Flamingos in France!

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May 8th 2006
Published: May 8th 2006
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While pretty it doesn't touch my Rockies!
I hope this entry finds you all well in your corners of the world. As many of you know things have been a little unsteady in my family as Mary Anna has developed a rather large and stubborn kidney stone. So that has been first on everyone’s mind for the past few weeks. Things are looking up there (thankfully!) and so here is what has been going on over on this side of the pond.

After my glorious adventure to Morocco I hopped a train down to a little town outside of Valence, France to see Colette and Léopold (my adopted French parents) for a few days. Their home, Huston, is right at the foot of the pre-Alps and in the center of the 800-person town. It was an enchanting few days. My hosts continued to be generous and friendly making the time very enjoyable. Their four grandchildren where there to add to my French test, and I can say that I have make leaps and bounds since my last experience with French children. I was able to understand what they were saying and even play soccer en français! It was really delightful. We took drives and walks into the
Colette and LéopoldColette and LéopoldColette and Léopold

During our drive we took stops to enjoy the view from the moutain passes
Alps and explored the neighboring towns by foot. Colette took me to a museum of shoes for an afternoon, which proved to be actually REALLY interesting! Maybe that is the nerdy History major talking but...

So basically they cooked yummy food and showed me a bit of what life is outside of Paris for the French. It was great practice for my French. I am now really aware now that I speak academic French and lack the vocabulary for home life. It was good to be there to talk with them after the nightly news and get their views on the world's events. They also are the first French people who have spoken with me about WWII so that was an amazing experience.

It was great being in the country and around some mountains (though they don’t compare with the ones at home). It was a little hard being in a home environment because it kind of threw me into a spell of homesickness, but it soon passed as school got off to a running start!

We have a few long weekend in this month (two three day and one four day!) for various holidays, so I

It was cold but fun to splash around in the Med for a minute or two!
spent the last one doing homework and then took off on a trip for the second! My friend Sonja and I migrated south for some sunshine and nature in a region on the coast called the Camargue. We stayed right on the beach in a sizable town and then worked from there. We rented bikes and rode out into the wild that holds wild flamingos, horses, and bulls. It was amazing! We rode through swamp-like lands for a while enjoying the groups of flamingos or running horses! Then came a tour of the beach and swamp regions on horseback. It was funny not having the vocabulary really for that activity-but it all worked out well and we really enjoyed ourselves. My horse had some Fox blood pumping in his veins and really wanted to be the lead horse, this meant there was a lot of galloping involved….getting back on the bike to ride back into our town was a bit painful on my butt bones!

Paris has exploded with beauty in the last week. Finally it is mostly sunny and the trees have all blossomed. Sitting on the Seine for picnics is again an option, which makes me really happy. Things here are coming to a close really quickly. We have a rather big push of academics to get through and then…. Summer is full of more journeys with different travel buddies and then returning to the States the 19th of July. Being as it is the “end” of this experience I’ve been reflecting a fair amount. I will keep you updated as these next weeks roll on, I’ll need a break from the mountain of papers awaiting my attention!


Additional photos below
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The swampish land we rode through

As we were leaving our hotel we saw this little show: they let two bulls out and then these horses ride through the streets of the town with them...

Sonja and me after a day of riding horses and bikes in the sunshine-very happy people!


My favorite part of the adventure was seeing the flamingos fly, it was so beautiful!

Getting read to ride our horses!
From my perpectiveFrom my perpective
From my perpective

After all that activity we enjoyed some time on the beach too. This is me enjoying my book and the view after a dip in the sea. I finished Harry Potter V (in French) which was a big one, 976 pages of wonderfulness!

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