Hello all,

I officially finished my spring break on Tuesday morning. Had a 6am flight back to Rome and have been in the recovery process ever since. I decided that it would be easier on me to break my spring break entries into three, according to the three different places that I visited. That way I don’t end up writing one super long entry.

So London was amazing. I was there for about 4.5 days which I thought would possibly be too much but was actually just enough. I got to do most of the major things that I wanted to do and even got to meet up with some Williams people. 😀 I stayed with Meira in Islington along with her friend Austin from home so I had a nice little posse to see the sights with.

I got there late at night on Friday, March 18th and then woke up on Saturday and got down to business.

Day 1

The first day in London was a busy one. We went across the London Bridge, across the Tower Bridge, walked along the Thames and saw the Millennium Bridge, Victoria Embankment, St. James Park, Trafalger Square, and Covent Graden. As you can see, the first day was pretty heavily touristy-stuff centered. It was a lovely day so it was perfect for walking around a getting an initial feel for the city. Following are packed morning, Meira, Austin, and I went to “Rock and Sole” for fish and chips. It was absolutely delicious. The plates were huge so we got two to share between the three of us, rock and cod fish and then I got some mushy peas on the side. Of course there were tons of chips to go around. It was pretty nice out so we were able to dine on the sidewalk and watch all the passerby as we munched. It was a lovely afternoon.

Continuing in the theme of lovely afternoon, we went back to Meira’s dorm and met up with some people from Williams (a lot of people from Williams are studying in London). Nancy Wang made some delicious scones and we sat the outdoor common area and had “tea.” It was great to see familiar faces as well as some that should have been familiar but weren’t. Williams guests present: Meira Bernstein, Nancy Wang, Pinsi Lei, Regina Im, Alex Cameron, Andrew Nguyen.

That same day, we decided to walk over to King’s Cross to see Platform 9 and 3/4. I don’t know if it’s because the station is under construction or what but it was pretty anticlimactic. That’s all I’ll say.

That night we grabbed a quick dinner at “Chop Chop,” and simple Chinese restaurant. I have the chicken and chili with spring rolls. Was nice to have a little ethnic food in my life. Rome is lacking in this area.

That night, Meira invited Austin and I to make hamentaschen for Purim with her and Alex. It was a lot of fun. We made the cookies, which turned out great and enjoyed the company of the festive Brits, Irish and Scots that live on Alex’s floor.

So I’m realizing that this is taking a while. I spent a while in London and so I have a few more pages in my notebook for my following days. I’m just going to list everything out and include some pictures. Feel free to comment with questions if anything seems particularly interesting.

Day 2

  • morning run along the canal
  • British style breakfast (Me – has browns, sausage sandwich,  Austin – omelet with chips Meira – egg and sausage on bagget with beans)
  • Victoria and Albert Museum (great museum!)
  • Pret-a-Manger for lunch (quick, ready made sandwiches, fruit cups, etc.)
  • Harrod’s
  • Hyde Park (Speaker’s Corner, Marble Arc)
  • Primark Shopping (very cheap clothing store)
  • Dinner with Williams crew at Nando’s (Got to see James, Pinsi, Regina, Rigo, Nancy, etc) Food: Spicy chicken breast with side of corn on a sob and coleslaw
  • Fro-yo run at “Yog”

Day 3

  • morning run in Regent’s Park
  • Changing of the guard with Austin
  • Tate Britain (walked over while sipping coffee TO GO and then sat on the steps and had a nice lunch while people-watching)
  • National Gallery
  • Dinner with Meira’s friends Ben and Jeff at Gormet Burger Kitchen

Day 4

  • 9am met Pinsi at Harrod’s (was closed so we just took pictures outside of it)
  • Walked through Hyde Park to Peter Pan statue
  • Primark (again) with Pinsi
  • Walked to Piccadilly Circus for teat with Meira at the Meridian Piccadily (champagne, little dessert pastries, finger sandwiches, and Jasmine  Pearl tea)
  • British Museum (Highlights: The Rosetta Stone and pieces from the Parthenon)

Day 5/Last Day

  • slept late
  • Brunch with Meira at Uni-N
  • Flight to Amsterdam

So that pretty much covers the first part of my trip. Overall, London was amazing. I got some good weather so I was able to enjoy the beautiful parks and promenades. It was a great precursor to going home (in 44 days) as its variety of cuisines and English-speaking citizens were comforting to an American girl like myself. Going to do my best to update about Amsterdam either tomorrow morning or tonight at some point. I’m going to Milan this weekend to visit Danielle and then I’m off for a weeklong excursion of Northern Italy with my program on Monday so I would like to have Spring Break blogged before then.

Ciao ragazzi.

 

S    P    R   I   N   G

B  R   E   A  K

il 18-23 Marzo London

il 23-26 Marzo Amsterdam

il 26-29 Marzo Berlin

Look for a MAJOR update upon my return.

Baaaaaacccciii,

Sabs

 

Hello peeps,

So I thought I’d do a quick update while I wait thirty minutes to renew my mega video watch time. You know how that goes.

um..I haven’t really been up to too much. I can’t quit remember when I lat updated but I think it was after Barcelona. Since then, I’ve gone to Naples and to Assisi, a small countryside town in Italy (about 2.5 hours from Rome). Naples was really interesting. Not at all what I expected. What I actually really liked about it was the fact that it wasn’t at all geared towards me, the tourist. The best adjective to describe it for me is real. There was a lot of poverty and trash but at the same time, I could feel that there was a very strong sense of community among the inhabitants. I also got to visit their public housing complex which was insane. They were like American projects except worse, if you can imagine. They were the a similar high rise style except they had these weird stairway area where you crossed from the front to the back side of the building that was all outdoor and exposed. I don’t really know how to describe it and I didn’t feel comfortable taking pictures so that’s the best that I can do. Everyone living in these buildings is squatting as the building were declared inhabitable in 1997. Most of the residents were confused about us being there as they are not accustomed to tourists but then this one guy invited us in and showed us around the building. I was pretty happy with this as prior to his invitation, I was really uncomfortable and felt like we were being extremely invasive.

In addition to seeing the projects, I also ate the some of the best food that I have eaten since I’ve been abroad. We went to this great little restaurant owned by a husband and a wife. It was really inexpensive. The liters of red wine were only 5 euro so obviously we got like four rounds. The husband, who took our order, asked us if we could not all order separate main dishes as it would be difficult to make so many different things in the kitchen at once. That’s just to let you know that this place was pretty small and quaint. But the food was incredible along with a great and genuine show of hospitality. We ended up leaving them a 20 euro tip and they don’t tip in Italy so that’s says a lot.

Um. I don’t really care to talk about Assisi. It was a day trip that I had to go on for my art history class yesterday. It was nice except the weather was not in our favor. Cold and rainy. Saw a lot of churches and learned a lot about St. Francis, who was born there.

Other than trips, I’ve just been trying to get into the work spirit. I have a little more work than I would like considering that I’m studying abroad but that’s life. I had a midterm last week that I was really stressed about but I think that it ended up okay. Now I have a paper for my European Cities course that’s due a week from Friday. I just have no idea what the professor wants so it’s making me a little anxious. The plan is to meet with the prof this week and to start on it as soon as possible. I love that I get to travel so much but it’s tough not having weekends to get work done.

That being said, I’ll be heading to the Tuscany region this weekend. Think it might be fun. And then after next week (dun dun dun) SPRING BREAK!! I’m so excited. London with Meira and then Amsterdam and Berlin with Danielle. Really excited about it. Going to try to record everything in my travel journal so that I can report everything accurately for you guys.

Anywho, I think I should be able to watch television online again. I just started watching the Chicago Code. Not a bad show as far as content but what I really love is seeing my city and appreciating all the Chicago inside jokes. Only three months until home. 🙂

Hey peeps,

Finally uploaded some photos. The ones from Barcelona, you guys might have seen on facebook. The ones of Rome are from my first days. More to come in the future. Also, Naples this weekend. Oooooh boy.

Besides traveling, just school, worrying about summer plans (eek!) and fun. Will write a real entry at some point next week. Also, I’ve booked most, if not all, of my trips for the semester.

(Spring Break)

March 18th – March 23rd London
March 23rd – March 26th Amsterdam
March 26th – March 29th Berlin

(Other)

April 8th – 10th Milan
May 6th – May 9th Budapest

Wish I could squeeze in Istanbul but there seems to be too little time and too little cash so we’ll see. Anyway, on to the pictures!

Baciiiii

Hello there,

I would firstly like to say that the title of this post has NOTHING to do with it being Valentine’s Day and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that Kanye ft. John Mayer is playing through my computer speakers right now. Thank you.

Right now, I’m waiting for Meira Bernstein to make her glorious appearance in Rome. Her flight lands in about an hour and as I have to meet her in the city center around a quarter to midnight, I decided to update. I have nothing particular to say.

Um..so today is Valentine’s Day. I almost let it go by without realizing it. The Romans are not big on the holiday though I did see a few couples, walking hand in hand, the girl holding flowers. I choose to live today like any other despite these things. I was particularly appalled, however, when a rose delivery woman rang out apartment doorbell only to request a woman that does not live here. It was only slightly embarrassing that no one in my apartment is worthy of receiving flowers on V-day. Only slightly. I was looking forward to going out tonight and holding auditions for the role of my Valentine’s day sweetheart on the dance floor but I am waiting for Meira. Depending on how much energy she has by the time she makes it, we may go out for a drink or something. Who knows. The night is in diapers (as B.Kim would say).

So Meira has been kind enough to bring my baggage from Paris. I’m so excited! You know what that means … camera cord and … pictures! Finally. Also, hair accessories, books and other misc items, but those are of course less exciting for you guys.

In more exciting news, I’m going to Barcelona this weekend. I’m hoping to have great stories to tell. I’ll be there from Friday evening until early Monday morning. The only downside to this event is packing. I’ve been making major steps, however, in becoming a minimalist. I’m oober confident in my ability to take only my carry on, ooooober.

So I’m done rattling until next time. Do anticipate photos of Rome, of Florence and of the food that I’ve been cooking. 🙂

Ciao for now brown cows.

So I’m writing this journal entry out of pure in inspiration. I had SUCH a great day today. I’m sure that my recount of it will not do it justice but I’m going to try to share it with you guys nonetheless.

So the day started off pretty normal. I was out late last night, couldn’t sleep in because I had to read for my class at 10. Got up at 7:30, read, breakfast, class from 10-1 (got a few good comment in despite not having really done the reading) and then lunch. Normally when I bring my lunch I have some alone time to organize my schedule or sketch but today Min walked by and invited me to have dinner with her at her apartment which is near the palazzo. Went with her to her apartment only to find Will Su and Suzanne there. Talked, laughed with them. Walked over to Italian class with Min. Spent the class period preparing for our midterm on Tuesday (not really time for midterms but because of the beginning of Italian classes were accelerated, we’re actually at the middle of course material).

After that, decided to go to Via del Corso for a little retail fun. I haven’t really shopped since I’ve been here and I was nervous that the sales would end so today after class I went for it. At first I didn’t really find much. Walked for a while, went in a lot of store but nothing really good. Got to the end of the street, went into a store and found a nice pair of pants and a sweater. Got some almonds and clementines from the guy selling them from his stand and then turned back around. On my way back up the street I saw a lot of store that I hadn’t seen the first time. 🙂 Ended up getting 1 pair of pants, two dresses, a skirt and 4 tops for around 75 euros total. Solid work, I think.

After that I headed back home, stopping for limon gelato on the way. Then I made a pit stop to get art supplies so that I can draw when I’m in Florence this weekend (did I mention that I was going to Florence this weekend??, well I am). SO EXCITED. Right now, eating my lovely salad and sipping on a glass of white wine.

As I expected the exciting nature of my day doesn’t seem to translate well here but I feel so good right now. So excited about this weekend and about my new clothes and about my wine. All smiles.

Hello all.

So my excuse for not updating is that I was taking intensive Italian courses my first two weeks here which lasted 5 hours a day. The real reason that I haven’t updated is because I’ve been enjoying Rome a little bit too much (as I should have been). I must say, I absolutely love it here. It’s a completely different feel than Paris. Having been here for about three weeks, I can see that I need this change.

I started classes this week. I’m taking some courses that I didn’t anticipate taking but I’m pretty happy with my selection. I realized that I’m only studying abroad in Rome once in my life and that I should really try to make the most of my experience here. I thought that the best way to do that was to balance my urban studies courses with some artsy ones as Italians are known for their artsy nature. Here’s the line up.

  • Italiano
  • Drawing Rome – great class where we spend the class walking through Rome, stopping at various points and drawing in our sketchbooks. Fab.
  • Contemporary Rome – course about contemporary Roman political climate in relation to it’s history
  • European Cities – Urban studies course on the problem of trying to characterize “the European City”
  • Art History – studying Roman art up close and personal at some amazing Roman sites

So I’m pretty excited about this semester. There are a lot of trips in Italy built into my program here so I will get to see a lot of the country. A week from today, I will be backing for two nights in Florence. Should be great. Also planning lots of trip during the few free weekends that I have and my spring break. Tickets bought so far, Barcelona (Feb. 18th – 21st) and London (beginning of Spring break). My list of places to conquer is :

  • Barcelona
  • London
  • Berlin
  • Amsterdam
  • Budapest
  • Instanbul
  • Milan
  • Madrid (?)
  • Marrakesh

I’ve been spending significant time searching tickets and trying to plane these trips as strategically as possible. If all works out, I should be able to make it happen.

Not much to say besides this. I would love to post pictures but I left my camera cord in Paris. I had a lot of drama leaving the Parisian airport because I had too much baggage and they wanted me to pay 400 euros to take it. So I had to go back to my host family’s apartment, buy a new ticket with a different airline but ultimately had to leave a suitcase there. It was far more dramatic than I’m making it sound here but that’s because I don’t want to relive the stress of that day. I’m hoping that Donna can bring my suitcase with her when she comes to visit me in Rome. 😀 If not, pit stop back in Paris ? So yeah, that’s why I have no pictures. My camera is crappy anyway. Trying to talk my mom into sponsoring a new one. I think it would be appropriate timing.

I’ll conclude this post with my current feelings/observations about Rome.

Loves:

  • Very walkable city despite the old cobblestone streets. Not ideal for stilettos but …
  • Vibrant yet not hectic – Streets have a fair amount of people but are somehow less stressful than those of Paris.
  • Nightlife – So I have had a really good time every time that I’ve gone out so far. The Romans like to party. The quality of the clubs here is really good especially considering that the nightlife is pretty inexpensive (compared to Paris). Friday and Saturday nights, clubs are guaranteed to be packed.
  • Inexpensive – I having a feeling that this has a lot to do with my spending the last semester in Paris but Rome seems very reasonably priced. I can make 20 euros go great distances at the grocery store here. Also, you can get AMAZING food for under like 10 euros. 6 euros is probably the average price for a legit home-cooked style lunch. BOMB.

Downside(s):

  • Everything is on a f’ing hill. I anticipate that my thighs will be fab by the time that I’m back state-side.
  • Communication/My accent sucks – Not as many people speak English here as in Rome. I’ve learned a lot since I started my course but I get so nervous when I need to speak it. Plus my accent is horrible. I hate being that girl (the one with the ridiculously thick American accent).
  • Fascist (?) – So most of you guys who know me, know that I’m not big on history or anything like that. While I was aware of Italy’s ties with fascism, I didn’t actually realize how recent it was in their history. I mean, I never imagined that the fascist party in Italy was still active. Bizarre. I’m going to learn a lot about it in my contemporary Italy class. While I haven’t experienced in discrimination, “Hitler vive” is written on the wall of Cornell’s palazzo and swastikas can definitely be spotted amongst much of the graffiti on the Roman walls. Despite this, I feel very welcome. Odd, I know.

So yeah. I’m going to try to post pictures as soon as possible. Will also be sending post cards soon. Ciao!

 

Hello there,

Edit: HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!! 2011 DO IT BIG !

Also : I’m in desperate need of new music. You guys should comment with suggestions. I need people to listen to at all times of day and also running music. Heeeeelp!

Now the actual entry …

So you know how I suck at updating ? That’s gonna change when I go to Italy. I’m really going to try to update at least once a week, even if it’s just with bullet points. I am going to take 45 minutes out of one of my days every week to do this. And if nothing interesting happens during that time, I’m going to update just to say that. If I don’t, someone can scream at me.

As for Paris, my days are numbered. I’ve been on break for two weeks and now I technically have class again. The thing is, all my classes at the French university are done as well as one of my two classes at my program’s center. So that leaves me with one class, which meets twice a week for an hour and 15 minutes. So bref, I’m pretty much done. I have the final one week from today and that’s it. In my free time, I’ve been trying to soak up as much Paris as I can before I have to say au revoir.

I’ve been conquering the museum scene and have still yet to make it to le Louvre. Tried to go yesterday, there was a six hour wait. Yes, six hours. So I went to le musee de l’orangerie and le musee de l’armee instead. Both really great. I just happened to stumble upon the military museum on my way to another one and decided to go in. I’m not really into army stuff so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The exhibits on the world wars were great. Seeing the uniforms and the propaganda was really interesting. Earlier during my break I went to the le musee Rodin. The gardens there are beautiful. I have some pretty nice pictures of them with the snowfall.

Today, I ventured to le Centre Pompidou which is, hands down, my favorite so far. I was so not expecting it but I loved it. They have a exposition of all female artists right now. Kinda feminist which I can dig. Some great pieces. But the real magic happened upstairs with the modern art pieces. There were pieces by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Duchamp and (my new favorite) Kandinsky. I fell absolutely in love with Kandinsky. Had heard the name before but never saw any of this work. My favorites of his are below.

Going to all these museums really makes me feel artsy again. I used to be artsy, you know. Back in the day. Every summer I say that I’m going to start painting again and I never do. I feel like these summer I need to do it. I used to it enjoy it so much. I have to hit up Blicks first thing when I get back to the Chi.

So Wednesday, I’m dedicating my day to le louvre because it will consume my entire life. I hate that I didn’t get started on it sooner. I will be there bright and early on Wednesday, however, in hopes of being able to conquer most of it in one day. I shall wear my running shoes for comfort purposes.

During these last days of exploration, I have been thinking a lot about Paris and all the great things about it. Today, at one of the points where I felt my feet were too tired to continue, I stopped on a bench in the museum to write down a few of the things that I’m going to miss and no miss about Paris. This is what I have so far. I will continue to update this list until I depart a week from tomorrow.

Things that I’m going to miss about Paris

  • Free museums : So most of the museums in Paris are free for students under 26. It’s amazing. I haven’t paid for a single museum so far. Me and my unlimited metro pass are unstoppable.
  • La Seine : So I’ve been obsessed with walking lately. Yesterday, in one of my adventures, I discovered that I’m not that far from le jardin de tuilleries. Today, I set out on a mission to run there and back. During my hour and fifteen minutes journey, I found myself jogging along the Seine. My feeling of absolute contentment inspired by the scenery was immediately thwarted by the sadness due to the fact that I will soon be unable to experience this. So now I have to run along the Seine at least two more times before I leave. This should make up for the massive about the holiday treats that I’ve been consuming. It all works out.
  • “So I was on my way to the metro and a found this museum..” There is an incredible amount of museums in Paris. Like, incredible. A lot of which, as I previously said, are free for those under 26. If there isn’t a museum, there an amazing beautiful garden, or a random place with sculptures or something else. There is always something. It’s amazing.
  • The metro : While a lot of big cities all over the world have metros, the stations are not always as plentiful as in Paris. I have often gotten lost of the crowded, complicated streets of Paris but I never fretted. Know why ? ‘Cause there’s always a metro. Even if it’s not the line you were hoping for, you can always take it to the one you need.
  • Cheap movies : There is a theatre here that costs less than 4 euros for students under 26. Paris sure does know how to treat its youth. The last time I was in Chicago, I paid like 12 bucks for movie. By the time I get back, I’m sure I’ll be paying 20. That being said, a cheap movie is something that I value.
  • Speaking French : This is pretty self-explanatory. I like speaking French and I will miss not being able to.
  • Holiday Market : The holiday market on the Champs Elysees is great. Hot wine is something everyone should experience. It’s great in the cold weather and it gets you a little typsy. Now we can stop loading our hot chocolate with peppermint Shnopps just to get a buzz.

So with the good, comes the bad …

Things I’m NOT going to miss about Paris

  • Dog Poop :I’ve found that a lot of Parisians love to have dogs but a lot of them don’t love to clean up after them. This evidence of this can be found on many sidewalks throughout the beautiful city.
  • Lines : I’ve gotten a little used to it but I don’t like it. Lines take forever in Paris. I would hate to know how much of my semester here has been spent in line. Whether it’s at Monoprix, at the museum, at the post office, at the metro, there is always a line in Paris that is moving very slowly.
  • Expensive : Don’t let the free museums and 4 euro movies fool you. Paris is not a cheap city. I can’t say that I won’t be happy when my dollar is worth something again.

I will update you guys on the final list as it comes together.

I’m getting pumped about Rome but I can honestly say that if I could do it all over, I would consider staying in Paris for the entire year. I would work harder to find a program that combined speaking French and my urban studies interests rather than having to seek two different programs. But no regrets. Italia awaits me.

I’m going to post some of my favorite pictures from my museum travels and the rest can be found on MY PHOTOBUCKET.

Also, I went to Prague for like 3 days before Christmas. It was a great time. The highlights were the zoo and the pub crawl. Specifics given upon request. All of the pictures are on Donna’s camera so those will come within the next couple of days. 😀

Hey there,

So we’ve already discussed the fact that I’m terrible at updating, right? I think so. Anyway, nothing really interesting has happened since I last posted. I’m officially leaving for Italy on January 11th. I’m slowly but surely getting excited about that. It’s bittersweet though obviously. I really do love Paris, despite some frustrating aspects of the city. I’m also really really happy with the progress that I’ve made with my French. I hope that it helps me in my adventure to learn Italian but I also need to figure out ways to preserve it until I get back to Williams next semester to take a class. My language partner here in Paris got a job in Switzerland so she’ll be leaving soon. 😦 We decided that we’re going to stay in contact though through email. That way we can still learn from each other despite the distance. I think this will be great will I’m in Italy to keep up the French. I just hope it not too confusing to switch back between the languages. We’ll see.

Um….I took a cooking course a few weeks ago which was really fun. I took it with my friend, Donna and a grad student named Carole. The menu:

  • Creme Brulee
  • Petits gratins de pomme de terre (potatoes au gratin)
  • Salade de mache de coquilles St. Jaques (salad with coquilles st. jaques)
  • Magres de canard (grilled duck)
  • Tuiles aux amandes (great little almond cake thingys)

I’m waiting to get pictures for you guys. I didn’t have my camera but the others took pictures. Once they upload them and give them to me, I’ll definitely post them for you guys. I think they’ll be some good ones. I had a great time but it definitely confirmed for me that my place is not in the kitchen. At least not at this point in my life.

I went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter last week. It premiered in France on Wednesday, the 24th. The theatre was sold out. It was a nice evening. I got movie theatre popcorn, which makes me so happy. I really enjoyed the movie. In general, I love Harry Potter but only because of the books. The movies have never done it for me. I liked this one though which is funny because it seems like a lot of people loved the other ones and not this one.

Turkey Day in France is non-existent. Unfortunately, the French didn’t take their land from the natives and celebrate it over a Turkey dinner. Booooo! Anyway, my host mom knew this great little restaurant called “Breakfast in America” that had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner so we (me and the host fam) went there for the night. I had turkey, dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, mashed taters. The works. And then I had apple pie for desert. Honestly, the apple pie was lacking but I happy that it was in my life nonetheless. Also, this restaurant has actual American style breakfast. Breakfast in France generally consists of a croissant and coffee. And then one day I saw a sign that said “petit-dejeuner american” (American breakfast) that consisted of eggs, a slice of bacon, a croissant and coffee. I was less than impressed. This place has pancakes, waffles, hash browns, eggs, etc. so I will definitely be there before I leave. You don’t realize how amazing breakfast is until it’s stripped away from you and replaced with a croissant.

After we the left the restaurant, my host family went to see Harry Potter and I went to spend the evening with Rob and Donna. They had decided (at about 4:30 in the afternoon on Thanksgiving day) that they wanted to make a real Thanksgiving Day dinner. My, how I admire their ambition. So they went shopping and stuff while I was with my family and then I met up with them. They were just beginning to cook by the time I got there (around 9pm). By the time they finished it was 1am. We (Donna, Rob, Rob’s host mom and I) at that time to eat chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes and green beans. Rob had made a pork that (we thought) hadn’t finished cooking. He realized the next day that it was actually a ham, which explained why it was still red after having cooked for so long. Honestly this part of Turkey Day made it seem like a real Turkey Day. It was a big mess and the dinner wasn’t amazing but I was happy that i had it and that I was able to spend the time with friends. That’s what it’s all about, right ?

So yeah, nothing really going on besides that. I actually have work at this point. Finals are coming up so I’m preparing for presentations and exams. There’s only two and half weeks before winter break. CRAZY. I can’t believe how quickly this semester has gone by. I’m leaving Paris in about 40 days. And I won’t be here for at least 10 of those days, maybe more. I need to soak up my last bit of time here before it’s all over. 😦

So that’s the big stuff. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday. It’s time to get into the spirit!

Sabrina

 

Hey guys,

So yes, I am aware that I haven’t updated in a pretty long time. The reason is partly because I have been waiting for something significant to tell you and partly because I’m lazy. If it makes you feel better, I barely do my homework either. Reality television tends to come before everything these days. But as it is only Tuesday and I have already watched everything that Sidereel and Hulu have allowed me, I’m here.

So I’m gonna try to recall some interesting things for you guys.

I guess the most interesting thing that I’ve done since we’ve last been in contact is an internship south of Paris in a little country town called “Mayenne.” I found out about the internship through my program. It was during the vacation of All Saints which was a week long for me but almost two weeks for other people. So I went to this old French chateau in Mayenne to help a group of students learn English.

The experience was absolutely priceless. The woman in charge was a large mess, to say the least. I must say that she was stereotypically French in the sense that she was very opinionated and unwilling to even consider other ways of thinking about things. I realized early on that her only reason for asking me a question was so that she could tell me the answer. Crazy. Anyway, I got there on a Saturday night and stayed until the next Sunday. While spending a week in an old French castle is pretty much a once in a lifetime thing, the castle honestly needed some work. My quarters a.k.a the boondocks of the castle could stand to be updated a bit but…she’s working on it, I guess.

I can’t really tell you, even at this point, what the job description is for that internship. She never really took the time to explain things to me. She preferred to wait until I did something wrong and then tell me what I should have done. I really think that she wasn’t happy unless she was complaining about something. Some people would say that’s she’s typically French in that way as well. I guess I was just supposed to serve as an authoritative figure with an American accent. Who knows. Oh and did I mention that the kids were mostly 17 and 18 years old. Yeah. Not exactly the kids I was expected. It worked in my favor, however, I was able to talk to them and enjoyed being around them a lot. I can honestly say that had the kids not been there, I would of highly considered leaving after the first day. The woman in charge was absolutely terrible. But being around the students was great. It was amazing to see people around my age trying to learn English and dealing with the same struggles that I have trying to master French. I often found that I could better understand their problems and give better explanations because of having encountered the same issues with French since I started studying it. Bref, the kids were absolutely amazing and friendly and hilarious and I would spend a week trapped in a random French castle with them again at the drop of a hat if I had the chance. Also, running in the French country is something that think everyone should experience. Gorgeous.

Pictures —> http://s950.photobucket.com/albums/ad345/girlmeetseurope/Chateau%20de%20la%20Mazure/

So besides that, I’ve just been dealing with drama. I need to buy my ticket for Roma soon but the Middlebury admin is being bitches about the situation. So basically all my finals at the French university and one of my two finals at the middlebury center are done before winter break. One of my courses, however, does not have the final until the 13th of January. My Italian class in Rome starts on the 10th. So basically I need to be gone at LEAST by the 9th. I didn’t think it would be a huge deal to take the final early but I was really wrong. They’ve given me so much shit about this, it’s incredible. But whatevs. I’m gonna battle it out. I feel tomorrow is my day to get this worked out. I have a feeling.

Other than that, I’ve really just been trying to be a good little Parisian student. I must say, it is incredibly hard for me to do work here. I just feel like I shouldn’t have to. To actually sit down and be serious is a task for me these days. I also think it’s hard to really get down to business when you’re not around people are doing the same thing. It’s sad to say but those late nights at Schow (the Williams science library) are often on my mind. At Schow, everyone is on a mission and thus it’s easier to get into the zone.

So contributing to the stress has been planning for winter break. I have two weeks to travel as I’m not going home. The only problem is that I’m rather broke at this point in my European extravaganza. I, without thinking, bought a ticket to Morocco. So I’m going there for sure. The rest of the vacation is up for grabs. I really think I’m just gonna chill in Paris and do the tourist thing. I’ve been here for a little over two months now and in an attempt to live like a real Parisian, I’ve neglected some of the necessary tourist attractions. I figure winter break might be a good time for this.

I saw some random farm animals on my block Sunday. I went out for a run and after turning the corner, found myself staring at the butt of a camel. Naturally, I was taken aback. I went closer only to realize, not only was there a camel, but a sheep, a donkey some other Biblical animal that I wasn’t able to identify. The church next to my apartment was having it’s annual blessing of the animals where people can bring their pets to be blessed. I guess the church had these animals parked out front to draw attention. Pictures: –> http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=258708&id=507528913&l=b02a1d0c36

So yeah. That’s all I got. I am sincerely going to make an effort to be a better blogger. Fo real.

Oh! Oh! Last but not least. So my host family and starting a photo tours business. Basically what they do is they lead people on photo tours around Paris, teaching them about photography in the process. So someone could bring their ridiculously complicated camera to the photo tour and leave feeling comfortable with the camera itself as well as concepts of lighting, angles, positioning, etc. Anyway, I mention this only with the intention of pimping them out. So basically the best way of generating business for them is through this review website called “Trip Advisor”. If you guys have the time, it would be great if you could write a fake review for them. All you would have to do it look through the website to get a feel for what the company is about, write a five star review (just write a couple of lines), submit it, and then email me (howard.sabrina@gmail.com) with the username that you used. It literally takes 10 minutes and it would mean a lot to me an my host family as I would like to support them in their endeavors. Would really appreciate it!!! Links Read the rest of this entry »