ANGERS: My new normal

My socks and undergarments are sprawled on a six-foot wire that is tied, on one end, to the window handle and, on the other end, to the closet door handle.

I have to crawl military-style to get from one side of my room to the other, and I won’t have dry clothes for at least 24 more hours, even if the sun decides to play nice today.

This is my new normal.

I wash my clothes in the bathtub, often using water I boiled on the stove if that day’s hot water supply had run out. This happens more often than not; I get about 20 minutes of hot water a day. Then, I hang them to dry from every door knob and hanger I can find.

Which—you guessed it—means no fabric softener. I have been wearing jeans, sans fabric softener, for over three months now.

You know what else I’ve been doing? Always washing my dishes by hand, drinking coffee without milk and sugar, drinking tea WITH milk and sugar, using weird graph paper for writing, eating a ton of bread and pastries and little-to-no fruits and veggies, and walking. I’ve been walking so, so much.

This is all my normal now.

At St. Edward’s, I would drive my car from the on-campus apartments to the Basil Moreau Hall parking lot every morning instead of making the ten-minute, half-mile walk to class.

Here, I walk to school every morning uphill in the snow. 

Okay, not really; but I do walk at least 2.5 miles every day to get to and from school. And do I survive?! I think I’ve taken the tram one time, when I was running late. Other than that, I make all my local escapades by foot.

Speaking of trams, I’m fairly proficient in public transportation now. I almost feel embarrassed of how little I utilized the Austin bus system. If I can navigate the Paris metro station, I should be able to handle Austin public transport with my eyes closed.

I wonder if, when I return to my regular St. Edward’s life, I’ll wash and dry my clothes and dishes by hand. I wonder if I’ll still be okay with drinking my coffee black. I wonder if I’ll still brew three pots of coffee every day, when, here, a cup the size of a shot glass is all I need for the whole day.

My hope is that I keep up my walking habits. Angers is so similar to Austin—maybe that’s why they’re considered sister cities—so I feel like it is completely possible for me to maintain this way of life even when I get back.

The question is if I will proactively do so, or if I will allow myself to slip into the comfort and jadedness that comes with all the amenities I have back in the States.