Sunday, June 19, 2011

What Is Left

I haven't been a very loyal blogger lately. I am sorry :( But I have realized how little time I have left, and it scares me and excites me, and I am too busy with my thoughts and trying to enjoy my last few weeks to write a (grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr I am forgetting English. I don't remember the word...)-- an interesting blog post with organization and structure.
On the language front:
At this point, I think I am fluent in French. Or, I guess I might say, fluent enough. :D Really the only thing missing is some vocabulary. People tell me I have a good accent, too, which makes me very happy... I don't know why that part is so important to me, but really, a good accent was one of my main goals from the start. So to anybody trying to conquer another language, I would say here are some guidelines:
1) Let people correct you-- actually TELL people to correct you. My host sisters (And just the whole family in general) have been doing that since the start, and it is soooo helpful.
2) Read! The amount of vocabulary you learn just from context while reading in another language is immense.
3) Speak... and don't be afraid to make mistakes. I was kind of lucky to have such a good French teacher before I came here ( ;) ), so I felt I had the basics down. Nonetheless, you have to make an effort to speak up and try to explain yourself even when it is intimidating. The pay-off is a faster comprehension of the language.

On the topic of leaving:
Well... the more I stay here, the less I want to leave. Especially now, since I am on vacation, obligation free and doing whatever I want with friends from school, my host family, and AFSers alike. :) But I am kind of at a lack for words. I don't know how to describe what I am feeling right now. I kind of have lost all notion of what is going on in my life. Everything is going by really fast. I only have about 3 weeks left. :( I also feel incapable of making a conjecture as to what my life will be like once I get back to the United States. Or guessing about how I have changed and what I will be taking out of this year. Sorry, but I think you will have to wait until I get back from France to hear a realistic answer to these questions.

As for my day to day life:
I got out of school one week ago! My class threw me a surprise going away party on Thursday that was super nice. They all signed a t-shirt for me, which I thought was really sweet. The next day I made them sign the French flag I had bought... hehe. This is how I dressed up last Friday:



I'm proud to be a Frenchy.

Summer has been great. I went to a fair with school friends, a little get together of AFSers, and relaxed a bit, reading the fifth Harry Potter in French. :)

Today we have the "Fête du Village" (Village party). I am not so certain as to what this entails, we shall see. Next weekend I have the last AFS weekend of the year... And other than that, I plan on going to Paris a couple times and doing more fun stuff before the 10th of July...

See you all soon!!!

I made a movie... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOetwWX8VCo

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hahaha...


Random photo? Spot the Milo!!


I have titled this blog post with the onomatopoeia of awkward embarrassed and trying to avoid conflict laughter.

Yes, I do realize that my last blog post, two weeks ago, was still talking about what happened approximately five weeks ago, on vacation. Well, I guess we have a bit of catching up to do... Oh darn.

I am sorry, world, but I have been a horrible journal keeper/blog writer lately. :O So I can't even tell you what happened in the first couple of weeks after break except for that I was enjoying myself at school and outside of school, getting together with friends, eating delicious food, hanging out with my host family, etc. etc. I made a cute little bracelet with Jeanne, one of my friends at school, and that was quite dandy.
I also realized that French school finishes like middle school for those who are in Seconde... as in the last two weeks have pretty much no tests or anything, and everything is a giant party with pointless classes and lots of skipping (shhh don't tell!). I have already finished MPS-SVT, SVT, and Math classes. That's it, no more for the rest of the year (Meaning till Friday of next week... hehe). I am liking this school system... although I am sure I wouldn't have had I been in Premiere (AKA Bac).


Hey look, a cool photo of us in front of the cantine (That is the cafeteria...)

Ahhhh I am not writing very well today.

Last weekend we re-moved Manon from her apartment to the house for the summer and it was pretty fun. We ate lunch at the house of a family friend of theirs which reminded me uncannily of a house in the mountains of Colorado that I used to visit... (That means you, Nana and Mac!)

These last two weeks have really just been a bunch of fun. I am living it up here! I guess it really is the truth that May and June and July are the best months.

This whole experience has been hard, but so wonderfully awarding. I would never give it up.

Today I had my last test in French class, and Physics/Chemistry. I also had an exposé about my life in France and my feelings in Spanish class, and it went pretty well. It was in Spanish. :O I didn't think I would be prepared, but I guess it worked out in the end.

I finish school next week on Friday, and I don't know if I am ready... Tomorrow marks my ninth month here, a fact that scares me so much! I don't know how to take it. I only have six weeks left to enjoy the awesomeness that is France.

France, I will never forget you.

-Carly

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vacances-2!

So, I will now skip to the fact that after Noirmoutier and a day of rest (kinda... I was in the car for six hours of that "rest" day), Lithia, a fellow AFSer came to Normandie to see me and so we could go to Paris to explore together!

But first, feeling a need to show her the Normand side of life, we took her to Giverny on Wednesday. It is so beautiful...

I took a picture of a flower!
... Actually, I took a LOT of pictures of flowers.



Later that day we drove up to Paris with Claude. Lithia and I stayed at my host-grandma's house at night. Such a nice offer! Altogether, we were there for 4 days, and saw quite a bit of stuff... here is a little list for ya:
-Eiffel Tower, which never ceases to make me feel like a tourist.
-Saint Germain Des-Près
-The Opera House
-The Galeries Lafayette
-St. Lazare
-Notre Dame and bopping around Ile de la cité
-The best falafel... near the Place des Vosges
-Louvre!
-La Grande Mosquée
-Le Jardin des Plantes
-Sacré-Coeur
-Moulin Rouge
-Panthéon
-Rue Mouffetard (If you go to Paris, go here. Just do it. Pleaseeee.)
-Champs Elysées
-La Défense/Grande Arche
-Long métro rides... that I love.
-A really fun experience

So yeah... So much stuff :D
It was an amazing experience to be able to walk around Paris with a friend just doing whatever we wanted and shopping to my heart's desire... I now feel independent and slightly knowledgeable of Paris. Anyone need a guide? :) I am open!

Here is a photo from the Eiffel Tower!


Notre Dame...


And the rest in another post!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Procrastination

I have procrastinated for this blog post cause I knew it was going to be a long one...

There isn't enough space to write all of the amazing stuff that has been happening recently... :D

Well, where did we leave off? I think it was during the vacation... So, after we got to Noirmoutier, we had a few days to hang around, go to the beach, sleep, sleep some more, eat, and pretty much do whatever well pleased us. It was great! Here is a picture of the beach when the tide is out...



And here is what all the houses in Noirmout look like!



Don't mind Eric... :)

Anyhow, then we traveled back home on the 23rd or 24th... I forget. And I took that day to prepare for my trip to Paris with another AFSer from New York that would start Wednesday.

Tuesday, Lithia arrived. We picked her up from a train station in Paris and came back home. Tuesday afternoon was just for relaxing...

More later! It is tedious to upload photos... so I will do multiple posts!

<3
Carly

Friday, April 22, 2011

SPRING

Hey everybody!
Right now I am on Spring break for two weeks. We are completely filled up! It is amazing and relaxing and wonderful. I figure I HAVE TO write a blog entry before all of the intricate details of this two-week-period of awesome leaves my memory.

Well, first of all, last weekend, I went to Paris with Claude and Pia and Manon. We went around shopping and visited Montmartres, which has a gorgeous church called the Sacre-Coeur. The acoustics in that cathedral are so amazing I don't even know what I would do if I had the chance to just sit in there and play music and sing. Also, I got the chance to see Jess, a fellow AFSer who was here for the fall semester program! It was so great, we walked around the neighborhood in Paris that is home to the Galeries Lafayette and The Opera House. We went up to the top of the Galeries Lafayette and talked and took some pictures. I am so glad I got to see her, because she lives in Pennsylvania... not exactly too close to Cali.

Anyhow, Monday was my only "rest day." I packed for our trip to the west coast (of France), and I also got to see a Californian who works at our school. She actually just finished her contract as an assistant to the English classes. Good stuff. =) She's super nice, and we had plenty of things to say because the last time we got together was in December, I believe...

Tuesday we were off to Noirmoutier to spend time with the cousins, and along the way we stopped at the Chateaux de la Loire. Pretty much, there are about 15 castles that are near the river Loire. We visited a couple the first day (Tuesday)- Chambord, the largest of tthe Chateaux de le Loire, and Cheverny, where Hergé (Who writes Tintin) got his inspiration, then we slept at a super cute town called Blois. At Blois, I ate till I was going to burst at a adorable little restaurant called "Au Coin d'Table." A hamburger, of all things, and a moelleux au chocolat (drool). I didn't take an apetizer, but had a bite of Pia's, a goat cheese toast-thing. So delicious... and I don't even like goat cheese that much. If you ever find yourself in France in a town called Blois, you won't regret eating there. Then Wednesday we went to a town that I forget the name of to see the house where Leonardo Da Vinci died in, and it was super fascinating. Still Wednesday, we went to see a castle called Chenenceau, which was built across the river a bit. The lighting was awesome in that castle. Pia bought bubbles from the gift store to our disdain ( :) ), but I have ended up using almost all of them because bubbles are just really fricking awesome (!!). Finally we ended up in a town called Chinon to sleep, and we saw the castle from afar, but didn't get up the courage to go take a look at it cause our castle intake for the past couple days had been enough for a long time... So we went shopping instead. I bought some presents for people and a shirt for myself. And that night, I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I ate in a good Tex-Mex restaurant in France. :O You don't know how long I waited. But we found one in this little town called Chinon... Ok, well, in reality it was only good, but I have not had Mexican food for such a long time. :) It was worth it.

Thursday we drove to Noirmoutier, and now we are here, relaxing and sleeping and some more shopping... :| Although I am mostly buying presents. Although I did buy myself the most amazing backpack ever. =) I look like an explorer. Ok, anyhow. I am going to stop buying things, now, cause next week the AFSer I roomed with who is living in the South of France is coming to stay with us and I am taking her up to Paris for four days. Luckily we won't be paying for a hostel at least- my host grandma lives close to the Metro, and she has offered to take us in! I will have to eat cheap and abstain from buying anything other than metro tickets and passes into museums. ;)

So yeah, through all of this I have no idea how I am going to find a way to do my homework etc., but you know what, homework comes second to me. Second after life experiences. And that is how I think it should always be.

Have a wonderful week everybody! I shall try to update my blog next week while we are in Paris. :D

À bientôt

Monday, April 11, 2011

Yay for irregular blog posts!!

So I know this is another example of my oddly spaced blog posts, but I have some good news!

My average for this trimester:
13.93!!!!!!

This is really good for me :)

The class average is 11.55.

So yes, I feel accomplished.

My best clss was English, at 19.65/20, and my worst class came in at 9.60/20, history. :P

The grade I am the most proud of is in Sciences Physiques, though, cause I love that class and work hard in it! I got a 15.60/20. Hooray!

Yay for grades!

Yay for working hard!

Hip hip hoorayyyyyy.

See you in three months ;)

-Carly

Sunday, April 10, 2011

91

Do you know what the title of this blog post represents? Well, if you don't, let me elucidate you...
I have lived in France for SEVEN whole months already. I have made plenty of friends, expanded my view of the world, and tasted another way of life for over two hundred days, already. But now things are coming to an end. I have exactly three months left in this place, so I have to live it up. 91 days, to be exact.

I feel as though I have really grown a lot during my stay here. I have come to understand a lot more about myself and others, and feel much more independent.

But something else I have noticed is that I feel almost as if this has been a rite of passage for me into a new section of my life. I have realized that everything moves on, and I have to accept change and differences. I have also learned about the ephemeral aspect of real life.

Each second only lasts a second, and we can't ever get that second back.

From now on, I have a pact with myself to live more in the now than ever before, and try my hardest at everything I do. I hope it will make a difference in the long run to know that I didn't waste my time here.

On another subject, life has been so magnificently normal lately. Last weekend I got to hang out with a ton of AFSers in Paris for a birthday party. This week I saw my host grandma on Wednesday as usual, and she brought the triple chocolate cake... :) And this weekend was wonderfully relaxing- I stayed at home Saturday, but went outside and hung out with my host family in the wonderful weather, and this morning I went downtown for a bit with my host mom and then did some homework, took a little bike ride in the amazingly beautiful area that I am in surrounded by fields and little hills (something I want to do more than once a week now that it is warm out!! Spring weather has come so fast!), and then my host cousins/aunts came to have a little appetizer with us. Now I am finishing up my homework and eventually will eat dinner. :)

And tomorrow is a new day. :D

-Carly

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shortest Time Span in Between Two Blog Posts I Have Ever Made

So hey! This isn't really a blog post... This post pertains to one thing in particular. French food. Not just any French food, although it is alllllll so amazing, but particularly French bakery items. Not just any bakery items, but one amazing, delectable, beautiful, and delicious cake in every single way. What I'm talking about is:
Three Chocolates.
To get this out there to start with, the only real part of this tasty treat that is cake is a centimeter thick layer of it at the bottom. The rest is dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate mousse one on top of the other with a very thin layer of plain old chocolate on the top. After eating one serving, I feel like my arteries are going to explode in the best way possible. Well, no actually. The thing itself is insanely light... I would chalk that up to the mousse. I am not saying that it isn't amazingly unhealthy for you, but for being so darn sugary, you'd think it would be pretty heavy.
What else is great about this cake? The versatility. Three different ways to eat it... :) You can, obviously, take a spoonful with a little bit of everything, and the taste is quite marvelous. But you also have the choice of starting at the top or bottom, which leaves you with a white chocolate taste or a dark chocolate taste. Any way you eat it though, if you are a lover of sugar-filled/chocolately-abundant things, this is your choice. :)

But I guess now that I have mentioned the words "French food," I can't leave it hanging out in the open. So here is a list of some of the food ventures I have had this year and my thoughts about them:
-Duck Confit- OMG. AMAZINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
-Foie Gras- Nomnomnom
-Rabbit- ...meh...
-Plain old duck- :D:D
-Steak Tartare- Surprisingly delicious!
-A plethora of cheeses:
-Runny ones- Blech... my mouth tastes like poop afterwards...
-Firm cheeses-quite yummy!
-Escargot- Doesn't taste like what you think a snail would taste like. Pretty good, actually!
-Thon St.Moret- This is pretty much like a little dip made out of the equivalent of cream cheese in France and tuna. I love tuna to start with, so it's great!
-So many yogurts I don't think I could name them all- They are all amazing in their own ways. Except danonette. I actually don't care for this one, even though it is etremely popular. And Mamie Nova is bizarre.
-Ratatouille-'Tis ok, but... I dunno... I am not a huge fan.
-Steak Haché- Miam! (Yum in French)
-Macarons- Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. So unbelievably delicious. DELICIOUSSSSS. And beautiful!
-Raclette- Good if you are in a cheesy mood...
-Tartiflette- Another mountain dish. Potatoes+cheese+onions+lardons=obviously amazing!
-Crepes!-So good! Especially if you make the batter yourself.
-Galettes-(Savory crepes) We don't make the batter, but it is great no matter what you put in!
-Quiche- So many different types... but they are all very good and easy to make to boot!
-Pâté- it depends, but normally, it is pretty good!
-Tartes-Sucré or salé, they are great :)

I guess that is all I can think of for now... so I'll be bidding you farwell!
Bisoux!
-Carly

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Oh hai there!

Hey everybody~~
Not much has been up lately... well, except for one thing. One big, marvelous thing... SPRING! It is now officially the season of bonheur and flowers. I am so so so happy that it is finally here. I seriously thought that winter would never end. But looky now! It is 17 degrees outside and everything is blooming. I can't believe my eyes. The transformation from completely desolate to blossoming and leafy is happening so fast. And with it is my attitude. I am feeling quite positive lately. No matter what, I can't keep myself from having a smile in the back of my mind.
I have also been struck by a recent wave of nostalgia. Every day there is at least one thing that reminds me of the US or earlier in the year or anything, really. It is so weird... but wonderful at the same time.

The French is going well. I am more and more confident with it every day. My vocabulary grows with every week, and my grammar perfects itself with every month.

Speaking of months... :O Guess how many I have been here for? 6?! 6! SIX MONTHS?! Wow. Actually. This is kind of old news. I will have my seven months in France mark in 10 days. Holy crap. Time flies.

If only everybody I know and love could be here with me. There are so many things to say, yet I can't figure out a means to get all of my fleeting thoughts into writing. And some of the things I am going through are only understandable through the experience itself. Other things I can't even start to explain. And occasionally I forget what I wanted to mention that was of such importance! Everybody should just come to France. 'Twould be nice.

Salut,
Carly

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

So. Where did all of that time go?

I think it has been another week or so... Life goes by so quickly, now!! All that has really happened this week is that I got sick and watched a bazillion movies Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; and now I am back at school still slightly sick, but happy to see my friends. :) I actually really don't have anything of interest to mention right now... well, yesterday and today it was like 13 degrees Celsius. AMAZING! I hope this is a sign of forthcoming spring. Awww the nostalgia. I can't believe it is already March! :O Craziness!!!! Guess what tomorrow is? The day that marks 4 months left in my exchange. Holy crappolas. I guess time flys when... okay, let's skip the cliché.
One thing I have been thinking about one thing lately. Nostalgia, in fact. Doesn't it seem that sometimes nostalgia is better than the moment itself? I am trying to figure out how I will perceive France and my experiences here when I go back. It is interesting.

Bye for now!
-Carly

P.S. I love bus rides.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Déjà?!

So I am going to try to write this in French. We shall see if I succeed.

Donc... ce que je veux dire aujourd'hui est... un peu plus -comment dire- lourd que normale. Maintenant je suis en vacances, dans les Alpes, les plus belles montagnes que j'ai jamais vu dans ma vie. Je suis vachement contente, mais au même temps, quelque chose me gène.
Ça fait six mois que je suis partie des États-Unis. Six mois. Pour moi, ça représente pleines de choses. Ça fait six mois que j'ai pas vu ma famille, mes amis, ma ville. Ça fait six mois que j'ai habité avec ma famille d'accueil géniale (en fait, quelque jours moins que ça... c'était le dimanche que j'ai rencontré les Marron). Ça fait six mois que j'ai découvert la France, le Français, et ...moi...
Sur un côté, je suis fière de moi.
De l'autre côté, je sais pas... mais, c'est comme il y a un grand nuage noir au dessus de moi. Ma famille me manque, c'est vrai, mais la chose le plus bizarre est que je comprendre pas le fait que je vais revenir aux E.U. Je peux pas expliquer comment je me sens vraiment, mais... je vais juste dire que cet époque de mon échange est très bizarre. :|

So... bye for now.
-Carly


Oh yeah, I just checked it in google translate and it doesn't properly translate some of it... but whatever!

And lastly but not least, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM AND ERNIE!!!!!!
And ISABEL! :D

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Home Is Where the Heart Is

I really am starting to feel like France is my home. I guess it has just been in the past of couple of weeks. It goes like this:
I guess I think about some home-related topic-- something that I miss about the US, and get a little feeling of nostalgia. But then all of a sudden, I realize all of the hundreds of little things that I love about France, that I never noticed before, and that I don't ever want to let go of. And then I understand that even though I might be "homesick" occasionally, it is never a dire need to go back to the US. In addition, when I start to get little feelings of longing for my old life, another odd phenomenon commences. I am getting "pre-host-country-sick." This is a very odd concept. It pretty much means that I start to think about me being back in the US in my head, and then I start missing things from France, even though I am still in France. I am almost like a child with separation anxiety. The departure is inevitable, but I know that I I'll be crying and unprepared quand-même.
I feel like now I would be perfectly content to stay here... forever... hehe. Maybe that is an exaggeration. I would like to see my family and friends again. XD But people aside, the way of life here has become so normal to me that I don't know how I will react when I go back the the States.
I guess my thought for the week has just been more about home, and how much my perception of it has varied from the beginning of my stay to now.

In other news, I read another book for my French class in French (Well, no duh it was in French). I am getting more into the written side of the language because it is soooo massively helpful with grammar and therefore affects all aspects of my use of French. Just for fun I have started reading Romeo and Juliet. It is a version with French on one page and English on the other. Oh, how that helps when trying to decode the cryptic art that is Shakespeare. I have to say, it is much more straight forward in French. Haha.
New word time!!! "une querelle," meaning a quarrel. Hooray!
Also in French class news, I have my first essay to write. Oh boy... at least I have three weeks.

Moving right along, I have to say that school goes by very fast here. Friday at four o'clock, I am on VACATION! For two whole weeks. Wow... that is amazing. Two weeks for ski break?! They really take their free time seriously here, I guess. :) Et j'en profite... We will be going skiing for one week in the Alps... I am very excited! Haven't been skiing for so long!

What was that other thing I wanted to mention...? I had some friends over Saturday! It was great and we failed at making cupcakes. But whatever. The process was fun... Urggggggggg. What was it I wanted to say?? French food is delicious? They have lots of expression to indicate that they are annoyed? I dunno. I forget. If I happen to remember, I shall post it.

I REMEMBER!!!!!!!!!! It is actually kinda a lot to say... :/ But I shall say it anyway! Yesterday, after having had many a failure in this respect, I finally asked Pia some questions of pronunciation. She is my go to girl for language troubles. Depuis je suis arrivée en France, j'ai eu du mal à prononcé le difference entre "ou" et "u," et "or" et "our." This is quite entertaining sometimes. As in me saying there are more sheep in New Zealand than people came out to sound like there are more mutants in New Zealand than people. Hmmm... Also, when I said I bought a cute sweater yesterday, it sounded like I had bought a cute chicken. Uhhh... And finally, my personal favorite, was a couple days ago, when Pia thought I said death instead of love (la mort and l'amour, respectively.) So I came to Pia with this question, and she actually was able to help me a lot. I think I am on my way to having a better French accent... hehe.

An opposite version of this is the fact that in my English class, my awesome British teacher brought up a subject that I find quite coincidental the other day... The students' pronunciation of saw, raw, jaw, four, more, war, etc. They tend to pronounce it like this:
Raw, saw, and jaw become row, sew, and Joe.
Four, more, and war are better, but kinda difficult with the use of the English "r," therefore it kinda turns out like fouw, mouw, etc.
But it is funny, because I had actually noticed this before. When I first got here and we would get on the topic of films, there would always be this question, "Have you seen the movie sew?" ... ... "Uh... no? What's it about?" "Well, it's this dude who takes people and tortures them and stuff..." ... "OHHHHH!!!!!! Sawwwww!" Many a lol escaped my throat in those first few months. But I shouldn't be one to laugh at people's accents by any means.

In fact, I found this awesome, to know that it isn't only me struggling with the various nuances of another language.

A bientôt!
Carly

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's about time for another one of these... :D

So, I guess in the past couple of weeks I haven't done many spectacular things... but I am really ok with that. I am realizing how well I have adapted to being here... to understanding the culture better and the language. To making new friends and stepping outside of my comfort zone sometimes. To everything pretty much... And it makes me feel happy. I can't even start to explain the amount of change I have gone through in this past five months. It is insane! And right now, I think I only really notice half of it. I feel like being back in the States will make me realize the rest.

Anyhow. Although I am really happy right now, there is one thing in the back of my mind. Time. Still. The semester kids went home last week. I miss them already. :( But not only was it a sad parting, also it was an epiphany moment. If they are going home... that means I have gotten through half of my exchange. Hold it... I AM HALF WAY THROUGH MY EXCHANGE??!!!? That is pretty much what I have been thinking for the past week. I know I already touched on this subject, but just... yeah. It hasn't left my head.

In terms of events in the last two weeks, well, I have two notable stories! The first was this past Sunday, the 30th (Also the day the semester kids left... :( ). I went to a hockey game! And better yet, it wasn't just any hockey game, but the final for the French Hockey Cup. Yay! It was Angers v. Rouen, and since Manon lives in Rouen, of course I had to root for them (Although I feel like there was an AFSer placed in Angers...)!! :D It was such a fun experience. I guess sports are an international language, because almost everything was the same as in the US. The kiss cam, the little chants and half-time (one-thirds time, actually) randomness. I had a great time. Only complaint, the cheerleaders kinda ... sucked. Hehe. I have to say that our cheerleaders at LGHS are better than these ones. XD But anywho, it was awesome.

The other thing of interest is that yesterday I went to Versailles (again!). But this time it was extra special... "Why" you may ask? Well, because my awesome Aunt Judi and Uncle Chip from Utah happened to be in town. And I got to see them!!! I am pretty sure it was the only relative visit I'll get while I am here, so I took advantage of it. We decided to see the gardens because it wasn't horribly cold (like the days before), so we ended up seeing the Petit Trianon (Marie Antoinette's part of the palace), and exploring the area around there, which happened to be so huge we got lost a couple of times... But even though we were quite directionally challenged and had a matter of mix-ups, it was a wonderful afternoon that I will always remember! After the endeavor, the three of us went into a cute little café and I got a chocolat chaud. We talked some more, and then had to say goodbye. Altogether an awesome day.

I guess that concludes all of the interesting things that have happened in the gap between blog posts, but I have something else kind of random I want to say. I can hate an aspect of the French culture one minute, and then the next minute Love it with all my heart for the same reasons... It is an odd concept. But I guess I am having to realize that a culture is a culture, and that what makes these cultures great is that each country and even each little area within a country has its own little mannerisms, expressions, ways of life, food, dialect, and so much more, and it makes every place so unique. For the most part I end up loving the French and their façons de vivre, because it has become my new world. Going back will be hard...

-Carly

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time...

So, I know it has been a while since my last post, sorry about that. But I guess time has just slipped away a little...

Which got me thinking. My perception of time seems to be really f***ed up right now (Sorry for the language :) ). I mean, on one hand, I try to live in the moment. And on this smaller scale, time seems to go by fairly slowly on a daily basis, but then all of a sudden, a week has gone by! And then a month! And a half-exchange!! And it bogles my mind every time I realize this. I'm sure anybody who is reading this is feeling the same way too. I guess this is the time of year in which things start to slow down a little, and we can finally try to organize our thoughts and take into account all that we have experienced in the past several months. I know in my case, I am shocked when I notice how much I have grown and come to love my life here. How much I have matured, but at the same time, how my hunger to learn and understand more of this country and its culture and language hasn't really changed at all since the beginning of my time here.

I guess I can partly attribute this to this past weekend. Do you remember in October, when I wrote about the AFS weekend? It was a blast; getting to see everybody else, hear about their experiences, and understand my progress really helped me out that first month. But in comparison to this weekend, this one was fantasmicalistic! Every one of us AFSers is friends, I would like to say. And everything was so much more integrated and personal this weekend. And although there were a couple people that I love who weren't there, it was great anyway. It was really a good time for us all to realize how great we are feeling at this point in our exchanges.

So yeah...

I guess I will move on from this topic. In other news, the French is going very well! I finished my first book in French, cause all the other ones for school I kinda only read halfway. It is called "On ne Badine pas avec l'Amour," by Alfred de Musset. It was actually pretty good... :) I am excited to read more.

What else...? Well, there is a village that is probably about 60m squared that is on the bus route to my house in Pressagny, and it is called "Les Fours à Chaux," which means the hot ovens. Yes. And my village is Presagny the Proud. I am pretty sure Pressagny doesn't really mean anything special. *Correction!! Chaux isn't the plural of "hot" as I thought it was... It is actually, according to google translate, whitewash and/or lime... Like a material to make your stove out of...?! Ok, why not. The whitewash ovens. Just as good, I'd say.*

I think I shall end this post here... All in all, I guess I am loving life right now, and I am super excited for all of the experiences to come!

Oh right! I am staying in Seconde.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

INEXPLICABLE HAPPINESS

This blog post shall be non-sequitur. PREPARE YOURSELVES.

So, I am just really really really happy lately. First of all, this week I have achieved a lot lot lot. I am testing Premiere, I have strengthened some relationships and started a few new ones, I have made some good decisions, I have met another exchange student at my school (FINALLY), and wow, I really can't describe. This is the happiest I have been since the beginning of my exchange. :O A state of tranquility and content and AWESOME. Aghhhhh wow. Happiness. Cool down, Carly, you can do it.

Ok, well, today was my first day of the test of Premiere. And I have to say, it went amazingly! The first period I was really awkward, but after the break in between the two hours, a guy walked up to me and said, "Hi, I am an exchange student from Mexico." :O:O:O:O:O YAY. He speaks English pretty much fluently, too, so he is basically trilingual. :| Whoa. Throughout the day I had a good time just kind of getting to know them all better, but that isn't all! In my advanced English class, I walked in to see the American assistant (have I talked about her before?) standing there. And apparently every Tuesday I get to see her for at least 20 minutes. :) Yay! And we are going to get together at a cafe tomorrow to talk about everything in general.

I ate lunch with Pia and her awesome friends XD and that was great, too. And now I am at home kind of just wallowing in the awesomeness that is my life... Bear with me please. I think I will snap out of this oddness quite soon. Hooray!

But really, that is all I can think about for now... Excuse me while I go die inside from the awesome.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

As I am sitting here in Pia's room with nothing productive to do (Scratch that, could be reading my French literature book that we have a test on next Tuesday...), I have decided that the best use of my time would be to write a blog entry. Hooray!
Well, actually a lot has happened since my last post. For starters, we celebrated the jour de l'an. I was with Pia and Manon, and we went to a fun party in Rouen, where Manon goes to university. After that we were all very tired...! But school doesn't stop for our fatigue, alas.
But it has been an exciting week, even though I have been SUPER TIRED. Monday was monday, and tuesday was tuesday, but today was particularly interesting. So, I talked to you all earlier about the fact that I might change to be in Premiere for a host of reasons, and today I stopped at the "woman who I was told to go go to"'s office to talk to her about it. I have to say it was a success; I understood everything she said and vice-versa, and I went all alone to top it off! (Small feeling of independence) And she pulled out my card report card to see if I would be fit to go up, and said all she has to do is ask my professors and she will get back to me by Monday about whether or not I can try it out. So basically, I am going to try it out for a week or so I think, and then I will decide whether I really should or not.
Only problem-- I will have classes on Saturday! :O
I would be in Premiere ES Anglais Renforcé. Hooray! Let's see how everything goes.

So wish me luck :)

I am meeting my half-way mark, and I am starting to get a little bit of Carpe Diem in my soul! I don't have my whole life here, I might as well make the most of it!!!

And the lady I talked to today gave me some good wisdom, "Janvier, c'est vraiment dure. Mais bon courage!" I thought this was really nice. I think she understands Vitamin-D levels at the peak of winter. Although they say February is worse here...

And Now I am here in Pia's room helping her with English homework. Hooray, and bonne nuit tout le monde!

-Carly