Here’s the end of my story:
Following both Sid and the residence official, I arrived at the middle of a big dirty courtyard full of workers. I could hear nothing except the sounds of all those working machines. As we walked on a little pathway impregnated with both water and dust, I realized that the dorms were located just next to me. I was passing next to different doors, which were in fact the residence’s dorms. Those rooms were opening directly onto this terrible courtyard full of workers. “Don’t tell me I will live in one of those?,” I wonder. While walking in this environment, I could feel Sid’s embarrassment through his face expression. The woman eventually stopped in front of one of the door. It was mine …
Calecas during its renovations last year
What follows may seem unreal but is definitely what happened. As the woman opened the door, the first thing we all saw was a worker full of sweat, wearing dirty clothes and sleeping in what was supposed to be my bed. I will never forget the image of this man laying on my bed with his bottle of water on the floor. As soon as he saw us, he obviously became very ill-at-ease. The man stood up quickly and said something like, “sorry I didn’t know you were coming today.” Then he left and went to sleep in the room next to mine. Both the resident official and Sid gave me a look full of embarrassment, with I think a bit of pity as we were discovering my room. The entire place was very dark, the floor was full of dust and you could see on the mattress of my bed a big yellow dirty mark. The woman left and I stayed with Sid unable to talk or move. He told me he was sorry and that he hoped our coach will make me leave this place soon. Then he left and said he will come pick me up later to eat.
At that moment, completely alone in my room, I could have just cried like this little girl. But I didn’t. I think I didn’t really realize and was too exhausted to start crying. I just sat down on the chair next to my desk and start thinking about the absurdity of the whole situation. I was in the middle of a nightmare. I eventually plugged my computer and sent a mail to my parents saying that I arrived in the US and that I was safe. They figured out the entire story a bit later.
So yes my travelling experience as well as my first days in the US were pretty tough. Yet, I finally changed of room few weeks later and got used to this whole new environment. The people here helped me a lot in this adapting process. My coach, my teammates, my teachers and American people in general all definitely contribute to make me eventually take the most of this experience. And to tell the truth, this first moments taught me a lot. They definitely made me stronger.
If you saw my last post, you may think that after my travelling experience, things could not get any worse. Well, actually … It got worst.
As I said, I finally ended up at Nicholls. However, as I arrived at about 1 a.m. nobody was there to greet me. Where to sleep? I had no clue. Eventually, my assistant coach called one of the tennis player (Palash) who was already on campus and asked him if I could sleep in his apartment for one night. Luckily, Palash accepted.
I took a quick shower and slept at his place.The apartment was actually pretty nice and I could finally have a little rest. But to be honest, with all that stress, I didn’t sleep well, not to say I didn’t sleep at all. The following day contributes to increase my stress even more … Let me explain.
It was about 10 a.m. when someone knocked at my door and woke me up. “Hey I am Sid, one of your teammate. You have to come with me to find out where your official room is and move in,” he said. “Well ok,” I must have said completely lost. I followed him without really understanding what was happening. We eventually arrived at the front desk of the housing building. After giving some basic information about myself, one of the residence official told me I will be living in “Calecas Hall.” At that moment I had no clue what was Calecas Hall but with hindsight, walking next to that building or even hearing its name makes me feel nauseous. “Ghetto Hall” or “Shit Hall,” that’s how Nicholls student are referring to this building. I understood few minutes later why. How was my dorm looking? That’s what you’ll figure out in my next post (first days in the US episode 3.)
As my blog is slowly growing up. I’ve realized that I didn’t even talk about one essential thing … My arrival in the US. Considering my blog theme, I can’t avoid dealing with those first few days which were, I have to confess, pretty tough for me. Yet, this period is very important in that it represents the start of my adventure in America. How did a 20 years old French girl cope in the very first moments with a completely new environment? That’s what you’ll learn through this post.
08/10/2011, Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris.
Here I am, taking the plane for the second time of my life, heading to a country that I don’t know, in which I have never been before, and where people are talking a language that I don’t master. Alone in the back of the plane, I am wondering, ” In which adventure did I get involved in? I left my whole family and my friends to take a leap into the unknown.” The only persons that I knew from the university and who I talked a bit with through e- mails were my future coach, Meenakshi Sundaram and Mrs. Marylin, the woman in charge of the international people. Otherwise, I was going to the unknown … And to tell the truth, at first things didn’t go very well as I was plagued by bad luck.
Here are the misfortunes I had to cope with during and after my flights:
- My first plane from Paris to Atlanta took off 45 minutes late.
- I landed one hour late in Atlanta after a horrible fly (no sleep at all)
- I struggled explaining my situation in English at the customer boarder and they had to keep me to make sure my situation was “valid.”
- Finally the customs officer gave me my I-94 paper and I run to get my luggage
- While “running” I dropped my I-94 (I didn’t realize on the moment but it causes me lots of troubles later on)
- It took me forever to find my two big suitcases and check them for the second time
- Completely lost in the Atlanta’s airport, I couldn’t find my gate
- I finally got to my second plane sweating from everywhere
- As I landed in New Orleans’ airport, I realized that nobody was there to pick me up (Mrs. Marilyn had messed up the dates)
- Alone at about 11 p.m. I had no clue what to do
- I called my coach and Mrs. Marilyn but they both didn’t pick up
- I found a small paper in my wallet with the name and number of my assistant coach
- Luckily he answered the phone and went to pick me up …
So yes I finally got to the Nicholls State campus, exhausted … Yet, my first days on campus were not better than this travelling adventure but you’ll figure it out by yourself in my next post.