Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Saturday, because Alban's family was in Spain all of us were invited over to his house for a pool day. The have a huge pool in their back yard and the weather was just beautiful. It was all of us - Mamie and Alban, Davy and Melanie, Toto, Aurélien, Ben, and Romain and I. We sat in the sun, played in the freezing cold pool and just enjoyed the beautiful weather all day long. By the end of the day we were all dark and tan.
When the sun went down we all moved inside to eat pizzas and play cards in his living room. Then while they sat in the room and talked Mamie and I made an American specialty: Pancakes. We ate them for dessert like the french do but we pulled out the maple syrup and made them eat them American style. They actually enjoyed them a lot and each of them ate 4 huge pancakes.
Then for some reason Toto decided he wanted to go jump back in the pool. The freezing cold pool that was almost too cold to get into when it was 80 degrees during the day. But we decided to let him so we all ran outside and Alban pulled back the pool cover. When Toto got in he was screaming at the top of his lungs. And then one by one everyone got in. Even Mamie and I ran and jumped in together! It was sooooo cold! But definitely worth it!
Sunday was pretty much the same thing. First I went and said goodbye to everyone that I was going to miss. Noël and his family - Some friends that I had met early that semester. They gave me a bottle of wine to take home with me. Then I went over to say goodbye to Jaqueline, Xavier and Mathias. It was really hard to say goodbye to them and when I hugged Jaqueline goodbye we both started to cry. They gave me a shirt that says Paris on it. It was really sweet of them.
Then Romain picked me up and we went back to Alban's and played in the pool all day again. Before we got in the pool we finished off the making the pancakes from the day before. There was just enough for everyone. A little later everyone showed up. This time Toto brought his girlfriend and Ben didn't come and it was just another awesome day. The guys played soccer around the pool and I tried to join in some. I wasn't very good but Romain tried to teach me some things. The water was a little warmer that day so it was a little easier to get in. Then before it got dark, Alban and Mamie went and finished off making the pizzas from the day before. Then we went inside and played cards again. It was a good night.
Monday was my very last day. It was mother's day the weekend after I left so I wanted to get Romain's mom something. I was going to get her flowers but because it was a holiday that day, nothing was open. So we went to a very large store equivalent to Walmart and I got her some little mini desserts. Romain and I ran to McDonalds to get some food before going over to Alban's house and we both got our usual Mcflurries :)
This day everyone was a lot more tired so we mostly just layed by the pool. It was really relaxing and I enjoyed every minute of it. We left early that day so that we could eat dinner one last time with Romain's family. His mom had a barbecue and made us some great sausages. Then we had strawberries and whipped cream for dessert before Mamie and Alban came over for a little while. I gave my gift to Romain's mom and then I started repacking. I had received 2 bottles of wine on top of the one I bought for my mom so I had to really figure out how to make everything fit, and not weigh too much. So Romain and I would pack. Then he would stand on the scale with my suitcase to see if it was too heavy. And we would add things and take things out as needed. It was quite a task but at the end I came home with one suitcase, on very heavy backpack and one very full purse. We did well!
The next morning we woke up at 4 am to get me to the airport by 9:00. Alban and Mamie showed up at 5am and I said goodbye to Romain's family and got all my bags into the car. We had a 3 hour drive to Roissy to Charles De Gaulle. Romain fell asleep for a little while and then it was my turn. I didn't fall asleep though. We drove thought Paris and I got to see the Eiffel tower one last time. We got to the airport early enough to look around I figure out where I needed to be. We got my suitcase checked and then we all went and got Mcflurries. After that it was just waiting time till I had to be on my flight.
Saying goodbye to Romain was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I cried all the way though security and the security guards were trying to comfort me. I did not want to leave. My plane flight was very smooth but I think I only slept a total of one hour out of 8. It was hard watching that little plane cross the screen in front of me and get farther and farther away from France. When I got into Chicago and went though customs and put my bag back on the plane and then I had 5 hours of waiting. I went back though security and found a place I could watch a movie to keep my mind occupied. But Micaela called me and that helped a lot.
I finished my movie on the plane. I didn't sleep on that one either. Mainly because I wanted to be able to sleep when I got home since I would be getting home at 11pm Colorado time but it would be 7am my time. That plane ride was very smooth too and everything went very well. When I got home my mom greeted me and we went to get my suitcase which was there...so I got home with no problems at all. I told my mom lots of stories and when we got to the house I gave my mom and brother their presents. But I was exhausted so I went to bed and slept for a good 12 hours.
And that was my semester in France! If you followed me around Europe thank you so much for reading. I loved writing these blogs and they will help me remember every little detail.
I want to say thank you to all of you special people that got to be my housemates for this semester. It was wonderful living with you and getting to share this experience together!
And I want to thank all of the wonderful friends I made in France. Romain - please tell them all thank you for me, and that you are all what made my experience the best it ever could have been!
I love you all and thank you so much!
Il n'y a que les montagnes qui ne se rencontrent jamais.
Profiter de la vie au maximum!
Bisous mes amis,
Saturday, May 22, 2010
We got there a little after 11 and grabbed some sandwiches before heading to the gate. I read that European union citizens under 25 get in free so we skipped the line and went straight to the entrance. When we got there I handed the guy my student card and he said he normally would have to see a visa that says I was there for 6 months. He asked me how long I was there for and I told him 5. He hands me my card back and says I didn't hear that and he pushed me on through. I love French people!
We got inside and since the audio guides were included in the "price" we each got one. It told us all about the castle but honestly I learned more from Romain about the castle than I did from the guide. He's my mister histoire. It was his second time to this castle but the first time was when he was young so he didn't remember it. This time he ate everything up. I asked him if he remembered everything he read and he proceeded to tell me about the room were were standing in. He really likes history like that.
We walked all the way though the chateau and we came to the Gallerie de Glace with all 17 windows looking over the gardens and the mirrors covering the opposite wall. It was really incredible and beautiful.
Then we moved into the gardens. Standing at the top by the chateau you could see the gardens stretching over acers and acers of land. We were standing directly off the end of the grand canal where people were rowing boats and the sun was shining... It was beautiful. We didn't know where to start so we started walking towards a pond we saw which we figured were Les Eaux Musicals (musical waters). Then we kept walking along and went into some of the gardens. Most of them were closed but we went into one that was open a ways down. There weren't any flowers in it but it was a beautiful grassy field with only one other couple all the way across. We layed down in the grass together and fell asleep in the sun for a while. That made my day even though I didn't get to see a lot of the gardens. It just means ill have to go back!!
We continued on to the houses of Trianon where the royal family visited during the summer. Though they were smaller they were still very classy and gody inside. The gardens there had flowers which were beautiful. A little further down the road were Marie Antoinette's houses. It was very different from the others and had more of a feel if a medieval castle but I liked it a lot. There were gardens there too that had just a few flowers. But we walked around them and got to see her theater as well. Very beautiful.
Then we headed back to the car. It was a long walk and we enjoyed it but we were both exhausted by the time we reached the car. And we got back just in time for rush hour. It took us a little longer ti get home but I fell asleep for a while... Romain has some embarrassing pictures to prove it.
It was a wonderful day. I wish I could have seen more of the gardens but it gives me just another reason to come back someday! Thanks Romain for taking me to Versailles!!
Friday, May 21, 2010
That night Mamie, Valeria and I went out with all the guys to the club house where we ate and talked with everyone. Afterwards we took Romain's golf clubs and went out to the soccer field and we all hit balls around for a while. It was actually really fun. We were just being crazy. I think Romain lost a few of his balls because the field wasn't long enough and they went over the gate on the other end. After that Valeria said goodbye to them because she didn't think she would see them again. It made me really said and we all went home kind of depressed. But Romain was sure he would see her again. She still had 2 days till she left. He said we could plan a night.
The next day Val, Aaron, Mamie and I went swimming in the morning. It was really fun because there was a big slide. I thought it was going to be outside but it was an inside pool. It was fun anyway but we didn't stay too long. We took the bus back to Jean Jaures and ate at a little place there. We all pitched in for a bottle of wine and Val and I shared a pizza. Then I went to buy my ticket for Chenonceau but I had 1/2 hour before my train left so I just sat in the square by the Gare in the sun. It was wonderful and relaxing. I love France so much. My train took 1/2 hour to get there and when I arrived the gardens were just as beautiful as I thought they would be. I only went into the castle for a few seconds. There were too many people there. But the gardens were full of flowers and I really enjoyed seeing them again. For real this time.
The next day we all got together to say goodbye to Valeria. All 8 of us. We went out to Trois Rois and played a card game and spent the night talking and having fun. Afterwards the guys had to say goodbye to Valeria for real because she was leaving in the morning. It was so hard. She was crying, her boyfriend was crying. And when I saw them I started crying and Mamie started crying. It was really emotional and Mamie and I are scared about how hard this is going to be when it's our turn to leave. We were crying when everyone had to say goodbye to Valeria; we still have a week left here.
The next morning I woke up to my alarm at 8:00 to say goodbye to Valeria. But no one was moving yet so I just went back to sleep and figured I'd hear her when she came in. The next time I woke up was 11:00. And Valeria came into my room a few minutes later. Mamie and Val explained to me how she had missed her plane because she thought her connecting flight was her flight out of Paris...so she was in my room when her flight was leaving. So we got to keep her another day :)
Then I met a friend for ice cream and he gave me a birthday present! He had brought it all the way from London. When I got back to the house Romain called me and told me he was downstairs so I went down to meet him. He asked me if I had heard anything from Valeria. I said: Yes she says hello. He asked me if she had arrived and I said no she's inside! He didn't believe me so he text her and her and Mamie came out to see him. We stood outside for a while and then decided to go to the park. We took Chase, Dr. Rawson's 5 year old son with us and we all went to the park and played Frisbee for a little while and then sat in the grass together. Jaqueline showed up and she finally got to meet Romain after 4.5 months. She was very happy to meet him.
Valeria was headed to the train station right after that so Romain offered to take her. He got to come into our house and help her with her bags so he also got to see the inside of our house. Then they were off. And Valeria is home safe now. I ate dinner with Mamie, Rawson's family and Jaqueline that night. It was interesting because it was half in French and half English because Rawson's family doesn't know any French. They left early so we finished eating with Jaqueline.
And that is my last week....sorry it is so late in the coming!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The rest of the weekend I spent with Romain. On Saturday the 8th there was a Soccer Tournament for middle school aged kids. We watched them and spent the day there with Romain's friends and family. It was a huge get together. There were people making cotton candy, hot dogs, and other carnival things. I was watching the players and imagining Romain being that small and playing. It made me laugh and I said, "They're so small!" He told me to wait till the next day...they'd be even smaller. So the next day we went back again. I got to meet Romain's aunt and Uncle, their daughter and her children. The kids playing were ages 5-8 I think. They were tiny! But it was really fun to be there with all of them. It was a very French weekend. I also ate a thing called Chichi which is actually Spanish churros but they were french style here and Romain's mother was making them so she insisted that I try before the tournament was over. They were so good. She said they used 33 kilos of flour that day to make the Chichi. That's a lot of Chichi!
Then on Wednesday Romain and his best friend Anthony took me to Chartres. Notre Dame is there, not the one of Paris, but one that is actually bigger than that. When we got there we met Fabrice, one of his other best friends, and his girlfriend Marie. They took us out to dinner next to the cathedral where we all got fajitas, except for Marie. She got the Jumbo Shrimp which she proceeded to take the shells off of with her knife. I had eaten a whole fajita before she had even taken her first bite. I wanted to pick it up and peel them for her. Haha Oh the French!
The next day we went to the cathedral. It was so beautiful. It's not symmetrical but it's so tall and the stained glass windows inside are so pretty! There is also a complete sequential sculpture of the life of Jesus on the walls around the front of the church. It was really incredible! Afterwards we went up into the church tower. It was so many stairs up but it was free (for European Union students under the age of 25 again :) ) and so all but Anthony got to go up. When were were up there we could see all of Chartres. It was gorgeous and I really enjoyed being up there. It's the only Cathedral tower I've been up into. After that we took the hour and a half trek back to Tours. I'm slowly knocking things off my to do list. And it was really fun to have a trip with Romain and his friends.
Some things I noticed this week:
The classic French girls style is a stripped blue/white shirt with skinny jeans and grey high-heeled cowgirl boots with a grey or blue button up pull sweater. You know they are French right away.
French park on the sides of the road everywhere but this parking is on both sides of the road, but its only on one side for about 10 meters and then it switches to the other side for a while and then back again. You drive back and forth and back and forth down the whole street.
Just a funny thing that happened the night after I got back from Chartres. We were walking home with everyone and Valeria pulled on my coat to pull me back to her and she grabbed the little strap on the back of my coat and pulled it really hard. It came off in her hand and the buttons went flying. It was so funny. She was going to fix it before she left but never got around to it so I'm bringing the buttons home with me....lol.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I said goodbye to Christophe and headed back to the hostel. I was going to try to see the Russian Cathedral before I left but I had to walk a long way to meet Christophe so I didn't think I would make it. So I stopped and got a pain au chocolat instead and headed back to the hostel where I picked up my backpack and said goodbye to Robert. I picked up a newspaper which had some awesome pictures of the waves from yesterday and hopped on my train. The train ride was long but I read my French magazine again the whole way.
When I got back to Marseille I knew right where to go so that was a nice feeling. I checked into my hostel and then took off to the Notre Dame de la Garde, the huge cathedral on the top of the mountain. The view from there was incredible. It was far too cold to really enjoy it though. I could see a 360 view of the whole city. I tried to get a really good panarama picture so I'll see if it works..... I could see the islands and everything. Really awesome view. Too bad it wasn't sunny.
The church itself wasn't that great. Except for the large gold Mother Mary and baby Jesus on top. There were picture of boats covering the walls and some boat models hanging from the celings. And lots of mosaics.
I waited for the bus for too long outside and my boots have holes in the bottoms of them now so water was leaking into my shoes. I had wet feet and I wasn't a happy camper so I took the bus back to the port, and then the metro straight to my hostel. I grabbed a panini on my way back and I ate that right after I took off my wet boots and socks. I talked to the guy at the desk in French for a while about the storm in Nice and what I had seen in Marseille. I plan on staying in tonight. There is a huge soccer game - Marseille and Rennes - and most everyone is partying and going to be drunk, and I don't trust Marseille guys. I have some nice roommates that are all girls, and honestly I'm exhaused so I plan on going to bed early and sleeping in till 9:30 and checking out right at 10. Nothing planned for tomorrow because the rain has just put a little damper on my trip, but I'm ready to go home anyway. I'll probably stay in and talk to the workers in French if I can. Get some good practice in.
Well I'm headed to bed! I love you all and thanks for keeping up on my travels! Gros bisous a tous!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
We headed down to the beach where the sun couldn't decide to shine or not. But we got some really great sunny pictures though. Just 10 minutes later however, the waves started getting huge. We were watching people run from them on the beach and at first it was funny, then as we passed a restaurant farther down on the beach we realized it wasn't funny anymore. This guy was frantically carrying chairs up the stairs but the waves were so big and fast that when we went down to get more he had to jump up on them to stay out of the water, but it was so big it crashed over him and the chairs, and then took half the chairs out to sea. They were desperately trying to save their restaurant but it was hopeless.
(Sunny beautiful day in Nice)
We went back to the hostel for a while where we showed the pictures to everyone of the mess down at the beach and then we decided to go back at eat dinner somewhere around there. It was the first night I had been able to go out late at night because normally I'm alone so I come home by 7. Everything was all lit up and beautiful. We went back to see if there had been any new damage and we just saw a lot of rocks and the rent-a-bikes were all tipped over. The road was still closed and the police were still everywhere. So we ate in Vieux Nice at a little restaurant where I got Gnocchi and a cheap glass of wine and Bryce got the plat de jour. We talked about anything and everything and just had a really good night. The walk home was far too cold for this time of year though. When we got back some people were outside talking in the garden so we sat with them for a little but I was too tired to stay there for long. I went to my room and fell asleep in seconds. Soooo tired!
Another long and CRAZY day! I saw something no one ever sees in Nice. Nice.