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Getting Groovy in Grenoble

September 12, 2016
by CEA MOJO
My brain has worked harder in the past 24 hours then it has in the past 3 months translating and conjugating French! Arriving at the bus station alone and in a foreign place, I was eager to find a familiar face. I was surprised by my host father, Jean Claude, joined by my program director, Patrick, only to instantly realize that Jean Claude spoke no English! The car ride to my homestay was a mix between silent air, French radio banter, and my attempts at saying simple things like "are there a lot of bikes here?" and, "I have a Vespa in California." I surely pronounced something wrong and may have said something that was far from what I intended, but Jean Claude smiled his French man smile, and continued driving.
 My room in my homestay.

Arriving at my homestay, I was pleasantly greeted by Elise, my homestay mother. Jean Claude said she spoke English, but the most I got from her was "Venir voir votre chambre, your bedroom". At this point, I was hoping to go to bed that night and wake up the next morning a native French girl, but I know it is all part of a new experience!

I began unpacking my suitcase, and Elise brought me a Coca-Cola with a delicious chocolate snack that I gulped down after realizing I hadn't eaten in hours. My room is bright with lots of closet space, I couldn't ask for anything better than having a room to myself. After settling in, I still had a few more hours of daylight to explore my new city, so I threw on my Tevas and headed out the door.

I was afraid of leaving for the sole reason of trying to explain to Jean Claude & Elise where I'd be going,  I had no real destination, just exploring. Elise and I exchanged phone numbers and she gave me a set of keys before I headed out to explore my new home.

 GEM: Grenoble Ecole de Management
 
 Inside GEM.

I had spent the past 2 weeks in Lund, Sweden visiting my twin sister. I believe I had a bit of Sweden still with me when I went out to explore Grenoble and was a little in shock of how urban Grenoble is! I should've been more prepared, but having come from a suburban countryside town in Sweden, it was a huge adjustment to see the magnitude of cars driving around, the trams and buses, intersections, galore. One of the things I might fear the most is that in Grenoble, the language spoken it is predominantly, if not dominantly, French only. At this point in time, I am very hesitant about my French comprehension. Check back in in a few weeks and (hopefully) I'll feel less lost than a needle in a haystack.
 French Alps peaking out from Grenoble tram stop.
 
 French architecture: on the corner of pretty and prettier.

The alliteration of the title of this blog is representative of how my first two days in Grenoble have unfolded. Although there is a massive language barrier, adjusting to culture shock is difficult and takes time! I am learning valuable things everyday by keeping my mindset and body grooving to whatever Grenoble has in store for me!

Isabel K. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in the French Alps, France. She is currently a junior studying International Business and Computer Science at Chapman University 



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