I’ve officially been here for two weeks! It’s crazy to think about. This past weekend my program took us to Strasbourg, which is right near Germany. It was a quick ride on the fast TGV train, but once we got there it was very evident how much colder it was! We weren’t really prepared for the freezing temperatures and long, unheated tours. Yeah, it was rough.

But Strasbourg was really beautiful. The buildings all share a very distinctive architecture that is cute and looks antique. There’s a really incredible Cathedral smack dab in the middle of the city that is a beautiful rich dark red brown color and pops out of the other short buildings around it.

After two hours or so in the cold, the only solution was getting extravagant coffees with CHANTILLY!

That night we all had dinner together, and though at first seemed a little too much like terrible high school class trip giant dinners, the atmosphere was authentic and the food was too. Though not something I would have EVER ordered on my own, we got a real taste of Alsace. Our dinner consisted of: 4 different pork products over a hefty pile of sauerkraut. Yummy!

The next day we headed to a museum, and at first thought it wouldn’t be so bad because you know, museums are indoors and…heated. SURPRISE! This museum wasn’t, but it housed some beautiful religious art from a time that I’m not familiar with at all. The museum, Musee Unterlinden, was housed in an old 13th century convent, and you could tell.

After the museum, we headed back to Strasbourg to have lunch and explore Petit France, a small neighborhood in the city. My lunch was delicious and we ate in a cute little tea house that had an upstairs sitting area. In France, eating ham is unavoidable.

I’m getting pretty good at these solo shots right??

Petit France was adorable!

But we were all glad to take the train back in the late afternoon to Paris. It was a short trip but very action-packed. My friends and I considered it our training wheels adventure: we’re going to Copenhagen next weekend for two nights, because classes start at the Sorbonne the week after and it was the cheapest ticket on EasyJet. European living, gotta love it.


Living Life as a Parisian: Week 1

This time last week I was checking out of my hotel room at the airport in DC, nervously dragging my meticulously weighed out suitcase through a maze towards an awkward meeting spot for my program, and getting on a bus to begin my semester abroad in France. Today? I guess I’ve been here  for almost a week, and I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job! I’m certain that my french is improving, peu a peu. My host family is great, and meals with them are a great time to practice my french (or just listen as my host sibs argue). I’ve made friends already which is comforting, and I feel like I’ve kind of got this whole thing Paris down (or at least approaching manageable).

This week we mostly have been doing orientation things: registration meetings, methodology classes for our chosen subjects, small walking tours…and last night we saw a ballet! I give you… photos!

This is me awkwardly posing right near the Louvre on the first day. Give me a break, I was very jetlagged! Also it was 50 degrees in January (score).

Unfortunately the weather didn’t hold– the next day when we toured the student districts, it was freezing and drizzling the whole time. This is me, Caroline and Mary in the jardins luxembourg.

Also on the tour, this is a giant giant fountain– St Michel.

Just down a sidestreet- these photos are so easy to angle in paris.

This is the Sorbonne. For real, I go to school here. Well, not here, exactly. In Paris, the classes are all scattered so i’m somewhere else entirely, but I am enrolled here.

One of my friends, Caroline, lives in an apartment without a host family, and so is responsible for all of her own meals. A few of us got together to make dinner and eat with her on Tuesday night. It felt very adult!

For some reason, all of my friends are blonde.

Clare, me, Caroline and Katherine when we went out to dinner before going to see the ballet.

This was originally a “BATES AT THE BALLET” photo– Jonathan, me, and Clare are the three batesies on our program. Mary jumped in at the last minute though. The ballet that we saw was crazy– it was way less of a ballet and more of a spectacle. The music was amazing. But the whole thing was very, very modern. I’d never seen anything like it before. Check out this teaser trailer for it. 

This solo shot is just for you, dear readers. Well, you and my parents. But they are mostly my readers anyways. This was the view from the Theatre National de Chaillot, which was where we saw the ballet. The view is incredible there!

Okay, I have places to be! I’m embarking on my first weekend in Paris and am very ambitious to all I want to see and do. Hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures, I’ll keep posting them as I take them.


First France Update

So, all you east coasters: it’s 3 am. No, this isn’t another one of those up-late-studying caffeine-fueled posts about my fear of growing up. It’s actually 9 am for me. Because… I’m in Paris. Which is where I’m living. For the next 5 months. OH MY GOD!

It’s all be pretty surreal, from leaving Boston to fly to DC, then staying for a sassy night in a hotel room by myself (I took a bubble bath and ordered room service… I didn’t know what else to do…), then waking up and winding my way through the MOST CONFUSING HOTEL EVER, twice, getting on a bus, meeting 40 strangers, getting through the airport, getting on the plane, flying  to France, de-planing, luggage picking up, and finally ending with a  sketchy mini-van transporting to my host family, at 7 AM. I had no instructions, just a name, a code to get inside, where of course there was no placard that said which apartment was which. I stood like a fool for five minutes scrutinizing over whether or not to knock louder on the door; I didn’t want to wake up any poor unsuspecting french person so early on a Saturday morning!

Anyways, while I thought I was staying in the 7th, that has changed. Now I’m in the 12th with a wonderful family (4 kids and a dog!) but I had prepared myself for the 7th. I’d looked things up. I’d google earthed it. I was ready. This is a different story. But I’m sure i’ll get the hang of it soon enough. Honestly though, I need to take a nap right now or I might just die. Keep an eye out for pictures ASAP!