Monday, March 19, 2012

21st Birthday!!!!

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to write about my birthday (which was Thursday, March 15th) but I just had such a fun, busy weekend I just didn't have time!  As it turned out though, I had an absolutely AMAZING birthday!!  First of all, the weather was oddly gorgeous; a warm 70 degree cloudless day had everyone raving!  This was so bizarre because every other day before and since have been cold and mostly dreary, so the weather on March 15th was obviously a birthday miracle!!  haha ;) Also on my birthday, I got my first mail from America: a wonderful, thoughtful care package from my friends Mary and Lynn:

The girls sent me leg warmers, zebra print socks, chocolate, a water bottle (which I LOVE!!), a puzzle, a motivational book, chapstick, a sock monkey to chronicle my pictures with, letters, and Lynn bought me a scarf on her trip to Qatar!  I feel so lucky to have such amazing friends!!

Before I get too ahead of myself here, let me back up to the night before my birthday!  I went to dinner at a local American restaurant called "California" with Amelia and Maria because I was really craving a steak!!  And believe it or not, the place has delicious guacamole (we knew we were taking a risk with that one!) and quite possibly one of the best steaks I have ever eaten:

Yummy!!!  I think the trick to trying things like this is to not expect something in particular, but to keep your mind open.  If I had been expecting a Texas Roadhouse steak for instance, I would have been sorely disappointed.  But since I had no idea what my meal was going to be like, I was able to stay open to whatever I was served and my meal was in fact amazing!

Back to the day of my birthday .... so although I turned 21, I didn't actually go out that night because I have an 8 am class on Friday mornings, so I waited until Friday night to go out and actually celebrate!  I must say, I had a blast and was well taken care of on Friday night.  Quite a few of my friends came out and after bar hopping for a few hours, we went to Le Privilege, which is a GIANT dance club a little outside Angers city limits.  I had been there once before, so I knew I wanted to go there for my birthday celebration!  I absolutely love the music, the atmosphere, the pink lighting, just everything about the place! Also, Le Privilege does not close until 6 am, so we didn't head out that direction until around 1 am and I returned home safely sometime around 4:15 am.  Phew, so it was a long but extremely fun night! I feel very thankful to all my friends who came out and didn't try to kill me via alcohol poisoning (like I've seen other people go crazy on their friends' 21st birthdays)!  I was "force fed" (not really) fries and water all night, I was very well taken care of, to settle the minds of anyone who might have been worried!

I also went on an excursion on Sunday, so I will have to write about that later!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I'm just now getting time to write about my trip to Normandy this past weekend!
First, we traveled to Caen, which is a city right next to all of the D-Day beaches, to explore the WWII memorial museum there.  It was very very interesting to read and learn about WWII from a non-American perspective.  I learned so many things I had not previously known.  The museum took you chronologically through the history of France from the end of WWI all the way to the end of WWII.   A lot more things happened during this time frame than I was aware of!  Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the museum:

I don't know why, but Hitler in front of the Eiffel Tower just really had an effect on me.  Made me realize how serious the invasion of Northern France was during the war.

French version of the "Juden" stars

A French soldier coming home to his family! :)

Found some American dogtags!!

After the museum in Caen, we went to the American cemetary at Omaha Beach.  Needless to say, I shed many tears here, which was odd to me because it was the second time I had been there and I had not cried before.  It's a very moving place.

This isn't even a fourth of the crosses (and jewish stars) that were there.

This is my favorite picture of the day by far, especially the blue sky!

After visiting the cemetery, we went to another part of Omaha Beach that has complete open access to the public (where all the pictures of American soldiers storming the beach were taken).  We were only allowed 20 minutes there, so we had to make the best of it!  We all stripped off our socks and shoes, rolled up our jeans, and dashed into the freezing cold water!  It was the first time I had ever set foot in the Atlantic Ocean :)

My "WHOOP 2013" in the sand! :)

Maria et moi

After all the beach excitement, we went to Pointe-du-Hoc (my personal favorite), which is in between Utah and Omaha beach (the two beaches that American troops stormed) and is basically a giant cliff that General James Earl Rudder stormed with his troops after they bombed the ever-livin' ever-lovin' hell out of it!  In fact, once the soldiers actually got up the cliff, they literally couldn't see anything because of all the dirt and smoke everywhere due to the amount of bombs that exploded on the surface.  It was utter mayhem, and there were many accidental ally deaths, but it was the sacrifice they knew they were making.

One side of the cliff

Me at the entrance of a bunker that is still completely intact

Good view of what the crater-filled surface looks like

completely obliterated bunker

more craters

Our final stop was the German cemetery.  It was a good reminder that all souls deserve to be respected and prayed for because not everyone that was a Nazi had choice whether they wanted to fight and die for that cause or not.

what the German graves look like

It was an emotionally heavy day, but it was a wonderful experience and I really am happy I got to go back to Normandy again.  It's a wonderful place where you can remember how lucky you are to be an American and how grateful you are for the thousands of soldiers who died.

Well, tomorrow is my birthday, the big 21, woohoo can't wait!!! :)
A toute a l'heure!

Friday, March 9, 2012

First Round of Tests!

So this week I had FOUR tests and I'm very happy to say I am DONE with them!!!  I must say, taking tests that are not in my native tongue is not my favorite thing.  Especially writing, I know the material I'm being tested on, but when I write I sound like a kindergartener!!  I've always had pride in being a good writer, so it's a little diffcult to feel like I'm starting from square one.  But it does make me feel better to know that all my peers here feel the exact same way I do.  We are all experiencing the same frustration, so at least I'm not alone!  I keep reminding myself that I've only been here a month and I've improved so immensely in just this short amount of time already, so I will be awesome at this by the time I have to leave.

To go on a tangent, I'm gonna talk about food for a little bit.  One my professors made a comment this week that "the french don't drink their milk, we eat it!" referring to the fact that french people eat a ton of cheese and milk is pretty much nowhere to be found.  I miss milk a lot ....forget the queso, the steak, and all the mexican food, I NEED MILK.  Drinking water at every meal is quickly getting old.  Speaking of meals, here it is considered rude if you do not truly clean your entire plate.  That's right, not one crumb of bread or drop of sauce should ever be seen on your plate by the time you're done with your meal.  I try and try so so SO hard, but I have no idea how these people do it!  In America it would look really odd and rude, but I sit there for a while trying to soak and scrape up everything with my bread, but I just cannot get my plate as clean as a french person's, no matter how hard I try!!  It's truly incredible.  Everyone eats SO fast, AND they all have immaculate plates that look like they just came out of the dishwasher.  Also, cups/glasses here are insanely tiny EVERYWHERE you go!!  Restaurants and everything, their glasses are enough for like two sips.  I've been annoyed by this from day one... why can't they make bigger cups so I don't have to refill mine 30 times??!

Anyway, I'm headed to Normandy tomorrow.  I went there about 4 four years ago, so it will be interesting to see how much I remember about it. Au revoir!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Not 1, Not 2, But 3 Umbrellas

Bonjour! I hope everyone back home is having a good day.  If you need a laugh, read on and have a good chuckle.

So before I came here, I was told that it rains all the time.  All day, every day, France is the land of constant rain.  However, it hasn't really rained at all until this week and I've been living here for a month!  In fact, within the first few days of getting here, I bought myself a little purple portable umbrella w/ some french text (3 euros) and a bigger, "nicer" clear umbrella with black hearts on it (8 euros).  I thought I had made some smart, responsible purchases and was, for the first time in my life, excited for it to start raining.  Needless to say, I've been let down.  So, it finally rained (and hailed!) this monday.  I pulled out my little purple umbrella that I have been keeping in the side pocket of my backpack.  Near the end of my 10 minute walk to school, a gust of wind caught my umbrella, turned it inside-out, and completely ruined it.  I was pretty upset, but I told myself it wasn't a big deal, it was a cheap umbrella and I kind of knew it was going to happen eventually and that's the whole reason I bought the other "nice" one!  If I really needed another "travel-sized" umbrella, I would just go buy another one, after all it was only 3 euros!  Well it rained again today.... I used my big clear umbrella and it worked fine until I was on my way to dinner with my friend.  And wouldn't it be my luck, THE SAME THING happened with this umbrella; the wind caught it, it turned inside-out, and broke!!  This time I was extremely upset because I thought this was supposed to be my sturdy umbrella, but it also broke the first time using it!  Enraged at my misfortune, I looked at my friend and said, "There is this awesome store I walked by the other day that has a ton of purses, bags, and umbrellas.  It's expensive, but it seems legit so we're going there."  We got to the little boutique (surprised it was still open at 6 pm!) and sure enough they had amazingly nice umbrellas .....most of which were in the range of 60-90 euros.  There was no way in hell I was going to spend that much on a stupid umbrella, so I almost gave up before my friend said, "Look Kelsi, this one is purple and pink and it's only 25 euros!!"  Desperate, I grabbed it.  It was then that the owner of the store asked us what happened, as I was holding a plastic umbrella that looked like it had barely survived a hurricane.  I explained to her that it was the first time I had ever used that umbrella and it broke, and this was the second time this had happened to me this week!  She felt sorry for me and assured me that the umbrella I was holding was much sturdier.  I asked her if I could return it if it broke, and she said I most certainly could but assured me that it wouldn't happen.  So basically I've spent almost $50 of my France money on stupid umbrellas, but at least I have a gorgeous one now that is guaranteed to withstand random gusts of wind.  It is pink and purple and says "chic, il pleut!" on it ....which doesn't really have an English translation so I don't know the best way to explain it to yall, but I think everyone knows what "chic" means and "il pleut" means "it rains."  It's pretty and really good quality, so hopefully third time's the charm.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Some Cultural Differences

Bonjour!  Hope everyone is having a great day, I just felt like jotting down some differences between American and French culture that have been rolling around in my head a lot lately.

First off, and this is the only thing I really dislike about France, EVERYBODY smokes!!!  Not only does people dropping cigarette butts on your feet get old after a while, but this habit the French have is very odd to me becuase it seems in direct contradiction with the "healthy" lifestyle they all love to boast about.  For example, if one buys a candy bar or heaven forbid a coke from the vending machines at the university, one definitely gets a look of judgment.  And everyone here makes such a big deal out of eating only fruits, vegetables, and meat during the week and reserving all (if any) sweets for the weekend.  And of course, if any food one buys does happen (by some slim chance) to be pasteurized, one must buy the "bio" organic brand!  To quote one of my friends, "...but isn't everything here organic anyway..?"  So .... how does smoking fit into their big healthy life plan??!  This paradox had me befuddled.  I just don't understand how people here can be so extremely health concious but treat smoking like it can't harm you.  C'est bizarre.

Another thing is the way people dress.  Now, I did expect it to be pretty fashionable here, but come on people, I can't even wear a descent sweatshirt to class without feeling like crap about myself!!  Stores SELL sweatshirts all over the place, I see them all the time, but I never see them on people!  Even men always wear super nice sweaters, peacoats, etc.. it's absolutely crazy how amazing everyone looks all the time!  I'm glad I didn't bring a whole lot of clothes so that I literally don't have much choice in what I can wear, I'm forced to wear good clothes every day!  I did bring a few A&M t-shirts and my Oxford sweatshirt (which I thought would be good because hey, at least it's European!), but if I wear a t-shirt it's while I'm at home and I think I've only worn the sweatshirt out in public once (today) and even though I wore my gray skinny jeans and vans along with it, I still felt super slumpy.... and even the French dressing slumpy is super fashionable so I can't compete!!  It's a lot to keep up with.

One last thing for now, so I will make it positive. :) Coffee...... sometimes when I'm at school I'm just so happy because I live in a magical land where you can get literally ANY cup of coffee you can imagine, including coffee + hot chocolate, out of a vending machine for only 50 centiemes! Ohhhh my gosh it's like heaven.  I really have to restrain myself.  I get at least one every day, and sometimes I do get more.... if I get change back from buying something at the supermarche or a boulangerie or something and they give me a lot of 50 centieme coins instead of euros, I think: "oh my GOSH it's a sign from God, I see lots of coffee in my not-too-distant future!!!" ...haha yes it's pretty bad.  I'm more than positive that that's my main money-suck right now, borderline addiction.  But hey, we don't have ANYTHING like that back in the states so I will enjoy my miracle coffee machine every day I get the chance. :)

Bon week-end!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

So Many Adventures!

I haven't gotten a big enough chunk of time to write all this down yet, but Sunday is do nothing day in France so here I go!

Last Saturday I had my first excursion with the university.  We went to 3 of the 6 main castles of the Loire Valley: Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, and Chambord.  It was a very long day full of traveling, but it was amazing to accomplish visiting 3 castles all in one day. Here are some pictures:




Chambord was actually what the castle in the Beauty and the Beast was modeled after.  It was definitely the most interesting of the castles with 365 and multiple sets of stairs that DaVinci designed and built.

This past week, I've really been getting into the schoolwork.  It really hit me this week that this is not happy vacation time and I'm not coming home.  I spent a significant amount of time studying and diong homework, but it feels weird doing so because I've always seen Europe as my "getaway" from the rest of the world, but now I'm just doing daily life and accomplishing the same things I would have to be doing at Texas A&M, so I just had a little reality check.  But I'm over and back to having a great time!

Tuesday was Mardi Gras and I went out with a bunch of friends!  First we went to an Irish bar (called Matt Murphy's) but it was really expensive so we just had one drink and then left for another the Soft Bar.  It was MUCH cheaper and there were actual French people there, so we ended up talking to them!  I was probably speaking french for a good 3-4 hours straight.  It was a great opportunity and a lot of fun, but all my clothes and my hair reaked of smoke so badly afterward... I hate that everyone here smokes!!

On Thursday I went over to Anne-Sophie's aunt and uncles house for dinner since she was on vacation for the week.  Their names are Christine and Maurice.  They are in their sixties and hosted study abroad students for many many years.  They were some of the nicest, most generous people I have ever met in my life.  We didn't speak a word of english the whole night.  One cool thing is Maurice has a wine cellar with HUNDREDS of different bottles of wine from all over the world dating back to 1917.  He asked me what year I was born, so he took me to the 1991 section and there were probably about 30 bottles just from that year!  It was amazing to see and he kept asking me if I was "suprised" haha.  He also gave me a light-hearted "lecture" during dinner about how Americans always have one hand in their lap while they ear and that is extremely rude.  The French always keep their hands or elbows on the table at all times to show that they are enjoying the company of the people they are eating with, as well as enjoying the meal.  So he brought my attention to it for the rest of the evening.  He also drove me home although their house was only a 15 minute walk from my apartment because he said he wasn't comfortable with me walking home at 10 pm.  So cute!!  I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

On Friday night I made dinner with Ashley, Maria, and Amelia!  We went shopping at the Monoprix and while we were there inspiration struck: quiche!!!  We bought a lot of vegatables such as zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and broccoli along with cheese and wine and made the most amazing quiche I've ever had in my life!

I was pretty impressed with how well we were able to pull it off!  We also of course bought some ice cream for desert as well. :)

Well yesterday was our excursion to Saint-Malo and Mont Saint Michel! Saint-Malo is the capitol of Bretagne in Northern France.  It has ramparts completely surrounding the city, which we got to walk the entire length of!  In WWII, 3/4 of the city was destroyed by bombings and fires, so a lot of it has been rebuilt.  It is also famous for it's rich history and a popular hang-out for pirates.

This is me on the coast.  It was beautiful here, but it was extremely foggy, as was our next stop on the excursion, Mont Saint-Michel (which was built by Saint Micheal).

At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I will say that Mont Saint-Michel was not what I was expecting... I kept hearing from all the French people that it is the most beautiful place they've ever been to and how amazing it is, and I was impressed, I just felt like I had been prettier places.  By no means I am complaining, I just felt like, for example, the castle Neuschwanstein in Germany (the real-life Cinderella castle) was much more beautiful.  But hey, I guess everyone has their own opinon!  It was still an amazing beautiful place that I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to visit.  It is so cool just in all of France in general to always be surrounded by thousands of years worth of history.  We just don't have that in America.

Well, Sunday is the best day of the week here in France because you literally get to do nothing so I've had a great day.  But I have my first test tomorrow so wish me luck, a beintot!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Getting Adjusted

I'm sorry it has taken me so long to post all these things, but I have just been so busy with school and everything!

Ok, so on Saturday I went over to Ashley's house with Maria and Amelia.  We made crepes (her host parents were nice enough to make the batter and set out any "fillings" we might need) and  had such a blast!!  Here are some pictures

Ashley was definitely the master

I love this picture because you can see the steam!

My Nutella Crepe!

So needless to say, it was an extremely fun day!

After all the crepe excitement, Anne-Sophie and I went over to her mom's house for dinner.  She made a very traditionally french meal of chicken (a WHOLE chicken!) and quite the array of vegetables: onions, leeks, spinach, carrots, potatoes, and rutabaga ...which sounds gross but it was by far my favorite, it tastes so amazing!!!  I joked a lot with everybody and made great conversation about how Texans drink beer "like Germans" haha :)  they also have a piano in their house so they practicaly begged me to play.  I only have 2 pieces fully memorized at the moment, but it was enough for them.  It was so cute how fascinated they were and how much they loved my playing.  It was a really fun night!

Sunday was probably my laziest day up to date ... besides doing some laundry, I was completely useless to the world all day.  By the way, french people do NOT have dryers.....EVERYTHING is air-dried!!  My jeans and everything else were so stiff and scratchy when they dried ... I'm going to try to do as little laundry as possible because wearing clothes after you wash them here is pretty miserable!!

Nothing too exciting happened on Monday except that I found nail polish remover,  a cute (and cheap!) cross-body purse, and had an amazing pizza panini!  Mondays are also unfortunately my longest days because I literally have every single class on Mondays...

Amelia and I with our Monday paninis :)

Well, yesterday was Valentine's Day.  It was also my 2 year anniversary with Sam.  Although I missed him a lot, I really did have a great day!  My school has started this thing called the "Mardi Cafe" (mardi = tuesday) where every tuesday they set up a party/mixer event at a different club/bar/pub/cafe with a different theme.  Last night it was at the Soleil Cafe which is also known as the local "discoteque" (okaayyyy...).  It did have a lot of fun lasers and smoke and other cool things going on!  So since yesterday was Saint Valentin, it was basically a stop light party but instead of people wearing red (en couple), yellow (complique), or green (celibrataire) clothes, we all had glow bracelets!  It was also funny because they also had blue bracelets for those who wanted to be "frigide" hahaha! :)  I had a really fun time!  I also realized last night that it was the beginning of me never being illegal to drink ever again!  So, I bought my pint of beer with pride and excitement in my heart as I reached another "milestone" in my life. :)

On a bittersweet note,  I also found out last night that I was supposed to recieve a surprise from Sam yesterday of a gorgeous display of flowers along with a heart-shaped box of chocolates.  However, they emailed him yesterday to say that they couldn't deliver my flowers because I don't "live" at this address.  He was extremely upset and is determined that I will get my flowers no matter what :) what a great guy I have, I feel so lucky to have someone fantastic like him who is willing to do whatever it takes to put a smile on my face.

Well, I should get back to my homework.  A beintot!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

First Week of School!

Today is Saturday and I can't believe that I'm already done with my first week of school in France!  What basically happened at the beginning of the week is we recieved the results of our placement tests (I didn't do too shabby!) and were assigned a level of class we were going to be in.  Within that level, we have a mandatory 6 hour Langue class and were given a list of all the possible classes we are able to take this semester.  For that first week, we were instructed to attend whatever classes we thought would interest us and decide which ones we want to ultimately take so that we can officially register on Monday!  There were fun things like theatre, art history, and even a singing classes once a week that I think I'm going to take!  So I've decided that in additoin to my Langue class and the 2 classes I have with Dr. Schoolcraft (amazing man...he's been so helpful and here for us!!)I am taking histoire de France, grammaire, and France au quotidien (class about the social aspects of French life) which will all essetially "combine" and trasfer to 3 hours worth of French credit at Texas A&M.  It is going to work this way because those classes are so easy.  They don't require textbooks (except the history class) and there is no homework.  So in all, I will come out of this program with 15 hours of French class credit; 12 hours in 300-level and 3 hours in 400-level.
On another note, I must say that I have yet to meet a rude, snobby, mean French person like the ones you hear about.  Every single actual French person I have met in Angers has been kind, sweet, helpful, and many have a hilarious sense of humor!  All my professors are so nice, which is a relief!  There is also another thing I did not expect......I think probably about 2/3 (honestly!) of the students in this program are either Japanese, Chinese, or Korean.  It's so bizarre, I just never would have guessed that students from that area of the world would be so interested in learning french.  It's kinda of funny too because they all speak english a million times better than they speak french!  And for a lot of them, it's their second semster at the university!

I am going to my friend Ashley's house today (she's from Buffalo) because her host family wants to have us over for "le gouter" which means "taste" or "snack" in french.  Apparently they are going to make us lots of crepes so I'm really exctied to do that! other news, my mission of the weekend: find cheap nail polish remover.  A bientot mes amis!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Being Late, Bored, Lost, and Finally Relaxing

Bonjour!!  Well everyone, it has definitely been a week-end for the books!  It all started on Friday when I was supposed to meet my new friends at the University at noon so that we could all eat lunch together, get cell phones, and go shopping.  However, I woke up at 12:08 ... I bolted out of bed, brushed my teeth, got dressed, and was able to make it to the university by 12:25, but my friends were not there, they had already left.  So I decided oh well, I'll just wander around where I suspect they might be and hopefully run into them.  This plan turned into me shopping and buying 2 new umbrellas (a big one and a small purple one to carry around in my backpack), some new purple gloves, and other items of clothing to keep me warm in this frigid weather.  Needless to say, I shopped for about an hour and a half and then went back home.  The rest of that evening was relaxing; Anne-Sophie and I made dinner then watched the news, most of which I was able to follow!  We then watched a tv show that apparently everyone in France watches.  It is a 2-hour show about beaches around the world and guess commercials!!  Yes, the whole 2 1/2 hours we were watching tv, not a single commercial came on.  It was bizarre!
The next day, Saturday, I felt pretty bored.  Anne-Sophie is a psychologist, so she spends Saturdays at the hospital doing therapeutic activities with her patients, like playing music or painting.  So I spent pretty much all day by myslef... I did go grocery shopping, but that didn't take up much time considering that I live directly above a small "supermarche."  So I spent the rest of the afternoon reading and watching American tv shows online until my new friend Amelia (she goes to Central Michigan) facebook messaged me telling me she was having a bad day and was wondering if I wanted to try to venture out her direction and go to the Angers mall since she lives right next to it.  I told her sure, just tell me which bus to take and which stop to get off at and I will be there!  Easy enough....or so I thought.  I was supposed to take bus 11 at 6:00 to get to Lac de Maine, where Amelia's house is.  So I got to the bus stop at 5:45, just to be safe.  At 6:00, 2 buses arrived at exactly the same time.  Without thinking, I got onto the first bus.  It wasn't until half an hour later when I had crossed the river twice that I thought uummmm...this is definitely not right.  I got off at the next stop and realized I had accidentally taken bus 5 all the way to the very north of Angers when I was supposed to be down in the southwest took me almost an hour to find my way back to where my aparment is (in the center of the city, literally across the street from the train station) only to discover that the last bus to Lac de Maine leaves on Saturdays shortly after 8:00, which meant that I would have no way to get back to my apartment once I eventually did make it all the way out there.  I was so upset that I had let my friend down...I so badly wanted to cheer her up!!  Of course, she was not mad at me, but utterly relieved that I was not kidnapped, haha!  And so was my first adventure, which I feel I handled pretty well for being all by myself.
So today is Sunday and I woke up around 10:45.  Anne-Sophie promptly informed me that her mother would be coming over today for lunch.  So around 12:30, Madame Delaleau (Anne-Sophie's mom) arrived with HER study abroad student from Korea!  Her name is Yuome (yoo-mee) and she is also a French major.  She knows Englsih better though and thinks it's so much easier than French, so I kind of played the translator roll this afternoon, which made me feel pretty awesome!!  I had to translate from French to English sometimes so that Yuome could better understand what everyone was talking about. :)  Yuome and I also exchanged American and Korean coins, which was really cool!  Anne-Sophie's mom said the cutest things.... she thought that my name was "tres mignon" (very cute) and that my blue streak of  hair was "super chouette" (which roughly translates to awesome).  We all had lunch together which Anne-Sophie prepared.  It was sort of a casserole type thing...sliced onions covered in ham, potatoes, and of course lots of cheese on top!!  It was so delicious!  We also had a dessert of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, which was so much richer than any American ice cream I have ever tasted.

Afterwards, we sat around and tried 3 different types of Amaretto that Anne-Sophie got when she was in Italy last summer.  I was really caught off guard because I didn't think there was any alcohol in this apartment, we haven't had so much as a glass of wine!  But they were so delicious.  After tasting the different Amarettos, we all sat around and drank coffee while Anne-Sophie's mom inquired about our families (I did a lot of translating again).  I still feel very American during these times because I will start to clear plates when people have finished their food or whatever and Anne-Sophie is like "no no no, sit back down, we're not done!"  The leisure of everything really does take a lot of getting used to.  In America we are always rushing to get to the next place we have to be...but today is Sunday and we have absolutely nowhere to be, so we have time to sit and drink coffee for an hour.  It has been quite the perfect afternoon :)
A bientot!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

First Two Days

Well this is my second day in Angers, I got here at about 2:00 yesterday afternoon.  Backing up, my plane landed in Paris at 8:15 and my train left for Angers at 12:25.  However, I had to wait until 6:00 for Anne-Sophie to pick me up, which is a funny story all by itself.  When we got to Angers with Dr. Schoolcraft, the director the of the study abroad section of the University was there to make sure that everyone found their host families ok.  Since mine wasn't going to be there for another 4 hours, he loaded my bags up into his tiny car (amusing!) and took me to the University so that he could make sure I was safe and comfortable!!  It was so sweet.  I ended up taking a 3 hour nap in the "student area" down in the basement where there is an abundance of couches!
After Anne-Sophie finally picked me up, we went to the apartment where I had to get my luggage up 3 flights of stairs!  My shoulder is still sore from that... but the apartment is so adorable. There are two living room areas, the kitchen (which has the "bathroom" behind that...I say that because it only consists of a toilet), her room, and my room!  My room has brightly colored furniture and sheets and also has its own shower/sink area!

I really like it, it's so convenient.  However, it is SO very cold up here!!
Anyway, last night for dinner Anne-Sophie taught me how to make a French chicken and rice.  She made a mustard and cream sauce, which sounds gross but French mustard is actually an ivory color, not anywhere close to yellow!  Then she browned the chicken in the sauce while she cooked the rice separately.  It was so amazing, I hadn't had lunch so I was starving and it was absolutely delicious!!!  Then she brought out a cheese course, in which she taught that you properly eat cheese with a fork and knife by cutting yourself a wedge and then switching off between eating a bite of cheese and a bite of bread.  Then she told me she bought a special dessert for my was mint choclate pudding!!  yum yum...
Today was very eventful and exhausting.  I took my placement test at the University and I wil start my classes on Monday the 6th.  The international students then ate lunch at the University cafeteria and took a walking tour of Angers which included the castle, plus important places we might need to know such as the post office.
Well, Anne-Sophie is making dinner so I will write more later, au revoir!
Me at the chateau Angers!