Monday, July 11, 2011

only 3 weeks left....

As I started my July semester at l' Institut Catholique, I realized I only have 3 weeks left here in France. I am starting to feel that same bittersweet feeling I felt before I left the United States. I have done so much here in France and learned so much! I have gone on amazing trips and excursions and seen things some people only dream of seeing.

The weekend before my July semester started, I went to visit my cousins in the south of France with my friend Christine. It was an amazing opportunity and I spoke much more French there than I do here in Paris. I have progressed in the language and I thought that this last month of July would continue to better my French.....however, I was sadly mistaken. My class this semester is absolutely horrible and my teacher is crazy. She doesn't explain anything and seriously lectures for 3 hours straight.....not even letting us--students--talk to try and improve our French. We are also learning things that are elementary and it is just not what I payed a large amount of money for. For this reason, I am ready to go home---I miss my family and my friends back in Alabama.

HOWEVER, the people that I have met here in France have made this such an amazing adventure. This month, I could not ask for better roommates and better friends. We are all so different but we get along great; we all go out and have amazing times...we have little parties/get-togethers that are always quite amusing---especially since some of the girls tend to have dance offs--------like I said, so amusing. I will be sad to leave because there is a small chance that I will see some of these people ever again. Although, I do want to take a trip to Canada to see my awesome Canadian roommates again!

These next three weeks are going to go by so fast and before I know it, I will be back in the heart of Dixie.

Friday, June 17, 2011

How time flies...

...when you are in PARIS.  I apologize for the delay in my posts; Paris has just kept me so busy. Since my last post and the start of classes, my life has just been non-stop! I have seen Giverny, the home of Claude Monet, Paris via boat ride, the Eiffel Tower, Disneyland Paris, and many other things. The second week of classes was a bit difficult. Naturally, I missed everything and everyone from back at home....a little more than I had in the 2 weeks before then. All I could think about was going home and counted the days till I returned to the Heart of Dixie. Thankfully, I had found ways to occupy my time; I went out, met new people, and also went to Disneyland. I stopped thinking of the things that I could be missing at home and finally realized all the awesome things here in Paris. Since then, I have been much happier and the couple weeks after that haven't seemed to drag.---sure I can't wait to go home, but right now, I am in not rush.

There has only been one thing that really has bothered me since I have been here; this past weekend, I went to Montmartre and the Sacre-Coeur for the first time ever....and it was so OVERWHELMING. There were little vendors on the streets and little gambling/risk games. When I arrived at the base of the Sacre-Coeur, there were a BUNCH of "string bracelet" men. They were standing in a line waiting at one of the landings on the stairs. The string bracelet men tried to trap you into paying for a stupid bracelet by grabbing your arm and not letting you go---while not letting you go, they start to make a string bracelet on your wrist.....and then INSIST that you pay for it----even when you didn't ask for them to make one. ANYWAYS, to continue on with my story, so I see all the string bracelet men lined up, just WAITING to trap someone into paying. So I just minded my own business, tried not to pay attention to them.... AND GUESS WHAT HAPPENS? One of the men grab me and wouldn't let go. I told him to let go of me but he would. I kept walking, with him still attached to my arm---the only thing I could think of---short of hitting the guy---was to rip my arm away. THANKFULLY I got my arm free and was able to walk away. But for a split second, I had no idea what to do.....I didn't want them to get violent/aggressive with me---well more so than they had. Those men are lucky they aren't in the United States....or else people would probably press some kind of harassment charge against them.

That has been the only thing that has frightened me here/the only thing that has bothered me here. SO if you ever go to the Sacre-Coeur, watch out for the string bracelet men and their gimmicks.

This weekend I am going to Amboise.....I honestly do not know where it is, or what is there......BUT IT IS AN ADVENTURE. I will tell y'all all about it next time!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


SORRY that I haven't updated y'all in forever; it has been super hectic here in sweet Paris. This week, not only did I move into my apartment, but it was also my birthday and the start of class for me. On Sunday, me and my roommate (here in France) Kristin moved into our apartment--its cute...and has three bedrooms. However, when we got here we realized that there was no common area, the toilet was broken, and the third room had previously been occupied by a smoker----a smoker that smoked inside and in her room. To say the least, that room REEKED of smoke....and almost a week later, its still reeks---and I can tolerate my fair share of smoke. OH and our toilet is still broken.....go figure :( . But besides that the apartment is great.

The two other girls (besides me and Kristin) arrived in Paris on Sunday and moved into their housing; since then we all have gotten to know each other and hang out. Monday I had my French oral exam; it went pretty well and  then Tuesday, I started class....the first day of class was not only 6 hours long, but it was my BIRTHDAY. Not going to lie, it really did suck that I had 6 hours of class on my birthday-sadly I didn't get to celebrate my birthday on my actual birthday, but me and the three other girls went out last night to celebrate. There is this AWESOME bad in Paris called "Urgence Bar." It is located in the medical district and everything there is medical themed; for example, the drinks were all named after medical terms and they were served in test tubes and baby bottles. It was sooo funny. When we first got there, it was empty----I though "Oh great, this place must not be that  good if there is no one really here." However, I was VERY mistaken. The place filled up within the next half hour. The service was great and the bartender was very entertaining. If any of y'all EVER take a trip to Paris, I would recommend that you just stop in into Urgence definitely is a fun time!
The menu at Urgence Bar...I don't know if you can really see, but some names are "Laxatif," "Massage," and even "Viagra." Strange, but interesting 

Me and my roommate!

These were the little tables at the bar. Inside this one was an least that is what it looked like.

The back of the menu...stuff on there called "Bouche a Bouche" and "Ventousse"

This table just had a bunch of medication in it

Me....and my "baby bottle." Haha definitely a fun way to celebrate

This week, I have been constantly on the go. Today, I do not have class so the four of us in the program are going on a "Heart of Paris" we are going to be tourists for the afternoon! Then hopefully, we are going to go see the "Hangover 2." Sidenote: strange enough, the French changed its title from Hangover 2 to "Very Bad Trip 2." It makes no sense to my why they did that...... ANYWAYS, I gotta go so I will update y'all later....hopefully it won't be another week till I do so.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Can't I be a Queen?!

I finally got to really relax today and catch up on some sleep. This trip has been amazing so far but it has taken a toll....I did not want to walk around looking like a complete ZOMBIE. today, so I just spent some time relaxing on the couch. Listening to Glee and watching old episodes of some awesome shows was EXACTLY I needed. Yesterday was amazing!!!! I got to see the Chateau Versailles. It has been something I have been wanting to visit since I started learning French history when I was little and when I saw the movie "Marie Antoinette" with Kirsten Dunst. I mean come on, the Castle is AMAZING! So a little background on the Chateau---I was talking to my friend from back home yesterday and she had NEVER heard about the Chateau or what it even was. The Chateau was planned and started by Louis XIV--he was known as the Sun King. He was very dedicated to the arts and made sure that his castle would be very intricate. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette lived in Chateau prior and during the French Revolution almost till their execution. When Marie Antoinette came to Versailles, she decided to add her own little touch to it....she was the ONLY Queen to add anything to the castle. She had her own property within the whole area of Versailles-----which the whole property of Versailles, including Marie Antoinette's domain is 7,800 hectares...just a note: one hectare is equal to 100 acres (aka: ITS ENORMOUS).  Anyways, enough with the facts and history, and onto the photos:
Part of the outside of the gate at Versailles

This building which is part of the chateau says "All the glories of France." Which makes sense because the Chateau has a lot of history, and the architecture itself shows the beauty and art of France.

The outside gate....the gate and fence are plated with gold

Me in front of this awesome gate....who wouldn't want this in front of their house?! haha

There were sooooo many amazing things to see at Versailles. The current exhibition is the Royal thrones, so throughout the Chateau, there are the thrones which belonged to many of the nobles and the royalty. The most interesting and amazing things, to me, to see were the king's room, the queen's room, the hall of mirrors, and Marie Antoinette's village.

Napoleon's Throne

The king's room....amazing!

the queen's room...its beautiful.....a little stiff, but still...who wouldn't want a room that large?

Hall of Mirrors....sooo beautiful. So much light

Entrance into the Hall of Mirrors

Me right before we got to Marie Antoinette's village

bridge to the village....there were like 6 houses that each had different one was for milking, the other was to make wine, etc.

It was such a beautiful day and we we got to Versailles at 10:30am and didn't get back till about 6:30pm----my feet did kill me by the end of the day. There were so many people there yesterday, at least a thousand people easily.....though, Paris is quite large. We were at the Chateau for like 5 hours....and then the rest was travel time...thankfully my mom and I ate at this super cute cafĂ© right down the street from the Chateau. It was interesting because there were these two American girls at the table next to us--they were 18 or 19--and they were acting like the typical teenage americans entering a country where the drinking age is only 18...not 21 like it is in the USA. They were saying things like, "OHHHHHHH I think I am going to get a beer! or a glass of wine!" They also had difficulties ordering and the waiter was looking at them like they were stupid----which wasn't very kid for the waiter to do BUT it was entertaining to say the least.

Tomorrow, I am not really sure what I am doing....but sadly it is supposed to rain. I will update soon! probably around Sunday because thats when I move into my apartment!!!! YEAY!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Exhaustion is totally worth it!

These past couple days have been it seems that everyone in Paris is constantly on the go and never stops. I have been all over Paris and have seen a lot of the things I have not seen since I was 10 years old. Yesterday, I went to Le Centre Georges Pompidou. Le Centre Georges Pompidou is a museum of modern art.....not only does it show modern art, but it is modern art itself:
(Centre Georges Pompidou)

This modern building is smack dab in the middle of the old buildings of Paris----the French love to include modern with the old.....but according to some of the French, they find that the building is taking away from the  beauty of the city.

I also was walked to l'Ile de France which is where Notre Dame is located. L'Ile de France and the river banks and the Seine are my favorite parts to see because there are so many artists and vendors along the streets; there is just so much to see there. I also managed to take a few photos of Notre Dame and the Seine alongside it.

Whenever I see these statues, it always reminds me of the beginning of the film, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." 

My mother would probably kill my for posting this but she won't ever see it sooo yea above is a photo of me and my mom on the Seine
Notre Dame

Today I was supposed to go to the Chateau de Versailles but unfortunately it was closed I am going there on Wednesday. Since I couldn't go to Versailles today, my mom and I went to check out the apartment that i will be moving into on Sunday and then I went to check out the l'Institut Catholique de Paris--which is the school I will be attending. After that my mom and I just walked back---however it was a very long walk and made us very sleepy. Along the way back to where we are staying, I saw--for the first time ever--L'Academie Francaise. L'Academie is where the French dictionary and all the ridiculously difficult rules came about. 
 L'Academie Francaise
Me in front of l'Academie

and just a close up because my mom felt like it! haha

Also on the way back we stopped at Maison de Berthillon and had some of the BEST ice cream ever! So if you are ever in Paris, I suggest getting some icecream at Berthillon! Well that is pretty much the adventure for today and I am completely exhausted...I am not used to waking up at 8am in the morning and walking around ALL day. But its the price I pay to see some amazing things

Well thats all for now folks! Update y'all in a couple days!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Oh la la...what a trip

So much for easy travels :( . I arrived in France around noon yesterday---and remember, France is 7-8 hours ahead of those living the eastern and central time zones. I left "Sweet home Alabama" at 4pm on Thursday and travelling was far from easy and peaceful. I am one who normally LOVES flying and LOVES travelling, but this time it was just a nuisance. My flight from Huntsville was one of the smallest planes that I have ever been on, and thats coming from someone who has been on the Concord when it was still in use. I know I am a giant and all  but it is bad when I stand up in the isle of the plane and my head touches the ceiling. Anyways, I sit in my seat, only to be cramped by the person in front of me and I felt as if I was nearly in my mothers lap--she was sitting next to me. Thankfully that plane ride was a little less than 2 hours. When we got off the plane my ears were popping and aching while trying to adjust to the air pressure. When we landed, we had to nearly run and change terminals because our flight to France was nearly all much for having an hour layover. Thankfully we boarded okay and my mom said, "Maintenant, nous parlons Francais!"....which means, "Now, we speak French." It was tough speaking French to my mother because I grew up only speaking English to her. But thankfully, she allows me to speak some English to her and she has been a great help. The plane ride started off pretty awesome; each person had their own personal little TV and with probably 50 movie choices---it WAS AWESOME! Just as I was starting to watch "Love and Other Drugs," the rude and unfriendly lady infront or me leaned her seat back ALLLLL the way. Not only could I not see my movie, but I am around 5'10", maybe just a tad bit shorter, and I had this lady basically in my lap. I didn't want to be rude to the lady behind me by leaning my seat back so I asked the lady if she would mind moving her seat up just a little. And you know what she said? "NO! Other people have their seats leaned back so I should be able to lean mine back." OHHHHHHHHHHHHH the answer I had to return to her...but of course I couldn't say it because my mom was seated right next to me and plus, I try to be as polite as possible haha. So anyways, the steward saw the blatant rudeness radiating off this women and he asked her to put her seat up. Which was kind of him but it didn't last long and I was cramped the rest of the 7 and a half hour flight; not able to get any sleep. So I took advantage of the tv and watched TRON and played games as well. By the time we landed in Paris, I had been up for almost 30 hours and was cranky. All I wanted was a nap. However, I was unable to take one because the taxi ride to the apartment was over an hour long---and I feared for my life. PEOPLE IN FRANCE DRIVE LIKE CRAZIES! With the people on mo-peds and motorcycles just zooming in between cars and NOT stopping for pedestrians, I surely thought the taxi driver would get us into an accident.

Thankfully we arrived to our apartment in one piece, only to find that the internet not working, the shower was broken, and the oven and dishwasher won't open. UGH. All I wanted was to shower and sleep BUT I couldn't even do that. So we called the Realtor and they came to the apartment thinking we were "stupid idiots," but they realized that nothing was working. Thankfully an hour later, the plumber had arrived and fixed the shower----we are still waiting on the dishwasher and oven. As for sleep, I completely passed out--on the couch no less--at 7pm only to find myself wide awake at 2am. OH the joys of jetlag. I thought that maybe watching some netflix or catching up on the Bones episode I missed might put me back to sleep; BUT the thing is, netflix and american video website (except for youtube) don't allow you to view the movies or shows in a different country....just my luck. So, of course, I get on facebook and chat with some friends back at home because it was only 7pm their time. Eventually, around 3:30 to 4am I fell back asleep and woke up this morning quite rested--thankfully. Definitely not a morning person so about 12 hours of sleep did me some good.

Well, now that I have caught y'all up on the somewhat obnoxious trip over here, I have to get ready for my day! Catch up with you later!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Goodbye USA, Bonjour France!

This time tomorrow, I will be on a plane on my way to France. I am beyond nervous and just realized that this is really happening. I can not believe I am going to be in France for almost ten weeks and the adventure starts tomorrow. However, I am not looking forward to being up at the crack of dawn to get my day started---there are soooo many things that I need to have done before I get on that plane tomorrow afternoon.

This experience is bittersweet. While talking on the phone to my Aunt, sadness and joy hit me, strange combo I know--I am so excited to meet new people and see new things and experience a life that is completely different that that of my life in the states. But is here is the BUT... I am going to miss everyone close and special to me; I did not get to see all that people that I wanted to see before I left. For those few that I was able to see before leaving, I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to see me, spend time with me, and supporting me throughout this entire process. I couldn't do it with out y'all.

Next time I update, I will be in France where the adventure awaits...eek. Wish me luck.... I love y'all!