Published: December 7th 2009November 21st 2009
Laura liked the foldy chair
All Saints Day was an experience and a half. We went to my host aunt's house and had a huuuuuge lunch/brunch there. It was not only the feast of All Saints, but the birthday of my host aunt. My host uncle had me try 3 different kinds of wine and say which one was my favorite. I preferred the red wine :). We ate so much food, but no, there was no cake or loud singing. We did give presents, however, and my present was a box of Jelly Bellies, which is my all-time favorite candy. I also realized that they only sell it in the US. My host aunt was very happy :)
I went to an IKEA factory with my bestest exchange friend Laura and we passed a wonderful day there. She wanted to go because it reminded her of the IKEA factory in Finland, and I wanted to go because I had never been there and wanted to see what it was about. It was basically a HUGE warehouse-like store filled with furniture and food. It was a lot like Sams Club, because you bought everything in bulk, but it wasnt too expensive because it came right
Even though shes too big for it!
from the factory. It was a fun day.
On the 7th of November, I went with Carla and Laura to Thermopolis. It is a building in Amnéville (a city just south of mine) and it is a natural hot spring! It has a lot of saunas and warm massages in hot water that tastes like sulphur. Otherwise, it was an amazing experience and a REALLY good day! If any of you get the chance to come to this area of the country, I definitely recommend Thermopolis!
The 9th of November was the celebration in Berlin, but I am sure you heard about that in the US too, so I really wont mention much about it. Just know that I watched TV late into the night with my host parents :P It was cool, because less than three weeks before, I had been in that city!
The 14th of November was the weekly Rotary district get-together and everyone was there! It was really cool. We went to Nancy, a city about 1 hour south of mine and we saw two museums and the Place Stanislas. This is a beautiful square in the center of the city with a
Amusement park. Outdoors, but reminded me intensely of what was formerly Camp Snoopy...hmmmm
huge statue of King Stanislas of Lorraine. A bit of history for you: When King Louis XIV was king, my region, the Lorraine, was a separate country, ruled by King Stanislas. He was very much like Switzerland is now, and he kept the peace with every other country. When he died, he had no heir, so the country was made a part of France. The square itself is very large and smack in the center of the city, flanked by the City Hall and the Opera house! We all met in the Place Stanislas and hiked to the first museum. It was kind of boring. It was a "natural" history museum or something like that. It had a bunch of really old fish though. I dont think I have ever seen a fourty year old fish before haha! There was also an exhibit that was made by the students in the university called Quelle sexe êtes-vous
or "What gender are you?" That was...initresting to say the least. After the museum, we all went to the Hôtel de Ville
(city hall) where the mayor and his secretary greeted us. We then had some beverages and took a Rotary picture in the
Trying to find some good rides :D
main hall. Then we were done, that part only lasted about a half an hour.
Then we went to lunch! It was very good, but unfortunately I fogot the name of the food we ate there. It was like authentic pizza crust with creme and Mirabelles on it. At least that was on one of them. There were four or five different kinds. After lunch we split up into two groups. The first went straight to the second museum, and the second, mine, walked around Nancy for a bit. After about an hour, we returned to the museum and did the tour. It was a museum of the history of fashioin. How fashion started and where it ended up today. My group was really ADD. I dont think we learned very much...After that, we all walked back to the Place Stanislas and said our goodbyes. I then went with Laura, Chris and Sara to "Les Artistes", a café for young people thats fairly cheap and they let you sit there as long as you want! You dont even have to buy anything! We only stayed for about an hour, because Laura, Sara and I had a train to catch
Doris and Lizzie (Brazil and Australia respectively) dancing in front of the evil mask on Halloween in France.
to go to Sara's for the night! Chris came with us to the station, but since he lives in Nancy, it wasnt hard for him to get back home. We passed an uneventful night at Sara's house. Her host parents are really nice and we watched "The Pink Panther". We stayed up until an ungodly hour in the morning and ate Haribo candies and talked about home. The next day we woke up late and made Korvapuusti
. It is a type of Finnish dessert. It was a lot of fun, because not only did I get to help make something that I'd never made before, but I got tohear Laura and Sara speak in Finnish. And the word for Finland in Finnish is Suomi
. We ate lunch and then had to say goodbye and get on the train, because Laura and I had to go home. It was an uneventful hour long ride to Thionville.
On the 26th, there was Thanksgiving in the US. I thank everyone who sent cards and emails! No, they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here, but we talked about it in English class. There wasnt a party, like we had been planning, because that involved missing
It was really dumb
a day of school, and the Rotary didnt want that to happen. It has officially been postponed until New Years. It will be after Lizzie leaves, but at least we will have one Aussie (Nick) for the New Years celebrations.
I was asked by Ian if I could go through a normal day here. This might get a bit off topic on occasion, so bear with me please. Mondays and Tuesdays I have class at 9:00 (the rest I have at 8:00) and on Mondays I have 2 hours of French and 2 hours of English. Also, Mondays are the days that I eat with the other exchange girls in my city. We eat at Subway. Yuko, from Japan, doesnt speak English very well, so we all speak in French anyways, and only lapse into English when we want to say something really fast! On Wednesdays are half days in France, so I only have class until noon, and then I am done for the day. It is nice, but some people I know have class on Saturdays too. It happens I guess. So I normally wake up at around 6:30 and eat breakfast (le petit déjuner
) and I
Built for King Stanislas of Lorraine
take the bus about 45 minutes later. It is 20 minutes to school by bus. I have to get to the school beofre the doors are locked, because they only open the school doors for ten minutes between every class (to let people come and go and to let smokers have their break). I attend class, but it is very boring most of the time. I understand the English classes, but of course it is too easy for me and therefore I dont pay attention anyways. The French class is hard because it is Litterature, and not grammar. I am in "L" (Litterary) and therefore they work on litterature, and not grammar. So those classes are really hard for me. History is hard too, because I am not all that familar with the names in French, and the teacher never writes anything on the board, so taking notes is hard. I like Sports (gym) because it doesnt really require me to know French. Normally in a traditional class, there are about 30 students. In my class, because it is the literary branch, there are 15 people. No one wants to take literature, because it is the hardest branch in the
Lizzie Habres from Australia having fun!
. It is difficult because in "L", you are required to take 3 foreign languages. My school offers Russian, Italian, German and English. As an exchange student from the United States, I am only required to take English, therefore I have a lot of gaps in my schedule :P. I only have 2 hours of Math per week, which is REALLY nice. And because its the literary branch, its really easy math, so for now I am okay. After school, I take the bus home, but it is always crowded after school. I try really hard to get a seat, but I usually fail in that attempt :). T'en pis
. Once home, I make myself a cup of coffee (because coffee here is SO much better than the US) and attempt to do my homework. It usually doesnt work out. I help my host mom make dinner when I can, but a lot of times she makes something really fast, and I just end up setting the table. XP. I always help clean up afterwards, and then I watch the news with my host parents. They dont like when the miss the news haha. I read a little bit in
Oh dear, she thinks she's King Stanislas
French too, but they are really easy books, made for little children, but the text is easy, and I dont get as frustrated as I do when I read Voltaire for my French Lit class. I end up reading the books out loud, because that way, I can get faster at reading and speaking at the same time.
I remember at home, we used to eat at 5 or 6 simetomes. Here, they make fun of when the British eat (5 or 6) and say that it is rediculously early. Here, they eat around 8 or 8:30, some families around 9, but my current family eats around 8. They eat later, but they also stay up a lot later than people I know in the United STates. I was explained that it is because high school students get a LOT of homework normally, and they stay up really late to get it all done. Everyone in my school has a backpack, as well. They dont have many lockers in my school (they are more like "cubbies" anyways) so everyone has backpacks. You can always tell a middle schooler from a high schooler because the middle schoolers have HUGE backpacks.
Since we all came in the same car, we all took a picture together! Arent we cute?
(high schoolers) have learned how to put as little as possible into their backpacks. They have what looks like nothing. What they have learned to do is what I now do with Laura. What you do is you make a deal with the person who sits next to you in class and you decide who brings which books to which class, so that way you dont have to haul ALL of the books EVERY day. It works really well, because then our backpacks are only partially full. And on Wednesdays theres hardly anything at all!
Yes, things are expensive here. If you want anything, it is almost all brand name. A nice jacket is going to cost you around 80 euros. And if you want a designer jacket, its around 300 euros. Make a choice I guess. For example, I ran out of contact solution. I had to get more, but they only sell it in special shops that sell glasses and such. It cost me 10€50! Thats almost 15 dollars! Next time, I'll just ask my mom to send me some. I also need a new pair of pants, because one pair of jeans has large holes,
I love doing random girly things :)
but I am afraid to check the price of jeans! They mostly sell skinny jeans here, and I dont like them because they make my butt look big :(.
So, I know that I am a little late on the updating, but I know that December will be REALLY busy! I tend to fill my boredom time by reading out loud or writing letters to the people that send me theirs :) It makes me really happy to hear from everyone and I hope to update after the 31st (but no promises just yet)
GROS BISOUS TOUT LE MONDE! (BIG KISSES EVERYBODY!)
There are more photos below