As soon as our site coordinator left our apartment after giving us a tour (check out my apartment tour post if you're curious about my living situation), my roommates and I realized that we were all alone in a foreign country. Luckily, living in North Apartments with my University of Massachusetts roommates last year helped prepare me for the living on your own part—we knew what basics we had to buy for the bathroom and kitchen. However, no amount of living in North, or French classes, could have prepared me for going into a market in France for the first time.
First of all, the prices were all in euros, so I had to use a calculator (add 15% to any price to get a sense of dollar value). Secondly, the markets were spread out all across Antibes, so I had no idea where to buy what, or which one had the best prices. We ended up buying things as we spotted them from different markets on different days—hey, whatever works, right?
I would also like to report that these past few days have brought me great comfort, confidence, and excitement. The culture shock has dissipated, and I am beginning to love this place with my whole heart. I mean...I live by the beach, there is amazing food (at amazing prices), and I am taking my French skills to a whole other level (ok, I am gradually increasing them, but I can now interact with most service-people comfortably, so feel like a pro).
I am here with two other UMass students: Maggie (my dear friend from school), and Alex, someone Maggie met at orientation who has become a great friend of mine as well! Being able to crack UMass inside jokes has really grounded me and made me feel less alone!
I have also joined a gym (I’ll do a blog post on that later), which is awesome because it has allowed me to find my own groove, and get some endorphins flowing.
Finally, I have discovered some cafes, restaurants, and spots by the beach that are perfect for eating, working, and taking in the sights. Having places I affectionately consider 'my spots' has increased my feeling of belonging in this town...I cant wait for my parents to visit so that I can show them around!