Week 15 and counting

Sunday, 19 December 2010 05:10 by eel001

 

At this point, I'm praying for a green Christmas with highs in the mid to upper 60's

 

Alright. So it has been a memorable 24 hours. Alyssa and I left Montpellier yesterday morning at around 11 o'clock. We went to the airport and said good-bye to our host families (yep, more crying) and got our flight into Paris just fine.

 

Then the fun started.

 

There was a huge snow storm that hit Heathrow airport in London, and that was where our connection flight was last night. So that flight got cancelled. So we had to stand in line to book another flight. Along with about 200 other people. So after standing in line for a little over 9 hours, we finally found another flight out Monday morning at 1030. Its taking us straight into Newark instead of connecting in Heathrow, so we're hoping everything goes as planned. If you read this before then, please start praying that we get out!!

 

After standing in the line for the 9 hours and rebooking our flight, the airline told us they would put us up in a hotel for the night. We were just fine with that considering if had been close to 24 hours since we had slept. So we get on the bus that's to take us to the hotel. Everything was going fine...until we started passing all the hotels close to the airport...and then we drove past the city limits...and then they took us down this dark foggy back road. And we ended up at a tiny little hotel out in the middle of nowhere. It gets better. We got our room key and went up to our room. We opened the door...the first thing we noticed was that the shelves were ripped off the walls. There was broken glass on the floor. The curtin was ripped off the window and laying on the bed in a crumpled mess. The lights didn't turn on. There were no sheets on the bed. The mattresses were soiled. There was no toilet paper, no towels, no showerhead. So, I went back downstairs and asked for another room. This one was worse than the second one. It looked like someone had been using it as a workshop. There were tolds and broken glass and wood everywhere. At that point, we decided that even though it was 330 in the morning, we were NOT staying in something that nasty. And we weren't the only ones. We went downstairs to have the front desk call us a taxi and 6 other people were on their way out the door. We each had to pay 15 euros to get out of there, but I don't care. I still feel like there are things crawling all over me.

 

So we get back to the airport and go into the terminal to complain. And of course there is no one from the airline there...why would there be. Alyssa and I are both pretty grumpy at this point because we were exhausted and starving and cold. We gave up. We decided to just go find a hotel ourselves and pay what we had to in order to get a good nights sleep. So we get a taxi to the Hyatt. After paying 20 euros for that taxi ride, we found out that they wouldn't have any available rooms until 3 o'clock in the afternoon. So now we were stuck at a hotel far out from the airport. But, because Jesus loves me very much, a free shuttle to the airport pulled up just as we were about to give up and sleep in the lobby.  So we ran and caught that bus and it dropped us off at some random train station just outside the airport. But luckily, there was a hotel connected to the airport. And luckily, 3 families had decided not to show up and so they had 3 rooms left. And also luckily, it was only 122 euros, compared to the over 200 we were going to have to pay for the other hotels we had called. So we finally get to a room. After we both showered and ate some breakfast, we crashed and it was the most amazing sleep I have ever had. Alyssa is crazy and decided she wanted to go into Paris to see the Eiffel Tower since she's never seen it. She slept for 2 hours and was up and left. Since I had already seen it, I decided I would be a lazy bum and sleep. So I slept until 2 and then bopped around for a while until I figured out how to get internet and share my lovely story with all of you!!

 

So our flight is supposed to leave at 1015 tomorrow for Orly airport (another airport in Paris) If all goes as planned we should be home by 1 tomorrow afternoon. So please please please keep praying!!!

 

Oh, and did I mention that yesterday was my 21st birthday?? I'd say that one will be quite unforgettable!!!

 

Special thanks for my parents for using all their long distance minutes to keep calling me and trying to find another way home and then a hotel room. You guys are the best.

 

Here's a taste of what last night was like :

 



 


 


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Week 14

Wednesday, 8 December 2010 22:03 by eel001

Don't Blink

 

Its offical. I was in a state of denial until right about 3 o'clock this afternoon and then it hit me. As I was saying good-bye to one of the most amazing, best friends I have ever made, I realized that my whole experience in France will be over in a little over a week. So yes, that girl you saw crying her eyes out in the middle of Place de la Comedie this afternoon was me. I'm not even sure how to put into words how I'm feeling right now. I miss my friends and family at home, and I miss all the American things we do at Christmas time, but I've just now realized I'll be leaving behind my new family and my new friends. Its an impossible feeling. Happy, sad, scared, excited and completely heartbroken all at once. I have fallen in love with France and with my host family and my friends here and the idea of leaving them all (and them all leaving me, as was the case with Katie) makes me want to cry.

 

I honestly have no idea what to write about tonight. The past two weeks have been quite interesting. Last week, the real world started creeping back into my life. I had some trouble with a rooming situation for next semester and there was also some discussion and stress about our trip home next weekend. Both of those things got sorted out, but it was another sign that things are quickly coming to an end here. I had another surprise earlier this week when I logged onto my banks website and found out that I have next to no money to get me through the next couple of weeks...oops. One thing I won't miss when I get home is the insane prices of everything here...and the nasty exchange rate.

 

This past Monday my host family threw me a small birthday party. My birthday isn't until next Saturday, but Marijo was here and she really wanted to celebrate my birthday with me. Jany cooked me all my favorite food (Quiche Louraine, an awesome salad, really good soup, and a fruit salad) and then they gave me a chocolate birthday cake. Marijo even tried to sing to me in English: 'Appy Birseday tooo yoou. It was a wonderful surprise and so much more than I would've expected! They also bought me a glass cicada (locust) because they are apprently very common in the region. The cicada has a noise maker on the inside and when you push a button it makes that annoying noise that you hear in the woods during the summer. They also bought me a lavender cusion to put in my suitcase on the way home. Jany had another present waiting for me yesterday when I got home from school as well. It was a massive french cook book filled with 1800 french recipes. Its all in French and it has all French mesurements and she told me it was to help me work on my French more when I got home.

 

And so now, I have 2 more days of class this week, a couple classes Monday and Tuesday, then finals on Wednesday and Thursday. And home on Saturday. I'm planning on heading into the center this weekend to take as many pictures of the city as I possibly can. I'm also planning on trying to go back into denial about leaving until next Friday when I have to pack. If I start crying now, I'll never stop!

 

So I think that I will be able to write one more entry before I head home. Until then I must keep saying "Bon courage" to myself and reminding myself that as soon as I save up $3000 and finish my college degree and get a job I can come back. That won't take too long right?

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Week 14

Wednesday, 8 December 2010 22:03 by eel001

Don't Blink

 

Its offical. I was in a state of denial until right about 3 o'clock this afternoon and then it hit me. As I was saying good-bye to one of the most amazing, best friends I have ever made, I realized that my whole experience in France will be over in a little over a week. So yes, that girl you saw crying her eyes out in the middle of Place de la Comedie this afternoon was me. I'm not even sure how to put into words how I'm feeling right now. I miss my friends and family at home, and I miss all the American things we do at Christmas time, but I've just now realized I'll be leaving behind my new family and my new friends. Its an impossible feeling. Happy, sad, scared, excited and completely heartbroken all at once. I have fallen in love with France and with my host family and my friends here and the idea of leaving them all (and them all leaving me, as was the case with Katie) makes me want to cry.

 

I honestly have no idea what to write about tonight. The past two weeks have been quite interesting. Last week, the real world started creeping back into my life. I had some trouble with a rooming situation for next semester and there was also some discussion and stress about our trip home next weekend. Both of those things got sorted out, but it was another sign that things are quickly coming to an end here. I had another surprise earlier this week when I logged onto my banks website and found out that I have next to no money to get me through the next couple of weeks...oops. One thing I won't miss when I get home is the insane prices of everything here...and the nasty exchange rate.

 

This past Monday my host family threw me a small birthday party. My birthday isn't until next Saturday, but Marijo was here and she really wanted to celebrate my birthday with me. Jany cooked me all my favorite food (Quiche Louraine, an awesome salad, really good soup, and a fruit salad) and then they gave me a chocolate birthday cake. Marijo even tried to sing to me in English: 'Appy Birseday tooo yoou. It was a wonderful surprise and so much more than I would've expected! They also bought me a glass cicada (locust) because they are apprently very common in the region. The cicada has a noise maker on the inside and when you push a button it makes that annoying noise that you hear in the woods during the summer. They also bought me a lavender cusion to put in my suitcase on the way home. Jany had another present waiting for me yesterday when I got home from school as well. It was a massive french cook book filled with 1800 french recipes. Its all in French and it has all French mesurements and she told me it was to help me work on my French more when I got home.

 

And so now, I have 2 more days of class this week, a couple classes Monday and Tuesday, then finals on Wednesday and Thursday. And home on Saturday. I'm planning on heading into the center this weekend to take as many pictures of the city as I possibly can. I'm also planning on trying to go back into denial about leaving until next Friday when I have to pack. If I start crying now, I'll never stop!

 

So I think that I will be able to write one more entry before I head home. Until then I must keep saying "Bon courage" to myself and reminding myself that as soon as I save up $3000 and finish my college degree and get a job I can come back. That won't take too long right?

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Week 14

Wednesday, 8 December 2010 22:03 by eel001

Don't Blink

 

Its offical. I was in a state of denial until right about 3 o'clock this afternoon and then it hit me. As I was saying good-bye to one of the most amazing, best friends I have ever made, I realized that my whole experience in France will be over in a little over a week. So yes, that girl you saw crying her eyes out in the middle of Place de la Comedie this afternoon was me. I'm not even sure how to put into words how I'm feeling right now. I miss my friends and family at home, and I miss all the American things we do at Christmas time, but I've just now realized I'll be leaving behind my new family and my new friends. Its an impossible feeling. Happy, sad, scared, excited and completely heartbroken all at once. I have fallen in love with France and with my host family and my friends here and the idea of leaving them all (and them all leaving me, as was the case with Katie) makes me want to cry.

 

I honestly have no idea what to write about tonight. The past two weeks have been quite interesting. Last week, the real world started creeping back into my life. I had some trouble with a rooming situation for next semester and there was also some discussion and stress about our trip home next weekend. Both of those things got sorted out, but it was another sign that things are quickly coming to an end here. I had another surprise earlier this week when I logged onto my banks website and found out that I have next to no money to get me through the next couple of weeks...oops. One thing I won't miss when I get home is the insane prices of everything here...and the nasty exchange rate.

 

This past Monday my host family threw me a small birthday party. My birthday isn't until next Saturday, but Marijo was here and she really wanted to celebrate my birthday with me. Jany cooked me all my favorite food (Quiche Louraine, an awesome salad, really good soup, and a fruit salad) and then they gave me a chocolate birthday cake. Marijo even tried to sing to me in English: 'Appy Birseday tooo yoou. It was a wonderful surprise and so much more than I would've expected! They also bought me a glass cicada (locust) because they are apprently very common in the region. The cicada has a noise maker on the inside and when you push a button it makes that annoying noise that you hear in the woods during the summer. They also bought me a lavender cusion to put in my suitcase on the way home. Jany had another present waiting for me yesterday when I got home from school as well. It was a massive french cook book filled with 1800 french recipes. Its all in French and it has all French mesurements and she told me it was to help me work on my French more when I got home.

 

And so now, I have 2 more days of class this week, a couple classes Monday and Tuesday, then finals on Wednesday and Thursday. And home on Saturday. I'm planning on heading into the center this weekend to take as many pictures of the city as I possibly can. I'm also planning on trying to go back into denial about leaving until next Friday when I have to pack. If I start crying now, I'll never stop!

 

So I think that I will be able to write one more entry before I head home. Until then I must keep saying "Bon courage" to myself and reminding myself that as soon as I save up $3000 and finish my college degree and get a job I can come back. Thats won't take too long right?

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Week 11/12

Friday, 26 November 2010 01:40 by eel001

Aux Champs Elysees (ba-da-da-da-da)

 

So I just got back from Paris yesterday and it was every bit as amazing as I always thought it would be. But I'll start at the beginning of the weekend. My friend Grace flew into Montpellier on Saturday night and so my host mother and I went to pick her up from the airport. We all had dinner at my house and then Grace and I went to bed early because our train left the station at 7:20 the next morning.

So we had to be out of the house by 6 am and I was very impressed to find Grace bright-eyed and bushy tailed instead of exhausted like I thought she would be. So we got to the train station and got on our train and a short 3 hours later, we were in Paris!! The first thing I noticed when I stepped of the train in Paris was that it was COLD. I'm so used to the Montpellier climate now, that anytime I go farther north its like I'm stepping into a freezer! But anyway, the hardest part once we got to Paris was actually finding the metro station, and then finding somewhere to buy the metro tickets. Once we figured that out, we were on our way to our Bed and Breakfast aka another host family! It turned out it wasn't a bed and breakfast at all, but just a woman who rented out a room in her apartment to people who needed a place to stay! She was an older woman who lived alone, but we only had to pay 136 euros for 3 nights AND because we booked through an agency, we got a 2 day museum pass that got us into all of the biggest museums in Paris! So we got pretty lucky as far as the living situation goes! Our apartment was a 10 minute walk from the Eiffel tower and a 25 minute walk from the Champs Elysees. You can't do much better than that for 136 euros for 3 nights!

 

We got into Paris right around noon, so after we dropped our stuff off at the room, we went exploring. The first place we went was the Eiffel Tower of course! If you have known me for a while, you know that I've been collecting little Eiffel Tower posters and pictures and that my room at home is covered with pictures of Paris, so when I actually saw it with my own eyes, I felt like I was dreaming. I don't know why but I seriously felt like I was in a movie when I saw it at first! So naturally, Grace and I took about a million pictures from every angle possible. It was pouring down rain and freezing, but it wasn't bothering us too badly yet at that point.

 

 

After the Eiffel Tower, we took the metro to Notre Dame. First of all, It is not as big as Disney makes it look and also, there are no steps out front. HOWEVER, it was absolutely goregous. When we went inside, mass was going on, and so we got to sit and listen to the choir sing. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.



 

When we went back outside, we payed our 5 euros to climb the 10 million steps to the top of the towers. And we got really lucky, because just as we got to the top, the bells started ringing. They really are loud!! What's really remarkable about Notre Dame is all of the gargoyles that are carved around the top. Each one is a little different, and while most of them are ugly and scary, there are a few that seem like they don't quite belong. For example, there is a tiny elephant carved in one corner of the balcony. Its a cute little elephant! Next to a demonic looking monster! I would love to have been able to see all of them all around the outside, but it was freezing and you were only allowed at the top for a short amount of time, due to the long line of people waiting to climb to the top. When we got back down to the ground, we were completely frozen and decided it was time for a cup of tea. So we went to a cafe and thawed for a bit. At this point, Grace's jetlag was starting to catch up with her, so we went back to the room for a little before heading back out for dinner. We made Sunday an early night so that we could get up early to make it to the Louvre on Monday!


So Monday we got up and we were served a traditional Parisian breakfast of warm croissants and toasted baguettes. Grace couldn't get over how much better the croissants are in France than they are in the United States. Yet another thing I'll miss when its time for me to go home. So then it was off to the Louvre. And no, we did not run straight to the Mona Lisa. We wander around a bit and saw sooo much more than I could describe to you here. I knew that the Louvre used to be the Palace for the kings before Versailles was built, but I had NO idea how huge it actually was!! So many rooms and floors, and all of them filled with art from wall to wall. There is no possible way that you could see everything in the Louvre in one day, or even two. And so, by lunch time Grace and I were already exhausted. We ate lunch at a cafe somewhere in the Louvre (don't ask me where, I don't think I could ever find it again) and then went to find the Mona Lisa. So once we saw that, we allowed ourselves to take a break and go look for the Arc de Triomphe. For future reference: The Arc de Triomphe is ALOT farther away from the Louvre than it looks. But during our walk, we walked through the "ville de Noel" (christmas village) that was set up on the Champs Elysees. Basically it was a bunch of street venders selling everything from scarves to hot spiced wine. So after our 25 minute walk, we got to the Arc de Triomphe and climbed the 10 million stairs there to get to the top for another panoramic view of Paris.

 

Next, we wanted to go see the Musee D'Orsay, but after riding the subway and walking another 15 minutes, we discovered it was closed :( So once again we decided it was time for a cup of tea and so we thawed out again in a different cafe. We went back to the room after tea so that Grace could rest up a little more, and then we went to see the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle (which it does every hour, on the hour) It was worth standing in the freezing cold for 30 minutes!! We went and found dinner at a cafe, where Grace had her first taste of French wine (she didn't like it) but we had a very kind waiter that gave her an English menu, so it was a good choice of restaurant in the end. By the time we finished dinner, it was late and cold, so we headed back to the apartment to get some sleep.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCn84e4ucE4

Tuesday we decided to go check out the Palace of Versailles. We had to get a train that was not part of the metro system, but by that time we pretty much had the metro figured out, so finding this other train wasn't too difficult. When we got to the palace I was once again completely amazed. We got in free with our museum pass and got to skip all the lines waiting to get in as well. (Those museum passes were AWESOME). Unfortunetely, it was a bit overcrowded, but I got to see everything I wanted to anyway! When we had toured the main palace, we wandered around the gardens until we couldn't feel our hands anymore because of the cold, and then we got a little train back to the petit trianon ( Marie Antoinette's little residence built for her by her husband Louis XVI) I think the petit trianon was my favorite part. It was still beautiful and grand, but not quite to the extent of the actual palace of Versailles.(this picture is in front of the main gate of the palace)

 

By the time we finished at Versailles, it was the middle of the afternoon, and we still wanted to see some things in Paris, so we got the train back, and headed to the quartier called Montmartre, where the Sacre Coeur is located. The Sacre Coeur is a huge basilica that sits on the top of a hill over looking Paris. Unfortunetly, we were not allowed to take pictures on the inside, which made me incredibly sad, because it was the most beautiful church I have ever seen. We sat in awe of the art and carvings until it started to get dark and then we went searching for the Moulin Rouge (just so we could take a picture). After we got our picture, we decided it was time to get dinner. The night before we left Montpellier I had read online about a cheap bistro called Chartier and I circled where it was located on our map. It looked close to the Moulin Rouge on the map. But really its not. We walked for about 35 minutes before we finally found it, and Grace was about ready to kill me by the time we got there, but it was so worth it. The food was wonderful and it was cheap. Also, it was a restaurant where you had to share your table with people you didn't know. At first Grace and I were not happy with this whole idea, but then they sat a man from Canada at our table that spoke perfect English. He also worked for an advertising agency which is what Grace wants to do once she finishes college. So she gained a buisness contact, and a great french dinner!  After dinner, we went on the hunt for sorbet for Grace, but couldn't find anything cheaper than 8 euros, and so (I am soooo ashamed to admit it) we ended up at McDonalds. Afterwards we crashed into bed.


Wednesday we woke up early because we wanted to do some shopping before we got our train back to Montpellier. So we said goodbye to our host mom, did our shopping and got the train. Not a very exciting day, but we were exhausted after doing so much the previous 3 days that a nice relaxing day was welcomed.

Now we are back in Montpellier and I had classes all day today while poor Grace had to sit and wait for me to come home. She did walk into town and buy herself a panini. I was very proud of her! She is staying with me until Sunday at which point she will fly back to the US to finish up her semester, and at which point I will have 3 tiny weeks left before I come home. I'm still not sure how I feel about that...Excited? A little... Sad? A lot

 

(hopefully the videos I put in here work...if they don't check back later and I'll put the links to youtube in intead)

 

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Week 10

Monday, 15 November 2010 21:26 by eel001

Germany...check

 

So this past week, Alyssa and I took a long trip to first the city of Strasbourg and then to some small cities/towns in Germany. We had a day off last Thursday for Rememberance Day (their version of Veterans Day) and we never have classes on Wednesday so we took off early on Wednesday morning to get to Strasbourg. The train ride took literally all day. France is a lot bigger than it looks on a map! By the time we got there is was dark and rainy, but we found our hostel fairly easily and went out to a French version of a sports bar. We made it a pretty early night because all the travelling made us really tired. We went back to the room and watched some tv and hit the sack.

 

The next morning we woke up early and went to get breakfast (included in the price of the hostel!) They had pastries and cereal and fruit and coffee...I wish that I ate there every morning for breakfast! So we finished eating and checked out of our hostel and went walking around Strasbourg to see the sights. Unfortunetely, it was a holiday and so almost all of the museums and sights we wanted to see were closed, but we did get to see some beautiful streets and shops and we took a boat tour around the city as well. It was really cold though. We hadn't realized how much we had gotten used to the mild climate of Montpellier until we went to Strasbourg where it was cold and windy, more of a PA climate. It was only 45 degrees and windy...but thats nothing compared to how it can get at home...I'm a little nervous about that... haha. We had a pretzel and some crepes for lunch (not so healthy but hey...it was vacation) and we had to be on a train to Germany by 5 so we grabbed a quick bite before we got on the train. We were in Germany by 8 but we had to buy tickets to get from Frankfurt to the town where were staying, which is about 20 minutes outside of Frankfurt. We bought those tickets and got on the train, and sat waiting to get off at our stop. The problem with riding trains at night in a country where you don't speak the language is that you can't understand what they're saying when they announce the next stop, and you can't see out the window to read the name of the train station while it comes into view. So because of these things, we missed our stop. We ended up getting off at the next one and trying to find a phone to call Alyssa's family. We couldn't get the pay phone to work so we ended up in a really shady restaurant where the owner let us use his phone. We called her family and let them know where we were and went to wait for the next train headed in that direction. Eventually, we got to where we needed to be and finally got the the appartment at about 11:30.

 

We stayed in a small town close to Frankfurt called Darmstadt. Alyssa has family there and they were nice enough to put us up in an appartment that they have. It was fully furnished complete with king sized water bed. The only problem was, there were hardly and dished, and there was absolutely no food. We had a loaf of bread, butter and some cheese. We tried to make grilled cheese the first night we were there, but we couldn't find a skillet, and when we tried to turn the oven on, it started smoking like crazy. I imagine no one has cooked in that appartment in at least 5 years. So, needless to say, we went grocery shopping the next day. I couldn't get over how cold and windy Germany was! I feel like we went at a bad time of the year, and that we picked a bad part of Germany to visit, because I didn't see very much that impressed me. Darmstadt looked like a town built up around a factory and Frankfurt reminded me a lot of New York City. Our second day there, however, we took a train to a small town called Heidelberg which was very pretty. It rained the whole time, but I feel like if you were to go there when it was sunny and warm, it would be absolutely beautiful. We got there kind of late in the day because we decided to sleep in that morning, but we had some traditional German bratwurst and then walked around the rest of the time. The buildings were all very old fashioned, and the town kind of reminded me of what the North Pole looks like in movies. And I feel like without the rain it would have been lovely. There is a castle there as well, but we didn't get time to take the cable car ride up the mountain to get there, because it got too late and it was starting to get dark by the time we found the castle. We did our grocery shopping in Heidelberg, which was quite an experience. Everything was in German of course, so we were trying to find cheap pasta and sauce to make back at the appartment to save us some money. I have no idea how to say tomato or sauce in German, so we grabbed something that looked like tomato sauce and some cheap pasta, as well as some food for breakfast the next day. I wish I had recorded me trying to check out. There was a huge line of German people and the cashier didn't speak any English. I tried to use my credit card and she started saying something to me in German. I told her that I was sorry but didn't speak any German. She just looked at me weird and repeated what she said in the first place. Alyssa just kind of stood there and giggled at me, and eventually I just gave her cash.

 

We got the train back home and made ourselves dinner. It turned out the sauce wasn't exactly spaghetti sauce, and reminded me more of a steak sauce, but it worked out alright. This was the night that we thought we were going to die. It was crazy windy outside and the appartment is on the very top of a 3 story building. The wind was shaking the security blinds and we were trying to be all positive and happy and pretend like everything was ok, even though only 1 heater worked in the whole appartment, we were freezing and we had no idea where her family was if we had a problem. So just as we were cleaning up dinner, we here the loudest crash I have ever heard coming from the attic. So naturally, our mind jumps to the conclusion that there was someone up there. So we were both freaking out, but trying not to make any noise in case there was someone up there. So eventually, after we calmed down a bit, I went and got my mace, and we took 2 steak knives out of the drawer in the kitchen and went up the stairs to see who/what it was. Alyssa was the hero in this situation, she went up the stairs first. Yes, I'll admit I was being a wimp and made her be brave. It was pretty much the longest walk up 15 stairs ever, but when we got up there it turned out it was a board that was used to block off a crawl space that had fallen over. So, we sighed in relief, but we were both pretty freaked out. We went and checked all the other rooms to make sure there was no one there, and spent the rest of the night kinda watching our backs and checking to see that all the doors and windows were blocked. So, needless to say, we didn't sleep too well that night.

 

The next day, we spent some time visiting with Alyssa's family, and then finished the rest of the pasta for lunch. We then decided to go into Frankfurt and stay there over night since we had to catch a plane to Montpellier the next day. We got into Frankfurt early in the afternoon, and found our hostel. Which was right in the middle of the red light district. But we didn't really have any problems because of that...we left all of those people alone and they left us alone. We went out to look around the town to see what there was to do, and it turns out Frankfurt = New York City except its all in German. Basically, there was shopping. And thats pretty much it. There were museums of course, but by the time we got there they were all closed. So we walked around town for a little bit, and then got dinner at a tiny little German tavern on a side street. This was pretty much my favorite part of Germany. Our waiter was hilarious and was really nice about us not being able to speak German. We got some sausage and sourkraut as well as some German beer. We finished off the meal with apple strudel of course. It was soooo much food. By the time we left, we had each spent 20 euros and we could barely walk we had eaten so much. But it was so worth it. We went back to our hostel and found French tv (this was super exciting, as watching tv in a language you don't understand is somewhat boring) and went to bed early, since the night before we didn't sleep at all. This hostel was not quite as amazing as our first one. The beds were bad. But that made me appreciate my bed back here at my host family's house so much more!

 

We checked out of our hostel the next morning and went to the airport to catch a bus which took us to another airport where we caught our plane. It was a whole day of just waiting around to be taken to the next spot. But eventually, we got to the right airport and got on our 35 euro Ryanair flight. It was not that wonderful of a flight, as it was still rainy and windy, and at one point the plane dropped in the sky so drastically the flight attendant flew off the floor a little bit. This wasn't a good thing, since there were about 5 infants on board. So by the time we got to Montpellier, Alyssa and I basically ran off the plane to get to calmer air. Alyssa's host mom met us at the airport and was nice enough to drive me home. I came home, ate dinner and crashed early last night. It was a big weekend, and it wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I am so grateful that I got to see another country and another culture!

 

One thing I learned while I was in Germany is that I speak French waaayy better than I thought I did. I couldn't understand a word people were saying, on tv, in restaurants, in stores, nothing. But when I'm in France, I pretty much always know what's going on. And I guess its because I'm actually beginning to speak the language pretty well! So I gave myself a little pat on the back for that!  Alyssa and I also both noticed that German people are much more open and welcoming than people in France. They are willing to help you if you're confused or lost, and most everyone either speaks English, or will help you to find someone that speaks English if they don't. So, while I didn't think the country itself was too wonderful, I found the people to be completely worth the trip.

 

Nothing too exciting is happening this week, but on Saturday, my friend Grace is coming to visit and we're going to see Paris the beginning of next week! I'm rapidly running out of money, but i'm hoping I can eat 1 euro sandwiches from the Monoprix all this week to save money for the trip next week! I'll keep you posted! Also, check back later for pictures from Germany! I'll try to get them up asap!

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Week 8

Wednesday, 3 November 2010 23:01 by eel001

A little taste of home

 

So its hard to believe, but my dad has come and gone already. A week or so ago when I wrote I was a bit concerned about him getting here with the strikes going on, but he had no problems and got into Montpellier ahead of schedule last Wednesday. When I met him at the airport, we went and picked up the rental car and then had the difficult task of finding our way back to my house. Without a map of Montpellier. It was interesting, but once we found the tram tracks, we just followed them to my stop. Thank goodness for the tram.

 

So I got him all settled into his room and then I introduced him to my host mother. Talk about awkward exchanges. She speaks no English and the one sentence my dad knows is "Je parle un peu (de) francais" And he always forgets that "de".  It went ok though with me translating for them a little. After that, I took him into the center of the city to look around. He was pretty tired, so we didn't really see that much, but I did take him to the biggest catherdrale in Montpellier which he enjoyed very much. Then, after a cup of tea for me and a coffee for him, we went back to my house. We were supposed to both eat dinner with my host family, but he was so jet lagged that he fell asleep at 8 o'clock. No big deal though, considering he doesn't understand French and all we are allowed to speak at the dinner table is French.

The next morning we slept in for a little, had breakfast, and were out the door by about 11 and on the road to Bordeaux! Now mind you, we didn't have the money to rent a GPS so we had to do this the old-school way. Meaning he was driving and I had about 5 maps I was switching around between trying to find our way to the toll roads...and then trying to find our way NOT on the toll roads, considering we drove about an hour and a half on the toll road and had to pay 20 euros. This was actually a blessing in disguise however, because we got to see so much more of France. We drove through many small towns and farming villages and it was absolutely goregous. The leaves were all changing colors and they have trees lining almost all of their roads.

 

So we finally get to Bordeaux at about 730 on Thursday night. We checked into our hotel and then walked into the center of town to find dinner. We ended up at a little restaurant with a 3 course meal for 12 euros each. It wasn't a bad deal at all. After we ate we just walked around a little and then went back to the hotel to get some sleep, as my dad was still incredibly jet lagged. Friday morning we woke up and went to get breakfast at the hotel. They had a buffet and it was probably the best breakfast I've had since I've been here. They had a cereal that had strips of coconut in it! It was awesome! So anyway, I had gone through one of the tourist booklets they had given us at the hotel and marked down all of the monuments that I wanted to see around the city. So we spent all day walking around and looking at churches and monuments and fountains. There was a fair in Bordeaux this past weekend and so we had lunch there. It was quite different from American fair food! (I'm so sad I missed the York Fair this year!) In the afternoon, we took a walk through Bordeaux's public garden, which has Central Park beat by a long shot. There are huge open fields as well as a beautiful stream running through the middle of the park with really pretty iron bridges running over it at many points. There is also a botanical part of the garden, but we couldn't get into that part because it was being renovated. By this point in the afternoon, Dad was falling asleep again, and so we went back to the hotel to rest for a little before we went out to dinner. I learned on Friday night that I need to work on my food vocabulary. I can go to the doctors office, I can go shopping and describe what kind of clothes I want, but put a French menu with all kinds of different sauces and cheese and meats and I get somewhat confused. After we walked around for a while, we came across a cute little italian restaurant on a back street. The food was delicious, and halfway through the meal a little girl at a table next to us caught her napkin on fire. Her father threw in on the floor and stamped it out but then he had to go outside to control his anger. I couldn't stop laughing. It reminded me of something I would've done at that age. After dinner, we went to walk through the fair but it started to rain. So we ended up at a bistrot for a drink and then went back to the hotel room to rest up for our wine tour on Saturday.

 

This is me in one of the many "parks" in Bordeaux

Saturday morning we had to be at the Office of Tourism at 9:15 so we had to get up somewhat early. After breakfast and our walk over to the office, we got onto a European version of a tour bus (its different from in America, but I couldn't quite put my finger on why...I think its taller and thinner?) and went to a wine museum. The museum actually used to be the house of an irish wine merchant that lived in Bordeaux. We got to walk through the bottom half of the house which used to be the wine "cave". It was very interesting, but very small, and so the 30 or so of us who were part of the group had some trouble seeing and hearing everything, but luckily there were plaques and pictures everywhere to make up for what we didn't hear. At the end of that tour we got to sample 2 wines. The first thing I learned on Saturday- I really don't know how to tell wines apart using the right vocabulary. All I can say is I didn't like the red, but the white was good. I guess i'll have to get a "Wine for Dummies" book. Or as they call it in France "Le vin rouge pour les nuls" ANYWAY, after the museum we went to lunch at a little wine and cheese restaurant in a back street away from the hustle and bustle of things. It was quite the experience! Lunch was preordered, prepaid so we didn't have much of a choice as to what we were going to eat. The first course was some kind of a soft goat cheese floating in warm cream...yeah. I don't know how you feel about goat cheese, but I know how I feel...and I don't feel good about it. But I ate it anyway thinking it was just one of those "aquired tastes"...we'll get to the second part of that story later. The second course was leg of duck and hashbrowns(in France!! I was so excited!) Then we had a cheese course. I think this was my favoirte part. They take away your lunch dishes and then send you down a set of stairs to the basement. Where they have a room completely FILLED with every single kind of cheese you could think of...except cheddar. But they gave you a plate and a knife and you just got to go around and pick and choose which cheeses you wanted to try. I stuck to the cheese made from cows milk. After the cheese course we had a lemon cake for dessert. It was a very yummy lunch and I made friends with the store owner. It seems like anytime you tell an older French man that you're in France to learn the language they get really excited and want to talk to you about your life. I enjoy it though, because it gives me someone else to practice with! He did make fun of me for only eating "cow" cheese though haha.

 

 

We're sitting on the grape sorting table here at the last vineyard we visited

After lunch they piled us on the tour bus again. And unfortunetely, I forgot to take my Dramamine that day. And the first vineyard was a 30 minute bus ride away. On back roads. And so, due to this combination of things, as well as the fact that I kept tasting goat cheese in my mouth, I was not feeling so lovely by the time we got to the first vineyard. So I had to sit outside for a while trying to keep my lunch down, but my dad got to hear a lot about the first vineyard. Once I started feeling a little better I tuned in for a little, and learned that most of the wine coming out of Bordeaux is mixed wine, meaning it comes from 2 different kinds of grapes. I also learned that to mix the wine, they put grapes into a big silvery machine that reminds me alot of something you would see milk stored in. It was all very technical and there was quite a few steps until you finally got to the point where the wine could be put into barrels. I also learned that mixed wine needs to be stored in wooden barrels for at least a year in order to age properly. So there you are! Now I've educated you a little bit!  There were two more wine tastings at this vineyard but I decided for the sake of my stomach to pass on them. My dad got to try them though!!   The second vineyard we went to was privately owned and much smaller. At this vineyard, all of the grapes are picked by hand so that they can better decide which grapes to keep and which to throw away. That sounds too tedious to me. I can't even stand going out to pick green beans from the garden for my mom and that takes maybe 15 minutes. There were two more wine tastings here as well, but I was still tasting that goat cheese so I let it go until dinner. I figured that I could miss out on some free wine if I could avoid throwing up. We got back to Bordeaux around 530 and my dad and I went to a cafe to get a coke because my stomach was still doing weird things. We decided to do a little walking around and found a chocolate store that had a piano made completely out of chocolate. It wasn't a full-sized piano of course but it was about a foot long! I wanted it, but it was 85 euros and there's no way I could've gotten it home. It was amazing though. My dad and I bought ourselves some goodies and then we walked around looking for a pastry shop, because I was craving a pain au chocolat. Unfortunetly, they were all closed so I didn't get my pastry, but thats ok. 7 more weeks to eat pastries :)  We were both pretty tired by Saturday night so we decided to just go get sandwiches and snacks at the local grocery store and to go back to the hotel room and eat there and watch tv. It was nice to just get to spend time with him and to be just plain American for a meal.

 


Sunday morning we got up and decided to go on a castle hunt. My dad had originally wanted to see Verseilles in Paris, but with the strikes we figured it was better to avoid Paris. So we googled castles in the south of France and found a bunch that weren't too far from Bordeaux. So we took out our maps again and drove until we found a couple of them. I don't remember the exact names of them and thats terrible of me. But the way it happened, was that we had a general idea of where they were and we just drove in that direction, and when we came around a corner there was just a giant castle sitting on a mountain, so we drove up the mountain, paid an entrance fee and walked around that castle. And then when we got to the top of that castle, we looked over the valley and saw 4 other castles we could go and visit. So we drove to the next nearest one and paid the entrance fee and visited that one. By this time it was about 430 and the castles were starting to close and it was getting dark. So we only got to see 2 but thats more than I've ever seen before in my life, so I was quite happy. We drove to a nearby town for diner and we got there around 530. Being the silly Americans that we are, we thought we could walk in and order food and they would give it to us. However, there was not a single restaurant in this tiny French town that sold dinner before 7 at night. So we had to get back in the car and keep driving because Montpellier was still 4 hours away. Finally we got off the road and found a French diner. There is no other way to describe it. It was an upscale diner though, with wine bottles on the table. We ate dinner quick and got back in the car to keep driving. We got to Montpellier at about 1 in the morning due to the lack of road signs in France. All I can say is, if you don't have a GPS or someone reading maps to you in the front seat, don't even try to drive in France...it just won't work. They have next to no road signs and if they do have road signs they are posted right next to or 5 feet past the road or exit you needed. So by the time we got home on Sunday night, I was quite exhausted and enjoyed a much earned sleep.


It looks like something out of a fairy tale doesn't it?

 

 

I'm at the top!! (See the other castle in the background?)

 

Monday we got up and decided to do some driving around. The idea then hit my dad to go and visit Marseille, for lack of something better to do. So we did some more driving and arrived in Marseille around 1:00. It was pouring down rain, and once again, there was a severe lack of road signs, so we got very lost quite almost as soon as we got into the city. But then we started seeing signs for a church called Notre Dame so we decided to follow these signs and it turned out to be the perfect thing to do! We arrived at a huge church that is at the very top of the city. You can stand at the top of the steps of the church and look out over all of Marseille out to the sea and all the way over to the mountains. It was absolutely gorgeous, even if it was pouring down rain. We got to look around the inside of the church a little bit, but it was quite crowded and a lot of the areas were blocked off because it was All Saints Day. We didn't have time to see anything else in Marseille because we had to get back to Montpellier, but just seeing that chruch made the trip worth while.

 

View from the top of Marseille...in the rain

 

And so Tuesday morning came quicker than I thought it would and I had to take my dad back to the airport and send him home. It was quite sad, but I'm proud to say that I didn't cry like I thought I would. I was a little sad all day yesterday and it feels like this week is going slower, but I'm confident that as I get back into the swing of things time will pick back up again and I'll be begging for things to slow down.  I have nothing too big planned for this weekend, maybe a French cooking class on Friday and perhaps some shopping on Saturday, but other than that I need to spend some time picking classes for next semester and studying for all of the classes that I've missed because of vacation and the strikes. Next weekend, Alyssa and I are heading to Strasbourg and then into Germany to visit her family. I'll take lots of pictures and be sure to tell you all of those stories as well!

 


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Week 7

Monday, 25 October 2010 14:11 by eel001

In the land of knights and dragons

 

So the past week has been somewhat interesting. Monday and Tuesday went by like normal, we had our classes and there were no problems really with the transportation systems. Wednesday we never have classes so that was just fine too. But then on Wednesday afternoon, we got a whole bunch of e-mails telling us that the college students at our university had decided to block the entrances to all of the academic buildings as well as the entrances to campus. And also that they were all planning on camping out in one of the auditoriums overnight, and they were doing all of this because of the strike. They want their retirement 2 years earlier too after all...its not like they don't have 40 years until they can start to think about retirement anyway...*ahem* So, the point is, the university was shut down on Thursday and Friday of last week, including the international section, so we had no classes! The IMLS (the other school in the center of town that organized our home stays) was kind enough to put together some classes for us to make up for missing 2 days at the University. Mind you,  they weren't really classes, but we did spend a lot of time discussing the strike and the French mindset. We also watched the movie Amelie, which if you've never seen I highly recommend it. You can turn on the English subtitles, don't worry. So that was the end of last week. We spent Friday nigh cafe hopping, and I can now tell you that Cafe du Theatre has the best caramel tea, but le Cafe Riche 1893 has fresh fruit they serve with a fondue pot of melted chocolate.

 

Saturday we had another day trip planned by the IMLS. This time we went to Carcassonne, which is a medieval city that was built in the years B.C. Unfortunately, the whole city has been renovated, and apprently looks nothing like it did back then, but it was still a very beautiful city. The old town, which is the part we visited, is a city encircled by 2 sets of ramparts, which a castle in the middle of course. Walking into the city, it seriously felt like I was stepping back in time. Imagine the Renaissance Faire except with a castle...and no actors of course. But that was the feeling I had all day while walking around. Carcassonne is actually the city where they filmed parts of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (the one with Kevin Costner). I've never seen it, so I can't tell you exactly which parts...I apologize. So anyway, we spent the morning driving there, because it was about a two hour trip from Montpellier. Once we got there, the bus let us out at the bottom of the hill and we had to climb up the hill to get to the city.


 

When we got inside, it was already time for lunch. Me and a couple of the other Americans (and the British girl and the Algerian girl) decided to eat with the tour guide. He always takes us to restaurants that serve the specialty of the region, and I always try to be brave and try everything. So this time, it was a dish called Cassoulet...and I'm still not really sure how I feel about it. I believe it was white beans, duck, sausage and beef all mixed together in a big pot of butter. It was the consistancy of a stew and I seriously felt like I was eating food from the medieval times. My stomach wasn't too sure about it either, and I felt somewhat bizarre for the rest of the day after eating it. But I tried it!! This is what it looked like:


So yes. That was lunch. After lunch we went to see the Cathedrale St. Michel, which was absolutely beautiful. The church was designed so that the sun would always be shining in one of the stained glass windows, so the whole front of the church was covered in these beautiful windows. There were also many stone carvings inside as well as an organ made out of wood. Just to give you an idea of how old this place is, there is a tombstone of a crusader on display in the cathedrale. I still find it incredibly hard to grasp that these places are that old! Its amazing!! I was a bit distracted inside the cathedrale and forgot to take pictures until it was almost time to leave, but here is one of the window at the front of the church. You can kind of see off to the right the beginning of the next set of windows.


After the catedrale, we went to see the castle. It was a smaller castle and most of the rooms were empty, so it didn't really have the feel of somewhere where people actually lived at one point, but it was still beautiful all the same. The views of the countryside from the castle were amazing as well!!

At the end of the day, we took a quick walk around the top of the ramparts that run around the city and then sampled some of the wine from the area, before getting on the bus to head back to Montpellier. It was a more laid back day trip, but we were given lots of free time to explore by ourselves, and that was kind of fun as well!

 

Sunday it poured allll day long. I went to visit with Alyssa and her host dad during the day and then we went to get coffee and tea at a cafe in the center (I find that since I've gotten here, I drink far more tea than anything else. Alyssa blames it on me spending a lot of time with my british friend Katie, but I just love the fact that they give you your own little teapot full of hot water!! You can get at least 2 and a half cups of tea for 2.80 euros!) Last night, Jany wasn't home for dinner but left me and the other student living in the house, a swedish girl named Felicia, a bunch of premade food and a whole list of instructions as to how to prepare it all. It was kind of fun, just the two of us...i'll relate it to the feeling that a kid gets the first time their parents leave them home alone. We had a good time!

 

Now it is Monday again, but I'm very much looking forward to this week! We have two days of classes and then break starts on Wednesday, which means my dad is coming!! I'm hoping that the on going strike doesn't put too much of a dent into our plans. He is renting a car so that we don't have to rely on trains to get us places, so that should be quite interesting. We are going to Bordeaux on Thursday and staying there until Sunday. We booked a wine tour on Saturday, which should be quite interesting! My dad doesn't speak a word of French! I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and update you on how that goes!

 

Until next time!

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Week 6

Monday, 18 October 2010 21:56 by eel001

Oh the downside of freedom

 

So if you've ever seen Les Miserables, you have seen what the French can do when they're not getting what they want. Fastforward a couple hundred years....and you get the strike that is happening right now throughout all of France. It isn't quite as bad as the war scene with all the guns and stuff, but they all gather in the streets and rally and they stop the trams and buses from running and it makes life rather difficult for an innocent bystander such as myself. Things have gotten dangerous in some cities like Paris, and I have some friends that live near the center of town that say it can get quite scary at times here, but for the most part, it hasn't affected me other than not having trams or buses running...so I'm stuck at home. They are supposed to be voting on a solution to that problem this coming Thursday, and I'm hoping things calm down after that. My dad is supposed to come visit me next Wednesday and I'll be quite disappointed if he can't come because the airlines are striking too!!

 

So the last time I wrote, I was still getting over that nasty cold. I finally went to the doctor last Wednesday which was quite an experience. First, the doctors office isn't a building that is specifically set aside for healthcare..it is literally a single office in an office buildling...meaning its just one room. You walk into the room and there is a desk. So its literally an office. You sit on one side of the desk and the doctor is on the other. He then asks you about your symptoms there, in a business setting, and writes them all down. (This was an experience in and of itself...thank goodness I was taught health vocabulary in 11th grade...Merci beaucoup Madame Bailey!) The doctor didn't speak a single word of English. But moving on. Once he wrote down all of my syptoms, he pulled back a curtain and voila, a miniature examination room. Complete with that annoying paper they put on top and tear off after each patient leaves. He had me lay down on the table to take my blood pressure and then started tapping and feelings weird parts of my body that I didn't think had anything to do with a head cold i.e. my stomach. The part that really got me was when he went to listen to my lungs. I was wearing a camisole underneath my shirt and so I assumed that he could hear my lungs. How wrong I was. He lifted up my shirt without any kind of a warning!! I was quite surprised, but he's a doctor right? Anyway, he gave me a prescription for cough syrup, told me I would live and 22 euros later, sent me on my way. I'm now feeling much better and only take the cough syrup before bed. Yay.

 

So this past Sunday, my host family took me and Felicia, the swedish girl also living in the house, on a little day trip around the south of France. It was....interesting to say the least! Felicia and I were told on Saturday night that we would be leaving on Sunday at 9:30. So we both got up and got dressed and went down for breakfast. We ate, got done eating and were waiting to leave, when Jany came out and told us that Jean-Louis went to get bread for the sandwiches which she was going to make for lunch and had not yet returned. So we both went back upstairs and waited to leave until they called us at 10 to leave. When we got in the car and started to pull out of the drive way, a policeman on a motorcycle came by and told us we couldn't leave now, due to a marathon that was passing right in front of our house. And so we sat in the driveway for 15 minutes watching french men run by. It was interesting, however. Apprently all of the marathon runners in France are allowed to have one person ride beside them on a bike...for moral support? in case they fall over? I'm not sure why, but all the runners had their biker! My host mother, was not happy about this whole situation. Most of the main roads needed to get out of the city were blocked off because of the marathon, and so it took us about 20 minutes to even get out of the city. We were about 10 minutes into this trek when my host parents got into a little arguement:

 

Jany: Turn left, then go back around in a circle to that street where I said to turn right!!

Jean-Louis: Woman, you're starting to "annoy me" (this was not the phrase he used, but considering this is through the school, I'll keep it clean :) )

Jany: I SAID WE SHOULD LEAVE AT 9:30 AND YOU HAD TO STOP IN TOWN TO GET A NEWSPAPER AFTER YOU GOT THE BREAD EVEN THOUGH I TOLD YOU TO COME STRAIGHT HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!


Jean-Louis: *grumbles in french*

Marijo: We'll get there!! Hey! We'll get there!! It's all good! It'll be good! YAY! We'll get there!!!

(Marijo is Jany's best friend, she spends a lot of time at the house and came with us on the daytrip)

Ok. So we finally get out of Montpellier and start driving all over the countryside. The first place we go to is a lake that was man made for the purpose of irrigation of (for?) the surrounding fields. It was interesting because there used to be a town where the lake now is, and the people were made to move out of the town so that the lake could be filled in. There are a few houses that survived and stand at once was the highest point of the town, and is now the lowest point of the valley before you reach the lake. Somewhat confusing, but it makes sense if you read it through a couple of times.


 

We then drove to a monastery which dates back to prehistoric times. It was waaayy far up in the mountains and we were basically the only people there visiting, but it was beautiful and peaceful. Somewhat creepy at parts (a room called "The Passage of the Dead" ??!) but definetly worth seeing. It was freezing cold all day though!! So, as we learned that the monks who lived there lived without any heating of any kind, I definetly felt like I was experiencing the real deal. It was a small little place, but quite beautiful all the same.

 

We had a picnic lunch on the side of the road around noon. Except it wasn't really a picnic because we ate in the car because it was so cold. But it was fun none the less. And even when they picnic, the French bring the cheese and the wine! You gotta love 'em.

 

In the afternoon, we went to St. Guilhem-le-Desert, which is a very small town that is also waaay up in the mountains. St. Guilhem was the cousin of the famous Charlemagne (an ancient king of France...if you don't know about him, you should read about him.) It was everything you imagine when you think about a small country town in France. Beautiful buildings, cobblestone streets, long, thin roads leading up to the top of the town...And it was surrounded by mountains. I would recommend going to see it if you ever get the chance! At the top of one of the near-by mountains are the ruins of a castle as well, but we couldn't get up to the top to see it because the sun was starting to set.

 

So that is a miniature day trip all crammed into one tiny blog post. It really was quite an educational day, and I will try to get photos up as soon as the internet stops being dumb. This week, the strike is supposed to be at its worst, so I might have some interesting stories by Friday. Also, on Saturday we are heading to a town called Carcassonne, so keep your eyes open for the post from that trip!!

 



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Week 5

Monday, 11 October 2010 00:39 by eel001

Note to self : Avoid the French common cold

 

Yes. I'm still sick. I just can't seem to get rid of this nasy cold! Every time I think I'm almost over it, I wake up coughing or with a congested head. It doesn't help that the weather is being bizarre lately. Its freezing in the mornings and the evenings, but in the upper 70's during the day. But! The good news is, everyone is getting sick and its been quite a bonding experience!


"So I tried this french cough syrup. It tasted like candy thats been laying in the cupboard since Christmas 1999."

"Oh yeah? Did it work?"

"Yeah, you gotta try it. It knocked me out good"

Or my personal favorite was this past Friday, when even our written expressions teacher was sick and looked like she was ready to fall over. My good friend Katie from England offered her cough drops and Mme. Asso looked like it was the best gift anyone had given her. Like I said, Great bonding experiences!

 

Sadly, however, because of this obnoxious cold and the current world state, I was not able to do anything too exciting this week other than to go ice skating and to take a test on le futur proche, le futur simple, et le future anterieur...and lets just say I need some more work on my future tenses after that test...

Other than that, Kaitlyn and I decided to do some exploring around our house. We walked about half an hour down the road and found a wildlife reserve, right in the middle of the suburb! It felt like we were out in the woods and there was a beautiful waterfall down one of the hiking trails. We didn't stay long because the park was closing soon, but we plan on going back and when we do, I'll bring my camera.


And so that is all I have to share for now! I guess that this is really becoming like home to me *gasp!* I'm falling into a routine, sharing the bathroom with 2 other girls and even getting bored sometimes! Its so hard to believe that I've been here 5 weeks already! Only 10 more left! Just typing that stresses me out! I have so much to do and see in that short amount of time. I'm crossing my fingers that my money holds out until December!

 

We're trying to plan a trip next weekend. I'll be sure to keep you posted!

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