Today I woke up bright and early for more paperwork fun, without the above mentioned body products, and waited on the yet again late coordinator. She means well, but her job description is too large for one person. Thank God that there are some French students who out of insanely generous hearts volunteer to help us set up the things that we aren’t told to do but expected to- plus they’re funny and translate really well. Besides Chloe, we’ve met Marine and Laura who are both absolutely lovely.
More mundane madness. I visit computer labs three times to set up my internet account and campus wifi, and somehow none of those times it was accomplished. The French keyboard is entirely different; so I get to relearn how to type all over again. I went to set up my bank account, but more bureaucratic silliness. I tried to sign up and pay for sports, and pay but can’t sign up. I tried to do laundry; but before that can happen, in a different building, I have to visit the office and do some more silly things to get a key to get a card to schedule a time slot on days they choose. C’est la vie.
I went to my first French language crash course, which is three hours of straight language which I’ve never done and was slightly overwhelming. After this, I ate and went to bed. They were so great as to supply me with bedding, but it all smells and has funny colored stains on it. My first night here I lay down with my airline blanket and bed-wetter bed case, and slept amazingly.
There have been some great little rays of sunshine over the last two days. I met some great Americans, southerners too, who have stumbled along with me the past couple days. Two strapping young Frenchmen helped me carry half of my stuff to my dorm. Chloe is an ironic angel, standing several inches taller than my pretty short self and dropping American curse words with a French accent as often as possible. She has saved me time, stress and money chauffeuring me around town. I have an ID with a picture I kinda like. I bought yellow roses, because they were two Euros and reminded me of Texas. I decorated my room with all my scarves strategically placed around pipes, window panes, florescent lighting, a cupboard, a chair, overhead light and two pillows as cases. I was able to buy a new converter at all, which are hard to find in Europe for American plugs, for only three Euros. I have had yummy and healthy food. My neighbors, however many are here, aren’t loud. I wasn’t the worst in language class. I helped an Arab guy on campus find the bibliotheque (one third in French, one third in English and one third in gestures and grunts) and it made my day. I’m already almost used to all the walking. I only walk up two flights of stairs to get to my room, unlike students who walk five or six in buildings here without elevators. As far as I know, no one has cussed me out in French. I have great health. I got a quick encouraging email from a fellow sister in Christ. They have coconut soda here.
I’ve been reading, focusing and praying through the mindset that God lets nonsense come about and continue, not just so we can be put in our places and be glad that he saves but also so we can rejoice in the hurricane. It’s not just about getting through it as quickly as possible and asking our Dad to help us avoid as much drama and heartache as possible. If as a Christian I believe that nothing separates me from God, like in Romans 8:38-39, and that all things work for the good of those who know the Lord, then the ridiculous things are just another element of my growth. They are often answers to prayers- what better way to become more patient than for God to set up numerous obstacles in which all you can do is throw a tantrum or be patient? I’m terribly relieved that the disappointments, loneliness, confusion, desperation and such all are intentionally part of the greater scheme of things and are just refining me in this temporary life.