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presently I'm a bit stressed by our Project, so I'm not able to write too much on this page.
But I'm doing well, taking many pictures etc. I wanted to make an Advent calendar but didn't
find the time. So I wish you a good advent anyway.
was our workshop with Graham Stevens, a British. here you'll find photos. Hopefully we'll repaire the beach ball so I'll have the chance to do what I couldn't do... But I had fun anyway!
I watched the movie "The Other Side of Heaven". A super movie. In Germany it is in the cinema since September, here it was presented in the German Filmfestival. The story might be a bit too constructed, the pictures and explanation of cultures are really good. Here some impressions:
long long ago...
Dear friends and visitors,
time is running fast. I arrived in Nantes nearly two months ago. Until now I had to go to use the internet of friends, go into Coffee-Shops offering wireless lan or simply use the internet at school. So it wasn't easy to stay in touch with you. Two or three weeks ago I decided to install my own homepage to present photos and projects, also those I made in Darmstadt. We'll see how long my motivation is strong enough...
My first time in France wasn't always easy. Travelling here, using the long hallways of the Parisian Metro - completely sweated by all my luggage - i got a cough and so I was ill the first weekend. When going to school the first time - three days after my arrival - instead of subscribing to school I got a long list of necessary forms as well as the first excercise to be finished within three days. I didn't understand what to do - even the French couldn't really explain what to do as didn't understand neither. Together with a project to finish for my school in Darmstadt my first time was dominated by a lot of work that had to be done. But yes, I'm talking of myself, it was me who often hadn't done his excercise... Now, for the last few weeks, i took off for the weekends - a completely new feeling after three years in Darmstadt. But I am certain I won't get used to the courses of four hours that seem to be normal at our school. And it is not easy for a stranger to follow a lesson of an absent professor who saved his voice on the computer together with a Powerpoint. I think the French are really strange like that.
What didn't ease my start in France is the fact that there is no other German at our school, and nobody that speaks English well enough to make it easy for me. So, without having my own internet-acces too, all communication was difficult. Now, as hazard is playing its game, the first German I was having a chat with - after maybe four weeks - turned out to be a former volunteer in Camphill Ballytobin, a Camphill close to the place I spent a year in 2003. He was in Ballytobin 2 years before me.
Apart of many Germans at the University of Nantes there is many many Spanish people in Nantes. A prove are the coins of the Euro. Often I have German coins but again much more often I find spanish coins. At the moment I have 4 French coins, 3 Spanish and one Italian, no German at all. Walking through the city one often meets Spanish people - and not too seldom I go to Spanish parties where there is maybe one French on ten Spanish people. But also the French are more open-minded than their reputation. The real strange things we do is with the french people, maybe i.e. climbing a crane. Doing things like that they piss on their president. Well, its real, France changed a lot since I hitchhiked through France in 2001. They are much more afraid of crimes but can't explain why. At the same time they speed much less than before as there are much more mobile speed controls nowadays. Recently my flatmate was caught speeding when driving on the motorway. So she thought she was safe now to speed. A few miles later there was a second speed control which she fortunately noticed in time. Presently the politicians discuss to reduce the speed-limit to 110km/h...
Yesterday I was entering a shop for sport-utilities to look for something for my bike. When already taken the escalator the security came in a hurry to tell me in an unfriendly way I had to leave my rucksack at the information desk. Well, I'm not used to this though you have to do it in all big shops, big supermarkets etc. In smaller shops I had to open my rucksack already to check if I tried to steal anything. In trams I was controled several times within the two months on the buses everyone has to present his ticket when entering. The rate of crimes is the lowest in france, so I don't really understand all these troubles. As I was told the policeman receive a bonus for each crime they bring to court so they are very motivated. Thanks to the former minister and current president Sarkozy it changed like that. To understand this better: while getting in trouble with other European countries he tries to find a friend in the president of the United States.
Sarkozy has never been much accepted by the french students so its no surprise they are blocking the universities, only six months after his election for president. He intends to reduce the autonomy of the universities. At the same time he provokes with his law to test children if they are the real children of their parents when immigrants want to take them into France. Against this law there was a little manifestation of 20000 people in Paris. But maybe you are better informed than me? Also interesting is the fact that there is many african immigrants in Nantes, but seeking at school or universities one hardly find anyone. I believe it is not easy as non-european foreigner in France.
Although having big difficulties and not liking the school too much I think I like it here. Nantes is a beautiful town, very lively and in a similar structural change as Hamburg and maybe Dublin. At the moment my pictures present only a little choice but I will put more pictures on the site within my year in Nantes. The country around Nantes is beautiful as well and certainly I will go to see the sea as well. Often I feel reminded of Ireland as there is a similar structure of the villages and architecture. There is many houses in the middle of nowhere and fields are often surrounded by hedges. The supply of electricity is rarely underground. You find many small shops and pubs in the ground-floor of bigger buildings, the facade is often covered with wood. The house I live fascinates not only tourists and so it isn't to comfortable noticing someone taking photos or even filming our house when looking through or opening the window in the morning when not already completely dressed... Handy is the station of the tram just in front of our house - you think? No! This brings a lot of noise into our flat. The weekly mart is noisy as well but I like him very much. I simply put something into my ears and it works. I live central and close to the famous river Loire. I have a room as big as I had never before. So if you like to visit me you are very welcome. Alright, I wrote more than I intended to. I hope you were interested. In future I will write less but this is a start and explains a lot that I won't have to explain again. It is not easy to summarize the time of two months.
lots of love, your Jakob