Sunday, March 21, 2010

France: January 21, 2002

Bonsoir! Wow...I really had problems sleeping last night. And, apparently, Dominique had the same problem when I told him I did. Weird. I got up around 10 a.m. (yeah...early for me!). I do have a little cough. I hope it goes away quickly! I went to the International Office today. Madame Kilani found out for me that I can take courses at Amiens Sup de Co as well as Jules Verne. So, I guess I'll just get the list of courses and a student I.D. card from Penny at Sup de Co tomorrow. Apparently, Therese is having a heck of a time finding lodging for all the international students. I'm glad I have something pretty much set when it comes to that. Oh, and I discovered that I can't receive the rest of my stipend for January because it was for lodging and my lodging was free for this month. Therese invited me to join the Tulsa students and her tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. I don't know if it's for some sort of dinner or not. I think she mentioned that their families will be there also (French families that is). Therese is going to meet with all the ISEP students on Friday at 10 a.m. to talk about course schedules. And, I saw Leonnore in the office, too. She invited me to go with her and some other students to a concert at the Squale Cafe in the St. Leu Quarter near the cathedral at 9 p.m. She said we can meet in front of the cathedral to make it easier for everyone to go together. She told me I can bring friends too if I know of anyone who would like to come. Maybe I'll ask Beatrice and Carine if they want to go, too. Maybe I should ask my future roommates, Marie-Laure et Noemie, if they'd like to go as well. I haven't talked to them since I looked at the apartment! I used the computer lab at Sup de Co today; it's much easier to use than the computers in the International Office because there are computers actually available. I sent out a lot of e-mails today. Dr. Donato e-mailed  me back. She said they don't have classes today at Clarion because it's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day there. She also said they got lots of snow...like 4 inches or so. I think I actually miss snow! They don't get snow here. It's usually just cold and humid. She also gave me the same advice as DeeAnn; "Avoid Americans if you want your French to improve!" I haven't been doing too bad, except Dominique speaks English with me a lot at the apartment, although we do switch to French once in a while. So, it will definitely help me when I move in with those French students. My friend, Jen Klunk, from Intervarsity Christian Fellowship made me happy by sending me via e-mail a picture of her and me and a picture of Michelle, Adri and Laura from IV.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

France: January 20, 2002

Today has been rather uneventful. I didn't really go anywhere except to the laundromat. Yes, I finally found it! Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can get the other half of my stipend from Therese. Soon I need to meet with my new landlord to work out a renting contract. It's kind of expensive to wash clothes at the laundromat. It costs 3,50 Euros for one load of clothes. But, the washers hold a lot because I only needed one washer for all my socks & underwear, four pairs of jeans, my black pants, a couple of sweaters, and a couple of shirts. Not too bad. I didn't dry my clothes in the dryers there so that I could save what little pocket change I have left. I hung everything on chairs & in the closet and on the two radiators to dry. Eva showed me tonight that there is a hanging rack in a back room. I don't know if I'll actually use it, though. A nice lady at the laundromat assisted me with the use of the washer & when to put the detergent (la lessive) in...because apparently you don't just put the detergent in at the outset like you do with the washers in the States. You live, you learn! Yeah...Eva and I actually held conversation for a while tonight. My French sucks when I'm around her I think because I'm uncomfortable around her. But, she actually said what I thought about her talking. She said she does have a bad habit of talking softly even in her mother tongue of Hungarian. She corrected my French here and there when I spoke which I am appreciative of because that's how I'll learn to speak better. She keeps insisting that I go to the local swimming pool when I already told her I forgot my bathing suit at home. But, I know I do need to start exercising somehow. I know Tara and some other international students are running or jogging in the park. Perhaps I'll start going there, too. Oh...I didn't make it to church this morning but I did see a telecast of a church service on TV. When I woke up this morning, I made out some postcards to Marta (for her birthday...a little belated, though), Justin, Laura (Mom), Career Services at Clarion University of PA (for Penny, Mildred & Connie...a combined postcard), Andrea, Kristy and Cory. I'll actually send them out tomorrow. I called home and talked to Mommy. I asked her if she received a postcard, yet. She said "no". But, I just sent theirs out a couple days ago anyway. Mommy said Janice has been calling them like crazy asking how I'm doing. Mommy said Janice is acting like I'm on Mars or something, amazed that they can keep in touch with me via e-mail. On other news, I need to really do some job searching. I did send my resume through Monster.com to one company for an entry-level PR position. But, I should've updated the resume before I sent it because it didn't include my info for my semester abroad here at Jules Verne. Oh well. C'est la vie! :-) My room here smells all clean from my hanging clothes...mmm...Now I know why Mommy has to go to the grocery store constantly because I have the same problem here...and I'm just buying for one person!! I'm sure I won't have to buy so much once I start taking classes and being busier (I hope!). I have my family's Christmas picture hanging up by a tack on the wall above my lampstand. I'm just blown away at how homesick I am here. It definitely has the added dimension of difference of language. I mean I know French...but I'm definitely not a native! A new apartment mate moved in today. I haven't gotten her name or origin, yet, but I'll keep ya posted. Oh...I called home back real quick and asked Kimberly for her e-mail address.

Monday, March 15, 2010

France: January 19, 2002

Well, last night I did go to that "International Students" party. I brought some cider that had a little amount of alcohol in it. But, I actually ended up drinking everything but that! :-) I got buzzed but not drunk (which is good because I hate getting drunk...or more specifically...sick). There were soooo many people there. It was absolutely awesome! I was surprised at the amount of men there. It's very different I think from parties in the U.S. I met a guy named Matthias! I told him that was ironic because my nephew's name is the same. I told him the story of where Matthias got his name, too. He was very familiar with the Scorpions. He said they're from a town near where he lives (Frankfurt, Germany). I'm so impressed with my French skills last night, especially considering I was drinking, too. Matthias and I talked a good while about diverse subjects as politics (I've been finding out that almost all other nations hate George Bush because he's too rigid and pro-America and love Bill Clinton for reasons understandable), pop music (Matthias likes rock/alternative mainly...doesn't like Christina Aguilera...second cousin...). I also met a girl named Beatrice (I forget where she's from though...I'm guessing China) and a French student named Carine...very, very nice girls. It was really exciting for me to speak French with Carine especially since she's French. She understood me most of the time. I still have problems understanding my apartment mate, Eva, but she's not French, she's Hungarian (not German as I originally thought). Eva tends to speak too low...almost in a mumble sometimes. Anyway, I got Beatrice's and Carine's contact info. And, they have mine. I will definitely have to call them sometime...they're both really cool. :-) Tara is gone for that skiing trip now. I hope she has fun and that she wasn't drunk when she left because she was at the party last night and her cheeks were turning bright red (a pretty good indicator she's had too much). After a while, we were urged to go dancing at a bar called the Tasca...it was awesome seeing (watching) all the Frenchmen dance. They really know how to get down. They need to teach American men a thing or two! A couple of guys were up on the platforms and took their shirts off!! And, they were whistling and dancing (very provocatively) to the music. But, one thing I didn't like was how packed or crowded it was. You could barely move, let alone dance! But, it was a good time. I mainly danced near Carine and Beatrice. However, I did dance with one guy...I think he was Arabian...but not too bad looking. But, he was trying to tell me something in French I couldn't understand. But, I think I got the gist of it...that he wanted to kiss me. He lost interest rather quickly when he figured out he wasn't going to "score" with me. Beatrice told me she would've slapped him. If he wouldn't have let up, I probably would have too. Monna and Lizzie were at the party but if they came to Tasca I didn't see them there. I took a shower as soon as I got home last night...my buzz quickly faded when I was dancing...so that's good. Beatrice and Carine were concerned about me walking home alone but I reassured them I'd be fine. We did the French goodbye kiss on the cheeks...I love it...it's so much more personal than just saying "hi" and "bye" when you see your friends in the U.S.

Today I woke up around 11:30...as usual. After getting dressed and having breakfast I went to pick up my photos of Paris. It was kinda expensive...23,57 Euros for 54 pics plus doubles. I don't know if that's reasonable or not. Anyway, after looking at some sidewalk sales today, I went to see if I could take money out of my National City account. I typed in 40 Euros and it said I had insufficient funds in my account for the transaction. I'm not very happy with myself about that. I did exactly what DeeAnn warned me not to do when I first get here. I ate out at restaurants. It adds up quickly. Anyway, I'm going to see if I can go online at www.nationalcity.com to see if I can transfer a little from savings to checking that way or if I can do it via phone. If not, I'll have to pretty much resort to begging Mommy to pay some of  my $200 back by putting some in my checking. Plus, I have to pay credit card bills soon I'm sure. Oh, and I pretty much have to go to Paris at a later date so that I can apply for an extension on my taxes this year. Plus, Monna said you can register with the U.S. Embassy so they can keep track of you "just in case" something happens to me while I'm over here. Today I searched for that Protestant Church; it's rather close by. Actually, it's a Protestant Reformation church...I don't know if there's a difference or not. I pray I will have the courage to go to church here soon (like maybe tomorrow!). But, admittedly, I'm scared to go alone (yes...I know God is with me...but...you know what I mean!). Well, goodnight for now. I miss my family & friends so much. :-) I'm going to appreciate being home so much more when I return. I just know it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

France: January 18, 2002

Today wasn't too remarkable. But, that's alright because if everyday were remarkable how would you be able to tell? Deep...very deep, ha! :-) Anyway, the maids were here this morning so I got up early (around 8:30 a.m.) so that they could sweep my floor and change my bed sheets. I went to the university to the International Office to check my e-mail today (kinda hoping I'd run into someone I know who would like to hang out with me). I noticed something about myself; I don't really like seeking people out to hang out with them. I'd much rather them call or invite me than vice versa. Oh well. I might have to get out of that habit here because mostly everyone else here has a cell phone whereas I do not. And, as far as I know, the other apartment doesn't have a permanent phone at all. I'm not going to Paris with Dominique tomorrow because he has to work. I did pick up the train schedule for Paris to Amiens/Amiens to Paris today at the train station. That's alright...I'll find another time to go. Plus, that means I can pick up my photos tomorrow at noon. Yay!! :-) I've been invited to a party which starts tonight at 10:00. We have to bring our own beer or alcohol. I have no clue what to pick up. Dominique says I should take wine but I think that's too "upper-class" for this sort of party which really calls for beer or liquor. I'm really surprised though that they're having a party tonight considering that a good  many of them are going on that ski trip Tara's going on which leaves at 3 a.m. tomorrow! Nuts!! I'm debating on whether I should even go...I mean...what's the point? I don't know. I'd much rather go see a movie or something like that. I really miss watching movies because we just have stupid basic channels here and with the exception of seeing "La Vie Est Belle" (Life is Beautiful) on TV there's nothing really good on. For goodness sake, I've been watching re-runs of Baywatch and Melrose Place in the afternoon here! Sad! LOL :-) On another note, I really do want to find a church to attend here in Amiens. Maybe I'll go look for the Protestant Church tomorrow and locate it for Sunday. And, believe it or not, I still need to find the local laundromat. I know there's one near where Tara lives but that's a little ridiculous for me to go over there to wash my clothes when there's a local one, ya know?! Oh, Monna took me to talk to Penny at Sup de Co campus to see about taking classes there. She said I can meet with her on Tuesday morning. And, today at the International Office, Therese had me fill out my application for testing my level of French. Tests, I think, are coming up next week. That reminds me that I should e-mail Lyn Hepfl, the Clarion University International Office Director, to update her on what's happening with me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

C'est moi: In front of the Notre Dame Cathedral: Paris, France

View from the Eiffel Tower

L'Arc de Triomphe: Paris, France

La Roue de Paris (Ferris Wheel): Full View

La Roue de Paris (Ferris Wheel)

Moulin Rouge: Paris, France

Academie Nationale de Musique: Paris, France

Exterior of Louvre Museum from the tour bus

More France pics from Paris trip

 
 Eiffel Tower from the view of the tour bus...

France: January 17, 2002

Sorry I haven't written in three days. I've been very busy as you'll soon find out!! But, busy in a good way. On Tuesday, I finally got to set up my bank account for my stipend. The lady I met with (Madame Huitric) was very patient with my slow French. :-) I won't actually receive a card to access my account until 10 days from Tuesday (the end of January); that's not too bad. On Tuesday night, I went to Via Pizza with a whole bunch of International students (Pinna, Janne, Leonnore, Cynthia, Gabriella, Niz...and many more). It was so cool. There were a lot of Germans there who would speak German a lot at the table. Leonnore kept trying to make them speak in French so that everyone could understand, but they would keep reverting to German. Gabriella and I spoke English only once in a while. She's from California (Oakland...near Sacramento). She can also speak Spanish. I got back to the apartment a little later than I'd hoped. I had to be up early on Wednesday morning to go to Paris...yes, Paris...with the Tulsa students. Wednesday was all planned out by the International Office. We (American students) had to be at the train station by 7:30 a.m. to catch the bus which was taking us to Paris. Well, me and only two other American students (from Tulsa) showed up! I just couldn't believe that those other students could just turn down a practically free guided tour of Paris! Yes, I understand you don't have as much autonomy during a guided tour....but it's FREE! What I didn't know was that there was a whole entourage of Egyptian men (studying to become French professors) coming as well. They smelled....literally. And, they were very interested in talking to us American girls. Also what I didn't know was that my apartment mate, Eva, was going as well...apparently she was invited by Madame Kilani who brought her 6-year-old daughter (a cutie, too) named Sophia. The two other American students names are Monna and Lizzie. They are very cool to hang out with. We pretty much made a pact to stick together during our sojourn in Paris so that we wouldn't get mobbed by the Arabs. Eventually, we moved to the back of the bus. They got the hint. Anyway...Paris...we went all the way through Paris by bus with a French-speaking tour guide. She pronounced her words very clearly. I took pictures with my disposable cameras I got for Christmas from Janice and Grandma. I took three pictures of the Moulin Rouge when we went past it. We saw the Louvre Museum from the outside. We saw the Notre Dame Cathedral which, incidentally, is not nearly as impressive and beautiful as the one in Amiens...different style architecture, too. We went inside the cathedral while we had a good 1/2 hour break from the bus. There's this cool angel-type thing where you write a message of peace and put it inside the clear box beneath it. I wrote something about how I hope that the world comes to know Jesus Christ as their one and only Savior! :-) Because that's where true peace lies. I took a picture of a statue of Joan of Arc inside the cathedral. After we left the cathedral we hurried up and bought some post cards. Monna, who is Iranian by heritage, joked around about how we didn't really have to hurry because the Egyptians wouldn't show up until late anyway because they were on BP (Brown Time)! And, it was so true the whole trip! We were always the first ones back when they told us we had to meet somewhere at a certain time. We went past the Champs Elysees. We got to take the elevator up into the Eiffel Tower for free! It was all paid for by the university. We took a boat ride on the Seine River on Les Bateaux Mouches. The tour guide was very impressive. I'd say he was only a little older than me and he was speaking in at least five different languages! I took a picture of Mary Ann the patron saint of Paris, which is located on one of the bridges. We saw the huge ferris wheel (La Roue) and of course L'Arc de Triomphe! I just can't wait until my pictures are finished being developed. I got doubles. They're supposed to be done by noon on Saturday. I hope it doesn't cost too much...oh well, if it does...it's worth it! Oh...I felt like we (me & the other two American girls) were the tourist attractions because the Arabs kept wanting us to get pictures with them. It was nuts! But, I humored them. We really didn't even have to pay for any food while we were there because the university provided croissants and orange juice for breakfast and a chicken sub, cheese sub, 4 tangerines, 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 coke and 1 bottled water per person!! There was no way we could finish it all. Monna and I looked for homeless people we could give the food to. We did see one old guy (homeless in French is "les clochards") who was scrounging for food in a garbage can but we didn't want to embarrass him by yelling to him from the Eiffel Tower line. So, Monna jumped out of the line and ran over to the garbage can and left the food there. And, she hopped back in line. Later on Monna said something funny. There was a sign where you got tickets for the Eiffel Tower that said "Beware of Pickpockets". She said it's funny that the word pickpockets in all the different languages on the sign are all the same --> "pickpockets"! :-) I want to go back to Paris just to see the inside of the Louvre Museum! Oh, that reminds me, I talked to Madame Kilani and she said that I can be enrolled in Sup de Co as well as Jules Verne. She just thought (and apparently Madame Courtois gave her the impression that) I didn't want to take classes there. I explained to her that I did and that I'm free to choose whichever classes I want. So, why not give myself more options by being able to take classes there, as well? Anyway, I've been told by many students who go to Sup de Co that you can have classes only your first two weeks or so then be finished! That means more time to travel.

Today: Got up around 11:30 a.m. Had a nice brunch of bread with strawberry jam, chocolate milk and an orange. I've been having fun going grocery shopping! LOL :-) Went to find a place to get my film developed...will be done around noon Saturday. Need to figure out if going to Paris on Saturday during the day with Dominique. He can't do the whole weekend because he has to work. I'm going to check out the earliest train times for Saturday tomorrow. I bought a nice designer-type wallet to carry all my cards, money, etc. Fits well in my zipper pocket of my cool blue ski coat from California. Today, I bought myself that French Bible I've always wanted with a French bookmark, too!! :-) I can't wait to read it...that's why I'm writing this so fast and sloppy. I saw the Egyptians at the International Office today at the university. They annoy me. But, I do feel bad that I don't understand them very much when they speak because they have a strange accent. I actually got an e-mail from Mommy today! She's honestly thinking about flying over here with a friend of hers (from work...I think) named Bernie. According to her, airfare is rather cheap right now. That would blow my mind if she actually came out here because she hardly ever really plans a trip...especially this big! She would be much better off in Paris, though, because everyone there can speak English there...not really the case here (in Amiens), though. I might warn her of that. Plus, that would be a good excuse for me to return to Paris. :-) I sent postcards today. One to the family, Missy and Grandma & Janice. I need to get Marta & Van's address off of Missy, yet, as well as Laura's, Brandon's and Preston's. Maybe I'll have better luck e-mailing Marta and asking her. I have a belated birthday postcard for her. She's 64-years-old now. Pretty young. Grandma Foflygen is going to be 80-years-old this year. Janice wants to have a big family shebang for her; I think that's a great idea!! On a different note, I've been saving my tickets and stubs from places I go for my scrapbook at home. :-) Tonight at 8:30 I went to a dual violin-piano concert at the Faculte des Arts for the Universite with Dominique. He had an invitation good for two people. I'm going to miss him when he leaves (at the end of January). But, it works out perfectly because that's when I move out of the apartment anyway and begin my studies for this coming semester. Speaking of studies, Clarion started back for the Spring 2002 semester this past Monday. It's weird receiving their e-mail but not being there. Everyone (or just about) from IV (Intervarsity Christian Fellowship) has been keeping in touch with me very well. They even said they missed me in their prayer requests!! :-) I love my brothers & sisters in Christ so very much. Oh...the violin/piano concert was small but spectacular. Pinna and Janne were there as well as Monna and Lizzie, although the latter two didn't see me. I sat behind the former two. Well, it's beddie-bye time. Goodnight! :-)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

France: January 14, 2002

You won't believe what I did yesterday...I washed my socks and underwear by hand! I did that because I couldn't find a laundromat nearby and Eva told me that she does hers by hand. Last night, I went to Tara's...or at least tried to! I forgot which apartment she was in and tried her next door neighbor's apartment before I found her. We hung out and talked in her apartment for a while. Then, we went to a place called The Forum to have coffee and hot chocolate with some other students. We met three different guys. One of them said he's been to the Pittsburgh area before (in Red Lion...that got a big laugh from everyone because I didn't understand what he said at first until I realized what it was with an English accent). I had a hot chocolate (called only "chocolat") with a couple of cubes of sugar in it...I thought it was cool to have "cubes" of sugar. Later last night, Tara and I went to a Pizzeria called "Via Pizza" and split a "Quatre Saisons" (4 Seasons) pizza that had an artichoke heart, mushrooms, cheese (of course), green peppers (les poivrons) and fresh tomatoes on it. For dessert I finally got to try creme brulee. C'est magnifique! :-) It's cream underneath with a crust on top. Today, I got up a little late, about 11:30 a.m., got ready and went to the campus. I asked Madame Courtois when I could talk to someone about my courses. She thought Monsieur Sicard talked to me about them and I said no. She said she'll give me a list of classes next week. But, she also said it's really easy to join classes; all I have to do is go to them, really. I had to go back to my apartment to get my passport and some photos to get my student I.D. card for UPJV (carte etudiante). Now I have one, yay! :-) I got a very long e-mail from Mildred today. I still have to e-mail her back. Missy e-mailed me her resume so that I can critique it for her. Oh...last night Eva told me she found out there is a laundromat in the other direction from here on la rue de Paris going towards the university. Apparently, after speaking with Therese, I have to talk to the landlord (la proprietaire) myself about renting that one apartment with those French girls. But, she did tell me that they can have someone help me move out; honestly I can do it myself. It's just down the street for goodness sake! I chatted online with Mandy (from Nebraska) today, too. She told me I should take tons of pics. I still have to take some. I still  have not gotten to talk to anyone about going on that Paris trip with the Tulsa students. The more I think about it I think it might be a better idea to go with Dominique. I was supposed to meet with that Professor guy tonight at 5:00 and he never showed up! :-( Weird.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Once upon a time...

Let's have some fun with my blog. Help me write an ongoing story. I'll start and you just write some of the story as a post to this comment...

"Once upon a time...There was a girl..."

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