Monthly Archives: December 2014

Good Wishes!

We’d like to take a moment today to wish everyone- no matter what you celebrate- only the best of the holidays.  A happy Hannkah, a happy Solstice, a happy Festivus, a merry Christmas, a happy Boxing Day, a happy Kwanzaa… may it be filled with peace, joy, and good memories. Moreover, may 2015 be your best year yet!

We’d also like to know, what kinds of posts would you like to see from us in 2015? What kind of career- and study abroad-related information can we provide to you?

Amy Rader, Paris, France

This is it.  I go home in 5 days.  I leave Paris and all of its beautiful sites.  I am pumped.

Not to say that I regret my decision to come here at all, this is the most incredible journey of my life.  I’ve had many ups and downs, and I’ve grown immensely.  Plus, I’ve gotten much better at French.  I’m no where near fluent, but I can read and listen and comprehend so much more than when I first arrived.  However, it is almost Christmas and I am ready to see my friends and family.  To be very hipster and quote Passenger “You only hate the road when you’re missing home” and that is definitely me right now.

Canal St Martin

Rodin Museum

The Thinker-Rodin

However, I have been making the best of my last few weeks here.  I have been working on finishing all the things on my list.  I can proudly say there is only 1 thing left, a park, which I plan on visiting tomorrow after class.  Recently, I visited Rodin Museum, Palais Garnier/Opera, Centre George Pompidou, Musee de l’Orangerie, and the Picasso Museum.  I am diligently crossing each site off my list as I visit them.  It is very satisfying to work on achieving this goal.

Palais Garnier

Opera

Centre George Pompidou

Picasso Museum

Also, last weekend was my program’s last excursion and Christmas/farewell party.  It was a good time! We visited Vaux-le-Vicomte, a castle, which kind of just looks like a big mansion as opposed to a castle, but it was absolutely lovely and filled with Christmas trees.  It definitely helped put me in the Christmas spirit!  Which was much needed not being able to decorate my apartment.  However, almost of all my shopping is done, not that shopping is something that can ever be totally complete.  The Christmas dinner was wonderful.  The food was excellent and there were games and songs and decorations.  It was a very nice way to end the trip.

Vaux-le-Vicomte

Vaux-le-Vicomte

Vaux-le-Vicomte (legit, no joke, this entire thing is made out of CHOCOLATE!)

For my last 5 days, I plan on (seeing the park tomorrow, of course) having dinner with my French friend, grabbing some last minute purchases, revisiting some of my favorite places in Paris, and just taking it all in.  I don’t know when I’ll be back, but I do know that this isn’t “au revoir” I’m simply saying “A bientot, Paris!”

bises xox

Le mur des je t’aime (the wall of I love you, written in many different languages) Montmartre

This is just a crepe I had the other day and it was really good.

Finals Week Pick-Me-Up

We wish all of our students good luck and success as they navigate finals this week! Study hard, get sleep, and don’t forget to eat breakfast.  You can do this!

“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
~Nikos Kazantzakis

Amy Rader, Paris, France

So, time is ticking away. I have less than 3 weeks in Paris and I can not believe it.  Since my last blog, it seems a year has passed.  First, I went to London with my roommate Maddie for a weekend.  It was incredible.  I saw things I had been learning about and dreaming of seeing my whole life.  And everyone spoke ENGLISH!  Except, our roommates in the hostel, they were French.  It seemed  as though we couldn’t get away from the French.  It was an insane 2 days.  We were there for Armistice Day weekend, so the city was busy.  Armistice Day is the European celebration for the end of WWI.  The Poppy Celebration was in full force at the Tower of London and all of the people wore poppy pins on their coats with pride.  It was totally cultural and totally different and really awesome to witness.  I got a tattoo  in London also, Peter Pan stars on my ankle seemed appropriate for the occasion.  Maddie and I also were able to see the ENTIRE royal family driving from Buckingham Palace through St. James Park to more of the weekend celebrations.  It was an unforgettable trip.

Kings Cross Station, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, London

Poppy Celebration, Tower of London

I also took a solo trip to a city called Brest.  It is in the very northwest of France.  Not much really goes on there, it is a quiet little city, there were a few things to see.  But it was empowering to take a trip all by myself.  I spoke only in French the whole time, and my hotel room had a large bed and a large bathtub.  It is freeing to be somewhere all alone and do whatever you want and not have to worry about the opinions of others.  However, 3 days alone was just enough.  By the end, I was happy to return home to my roommates.

Brest

I also, took a day excursion to Versailles.  Which is the Chateau that Louis XIV built when he ruled France.  It is massive and elaborately decorated and beautiful.  My favorite part of it all was the gardens.  Although, I am sure they are way more beautiful in the Spring/Summer, I just love being outside in the nature.  I think it shows a lot about French royalty that they took the time to make things just as beautiful on the outside as the inside.

Chateau de Versailles

Garden of Versailles with Hely and Mads

Apart from traveling outside of Paris, I have been traveling all around the city as well.  I have been working on completing my list since I don’t have much time left here.  I currently have 14 items left to see and 18 days.  There is maybe 2  more things that I MUST do, the others I want to do, but I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t see them.  Recently, I’ve visited the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais,  Musee d’Orsay, Patheon, and a few less well known gardens.  Everyday I am seeing and learning more and more.

Musee d’Orsay

I have also spent some time revisiting the most well known places in the city because my family came to visit me.  My cousin Nicki (29) and my grandmother (84).   My grandmom had been dreaming of coming to Paris since she was a girl and she was her first every visit.  It was really cool to see her trek around the city, taking buses and the metro and climbing countless amounts of stairs to be able to see some of the most beautiful places that Paris has to offer.  Her hotel was 400 meters from the Eiffel Tower, so she had a pretty nice view every time she stepped outside.  It  was definitely an exhausting week juggling major sightseeing and school, but it was absolutely worth it.  I really think she had the time of her life.

My gradmom and I

Climbed to the top of Sacre Coeur

Other major things, Thanksgiving passed and I totally skipped school because I’m a proud America. My program had a nice lunch for us so I got a note for skipping.  I saw Hunger Games with my French friend who of course, has perfect English. I also attended school for the first time ever on Black Friday.  It was uneventful. I also turned 23 yesterday.  Everyone posted on my facebook wall to live it up in France and party hard and I stayed in bed most of the day, and it was awesome.  I had a busy weekend of sightseeing and I didn’t have class so I relaxed all day and it was worth it.  I did go out too dinner with my roommates and we went to Breakfast in America, and it was delicious. I miss American food. I was definitely feeling major homesickness on my birthday.

Thanksgiving with the best, Anna

I’m still learning so much but I can tell I’m improving.  I think I had a baby breakthrough with my comprehension but I’m hoping it happens with my speaking.  I fee confident if I have to ask a question, but recounting a longer story or how I feel about something, I am lacking the vocabulary.  France is starting to be all decorated for Christmas.  it’s nice to have that as a distraction but I am itching to get home and see my family and friends (especially Richie).  I am excited to see what else I can see and learn in my last few weeks, but I am so excited to go home for Christmas.

–Bisous