La vie en France: Week 1

Posted by mae on Sunday Apr 28, 2013 Under General

Ça y est! Le temps est arrivé!

I can’t think of anything more significant and momentous that I’ve ever done in my entire life than what I’m doing now: adapting to life in Nice, France. I’ve travelled quite a few times already (thanks to my dad, of course), but this is completely different. This is not a week-long visit, or a two-month holiday, or anything of that sort. Not at all. I’ll be living here for years.

Together with 64 other Pre-France Programme graduates, I boarded a MAS A380 flight bound for Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on the eve of 23 April, Malaysian time. The 12-hour flight felt nothing like 12 hours, thanks to the fact that I had not slept for more than 24 hours prior and I was extremely fatigued. I slept and slept like a baby. No kidding.

We landed at around 0630 French time, on my 20th birthday. From here we went to our separate ways according to our specialisations: Nice (réseaux et télecommunications), Aix-en-Provence et Toulon (mécanique), and Toulouse (chimique). It was not until about one in the afternoon that my friend and I (we were picked to stay at the same famille d’accueil/foster family) arrived at what was supposed to be our new home for the next few months.

The little black gate leads to the small house…

…which is located at the end of this small rue.

And it was absolutely not what we had been expecting. There were 7 other students of the EF or AF french schools (I belong to the latter) living with us in the house: deux américaines, un italien, une allemande, une belge, une coréenne et une brésilienne. And the owner is a Jewish painter. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Yes, of course. I’m more than willing to learn about others’ cultures, principles, tenets, beliefs, point of view, etc. Those are the things that make us different and interesting.

However there’s something not right about this… about the accommodation, the “famille d’accueil” and all that. At least for the four EF students (who were, by the way, very nice and friendly). I’d rather not go into detail here.  I personally decided to try to stay put for at least a week and see how things turn out before making any move, but for the four EF students it was already too much. All of them left yesterday after a couple of weeks staying in this little house. Four days was all that was afforded to us to get to know them. Well, it wasn’t too much, but I guess it was enough. Seeing them go was kinda sad to be honest. The floor has become a lot quieter. Sombre, even. It’s definitely an unorthodox start to life in Nice.

What else, then? I’ve wandered around the centre-ville de Nice, visited Vieux Nice and some historic nearby places, strolled along the beach on the Promenade des Anglais, bought a brand new guitar (but cheap nonetheless)… and that’s about it I guess.

Avenue Jean Medecin in the city centre.

The main square Place Masséna.

La Promenade des Anglais

The rocky beach in Nice.

French classes start tomorrow. From nine to one. Everyday except weekends. Allez, c’est parti!

UPDATE – The bed’s nice. The meals are nice. The family’s nice. Life’s good. Everything’s good.

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Random: Death

Posted by mae on Tuesday Apr 9, 2013 Under General

“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”
                                                                  David EaglemanSum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives

Pic taken from here.                        

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Mazda Museum et Miyajima

Posted by mae on Monday Apr 1, 2013 Under General, Travels

This post will be accompanied by just a few pictures. I will then lead you to the completed story for the third day on my mum’s blog. Comme d’habitude.

Hiroshima, Japan.
17 December 2012.
Day 3. 

The agenda for today is focused on two stops: Mazda Museum and Miyajima. These are our last destinations here in Hiroshima before leaving for Tokyo later in the evening. Well, what’s up with these two places?

Mazda Museum, obviously, is a museum located on the grounds of Mazda’s Hiroshima Plant where the history, the cars, the technologies etc of the local carmaker Mazda are exhibited. It also includes a small part of a factory (where photographs are probihited) opened to the public. It’s worth noting that car manufacturing is by far Hiroshima’s largest industry.

Miyajima (The Shrine Island), on the other hand, has nothing to do with automotive industry whatsoever. Rather, one can find the famous Itsukushima Shrine here, which during high tide appears to float on water. The age-old Shinto shrine is very much sacred, as is the island itself.

  • The entrance to the Mazda head office building where we’re required to assemble before parting to the museum together with a few other visitors.

  • The interior of the office building sports several latest models of the Mazda family.

  • The word “Mazda” emblazoned on a Mitsubishi logo speaks volumes about the partnership between the two car manufacturers.

  • In Miyajima, Itsukushima Shrine is seen floating on (or, you know, just partially submerged in) the water as our ferry advances towards the island.

  • The Shinto shrine, from a closer point of view, appears much, much bigger.

A montage of a selection of the photos I took on Day 3 at the Mazda Museum and Miyajima. This way I don’t have to spend too much time inserting the pics one by one in this post. That would be horribly tiresome.

And of course, comme d’habitude, all the links you need to see more pics and read more stories on our Day 3 in Japan, courtesy of my mum & dad.

Mazda Museum, HiroshimaPart I, Part II
Way to Miyajima
A Brief Visit to Miyajima
Hiroshima to Tokyo 

Bah c’est tout, bonne nuit!

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