What are you looking at?!
I definitely felt the worst of my
jet lag and exhaustion from no sleep last night. This was really evident from the fact that I
went to sleep at 11:30pm and woke up this morning around 10:15am, making me
late to my first class. I was sooo tired, but I made it to class right
before the end so I was still able to check off on the attendance sheet. Part of my fatigue was due to the group
excursion last night…
Last night, all the students took
an extended bus to downtown Metz
in order to walk around the city. We
were divided into tour groups, which were led by the graduate resident assistants
and returning GTL professors. After the
tours, each group stopped at a pizzeria for dinner (my group of 20+ reserved and
filled a small pizzeria).
The food was
great and the portion was good enough to satisfy but not fill me… in France the portions are smaller than in America. Before taking the bus back to campus, we were
able to see the city come to life with the lighting of the magnificent
Cathedral of St. Etienne. The other
buildings were also beautifully lit. There
is a local performance hall called Arsenal that a few of us saw after dinner…
it has great acoustics because the whole room is covered in hardwood. There will be an orchestra playing there June
22nd that I may go see.
War Memorial for lost French soldiers.
I went back to downtown Metz today with only 2
friends so we could see the city during the day, visit shops, and go wherever
We took a lot of good
pictures of monuments, statues, fountains, the local architecture, and of
course a few of the churches. Some of
the architecture and several monuments are influenced by the fact that Metz has switched back
and forth several times from being French to German (WWI, WWII). On our journey through the town, I even
practiced my French several times, because I tried on some shoes in a store
(which came to be 90 euros ~ $110), talked to two French women in a museum to
get directions to the Conservatory, and set up times with the secretary and
director at the Conservatory for me to periodically go practice the piano
there. Luckily they spoke a tiny bit of
Porte Serpenoise, memorial for France regaining rule of Metz several times.
After returning to my dorm via the
city bus for a housing meeting at 6pm, a large group of my friends returned to
downtown Metz via the bus (1 euro each way) to eat in the large town square
(there are many restaurants on the perimeter of the square and numerous tables
inside the middle of the square).
friends of mine and I ate at a popular Italian restaurant, Angelina's. I had lasagna, bread, wine, and ice cream w/
bananas and syrup for about 12 euros.
After spending a good amount of time there talking and relaxing, we
walked to a group of three bars where several of our friends were watching the
Barcelona/Arsenal Soccer game.
The interesting thing about the
city shops in Metz
is that they close around 6pm, even though they are near all of the local
activity. I couldn't believe how much
more some things cost here, like shoes and electronics. The large grocery store (CORA) close to
campus has everything that you could possibly need, even more than
Walmart! However, it also closes fairly
early (at 9pm). I felt odd with the
security guards around the superstore, but it is common in France to have
better security in large stores.
Ney, gardens, and in the distance are countryside houses.
I returned to the dorm on the 11pm
bus from the bar after Barcelona
won 2-1, but there were a lot of GTL students on the bus, too! I was embarrassed because there were so many
of us and they were being obnoxiously loud the whole time with a few local
citizens trapped in the midst of it all.
I hope I don't get stuck with huge groups of the GTL students too often
around town. It prevents me from feeling
immersed in the local culture and makes me feel disrespectful to those that
actually live here. After returning to
the dorm, I decided to hang out at the dorm's activity hall with friends and
the local French students. I will talk
about them tomorrow!