Friday, August 3, 2012

Bienvenue à Grenoble!

I moved to France! Actually, I moved last Sunday, but since the entire university is on vacation, I haven't had Internet. Does the fact that I feel my quality of life has increased significantly as soon as I got Internet make me a horrible product of the 21st century?

Anywho, I've been taking an intensive French course for a week now, and I still feel like a toddler every time I open my mouth. Fortunately, French is the common language for many people who take the course, so we can all stutter and not know words together! I've mostly met Canadians and Brazilians here so far - there are large groups of both, and they tend to gravitate together. 

The day I arrived the weather was a perfect, cloudless 30 degrees C, and it has remained so ever since with the exception of a 10 minute rain storm. I find this very hot - but luckily my Canadian friends live in a residence with a pool!

Cool clouds in the airplane over France.
The thing I love most about Grenoble so far is that there are mountains in every direction. I don't even know where to start, but I know I have to get exploring! I've bought some maps and will probably go out this weekend.
A tram stop - and big mountains in the background.
I live right near a Casino Géant, which is a giant grocery store comparable to Walmart. I've been there probably 3 or 4 times this week to get food and lots of small household things that I didn't bring, and I still feel like I haven't seen the whole store. They even sell cat insurance!

Cat insurance at the local grocery store.
As well as extensive buses and trams, Grenoble has a good bicycle rental service called MetroVelo that rents out simple yellow city bikes for short or extended periods of time. Grenoble is a very flat city, even though there are mountains all around, so you don't really need more than three gears to bike around campus and the center of the city. The bikes are pretty heavy and slow though, so I think I might invest in a road bike before my one-month rental is over.

One day I took a spin around the outer areas of Grenoble just to check it out. It was so hot, you could practically see the asphalt melting. But I came across this hilarious sign:

Yield for Mary Poppins!
I've also final discovered the market downtown. This is totally where the serious fruit and vegetable action goes down, even though there is a sizable produce isle in the Casino Géant. Today I bought chanterelles, avocados, and eggplant. Yumyumyum!
You are allowed to drool... chanterelles at the local market.
Today, instead of regular French class, we had a scavenger hunt in downtown Grenoble. Here are me and three of my Brazilian friends on a bridge of the Isere river. (Note the mountains in the background!!!)
Do a piece sign like you're Japanese. Me, Andre, Fabio and one more Brazilian on a bridge in the old city of Grenoble.
That's all for now - I'm going to go cook my chanterelles!

- The Wild Bazilchuk

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