Ha! So I totally just realized that my camera has a little icon on it that tells you the date, time, and how long you've been on your trip. :) So now I can say with certainty that I've been gone for 17 days.
So guess what! I have actually just found out that one of the dishes that I've been having for supper for several weeks (well, I've eaten it like three or four times) in the university restaurant is actually the famous Ratatouille! Who knew? I just thought that it tasted good. I've never enjoyed eating cucumbers so much in my life. :3 If anybody gets a chance to try any, do so! It's delicious. :)
...Now I should really start thinking about buying souvenirs for people. D: I've also got a stack of postcards that need to be addressed, written and stamped... Must... get to... work...
Through a strange coincidence, I met a really nice French person! (Well, I don't mean to imply that very few French people are nice, because that's not true. I just mean it's strange that, well, okay I'll just tell you, hold on, I'll close this parenthesis.) Anyway, I was just about to unlock the door to my dorm room when the girl from the room across from me stopped me and asked if I was Canadian (in French, of course). I was like "oui, bien sure", and she asked where I was from, and I answered "Edmonton", and she then asked if I wouldn't happen to be going to "l'Université d'Alberta"? And so apprently she just got her acceptance to study at our fine university for a year, starting this September! :D We switched e-mails, and I shall help her decipher Bear Tracks, learn English, etc. :) Her name is Maialen, I believe (I hope I spelt that correctly). She's actually going to Canada before I return! So, if any of you run across a lost French woman on campus next week, please help her, because she's really nice!
Yesterday, we visited Douai and a nearby mining museum. We were only in Douai for an hour, so we didn't see much. I would have liked to have gone inside the churches that we passed by, but all we really had time to do was pop into bakeries. Mmm, croissants...
The mining museum was awesome, too. :) Our tourguide was an actual retired miner, so he had this grizzled look about him... plus, he knew his stuff. Unfortunately for half of the group (the anglophone half ;) ), he only spoke French. The cool thing was, they had what they called an "appareil" (an aparatus), which was essentially a speaker. They pressed buttons at certain intervals, and a friendly British woman's voice explained to us what we were seeing. I understood the miner perfectly well (he was very clear and well-spoken), and he was fascinating to listen to. :) Apparently, he began working in the mines in the 60s when he was just 15. I got a photograph with him, which I shall post later...
(Oh, and while I'm on the subject of photographs, I've uploaded the first batch of pictures from my trip! (They are really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to photographs, but the other six hundred or so that I've taken don't have many people in them, so...) You can see them here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=125259&l=7429f&id=839240415 (hopefully, everyone can see it...)
Anyway, one of the cool things about the mining museum is that they're very serious about it. They give us hardhats, put us in the elevator, and we descend into the mine itself.... except we only descend one floor, but they don't tell you that. ;) They have an elaborate reconstruction of a mine, which is very widespread. My suspicions were only aroused about twenty minutes into the tour, when I began seeing emergency exists. "But how can they exist underground?" I asked myself "If we're 400m below the surface of the Earth, where do those stairs lead? To an endless flight of stairs?" ;) But yes, you aren't supposed to realize until they get you out the door into the bright sunlight again that you were never in the mine in the first place. It's sweet. :D
Tomorrow, we go to Ypres. :) I'm happy that I picked Ypres (we had a choice between there and Dunkerque), because we shall be inside museums all day, and the forecast is apparently very gloomy. I am told that Dunkerque is very miserable if there's even a spot of rain, because you're essentially on the beach the whole time. Plus, the awesome British history professor, Martin Bray, is accompanying the Ypres group, so hopefully I shall learn some intriguing historical facts! :D