February 23, 2014

Stage: le début.

For all my complaining about how unorganized my university is, how uncommunicative the professors and administration are, and how nobody ever seems to know what’s going on, I can at least now say that it has prepared me pretty well for the realities of being an intern in France.

After accepting the offer and settling on a starting date in December, come mid-January I still had no information about how my first day was going to be. This continued until the week before my start date, when I decided that I’d rather know than wait around. I called them to double check the starting date and find out what time I was expected. I then learned that I should be there at 9 in order to attend orientation.

While no further details were given, I was at least grateful to know this little tid bit. Knowing the first day was going to include an orientation calmed my nerves.

While I had them on the phone, I wanted to ask if it would be okay if I took an extra long lunch on Thursday in order to pick up the keys to our new apartment. However, they misunderstood me and thought I said lundi (not jeudi). That’s how I discovered that we were to be lunching with our bosses and other new interns on the first day.

I cleared up the confusion, but was glad that there was some otherwise I'm sure I would’ve been kept in the dark until jour j.

Just like orientation for the master, after my day of learning about the operations of the place, I still felt like I knew how nothing worked. We were not told if there was or wasn’t a strict time to come into the office. We had been told we’d learn how to use their time sheet software, but somehow or other it didn’t happen. I was told my desk would just be temporary, as they hadn’t found a place for me just yet. They then gave me a bunch of papers to read to play catch up on my project, and left me to figure it all out on my own.

Three weeks into it, I am getting the hang of things. I was able to figure out the time sheet situation mostly on my own, and as far as I can tell there are no future plans to change my desk.

I guess France is gonna be France. At least I get to look at this on the walk to the métro every day.

La Défense.

February 1, 2014

Goodbye Troyes

This Monday I will start my new internship in Paris and say goodbye to Troyes. While the unknowns before me do make this a stressful change, I will not be sad to leave, at least not in the way I was heartbroken to leave Lille.

Timbered houses in Troyes.

Troyes is a beautiful fairy tale miniature city. But whether it was because the university wasn’t actually in the city, or because I was less interested in the cultural opportunities, or because I’m less impressed with (the 9) medieval churches now that they’ve become the norm, I never made Troyes my city in the way that I did with Lille.

I don’t feel at home here like I did in the North. I felt certain that I wanted to get out of Troyes when I did my internship. However, when we walked to the library today to rent some DVDs, I couldn’t help remarking how beautiful this little city is. And how maybe if I’d been less of a homebody, it could’ve felt more mine.

While it’s been fun living in Champagne and drinking bubbly on the cheap (~13€/bottle!), I am ready for a new adventure.

So Goodbye fair city. I will miss the church view from my bedroom window, the small cobblestone streets and timbered houses, and my favorite pizza place. Thank you for a year and a half of discovery, hard work, and not distracting me too much from my studies. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know you as well as I should.

Until we meet again.
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