ANGERS 2: A Running Start

It’s been ten days since I arrived in Angers and, so far, I have managed to effectively worsen my jetlag, catch a horrible cough and buy wine for less than two euros; and it’s been nothing short of magical.

Despite all of the horrors of international travel and the fast pace of this faculty-led study abroad program, nothing can take away from the awesomeness of the châteaux and cathedrals and the enveloping warm smells that waft out of boulangeries, patisseries, creperies, fromageries, etc.

I did not start off in this “honeymoon” stage of study abroad, though. Oh, no, not at all. When I first arrived at the Charles DeGaulle Airport in Paris, I managed to fall backwards — suitcases, carry-ons and all — down the escalator and onto two grown men. Thankfully, they saw I was wearing a knee brace for my torn MCL and felt sorry for me. (I didn’t bother to tell them that I’m just clumsy and haven’t slept in days.)

After a four-hour bus ride, my arrival in Angers was accompanied by a much needed combination of showering, napping, and Pizza-Hut-ing.

Confidence restored, I set out on a nighttime tour of the city with a few peers. Equipped with hats, scarves and gloves, we walked hands-in-pockets through the cobblestone streets, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at even the most basic sites.

But as we realized that none of us had wifi, a map, or a sense of direction, the beauty of the city seemed to fade and my dehydration and aching feet seemed to worsen. Over three hours later, we made it successfully back to the Residence St. Serge with a newfound appreciation for the numbered, perpendicular streets of Austin.

Aside from that frightful night and my incurable jetlag, this experience, so far, has already fulfilled all my expectations and then some. Even the 97 percent humidity and 30 minute walk to school cannot take the pep out of my step.

I am sure everything will be just THAT much better once I, you know, learn the language, or whatever.