Tag Archives: France

Jour 8: Lea receives her diplome!

5 Jul

I spent most of the day preparing my stuff to leave in two days. Laid out in the sun, read, transferred my photos to Google Drive so there would be space on the iPhone to take pictures, you know, the usual. I also did some laundry from the time I’ve spent here.
It was a very nice relaxing day. Tomorrow the kids have a day off so it’ll be nice to spend it with them.

Upon receiving my acceptance letter for a Masters in Teaching in the mail (Thanks for the email, Dad!) I decided to look/apply for scholarships.

Lea came into my room asking for an opinion on clothing because she had a boum (party) tonight. Assuming she had another sleepover at Sophia’s or something with her girlfriends I helped her put an outfit together but nothing was working. She asked me what my size was then tried on my clothes.
People, I’ve hit an all-time-low. First I’m only taller than some of the 6th graders in the school I substitute for and now my clothes fit the 5th grade girl in France whom I Au Pair. There must be something in the water…

So Lea borrowed my shorts.
About an hour or less later Au Pair mom comes up and asks me if I want to see Lea get her diplome from 5th grade. (She’s going into middle school next year so they had a 5th grade graduation.) Oh! They’re having a party for the grade AFTER the graduation. Got it.

So we went to the park nearby (Have I mentioned how much I love French towns?! Everything is there! It’s such a cute little community. I’ve met the same people 3/4 times at different gatherings. It’s so nice!) and we sat in this beautiful ampitheatre!

Ampitheatre
The woman who was speaking at this event mentioned the tradition of giving dictionaries every year. Apparently this has been going on for many years and she talked of her personally graduating from the school and keeping the dictionary on her bookshelf for at least 20 years.

Friends

Lea received her “diplome”/ dictionnaire and so did all of her friends.

At the end this woman came up to Au Pair mom and I. She could not stop talking. She totally thought I had a kid at the school, (quite a surprise from Michigan where I’m mistaken as one of the students,) I come to find out she’s running for Mayor of the town and was trying to chat us up.

IMG_1864

I only WISH we had this to play on in Michigan.

So Lea and her friends left for the boum and I stayed back with Constantin as he tried to play on this.

Jour 6: Joyeux Anniversaire, Constantin!

3 Jul

Personal news update – It’s my boyfriend’s birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Joyeux Anniversaire!! 🙂

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

**Reminder** This blog a few days delayed due to posting pictures and overall enjoying the experiences that I’m apart of.

So this post is about Constantin’s birthday, but it really happened a little bit ago (and his real birthday was the week before that.)
Yay! Post dedicated to birthdays!!

First, the family went to the grocery store and I “profited” from the sun. (J’ai profite du soleil. It’s a common thing to “profit” take advantage of something.)
Here is my view of the Seine while I was tanning. Life is so hard in France.

La Seine!
After tanning in the morning, I helped the family set up for the party. French “anniversaires” (birthday parties) are very similar to American ones. Constantin had goodie bags, a pinata, presents, cake, and birthday-themed decorations.
IMG_1813This made me laugh.

While the kids played outside Lea and I painted each other’s nails and hung out.
Then it came time for the Pinata.
pinataConstantin and his friends went crazy for the candy and Lea asked her parents if I could go with her to the soldes -YES.

Driving in France: take deux. It’s really not that difficult, driving is fine it just takes awhile to get used to the size of the car so as not to scrape anyone else’s car.

Lea and I went to La Halle et Halle chassures. I remembered my French shoe size, but had difficulty with the clothing sizes (Last time the tag had a little American flag with the equivalent size and it was TOTALLY wrong. American sizes are actually smaller than European sizes (number-wise)
I took a stab at my size (it was the same as my shoe size- score!)
I got a top and a dress for 18 Euros – total steal, I love the soldes.
I also got 2 pair of shoes and a scarf, because it’s France.

Lea and I went back, the family had dinner and the mom turned on her favorite TV show – Capital. It’s basically like those segments on the news (Ruth to the Rescue? Is that what’s it’s called?) that talk about false advertisements and go in-depth on what businesses offer for hotel/language exchange programs. (At least that’s what’s happening in this episode.)

I’m going to try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I plan to explore the city of Paris and listen/talk in French as much as possible.
A demain!

Day 35: Les Vacances in France

7 Aug

Today was a lazy day. I worked on my blog, gave my room a much-needed cleaning day, packed my suitcase to see if all my new stuff would fit, (SUCCESS!) and took a shower.
Lazy day in Paris.

My Au Pair mom just wanted me to go to the post office and pick up a package.
That’s it.
But nothing is that simple in France.
When I arrive at the post office I see a sign saying that it’s closed from July 30th – August 13th and to go to the branch in Orgeval. (Typical France, no store is open in August. They’re all on vacation for a month.)
I tell this to Au Pair mom and she proceeds to call La Poste and when she gets home from work, she takes me on a drive to show me where this post office is.

Upon reading this novel that Lauren gave me I’ve come up with a phrase for situations like this one.
FWA. France wins again.

On the way to La Poste in Orgeval, we stopped at a typical French supermarket. It looked like a Walmart only smaller, and much more French.
There was a whole aisle dedicated to baguettes and different cheeses and Au Pair mom got some After Eights! She’s the best.
The supermarché closes at 8pm (20:00) in France so we had to rush in, get a few things and get to the cash register otherwise they wouldn’t take us.
Another thing that Americans may not realize is you have to pay for a grocery bag.
Au Pair mom picked this one that was really cheap but at the store they don’t give you bags, you have to bring your own or buy one.
It’s kind of like our green movement back home where you bring your own reusable bag.
Typically these bags are HUGE. This ain’t no plastic cheap-o from Meijer, it’s pretty think and hold pretty much all of your groceries (since French food is in smaller quantities than American food.)

Even though it’s a lazy day, there’s always something new to learn in France.

Day 29: Pool with Melinda part 2

1 Aug

Ugh. I’m tired. It was evident yesterday but super evident today. So tired from all the hassle traveling to Nice.
Now on my way to London. I’m just exhausted.
I love traveling and seeing new places, I just wish I wasn’t so overworked.
Watching kids is hard work. I haven’t gotten the best sleep since Nice.
It’s been super hot here as well. I really think I should go to bed early tonight, especially with Paris in the morning.
I’m so excited to go home. I’ve had a really wonderful time here, but I just miss home. I miss my friends and family. I miss MY bed. I miss being by myself when I want to be.
I miss it all.
France is gorgeous but I miss being able to travel where I want to go. We take so much for granted in the States. We can go wherever we’d like, whenever. We can buy food at almost any hour of the day. It’s SUPER convenient. That’s not how it is in Europe.
I’m just homesick. Super homesick. To the point where doing things here just doesn’t seem enjoyable.
It’s really bad, I shouldn’t let it get to me on this trip.
I’m just glad I’m not staying here for an entire year. That would have been super hard.

Okay, now the sad violin is done playing – Pool soon! Excited because it’s FLIPPIN’ hot.


Had a good time hanging out with Melinda, the kids played together and Constantin was more alive today. Obviously he’d gotten some good sleep!
We headed back and it was a typical day really, nothing exciting to report.

Packing for LONDON tomorrow!

Day 27: Pool Party with Melinda

31 Jul

IT IS SO HOT.
Constantin and I did our normal English studying routine and then headed to Melinda’s for some exercise and cooling off.
I talked with Melinda and the kids played.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before but France children have lice. Like all of them. Have it multiple times in their life. And it’s no biggie.
Melinda was telling me how her kids had/have it and give it to each other.
her Au Pair mom gave her some lice be gone and she’s been putting it in her head as a precaution.
I’M SO GLAD WE DON’T HAVE THIS PROBLEM IN THE STATES.
I mean, we do. But people put the stuff in their hair, wash all the clothes and freeze stuffed animals.
In France they just put the stuff in the hair and let the kids roam free.
Melinda taught me how to look for lice and what they look like.
(NEVER had it as a kid, I was totally clueless when I found out about this my THIRD day in France. Just put never wore my hair down in the house.)
Léa has had lice, Sofia too. Courtney’s been here 3 months and didn’t get it (we’re convinced that the girls just had dandruff though. I didn’t see any bugs moving in any of their hair.)
Ugh gross, gross. So far Lice-free!

Apparently Constantin is REALLY tired from the weekend (as am I, Nice was crazy!)
So he was a little crankier than usual. And didn’t really swim as much.
When we got back he slept forever. Poor boy.
Tomorrow will probably be a lot better.

Day 25: Princess of Genovi—Monaco

29 Jul

Courtney and I got up early to visit this lovely town entitled St. Paul.
Unfortunately no one in Monaco knows the bus/tram/train to get to St. Paul so we hopped on the bus to Monaco instead.
Although Courtney really wanted to visit Monaco, I was more interested because of Princess Grace Kelly’s history.

We hoped on the 1 Euro bus again, this time the distance was significantly shorter, or at least it felt like it because we got to see BEAUTIFUL scenery on the way. We stop at the bottom of this hill and make our way up to see the Palace.

After we climbed the super steep steps that many amounts of tourists had to take a breather from, we made it into the town square. It was so beautiful.
We even saw some royal driving away because there was a police car in front and back of this really nice black car.
We got to the Palace where there was a guard outside strutting back and forth, protecting the castle to this day.
There was a tour that costs 8 Euros (4 euros for student fee) to see the palace, so I jumped at the chance! We had a tiny audio guide in British English and the voice-over man proceeded to discuss the royals/palace of Muhn-ack-oh.
So apparently that’s the correct pronunciation, always thought it was Mahn-oh-co
Pictures were not allowed in the museum which was the biggest bummer, but we got through it and took pictures elsewhere.
We went back down the castle steps, got some lunch and sat over looking the marina.

70% chance of rain, my bottom.
It was gorgeous!

We then made our way to the famous casino Monte Carlo, it didn’t open until 2pm so Court and I had an hour to kill. We did that by laying in the shade (SO HOT) and taking pictures.

Monte Carlo is extremely classy. It wasn’t huge like other casinos now but it looked like you were gambling in a palace. I felt completely underdressed in my sundress but most people were tourists and looked like, well, American tourists.  We ended up spending 5 euro on a slot machine, just to try it. (Courtney and I are not hardcore gamblers by any means, we honestly had a hard time working the slot machine.)
We were winning at first but slowly cut our losses at 55 centième (cents) So long, Monte Carlo!

We then tried to find the beach but were told it wasn’t that great and after St. Marguerite yesterday, I don’t think more rocks will be what I’m looking for.
So we headed back on the bus JUST as the storm was starting to brew. Whew!
Went back to Nice and ate at La Pizza Cresci on our final night.
As we walked home there was this beautiful quartet of 2 violins and 2 accordions playing wonderfully. Court and I stopped for a little to watch them then we headed back to the hostel.
That is when this slightly drunk Mexican guy asked us if we wanted to go to a club with him and his friends.
They were about our age so we decided to follow them and see what was up. These guys were SO nice and funny. There ended up being 2 Pablo & 2 Courtneys. An ever-lasting bond was formed.
So we spent the night walking on the boardwalk and talking with them.
I asked them a lot of culture questions about Mexico City, it’s really interesting to hear what’s true and what’s not.
Finally we headed back to Chez Patrick and got ready for our last day in Nice!

Day 24: CANNES you believe it?!

28 Jul

So to start off the day, Courtney and I almost missed the 1 Euro bus.
Apparently the clock on my phone is 8 min late. (How did I JUST find this out?)
No wonder I’ve been missing trains left and right!

We took the bus (totally inexpensively awesome) to Cannes. It was an hour and a half trip.
I finished Blue Like Jazz and poor Courtney had to stand for most of the ride. I offered to switch with her but she wouldn’t do it.
She totally got cool person points because she gave up her seat to an elderly lady with heavy bags. Way to go, Court!

We arrived and headed for none other than… The Cannes Film Festival of course!
We looked at the hand prints, only a few famous American stars, most were French.
Then we headed to Monoprix because I forgot my towel and had to get a new one.

Courtney had planned to meet up with her friends, Mazen, Neal, Tybalt. (Yes, like the character from Romeo & Juliet. I may have freaked out. Just a tad.) Apparently Tybalt is a popular name in France, go figure.
They took us to the ferry and we headed to St. Marguerite!
…and then I found 2 Euro. No seriously, totally did on the dock before boarding the ferry. SWEET.

Anyways, St. Marguerite is one of two islands near the coast of Cannes. It is INCREDIBLY beautiful.
Here’s a photo that does not do it justice.

So explored the caverns a little while and swam (still super salty water.)
Feeling tired from not getting the best sleep at the igloo room at Chez Patrick, I just rested on the beach. I ended up reading Premiere, a French magazine with a bunch of movie reviews.
I so have to buy the subscription for this, I just ATE those movie reviews up.
This month was about the new Spiderman and now I TOTALLY want to go see it.
It’s directed by the guy who did (500) Days of Summer!

The guys and Courtney went jumping off the rocks while I napped, but I got this lovely picture of them!

We stayed until about dinner time then Courtney and I headed back to Nice. We had a nice night out exploring.
We went shopping and bought some great stuff for super cheap. Just the way I like to shop!
Nice is beautiful at night and during the day!

Tomorrow’s plans? St. Paul and Monaco!