So, I finally make it to Bordeaux eight and a half hours later than scheduled. Iâ€™m at the baggage carousel and Iâ€™m waiting and waiting. It eventually becomes apparent that my bag did not make the transfer to my new flight. Luckily for me, the girl I was sitting next to on this flight did not receive her luggage either. Since she spoke French and we made friends on the flight, she assisted me in dealing with the airport staff.
There I was in Bordeaux homeless and without luggage, except for my carry-on. I proceed to the exit and I find the Melting Potes waiting to taxi me and a couple of other international students to our destination. The Melting Potes is this wonderful student organization at BEM dedicated to helping international students. Their name is a play on words as potes means mates or friends. I will talk more about them later. The guys from the Melting Potes inform me that I will spend the night with one of their members, William, for the first night and that we will figure out the rest in the morning.
On the ride from the airport to downtown Bordeaux they turn on the radio and what do I hear, American music! Iâ€™m in France ready to experience all that she has to offer and the first song I hear is an American song! Then one of the guys proceeds to ask if we were hungry and suggests stopping at McDonaldâ€™s! Nooooo! I did not come to France to listen to American music and eat McDonaldâ€™s! American influence on France is something I will talk more about later too. For now letâ€™s get back to our trip and the first French word that I learned. As we are discussing the fact that none of us international students know French, one of the Melting Potes guys tells us that we need to know one word because we will hear it often. Now I cannot or maybe should not share this word on this blog, but I will tell you that it would be considered a bad word in the US. In France however, this word is used so often that it has no bite to it. This again is something I will touch more on later.
After spending my first night in Bordeaux on Williamâ€™s couch, we get up in the morning and head down to Bordeaux Ã‰cole de Management, BEM for short. This is the school at which I will be studying. Weâ€™re in one of the larger classrooms and the Melting Potes is busy making arrangements to pick up all of the international students that are scheduled to arrive throughout the day. As Iâ€™m waiting and meeting some of the incoming students, I ask one of the Melting Potes guys to call the airport and make arrangement for my luggage to be delivered to BEM since I donâ€™t have an address. After a couple of hours, Iâ€™m told that there is a French student who lives downtown and wants to live with an American student. Jackpot!! I have not even seen the place and I already want it. Anything to not be homeless, and besides that it meets all my criteria. We later arrive to see the flat and I take a short trip through and say â€œYes please.â€ Iâ€™m informed he has to discuss things with his other roommates and let us know later. I go back to Williamâ€™s place to await my destiny; will I be homeless one more night? After a few hours I find out that my luggage will be delivered to BEM around 7pm and that the French student said I can move in tonight. The stars have aligned!! I am no longer homeless, and better yet I didnâ€™t have to haul my luggage around for two days until I found a place to stay. It seems delayed luggage was actually a blessing in disguise. Things may not always happen the way you want, but everything tends to work out exactly like itâ€™s supposed to. Thatâ€™s all for this installment. My next posting will be on Bordeaux first impressions.