My first two months in Strasbourg

11 Dec

Wow, my first two months in Strasbourg have FLOWN! It’s amazing how settled you can become in eight weeks… London? Where? Did I actually live there for three years? Really??

Although, when I headed back there recently for a few days, it felt like I was just returning from a regular visit to see the man; the only difference being that I was staying at a hotel and not my cosy old East London share flat.

But back to my new hood! Here’s a little highlight reel.

I had the warmest welcome courtesy of my boyfriend’s mum, and I may have cried a bit when she gave me a big hug and welcomed me to my “new home in Alsace” with this amazing brunch spread.

French themed welcome brunch.jpg

French welcome brunch – dat cheese!

 

I’m taking French classes at the Universite Populaire, and unlike the classes I took in London, this course is virtually solely in French (duh) and the students don’t share a common language. Though when we’re REALLY stuck, most of us understand if the teacher switches to English to explain.

Carlie versus French. 😳 #FrenchLessons #Strasbourg #LanguageLearning #Monolingual #Halp

A post shared by Carlie (@carliebonavia) on

 

While my reading and comprehension is definitely improving – thanks also to reading children’s books – I’m not feeling overly confident trying to use French day-to-day, and know I need to be braver. However it’s tricky when my understanding is still so limited. If I throw out a sentence in French I usually don’t comprehend the reply (unless I’m in a store and can kind of guess). I feel like it’s a bit of a waste of everyone’s time so right now there’s lots of “Bonjour” and “Merci” .. and I don’t get much further before needing to sheepishly ask “en anglais s’il vous plaît?” Baby steps.

I joined a new BJJ club which is the same one that I have been visiting for the past two years. Everyone is really friendly, and learning jiu jitsu in French is easy in some ways, challenging in others. Of course it’s so visual which makes it easy, but while I now recognise the words for knee and foot for example I often miss if the instructor is saying like, “never do x this way.”

 

Infini Jiu Jitsu team 2016

Photo: Art of BJJ

I’m so grateful for training partners with the patience to explain things again to me in English.

I rode my first upside-down rollercoaster

 

Holy HECK, I was frantically thinking about how to get off Europa Park’s Blue Fire Megacoaster even as we were strapped in and making our way out of the loading bay. It was seriously OUT of my theme park ride comfort zone!

Europa Park is pretty amazing (in saying that I’ve never been to Disneyland), and if you’re ever in this part of the world it’s totally worth a visit (I found this article after our day there, which sums the place up nicely).

 

The park was decked out for Halloween when we went (with a crazy-huge number of pumpkins lining the walkways). I’ve never been one for the super thrillseeker rides but this time decided to push myself … I won’t lie, the recent tragedy at Dreamworld was playing on my mind a bit that day.

Because it was still #Halloween at Europa-Park 👻

A post shared by Carlie (@carliebonavia) on

 

I’m not working in my pajamas… every day

I knew when I first moved to Strasbourg that I couldn’t be working five days a week from our small apartment – I’d go a bit mad – so I joined a co-working office and for about €10 a day I can work in a really fun, open plan environment with a great bunch of people, and they have frequent four-legged visitors! Much cute!

 

I’m making new friends because again, I’d go a bit mad without my own circle here, so I joined Girl Gone International and went to my first catch up with them in my second week in town; a brunch and spa day, such bliss! As the name suggests, they’re (mostly) international gals who have found their way to Strasbourg for various reasons. A truly lovely, supportive group I’m so happy to be part of.

I’m getting Christmassy because how can I NOT when I’m living in the Capitale de Noël? Tree’s up, presents are mostly bought and Christmas markets visited, multiple times. It’s really a great time of year to be in Strasbourg.

#Christmastree is up! 🎄

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2 Responses to “My first two months in Strasbourg”

  1. Jiu Jiu February 17, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    I miss my expat days! I’ll tell you, I think the BEST thing about training in a gym in a different country – it’s impossible to know WHY someone doesn’t want to partner with you – is it because you don’t speak the language? you’re new? you are a lady? all three? Saved me from so much paranoia because I just assumed could be any/all. I also didn’t understand if there WAS any shit talked about me. Who knows – maybe they were complaining about me or saying horribly sexist things – I didn’t understand, so life was pleasant! Here at my gym, which is an MMA gym, I sometimes hear things that gives me side-eye face, and I’m very thankful that I bypassed all that as a beginner.

    I found that for reading, it helped to read stories where I knew the language would be consistent. So for me, in Russian, I chose A Series of Unfortunate Events. There are 13, they use consistent language, and I am intimately familiar with them. I also chose fairy tales. Fairy tales are awesome because they’re not TECHNICALLY children’s books, but they’re for kids, longer than a children’s story, and they have consistent language. Plus, chances are, you are familiar with the story in English.

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying your life as an expat!

    • gypsy girl February 17, 2017 at 3:55 pm #

      It can feel a little isolating at times when you can’t join in on the gym banter/miss jokes that have the whole mat cracking up etc – but you’re right about the blissful roll ignorance!

      I just started A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix, the books are on my radar. Fairytales in French have been hit and miss for me, mostly because of the past and future tenses I don’t really know yet, but we’ve found a few kid series that are the right level for now.

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