29 September 2009

Alone in Paris

Today I spent my first day alone in the city of lights and had a fantastic time. I can't even begin to explain how fortunate I feel to be here...doing what I want to be doing...in such an amazing place. I mean it's actually gotten to the point that the Eiffel Tower is boring to me. Someone needs to knock me upside the head because I've become too snooty. Maybe it's because I went there 3 times in the past 6 days? But in all seriousness, every adventure was unique and well worth it. I just don't want to go back anytime soon.

Everyone left me! Wah!

KK and Jizzy left yesterday afternoon after eating some delicious pizza from the hole in the wall joint a street over from my apartment. Every time I go there the guy gives me free stuff. First Ryan and I got free mousse au chocolate and yesterday we got a free coca cola. Score.

Ryan left a few hours after the pizza fest, but Anne Marie was there to keep me company which was good. We went to the Eiffel Tower and ran into someone she knew from GVSU!

This morning I took Anne Marie to the train station to send her off to the city of lace making. I hope she buys a nice hankerchief or tablecloth.

I kept busy today, though. I am watching Melanie's dog, Bosley, and so I took her for a couple of walks. I also cleaned the apartment, dropped some documents off at the bank, grabbed some stuff at the grocery store, and made jokes with a man in the elevator. It's way more fun doing these things in French.

Tonight I went to an Assistant gathering and met a lot of Versailles assistants at this one assistant's appartment. A couple girls live really close to me in Paris and even work close to me outside of Paris.

At this moment I am VERY excited/happy to be here. I feel like I never want to leave! I'm sure that once the novelty of the program wears off I'll feel differently, but as I said, I feel SO fortunate to be doing what I WANT to be doing.

27 September 2009

Visitation week

I've had a few visitors lately and it's been fun to seem somewhat knowledgeable of the city... My Dad came last Thursday. We saw the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame... and we even had lunch on the Champs-Elysées.

"That thing is as big as the Starship Enterprise" -Dad upon seeing the tower.

And right now Krista and Jessie are in Paris!

22 September 2009

Story of Berlin, bitte

After a five day trip to Berlin filled with kilometers upon kilometers of walking, delicious food and drink, and a very clean hostel, Ryan and I returned to Paris this evening. Germany, or at least its capital city, really grew on me, and I even learned quite a few German words (potential 3rd language?)!

Despite the fact that I had a TON of fun in Berlin, I must say that it's good to be back in a country where I can understand more than the 100 or so words that I learned in German.

On the first day of Berlin travel we woke up at 4:30 am to catch a cab to the airport. Boooo... but we had no travel problems-- save for the drunk man who sat next to us on the plane and would NOT wake up when we arrived. I literally had to shake him. An old french man on our flight kept telling me "Donnez des bisous!". I said no thanks. Soooo a couple hours later we were walking through Mitte and took some pictures at the Brandenburg gate. A lot of WWII drama went down here:
Oh but I forgot to mention that the first thing I did in Germany (well the 2nd... the first thing we did was miss our train from the airport to Berlin, but had that not happened this other thing would not have been possible) was eat German Potato Salad (Kartoffelsalat):

We went to the Pergamonmuseum on the second day of Berlin travel, but I promise I wont post any boring museum pictures here. After climbing up the Pergamon steps we went to an Austrailian restaurant and drank our first German beers! (Mine was actually British... whoops).
On the next day (I think), we decided to go to Checkpoint Charlie. WRONG! The line in the museum was terribly long... so we walked past it and went to a less popular museum instead. I am only a little upset about this because I DID get a picture of me with one foot in East Berlin and one foot in West Berlin:
On that same day we also made it to the East Side Gallery (the remaining kilometer or so of the wall that is full of political artwork). Some guy was nice enough to take our picture without running off with my camera:
For dinner we went to Pratergarten! It's a beer garten and restaurant that was near our hostel. I am still drooling over the food 3 days later. This place was your quintessential German shebang.

On a side note, there were 3-4 year old children riding bicycles without training wheels on the playground at the beer garten (yes, a playground at the beergarten). I found these children quite talented!

I'm getting lazy now so all I'm going to say for this picture is that it's in front of the Berliner Dom on some grass.

The End!

16 September 2009


We went to a Brasserie for lunch. The leaves are changing colors!

Then Ryan bought a cell phone, and apparently if you find the same item at another store for less they will reimburse you for the difference and buy you a bottle of champagne.

15 September 2009

arrivée à Paris

We made it without a glitch. Our flights worked out perfectly (and how often does one say THAT?!). Our luggage all fit in the car and we had croissants for breakfast. I'm going to do my best to avoid le décalage horaire...

13 September 2009

The ticker says "1 day until Paris." I'm freakin' out!

I'm speechless. What a fantastic and exhausting day! I was almost dreading going to the Michigan game because I have a ridiculous amount of packing to do before Monday morning (day of departure), but boy am I glad that I went! We had so much fun, and it was probably one of the best football games I have ever been to (excluding the triple overtime Michigan- Michigan State game I saw a few years back). I will miss those Wolverines!

Ever so slowly the reality of the coming days is setting in, and as the title of this post states, "I'M FREAKIN' OUT!" I'd say it's a pretty accurate expression of how I feel.

My suitcase weighs far more than the 50lb weight limit, and I feel like I just keep throwing things in it on a whim. It took me 20 minutes to realize that I absolutely do not need the pair of black pants that I haven't worn in 3 years. Why do I even own those?

Sleeping probably won't happen for a while because of the adrenaline, but that's what 7 hour plane rides are for, right?

11 September 2009

Technical problem= not my forte

Vista users cannot see the pictures on my blog that I post using the older operating system. I have no idea why, but if you are reading this and you think to yourself "well duh.. it's obviously _________", please let me know how to fill in the blank!

3 days

07 September 2009

A Very American Labor Day Weekend

One week from today, should all travel arrangements go as planned, I will be boarding a plane in Washington DC... destination PARIS.

This weekend was, on my part, quintessentially American, and in an effort to avoid packing I am going to write ALL about it.

On Saturday my brothers and I went to the opening UofM football game against Western Michigan. It was a blast. UofM killed Western 31-7, the weather was gorgeous (as always on that first football Saturday), and we took a lot of fantastic pictures thanks to that 10x zoom on my camera. Next weekend I'm taking Ryan to the Notre Dame game at the Big House! Go Blue!

On Sunday we traveled to Lansing for Connor's belated b-day dinner. (I'm not sure if that is a uniquely American activity, so I apologize for the lack of consistency in my blog). ANYWAYS... I then drove to Grand Haven to attend Ryan's going away party with his family and ate a lot of delicious peanut butter brownies (certainly unavailable in France).

Though I'd have to say that the most American meal consumed this weekend was my 4:30 dinner on this fine Monday afternoon. Well first I wandered into the kitchen and began munching on Ruffles potato chips before scooping myself an extra large bowl of mint-oreo cookie ice cream (yes, it does exist). Of course, I felt somewhat unfulfilled after this sugar rush so I microzapped a single serving frozen pizza which I consumed with a side dish of Wendy's french fries and Heinz tomato ketchup. To top it all off, I washed my meal down with a nice cold Coca-Cola straight from the can.


01 September 2009

Pre-Departure: Bureaucracy at its finest

It still may be a bit premature to frequently update a blog for a trip for which I have not yet left, but as long as I have some free time (and believe me, I have PLENTY), I might as well keep updating about trip preparation.

I have finally had my first encounter with French bureaucracy:

The next step in trip preparation is to contact my corespondent at the school at which I will be teaching. Preferably this should happen via e-mail. Problem? I have no idea how to find contact information for my school or for a specific person at said school for that matter. With some help from Ryan, I emailed the académie of Versailles to ask for a contact person. Four days later a woman emails me the snail mail address for some sort of administration building in my region. Really? I have two weeks until departure and I am supposed to send a letter in the mail to ask for the new contact information for my actual coorespondent?

I love it!

Okay, so it's not the craziest thing in the world (though it would be extremely simple to fix this confusion by creating a directory of contact information--including email addresses-- or by providing contact information on the assistant's contract, but c'est la vie... right?), but it's precicely the type of issue I have been warned about, and I'm excited to recall more of these adventures once I actually arrive in the country.

13 days!