Sunday, May 29, 2011

               I’m not even sure how to start this entry. I cannot put into words what all I have learned, experienced, friendships, and life that my study abroad experience has given me. Not only have I grown up a ton, I’ve learned a lot of lessons about the world, about myself, and I fulfilled a dream of mine.

My friends are my life.

Fun times!

One of the first pictures I took.

                I am sure people are going to ask me how my experience was. It is hard to explain because it’s been my life here. I wasn’t just on vacation for a couple of weeks and took lots of pictures, but I had to survive and make friends in a completely foreign country. I built a life here, and it is sad to just say “au revoir” to it and hope maybe one day I might revisit it. It’s bittersweet. I’ve made really good friends here and to not know when I will see them again is sad/scary/weird all in one. We have such close and good relationships here that to go home seems to be giving up on them and that makes me feel sad. I know that that isn’t the way to look at it because that is all part of the experience, but I cannot imagine a day not texting Lelani and going to her flat for coffee, or eating dinner with my Chinese friends and, heck, I might even miss the creepers who have somewhat became my friends.

Gorgeous modern/antique church.

My Chinese and Samy!

Bordeaux <3

Real Madrid.

                I have so many memories of my time here. France (in general) from buying what I thought was a stapler but was really a hole puncher, eating gross goat cheese, drinking too much wine, finding out croissants are terrible after their expiration date, dinner will take three hours, coffee is  a part of daily life, to having to push the button for water on my shower every thirty seconds, to going to an optometrist to buy contact solution, taking the bus, seeing more cathedrals than I knew existed, spending an evening under the Eiffel Tower (twice!) visiting a HS friend who is also here, staying in a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” hotel in Bordeaux, getting lost too many times to count, picnics in the park, pushing myself to try different things, escargot, finding something to do on Sundays when everything is closed, trains, no ice, no air con, no Dr. Pepper, but one great experience!


Afternoon bowling with friends.

Salsa club!

                Spain was such an adventure and I had one heck of a trip! Three girls from different backgrounds who like different things but who all travelled together to make for one fun trip. It was exciting! Too many inside jokes to count, seven hundred pictures, hours on the trains, ten days together, learning how to read a foreign map, gelato out the wazoo, seeing LOTS of fountains, and learning so much about eachother.
                Classes and seeing the difference in the school systems, having coffee vending machines, two minutes from my dorm, no textbooks, and all of it was in French! I think I might actually be excited to sit in a lecture next semester where the prof talks the entire time and uses powerpoint!

My mommy <3

Friends in Rocamadour!

Eiffel Tower=looooove!

Beach in San Sebastian!

                As excited as I am to come home, there are definitely things I am going to miss: hearing Afrikaans, baguettes, 2 euro bottles of wine, REAL Chinese food, hearing French 24/7, reading Le Populaire (Limoges’ newspaper), seeing rugby, cheese, cheese and cheese, but most of all, I am going to miss all of my friends. Lucas, the Chinese who goes with the flow and takes nothing in life for granted. He works hard, is extremely polite, and can make friends and help out anyone. Plus, he cooks! Maryanne and Aude, the Chinese girls who are so sweet with a crazy sense of fashion that somehow always looks cute! They are always smiling and positive people. They even gave me some Chinese tea and a real Chinese coin purse that is so pretty! Klara, the Czech girl who has become my second best friend here and who I will miss a ton. She works hard but still has fun. She stresses too much, is focused to a T, and logical. She will make something of herself. When we came back from Spain I spent the train ride “learning” Czech from her dictionary, so for my parting gift she gave it to me and told me to learn it so I can speak Czech when I come to Prague!

Sangria with Klara!

Czech chicks with the Sooner girls!

Barcelona fountains. So pretty!

And last, Lelani: my very best friend who I am not sure I would have made it through this semester without. She is this bubbly, crazy (in a good way!) wonderful housewife who is always “quickly” doing something, “quickly” making some coffee or tea, makes dinner and treats just because she wants to. She cleans and freaks out even when her house is a “mess” which is still as clean as a museum. She’s been so kind to me in too many ways to count, and I am going to miss her tremendously. Her and Tros have such a cute marriage and I know they are going to be awesome parents and have a fun life. They are genuinely good people. She was the first girl I’ve ever seen to wash a car in high heels, just smile her way into things, and to blurt Afrikaans when she gets angry! Oh, and she always, ALWAYS has her fingernails painted, hair and make-up done, and looks fabulous. She’s a great friend and I am lucky to have met her. Although, on my last day/night in Limoges, I’ve worked like a dog (not really!) helping her pack, going grocery shopping, and giving her a hard time about her packing skills. Oh well, she bought me a Dr. Pepper Zero out of it. Couldn’t think of a better way to spend it. What’s my payback? Waking her up at 5:00am to take me to the airport. J

All of us in Bordeaux...My first adventure!

All in all, I’ve had quite the experience here. While I am not fluent as I had hoped, my French has improved 200% and I know now so much more about the language and my speaking skills. I am more confident if I had to go into a room of French people or even if I had to go to a foreign country by myself. I could survive and I feel pretty darn proud of myself for that. I’ve spent six months living out a dream of mine, seeing places in the world, adapting to a different culture, learning about others and doing it all by myself. Naturally, I couldn’t have done this without support from my family and from my advisors, and I am so, so, so lucky to have had this opportunity. I’ve missed my mommy so much and I cannot wait to see her tomorrow when I step off of the airplane. Thankfully, Skype has been a best friend and Yahoo Mail has never seen so many log-ins from me. Thank you, technology for making this easier to be away from my family and friends. I am quite disappointed though that I’ve spent 100+ days here, and only have, like, 40 blog posts. I was so good and then I got lazy. I guess it just became “life” to me and normal that it seemed silly to update it. Oh well, too late now to change it!

One of many...

Well, it’s my last night here and I doubt I’ll be able to sleep tonight because I am so excited to go home and because I want to sleep on the plane! I plan to take two melatonin after lunch so I will be ready to pass out! Don’t worry, I’ve packed my headache medicine and melatonin this time so I should be set if a wonderful Teryn disaster occurs like normal! My flight is at 6:50 am and I will be home around 10-11:00 pm Monday night. I think with my flights I will be living the same day twice: once in France and once in the US! How about that for having your cake and eating it, too?! I’ve left you enough stuff for now and I don’t want to write more to make me sad. I feel that I will get on the plane and realize that I’m leaving all this and just cry my whole way home. Or it will happen a week from now. We shall see!

Limoges in all its glory.

Please pray for a safe flight for me. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite pictures and that you have enjoyed reading my blog. I’ll keep you all updated on my test results when I get them! Hopefully I will be seeing some of you really soon! Thanks again for all of the support!

Friday, May 27, 2011

THE Test & THE Last Voyage :)

                Well, my test is finished. Let’s just say that it was a bit more difficult than I had hoped, but I still think that I did well. The oral comprehension was tough. The long document wasn’t bad, but the short one was very hard. We got to listen to the long document twice and the short one once, and had I listened to the short one more time, I would have been perfect. Oral comprehension is always my worst part so I was glad to get it over with in the beginning, although a confidence booster would have been nice!

                After was the comprehension of texts. There were two documents: one argumentative and one informative. It was harder than the practice ones (which, obviously were a confidence booster!) but I still feel that is my strong point and that I succeeded. Last was writing expression where we had, in my opinion, quite a stupid subject. It was “You were fired from a French magazine. You are writing a letter arguing your point of view whether to raise the price of the magazine by 20% or whether to double the number of ads inside”. I had to write a minimum of 250 words which wasn’t the hard part since I can talk to a rock! I had one hour and for the first ten minutes I sat there: first trying to understand the question (because it wasn’t written as simple as that!) and second trying to not get writer’s block! Eventually I went on a roll although I think I repeated myself in lots of different ways. No offense, there isn’t a lot to say about that subject. BTW, I said it was better to raise the price 20%. J

                After the exam I was beat! I spent some time with some of my friends and sat my first set of goodbyes. It was sad! Kristen left but it wasn’t that sad because she goes to OU and I know I will see her again. Isaac left to see his family and so it was the last time for me to see him. Also my friend Olivier who is from France so I had to say goodbye to three people in less than 6 hours! It made this leaving thing all real! However, I survived and prepared for a last voyage with my Chinese friends and Klara!

                We spent Friday at Rocamadour. It is a French city (very small) that is basically built into the mountain and hangs on what looks like a cliff. It is really neat and very pretty! After walking 3km from the train station there (where no one worked, it was just there!) we found the Chateau on top which was closed. Like all other chateaus and I personally think it is a waste. They should be open to see or make a museum or something! Not to mention that we didn’t know we wouldn’t be able to enter it, so we walked up this curvy trail, steep, for fifteen minutes after we had walked down to try to find the right road to get to the chateau. After, we had lunch in front of the chateau and headed down the town. We found this cute shop with cheap jewelry and wallets where all of us girls had a grand old time! Then we walked around the town some more, had a coffee looking over the mountain, and headed back home for our train. It was another 3km walk that took a suuuuuper steep hill up and quite a long time. When we got the train station, we had about a fifteen minute wait so after some pictures, we snacked on dried fruit where everyone was amazed I could catch fruit in my mouth if it was thrown into the air, and was told they would remember me as the “American who can catch food!”. Not what I would prefer but I guess it is better than other things to be remembered for!

My Chinese friends at the beginning of our walk!

Voila, Rocamadour!

Send this into Eskimo Joe's, Ma!

Rocamadour et moi!

Thought this was cool.

LOVE this picture.

Peeking around the corner of the little village.

I will forever remember Rocamadour like this picture.

                Tomorrow I plan to pack, pack, and pack! I don’t think I have that much to pack, but I am sure it is more than I really think. Hopefully I can make the 50 pound weight limit again! Who knows what all I have accumulated here. I guess I will find out tomorrow!



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oklahoma gave me a fright even in France!

Good thing I wasn’t in Oklahoma last night. I probably would have died for fear of the many tornadoes. Thankfully, everyone that I was really worried about is safe. I even got out my American phone and sent my sister a text because I was that scared. Tornadoes still scare the crap out of me, even in France. I think I have a serious problem!
                Nothing much has been going on lately. I have spent lots of time outdoors. Klara, Lelani and I had one picnic out by this park with goats! It was like a mini petting zoo but so very fun! I was in love with the baby goats. I think I might have to get one. Hey, I would never have to mow again, right? Later in the week, Klara and I were going to take a trip to Orleans, but after a disaster at the train station with the tickets, we took a bus to some “lake” in Limoges. I use “lake” in quotes because it was more like a manmade pond with friendly ducks. We spent a few hours soaking up some vitamin D and chatting, then headed back home.

Sunday was the last rugby game for me. Limoges is in the semifinals right now and played the last home game (for me at least) on Sunday. They won by one point and it was an exciting game! It was always close and having Lelani and Klara with me helped make it even more fun; as always. This week has been pretty laid back. I have cleaned my room, packed one suitcase, and tried not to go stir crazy. As little time as class took up (only like 5 hours a day) it sure seemed better than having “weekends” all the time! Actually, I haven’t exactly done nothing; I’ve been planning (in my head) what is the first, second, third, things that I will do when I get home. Who will I call first? What will I eat first? What will I think when I go to Walmart and see things in English and hear people talking in English?! It will be different, but a good different.

Lelani and I at the rugby game. I will miss her so much!

Klara and I. I will also miss her. She is such a smart girl with a bright future ahead of her.

Tomorrow is the other three parts of my DELF exam. The first part went very well (or so I think) and I am hoping tomorrow goes just as well, if not better. I don’t know if yall know this, but I don’t have to pass the exam to get credit for it, but I want to pass it. I will be extremely proud of myself if I pass. I want to pass. I know I can, and I want and hope that I do. I think it will allow me to finally be confident and comfortable with my French. I just know it will make me feel like I am on top of the world if I pass. Please say a quick prayer for me! Also, if I pass I promise to be the tutor for all of you who want it, at a small price of course! This certification will up my demand J

I only have five days until I am home, and four more days in my little twin bed I’ve grown so comfortable with! I’ll save my thoughts on leaving for my next entry.



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Part 1:Check

I can finally take a deep breath! Today was my oral exam for the DELF. The whole test is four parts, but we have the oral production part separate from the rest of the test. My time was at 10:00 this morning, and I don't think I have ever been so nervous.

I got up at 8:30 and made a cup of coffee, listened to some French talk radio, and picked out a cute dress to make me feel confident. I checked in and was given a fan of papers to choose two topics, and from those two, choose one. I only read the titles and one was on Erasmus for businesses and the other I cannot remember for the life of me. I remember knowing I knew nothing about it, so I chose the Erasmus for business one. My thirty minute preparation began then and I went to writing away. I've never scribbled so much in my life. Suddenly I just had thoughts and ideas and words come to my mind. I tried to organize it as best as I could to make sense. We aren't supposed to read our paper so I wanted bullet points instead of paragraphs. I finished with my prepping in about 20 minutes and my heart started racing.

With my big bottle of water, I sat the next ten minutes (they weren't ready for me, even though I was dying to go) preparing myself. Trying to stay calm, I took a sip, popped my back, and breathed in and out slowly and said a nice little prayer. There was one professor I did not want to be sitting in on my presentation (there would be two who listen and grade) and, just to my luck, I got her. Not that I don't like her, I just feel she is harsh sometimes and really kind of mean. Saying as I had no other choice, I sucked it up and sat down with her and a lady from the FLE office. After giving my autograph (in case you didn't know, I am famous in France) I began to talk. I attempted to do the triangle thing with your hands to give off an aura of confidence, but it didn't work and my hands were talking as much as my mouth was. I made mistakes, I mispronounced some words, but I said what I meant to. I said it clearly, I gave valid opinions and problems, my thoughts on it, and the pros and cons of the situation. When I finished, I was only asked about 4 questions, and during them, I noticed that I didn't even need to translate back. I just "knew" what was being asked. I won't lie; it is a pretty neat feeling everytime I can do that.

They asked me what I wanted to do and I mentioned teaching French to elementary-aged kids or even doing an au pair position or participating in an exchange program with teachers. The professor I didn't want for my exam told me that "if I want to become a French teacher, I only need to work on my phonetics, really, because I speak French very well." That warmed my heart :) Needless to say, today that professor earned some nice points! She must have not had someone pee in her Post Toasties this morning. The professors acted like they enjoyed and understood what I was saying so I feel very confident in my presentation. I am assuming this is what interviews will be like in the future: two people sitting across demanding answers from me, while I sit alone in a chair on the other side of the table. Talk about intimidating! Nevertheless, I am proud of myself. The highest score is 25, and while I am sure I did not get that, I know I at least passed, and hopefully with around a 11-14. We shall see :)

Now that that big stress factor is out of the way, I am going with Lelani and Klara to have an afternoon soaking up the sun! It is a beautiful day today and should be fun to just do nothing with friends. Eight days until my next exam and I am sure I will sleep as little the night before as I did last night.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

I'll trade class for a concert!

   Despite the “no class” life, life has been pretty exciting around Limoges for me! Since I last updated, I’ve done quite a bit.
                Exhibit A: After spending an afternoon with Lelani and Kelli having coffee and a lemon-ish cake, I watched some Gossip Girl (thanks to Lelani) and slept. On Wednesday I went for a run (which felt amazing!) and then I went to a “Recycling Party”! One had to bring an old electronic to be recycled for entrance to the concert. I don’t know what I was thinking, but I wasn’t thinking it was really a concert, and it was. I know, I am silly! Three groups, all French, who sang in English. It was very fun! No matter how much I love the Jonas Brothers, Miley, and my Rascal Flatts, I can still appreciate and enjoy some good rock! One band was hard-core, one was genre Jason Mraz, and the other reminded me a bit of Rooney! It was still so fun and funny to hear “Merci” after a song instead of “Thank you!” I went with Klara, Kelli, Cosimo (a guy from Italy) and Ebony. Thankfully we found the place on a tiny street no wider than six feet that held La Fourmi, a concert hall similar to the Diamond Ballroom but a quarter of the size. I had front row seats! Then again, since less than 100 people were there, everyone kind of did!

Such rockers.

                You know how I have a big, loud mouth? Well, if you don’t, ask my sister or any AOII and they can tell you. Besides getting me a free “Buried Life” T-shirt, almost free AOII nail polish, and who knows what else, I also got a vinyl EP of one of the bands, “We are Not Indians”. I also used my loud mouth to politely ask (in French!) if I could have a photo with the band; you know, since they were so kind to give me a free CD. That got me to get a picture with the main band as well, “The Enjoys”. No matter what everyone says, I like my big mouth!
The Enjoys.

This is the band "We are Not Indians". Thanks to my cheering, I got a free vinyl. Holler! We also called this band "The Big Bang Theory" band. The one in the plaid is Sheldon.

                On Thursday, I organized an outing to the Porcelain museum. It’s the one thing that Limoges is famous for, and I figured I should visit it. As neat as porcelain is, after one wing of a three-wing museum, it gets kind of boring. It is very pretty and interesting to see the different style from all over, but I couldn’t take much more of it. I think I am just not a museum girl! After, Klara, Kelli, Lucas, Alex, Isaac, Maxime, Samy, went out to a little pond-ish type thing in Isle (like 5 minutes from Limoges) and had a picnic. We played some German game that used a checkers board but less pieces, played tag, talked, and had lots of fun. It was a good night!
                Friday was pretty laid back. I didn’t do much during the day, but Kelli and I met Klara in centre ville and we walked around with the mindset to have a dinner picnic. Who knew you wouldn’t be able to find a baguette in France?! I know, insane! We decided on getting pizza to-go and went to the Cathedral and ate it. Then we spent about an hour at the salsa club talking and trying to dance! We eventually walked home to Klara’s, gushed over her kitchen in her apartment, and then went to sleep! Toast, coffee, cheese and nutella for breakfast and we were off! She had to work so we left around 11:30. No plans for today. It is cloudy and chilly so maybe a run and a French movie.

Klara, my favorite Czech! <3

                Only 15 more days until I come home! Get excited everyone!

This is the band "The Enjoys" and one of their videos, "Dirty Love". It is a weird video, but the concert was good!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Family & Fun!

I’ve obviously been slacking on my blog. Sooooorry! I only have three weeks left here in France so I better start remembering to update it a lot!

                Well, to summarize the last few weeks: family vacations and last week of class. I’ll start with class. I am all done, save for my two exams. I have one part of the whole exam on May 18, and the other three parts on May 26. I finished all my classes off with a “bang!” and even aced (well, A’s) on two of my tests! I am pretty confident going into the test. My one on the 18, the “production de l’oral” will be my toughest. I have to speak for 7-8 minutes, then have a discussion for up to 15 minutes total. I know I can do it; I just need to not psyche myself out! I take it at 10:00am so I’ve decided I’ll get up and go for coffee and quiche, then get really cute and feel super good about myself going into it! The rest of the exam on the 26 (production de l’ecrit, comprehension de texts, et comprehension d’oral) should go fine! We took a practice test on the two “reading” parts, and I got a 19/25 so I am not worried. I need to use these next weeks out of class to study and perfect my French skills.

                Now, onto the vacations. I was blessed to have two waves of family members come visit me, which made for a LOT of time in Paris, but oddly, never doing the same thing. I guess that shows you how big the city really is! After having a sleepover with Lelani, I packed up my bag for a week with my Mommy, Sissy, and Jason. At 5:30 on Monday, they came to Limoges! I was so happy to see them. We had coffee with Lelani, Tros, and Jacques at the airport and then went to the hotel. It was a very nice hotel in Limoges and it had a bathtub, which I gladly made use of about not having one for five months! We dined at Le Bistrot and walked by the river, then called it a night. Tuesday we explored Limoges: the Cathedral, shops, botanical gardens, my dorm and school life, and even the big Carrefour!

Wednesday we headed off to Bordeaux for a wine tour that was horribly disappointing. Bordeaux was nice but we decided we should have stayed at a wine bar and tried the different wines there. My mom did the activities for each day through a travel agent, who so far had been great, but became quickly awful. First, he booked a train for us to leave Bordeaux at 6:18pm, when we didn’t get back from the wine tour until 6:30pm. Now tell me, how is THAT supposed to work?! Then, the winery we went to was 1)not in production, like it had just reopened. 2)only served red wine for a tasting, 3)you couldn’t even buy that red wine and 4)was forever long and boring. After that day, we took the train back to Paris and got ready to spend the rest our week there.

On the bus in Normandy.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were spent walking our hearts out, hopping on and hopping off, and picture taking galore. Not to mention Jason being the “big brother booger” he always is. We shopped some, ate a LOT, and experienced Paris at its finest. We visited Normandy and the Omaha beach along with the US Cemetery there. It was all peaceful, beautiful, and amazingly cool to see. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have fought back then, and I cannot even think of myself being able to do it. Thankfully there are brave men and women who do it for me. It was amazing to see the history still there and alive in Normandy.
Omaha Beach.

Friday and Saturday we took the tour bus all over to see the main sights. We even took a pit stop at Moulin Rouge where my Mom had a good old time. Just kidding, she was not a fan of the whole Montmartre area. I think Dieadra was a bit bored with Paris because after awhile, she began to sleep on the “hop on, hop off” bus. I guess she thought it was called “nap on, nap off”. Saturday morning we trekked to the top of the Eiffel Tower to see Paris in all its morning glory. What a sight! It was really cool and neat to experience it with my family. I think we stopped in all the little boutique shops up there (with actually NICE Paris souvenirs) and bought something small. I did get some super cute, bright colored, salt and pepper shakers that say it in French. Saturday night we had a very nice dinner cruise on the Seine River. It was so nice to see Paris at night, be on the river, and having some good food! Note to future travelers: if you get “salad and cheese” it is going to be a couple pieces of lettuce with a chunk of French cheese, and most likely not Camembert or something that you like.
My mommy and I atop the Eiffel Tower!

Hopping on!

Hopping off!

Sunday, right at 9:30, I said good-bye to my family once again. I boarded a train and headed home to Limoges, to spend Easter by myself and the newly acquired bag of Reese’s that were brought to me. I did some laundry and prepared for round 2 with my Aunt Sherre and Eli on Wednesday. I headed up to Paris on Tuesday night and I think I found the “Asian district” of Paris. I found tons of shops, all having basically the same thing, all for really cheap, in one area of Paris. I did some window shopping and headed back to Absolute Hostel. Note to self: I prefer Oops! Hostel, to Absolute.

Wednesday morning I said I would meet them at the hotel which at 10:00. 11:00 I am still searching for it, and I know I have to be right by it! I took the right metro, I am on the right street, but it was impossible to find. Finally, I gave up and got a taxi to take me, oh, not even a mile down the road. With the minimum fare charge, a 3euro taxi ride was 6euro20! Oh well. Aunt Sherre and Eli were not there yet so I left my bags and went around the block. I felt terrible thinking they had been waiting and then left when I didn’t arrive, and so I went back just to make sure they had or hadn’t checked in, and to my surprise, there they were! Just now getting in. Apparently ,all the times for the flights were weird and we were all confused. Thankfully, no one was waiting on anyone and our adventure started.

This picture describes their trip.

We walked, shopped, ate, walked, shopped, stopped for coffee/ice cream, walked, shopped ate. It was very fun! My kind of trip, I’m telling you! Wednesday we ate at this restaurant called “La Fontaine de Mars” where President Obama once ate and where I had duck for the first time. It was actually really good! We explored the Luxembourg gardens, saw the Sorbonne Institute, (not open to the public, by the way), shared wine under the Eiffel Tower, and had another wonderful dinner at Le Hide, after almost dying in the cab by a crazy French driver. Thankfully we survived or else I would never have met my French “boyfriend”, Vincent. He was our waiter at dinner and after finding out I spoke French, I was dared to leave him my number. So, I did. What the heck, right? I’d never see him again and why not do it? Well, turns out I would see him again because he texted that night. Eli and I went out after dinner Friday (at Casa Bini, a great Italian restaurant with horrible limoncello) with him, only to have him be a bit awkward and make me crawl on the floor of the Metro because we didn’t have tickets. I did get to experience a Paris bar which was cool and it makes for a good story.


Saturday we made pit stops by the Louvre and Notre Dame. The Louvre was amazing this time around. After seeing the normal “stuff” like Mona Lisa and Winged Victory, we discovered a Medieval Louvre. It had the history of the castle that used to be where the Louvre is now. It had the original walls and all! It was SO very cool. After lunch we went to the Catacombs. This is an old place where, during the plagues, a lot of cemeteries were dug up and the bones collected into one area. It was so very neat to see it, but after a while, the amount of the bones and eeriness just set it. I am glad I went and it was interesting, but it was soooo weird. Sunday we headed back to Limoges where we had a great dinner and I got to study for my test.

Doors of Notre Dame.

One of many sightings in the Catacombs.

Monday, we ate at this restaurant for dinner called L’Orangerie. It was so good! Aunt Sherre and Eli enjoyed seeing the botanical gardens, the Cathedral, and shopped their hearts out. Tuesday, we had lunch and after a “café au lait”, I bid my farewells to go back to class.

Overall, it was such a nice visit with different family members. I loved seeing my mom and sister and getting to share France with them. I’ve gotten very close to my Aunt Sherre and cousin Eli this past year and I am thankful for that. It was nice to also share France with them. With both visits, we all made memories that will last a lifetime and laughed until our stomachs ached. It was a wonderful two week vacation for me and it made me READY to be home! I only have three more weeks, and I cannot wait to have ice, Dr. Pepper, AIR CONDITIONING, and ranch. In that order of course!

My last view of Paris for a very long time.


Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 102 Celebration!

You know how in elementary school you always used to celebrate the 100th day of school? I am sure I will do that with my classroom as well, but day 100 is so cliché. Why not day 102? So, since I was busy on Wednesday (my 100th day in Limoges!) I am celebrating day 102, and giving out 102 facts about life in France, school, and my life since I left.

1.       One month and 9 days left in France.
2.      Cups of coffee per day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It’s just so good!
3.      cost of my lunch (in euros) at the campus restaurant. I get an entrée, salad and yogurt, sometimes a dessert, but it all depends on what your entrée is for what sides you can get.
4.      Months I have passed without seeing my family!
5.      Croissants that come in a package at Carrefour market. It is 4+1 free! Big deal, huh?! Plus, Bus 5 is my bff.
6.      Months I will have spent out of the USA when I return.
7.      People who have used “I would love to speak English with you” or “I would love to learn American English” as their pickup line. Note to them: It’s annoying and doesn’t work. I don’t want to teach you English, especially if I don’t know you.
8.      Number of letters in “Bordeaux” which was my first trip I took in France where I made lots of friends and had a blast!
9.      Classses I take each week, now that I don’t have my 8:00am anymore!
10.   Usually the hour in which I wake up each morning. Except for Thursday’s since I have class at 9:30. Also, the bus I can take to get to the train station and to centre ville.
11.    The time at night I usually start to wind down and attempt to go to sleep.
12.   My favorite Skype time!
13.   Average amount of days between laundry that I do.
14.    Days it took me to recover from my adventures in Spain!
15.   Date of my first rugby game that I ever saw, back  in January.
16.   Times I wished I could have driven to Wal-Mart.
17.   The day I spent the BEST St. Patrick’s Day ever with my very best friend!
18.   My favorite number and the day in April my family is coming!
19.   People who have came to my door/window and said “I lived here in past years” talking about my room. Sorry, creepers, but there is no way that many of you have lived here. I don’t believe you.
20.   Euros will get  you 3 DVD’s at Carrefour.
21.    My age J
22.   How old I will turn in September!
23.   Euros could get you baguettes for a lifetime. Okay, not really, but at least for a week or two!
24.  Number of episodes in The O.C. Season 2, which I watched all of.
25.  Number of episodes in The O.C. Season 3, which I also watched all of.
26.   The date of my DELF exam in May. I am freaking out and need lots of luck!
27.  Number of episodes in The O.C. Season 1, which I watched all of.
28.  The first time I’ve thought this “102 facts” thing is a bad idea.
29.  Times I’ve dusted my freaking room. It piles up so fast.
30.  Day 30 was my first visit to a French waxing place to take care of my eyebrows. It’s the same in the US so don’t get excited.
31.    Movies/TV Shows I’ve taken from Lelani.
32.  On Day 32 is when I made my trip to Bordeaux.
33.   Amount of euros it took for me to get from Limoges to San Sebastian, Spain by train.
34.   The number of times I’ve had soup for dinner.
35.   Day 35: Rent for February was due!
36.   The number of times I’ve had pasta for dinner!
37.   Thirty-seven plus times I’ve eaten at the campus restaurant.
38.    Limoges faucet water is not too bad, surprisingly.
39.  I hate the exchange rate.
40. Day 40 is when I began getting really sick and spent the next week in bed, coughing, and gulping hot tea or hot water with lemon.
41.   I’ve made 15 new friends being here. Granted, I may never see some of them again (sadly) but I’ve enjoyed spending my time with them.
42.  I do not like my class on Tuesday’s at 2:00. I’ve spent all semester in it and I still do not see the point. It’s the worst.class.ever.
43.  The first thing I do when I get back from class each evening is check my e-mail. By this point, my mom has sent me 5 e-mails asking “Where are you??????”.
44.  I hate doing laundry here. It is 2 euro 50 and there isn’t a change machine ANYWHERE in France, so if you don’t have it, no laundry for you and it sucks!
45.  I still cannot believe I can get a bottle of French wine for 2 euro. It may not be the best, but it isn’t too shabby.
46. Day of my first exam in my translation course. It was from English to French (which is difficult for me) but I passed!
47.  Average time of a Gossip Girl or The O.C. episode that I watch, almost daily.
48. Times I’ve thought of how much I miss Chelsea Lately, and the hours it took me to read one of her books.
49. Even though I have a quarter of my clothes here and not many options, I still have trouble deciding what to wear each day.
50.  I said I would “get ready” for class each day (ie, do my makeup, hair, look super cute) and that lasted about two weeks.
51.   I miss my friends back at home so very much.
52.  I miss AOII!
53.  I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been here so far, but I’m definitely not fluent, although I could have a good conversation with a stranger.
54.  I wish I had a refrigerator.
55.  I still cannot believe that I am here. Who am I?! I never thought I would ever really do that. I’m quite brave, and that surprises me.
56.   I finally found one of my favorite French films, Amelie, today for 5 euro! I’m watching it tonight.
57.   I’m actually getting excited to be coming home, but don’t tell my mama!
58.   Being in France has made me enjoy the warm weather and has almost changed my mind that I like Spring and Summer better than Fall and Winter.
59.   On Day 59, I spent it in Madrid, Spain during my winter vacation.
60. Divide this by 4 and you have the number of decorations I have on my walls. I think “decoration” is a strong word. It’s more a mixture of cards and pictures my mom has sent me.
61.   When I go home, it is going to be like I have a new wardrobe. No offense, but I am so sick of wearing the same pairs of underwear, shirts, and socks. I think I might be so sick of them that I will just give them away.
62.  I’ve eaten way too many croissants and drank too much wine over here, but hey, isn’t that kind of the point of being in France?!
63.  I am going to miss baguettes back home. They aren’t made there like they are here.
64. I’ve missed working. I know, I’m weird.
65.  Every night I sleep at midnight I take an allergy pill, floss my teeth, and crawl into bed with my panda, Polly, and get situated for sleep.
66. I think where I live is so dirty and I do not like it. I think it is gross. I dread taking a shower and I hate walking to the bathrooms all the time. I always wear these little grippy-sock things because I cannot stand the thought of walking barefoot here. My room is my safe haven because I know I clean it and I know it’s to my standard.
67.  Day 67 is when my bff Kara came to visit me! I also went to Le Bistrot Gournand for the second time and it is still my favorite restaurant I’ve been to so far.
68. H&M has my heart.
69. I would love to come back after I graduate and spend two years being a nanny or an au pair for a French family.
70.  Or, I would love to come back and teach English or French in schools here.
71.   I’ve already started looking into it J
72.  The second time I think this is a bad idea. I feel like I don’t have 102 things to tell.
73.  I gave my “notice of departure” to the office today. It is bittersweet that I am almost leaving. I don’t know how I feel about it.
74.  I love having my Wednesdays off of class, but then it is a little trick because I have a full day Thursdays.
75.  I don’t like having afternoon classes because I don’t feel there is much I can do in the mornings before class, so I usually just sleep and then go have lunch and hang out.
76.  I feel like I’ve seen hardly any of France, and even less of Limoges and the area around it. The busses are great, but they don’t take you everywhere.
77.  I’ve seen one movie in theatres the entire time I’ve been here. It was a really good French film called “Les femmes du sixeme etage”. It was unlike normal love stories but it was funny and heartwarming. When I get home, I am having a Redbox marathon and stocking up on all the ones I’ve missed that I wanted to see.
78.  I’m really good at painting my own nails now.
79.  Lelani is my best friend over here and I am going to be so sad to not talk to her all the time. However, she is coming to the US next summer, and in two years I’m going to South Africa to visit her and Tros.  
80. Cultures and lifestyles are such an interesting thing to learn about and I am so glad I’ve had this opportunity to experience so many and learn so much.
81.   No matter what people say and how much I love being in France, I am very proud and happy to be an American.
82.  Boomer Sooner! I haven’t said that in a while.
83.  I still wanna sneak away and go to William and Kate’s wedding just to meet Prince Harry, but I’m being honest with myself in that that will never happen. Shucks.
84. I miss Sassi and Coco, my neice dog and my mom’s cat. Actually, I miss any animal because it is kind of taboo for the French to pet their animals.
85.  I have 17 more facts to write and I am boring myself, so I pride you if you are still reading this!
86. 86-10 is the number of episodes of The O.C. I have watched total. Hopefully my mom will bring me Season 4 and that number will rise and I can finish the series.
87.  Le Petit Prince is the sweetest French novel ever. I love it and my child is going to be read it growing up every night.
88. I’m going to miss public transportation (metros, bus) back home. It’s not the same there.
89. Only one dryer here works really well and so I have to be strategic to get my laundry done properly. I’m very sly in making sure I get to use that dryer.
90. Hot water with lemon and a dash of sugar is a really good thing to drink. I enjoy it.
91.   If I were to get a car in France, I would get an Opel Insignia. I prefer the 2 door Opel Corsa, but I know I would hate two doors after two weeks. I’d even take the Opel Astra. Maybe when I am a rich teacher (yeah, right) I can buy it and have it shipped over. ;) Go Google it.
92.  I’m going to miss Kinder bars when I go home. That’s something I’m buy bulk of and packing up!
93.  I listen to French talk radio. Gosh, I am an old woman.
94. Since Limoges has no souvenirs besides porcelain, I bought a rugby shirt from last year for 5 euro to save for my time here.
95.  7 more facts to go and I am running out of what to say!
96. Of the 102 days I have been here, I think I have made my bed 99 of them. Pretty impressive, huh?
97.  I miss Aquafresh toothpaste and my good lotion.
98. I am obsessed with peach flavored iced tea. Here, Lipton, Nestea, and Carrefour make it and it is wonderful!
99. When I am done with this, I am going to take a nap. This evening, I am going to make dinner, watch Amelie (like I said before) and give myself a manicure and pedicure.
100.                      I have a test the first class period back after break and I think that is just harsh!
101.                        I made reservations in French yesterday and I felt so accomplished. I also like going to the post office, train station, Carrefour, wherever and when I do a small task, all in French, I get so happy! It makes me feel like I am improving, which I know I am, but still.
102.                       I am done! If there was one thing I would like to do for the remainder of my trip, it would be to visit Nice and Monaco, but I’ve done that before, and I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to and more during my time here.

I am sure you are all sick of my facts and I know I wrote some pointless stuff. Anything you all want to know about my French experience, just ask and I will answer!