We completed our first full week of classes.
We have a schedule for the first time in months.
We mailed a letter at the post office (with lots of help!)
We walked to a different grocery store.
We figured out how to work a photo booth at said grocery store.
We got a bank account here.
Ophelia took a ballet class at our school.
We ate at a restaurant.
We tried new pastries.
Some of those things were obviously easier than others or more fun. We are getting better at navigating the grocery store near our apartment. We learned to cook pizza on the stove while our oven was broken. We spoke halting French to people while we bought things and sometimes we succeeded and sometimes we confused them; pointing and gesturing is a great backup though when buying food from a case. All in all, most of the people have been patient with us whether they spoke English or not (mostly not) and the woman who works at the bakery not far from our school that sells cookies will probably begin to expect us to stop in at least once a week.
We are encountering many things that are different despite similarities. Shops close for lunch (unless they sell food) and close earlier than we are used to. Hamburgers taste differently. Milk doesn't have to be refrigerated until you open it. Notebook paper is different and binders have 4 rings instead of 3. Kids mostly all walk to school (or walk with a parent) and don't eat lunch at school - they either go home or eat with their friends; there are no school buses. These are all just surface things that we have noticed or encountered. There are bigger things too, major cultural differences like (for us) remembering not to make eye contact with strangers or make small talk while in a line, or respecting the privacy of a French person's home and only going in a room if specifically invited.
We're also gradually getting a few needful things done. Now that we have mailed our forms to the French government, we'll be heading to Grenoble on an assigned day for a medical checkup so that our visas will be officially valid for the year. We finally have photos to turn in to receive student IDs which might get us some discounts around town. We have binders to organize our school notes and have gotten into a routine of studying every day. We got our bank account number so now we will be able to get cell phones that we can actually call someone from. We still have a list of things to do, but overall the list is shrinking.
This week we will be celebrating Ophelia's 3rd birthday and we can't wait! But instead of a trip to Chick-Fil-A, she'll be picking out a cheesy open-faced sandwich at La Mie Câline while we're on our lunch break. She'll have a Disney princess galette des rois for a birthday cake instead of cupcakes, but we don't think she will mind. (We had some galette des rois with our landlords and she loved it.) We are also pretty sure she'll just be excited because Cinderella is on the box.
Here is to another week of new experiences!