Monday, November 29, 2010

Music Evolution.... why not. :D

So this week or so has been pretty cool. I went to a foir (fair) one weekend, and I saw HP 7 (AGHHHHH!!!! :D:D:D:D) and went to Rock music only party thingy with Pia the next. School is good. And when I say good, I kinda mean awesome... Like it is a (for the most part) enjoyable challenge.
And guess what!!!!? (inversed interrobang...) Our "conseil de classe" was Friday night. That means that the class representatives got together with our teachers and talked and shiz like that, and they gave out each of our individual "moyennes" or average grades. Yeah, I found it kind of weird, too. You get one grade for everything at the conseil de classe, but at the end of the year you still get a full report card.
*Giant unnecessary brag alert*
So this morning I found out my moyenne. I was super surprised and happy to hear that not only did I have a 12.5 (which is like a B), but also that I was a good one point above the rest of the class... the average for the class was 10.94... And I was graded in all of my classes except for SES(Economics) and French. In addition, you also get a little side note from the teachers and out of all thirty people, 3 were given the highest one, "Felicitations!" (Congratulations!) And to my surprise, I got that as well. :) Bear in mind I definitely didn't have the third best grade in the class, but I think the teachers took into account the language barrier. XD So anyhow, whoa... Needless to say, I was pretty proud of myself today. However, I didn't go around shouting it out like am doing right now. I kept it confined to my little brain and just smiled throughout the day. And then, in my last class of the day, we got back our math tests... and to just top off the already great "journée," I had received a 17.7! Hoowayyy :) Ok I shall shut up now and get back to stuff that is pertinent.
As well as giving out grades, the representatives also give us a little summary of what they all talked about. It was interesting enough and killed some class time, so hooray :). At that same time we also got our school photo forms. There isn't a legitimate yearbook here, but if you want you can purchase a kind of class yearbook, which just contains you and your classmates. I am totally buying it. It is the closest I will get to its American counterpart. :P I was surprisingly satisfied with my photo, and the class photo is the funniest thing you have ever seen. I think me and two other people are actually smiling. It kind of makes me wonder if I wasn't supposed to smile.. D: But my French teacher's and Falfi's and Tommy's faces just make me feel the need to own that awkward photo... hehehe.
So yup... that was all for today.

Anyhow, moving on to random things I have noticed lately or forgotten to mention:
-You can overpass school buses in your car here. :O
-Sirens sound different
-Their school bell is ten seconds of blaring hellish noise
-There was a snow like substance on the ground today in patches, so HOORAY!
-Uhh... I have cold, to put it in the french form.

But I guess I should explain why I called this post "Music Evolution."
Well, I was thinking last night about the fact that I have had some very distinct phases of music listening while being in France. And i think if you go ahead and think a little deeper after reading it, you will kinda understand.

First month:
At the very beginning it was kind of a mélange of everything. But there was some Muse, some Cranberries, and a bunch of random playlists I made over this summer.
Then it morphed into A LOT of Sara Bareilles: Not happy chappy Sara Bareilles, but stuff like "City" and "Between the Lines" and "Winter Song." Especially "Winter Song." Hehe... look up the lyrics.
Started listening to Radiohead. Mostly just "Karma Police" and "Let Down"

A little bit after that:
RADIOHEADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD.
OK Computer (Album), to be precise. And The Bends. Both really good music to just put on and get absorbed in, given you like that type of music.
Sara Bareilles slowly withering away.
Very small phase of James Taylor. :( Not good to listen to when you are thinking of home, but he's so good. :/

The past two weeks:
I still listen to Sara Bareilles and Radiohead when I feel like it, and still really appreciate their music and songs, but I have also started a new phase.
COLDPLAY! :D
Coldplay is great. Their music is wonderful and they have so many different types of songs. So it isn't only their marvelous first album, Parachutes, but also their other, more upbeat stuff.

So yeah. I don't know if that was interesting at all, but there you go.

And that is all I've got for now.
-CARLY!

P.S. If you have any sort of topic you would like to know about or read about on a daily basis, feel free to chime in on the comments section.

So I have heard that the comment thingy is kinda a hassle... so, without further ado, I presnt to you "Carly Houk's How to use the comments section": Click on the button below the post that say "___ comments," Type your note in the comment box, choose a profile (meaning you have to have one of the profiles they have in the dropdown box) Click post. Now you will be refreshed onto the same page with one of the robot-detector thingies (That means the word that they tell you to type). Type in the word, and then click post again. Now you should see your comment. Hooray! :D I hope that works. If it doesn't, I would say leave a comment, but you can't. So, well, can't help you there... *Awkward face*

Edit~ I totally forgot to mention thanksgiving! Well, I guess that is because it isn't celebrated here... teehee... (Did you know that the french expression for dotdotdot- real word for that by the way is ellipses- is "trois petits points" hehe. Three little points.) But anywhow, I made popovers, but that was it. :) A very different thanksgiving indeed.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

So, Pretty Much... continued

So, once we finished shopping, we quickly dined at a very Parisien Corner Cafe/Bistro situation, and I got my first croque-madame in France. It was a success (By the way, a croque-madame is two pieces of toast grilled with French cheese on them, with an egg on top, and ham in the middle. A croque-monsieur is minus the egg.) So after that was done, Pia and I went early to the theater because our seats were different from the others. As we got there, we noticed it was packed! It was really a cool experience seeing a broadway show in another country. :D Anyhow, we moved along the line of people, got our tickets validated, and started up the stairs to the very very top. And then, Top Chef got thrown into the mix... As we were standing in another crowd of people, we noticed that there was a sign with the little M6 logo on the top (M6 is a French TV station). Pia read it, and it said that they were filming Top Chef: France just before the entryway to the top floor. We kinda didn't pay attention to it. But as we neared the entryway, we noticed a bunch of cameras and people. And they were literally filming Top Chef right there!! It was one of those competitions to make a bunch of hors d'oeuvres for a cocktail party or something. I even saw one of the chefs!!!!! Being the American Top Chef lover I am, I kinda flipped out. Then we continued to our seats and kinda sat there in awe of what just happened. I know it sounds stupid, but ti was exciting. Pia texted about half of the world's population and I was just sitting there thinking about how lucky we were to have chosen that date. We settled down as the musical started, and it was a great show. And EVERYTHING was in French! :) Even the songs... I couldn't help singing along in my mind with the English lyrics, too. When it finally finished it wasn't just over, though. There were two encores, and when I finally thought it would be over, they performed a last one, Waterloo, and in English! Meanwhile cameras came out onto the stage and were filming the dancers and singers. Slightly suspicious... Finally, at the end of that, a man came out onto the stage and everybody started cheering. I didn't know who he was at first, but it turns out he was the host of French Top Chef! He talked to us, and then we got a little glimpse into the episode. :D Altogether, it was a very exciting night...
On the way back home (At midnight), we all sang along to the songs in English in the car. And then I slept very very very well.
After that, Thursday came and went, and then Friday arrived! School was very easy that day, with me starting at nine and ending at three. And to top it off, we ended the day with our first class of Yoga. It was very fun, and I will be doing it every Friday until June from now on!
And now I will send you off by saying Happy almost Thanksgiving!!! I hope that I can celebrate it somehow...

Friday, November 19, 2010

So, Pretty Much

This week has been a good one :). The weekend was a little uneventful, but after the school week began it was fun again. And I realized that this might be one of the only times that I have ever in my life actually ENJOYED school. Like, LOVED school. Ok, maybe love is a little strong, but after the twenty minutes of tiredness wears off in the morning, I am all good, and it is generally a fun day. So Monday and Tuesday went as they usually do, Tuesday I almost missed my bus (grrr...) on the way back from school, but it ended up being ok... after a little running. ;) And then there is Wednesday.

Wednesday... how do I describe my love for Wednesday. On top of the already awesome half-day thing, this Wednesday in particular was quite special. Let's see, what is a good way to phrase it? Well, if you don't like Paris shopping, Mamma Mia, and Top Chef, it would have been your nightmare (cauchemard en francais...). It started out with Claude, Pia, and two friends of the family piling i the car and driving up (down) to Paris after lunch. During about half of the one hour drive, I took a nap (sieste en francais), waking up to see the 5 or 6th arrondisement. The very cliché Paris view. Actually, to put it into a very very accessible form, think of Ratatouille. The scene in which Remy is running witht he papers along the Seine, with the little roads on either side of him... and that is exactly what I was seeing. The Eiffel Tower off in the distance, the awesome Inception bridge in the middle ground, and yeah... It was a good place to wake up to. :D Then we continued along and parked in a parking garage. From there we walked around the eighth arrondisement, which is the neighborhood with all of the big big big stores (Cough cough... since I know you are reading this Gaby... I think you would like it there... a lot. :) ). Including, but not limited to (I feel legit saying that) Les Galaries Lafayette, Printemps (which I hadn't heard of but is a really big chain in France kind of like a even more high end Neiman-Marcus, cause it has stuff like Chanel and Dior and Louis Vuitton [Yes this is a parentheses within parentheses, but I ave to mention that they are obsessed with Louis Vuitton here.], and all of the stores are like a block long :P ) Two giant H+M s, and a plethora of other delightful boutiques and stuff like that. I bought a cute little chemise at H+M, but that was all for shopping for me. :D It was great just to see everything, though. Especially since they are all starting to get set up for Christmas, and therefore there were tons of lights and stuff.
~Let me just tell you this: Paris at Christmastime IS MAGICAL. I don't care how overused that is, but it is true.~
I am really tired now, so the rest of the post will come in a separate part :D Sorry!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Everything's Great Over Here :D

So, not much to say..... School is going fairly well- I am attempting to slog through a French literature book. : | That is an interesting process. Not much progress, but I am DETERMINED. I SHALL conquer the French language and all its funky verb tenses that I was unaware existed... Like when did fut become a derivation of etre???!!! Sorry, I just had to mention that one. Dismiss it if you don't understand. It isn't important. XD All my other classes are coming along, and I am really liking the French grading system. I have probably already said this, but it is all out of twenty, and 12 is good, and 16 and above I think is great. 8 and below is kinda cruddy, but at the same time, I don't know... It just seems like a better system.
I want to join some sort of something outside of school... and Pia wants to do Yoga, so we are planning on getting into that sometime soon! Hopefully it works well in combatting weight gain. As in delicious baguette/nutella induced... Enough said.
As did the people in the United States, we also got a day off today :D:D It was a great great great day. The morning was relaxed, the afternoon was filled with bonding (And bad weather), and the evening has been taken up by being able to talk to my mom, making one of my favorite American comfort foods, and a fire in the fireplace. Aww, so cozy. Also some trying to teach Pia piano. XD Totally not a certified piano teacher... It's all in good fun, right? :) And last but not least, FRENCH HOMEWORK :D:D:D So great! (Now would be a good time to find out how to express irony in writing... Oh, I remember!) *Bangs head on wall* But now it's time for some precious "dodo" (French slang for sleep... yes I know it sounds like something other than that...) before school starts bright and early tomorrow. Good night moon, good night stars. ;)
-Carly

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh, right, that blog..... :D



The photo is of the strike in Paris!
I apologize for completely forgetting about blogging for the past two weeks! I was a lucky duck, and smack dab in the middle of October (Actually the end, but we'll let it slide for the sake of a better sounding sentence), I had a one and a half week vacation. It was a very good vacation! I shall split it up into two parts:
Royan
and
Noirmoutier

So basically, both of these spots that I visited with my host family are on the West coast of France, both next to the sea, but they could not have been more different!

Royan is a seaside town with a very calm and relaxed feel to it. There are TONS of restaurants along the beaches and a lot of picturesque places to discover. I took so many photos! The four days we were there was mostly made up of promenades along the sand and relaxing around the house. It was wonderful!

Noirmoutier was equally great, but in a different way! It is an island right near Bordeaux, and all in all is only 12 kilometers long... :D It is mainly known for its salt (Yes, there is lots of salt cultivation there, and I got a couple pretty detailed explanations of the process :) ) and its seafood! We took some more walks around the island, on beaches and such, but it has a completely different feel than Royan. It is almost like you are in the countryside, but it is right next to the sea... So kind of an odd meld. We stayed with Claude's sister's family, so I got some time to bond with my host cousins and that was great, too!

After that, we took the five and a half hour drive home on Monday the 2nd. Which left us with two days left for vacation. Tuesday was a I'mgoingtoloungearoundalldayanddobasicallynothing day, and it was greatly needed :D

And then there was Wednesday!!!!!!! I took the train with Claude to Paris to visit my AFS contact person. It was my first train ride here. I loved it. I didn't have my iPod, but I was perfectly content to just sit there for the hour and think about things while staring off into the beutiful French "paysage" with trees of all different colors and houses splotching the green hills. It was relaxing and beautiful. Then I met with my contact person, had a nice lunch at a place called "flam's," a restaurant that serves a specialty from Alsace. Lunch was delicious, as always, and then we met back up with Claude. Since we were in the area, we went and looked at all of the large "galaries," which were amazing but beaucoup trop cher..... My favorite part was in the Galaries Lafayette, when we walked out into the center and there was the giant christmas tree and decorations and beautiful stained glass and many stories.... (Only the ultimate run-on sentence can describe the awesomeness :D ) I will put up a photo! And then I saw the Opera house, we went into a couple other stores, and I took the train ride home feeling satisfied and exhausted, which seems to happen every time I go to Paris :):):) .

Today was the first day of school back from vacation... but, it is a Thursday!!! So I just have Friday and then hopefully yet another exciting weekend!

As far as the language goes, I have noticed enormous improvement since the last time I kind of "self-checked" how it was going. I base that off of the fact that I could actually understand what my P.E. teacher was saying today, and the fact that when I took the quiz for "Sciences Vie Terre," I had no real idea what I was doing, but I could understand the questions, so I pretty much was able to fake my way through it I think... (Good habits, I know) By this time next month, I hope I will be able to understand everything!

And yet another abrupt finish to yet another ramble-full and ridiculous blog entry. Hoooray!

A BIENTOT
(Now you know how to say see you soon in French... or at least the equivalent kind of thingy)

-Carly