Friday, December 21, 2007


Bags packed. Room cleaned. Breakfast eaten. Goodbyes said. Pictures taken. Email checked. Thoughts evaluated. Journal entries written. Christmas presents bought. Cheese enjoyed.

Yep. I think I'm all set to go. Now I just need to wait patiently for the next 12 hours.

hmm... maybe I'll go take a bike ride and look at the mountains.

The next time I post, I'll be in the States!!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wrapping it all up...

So... it's approximately 5:00 PM France time on Monday. Last night I began to pack things up, and realized quickly just how much stuff i've accumulated here. In addition to the non-tangible things like "confidence" and "new world views", I'm leaving France with nearly a suitcase full of new stuff... some of it for myself (for instance, being the hat-fanatic that I am I had to buy a couple of authentic berets...)... but most of it for my friends and family. I'm skilled at spending money on other people, I suppose.

At any rate, as I was journaling last night I decided to make a list of things that I would miss about my life here in France, and also a list of things that I'm looking forward to back in the States...

What I'll miss from France:
* morning trips to the boulangerie to buy a fresh baguettes and croissants
* speaking French all the time. it really is an incredibly beautiful language
* being able to be a student and only a student... not worrying about working in addition to studying
* my friends that I've made here
* all of the uniaue new foods I've eaten (such as kangaroo?)
* seeing the sun rise over the Pyrenées Mountains on my way to class in the morning
* the kids in my host family

What I'm most looking forward to in the States:
* being back with my boys (Kyle, PJ, and Jeremy most of all...)
* seeing my family
* seeing Brittany and Bethany before they go back to South Africa and Texas, respectively
* driving
* having a cell phone again
* Chipotle / Don Pablo's / macaroni and cheese / peanut butter and jelly / Waffle House
* not being exhausted at the end of every day because of the language

All in all, it will be very good to be back. Don't get me wrong, I love it here... I love my life here, I love my studies here, I love my friends here... but it will definitely be good to be back.

If you'll indulge me with just a little more patience, I should have some pictures up by this time next week :)

Oh! Some of you emailed me regarding my actual travel plans, so...

Friday night: overnight train to Paris (arriving 6:00 AM)
Saturday: Flight out of Charles de Gaulle at 12:50, landing in Chicago 3:30 Central Time (yes, that's actually a 9 hour flight that looks like 3 hours on paper!)
Followed by a flight out of Chicago 8:30 PM Central Time, landing in Cleveland 10:50 PM Eastern Time, where my parents and my best friend Kyle will be meeting me to take me home.

I'll probably post at least once more before I head back to the motherland.

All of my love, friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


There but by the grace of very very very strong Italian coffee and my collection of Rush cds, I finished the thesis, got it turned in, and flew through my remaining interviews. Woo! What does this all mean?

It means that I am done with classes (even though I still technically have class for through Wednesday... but i've taken all of my finals already), and can really just relax and enjoy my final week in France.

Plans for the week include:

*end of semester party tonight
*fake-Christmas dinner and xmas light viewing with my host family tomorrow night
*Christmas party with the other Americans Wednesday night
*taking people to the airport and train station on Thursday and Friday
*leaving Friday night at 11:00

I'll get more introspective on all of the soon, I promise.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

getting closer...

4 hour written exam for Business French: FINISHED
Interview #1 for Business French: FINISHED
Interview #2 for Business French: tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM (ew)
8-page thesis for Modern Comparative Lit: not yet started, due tomorrow at midnight

and then... no more classwork... just riding out my last week in France.

9 days till i'm back in English-speaking territory!

Monday, December 10, 2007

another quick update...

Hehehe... we ran out of money in Venice, so I put a beret down on the ground and began to sing Christmas carols... and made 130€.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

In Venice...

So I was going to post a bunch of Paris pictures, as well as pictures of the student strikes and manifestations... but unfortunately my computer has broken and won't be able to be fixed until I'm back in the States... so no more pictures until then but believe me I'll have a ton to post as soon as I can!

Currently, I'm in Venice! Incredibly beautiful! Can't wait to share stories and pictures, but that will have to wait another couple of weeks, I guess.

Two weeks from today I fly into Cleveland!

Much love, longer post coming later this week.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


So I'm getting on a night train tonight and riding to Paris to meet up with some of my friends from the States... expect pictures of Paris Christmas lights sometime next week :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

I need six eggs... that's too expensive!

The last weekend of September, I traveled to a small city called Carcassonne... it has proven to be my favorite city thus far in all of France. Unfortunately, when I visited I didn't have a camera. Last weekend, I was able to return to Carcassonne... this time with camera in tow. Pictures... here we go!
I mentioned in the Nice post that pretty much every city in France has at least one big fountain. Above is the fountain in Toulouse, and below is one of the fountains in Carcassonne

This is the first view that you get of La Cité (the oldest part of a city). Carcassonne is a medieval city, completely surrounded by thick stone walls... basically incredible! The youth hostel that I stayed in is actually within the medieval city. So cool... the rest of this post is just pictures from around the city. It looks awesome, but what makes it even cooler is the fact that this is a completely functional city! People live here within these walls! And work here! Gah! It blows my mind! Anyway... more pics.

And of course the post wouldn't be complete without a blurry self-image with a weird facial expression that i really have no way of explaining...

Until next time... salut.

ps -- points to whoever identifies the title of this post :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Nice in review

Nice was splendid. Truly, it was great to get far far away from the university and relax. So I know why you're here... you want pictures. Let's get going.

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Palm trees... among my favorite things.

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It seems as though every city that I've visited in France has at least one large artistic fountain...

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Classic emo/myspace picture. Me and the Mediterranean.

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Castle Hill by day and by night. Once upon a time there was a large castle perched on top of this hill, but it was destroyed by the bastard son of some king or other. From on top of this hill, you get incredible views of the sea, the city, and the mountains (those pictures coming up soon).

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The Promenade des Anglais by day and by night. The Promenade des Anglais runs for 5 km along the Mediterranean shore. During the the day, it is full of people walking, rollerblading, skateboarding, and biking. At night, it's slightly more peaceful. On the other side of the roadway you find all of the casinos and resort hotels.

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One of the remnants of the castle on the hill...

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The paved paradise and put up a parking lot... from the top of castle hill.

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More views from the top.

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un petit papillon. The nice kind. Not the spoiled little white dog kind.

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Public restrooms.

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La Vielle Ville (the old village) by day and by night. Really cool, kinda medieval...

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Weird head statue / office building... very strange and confusing.

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Smart Cars are everywhere here.

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Out one side of the train window...

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Out the other side of the train window...

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Back safe in Pau...

Yikes. I'm late for class. Gotta go!

Friday, November 2, 2007

la mer...

For as long as I can remember, I have longed to see the Mediterranean Sea. I'm not sure why exactly, but I have. So when I woke up this morning and looked out of the train window to see the sun beginning to rise over this miraculously blue body of water, my eyes started to water. It's truly remarkable how beautiful the riviera is. I hiked a little this morning up to the ruins of the old castle in the town, and from the top of the hill I was treated to this awesome view of pure blue as far as I could see. After staring, enraptured, for a while I turned around only to bit hit by a perfect view of the Alps. Words can't describe, and I will have pictures to post as soon as I return to campus Sunday night. I'm awestruck at the beauty.

I think I could probably live here?

Tomorrow I'm going to go either to Corsica or to Monaco. Haven't yet decided. I definitely do not want to return to school Monday morning.

And a special note to Jessica... the next post will be all in French for you, and I expect you to be fluent by the time I get home (Christmas) so that I have somebody to talk to ;)

Till next time...


ps -- french keyboards suck.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

So here I am.

OK. It was brought to my attention that a ton of people that I'm related to are on blogger now, so I guess this is the best way to keep in touch with them. So here I am. Woo!

I've officially passed the halfway point of my sejour in France. It's been a crazy ride, one that I'm sure I'll never be able to forget, and certainly one that I never want to forget. The world is a very big place, and it feels more open to me now than it ever has before!

Today is Halloween! In France, that truly doesn't mean much. There is no trick-or-treating here, and little kids don't have parties at school... there's no wild consumption of ridiculous amounts of sugar (or at least no more than usual)... only the college age kids seem to care about Halloween. There will be many parties at the various bars tonight, all of the costume required. But even the idea of Halloween costumes are different here! In the States, Halloween is a chance for everyone to dress up as something goofy, funny, or provocative and not feel ridiculous. Here, people actually dress up as things that are in the realm of scariness. Witches, vampires, ghosts... all of these things!

Tomorrow is the real holiday. All-Saint's Day (Tous Saints). All of the banks and stores will be closed, as well as the university. And of course, this also means that we have Friday off from classes too (thank goodness!). My plans for the long weekend? Tomorrow night I'm boarding a night train and Friday morning I'll wake up in the French Riviera. I've booked a youth hostel in Nice for the weekend, and plan to spend beaucoup de temps on the beach, soaking up the sun and beautiful weather. Also, there is a bus from my youth hostel to Monaco that costs only 2€, so I might head to the casinos at some point.

The south of France is absolutely stunning in the autumn. As I ride my bike to school in the morning, I have a wonderful view of the Pyrenées mountains as the sun rises behind them. Nothing I've ever seen can compare to this!

In terms of food, my eyes have been opened to many new and wonderful things. Goat cheese, for instance, when drizzled with honey and baked, then eaten with cranberries... wow. The cafeteria on campus always has something interesting... once it was horse meat, a couple weeks ago we ate kangaroo... basically the French will take anything and make it taste incredible.

That's all I got for today. I'll try to update again sometime next week.