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The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Phone Troubles and the In-Between

Hello everyone! Ou bonjour, tout le monde, si vous préférer! Or, comme les Simpsons, if you prefer. I have been in Strasbourg, France, for a few days, and it has taken me a little longer than I expected to settle in. Things have been really fantastic so far, but before I get to that, I would like to rant a little, about my troubles, so that if you travel, they might not happen to you.

My main trouble has been getting a cell phone which works. When I moved, I took out the SIM card and thus I had a workable piece of technology but no connection to any network. Roaming around, (pun intended), for a few days, I considered my options. I was going to simply get a new phone with a SIM card, and a one year contract if that was possible, but I was not prepared for the price of cell phones. I have an LG-P970, which has been working well, with its 4 inch screen, but I was hoping for an upgrade. Looking at phones at Orange, a provider here in France, I quickly saw that any phone I liked, or was comparable to the phone I had, was about 300 euros, or $410 Cdn. My phone cost $175 Cdn., or 128 euros, and any phone cheaper than this was a simple flip-phone.

After that, it was a stressful couple of days, full of misfortunes like my cell phone pouch breaking on the way to school making me think I lost my phone along the way, my phone needing to be unlocked costing me $50, and stores being closed, or not in the same place as advertised. There were so many problems with my phone, I thought I was cursed for some reason. I grew extremely downhearted, frustrated, and quiet.

I learned a few things from this experience. The first, was that I seemed to be more addicted to my phone than I had thought. Without a phone, I seemed to be miserable, and inconsolable. However, I will defend myself a little and say that being out of touch with anyone and being away from home for the first time, these can add to the experience and I'm hoping were mostly responsible for my semi-depression.

The second thing I learned was how much a house of cards emotions can be. I am usually a pretty stable guy, but I am also a guy who loves stability. I love it so much that if something is out of place, it bothers me. I become obsessed with it and must fix it. When I cannot fix it, well, I become depressed. I kind of knew this about myself but at least this gave me an opportunity to reflect upon it. This is an opportunity to grow and while it can be great to be so devoted to solving a problem, I have to work hard at not becoming so frustrated when the solution fails to present itself.

However, after a few conversations with some concerned individuals, one of which included my roommate accusing me of having a small appetite (only true when I'm stressed), I decided to take a stand. I still had the internet when I was at home, and I grew up in the middle of nowhere, Canada, and I could survive a few days without a phone. I woke up the next day feeling refreshed and set to work to getting my life back in order.

It is interesting to note that the phone issue was the only one I have faced so far. I was comfortable with leaving the country, my flight was relaxing, I had no jet lag as I slept the whole way, I have not been having trouble with the language (French being Canada's second language and all), the tram system is easy and convenient, and while it has been a bit of a challenge finding the stores which carry the items I need, I have not felt upset, stuck, or lost by anything other than the phone. Perhaps the phone issue distracted me, perhaps I just intensified forward firepower, I mean concentrated my stress, into this issue. (by the way, go to 10 seconds into that video it didn't send you there directly) It is only the beginning so I am sure I will feel so many things, but it hasn't been a bad start, so far.

Okay, enough emotions, I'm sure you're all itching to see some photos! Well, they're coming! Every day this week, some of the students from the ISU (International Space University) have been participating in French lessons taught by some faculty members of the University of Strasbourg. We were separated into two groups, beginners and advanced, and have been spending the mornings learning or re-learning the French language. In the afternoons, we have had planned activities which revolve around learning more about Strasbourg, it history, and its people. It has been a wonderful experience so far!

On our second day, we took part in a scavenger hunt wherein we searched out buildings and other landmarks and learned a little more about the history of Strasbourg and France. Unfortunately, the phone issue was bothering me so much that I didn't feel like taking pictures. I plan on returning later, but it has been a busy few days.

Stay tuned to my next post, wherein we take a tour of a beautiful French museum!

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