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.


No comments:

Post a Comment