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!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Teryn Lately!

I may not be Chelsea Lately, but I can still give you an update on life as if I had my own nightly comedy show. However, I guarantee hers will be 100x funnier than mine!

First, off, you may be wondering what I've been up to. Yes, I do still go to school! I have gotten lazy with my blog. To me, this is my life everyday, so it seems silly to write the same thing each day: classes, lunch, homework, friends, etc. I do realize though that one day I will probably forget this and I should keep my blog better in order to prevent that! I want to remember this trip forever!

La vie est belle.
So, school! It is going really well! We are preparing hardcore now for our final exam. Basically, the FLE program (the French as a forgein language) only requires you to take the DELF exam, which grades your level of French knowledge. There are four parts: oral comprehension, oral production, writing comprehension, and writing production. This is the test that I take at the very end of May, and my other classes are over the first week of May. I feel extremely confident on the writing parts, but the oral ones get a bit tricky. The comprehension will most likely be fine becasue we've been doing it since day one in that class, and my oral comprehension has improved tenfold. However, the oral production is a 7-8 minute speech that leads into a discussion, a real conversation, about one of two topics you choose from and have 30 minutes to prepare. I just might die! :) I am sure I will be fine, but still, I am going to be shaking in my boots! Thankfully, that part of the exam is done individually (me and two professors) and is done sometime between May 9 and May 27. We have to turn in this form and then they assign it. I am hoping I get mine May 9 so I can get it over with! I plan to look cute that day so I feel super confident and will ace it! We shall see...

My French is improving a lot and I am very proud of myself. Still, I know there is more that I should do to continue improving, but I am happy with how far I have come. I go to classes and there may be 5-10 words throughout the whole period that I don't understand. I am comfortable having conversations with people that I know, while strangers still intimidate me a bit. Here are some of my favorite *new* words that I am obsessed with:
  • En fait: This is like saying "actually" or, more technical, "in fact". People use it all the time and once my indecisive self learned the meaning, you know I became addicted!
  • Paraît: My professors said this all the time and I was getting so frustrated because I didn't know what it meant. After I found out, I LOVE it! It means "same" and I used to always say another phrase that means the "same" but didn't always make sense. Now, I have a usual phrase and I feel cool!
  • When I want to say "neither" I use this expression. It sounds better than disagreeing with someone and saying "me, too!" and it is also the correct way to dislike something.
  • arc en ciel: a rainbow! I don't use that word often, but I still learned it! 
  • La pendaison de crémaillère: It's a housewarming party! We learned the origins of the words and it is pretty cool. Kara and I will have one for our apartment next year, and you are all invited :)
  • boîte de nuit: a nightclub. Enough said!
  • Marcher: This is a verb with multiple meanings. One, to walk, to step. Two, (and I feel more common than to walk) is to work. "Le video marche" or "The video works" and things like that.
  • Guillaume Grand & Coeur de Pirate: Two French music artists I LOVE!
Also, after being in Limoges 4 months, I found out that over my sink there is an outlet. Who would've thought?! This whole time I sit at my desk with a hand-sized mirror trying to fix my hair. It was horrible and highly annoying. Then, one night karaoking with friends in Samy's room, I discovered he had one and I nearly jumped with joy! I tried mine out, and of course it didn't work. I put in a request thing to have it fixed and now it is my best friend. If there is one thing about the French and their work ethic, I can say this: I put in a problem, and not 24 hours later it is fixed. Not at 4:00pm, but at 8 or 9:00 am! Maybe it is just here and there aren't too many problems, but I have had great experiences with my problem solvers here. Now, if only I could get the heat to go off. It's been 70+ and beautiful in Limoges, but with no air conditioning, and the heat is still on. I swear I've turned mine off, but my room is still a million degrees. I have my window open a lot but then nature comes into my room and bugs, and creepers talk, and I don't like it open. Nights are the worst sleeping. I practically sleep with hardly even a sheet it is so hot!

Spring is in full swing here in Limoges. It is beautiful almost every day, and it makes sitting in class that much harder! It's pretty common here (so I've been told) to have a week or so of pretty weather and then a week or so of rain and clouds and ugliness. Exhibit A: Last weekend we had a picnic in a park at Limoges and then went bowling. We finished off the evening next to the river, playing "duck, duck, goose", talking, and having a blast!

Me with Martina and Klara, the Czech girls!

Picnic in the Park. The white tent in the back is "Lire A Limoges". See below!

Lucas: he shaved off all his hair!

The whole group! Yes, the bowling alley looked just like the ones at home.

The girls dominated. Okay, maybe not, but we can dream!

Lire a Limoges: This was an event that if I was already a teacher, had kids, or had a neice/nephew on the way I would have bought 100 children's books! It was a big tent set up in Champ du Julliet that housed authors, artists, newspapers, books, book, and books! Children's books, old books, history books, mystery books, boring books, new books, books, and more books! It was heaven for me! When I have children in my French classroom, I am going to vacay to Lire a Limoges and stock up. Probably not because I am sure I can order them online, but still!

My time in Limoges, and France for that matter, is quickly coming to an end. I have about 6 weeks left. What am I going to do first when I get home? Well, eat Buffalo Wild Wings, TAN!, get some Sonic ice (or any ice for that matter!), eat Ted's Mexican, see my Nana, go see all my friends whom I've missed so much, and go to Wal-Mart. Even if I don't need anything, I'm going! I'm actually surprised to see how little I miss of the US. I thought I would be dying, honestly, without silly little things, but I really am just fine.

What will I miss from France? Good public transport, hearing French all the time, fresh baguettes, the best cafe au lait, and all the friends I have made. What will I not miss? Having my own kitchen, shower, bathroom, and NOT living at Camille Guerin. :) Oh, and I cannot forget the beautiful exchange rate that kills me every single time I spend money. Yay, I am so glad the dollar is worth .50 euros, if that! La vie est dure!

My family is coming to see me in 9 days. I am getting so excited to see them! If only they knew what all was in store for them! Heck, I don't even know what is, so I sure hope they know what's going on. I am just going to be the official translator and act like I know what is going on. Good plan? I think so, too.

I think I have written enough. My sister told me she doesn't read these anymore because I write too much and I don't want that to be the case for all 6 of my followers! I'm getting up there, you know? I promise to get better about updating about my life. Who knows, you might get two updates this week! Holllllllller!

Lelani wanted me to play model.


Limoges Beneditions: Train Station on a splendid day.


Monday, April 4, 2011

My first familiar face in 67 Days: My BFF Kara!

So I have a small obsession, so just get ready!

              After going 67 days without seeing anyone who has known me longer than 3 months, my best friend Kara arrived in Paris! It was the beginning of a fabulous week and I now know I really have the world’s best friend!

                She arrived in Paris at 8am on a Friday, so I took a train up Thursday night and stayed in a REAL hostel! It was called Oops! (and I was a wee bit afraid of what it was going to bring) but it was great! I was in a four person room (not to mention 3 girls and one nerdy boy) none of which I ever even met. We spoke little, even though I tried to make some conversation. It was a tad bit awkward, but I was only there to sleep so I could have cared less. However, if you need a cheap hostel in Paris, Oops is the way to go!

                I met Kara at the arrivals gate and we hurried on back to catch our train to Limoges. Never in my time here have I been shushed on a metro, but, with our loud mouths and bff withdrawals for 3 months, it was natural we were a little loud. Oops! I was exhausted and expected to sleep the entire train ride, but we didn’t. We talked and talked as if no time had passed at all. We got back to Limoges where Jacques picked us up and Kara kindly said, “Teryn, you didn’t tell me he was a giant!” It was a beautiful day in Limoges (I think the second since my time here!) and so Jacques invited us to have wine at an outside café. We went and began our adventure!

                Jacques, Lucas, Kara, and I, with appearances by Lelani, Tros, Klara, and Martina, soaked up the sunlight and enjoyed some good white wine. We later devoured Le Bistrot Gourmand (my Limoges restaurant of choice that I will miss so much!) where Kara had her first “escargot” and we went cheap with the house white wine, which, being in France, isn’t that bad! Dinner was great and afterwards poor Kara slept for 15 hours! What did I learn from that night? My floor is not the most comfortable place to sleep. It was practically like cement so I am glad the rest of my visitors have hotels. J
Saturday afternoon, (yes, we slept that late) I wanted to show her Limoges. We had kebabs for lunch (which I will miss so much back in the States, and which became our favorite meal of the trip) and went shopping. I found some shops of Limoges I never knew existed. There is still a lot of Limoges left I need to discover! Later that evening, we went to the rugby game where Limoges dominated. Klara, Martina, Kelli, Lelani, Lucas, Kara and I all went. It was the first game for everyone except for Lelani, me and Kelli but they all liked it! After the game, we went to a salsa bar in Limoges to dance! We were going to play a game (that never worked out) and created teams. My team was Kara, myself, Lelani, and Tros and we named ourselves “AA: Americans & Afrikaana”! It was funny. However, due to the dancing, no game was ever played, but lots of salsa was attempted. It was very fun!

Lelani, Me, Lucas, Martina!


Best. Friend. Ever.
Monday we went to Lyon. A five hour train ride later, we headed for Kebabs for dinner and the adventure to our hotel. Funny thing, I had booked our hotel for Tuesday through Thursday (because the French calendar starts on Monday as opposed to Sunday) so I booked a hotel Monday morning. It was nice for the price and not far from the center of town.  Tuesday we got up and went shopping and exploring Lyon. It is a HUGE city, and I know we only saw a quarter of it. Kara wanted a trip of relaxation and hanging out, so I tried not to punish her too much by sightseeing. We saw a couple churches and buildings that we passed by in center. A lot of Lyon was modern, at least where we were. We took a ferris wheel ride (it was called The Diamond Wheel) that allowed us to see ALL of Lyon! If it wasn’t a cloudy day, it would have been beautiful, but since it was, it was just pretty. Our favorite lunch place was Times Donuts that had the best bagel sandwiches, not to mention the first bagel I’ve had in France! It was wonderful. We called it an early night and prepared for Strasbourg.

Statues: Europe is famous for them!

In the Diamond Wheel.

Beautiful church and mini Eiffel Tower.

Super pretty ceramic-ish bouquet in the middle of the streets, next to the river.
Wednesday we had lunch and began our 5.5 hour train ride to Strasbourg to visit our friend Andre, whom I’ve gone to school with since kindergarten. He is spending the year in Strasbourg where he has family. Strasbourg was such a nice town. It was big, but not huge, and pretty but simple. The houses were colorful and I really enjoyed it. Wednesday night we had tarte flambee for dinner. It is a traditional Alsatian food. It’s a thin pizza-type dish with a cream sauce, onions, and a bacon-ish meat on it. Very good! Alsace is the region of France where Strasbourg is located and there is some German influence there. There is also the Alsatian language that some people living there still speak.

Tarte Flambee. I have the recipe so maybe I can recreate it.

Where we stayed. Most of the houses in Strasbourg looked like this, but of all colors.

Our grocery list for next  year. Notice how only "vin" which is wine, is marked.

This is the flat church. It is crazy.
Thursday was our sightseeing day. We saw the Cathedral de Notre Dame de Strasbourg which has the highest spire in France (Bordeaux is second which I was lucky enough to see in February!) and was absolutely beautiful. Big entryway, huge, beautiful stained glass windows and just an all over pretty church that I was happy I got to see. We chose to save the climbing of the spire for Friday. Andre had one class so after showing us around the whole city and seeing a cool church that looks flat against the sky, we sat in a coffee shop close to his university and had coffee and chatted. Afterwards, since it was Saint Patrick’s Day, we went home to get ready for dinner!
We had dinner at a nice restaurant and shared a bottle of wine that comes from the Alsace region. Next it was a jazz bar to see some live jazz music, but the room was small and crowded so we chose to have some drinks and chit chat at a corner table. We ended up becoming loud Americans again and playing some crazy fun game that ending up lasting all night and into three more bars. Since it was Saint Patrick’s Day, we figured everything would be open, but no such luck. Finally we found an Irish pub that was open (of course!) and I met a South African guy who knew Jacques. It was so random. I also met an Australian girl that was so nice. Everyone had these hats that were for St. Patrick’s and for some reason I really wanted one. I talked the South African into giving me his by saying it would be my “souvenir from Strasbourg” and all this other random stuff I thought of. A couple hours later, we headed back home. I haven’t ever done anything for St. Patrick’s Day but I think Kara and I started a tradition!

Our tour guide, Andre.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The spire of the Cathedral.
Friday we had a picnic close to the river and climbed the 335 steps to the top of the Cathedral. While I was dying of cardio (sad, I know) it was an amazing view of Strasbourg. Nice houses, little parks, churches, and even Germany far off in the background! After that, we packed up and headed to our shortest train ride of the trip, to Paris, only 2.5 hours away!
Paris was great. We shopped and walked around the city. We talked and just relaxed and enjoyed looking at each of the little shops that were lining the streets. Around 5:00 we headed over to the Eiffel Tower with dinner and vowed to sit there and hang out until it lit up. Little did we know, it lights up at 7:00, sparkles at 8:00, and it gets cold at night in Paris! We had so much fun just sitting there and reminiscing about our trip, high school, and the future. We even met three girls from Chicago who were studying in Austria but spending the weekend in Paris. They asked if we had a cork screw (which we didn’t) but I was able to open it with my pen trick I learned from Jacques. I told you it would come in handy J Sitting there with my best friend, in the grass of the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, was unbelievable. I still cannot believe that I am lucky enough to have this experience and the opportunity to do that. It’s amazing.

Once in a lifetime chance: BFF and cider in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Picnic.

Sparkles! Sparkles! Sparkles!
Sunday Kara left at 11:15 so we headed to the airport and I headed back to the train station to Limoges. I spent the train ride trying to sleep, while still thinking how excited I was to be home, in Limoges. It’s weird how much I don’t like my crappy bed and the push-on shower, but it is home to me in France, and I get that same feeling when I return to it! Kara’s visit was wonderful and I am lucky to have her as a friend. Next year we are living together at OU and I am sure it will bring ten times the amount of memories this trip brought us. It made me so excited to see my family when they come, which is in two weeks! Enjoy my slideshow of Paris and the trip! Don’t worry, I do still go to school so my next entry will be on that!