Sunday, December 25, 2011

Joyeux Fetes!


I wish you all a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Bonjour a tout la monde!!

I hope you're all gearing up for an excellent holiday season, Christmas is in only two days!!!!!!!!!! Paris is looking pretty Christmasy. Lights everywhere and today saw what i guess would be described as a day care group that brought a huge group of 4-6 year olds up the eiffel tower wearing santa hats, it was great!

today was a good day in exploring paris. we got up relatively early. headed over to the eiffel tower. thankfully the lines were manageable and we got right up. it's a little freaky to be that high up sometimes but the view is always worth it! last time i went up in the dark so the view was completely different. after that we went and did a little souvenir shopping and then hopped back on the metro to head to Versailles! it should have been relatively simple but the combination of changing zones, branches in the lines, and a really persistent beggar on the made the whole trip a little more stressful than it needed to be. but we managed to get there okay and it was totally worth it. the palace was absolutely stunning. so much gold!!! i've got to get to bed at the moment but i'll post pictures tomorrow!!!!

Merry Christmas everybody!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wine Tasting in Dijon France... YUM

First off: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!!!!

Now on to some pictures from our wine tasting adventures in Dijon, France!

The Vineyards in Dijon, they stretched on for miles!

89 euro bottle of wine. SCORE. So good. Too bad I can't afford a bottle! But i did get to try it!!!!!

Pretty sure this sign says it all.

The second wine cellar had some super old wine bottles in it! it's either really good or vinegar!

Most expensive bottle i could find was 320 euros. Awesome.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Europe travels, Phase One

Hey All!

Sorry about the delay in writing, but things got a little hectic with the end of my program. sob. so sad that it's over. seriously never cried so much in such a short period of time. i think it started around 3 days before the end where i would just be doing something and i would tear up. the farewell dinner was a sob fest. when alex and i went to leave, and the hugs started, that's when the tears started flowing. it was bad. really really sad. but i'm doing better now, probably cause i've left grenoble so i'm not continually reminded that i'm still in france but none of my friends are.

on a more positive note, had a great last couple days with my host family. it was really fun introducing my mom to them and playing translator. it was so sad to leave them. more tears. but i'm now currently curled up under the covers in Dijon France! it's been a LONG trip getting here. we were going to rent a car but then they were just being car rental people and being stupid, so we decided to take the train to Chamonix, which was fine, expect for the fact that our second train was late so we missed our third train and had to hang out in an unheated train station for two hours. but we got there okay, and i was happy just to be inside a warm hotel and take a hot shower. Chamonix was gorgeous. the mountains are huge! it was however, like being thrust into winter. there was no snow in grenoble, there was around two feet in Chamonix. but it was gorgeous none the less. took lots of pictures of its prettiness. the real fun was this morning though when i stupidly got us on the wrong train. Whoops. instead of heading towards Chamonix and down the mountain, i got us on a train towards switzerland.... complete opposite direction of where we wanted to go. we then got off at the next stop like the conductor told us to but it wasn't the stop he wanted us to get off at, we got off at the optional stop and literally stood outside in the freezing cold for the next hour + waiting for the train. it was so cold and my feet felt like blocks of ice. but luckily the train came an hour later, same train actually, with the same conductor who was mortified that we had gotten off at the stop we had. but really i was just so grateful to be inside and out of the elements that i didn't even care that we had made a mistake. i spent the next 55 minute train ride pressing myself into the heater. after that, the rest of our voyage came fairly easily thank god. got into Dijon at 18:20, found our hotel with relative ease and then off to find some dinner!!! more later!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winding down....

It is so sad for me to write this, but there's only a week and a half left in Grenoble! That's just the rest of this week in classes and then finals next week. SO SAD. I never want to leave, i love it here! and the people i've met and my family are amazing, i will be so sad to leave them! luckily for me, i get to extend my stay here for a little more than another month. because (drum roll....) MY MOM COMES NEXT WEDNESDAY!!!!!!! in case you can't tell i'm just a tad bit excited to see her. there will most definitely be tears and running towards each other movie moment except for it's me and my mother not me and some long lost love. but yes, next wednesday, i will be done with my finals and my mama rolls in! One word: AWESOME!

Finals should of course be super fun. Been writing papers all week. One for my french seminar class and one for my class on the european union. really feels like exam time now!

But (drum roll please) i have some exciting news for all of you.... i'm staying even longer over here! not for another semester unfortunately, (though i would LOVE to do that!) but i am staying until the 11th of january to travel around europe with alex!!! we'll see places such as florence, venice, croatia, Budapest, Prague, Poland, Berlin, and somewhere else. he's staying another semester so he's gonna travel even more once i head home but the two extra weeks i have to travel will be absolutely fantastic! i am beyond excited. can't wait to travel with my mom and then with alex! SO many adventures to be had!!

I am aware that this is the most random post ever and i'm kind of all over the place so i'm going to continue that theme and go off on another direction. Christmas. it's kind of an awesome holiday where ever you go, people tend to get really into it. France is no different. grenoble has this market called the marche du noel, and it's for pretty much all of December and these little booths have taken over all of victor hugo park, all of place grennette and they sell tons of sweet stuff! christmas shopping made easy pretty much. but they sell food too! crepes, sandwiches, candy, hot wine, so many options! and they have a dancing santa bear which really everyone needs in their life so mine is pretty much complete. if you're ever in grenoble around this time, definitely definitely hit up this market. you won't regret it!

Alrighty, i've gotta head, got to go to class now, LAST CLASS BABY! at 10:20am (my time) i will be done with my semester abroad (at least the classes part done...still got finals) ciao!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving in France

Hey everybody!!! So I know that thanksgiving has indeed passed but i thought i would take a second to tell you all about my thanksgiving in France. I had a thanksgiving dinner on the actual day of thanksgiving with my entire group here in France. it was really really good. the chef was actually from england and he did a pretty good job for not being an american. he made really good stuffing and cranberry sauce. and his pumpkin pie was killer. it was still a french meal, with a strange salad and wine and bread served too!

it was on saturday that the first thanksgiving that i have ever made on my own! my host family and two other girls host families are friends so on the first night that we were here, we all ate together. it was this early night in september that they informed us that in november we would get together again and cook them thanksgiving dinner. we didn't really give it much thought until november rolled around and we had to get serious and think about what we wanted to make. it was last saturday, november 26th that the magic went down. Deyla, Kelly, and I (alex came too but not his family) all convened at my house to cook some magic. despite our fears and the fact that it took over 6.5 hours to do all of the cooking, the meal turned out amazing. a little too sugary but literally, the turkey was so good and juicy and the stuffing was so good and the PIE! so yummy. here's some pictures from our cooking party. good times people. good times.
My darling Deyla with the turkey all ready to go in the oven!!! we lathered it in butter, honey, pineapple juice, spices, and plopped it in the oven. actually my host mama plopped it in but regardless, we did everything else!

Alex peeling potatoes like a man.
Our sweet potatoes and marshmallows. aka best most delicious thing ever. So good.
The Cooking ladies. Alex was already getting food. We ate soooooo much!!
The dinner crowd. Minus the kids and minus Sophie my host mama.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Paris Je T'Aime

Bonjour! Terribly sorry about the delay in writing, it's been a busy time here in Grenoble! I wanted to write and tell all of you about my recent visit to the capital of France, PARIS!! it was literally the best trip ever! i loved Paris. It was beautiful on so many levels. I managed to go to a fair amount of places in the four days we were there. it was a ton of walking and my feet hurt an unbelievable amount at the end of each day but it was totally worth it. one of my favorite things that we did whilst there was go to the theater and see Mamma Mia!!! it was in french of course but it was amazing none the less! all of the songs were in french, save some of the words which they didn't translate into french. but it made me really really want to go to Broadway and see it in english. I may or may not have had my computer on repeat afterwards playing Mamma Mia over and over and over again.... :) Here are some of the best pictures from my new favorite places in Paris. I have a ton more, literally like 500 more, so i'll put some up on flickr so you can see more!
Ici, c'est Notre Dame! aka our lady. It was absolutely beautiful. the stained glass in particular was amazing. you can see the circular stained glass window here in the photo but with the light shining through it was absolutely beautiful. we even got to climb up to the tower of the notre dame. it was amazing. such a good view! you could see all of paris's skyline which was just gorgeous. and it's where i got my first view of the eiffel tower which was just amazing. it was super exciting. plus the gargoyles on top of the notre dame were slightly hilarious. there was a pelican and a evil looking one that was sticking his tongue out.
It's the Mona Lisa!! the louvre was amazing. it was so gorgeous. there was so much to see! literally probably only saw around 1/8 of the entire museum. it was a little sad actually because there was so much to see and so little time! we managed to tour about the greek section and see some of the egyptian stuff which was wicked cool. there were some super HUGE paintings that literally took up massive sections of walls. i was impressed on so many levels. i am really excited that my mom is coming here in decemeber and we're going back to Paris because i definitely plan on taking her there and showing her everything and hopefully see some new things!
Kaitlyn, Kelly, Me, and Alex in front of the Louvre! really made me think of the DaVinvi Code because i am fairly certain this was a part of it. and it was also just super awesome. super super awesome. the entire courtyard was immense, so much space and so many people taking pictures of all of the beautiful buildings. it was so cool. there were even armed guards who i imagine that they were there to stop potential art thieves from even thinking about trying to steal anything...

Just a classic Eiffel tower shot.... not sure how the lighting got to be so cool. it was really just twilighty and it was nice. the eiffel tower is also lite up at night which is one of my favorite parts of paris now. it twinkles every hour for ten minutes which is absolutely gorgeous. i was so mad cause every time it was twinkling i was either eating dinner, on a train, in the elevator, on top of the tower, or going back down the tower. so i never got a picture of the beautifulness which makes me really really sad. but i'll be back. so i will make it my goal that i get a picture next time. the eiffel tower is so cool. if you ever go to paris. go there. it's worth it!
l'Arc de Triomphe shot. with sandwiches. super good sandwiches too. best i've had so far which was just so random cause it was this little sandwich shop by the arc. the arc was really cool. you can go underneath down under the street which is really cool and then you plop out onto the bottom part. and there's a monument and you can go up to the top, which we didn't do because we were kind of in a time crunch. but it was really cool. we went to la Defense after this too which was also really cool. enjoyed that a lot. very modern which was cool. different.

Overall i really really enjoyed Paris. it was a gorgeous city. i really really enjoyed visiting there and would definitely recommend it for anyone to visit. also, would like to give a nice shout out to everyone from america, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!! we will be eating thanksgiving at a restaurant tonight, hopefully it will be super delicious! there's supposed to be pumpkin and apple pie which just makes me happy. i and three other students in the programs and our families will be coming to my house on saturday and we will be making our families a classic thanksgiving dinner. which is slightly stressful on a couple of levels. i'm not the strongest cook out there. but i hope that it turns out good cause i want to show them how good it can be! plus they've had students in the past who have done it and they know it can be good. hopefully i don't burn anything. so i hope you all have a wonderful holiday, and remember, you can start playing christmas carols tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you all know i'm in the capital city of France! More to come later..... :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall in Grenoble

Cou cou! Sorry for the delay in writing, it's been an interesting week here in France. Let's just say I got to navigate the french medical system and it was a wee bit stressful! but no worries, feeling much better now! it's finally changing seasons here in Grenoble, switching from summer to fall. it's only taken it two months! and it definitely has days, like last tuesday where summer fights tooth and nail to stay a little bit longer! last weekend was a good time. no trips or anything special, just time to chill with my family and friends. went for a hike up the bastille with alex on tuesday cause it's a national holiday here in france. the entire world was on top of the bastille that day because 1. there was no school/work and 2. it was around 75 degrees and gorgeous outside. here are some fall pictures from tuesday and then some age old food pics :)
Some foliage for you all, Grenoble style. being from northern new england, it's slightly difficult to be impressed by the leaves here. they definitely change but they're nowhere near as bright and colorful as the ones in Jackson! not to toot NH's horn or anything.... cause it's still pretty here!
Here is a CLASSIC grenoble shot. literally classic. these are the boules, or as they are called in anglais, the bubbles! they are like a gondola for all intensive purposes. i've never ridden them up the bastille, only down it. which is totally backwards. most people ride up and walk down. what can i say? i'm a backwards kind of person and i think hiking down is more painful!

This is the blue cheese that i ate after our hike up the bastille. normally i hate blue cheese and think that the flavor and the smell is atrocious and just completely disgusting. however, and i have no idea why, but this blue cheese was delicious! it was so good! me and alex made some smoked ham and blue cheese sandwiches on french french bread for our lunch. yum.
And next comes my absolute obsession with crepes. it's seriously a problem. they're so GOOD! it's hard not to become obsessed and want to spend every single moment possible eating them. you might ask why but then i would just direct you to this picture above. banana split crepe?!? YES PLEASE! when i saw this i was like oh my god i have to get that! even though it's huge and it said partager on it which means it's meant to split. but i ordered it anyway. hats off to the waiter for not judging me like every other french waiter does when i skip eating a meal crepe and go for the dessert ones. thank god alex was there considering i ate maybe half and then was on sugar overload and couldn't eat anymore. he finished it for me, on top of his tarflette crepe which is filled with ham and cheese and potatoes. so good.
AND yet another dessert crepe. don't worry they're not both for me. one was kait's. these were literal dessert crepes. we got them after having eaten a complete crepe which is ham, cheese, and egg. the waiter is adorable (same place as banana split crepe man) and this was the decoration that he drew on our crepes. they're best french crepes! i almost felt bad eating it cause it was so cute, but then i got over it. so good.

alright, i'm sure you are all probably thinking i am going to have a sugar addiction by the time i get back to the states, and you're probably right but i'm okay with it!! it's a beautiful (not actually considering it's raining....) morning here in grenoble. not sure what to do with myself. it was marie's birthday party last night and there were 5 extra little girls here who spent the night. i scare them for some reason, every time i go downstairs they stare at me and whisper amongst themselves. so i'm for all intensive purposes hiding in my room so that marie can have a fun birthday party. it's really funny cause they all know that i'm their foreign student but for some reason that makes them stare at me. one walked into my room last night by accident and saw me and ran out after screaming slightly. was not aware i was that frightening!

okay then. i am going to make a move towards doing something, no idea what but something. have a wonderful weekend!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Allez Grenoble!!!

On Sunday, a bunch of people went to the Grenoble Rugby match! It was really really fun! Rugby is a super violent sport but we all got really into it, the grenoblois are very passionate sport fans to say the least... there was yelling and drums and spitting, it was awesome! i like to think they won because of our super passionate support. i couldn't do much cheering as i have lost my voice but i did some pretty enthusiastic fist pumping and clapping! here are some pictures from the match!
Uly with the free clappers they gave us! they made A LOT of noise! and they were really fun! i saw some kids on the tram on my way home later that day with clappers and they were fencing with them!
they did this a lot... didn't quite understand the point but it was funny!
This was one of my favorite things they do! they lift up their team mates super duper high and they grab the ball! it's awesome!
My favorite player. number 4. he was a hefty boy. looks like he could literally take someone down literally by just bumping into them! he literally towered over everyone else too. awesome!

And that was the match of rugby! they won, 24-18 i believe, Allez Grenoble!!!!!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cereal Picnic

So I know this is silly, two posts in less than an hour but i was just looking through pictures and found the pictures from our cereal picnic last weekend. In a effort to combat whatever home sickness we may be feeling, my friend michelle and i have these picnics of whatever food we happen to be craving. for a while it's been cereal cause it's not something you eat in france. but we found some classics and decided to have a picnic in the notre dame tram stop park! it was an excellent way to spend a saturday afternoon!
My picnic! honey nut cheerios, banana, apple, and nutella!
Here i am with my one true love: Nutella.
Michelle opening up the milk! the milk here is so weird. it's not kept in the fridge. so it just tastes off. and it's all whole milk so it's creamy... yuck. but it served it's purpose for our cereal picnic!
the leftovers from kait's cereal supply!
my personal jar of nutella kind of took a hit between me and michelle putting nutella on the brownies that emily's host mama had made for us for dessert!

Test week, French Style!

Hey everybody! Sorry for not posting sooner, it's been a bit of a rough week! In case you haven't noticed, I don't talk about school a super duper amount. It's not because i dislike it. i literally love my french professor more than i can even say. Oh Dominique. but this week they laid it on hard. i had three tests. and let me tell you, 6 weeks of not really having a ton of homework and absolutely no tests, takes a big chunk out of your drive to study. so it was challenging to say the least to try and study for three major tests. i managed to study some, but not to the extent i wanted. my first test was in my european union class and that was an essay response. with a major of environmental studies and french, it's been a while since i thought about life in a political science sort of view. so that was a fairly scattered essay response but i think that i managed to do alright. that professor, professor horton is awesome as well. he's british, and the class is my only class in english, but he sticks french in at the weirdest points possible. instead of pausing in his lecturing or saying umm or anything he says "bon" which is french for "well". and he does it a lot. it's slightly hilarious. next test was in my Vocabulary class. which i had missed the week before because of a strike that stopped all the trams and because i live a 35 minute tram ride away from school, there was no way for me to get there. which actually was really fun cause my friend sara and i were both unaware of the strike and live in the same area so once we realized there was no way to get anywhere, we went shopping and out to lunch. it was a lovely strike day even though it was really really really annoying at first. grenoble literally shuts down when strikes occur. and they literally strike right in the tram lines so there's no getting anywhere. but back to the test, it was hard, not a fun test at all. luckily i don't think it counts for anything really, it is more of a seeing where you're at sort of test. but that's still bad. last but not least, my french grammar test. that was a fun one. none of you who don't speak french will understand what i mean when i say this but oh my god, the passive tense is a horrible invention! it's illogical to me! it's so hard to try and think of the passive tense in english because i am sure that if i do use it that i use it without even being aware of it. and the passive tense in french is so hard for me for some reason. the formation is easy enough, it's just when to use it that is the pain in the butt. but it was fine overall, listened to one of our french songs whilst studying. i'll see if i can post a link to one of the songs that we learned in french class. go to this link---> and watch it. it's seriously awesome!! this is why i love Dominique. because he will teach us via strange french songs. it's a listening comprehension exercise! i just call it awesome. i have a playlist on my computer entitled Dominique. it's great.

So yeah, that was my test week, french style. not the funnest thing i have ever done but i've got a great weekend ahead of me so it's all good! i've got cheese tasting this afternoon, wine tasting festival all weekend in Victor Hugo park, rugby match on sunday, and just all the other fun adventures i am sure will happen this weekend! i also had a cooking class this week which was really really fun. made chocolate volcano cake. soooooo good. i love french cuisine.

so with that, i am going to go back to bed and take a nap and hopefully sleep off the cold i have. because if i can't sleep it off it means i have to go to the pharmacy and try and explain in french what is wrong with me. which i frankly don't feel like trying to do, cause lord knows what i could end up with! i've been chugging the orange juice, so hopefully the vitamin C will kick in soon! i'm missing my parents right now and their supply of TLC. so when you read this mom and dad, if you guys could fly to france with some sore throat meds that would be great thanks!

i hope you all have excellent weekends and check in soon for some pictures from this weekend! Ciao!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Windy Weekend in Provence

Bonjour!!! I write to tell you about the amazing weekend i just spent in Provence! it was a group trip taken with AIFS and we toured all over the region of Provence, such as Avignon, Arles, and Aix-En-Provence. We saw roman ruins, aqueducts, and markets. we went wine tasting before noon on a friday. we had adventures. it was super fun. true to my story telling through picture form i will tell the story of each photo below!!
We went to a castle ruins place called Chateau des Baux de Provence. it was awesome. literally a castle on top of a mountain hill. sweet. it was super windy however and literally almost blew me away a couple of times! they had old relics like this old catapult and trebuchets and archery ranges. it was pretty awesome. all i could think the whole time was how much my brother would have loved it! so i took a bunch of pictures to show him! they even had an old door ramming thing that they would use to break through castle doors. this thing i'm sitting on in this photo squeaked pretty intensely when i sat on it and i was mildly concerned for a second that it was going to break on me and i was somehow going to get thrown from it. which, however much of an adventure that would have been, i would have either landed on rock or flown off the side of the mountain and somehow i don't think that olive trees make a soft landing...
Me and my darling friend Michelle a top the other castle we visited. the Chateau du roi Rene a Tarascon. it was a legitimate castle which entertained me to pretty much no end. there were archery slits in the walls and places to dump boiling liquids out of on top on people attempting to storm your castle! it was also super windy here in case you can't tell from my shirt and hair in this photo. the minstrel winds as they are called are intense. they will literally blow for hours even days without relenting at all and then all of the sudden stop. it got fairly annoying after just a little time. if you live in this region i swear you cannot have long hair or wear dresses. you'd have to shave your head and wear pants all the time. slightly constricting.
Me and alex at the Pont d'Avignon. there was a part of the Pont that was too titanic to pass up this beautiful picture moment. i literally spent the next couple hours quoting the movie and being annoying with the "you jump i jump jack" or "never let go". what can i say? it's a epic and very quotable movie! and i could be kate winslet you never know. all i'd need is some super red hair! alright, getting off topic. the Pont was really beautiful. it used to be a bridge until half of it got worn away by the river and eventually washed away. at least that is what i got from the descriptions on the signs. they were in french so there is always a 50/50 chance sometimes...
More old roman architecture, we saw a lot of it this weekend! this is the Pont du Gard. it's also in Avignon and it's an aqueduct. and really really old. and while technically doesn't still work i am pretty sure it still could. cause it was in tip top shape. for a ruin it was amazing! i am super impressed with all of the old stuff europe has, i mean i know they're older than the US but i guess i just wasn't prepared to be in a place where there can be an old colosseum like thing in the middle of your city. and it's just there. there's newer buildings all around it and there's definitely older houses too but it just somehow all fits together perfectly in an old/new puzzle. i really like it. however this is me and alex wading into the river that ran underneath the Pont. it was actually quite warm for it being october. warmer than the saco in the summer sometimes!
Last but not least, but actually the first thing we did... WINE TASTING! we went to Chateauneuf -Du-Pape. it was wonderful. i mean it was 10:30 in the morning but it was still wonderful! we tried and white and a red wine. it was interesting to say the least. let's just say that people weren't kidding or joking around when the have movies with people trying wine. you are supposed to swirl it in the glass and then smell it and try and explain what you smell. which i still stand by all i smell is wine but some people were smelling apples and pears. which was interesting. i never smelt it. then you taste it. but just a little and you hold it in your mouth and try and say where you feel it. which was odd cause i just felt it wherever i had held it in my mouth! the white wine was exceptional and i bought a bottle for a present for my dear michael cline for his birthday! the red was really good too which is odd cause normally i can't stomach red wine, it's just too strong a taste. but this one was actually good! i could almost get people saying they tasted oak cause there was a tree like taste almost but i think it's probably just from the barrel it was fermented in or something. overall it was delightful and if you are ever in france and you get the chance to go to the chateauneuf-du-pape region i would go. and try some wine. it's fun and makes you feel super fancy. i don't think i'll be starting my career as a professional wine taster any time soon but oh well, it's still fun.

So that was some of the moments from this past weekend! it made me super pumped for our Paris outing in November! things to look forward too for this weekend: friday we're visiting a distillery that is run by monks who make a special type of liquor. so that'll be fun! on saturday me and Michelle are having a cereal picnic to eat cereal pretty much cause it's not something that i get to eat a lot of here. aka haven't had cereal since i got here. and i would like some. hence a cereal picnic. sunday i believe i am going to go hiking with Emily! so it should be a fun weekend! plus ya know, i've got school stuff too like tests to study for and papers to write but that'll come later! i'm off to meet with the american consulate from Lyon tonight with a bunch of other american students studying in grenoble, so i've gotta get ready!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A "Nice" Weekend in Nice... pardon the pun

Hey everybody! So it's Tuesday now, and i miss the south of france. it was delightful and warm and yeah, pretty much just delightful. i know you're also not supposed to use yummy to describe a place but i would also describe it as yummy. as per my norm i've included some photos that i took, i'll add more to the flickr thing cause blogger only allows for 5 which is so a design flaw. so i shall commence my weekend explanation now...
Here is the charming village of Saint Paul. Where Picasso and other famous people took up residence for some period of their lives. it is literally charming. there was a wall that encircled the entire village i guess you would call it. all of the streets were literally cobblestone. and really worn down which made me concerned for what they do when it rains. other than fall a lot. i had some super good pesto pasta in this village. pricey, but really yummy. and i had some ice cream which was vanilla cookie. also delicious. i love french food.
I'm fairly certain this shirt says it all and if i knew a baby to buy it for i would. cause it's priceless. it wouldn't actually be as priceless if the shirt were in english but the fact that it's in french and saying "no photos, no interviews please." just makes me die of happiness a little bit. i love France. and i love the fact that i found this is a little tiny village in france that picasso used to live in. picasso lived here and this is what they sell. it's priceless and amazing all at the same time! i love france!

whilst in Nice, aka the clever title of this post, we went to Monaco. Which i actually did not really understand or love, because frankly monaco is a strange place. if someone can tell me the point of monaco other than being an over priced apartment blip of not really being a country but not being part of france or italy. this however, is the casino where james bond chilled and got filmed during casino royale. so that's kind of cool. i might have stood where james stood. i so knew we were meant to be. just kidding. sorry, to those of you who don't know me, major james bond fan. i was pretty excited once i found out that this place existed in reality. there were valets and door openers and everything. and i am fairly certain that there was a dress code. that's right. no suit and tie, no gambling. sorry people. gotta look classy to gamble away your money. it got even prettier when it got dark and all the lights came on. i kept expecting daniel craig to walk out of nowhere and be all "names James, James Bond."
classic tourist photo. me and Nice. we find stairs that lead up to amazing views wherever we go in france and Nice was literally no different. i am pretty sure that every french town or city has a hill with some semblance of a fort on it. this might be a gross generalization but i'm pretty sure they were scared of the italians back in the day and wanted to make sure no one did any sneak attacking during the night. anyhow. nice was really really pretty. very nice beach even though the beach was not sand, it was rock. made beach lounging a tad bit more challenging but i still managed.
Here she be!!! Nice in all her glory! This photo doesn't even do the water justice. it was seriously the most blue thing i've ever seen. and amazingly clear. i have an underwater camera and took a bunch of funny pictures when i went swimming. they were clearer underwater then some of the pictures i've taken back home in the US. and it was an ocean. which means there was salt.

Alright, there's the end of my photo spread. quick city list. in 2.5 days i visited some city that i think was Sisteron, Nice, Est, Monaco, Monte Carlo (part of monaco), St. Paul, and Cannes. it was exhausting. and so much fun at the same time. and i get to go back down this coming weekend! yayyy for trips! i head to provence for the weekend on friday morning at 7:15am with AIFS! i am pumped. so i will have more pictures and more fun things to share after next weekend. until then, have a good week!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Coming soon..... an awesome weekend!

Hey all!

Just thought I'd take a second to tell you all about where I'm going this afternoon.....


which for those of you (myself originally included in this) who have no idea where that is, it's pretty much as far as i can tell the region of Nice, Monaco, and Cannes in the South of France! Thank you google maps for telling me this!

But this is where I will be spending the weekend, soaking up some french vitamin D and building some sand castles!

And so here I sit, waiting rather impatiently for 13:30 to roll around cause other than lunch at the fabulous pasta place, i really have nothing to do today.

I walked my host siblings arthur and Marie to school this morning. it was awesome. they were adorable. Marie said good bye at the door but Arthur wanted me to come into his school and see his cubby and his school room. there were a lot of adorable little french children running all throughout the hall ways. i don't know why i still find it so adorable that kids here speak french but it is seriously one of the cutest things. it's probably because they look like any old average kid and then all the sudden they open their mouths and french spills out at a super fast speed that leaves me baffled.

alright i guess perhaps i should pack. that is something i can do until pasta time. check back super soon for some pictures and stories of my trip!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Caves, Castles, Swimming, oh my!

Hey everybody! So no idea why the writing is in blue, maybe it'll stay this way, maybe not. who really knows. But i write to you from almost week four of my grenoble adventures! i went on a pretty wicked exploration this saturday with some of the kids from my program. we went up to the cuves des Sassenage which were just outside of Fontaine where i live! it was delightful. we walked around seeing the beautiful country side, took a picnic in this park and then began to hike up la montagne. me and michelle booked it up to the beginning of the caves and took a lot of silly photos and generally just had fun. the picture below is of the sign that marked the entrance of the cave. i was genuinely intrigued by these caves, they managed to remind me of the lost river caves, which anyone from northern nh will know what those are! sadly no lemon squeeze but it was still pretty sweet! there were bats that used to live in the caves and every time it rains or the snow melts of there's a ton of water coming down off the mountain these caves flood majorly cause they're literally in the side of a mountain and it's just wicked cool.
I am going to write in green now... this is the sign entrance to the caves, it was sweet.

and now light purple... here's a picture from michelle and kait heading into the depths of the caves..... scary? not really, there was a lot of light and the whole thing was so cool that even if someone had hidden ahead which i was thinking the whole time would be a really awful slightly hilarious trick, it would still have been cool. i really like caves. i could have explored forever and been okay with it. apparently they do this think called spelunking which i have no idea if that is how you spell it but it's pretty much zip lining through caves and ropes course adventuring through the caves. i want to go. it looks awesome!
This is the castle that i will be getting married in.... it's pretty gorgeous. and i will, regardless of how much in the future i am thinking, come back here for my wedding. it would seriously be like being a princess. plus there's moat which pretty much makes it the perfect place to live. all it needs is a vineyard and it would pretty much be my dream french home.
on the way down from the caves, alex, alissa, and i did some good old septemeber, really cold water swimming. i am from new hampshire, and i would say that i'm fairly used to cold water. this water was just frigid. i have swum in april and had water warmer than this. it was rattle snack pool or emerald pool cold. perhaps cooler. it was your definition of fresh mountain stream. the plan had been originally to just wade... but after alex decided to jump on in, i couldn't really pass up a change to say i'd swam in france.... so in i went! my hands were quite white and quite chilly for some time after but it was so totally worth it.
last but not least for photos that exist from this day. blogger only lets you do 5...) but i found a wall with a gate on it. i had to climb up a fairly steep embankment to get around the wall but once around it was just a perfect photo moment. i would be such a good prison inmate, cause i can totally keep my calm. just kidding!!

all in all it was a wonderful weekend. had some excellent food, thank you host mama! and some excellent dessert (again thanks host ma) went on some awesome adventures and got 2 out the 3 pairs of shoes i have here completely and utterly soaked. i hung them outside my window on the roof, stuffed with newspaper in order so that tomorrow, hopefully i will have shoes to wear!

i should really go to bed at this point, considering i feel like this entire post has very little logic to it... sorry folks, my sleep schedule is a little off. pinched a nerve in my left arm that has been making sleepy a wee bit challenging. but i will say bon soir and stay tuned for some more photos on flickr and i'm headed to the cote d'azur this weekend so stay tuned for a sweet blog post on that, written hopefully, when i've had more sleep!


p.s. i fixed all the text color changes, it was just way to challenging to read...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

photos photos and PHOTOS

Hey all,

So you should all be very proud, but i just managed to set up a flickr account so that people sans Facebook can see some of the pictures of my adventures here in Grenoble. You'll have to be patient with me as i don't exactly understand how to use flickr and why exactly there is no e in flickr considering there should be. but here ya have it, should be easy enough to figure out. you can all hopefully see it in english, just keep in mind that my computer has switched itself to french and is now much smarter than me and i had to try and figure stuff out in french. it was fun! alright, i'm off to explore more free museums.

au demain!

Friday, September 16, 2011

C'est la vie baby

So it's been just over two weeks that i have been in Grenoble thus far. Many things have happened. Some better than others and some things that were just amazing. I have just finished my first week of class. For those of you who have sent me emails asking when classes are starting or if i'm actually taking classes, here is your clarification: yes i am in class don't worry! it's going well enough, moved up one language level. it's very new and very very different to take classes entirely language. in my french class i understand about 90 % of what is going on. in my seminars, about 65%. thank god for power points. but it has been really interesting so far and i've meet a lot of really interesting and fun people from all over the world! i was going to get to be on top of the tallest summit in europe tomorrow but unfortunately there's a storm coming in and they cancelled it. oh well. i guess i'll find something else amazing to do. like hike back up the bastille! this time all the way to the top! here are some photos from the last week here. there's a story to go with each and every one!!!!
This stuff right here to put it simply, is the thing that makes me happy to be awake early in the morning. it is the reason i am so perky at 8am on the tram. there's just so much to be said for this stuff! here's a small example of how much i love it. i have been here for 15 days. every single morning, and i mean EVERY morning i eat two pieces of toast with nutella. that's it. with either apple juice or orange juice. lately, cause my host mom just went to the market we've had bananas, so i've been adding a banana to the mix. it's really really good. best of all, nutella exists in the states so when i'm back and missing french bread, at least i'll have my chocolatey friend nutella to keep me company.
here's a photo of me in front of one of the many many fountains in Grenoble. This one me and kait call the ball fountain for clear reasons... it's really beautiful though, just chills of the corner headed back towards the alsace lorrene tram stop. i love it when the water is actually flowing too cause it's utterly beautiful.
after a long slightly stressful day this week some friends and i went to the fnac, which is a french best buy for all intensive purposes. we were to buy movies, and along the way found some pretty funny french translated to english but still in french films. i took a bunch of pictures but this one is by far my favorite! in case anyone doesn't recognize it, it's the Hangover. somehow hangover translated to english becomes very bad trip. we got a pretty big kick out of this one!
and yet another fountain! this one is next to the building that i like to call the super french building. i have no idea what it's actual purpose is but it has a lot of french flags and is very regal looking. so very french building it is. and the park before it clearly has another fountain. i think i will post again sometime soon and give everyone a fountain tour of grenoble. i'll go around sometime this week and take a ton of pictures of all the fountains which will be cool cause i still don't know exactly where all of them are!
this slightly epic photo took place atop the Bastille. kait and i hiked up to the top while james, Uly, Michelle, and alex took the famous bubbles. all i can say is that there were ALOT of stairs. and it was around 30 degree Celsius which translates to pretty much just really really hot. the view from the bastille is incredible as you can sort of see from this photo. you get up just high enough that you can see literally the entire city. you can see all the parks and tell all the old buildings from the new based on their old red roofs. it's really beautiful. i strongly suggest if you ever visit grenoble in your life that you save time to ride the bubbles!

Well this morning i'm off to the market behind san bruno. which i should probably get ready for! so have a wonderful weekend and i'll post again soon!

au revoir!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Well you can say you were forewarned about my obsession with food... so here goes an entire entry on just that. food! First of all, those of you whom have been to France know what i am talking about when i say that it is unlike anything you can/could ever eat in the States. Seriously it's just that amazing. Fresh bread, cheese, wine, fruit, yogurt, you name it, it's all amazing!

First and foremost let me say, these cookies are eaten with breakfast. BREAKFAST. and they are good good good good. chocolate and vanilla frosting deliciousness. in a cookie. yeah go france for your breakfast cookies. I LOVE YOU.
This my friends, is a crepe. and one of the best things in the world to eat here. there is a crepe shop that i have no joke been to three times in the last week. i attempted to go for breakfast this morning but it sadly only does lunch dinner. this is called a dessert crepe but it was what kait ordered for lunch one day and what i ordered for literally dessert the next day! it is a heavenly mix of nutella, bananas, whipped cream, and of course the crepe itself. it is seriously heavenly. i could eat it forever and ever and be happy.
one of my first lunches here in Grenoble consisted of this sandwich. fresh (and i mean FRESH) mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, pesto, with some veggies on top. G-O-O-D. it was seriously a fiesta en mi boca for all those people who know my literal spanish translation tendencies. so so so good. i think it's the cheese that makes it personally. no one does cheese quite like the french. it's fresh, it's strong and it's good. really good. seriously, a part of me dies when after dinner the cheese plate comes out. i have never had such amazing cheese. and it's not even like i love it all, some are gross, like gorgonzolas. didn't like it before france and now for sure don't like it but still, even parmesan cheese is better here. freshly shredded. it's unexplainable and tastes good with everything or alone.
the last of my meal pictures thus dessert. first meal in grenoble and this was what i got for dessert. apple tart with custard sauce. mmmmhhh. yum. i told myself i'll be healthy and eat only one. lies. i ate both and a bite of someone else's cause they had date flavored ones instead of apple. it was just that good. plus it just looks pretty! the french are very keen on plate arrangement. it's gotta look amazing and then the taste is just increased. and frankly they're right. and their food makes me want to cry everything i eat anything soooooo everybody out there, come to france and eat!!

Just as slight example of my meals in the last week at home for dinner....
Monday: mac and cheese :)
Tuesday: salmon cooked on top of veggies with french bread, cheese, melon
wednesday: pasta! with meat sauce and fresh cheese, salad and yogurt for dessert
thursday: quiche :) this was particularly amazing!!
friday: crepes for a late lunch
saturday: croissants and nutella baby

So i leave you know with drooling mouths. i wish i could say i could bring french bread back for you but somehow i think customs wouldn't like that....

au demain mes amis!