Sunday, September 30, 2012

The new apartment, the beach, and my unsolicited pet lizard

Yes, you read that right.  I have a lizard.  At least for now.  More on that in a moment!

So, I finally got hit with my "holy crap, I'm living here for 7 months" moment, which began when Christiane and I were at the grande marche downtown two days ago, looking through tons of Saint Denis artisans' creations - from lamps to paintings to tablecloths to rainsticks... so cool.  But I started getting rather emotional, and as I returned back to my host family's house to collect my stuff to move over to my new apartment, it hit me pretty hard.  It's going to be incredible, I know it.  I just hate getting all of the logistics and paperwork sorted out in the meantime. 

I'm ready to get into a routine and really settle in here.  And it's definitely gonna take some time, because I'll be observing classes next week, but then the schools have two weeks of vacation!  And I'd love to get up and travel somewhere for the next two weeks, but I'm just getting settled here, so I hope that I can make little trips with the other assistants and get into the swing of things over the break - I definitely intend to find somewhere to play volleyball again!!

Anyway, I unpacked my stuff the night before last and was pretty emotional about it, crying like a silly person as I unloaded my life onto shelves.  My landlady, Marie, came in and saw me crying and held my hands and looked at me and said, "Sometimes we have to leave people behind in order to remember that we love them."  That was pretty powerful for me.  I do miss home, and I do hope all of you back there know how much I love you.  At the same time, this year is gonna be good for me.

After unpacking, Marie took me downstairs to meet the other boarders and... oh... oh goodness.  We walk in and stumble upon two shirtless 20-somethings eating dinner.  Oh okay.  I can get used to this apartment.  I forget their names at the moment (and I will die if they ever see this blog, obviously) but let's just say I found it hard not to stare as I'm trying to carry on a conversation.  Quite a nice welcome to my new living space! ;)

The next morning, I kept getting things and order and continued to be rather emotional... but I got a text that said the British assistants were taking a spontaneous trip to the beach!!  Rather than wallow in sadness all day long, we embarked on an adventure to St. Gilles les Bains, which is an hour-long bus ride from St. Denis and is BEAUTIFUL.

Me with Susannah and Tim!  (La vie Reunionnaise is so difficult...)

This also included my first ride on the Car Jaune, which is Reunion's public transport system that encircles the entire island.  It's pretty awesome, and because there's no 'stop request' button, you have to clap twice on the bus to let the driver know that you want to get off.  I volunteered myself to do the clapping, because I thought it was awesome, but then I chickened out and gave probably the most meager clap the Car Jaune has ever seen, so thank goodness someone else was getting off at our stop.  I'll be a seasoned clapping professional before long! 

For the rest of the day, six of us just laid on the beach for hours, talking about everything, and finished off the day with our first Dodo beer, Reunion's beer celebre, named after the infamous extinct bird.  I'm not a big beer fan, but this one was SO delicious - a perfect end to a lovely day.

Then came the bus.  Or I suppose I should say... and then the bus came, but we weren't assertive enough to actually hop on it.  Evidently at rush hour, the buses are packed to the brim with people, and we had to wait for the next one.  I was stressin', but we made the best of it, and I learned that public transport can be rather finicky around here.  So I'll have to learn 1) to be patient and 2) how to go ninja-style and politely push/circumvent people to get where I need to go.

When I finally got home, we had delicious cari poulet for dinner (a Reunion staple) and I wandered into my room to head to sleep.  Then, I looked down next to my shoes and - eeeeeewwwwww - there's a lizard on my floor!  So I timidly walk back into the kitchen and say "Marie!  There's a lizard in my room!  What do I do?"

She looks at me and walks into my room, sees the lizard, and says, "Nothing!" 

I was like... what?  Do nothing?  But... it's a lizard!  In the house! and she says, "These are margouillats!   They're awesome to have in the house! They eat mosquitos and other bugs. It'll protect you."  So I have let my little margouillat stay.  I choose to think of him as my lizard guardian angel.  He actually is rather cute, and has currently taken refuge under my alarm clock (it's a nice little cozy dark space that I think he feels safe in) and I'm now accepting suggestions for what I should name him.  But if I find him in my bed... it's off to the garden, my little reptilian friend.

Today has been rather uneventful (welcome to Sunday on Reunion... not unlike Sunday in France, everything is closed) EXCEPT for when I hear Marie's voice echoing from the garden: "Hey Bridget!  Wanna help us cut some bananas off of the tree?"

Um, OF COURSE I DO!  So this morning, I helped my landlady cut bananas off of her tree.  They'll be ripe in a couple of weeks and then we'll eat them.  I totally wish I had pictures.  Such a cool new experience.

Tomorrow, we have our "stage," also known as the first official meeting for all of the teaching assistants (of every language... English, German, Spanish, Chinese, etc.) and I'm pumped.  It'll be cool to meet the other assistants in my school.  Woooo!

No comments:

Post a Comment