30 July 2011
Today is my last full day here in France. Tomorrow I leave for the bus to Geneva around 5:30am. Almost everything is packed and ready to go back to the states. Today has been pretty relaxing, just packing clothes and souvenirs etc. I went to lunch with the other student who lives here. We also went for some ice cream. The ice cream here is so good! There was an open market at the Vielle Ville, and there were a lot of interesting things. There were lot’s of records which I looked through, but didn’t find any that I wanted to get. There were some really good choices though. So I’m going to enjoy my last day here and finish blogging.
28 July 2011
This week, I’ve started to have conflicting feelings about going back home. A part of me wants to go back home and get back to “real life” while the other would like to stay here and be able to master the language more and explore more of France and Europe. It almost feels like no time has passed since being here, but when I think back on everything I’ve been able to do while I’m here, it seems like I’ve been here for a while. But at the same time, there are also things I haven’t been able to do that I wish I could. For example, I haven’t gone hiking as much as I would like or hang out with friends very often. Nonetheless, I’ve gotten pretty comfortable living here. It almost feels like another home. Everyone here in Annecy is so friendly and understanding. The program isn’t over yet though, and I wish to make the most out of my last few days here.
25 July 2011
Yesterday, I came back from a weekend in Paris! It was something I’ve never experienced before. I’m not really used to big cities, so it was definitely an experience. It was a lot of fun; exhausting too, but it was great. It was a bit overwhelming for me to tell the truth, but I really enjoyed it.
I went with five other people. We stayed in a hotel outside of Paris. The first day (23rd), we walked the streets of Paris and went to the Louvre for a few hours. It’s a really huge museum with a lot of sculptures and paintings from different eras and cultures. After that, we walked across a bridge over the River Seine to the Musée d’Orsay. I really loved that museum. There were paintings by impressionist like Monet, Manet, Degas, etc. There were also wonderful sculptures there as well. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures or film inside. After that, we ate lunch, then went to see Notre Dame. The line was long to get in, so we took pictures of the exterior and walked around the building to see all the little details. There were a lot of street vendors around, some of the things they had were quite cool. Pictures, paintings, books, hats, etc. After Notre Dame, we went to Le Jardin du Luxembourg. It’s really pretty there. It’s a nice place to relax after a lot of walking. When we were finished resting, we went shopping. There were a lot of cute souvenir shops and interesting places along the way. When we were done shopping, we went to see the Eiffel Tower. We took a metro to a stop near the Eiffel Tower. When we got off the metro, we could see it from afar. To get to a lookout of the tower, we went under this cool bridge the metro uses, similar to the one from Inception (it could’ve been the same bridge). After taking some pictures there, we ate dinner. Then, because the restaurant we ate at was really close to the Eiffel Tower, before leaving the city, we went to see it lit up. It was the top of the hour when we found a nice viewing place. And because it was the top of the hour, it the tower started sparkling lights. It was so pretty, and a really nice surprise. It lasted for about five minutes. I got video of it with my flip cam, but my other camera ran out of battery before it was sparkling. I still got a really good shot of the Eiffel Tower at night though. It’s really something to see.
The night before, we had been struggling to decide what to do for our last few hours in the city. We decided to go to see Moulin Rouge. It was actually pretty cool. After looking at all the posters and everything around the entrance of Moulin Rouge, we went window shopping a little more around the area and ate some breakfast. After that, the trip is pretty much over. We went to the Gare to catch the train back to Annecy. The train ride is really cool. There’s lot’s of beautiful scenery. I paid attention to it more on the way there than back, I slept most of the time on the way back.
It’s such a different vibe in Paris. Everyone seems to be more stressed and rushed. A lot more people speak English in Paris than in Annecy. When I would order or speak in French, the people would reply in English sometimes. It was a little discouraging, but I can understand that it’d be easier for them to speak to tourists who don’t know their language well, in English.
Paris was really a great experience and hope to go back. There is just so much to see and do in that city. A weekend is just not enough.
A couple pictures I wanted to share :)
21 July 2011
So this week hasn’t been too eventful so far, but I’ve been learning a lot of French and eating really good food. My listening has definitely improved. Before it was difficult for me to distinguish the words with all the different sounds they make. I would only be able to pick up words here and there. Now I’m able to hear the words that form the sentences (as long as they don’t speak too quickly). Speaking is getting better too, but it’s easier to process words than for formulate them spontaneously. There’s just a lot to think about when you need to form a coherent sentence in French. It’s quite amazing though, to be able to understand another language. I’m definitely leaning a lot while I’m here, but I definitely need to use French more everyday.
Also, I’m leaving for Paris tomorrow. I’m gonna be there for the weekend. It should be lot’s of fun! With a little more than a week left, there’s still more adventures to come!
17 July 2011:
Yesterday was very memorable and fun; not to mention exhausting! I went to Chamonix Mont Blanc with my host family and on of the other students who live in the same house. As we were arriving, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The mountains actually had snow! When we arrived, we took a train to a lookout of Montenvers rather than to the Aiguille Midi because it was more expensive, but I’m very glad we went to Montenvers. The train ride was pretty awesome by itself. The view as we went higher and higher was so unbelievable. When we got to the lookout, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I took a bunch of pictures and video just because it was so overwhelmingly beautiful. Other than the lookout, there were a bunch of things you could do. I think we did almost every single one of them. We hiked to the panorama of the Mer de Glace and kept going to the ice caves. The ice caves were very cool. Or as the French would say, “Super Chouette”! The lighting was interesting, they also played music. There were little sculptures and pictures as well. After that, we climbed many stairs to the “telecabines” which took us back to the lookout. We were hungry by then, so we sat down at the restaurant that was there. There’s also a hotel there which we went to see for a bit. We then took the train back to Chamonix (I lost my ticket, but they let me through anyway. Probably because I said it in French jk :P) After the train ride, we explored Chamonix where there were a lot of shops and restaurants. We went into this little shop where there were cool little figurines made of different things. They had other stuff too, but I liked the figurines. After walking around the town for a while and buying little postcards as souvenirs, we started to head back. It was after 5pm by the time we left. I was so exhausted, but it was a lot of fun! As usual, photos on flikr towards the end of the set. I would post them here, but it takes a while for the pictures to load.
14 July 2011:
So it’s Bastille Day in France! Or rather “La Fête National”. I went down to the lake with the other students who live in the same house. There were so many people! It was a little less clear than usual, but at least the walk down there was nice and cool. La Vielle Ville was really crowded. There were so many people around I didn’t get a pic of how crazy it was there because I was really hungry and wanted to eat :P Anyway, I think we’re going back down there later tonight to see the fireworks! It’ll be so much fun :)
13 July 2011:
I took lot’s of pictures of mountains today. Whenever I come back from school on the bus, I always see this beautiful view of the lake and mountains a couple stops before I leave the bus; and today I finally decided to try and find a good place to take a picture of it. It was a bit difficult to find a good view of the lake and mountains because there were so many houses, trees and a school blocking the view down hill. I still got some decent shots of the view that I’m happy with. The photos can be found on my flikr account :)
Today was the first day it really rained during the day. It was cold, but didn’t really need my jacket. After the downpour, everything looked really pretty and I was inspired to try and take pictures.
I digress, but this is the most important part :P -I ate at this really good pizza place with my friends even though it was raining. Then we went to this gourmet “biscuit” shop. It smelled so good! I didn’t get anything from there yet, but I really want to soon. So, it was a fun day! Didn’t see Harry Potter yet, but I will on Friday. :D Excited for that. Also on Saturday, I’m going to Chamonix and Mont Blanc with the school. Really excited for that as well, but also a little nervous, I have to look up the difficulty of the hike, for some reason I thought it was difficult, but my host mom said it wasn’t and it wasn’t a really big mountain (or at least I think she said something along those lines haha) So a lot more pics and experiences to come :)
9 July 2011:
Today was the trip to Lyon and Perouge. I didn’t realize the trip was so soon, and so I missed the sign up. It’s ok though, I may take a separate trip there later. So today I got to sleep in and explore the city. I’m so glad that I know how to ride the bus around town. I walked to the lake for the first time. It was so pretty, there’s lot’s of boats you can rent and there are parks where you can relax and have a picnic. Then I went to the library where there is free wifi. It’s a really nice library a part of this mall type thing called Bonlieu. After that, I went to explore more around the city, just walking and looking around. I went to this mall by a movie theater my friends and I went to yesterday and got some food, then went looking for a place where they had bottled water. I went back home after that, it was getting pretty hot to be walking outside for too long. So, it’s been a relaxing Saturday. I just ate dinner and had my first glass of wine in France (pamplemousse rosé, a grapefruit flavored wine), thanks to my host mom. It was a pretty good day:)
Photo :) For more pics, go to my flikr
8 July 2011:
I have some photos to post :) Will do it soon after I finish my weekly required journal.
What I submitted for my weekly journal required by the program :)
It’s really hard to believe that I actually made it to France. After a whole day of traveling it was a relief to get on the bus and take in the scenery of France and Switzerland. When we finally arrived in Annecy, I was filled with excitement. I remember being particularly amazed by La Vielle Ville. It was so pretty, charming and unlike anything I have seen before.
When I was picked up by my host family I was a bit nervous, but they were so welcoming and hospitable that my worries about living with another family were pretty much gone. My host mother even explained how to take the bus to and from school, and made sure I arrived at the school for orientation without any problems. It was nice getting out of the house. I had been recuperating in the house and hadn’t gotten a chance to go to the city. After the placement exams, me and some friends went to get lunch at La Vielle Ville. As I was eating, it suddenly hit me that I ordered food in French without any problems. That was probably the moment I realized I was actually in a different country and that everything would be different from what I’m used to, but everything would be OK. I’ve adjusted well to living here and am able to really enjoy what Annecy has to offer.
During the walk from the school to La Vielle Ville, I passed by a school and noticed a small sign in front of the fence. It said “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” or Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood. The motto of the French Republic. That was surprising to me, but also, as a history major, I was excited to see that a piece what I learned in history class was right in front of me, manifested into modern French society by a small sign. It also showed that the French take pride and pass on their history and core beliefs that have been with them for centuries.
I was going to take a picture, but didn’t have my camera. I will go back and take a picture, soon. That is one of the things I wish I was better at, taking advantage of the photo opportunities that the city is filled with. There is still some time left to take great photos.
I really love being here, my host family has really made it feel like a home here, and this place is so beautiful. I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time will bring here :)
6 July 2011
Made it to France! Been here for about four days now. I’m really loving it here. This place is so beautiful! While yes, Hawaii is also beautiful, it doesn’t have the kind of beauty as here in Annecy. Everything is so charming and is very rual. Even if not everything is old, it seems like it is.
One thing that is a bit frustrating to me though is the results of my placement exam. I apparently didn’t do very well and was placed in a low level. So for the past two days, I’ve been moving up a level because it’s been ridiculously easy. I was placed up two levels any way because it was required for University credits at my level. That test was something else though. If I took it again, I think I would do better, but what’s done is done.
But other than my failure at the French language, my time in France has been absolutely the best thing ever :) I must try not to get nervous and learn to speak spontaneously.
28 June 2011
A Blog about my trip to Annecy in a couple days :) Will post stuff soon :)