Thursday, September 23, 2010

Almost finished...with the month

The end of the summer semester is coming down to the nitty gritty and we are receiving crazy amounts of homework on top of weekly speeches and about 3 testes per week.  Thankfully that all ends on the 28th of September.  Here’s an update of the days since I last posted.

Sept 14th – Nothing too exciting.  Ate pork with pasta for lunch but I’m not a huge fan of pork so I went a bought a croque monsieur (amazing ham and cheese sandwich for those who don’t know) from a café in the school.  For dinner that night my host mom made the exact same meal that they served at lunch that day so I was in luck (NOT!).  I ate it because I was hungry and there really wasn’t a choice there. 
Sept 15th – I had two speeches today and anyone that knows me knows that I abosoluteley hate public speaking.  I would rather run naked through the town than give a speech.  My speeches were on Disney around the world and shoes so they weren’t tough topics, I just HATE giving speeches.  For lunch we had chicken in “alfredo” sauce and “tater tots”.  I put them in quotes because things here are never like they are at home.  The tater tots were really good though and I had been craving fried food so that helped.  For dinner we had bean and sausage casserole.  When she sat the casserole on the table I said “Oh, Hot dogs!”  and she laughed and laughed at me.  Being the food shelted child I am, I mistaked the French sausages for hot dogs.  She made an amazing from scratch lemon cake.  It tasted like lemon poppy seed bread which is one of my favorite things at home!
Sept 16th – Another gross lunch at school = me getting another croquet monsieur at the café.  Then we had scrambled eggs with ham and herbs for dinner.  They are huge on eggs for dinner here.
Sept 17th – We only had a half day of school today because we were leaving for a field trip for the second part of the day.  It was amazing.  We went to Anjou Trogloditique. (An-joooo Tro-glow-dee-teek)  Even I can’t pronounce it.  It is a huge amount of caves that were dug out and turned into houses by farmers.  Their farms would be on the top of their house.  Everyone was getting really annoyed because they would continuously have to duck everytime they entered a cave but not me!  I fit in quite well with the French people from 100’s of years ago.  After that we went to wine caves and saw how it was made and where it aged.  The caves were neat but had MASS amounts of mold on them that was black and about as big as my head hanging down from the ceiling.  YUCK!  Then we got to taste wine.  We tasted sparkling white = yum, sparkling rose = really yum, and sparkling red = not so good.  Being able to buy alcohol here legally, I bought 3 bottles.  After that we visited a vineyard and then ate dinner in a restaurant that was inside a cave.  The specialty at the restaurant was mushrooms so my friends got extra food.  They did serve rillets, pork pate, which has become about my new favorite food here.  I ate lots of that.  Another fun school field trip.  Field trips are always better when you can have a little bit of wine during them.
Vicki, Patrick and I happy about our wine.  Courtney was sad she didn't get any! 
House made out of a cave

Sept 18th – Did errands today.  Went to the post office, grocery store and then ate lunch at school (which was a mistake!)  It was beef stew and white rice.  Let’s just say they put raisins in their beef stew and I’m not even for sure that the meat in the stew was beef.  It looked a little shady.  Took a nap and then woke up just in time to eat dinner.  We had guinea fowl (tastes just like chicken).  My host parent’s daughter was here visiting so we got to talk with her at dinner.  We had amazing tarts for dessert.  Because my host mom is so wonderful and knows that I don’t like fruit, she bought me one with chocolate and lemon custard.  It was like heaven in your mouth!  I will definitely be asking her where she bought those.
Sept 19th – Today was castle field trip day.  We started at 7 am and didn’t stop until 8 pm.  We saw three different castles but didn’t have very much time at any of the castles so it was the fast forwarded tour of all the castles but I was sure to take pictures of EVERYTHING.  At the last castle my friends and I stopped to get ice cream before we got on the bus.  Ice cream here is so good!  For dinner at home we had pork wrapped in puff pastry and broccoli with parmesan cheese.  It was all really good!  
Castle we visited

I fit in quite well with the people from 100's of years ago.  I think I was the only tourist there that wasn't a child that could have gone in this door.

Sept 20th – Pork again for lunch – OMG People here freaking love pork!  I just want some chicken every once in a while.  Is that so hard to ask for!  I just ate a big plate of green beans.  School was boring.  For dinner we had gazpacho (cold tomato soup) and steak and sausages on the grill with French fries (only here they are only called fries).  I really enjoyed the soup and fries but the steak not so much.  It was pretty much still mooing so I just cut it up and moved it around so it looked like I ate some.  I think my host pretty much expect that I won’t finish everything on my plate any night.  I was so happy to see fries at the table though!!!
Sept 21st – Today was the civilization test and when I was taking the test I noticed these red bumps all over my arms.  Freaked me out a little bit but I finished my test.  I think I did pretty good on it.  Thankfully a 10/20 is a C here.  For lunch it was chicken cordon blue.  My favorite with mashed potatoes.  YUM!!!  I went to the doctor which was an odd experience.  Because of the red dots all over my arms and legs, she told me to take off everything but my bra and underwear so she could look if they were anywhere else.  After she finished with that, instead of telling me to put my clothes back on she took my blood pressure and looked in my nose, ears and throat.  It was an odd experience.  I do have a respiratory infection which stinks especially since I’m in France.  For dinner we had peanut chicken and white rice which was really good. 
Sept 22nd – Stayed home from school and slept until 12:45 and ate some breakfast and then slept for 2 more hours.  Watched movies and laid in bed all day.  It was great!!! Had pizza for dinner because the dad was in charge of cooking.  Its about what my dad would have made too. (Love you dad! You know I’m kidding)  I was totally okay with pizza.  It had sausage like summer sausage on it, not sausage like at home.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Exciting Weekend

Things have been crazy here yet again which makes my blogs only come every couple days. 
Thursday - not very exciting.  My teacher got to school an hour later than he should have so we all just sat there when we could have been in bed sleeping. (My favorite thing)  For lunch we had baked breaded chicken breast which I was so excited to see.  I went to the bank and opened a French bank account which only took 2 hours.  If I was at home it would have taken more like 20 minutes.  People here have no sense of hurry what so ever.  Everyone just goes at their own pace and works slow and takes all the time they want.  Sometimes I need to be American and hurry!  Crepes for dinner and ice cream for dessert – YUM!  I still haven’t been sleeping great at this point.
Friday – Every Friday the school serves fish for lunch and I am not a fan of fish unless it comes in the form of sticks.  Two of my friends and I walked to a nearby pasta place which we have named “Pasta box” because they serve their pasta in large Chinese takeout containers.  I got the carbonara and ate the entire thing.  Then I felt like I weighed 1000 pounds on the walk back to school but it was worth it.  We got back to school and found out we were watching a movie so we all left.  My friend Courtney and I came to my house, got in bed and slept for an hour and a half.  (Yay!  My first nap since being here!)  I also finally received my luggage from home and a care package from my mama.  She’s the best.  It had delicious homemade caramel corn and all my favorite American treats!!!  Thanks mama!!!  Later that evening we had a field trip to an amusement park called Puy de Fou but we saw a show there.  It was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  It was a light, water, firework, posing, acting, animal, and musical show all in one. (Cameras not working right now but pictures to come)  Normally I am not a theatre person at all but this was amazing.  I think I even teared up a little.  Definitely not normal for me during a play.  The amazing play also made me miss my family and boyfriend a whole lot more because I wish they would have been there to see it with me.  I know that they all would have enjoyed it.  We didn’t get back home until 3am the next day!!!
Saturday – I thought I was going to sleep in since we got home late but my body had other plans.  I was wide awake at 9am.  Courtney and I went to the mall later that day where I bought a dress and shirt.  Their mall here is huge!  We took the bus to her house and then I had to take the bus all the way to my house alone.  I have never taken public transportation all alone before so it was a little scary.  When I got on I wanted to double check with the bus driver that it was the right bus and he just started driving instead of answering me.  I was a little upset.  For dinner that night we had baked potatoes with melted cheese and salami.  It was AMAZING!!!
Sunday – Today we had a field trip to Mont Saint Michel and Saint Malo.  I slept the whole way there.  It is a giant castle in the middle of nowhere.  Mt. St. Michel has about 500 steps that we had to go up without a break and without a handrail to hold on to.  Needless to say I was dripping sweat by the time we got up there.  It is the second most visited place in France by tourists which I had no idea of before then.  It was a neat thing but I could have gone without seeing it really.  Then we traveled another hour to Saint Malo which is a little town enclosed by a giant wall that you can walk on.  We walked around and saw the beach.  Then we ate crepes and had the most amazing ice cream. (which I had two giants scoops of).  We got home around ate and had frozen pizza.  It was amazing because I had been craving pizza for so long!!!!
Monday – I woke up and felt sick.  I went through about half the day and came home and laid down.  I’m starting to feel a little better but still feel flu like.  I hope I’m not getting sick.  Being sick in France would be the worst!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Only a Week?!

The past couple days have been a little crazy hence no blog lately. Here’s an update on things:

1. School officially started Monday and it is from 9 am to 5pm most every day. Yes we have an hour and half lunch but still…I need time to go home and take a nap in between classes. I like my classes and was originally put in a class that was waaaay to easy but now I’m in a good class and am making new friends. We have our first field trip on Friday to a dinner theatre. The long day is killing me though. I no more get home, do my homework, eat dinner and go to bed, then wake up and do it all over again.

2. My computer fan had broken so it was like a three day mission walking around trying to find a legit computer place that wouldn’t jip me and would get it done quickly. I finally found somewhere and it only took a day once he had my computer but it did cost me 79 euro. I paid it. I had to have my computer.

3. I have eaten more fish in the past three days than I ever have in my entire life. I am going fish crazy and am not too fond of it.

4. I have this crazy 49 digit (not really) global phone number that was working fine up until a couple days ago. I called customer service last night and they tried to help but didn’t really. I went into a French phone store to ask them for help and just ended up buying another phone.

5. Also while shopping since the last couple days have been a little stressful I thought I deserved some retail therapy. I ended up buying two swatch watches and some new fancy Sephora makeup. My school gives me 400 euro a month anyways. A girls gotta shop! Right?

6. It’s only been a little over a week and I feel like I have lived here forever. It’s a little weird. I am starting to crave food from home. At least I know how to get places and don’t get lost every time I leave the house.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lazy Saturday

Days that are busier are easier when you are alone. You aren’t constantly reminded that you are alone when there are things you need to do. I’m not really alone. I have another girl who lives here and the host family that I could talk to but I feel very alone inside. (No, I am not being an emo kid and going to wear all black) I know that my family is always with me and I am in their thoughts but it is hard being here sometimes alone.

My friend and I went to school this afternoon and ate lunch since it is free for the whole month of September even on the weekends. We had marinated green beans, goat cheese, pork cooked in a tomato sauce, carrots and peas and then coffee éclairs. Everything was very good and beat the sandwich I would have eaten if I would have been back at my host house. After that I walked to the grocery store. I got some snacks and cereal and something other than water to drink. FINALLY!

I have yet to get my computer fixed. Places are not open late on the weekends and by the time I get out of school they are already closed for the day. I am going to attempt to call a store today before I lug my computer all around town trying to find somewhere.

I am going to spend the rest of the day in my pajamas (very unfrench) watching American movies (also very unfrench). Just spending a lazy Saturday like I would if I were at home.

One of the main things I have learned about the French is that they are a much more relaxed people in general than Americans are. They walk slower, take more time for dinner, take much longer lunch breaks, (my host dad was home for 3 hours for lunch and had time to take a nap) and just enjoy life at a slower pace. I think Americans could learn a lot from the French. Maybe this more relaxed lifestyle is a big reason as to why they are all so skinny. Although the French could learn some things from the Americans as well like being more friendly or smiling more in general.

The only thing that the French do not to slow is eat. They allow a long time for dinner and sit at the table for a long time since there are so many courses but they eat whatever is on their plate as fast as they can. I have yet to ever be done eating any course before anyone else. Even when I speed eat or don’t eat everything on my plate. I am a slow eater in general but the French definitely win the trophy for being the fastest eaters.

Crazy French Kids

So the placement test….I didn’t do as good as I thought I did. You could score as high as a level 8 which meant you were really good or as low as a level one and that meant that you had never spoken French before. I scored a level 4. I was a little upset but I went to class and tried it out. I talked to other people in my class and some of them had only had three or four months while I on the other hand have spoken it for over eight years. By the end of the day we had only started going over the present tense. I have previously learned all the conjugations in the French language so I was a little upset and bored all day. I talked to my teacher and I have a meeting with the director of the school on Monday to change my class level. YAY!!

I really like school and the wide array of nationalities in the classes but the only bad thing about school is that we don’t get finished most days until 5pm. That feels like too much of a regular job to me. YECH! We get free meals at school for lunch even on the weekends which is really nice. We had a cold vegetable course, fish in a white sauce with white rice (which was really good and I normally don’t eat fish unless it comes in the form of sticks) and then goat cheese and fruit. Needless to say I didn’t eat the fruit but everything else was good. Then for dinner we had some kind of unidentifiable vegetable cup with a tomato sauce which I did not like at all and then we had grilled salmon (fish again!) and couscous. I am new to both couscous and grilled fish which amazed my family. I liked the couscous but was not so much about the fish but I ate most of it anyways because I was so hungry. Thankfully for desert we had ice cream and cereal. Odd combination but very good.

Later we went out to a bar. It had 3 euro drinks which included sex on the beach and peach beer (surprisingly good). Because it is the first week of classes for French students they are really exciting and make a scene everywhere they go. There were probably 150 new French college freshman singing very loudly and standing on chairs and crowd surfing all in the middle of the street. It was very odd to watch. Thank goodness that doesn’t happen to American students!!!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dirty Feet

Today we had out first day of school which was really just an orientation and a placement test.  The test was pretty easy but the listening comprehension was kinda hard.  I am excited for the different field trips that we are going to take this month!

After the test, my ISU friends and I walked around the center of the town.  We ate some delicious pasta and ice cream! (good thing we were walking a lot!)  And then we got discount cards to ride the train all over Europe.  We did some shopping....A Sephora finally in a town that I live in, and they bought phones. When we finally got home from walking my feet were black because the streets were dirty, we did so much walking and I wore sandals.  They probably weren't the wisest choice but this way I had no blisters!  Being with my friends made the day better and made me feel not so alone.  

My computer broke and will only turn on when it feels like it and really only stays on for a couple minutes.  Luckily, my friend is letting me use her computer because she does not have internet at her house.

Tomarrow we find out what level classes we will be taking and it is my first official day of french school.  I will be sure to take lots of pictures of the inside on my school and of my new classmates.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Double Post Day

As I promised here are some of the pictures I took recently.  They are mainly of my house and my school.

My desk in my room
My room
Kitchen table where I eat breakfast and lunch.
The living room
The pool in the backyard
Happy closed toilet
Smelly open toilet
My school

The dining room where I eat my 5 course meals.