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Journals from France, Angers

2009-09-16 Ladybugs

France has really creepy ladybugs. They are flat and oval and look more like creepy crawlers than the cute bubble ladybugs in Oregon; its creepy. Also, if youve ever seen Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane, you will know what Im talking about when I say creepy Italian trees; France also has those trees. Other than the vegetation and insects, France is so much like Oregon; I have no problem adjusting to the weather. Whats that you say? Its going to be 70 degrees and sunny? Well, Id better take my umbrella because everyone knows how the forecast is all sunshine and rainbows, but two hours later you walk into school looking like a drowned rat. Consistency in the fact that you cant count on the weather is comforting- just like home. There are three things that Id like to share this week. The first is about transportation. Did you know that when Angers has their annual Accroche-Coeurs festival (a weekend of themed art spectacles) they deviate the buses from their original stops to different, unplanned stops? Neither did I. Until, at about midnight Thursday night, as I am waiting in the bus terminal, a random girl walks up to everyone waiting and says, Oh, theyve moved the stop. Where on earth did she find this out? I still have no idea, nor does anyone in my host family- apparently Angers is not big on announcing bus deviations. So here I am, in the middle of Angers, without a bus, without a cell phone, alone. Panic quickly ensues. What does a young woman who doesnt know how to get home do? She goes to the police. Lucky for me, they took pity on me and called me a taxi. Eleven Euros later and I am safely in front of my door, the taxi driver even waited for me to go inside. Moral of the story: dont trust buses and dont take public transportation. The second thing I would like everyone to know is that it is EXTREMELY rude in any and every culture to ask a teacher if his or her class is required. Not okay. People, especially Americans, are very impolite. Sometimes its becaus e we have no idea that asking a French person their career is a serious no-no, but other times, were just stupid. When you order at a restaurant (or anywhere) be nice, smile, and thank your server- they are often times the owner. When walking down the street, act like the French do: only look at people out of the corner of your eye. And for heavens sake, you dont own France- be interested in your surroundings and dont act like a snob. And, for those who arent sure if you are supposed to go to class or not: just go. Dont ask the teacher if his or her class is required- it IS to them! What if it were your class no one showed up to? And third, this week I learned that everyone has a little knowledge. Some people know about love, some about family, some about life in general. But everyone knows something important and has a little knowledge to share. Even if you dont like a person, you can respect them for their little piece of wisdom. Because, lets face it- no one knows everything, but everyone knows something. Amanda Mattern

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