So Polytechnique is very similar to Caltech and Hogwarts (not even kidding) in that the dorms are arranged by sport, and after choosing which sport section you are in, you live with them for the next three years. The difference is that compared to Caltech and Hogwarts where you don’t really have a choice, you actually get to choose what “house” you are in at Polytechnique. Unless you are an exchange student of course, in which case they put you somewhere random, hence the reason I am currently living in a building that hosts the tennis players, basketball players, boxers, and rowers. Maybe they put me here to balance things out a bit, because I have seen all of three other girls in my building since I arrived almost two weeks ago. To be fair, the overall percentage of girls here is around fifteen percent, but four in over a hundred seems pretty low to me…
Each sports section has their own kitchen/lounge area which is also pretty awesome because the kitchen is fully stocked and then students can individually pay for whatever they use to make dinner (e.g. 100 grams of pasta and 2 eggs). Since everyone hangs out in the kitchen at night to cook dinner, I headed over to the climbing kitchen last Wednesday to ask about participating in their practices and trips. It turns out that they go climbing outside every Thursday, so they invited me to go with them.
This is how I ended up in a bus on my way to Fontainebleau last Thursday afternoon, carrying my water bottle and a pair of shoes my size that magically turned up in the kitchen. Apparently no one knows who they belong to so I can use them for the term, which is convenient but also quite sketchy. It also turns out that it is incredibly hard to understand French when everyone is talking at once over the noise of the bus, but I was able to make a few friends, some of which were girls (!), and by the time we got there I had found a small group to go bouldering with. Fontainebleau is a popular area for climbing and bouldering and such, so the routes were well-chalked and marked with different colors to show different difficulty levels. We stayed on the orange routes while most of the boys did the blues, but it was a lot of fun. I did accidentally sort of fall on one of the guys while I was climbing, but to be fair I warned him that I was jumping (in English, which in retrospect wasn’t incredibly intelligent or courteous of me but I was about to fall anyways so at least he was aware that something was happening even if he didn’t know what). It’s okay, I’m pretty sure we are still friends. At least, he still was willing to talk to me on the bus. So that’s good.
I’m hoping there will be more climbing adventures to come, but until then I have practice on the artificial wall tomorrow morning. Should be fun!