We got off the train in Caen with much rejoicing, ruckus-making and high-fiving at our achievement in not getting lost or getting robbed. As we moved inside the train station, we sat down with a great sigh of relief and waited for our friends’ arrival. We envisioned a great happy reunion, but what we got were about six 16-year-olds vying for the Americans’ attention. They weren’t nice about it either.

Suffice to say that a lot of innuendos were vocalized, lots of “no” was said and Molly and I finally gave up and left them amid “I love you!” and “You’re beautiful!”

Our friends never showed up, so we took a taxi to the University. Our driver happened to be about our fathers’ age and was so kind and helpful that we almost didn’t want to say goodbye. FINALLY, within shouting distance of our dorm, we had, once again, no idea where to go.

We wandered around in the rain, getting more and more annoyed with the lack of direction given us when finally, like a light from heaven, Molly exclaimed, “KELLI, OVER HERE!” and we waltzed into the most inviting beautiful place we had ever beheld–our housing office.

But when the helpful woman told Molly that her room wasn’t ready for her and that she (and I) weren’t supposed to be in Caen until February 1st, I burst into tears. WHAT NOW?

Well, the Helpful Woman wandered off in search of something else while in the meantime I tried my darndest to stop the tears and look somewhat put together (har har). Finally she came back. She folded her hands and put them on the desk in front of her and looked down her nose at me. “Mademoiselle,” she said. “Comment t’appelles-tu?” (Miss, what is your name?) And then, praise God, she smiled at me. I was beginning to doubt anyone smiled in this country. I smiled sheepishly back and felt like I was five again and told her my name.

I got my room. And it turned out that Molly could have her room as soon as the other tenants moved out that day.

It’s got 1970’s decor. It’s got a desk that is part fake wood and part blue (?). It’s gnarly. I have a French balcony (read: a smoke stoop) and a big window with red curtains. I ADORE IT.

Today we go for pillows, McDonalds (for the WiFi) and a marvelous Wal-Mart wannabe.

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