Luggage Limbo, and Other Aspects of the Week Before Departure to Paris

It’s a cliche to sit on luggage to make it easier to close, but sometimes it’s also a necessity.

Greetings, felicitations, and welcome to my first official blog post as a UC Santa Cruz Programs Abroad Blogger!

It’s about a week until I actually go abroad, so this is sort of an introductory post. My film history class at UCLA ended on August 1st. It was a really fun class and I definitely recommend the experience. I even saw a few films that I hadn’t before. Since then, I’ve been staying in Encino and getting ready for France.

The air is quite a bit smoggier/hotter than in Westwood (Encino seems to average around 115 degrees, vs around 80 at UCLA) and there seems to be a sudden burst of sirens and car horns outside about every hour or two (also, the only internet access is at the Office Depot down the street at the moment), but there’s a couple of parks, cable and a gym where I am so it’s still kind of luxurious.

My flight to Paris is in a little over a week. In the meantime, my primary occupation has been repacking and weighing my check bags to try and get them under the weight limit (50 lbs). Before I flew to L.A, I got one of those travel bag weighing things with a hook and a supposed 72-pound limit, but it was 4 pounds off and the hook bent straight just picking up a 50 pound bag (actually 54 pounds, as it turned out) so I’m using a bathroom scale instead. I suspect that this method isn’t terribly accurate either, but that’s why I’m repacking. I might end up leaving quite a bit of clothes behind, but I can always buy one or two things after I get there. Shopping for clothes in Paris sounds fun anyway, although I’ll definitely want to find out if there’s some inexpensive department store, outlet store, etc – especially since I’ll have weekends free.

I don’t know which classes I’ll be taking yet (apparently, nobody gets to find out until after arrival), but since I usually end up doing most of my homework during weekends I’m hoping to get most or all of a weekday free too so that I can access places that are closed on the weekend. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to the language classes the most, especially since I have no prior experience with the French language. For the same reason, that’s also the class I’m the most nervous about.

I got a set of audio tapes for learning French in hopes of prepping a bit before I get there. They go a bit too fast for me to keep up, but I think they’re helping me get used to the pronunciation of different kinds of words. Anyway, some practice is always preferable to none. I’m also trying to get started on a couple other projects I’ll be working on during my time abroad.

By far, the most complex ‘project’ will probably be applying to graduate school programs while I’m in France. It’ll be interesting to find out how much mailing application materials costs internationally, and how much earlier things need to be sent to make the deadlines. I’m sure some of you will be doing the same thing next year, so I’ll be writing about that on this blog too.

Well, that’s my first official post. Tune in next week, when I will likely be writing to you all from the Daumesnil in Paris!

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