Wednesday, July 27, 2005
I miss my friends a lot, and I miss speaking French. Its unbelievableto me that everyone is talking in English, it gets quite confusing. All inall, life is going good.
I'm ending this blog now that my year is over, if you ever have any comments or questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My mom has posted a bunch of pictures from our trip on her blog if you'd like to see.
Thanks for reading!
Sunday, July 17, 2005
This past week has been fairly busy, its been a great "last week". On the first day back I sat around with my parents with nothing to do, and in the afternoon, my friend Gilles saved me from dying of boredom by coming all the way to Menthon, where I was staying, to meet my parents and go to the beach with us. There were lots of fireworks at night too. The next day was Bastille Day, which was a lot of fun for me. I went to a party at my friend Maxime's house. He lives way out in the country and we played badminton and had a big fire and burned their schoolwork from last year. The next day I went in town a bit with my friend Amandine, and then I missed the bus home and had to spend some hours in town with 5 euros and nothing to do. Once I got home I packed up some stuff and finished things that needed to be finished. My friend Colombe spent the night, and there was also an American boy visiting my host brother this week, so everyone has been talking in English. Yesterday, I spent the day in town with my mom, doing my last day of shopping. We bought cookbooks and clothes and all sorts of stuff. I also got to meet my friend William and say goodbye. We ate dinner at my first host families house last night, and I had a great time. Their daughter who was in South Dakota was back, and I was happy to talk to her and Marion. Today I came to my house, packed up with my mom, cried a bit, and am now sitting in front of the computer. We should be going water skiing this afternoon and then ill sit around and mope a bit more. Tomorrow at 11am I'll be on the plane.
What a great year.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
day 1: Train to Paris. got there and it was pouring rain. Our hotel had the best location ever... top floor of a hospital across the street from Notre Dame. Its a secret place, not expensive at all.
day 2: Walked to the Louvre in the morning. Spent the rest of the day shopping, walking through places. I climbed the tower at Notre Dame with my mom as well, and in the early evening we climbed the tour d'eiffel. The weather was super hot... but out hotel had a/c.
day 3: met up with my penpal, Camille, who lives in northern France in Lille and her parents. They drove 4 hours to see us! We went to Montmartre (where Amelie and Moulin Rouge take place) and saw the Sacre Coeur then took the metro to the Champs-Elsees and walked around. It was really too hot, we all got burned. I also went to Shakespeare and Company bookstore at night and walked to the Luxembourg Gardens and Parthenon.
day 4: Musee d'Orsay. I loved that museum, I really like impressionism. Mom and I went to Le Marais in the afternoon and shopped, my dad did something. At night we met up with my host sister, Emilie, who lives in Paris for dinner. It was fun to see her and hear her talk in English.
day 5: flight to Rome. Kinda a stressful flight, Ryanair is cheap, but not convenient. Il faisait trop chaud. In the afternoon I left my parents and went to my friend Flaminias house. I was so happy to see her, she was an exchange student at VHS the year before last. The two of us sat around in her hot hot hot apartment and she studied for huge tests she had to take and we gossipped quite a lot.
day 6: met up with my parents in the morning and went to the Vatican Museum and St. Peters. In the afternoon I walked them all around Rome and we saw the Trevi fountain, Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona, and the Parthenon, amongst other things. Then I went back to Flami's house.
day 7: Flami and I were woken up by her cellphone... two guys from my school in the US were calling to say they were in town (they wanted to stay at her house). We went and picked up Sam and Bobby and went swimming in the pool at Flamis apartment. Did I mention how hot it was?? Really hot. In the afternoon Flaminia had plans so Bobby, Sam, and I walked all over Rome together for hours and hours. We got very tired (and they hadn't slept in 30 hours) but had such a fun time. I was so happy to get to see them and talk to them.
day 8: Early, early, early train to Florence. I had stayed up late talking to Flaminia, so I only got about 2 hours of sleep. We got to Florence by 10:30ish and went to the Uffizi at 12. It was beautiful at first, but I got burnt out really fast. After two hours we went back and crashed at the hotel. We slept through our 5pm reservations at the Accedemia. Oops.
day 9: climbed up the Duomo, which was pretty impressive. Then we saw another museum, the Bargello, which was very nice as well, but by this point in the trip I was getting museum fatigue. The afternoon my mom and I spent shopping and then we finished out the day relaxing in the courtyard at the hotel.
day 10: trains to Vernazza. Vernazza is on the Cinque Terre, which is filled with American tourists. It was so beautiful, a tiny town right on the sea. Our hotel was actually a little apartment, so we had this beautiful rooftop terrace. I sat around a lot, read a little by the water, and relaxed.
day 11: We decided to hike the 90 minutes to the next town, Monterosso. We had heard it was a hard hike... but it was even harder than I thought. And it was in the sun. There was a beautiful beach in Monterosso though, and we had a great time. Then we had to walk back, and this time it was in the afternoon, when the sun was even hotter. I nearly died.
day 12: Train to Villefranche-sur-Mer, a town right next to Nice on the French Riviera. Afternoon spent on the beach, then we had dinner in town.
day 13: Toured through the Villa et Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild, an AMAZING mansion near Villefranche with acres and acres of beautiful gardens. Spent the afternoon on the beach again.
day 14: Took the bus to Monaco, which was beautiful, clean, and super luxurious. We walked all around and looked at the Yachts and houses... its astounding that people LIVE like that. Mom and I toured the Palace. Prince Albert is coronated or something this week, so they were decorating everthing. Dad went back to the Hotel and Mom and I took the bus to Eze, this town on top of a mountain, the veiws were great, and on top of this mountain-town was an exotic garden filled with cacti. Then I went to the beach again.
day 15: Woke up to a huge thunderstorm with lots of hail. The hotel courtyard was nearly flooded. We took the bus to Nice and walked throught the market and explored the beach. Most shops were closed because it was a Sunday. Beach in the afternoon (imagine that).
day 16: left Villefranche and rented a car in Nice. We drove up to Aix-en-Provence for lunch and looked around there for several hours. Then we drove to Gap. A friend of my mom married a Frenchman and now lives there with him and their two young sons. In Gap we saw a little concert at a Chateau and spent lots of time sitting around and talking.
day 17: relaxed in Gap in the morning and then drove up to Annecy. I was scared to go back to Annecy... going back means going home. We stayed at my Gospel Choir directors house, my family know them pretty well because they visited Seattle for Christmas. It felt good to get back to Annecy, but I'm psychologically quite confused about leaving.
The trip was fantastic. Now here we are, in Annecy. I'm staying with my parents right now because my host family is out of town, but I'll get to go "home" to my host house tomorrow. Tomorrow is also Bastille Day in France, and my dad leaves tomorrow morning. I've hit a really weird awkward place in the exchange where I no longer live here and I'm not yet home.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
birds on fire
Originally uploaded by AnnaRae.
Yesterday was the fete de la Musique. All over France on the first day of summer there are free concerts. Its amazing in Annecy, this was probably the best night of the year. I saw a bazillion people I knew, ran all over town all night seeing different concerts, and sang with my gospel choir for the last time. It was truly a night to remember. It was also Molly's last night in Annecy, its such a great way for her to have ended her year.
les lutins greluts
Originally uploaded by AnnaRae.
This was crazy, amazing French music. It was so happy and fun, everyone was really into it. I went with Sophie before we went and sang in our Gospel concert (which went fairly well). Everyone at this concert was jumping around into each other and singing and clapping, it was like a cheerful moshpit.
fish liver oil
Originally uploaded by AnnaRae.
The last band I saw, at 12:30am, with Molly, Maite, Rachel, Florence, Cilia, and Gilles. This is the second time I've seen them, and the second time the electricity has cut out in the middle. I will have "Gay Bar" running through my head for the next week.
Originally uploaded by AnnaRae.
I was walking with the other exchange students to the veille ville, when we heard music at around 1:30, when everything else was over, we went and followed it and found a huge parade of hundreds of people dancing in the streets behind brazilian drummers. It was amazing. The picture doesn't do it justice, but it was too dark to take pictures of the crowd.
Friday, June 17, 2005
I've hit my final week of liberty, my final week alone with out my parents. I've tried to keep it pretty filled up with things to do, people to see. I don't want to feel like I've wasted the little bit of summer I was given here. My week:
Fri-Mon: Paris with my host parents. We stayed at my host sisters apartment, went to a birthday party, walked around a lot...
Tues: Met up with Molly who had just returned from her bus trip. We shopped, attempted to make train reservations, and then met up with Eric, Maite, Tannia, and some other girl for coffee/cocoa. We also saw Teresa and Yolanda, Mexican exchanges who were at St. Michel with me. They left the next day, so it was the big au revoir.
Weds: Met up with a friend, Matthieu. We went and saw "Les Poupees Russes", the sequel to "L'Auberge Espagnol" (which I saw on TV the night before). I loved them both. The people in them are people like me... and the movies are in multiple languages, its so exciting to be able to understand the French and English completely, and I understood the Spanish a bit too. The Russian... non.
Thurs: Went to my friend Sophie's. We sat around and talked and then watched six or seven episodes of Friends (V.O., bien sur!), we'ed been planning all year on having a huge marathon, but never found the time. After that we went shopping in town and went on to gospel. At night Hugo had a barbecue with some of his neighborhood friends. We ate good food and swam in the pool at 11pm (the pool was 25°C... so nice).
Fri: Met up with my friend Gilles for lunch and also saw some other random friends when I was waiting for him. It was really hot today, we sat on the Paquier and talked and talked in English and read the Stranger for a couple of hours.
Sat: Rotary thing.
Sun: Waterskiing and then camping...?
Tues: Fete de la Musique
Thurs: Parents come.
Wow. Do you see how fast this is going?
Friday, June 10, 2005
I LOVE this festival, and I don't want it to end! I went and saw a film yesterday afternoon as well... it wasn't very good, but I had fun all the same. It was quite random, and it was in Estonian with English subtitles... I don't think the French understood it very well. Friday and Saturday nights are going to be the crazy nights. All my friends'll be on the paquier, the concerts and movies'll be the best. Everyone'll have a little break from the Bac. Unfortunately, I'm going to Paris.