Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day Thirty-One: Willkommen

June 30, 2011
4 hours of sleep. Yep. I set my alarm early so that I could shower- lost the hot water right before I was about to condition my hair. Ugh. Then came breakfast. I finished packing. Just me, a huge suitcase, backpack, and bag of wine for Julian. Bus ride to Paris. We got to St. Christopher’s at 2:10ish. It was surreal saying bye because it was so informal. I hit the ground running and scatted off to the Laumiere stop to ride the metro to Gare du Nord. Royally embarrassed myself . like I’m sure everyone watching was like “damn Americans” but this nice old guy got the information lady to open the side door so that I could get into the metro stop with my 60 pounds of luggage. Earlier, I was trying to get my luggage and myself through the turners. More metro. Then uphill. Another nice guy helped me carry my luggage up the stairs. I arrived at Gare du Nord with time to spare. So I stood around and waited. Apparently I was looking at the wrong board- I knew something was off so I asked the lady at the Thayls booth for help again. Got the right board- and holy goodness I thought I was in a Harry Potter film with the way they change the train information. Walked about ½ a mile to my specific car on the train. Hottt. My seat on the train was next to Max, a 19 year old German who just started college in Paris and is from Cologne. . He was reading War of the Worlds; he is an economics major and he has no idea about the major he picked- but he will. I ended up chatting/ looking out the window/ entertaining him with my musical preferences for the last hour and a half. In Belgium, the police boarded the train and started checking passports. Apparently they don’t normally do that… I finally got to the train station at Cologne and met Julian. ESTATIC to see him. ESTATIC. Still tall and skinny- no surprises there. He grabbed my heavy luggage and I felt horrible. He let me know “God damn!” right away. He took me outside the station to see the cathedral. Holy goodness. Woah. Then we hustled back inside to board a train to Bonn. We went to his cute, and steal, of an apartment. So cute. He and his girlfriend have a bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room, balcony, garden view, and a cute entry way. He is studying to be a doctor and she’s pre-law. He works three days and goes to school two. We went to pick up Pizza Mann for dinner- different but good- thin crust pepperoni pizza with pepperonis under the cheese and a chicken salad. He misses ranch dressing. Overall AMAZING first day in Germany. 

Day Thirty: You’re wearing Dr. Martens…

June 29, 2011
PRESENTATIONS. After, I got everything squared away with Claire about the rooms in Paris- thank goodness. After talking to Claire, I went into town to exchange my lunch ticket, bought a sandwich and a birdhouse key holder, went home, packed, did some research in the aisles of Super U, and headed to the reception. I may have gotten a touch emotional at the reception. They had wine and sides set out for everyone to snack on . This one puree: carrots and sweet potatoes, and jazz= A+. After the reception, we went to Claire’s house as a final goodbye. (On the trek over I realized Brian was wearing Dr. Martens... I guess those aren't extinct in the North like they are in the South ahahhaa) Claire’s host mom came home and popped open champagne for us. Afterwards, we walked to Falstaff to meet up with everyone else. There were smashing renditions of 90s songs, dance moves galore, and echoes of Tyler’s ‘LET’S GOOOO!’ as we made our last trek to Centerville.

Day Twenty-Nine: Switch.

June 28, 2011
This morning I set out for school earlier than Hannah and Brandy so that I could return my bike to ESA. Riding a bike in France isn’t as scary as in the states because drivers look out for bikers more; nevertheless, I was still iffy because of the shape of the bike I was loaned and lack of protective clothing. I made it to school early and Jake and I rehearsed our parts for our French evaluation. After the French family presentation, Jake and I went in for our French evaluation. Rocky start but I thought we ended pretty strong… UNTIL our professor (who hadn’t previously taught us in class) told us to switch roles. I think we winged it okay but we definitely weren’t expecting that one. After that, I went to buy wedges since I forgot to pack my heels- whoops. I made another stop to grab macaroons from the Petite Bakery. That night for dinner, we had boiled egg bunnies and tomato baskets with veggies inside, pork, four different types of cooked vegetables: tomatoes, onions, zucchini, potatoes, salad with nuts, four types of fromage, and sliced apple pie. This was also the night we had a visitor for dinner- the guy who has been videoing our time at ESA dropped by to film our family and chat.  Serge and Ghisline even broke out the homemade cherry liquor. Good times.

Day Twenty-Eight: Dessert for Dinner.

June 27, 2011
Today’s lessons at ESA revolved around bread making. We made fast bread and slow bread- I even took two loaves home. For our lunch break, a group of us went to the Daytona Bar and Grill where I had a fully cooked cheeseburger. After we got home, it was still HOT, and I worked on our project with Brandy until dinner. Also that night, I had a slight panic attack because a hostel dilemma had been presented. I wanted to roll over my room at St. Christopher’s but they couldn’t confirm it- and I wasn’t going to book more rooms without confirmation. But when I checked again, they didn’t have rooms for all the nights I needed for Mitch, Jessica, and myself. Uh oh. On top of that we had crepes for dinner. Not the food crepes. The dessert crepes. With sugar, butter, jams, moldy whipped cream (that we threw out), cheese and bread, and ice cream cake rum flambĂ©. I almost threw up from all the sugar. Aye. Mitch booked rooms in Rosney at the ‘Cheap Beds’ Hotel- not completed convinced on the location so I’m running it by Claire tomorrow.

Day Twenty-Seven: Cherries. Yum.

June 26, 2011
Getting to sleep in has been a rare occurrence on this trip, so I soaked it up this morning. However, my room is on the second story and it got pretty toasty with no a/c along with the record high temperatures in France. We had lunch with Marie Edith, her daughter, and Claire because our host family was out of town. We had: cantaloupe with bruschetta, avocado, crab, and tomato dip, chicken and potatoes, bread and cheese, and apricot pie. After, we watched Blue Valentine and then napped until dinner at Marie Edith’s. For dinner we had a cold cut platter, green beans, chicken, bread and cheese, and cherries. I’m definitely going to miss French cherries.

Day Twenty-Six: France’s Favorite Past-time.

June 25, 2011
This was the morning of Angers’ tramway inauguration. Serge was nice enough to drop us off on Foch so that we could save our legs for the rest of the walking we would do that day. Brandy, Hannah, and I set out to conquer the trade days/food market first. We came across antique and clothing booths- even married couples exiting the town hall. Then, we crossed the street to the food market. Wow. There was an incredible assortment of fruits, vegetables, raw meats, fish, spices, and homemade concoctions- some that wouldn’t pass U.S. health standards, but they were there nonetheless. We then explored the shopping at Centerville- trying to find specifics and souvenirs. There, we saw that one of the trams had egg and other food items thrown on it in protest. Apparently going on strike is nothing more than a regular occurrence in France. Later, I had this AMAZING FRAMBOISE MACAROON DESSERT WITH ACTUAL FRUIT AT THE PETITE BAKERY. Yum, to say the least. After, the three of us decided to check out the Grand Casino our host parents told us about. We hopped on a bus and about an hour later, we were there. And guess what else!- they had a ZARA. Oops. We walked around and just soaked everything up- I gathered info for my research paper. After, we waited on the bus for quite a while but finally made it home. For dinner we had: green beans, potatoes, frog legs, spaghetti, cheese and bead,  strawberry ice cream cones, and champagne.

Day Twenty-Five: Bring on the gummy fruit drink accents.

June 24, 2011
For dinner we had vegetable soup, Queen’s Crown (a biscuit with meat and gravy inside. A+), mashed potatoes, salad, cheese and bread, and vanilla/raspberry ice cream cake for dessert. Later that night we made the 45 minute trek to the Cuba Bar.