This past week…

June 14, 2009

JUNE 8, Monday

Adventures of the Loire Valley begin!!! 🙂

We had to be at school by 7am and that was hard to accomplish, but we did it! (With almost no complaining!)  We were on our bus for a few hours before arriving at the first chateau!  The first chateau was called Cheverny chevernyand was smaller than the others that we visited.  Also, this chateau is different because a family still lives in the chateau! haha they had some awkward family photos around.  It was raining so we could not walk through the gardens so we went into this comic museum instead.  There is a comic that uses this chateau in its comics so thats why it was there.  It is very popular in France.  After the comic museum we went to lunch at this restaurant called Saint Hubert.  It was interesting!  They served us traditional paté, which is a bunch of different meats mixed together and then flattened…I am not really sure. haha all i know is that it was cold and kind of disgusting.  They told us to eat it with bread, which didn’t really help. pateAfter the paté, they served us some sort of fish, that turned out to be really excellent!  They also gave us pasta with a wine-esque sauce to go with it!  fish and pastaAfter the fish…(the courses just kept on coming!!) They served us a small taste of several different desserts!  All of which were delicious! 🙂 dessertThe dessert was amazing!  After that we even were offered coffee and tea but there was no room for anything else! haha.  We got back on the bus and headed towards Chambord!   Which looks like a Harry Potter castle, i love it!  I went when i was in 5th grade so it was fun to go back! 🙂 ChambordFrancis I only visited Chambord for 72 days and he never saw the completed chateau.  Henry II and Louis XIV are responsible for finishing the chateau, which was mainly used as a hunting lodge.  There are 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces, and 426 rooms  (Which our tour guide  reviewed with us for about 15 minutes.).  It also hold a staircase which was designed or thought to be designed by leonardo da vinci.  Its the staircase where its actually two staircases that wind around each other so if two people started out going up on each one they wouldnt ever cross paths.  It was probably used as security thing or as mistress thing. haha. the view between the stairsThere are small windows that one could see into the other staircase but thats the only way someone could see the other person on the other stairs.  Hopefully, that makes since! haha.

They kicked us out of the chateau because it was closing time. haha so we were walking down the gravel road back to our hotel, which had a wonderful view of the chateau!! All of the sudden hurricane force winds came out of no where and rain was flying at us sideways that we all started to run and take cover under the forest.  Ever umbrella was suddenly turned inside out, even my specially engineered one, given to me by my father, was struggling to survive!!  We had to stand under the trees while the water was flowing over our shoes and everyone was soaked!  Finally, it toned down and we were able to get to the hotel.  It was sort of a miserable but humorous situation! After everyone got organized we were given our room assignments and they were pretty homey!  We had a great dinner there and some fun conversation.  After dinner we went to sleep because we were all exhausted! 

JUNE 9, Tuesday

We had to wake up early again for a breakfast buffet, which ended up consisting of croissants and hot chocolate, so that didn’t last long.  Lauren and i went back to our room and took a good hour and a half nap!  Then we boarded the bus for the CHOCOLATE MAKER!  Max Vauché is my hero chocolate maker.  The place was so interesting and kind of awkward but thats ok!  I loved it and my dad would have loved it just as much as me!  I bought about 25 euros of chocolate or more! 🙂  haha chocolate!After the chocolate place, we got back on the bus and drove to a city called Blois.   There is a chateau in the heart of the city, which is also called Blois, and it was optional if we wanted to go inside or not, so we decided not to go.  We walked around the cute city and got lunch at a wonderful place.  After lunch we walked around some more and Lauren and I decided we had to pee super bad, so we hiked back up the 100 or so steps to the chateau.  We walked into the gift shop and said the classic phrase, ” Ou à les toilets?”  Where are the bathrooms? haha which is commonly heard coming out of my mouth.  The woman smiled and pointed out the door that clearly stated “you may not re-enter” so we just pushed the doors open and walked across the courtyard.  That my friends and family, is how one sneaks into a chateau! 🙂  Blois!We found the bathroom facilities and then decided to take our own little tour around the chateau!  It ended up being super interesting!  We took a lot of pictures and decided that it had the best inside of all the chateaus.   After Blois, we drove to our next chateau which was called Chenonceau.  Chenoceau!This chateau was interesting because its built over water and then is a part of a bridge.  This chateau had beautiful gardens and we bought ice cream while we were there! And we also met a girl who will be going to Baylor! RANDOM! haha 🙂  We got rained on again but we made it back to cover safely and not as soaked as before.   The ride back to Paris was three hours long and i took a nice nap! 🙂  

June 10, Wednesday

Today we went back to school, boooo.   After school we went and got lunch and then went to the Victor Hugo museum! I really liked it and found it interesting! 🙂   He had a very nice apartment in Paris! victor hugoAfter visiting his house, we went back home because we don’t like getting stuck in the rush hour on the metro! victor hugo

JUNE 11, Thursday

Today, we had school again and after school we got some lunch!  Then decided to go to some thrift stores that Claude, who is our teachers wife, told us about!   They took some searching to find and when we finally found them we were excited!  It was mostly antique Channel but it was just fun to get to see!  After going to three stores we decided to get ice cream! haha we cannot ever pass up the chance for dessert! 🙂 ice cream! There is this WONDERFUL italian gelato place called “Amorino” and there just so happens to be one right next to CUPA! How exciting! 🙂  So, we got some ice cream and walked to the river.   Once at the river we rummaged through the street sellers books and paintings looking for good finds. booksWe took the metro home just in time for dinner and we had rice with chicken and mushroom sauce.  It was amazing!  After dinner, we went to sacre coeur for the sunset.  Bad idea. sunsetDon’t go there at night time unless your with men that you know. hahaha.  We went and people were grabbing our arms trying to get us to buy stuff and i yelled at them to not touch me and then they would question us and we had to run up like 100 steps to reach the top. hahaha.  But it was a wonderful view once we got up there! 🙂  We left super fast and headed home because we had a test.

JUNE 12, Friday 

Testing day, after only three days of class. woooo.  After class, we got lunch as usual, but this time we went to this wonderful place next to CUPA.  It was thai/italian food. YUM! Then we went to the louvre! The louvre!I really like the louvre because it really has something from every time period and place in the world! Its so much fun to just walk through and look at everything! It truly is fascinating!  We spent about an hour and a half touring two parts of the museum.  

mona lisa

The mona lisa..

Winged statue

The winged statue..

Crowned Jewels

The crown jewels…

the biggest painting ever. The biggest frame in the world, i think.  It was massive.  After the louvre we walked to the place de la concorde and it was fun! 🙂fountain, pl de la concorde, et the arc de triompheThen we took the metro home! 🙂  We ate dinner and then i had the opportunity to meet up with the McDonald family!!Mrs. Tammie and I It was so much fun to get to see them because its been like three years!  I met them at their amazing hotel and then we got dessert at a nearby cafe.  They invited me back to their room to check out their balcony, which had magnificent views of the city! Me and the Eiffel TowerI had an adventure taking the metro home because the stop i usually get on at this location was closed so i had to take a round-a-bout way.  Then my room mate had our key so i had to knock on the door and hoped someone was awake! Luckily, Timothe, my french brother was awake and he laughed at me before opening the door.  Then i met up with a group of girls at a local cafe for drinks and good conversation! 🙂

JUNE 13, Saturday

Today, Lauren and I met up and went to the center de pompidou, which is a modern art museum!  Center de PompidouI really liked it because it had a diverse range of art! 🙂  Lauren and i then went to the Monoprix, our local target-esque store, and bought some supplies for a picnic! So we sat on the ground just like all the parisians and watched the street performers. It was quite entertaining!  After lunch, we walked around the area a bit and decided to go back to her house since we both had to pee and were like two stops from her house.   Brittany met up with us there and we went to Cafe Martini, which is this super cute little cafe by Lauren’s house.  We went back to her house to SKYPE with all of the girls here in Paris and we all decided to have a dessert and wine picnic on this fun bridge by the Louvre and be super Parisian! So we went out and bought our wine and desserts and met at the louvre metro stop and headed out to the bridge! It was a beautiful night and the air was cool. 🙂  the bridge and skyWe put down our blankets and exchanged desserts, which consisted of nutella and baguettes, a strawberry dessert, an apple tart, and another berry tart.  It was such a fun evening and then the police kicked us off the bridge, just like all the parisians. hahaha And then we all parted ways while taking the metro back home 🙂 J’aime Paris!

JUNE 14, Sunday 

Today, we woke up at noon! haha we really needed sleep.  Brittany and I got ready for the day and walked down to the metro stop to meet our friend Kevin, from the Baylor in Paris program, because he came over for lunch!  It was so fun for him to come hang out with our family.  He is in the USA air force and our french brother is in the French air force so we really wanted them to meet!  Lunch lasted until 4 pm. haha it was full of different conversations and tons of food!  We had salad, rice, roast beef, a veggie patty for Brittany :), cauliflower, melon, ice cream, and coffee!  It was sooo wonderful and I was so stuffed I had to pass on dinner!  I spent most of the night catching up on our Journals for school and this blog. 🙂  

Two weeks down, two weeks to go! 

A clockSending you love from paris! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

 


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J’aime Paris! :)

June 7, 2009

JUNE 3

Bonjour!! 🙂 J’ai un merveilleux fois à Paris!  (I am having a wonderful time in Paris!!)  Today, we had class and then we decided we were going to hang out with Kevin and Skyler, 2 out of the 4 boys on the trip! haha we got lost for a while, but it was still entertaining! 🙂  We found this beautiful fountain and here is a picture: Pretty fountainAfter find this place we heading back into the right direction…thanks to my “getting lost skills” and then “finding our way back” skills. hahaha and the persistence of others to get on the right path 🙂  We decided to head to our side of town and to hang out at the Eiffel tower!  It was a beautiful day and we had a picnic right below the tower!  picnicWe met an airforce guy from the US and there were also like a million police men just sitting in vans. It was creepy!  We walked under the Eiffel tower and this is where we encountered the “gyps” as we call them.  They are the gypsies of Paris and they are just people with paper in there hands with english words written on them like “my mom is sick, help us” and etc.  What they say out loud is “Do you speak english??”  Everyone just needs to know to say “NO” and keep walking.  At least thats what i do.  Here in Paris the government gives all homeless people 500 euros a month, at least thats the rumor on the street!  I also got my ice cream that i have been craving at the Eiffel Tower.  Its the best ice cream and at my favorite place in the whole world! 🙂 ice cream!We later ran into one that was dressed like King Tut.  It was hilarious! We then walked to the Pont Alexandre III bridge! It was beautiful!  We saw a lady who was taking her wedding pictures there and there was  a wonderful view of the Eiffel tower in the background! She drove up in an old convertible! I just want to be a photographer for the rest of my life! haha it was a wonderful moment! We took the metro home after a few minutes of confusion! 

We ate dinner and decided to go on a night adventure!  We were supposed to meet back up with Kevin and Sky but we never did! Oops!  We went to one of Laurens friends houses and met them and then headed back to Laurens house.  We decided quickly to get on the metro asap because little did we know that it closes at a certain time, 1 am! And we were cutting it close!   On the metro ride home this man was playing his gutair.   He proceeded to play “Wonderwall” on his gutair and sing it in english!  Brittany an d I loved it!  It was such a fun experience! 🙂

JUNE 4

Today, we had a class trip to Versaille! 🙂  It was BEAUTIFUL!  Yes, I have been there before but its just amazing to see how people lived back in the classical days of Europe compared to us Americans who lived in huts with dirt roofs and stuff.  I just love the gardens too.  It is just amazing how someone can create a garden thats supposed to confuse you and then lead you to one of the most beautiful fountains or waterfall ever.  I love it! GatefluerLa Ha bRAnd finally, almost the whole group!

group versailleAfter Versailles, Lauren and Brittany and I ventured to PLANET SUSHI! haha it was an awesome restaurant!  They had a moving track thing that they had the plates of sushi on and you would just pick which ever one you wanted. It was delicious! In reality, we had no idea what we were grabbing.  The pictures in the menu didn’t give the food on the plates justice. haha We also got some dessert rolls which were like nutella and stuff.  sushiAfter Planet Sushi, we found ourselves a crepe!  I feel like all we do is eat…haha.  We walked around some more and found some cute shops!  I decided to head home early because we had a test on friday! 🙂  I got some studying in and possibly took a shower? I don’t remember! haha! 

JUNE 5, FRIDAY

Today, we had our test. It was pretty good, of course we have not gotten grades back yet but i think it went well!  After class, we decided to try going to the flea market again!  So we took the metro alllll the way to clingnancourt which is a forever ride from school.  But we finally made it.  Only to realize we are in the sketchiest part of town and the flea market is not open. hahaha.  We went to BHV, which is a department store here in Paris and i bought my self a little european straightener! haha my chi would just never turn on, i figured it would blow up or something but it just didn’t turn on. haha so i got one for here and it was pretty cheap! It does the job though.  After that we went back home and took a nap!  We met back up with Lauren and Kevin later.  We walked around by school and found a really cute cafe and just had drinks and good conversation! girls metroWe went to a Pub, where i encountered some bathroom problems.  Not physically, just mentally.  The sign strictly said, Les Toilets and i tried to open the door but it seemed to be locked!! So i just leaned against the wall and waited.  P.S. This is downstairs in like the basement area, where the pool tables are.  A man comes down the stairs and just barges into the door i had just tried to open!  I was shocked and confused.  I just waited for him to come out and when i finally did, i went inside.  Inside i found two doors, one for girsl one for boys.. I was embarrassed. hahaha.  On the metro ride home we encountered our Wonderwall gutair player! What a fun night! 🙂

JUNE 6

Today, we went to the Flea Market! On the day that it was really open. haha We met at cupa and took the loongg smelly metro ride out there again.  It was a really cool market!  They had really expensive leather pieces that were beautiful and then boxers with the metro stops on them. haha a very random market, but it was very fun!  After the market, we decided we wanted to go to the arc de triomph!  So we took the metro and ended up walking around a beautiful part of town! futureI loved it!  I would love to live here one day! haha  We had a great lunch at a cute cafe down here!  After that we just walked the champs elysee and ran into some friends from school!  It was fun actually seeing someone we knew on the streets! haha there had also been a rugby game today and some fans were dressed hilariously! They had painted their faces and were holding flags and were singing there theme songs loud and proud.   It was very funny!  Lauren came over and we walked to the monoprix, which is like Target, and then we had dinner tonight and our madame thought she was hilarious, which she is! 🙂  She kept the conversation flowing and we loved her being there! We had chicken with mushrooms and rice.  And cherrys and peaches with nectarines!  (Which is my favorite fruit right now, along with strawberries!!)  After dinner we decided to go to the eiffel tower at night!  It was soooo pretty, because i am obsessed with the effiel tower.  effiel towerI just love the atmosphere of being around it, but tonight was different.  There were tons of people heck-a-ling you to buy all kinds of random things! ” 1 EURO 1 EURO” and then there is us “NO GET AWAYYY” haha we got some rather pricey crepes and ice cream and hiked up to the museum steps which face the eiffel tower.  There were more people begging us to buy light up Eiffel towers which we either rudely or politely turned down..:) ladies towerAfter the eiffel tower we went home to sleep!  🙂

JUNE 7

Today was a very lazy day!  We woke up and went to Notre Dame for the international service.  It was a really neat experience.  Everything was in french but they read a few verses in English.  The bulletins were in four different languages.ndAfter church we headed back to the school area to grab lunch.  We first went to this restaurant that we have been laughing at for days called Hippopotamus. Well it turns out that restaurants here don’t believe in splitting things so the waiter was really rude to us even though we were making a good attempt at speaking french.  So we left. haha We got lunch at a very cute italian cafe and then headed to the art market.  After that we went home and I got to talk to my parents on Skype! 🙂 What fun, because they finally got a camera and microphone.  We had some difficulties but we finally could see each other and talk! i love them!  After that i took a three hour nap and woke up and had dinner! haha I had roast pork or pork roast or whatever its called with rice and a lot of fruit! yum! 🙂  Brittany and I decided to go to the arc de triomphe to walk around!  There was also a beautiful sunset so i loved it! arc🙂  We got creme brulee and this apple tart!  They were both so yummy!  We took the metro home after dessert.  On the ride home we encountered a new way of earning money on the metro……A puppet show.  hahhhaha except we had the “behind the scenes” seats, since we were sitting behind the man with the puppet on his arm.  He even had put up a little black curtain he attached to the two poles on the metro. It was a very funny scene indeed.  It was an english song about riding a horse or bull or something and drinking tequila.  I can’t quite remember it right now but we about peed our pants laughing!  I am off to the Loire Valley for two days! 🙂


PARIS!

June 2, 2009

JUNE 1

We arrived in Paris at 8:30-ish a.m.! It was so exciting to finally be here after our llooonggg flight and actually not having lost luggage! woo! The flight was pretty uneventful, we had some bad turbulence taking off but it smoothed out shortly.  I sat separate from my group because i bought my ticket separately! I was at least 20 rows ahead of everyone! hahaha.  I sat next to a family, a mom and her two kids.  I though they spoke english but several points during the flight all three would huddle and then look over at me and speak in a foreign language! hahaha. I watched Changeling and then i took melatonin and Tylenol pm!!!  You know me and my sleeping pills! hahaha.  The french customs was us walking through automatic opening doors, no security was even standing by them! So, we all walked outside and grouped up, then we split up into our TAXI groups!! 

Brittany and i got into a taxi with a hatch back thing.  It took about 5 minutes to position our suitcases in the back! hahaha. We had very big suitcases for such a small car!  He typed in our address in his GPS and we headed out!

In the taxi

Brittany and I in the taxi!!

 He had tried to talk to us a little but other than that it was a quiet ride!  I was watching his GPS and realized that he kept passing up the exits to go to our house, and i was very concerned!!  He told us he was from Haiti and that Paris was the best country ever….He ended up taking a touristy route to the house and brought us by the arc de triomphe!  Then we got to our house and it is exactly what google earth showed me! 🙂 The taxi driver helped get our luggage out!  We got to the door and typed in our secret code and I struggled opening the door, then i realized it was a push door! Once inside the lobby we had to “ring” their apartment.  We didn’t know what to say since they answered with french so we just said, “Bonjour!”  and he let us in! hahahahhaha. 

We left our big suitcases downstairs because we didn’t think there was an elevator and our family is on the third floor!! We hiked all the way up there and met the son, Timothe and his girlfriend, Laura.   They invited us in but we told them we had more luggage (all in english and they knew what we were saying!! 🙂 ) We then saw that there was an elevator and that made it much easier for us!  They laughed at how much we had packed.  We then went into the dining room and sat down.  Laura made us coffee and tea and Timothe talked with us.   They were super funny!  Then a lady walks in and starts talking into us with a perfect english accent and I was soo confused! I though, wow, this lady rents out rooms to so many different people! HAHAHA.   It turns out that there are two sisters staying here, Janet lives in california (she has ten kids!) and Julie (maybe?? sorrryyy) lives in arizona (she has 5 kids), and they were here working in Lourdes at  a catholic thing and then stayed with Sarah, our madame (host mommy) here, they know her brother-in-law back in the states so he set them up.  They are super sweet and funny!!   Then our madame came home, her name is Sarah! 🙂   She is a wonderful hostess! After we chatted for a while (in english) we moved all of our luggage into our room and got situated.  

At 1 pm we had originally planned to meet our good friend Lauren down at the Louvre!  Well, when we planned it we weren’t really thinking that its one of the MAIN tourist attractions in Paris, so it soon became impossible to find her!  We then walked for about 25 or 30 minutes to our school, CUPA, to pick up our metro passes.  Then it turns out that its Pentecost so we can’t activate our passes until the next day!  So we were exhausted from walking so much,  then we found the train and headed home!  We had salmon, rice, and bread for dinner!  We also had wine, but we all know that I don’t have the likes for wine. haha but i drank some anyway! 🙂 After dinner, we shower and crashed!! 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANNIE ANNIE! 🙂

JUNE 2

We woke up at 8am to have breakfast with our madame and two american friends!  We had bread, butter, jam, and coffee in a bowl, they said this was the traditional way to drink it!! 🙂  Around 9 am we headed down to the metro, which is about two blocks away! Then we rode into school and got off at a different stop to test the waters.  We arrived 25 minutes early to school and I printed my homework out and we talked to other students in our classes.  Madame Level came and we started class, there is 14 people in my first class.  Then after an hour or so we switched classes and Dr. Valahu taught us for about an hour or so.  Then everyone in BIP (Baylor In Paris) met up and we received our lunch money and metro passes.  After that “brief” meeting we headed out to load our metro passes and walked across the beautiful gardens of Luxembourg, which is a block from our school!  After that, Brittany, Lauren and I decided to walk around and find lunch!  We ate at a wonderful cafe and the food was delicious!  We took the metro to the Opera house to exchange money and it was beautiful!  

The opera house!

The opera house!

Then we took the metro to this place where Lauren had heard there was an open air market! And once we got there we couldn’t find it! hahaha so we had a wonderful time just walking around!  We asked two people if they knew where it was and both said it was already closed.  We stopped in a dessert place and i got a delicious tart with fruit on top!! 🙂

My yummy dessert!!

My yummy dessert!!

 We then walked all around that area and had no idea where we were going! It was so fun and we saw such neat places and people and things!  We ran into the gare de lyon and it was huugee and pretty! 🙂

Gare de Lyon

Gare de Lyon

 Then we walked to the place de bastille….

place de bastille

place de bastille

and walked around a music store there.  Then our metro ride home began…..

We got on a train to just take for like five stops then we were switching lines.  Well, once we got down there, like 800 other people had the same idea, we then figured out paris’ rush hour! It went super slow and it was super crowded!  Several times our train stopped in the middle of the underground, not at a stop.  It was quite scary!! Only once did all the lights go out! After we switched to our usual line we had to stand for 14 stops!  It was a long trip across all of paris! We were late for dinner but it was ok because they were just drinking wine and talking! 🙂 We had chicken for dinner with this wonderful mushroom sauce, and i hate mushrooms usually! hahaha we also had fresh fruit and bread! We just sat around talking until 9:30! Such wonderful conversation!! I will miss our american friends but they are ready to go home! 🙂  After dinner, I started to feel the shock from walking around so much! hahaha i cant even remember the last time i worked out! 

As you can see, my trip is going wonderful!  I am so blessed to have such wonderful host family and just being able to go on this trip is great!!  I will write again soon! 🙂