-euro store! so kickass. and you go to the market! what a life. i want to visit!!! alas...
14th January 2010

Philosophical Insight!
I just wanted to say Kudos to your last two lines. I can almost hear you saying them in your ever-so-ashley whimsical fashion. I'm glad your settling in. Remember that you are an impressive and fantastic woman no matter what.

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