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Published: February 1st 2006
HUGE Christmas tree
It has been far too long and I am very sorry. That just means I have much to fill you all in on. It also means I will most likely just skim over a lot of the past few weeks and make some sweeping generalizations. At any rate, here we go!
December, the good, the bad, and the wonderful
Schoolwork was in abundance before our winter break but I made it! I wrote many a paper and even did a few oral presentations. I wish I could say my French was amazing but….
I went to the doctor in order to get my Student Visa to stay in France and had quite an experience! First of all it was bizarre being herded like cattle from one room to the next with complete strangers in a very sterile environment. Part of the process was having our lungs x-rayed to check for TB (thus I was told to strip from the waste up and then shoved into a room with 6 doctors milling about! Welcome to France!) the sad news from this is that the doctor addressed my ‘advanced scoliosis.’ I clarified that scoliosis is the same word in
Family at the ballet
WORST seats ever! Still very fun to see the old opera house and a beautiful ballet.
both French and English, sadly it is! So, this was a news flash and off to the swimming pool with me to strengthen my back.
Hand in hand with this, mid ten-page paper (of course) my computer decided it had enough of converting the current and the motherboard fried. Ooops. So I hand wrote my way through finals and have been far from in touch with anyone back home.
I visited some more interesting museums including Gustave Moreau and wrapped things up and waited for a hug from my family!
Mary Anna arrived early and so we had some sister time before the rest of the family arrived. Mom, Dad, and Mamie arrived Sunday morning and it was a rocky start. Mom was a bit off because of a miscalculation of when to take her sleeping medication and was, well, drugged! It was quite funny actually. We all squeezed into a cab and they saw their wonderful apartment. Then came the touring, which I think the pictures can explain. It was magical getting to share this experience with them all.
After they had seen Paris we piled into a car (yippee I’ve missed driving!) and headed
The cieling was painted by Marc Chagall, one of my favorites!
off for Normandy. This was such a great treat. We visited the beaches and just enjoyed the different pace of life than the bustle of Paris. Then it was back to reality with them while I got to stay in this wonderland!
Then came New Year’s Eve and two great friends visiting. It was great catching up and sharing the city with them.
Phew. That was such an oversimplification but……
After my two week break came three weeks of finals and the end of classes. STRESS! It all worked out though and somehow the work all got done. Besides, stress here is different. I'd study and then get a croissant or some wine, I'll take finals in Paris any time!
Mid January brought the arrival of two great friends, one permanently! My dear friend Caroline arrived to do the second semester of the program I am doing. This means new adventures and another face to add to those you’ve already seen! I’ll keep you posted as to the trouble we end up causing soon.
The temporary guest was my friend Sarahmae who dropped over for two weeks of running about Europe. She enjoyed my
line at the bakery
People wating for their bouche de noel!
apartment and Paris very much for a few days before we headed off to see the world which lies to the north of France. Winnie, Brigitte, Sarahmae and I grabbed a train to Amsterdam. I was struck by how amazing that city is, and delighted in uncovering its differences and similarities in regards to Paris. I think part of that is because I didn’t have expectations that the city impressed me. The beauty of the city, the museums and the people surprised me. I will certainly be going back when the tulips are in bloom and it isn’t freezing! We enjoyed wandering around, seeing the Van Gogh museum, and visiting the Anne Frank house. It was quite an adventure.
From there we spent a day and one night in Brussels. Yet another great city; I would only go back for their museums and their waffles though! I would like to see some of the smaller towns another time.
Sarahmae and I had one night back in Paris before we took the Chunnel over to London to visit some mutual friends. The Chunnel proved fun. Trains are for sure my preferred method of travel. London was great and I
The street where my family had their apartment
saw much that I didn’t get to last time. I am still amazed at how their culture is so different from France. They are so loud and jovial! It is incredible and a nice little break.
Beyond that, Sarahmae and I visited Versailles, and then I saw her off. I am swamped with choices that will form my next semester so I am relishing the alone time to think all that through. I will be better about keeping in touch and not being so brief next time.
I hope everyone had happy safe holidays! Happy 2006 (they still say Happy New Year here, that is such old news isn’t it?!)
Love to all
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