Archive | January, 2013

Avant la Fin de l’Année (Paris life)

16 Jan

Things in Paris have been pretty routine. Work is going well with Aimé and Ange and I love getting to hang out with their cat Simi !

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Yes the family is well aware this cat loves me more than any of them.

Other than that I’ve just been hanging out with my new french friends and learning lots about France and life here from them. One of the most fun experiences I’ve had with them is going to a bar to watch soccer…err I mean football. The best part was they weren’t all rooting for the same team. Luca for PSG (Paris Saint Germain), Simon for OL (Olympique Lyonnais). The things they were yelling at each other that night when a team would score or block were hilarious. And they were so into it. I was pretty sure Simon was going to cry when Lyon lost.

It’s been an interesting few months to say the least with this lot of french boys.

Avant la Fin de l’Année (Travels)

16 Jan

Normandie

The first trip out of Paris I got to take was with MICEFA, and we went off to Normandy for the day to visit sites related to Dday in WWII for the American troops. This included Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc and the American Cemetery. At first I wasn’t particularly interested in going, but at the end of the day I was really happy I went.

Our day began with a three hour drive at 7am… Thanks to a 6 hour skype conversation the night before that lasted until 4 am I only got to sleep for about an hour and a half before I had to wake up to get to the bus. So when you ask yourself ‘I wonder if she slept during the three hours on the bus?’ Let me tell you the answer is YES.

Our first stop was Omaha beach. We didn’t spend much time here since there really wasn’t much to see. But this was where the Americans descended onto the beach on D-day. There is now a monument there, but other than that just a normal beach.

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Alan and I – Les Nouveaux Braves

We then hopped back onto the bus and continued onto Pointe du Hoc–another site of the battle and also a fantastic place to take pictures (which we all found slightly more important).

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Reenactment

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Our last stop to this rainy, cold, and windy day was the American Cemetery. A very moving and informational monument in memory of the soldiers who fought here.

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Tombstones of the Soldiers

Concluded the day by sleeping the now 4 (thanks to traffic) hours back to Paris.

Châteaux de la Loire

This day was cold. COLD COLD COLD. It was in the negative degrees and we were going to explore some castles that had no heat in them. We were not pleased. Well about the cold. We were excited to see the castles and once again take beautiful pictures !

The first castle we went to was Chateau Chambord. A very old, very huge castle which was absolutely freezing. Our frozen bodies all congregated in front of the 2 fires that were built throughout this whole castle and we didn’t enjoy it as much as we could.

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One of the only pictures of me that exists from this day.

The next castle was my favorite of the day – Chateau Chenonceau . It was built over a river and was stunning. I was ready to put a down payment on it !

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Hey! Whats that shiny thing in the river?

But then, a terrible thing occurred. I asked my friend Efren to take a picture of me (nothing new here). However, he had on slippery gloves, and was trying to adjust all of the electronics he was holding when all of a sudden my camera slipped from his hands. *In slow motion in my head* My camera bounced off of the bridge and valiantly flung itself off the edge and straight into the freezing waters 50 meters below. Camera suicide. I was devastated to say the least, and lost all my beautiful pictures of the day. And that’s pretty much how that day ended.

Lyon

Thanks to having no camera I have no pictures from this weekend which is a shame since it was the Fête des Lumières. The previous month, I had made friends with a few people from Lyon and one of them invited me to stay with them to see the festival, and so I did! I really enjoyed this little-big city. Apart from the lights and animations at night, I also got to meet a lot of new people, speak lots of french as well as learn about the french culture of Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region. However, I will be going back in a week, this time armed with a camera.

That’s pretty much it for travels before the end of the year.

Avant la Fin de l’Année (School)

16 Jan

Wow it has certainly been awhile. Call me a lazy bastard or call me way too busy. I assure you I’m  both. 

In any case, so much has happened over the past few months ! Which means lots and lots to write (of which i’ll break into multiple posts). I started traveling, I finished school, I made great friends, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ll begin with school since that’s the reason that I’m technically here.

I really enjoyed school here, I learned the french language more in depth and felt like I really started to understand what it was all about. Unfortunately, all of my classes were FLE (French language as a second language courses), this meant that I didn’t have regular university courses with French students, rather I was with all international ones. However, I did get to make friends with people from other parts of Europe which was pretty amazing. 

Classes were not exceptionally challenging, but I did work hard and that hard work paid off. At the  end of the semester one of my favorite professors was looking over a paper I wrote and said (translated) : “Mikayla, do you feel like you’ve improved ? Because you’ve improved, this is really good.” And I definitely do feel like I’ve improved, though I’m still nowhere near fluent.

I’ve received half of my grades so far which have really pleased me. 15 (A), 16(A), and 12(B+). Now just anxiously awaiting the rest. 

Next semester will definitely be much more challenging though. I can only take one FLE class, so I’ll be flung into the center of regular French courses. But I still have two weeks before I even have to worry about that since school doesn’t even begin until February 4th! (yay) #outofsightoutofmind