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Published: October 29th 2009
I have been in France for almost 2 months! I can't believe how quickly the time is going now that I’m pretty much finished with all the administrative paper work, and am getting into a routine with school. I absolutely love the classes I’m taking. From Gender and Politics to Sociologoy of International Relations, my classes are a lot more specific and I find them mre interesting than what I was taking at SFU. Although, I must admit, I am now grateful for the million french grammar courses I took, and my professors that drilled the proper technique for writing a french dissertaion into my head! Most of my courses here don’t require reading or have assignments, they are 100% based on the final exam. This is a bit scary, but in the mean time before exams, I have plenty of time to travel. I do have a few presentations to do, but they are mostly next semester which will be good because hopefully my French will be that much better by then. If you were concerned about my adventures trying to find a pool to swim in, rest assured, I have succeeded (twice). I found a good pool that’s about
30 minutes away, so I’m going to try and go there once a week at least. The pool’s here aren’t open very many hours, so it’s hard to make it work with my schedule. However, I am keeping up my running! I ran 16km a few days ago, through a forest that is about 4km away from my residence. There’s nothing like running on a crisp fall day and I think the forest might be one of the most gorgeous things I’ve seen in France so far! I'm hoping to do a half marathon in Paris in March.
Last weekend one of my close friends from SFU who is stuyding in the south of France for the year came to visit. She arrived in Strasbourg Thursday night, after a seven hour train ride from Aix-en-Provence. Friday I took her on a tour of Strasbourg (which involved trying tarte flambée, walking through Petite France, visiting the Historical Museum of Strasbourg, and visiting the Cathedral. It was great to see some things in the area that I had been meaning to go to (the museum). The only downside was that the weather wasn’t the greatest for walking around and picture taking.
In the afternoon we made a quick trip to Kehl, Germany to do a bit of shopping. Alex told me that everything in Aix is extremely expensive, so it was a nice change for her to be able to buy things at a reasonable price. Friday night we went out with a group of my French friends to Artichaut
(Artichoke), a french organic café where you can play pool, cards, and I even saw someone knitting. (It was a bit of a hippy place.) It was really cool though! Saturday we took a train to Freiburg, Germany, a town about an hour and half from Strasbourg. Even though it didn’t take very long to get to, you could definitely tell you were in a different country. The arcitecture was different from Strasbourg and hardly anyone spoke French! You definitely could get by with English, but Alex and I spent the time on the train learning a few key German phrases (verstehen Sie Englisch?
) from the very useful pocket phrase book I bought before coming to Europe. A young guy sitting next to us in the train humored us and taught us how to pronoune things and how to count to
ten. Frieburg was lovely and Alex and I were overjoyed to find a Starbucks there! Neither of us have Starbucks where we live, so it was a treat to get a drink. After spending the day in Frieburg, both Alex and I fell in love with Germany. We’re planning a trip to Berlin for January, and we’ve definitely been inspired to learn a bit more German.
Speaking of trips, the week coming up is a holiday in France so Taryn, Katherine, and I are going to Spain! On Saturday we take an hour train to Basel (Switzerland) to fly from the airport there to Alicante. We are spending two days in Alicante and then we fly to Madrid where we are going to spend a total of 20 hours! We then fly to Barcelona for a day before heading back to Madrid, back to Alicante, and then back to Basel. The low cost airline Ryanair only flies out of certain airports, which is why we have to make such a round-a-bout trip. There is no way to fly from Barcelona or Madrid back to Basel. It will be a whirlwind tour of Spain but it’s going to be great!
The weather has been in the 20s this week which will be a nice change from the occasional -2 degree days here. The best part is that the 6 flights together are only costing 50 euros!! I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish before we leave, I’m hoping to put my two Spanish courses to use! Hasta luego!
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