Friday, April 30, 2010

"but there's no place like london"

Yesterday Kayla had class all day, so I went to Westminster Abbey, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, all the while drinking enough coffee to make up for the coffee that France is lacking.

This morning we woke up and went directly to the British Library. Basically.....this country pretty much has everything. Also, I should note that before we entered the actually Library part, we went to the cafe, where we had cappucinos and churros for breakfast. And the pain au chocolate we had at a different cafe the other day was NO JOKE better than any pain au chocolate I have ever had in France. So basically any of the weight I may or may not have lost in Rome will be returning while I'm in England.

We're off to Notting Hill in a few minutes to drink more coffee and to buy scarves, and then on Sunday morning we fly to Scotland. To see Nessie.

I go back to Bordeaux on May 5th, but I doooon't waaaaaant to leeeeeeeeeeeeave.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This is going to be really quick because I don't want to take up Kayla's computer for too long, but basically, I'M IN LONDON. My Rome trip was so perfect, and I'll update about it when I get back. I'm soooo happy to be here for the first time in 5 years. We're going to head over to the Globe soon to try and get cheap tickets for Macbeth. YAY!!!!

More eventually :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010


It's 11:57PM and I'll be awake in less than 5 hours to start two weeks of travel. Eeeeeee, as Linus likes to say. This is also my last real blog post until I get back. I won't have true access to the internet during my trip, but I'll try to post here and there, and I'll be taking notes so that I can recap everything when I get back. But how weird is it that after this post, I'll only have 4.5 more days in Bordeaux, and then I pretty much fly home? Unless another volcano erupts, obviously.

This week was really hot, but then drizzly today. I'M DONE WITH SCHOOL. Also, I counted, and of the 29 photos in my Facebook April album, 24 of them involve food. On Tuesday night, our Methodologie professor (who is also a very well-dressed food critic/cannele expert) set up a group dinner for us at a restaurant in Bordeaux. I had mussels and salmon, and they were amazing, obviously.

As soon as everyone had taken their seats, she stood up, grabbed her pack of cigarettes, said something about being truly French as she picked up her glass of wine, then took it with her as she went outside to smoke. So cool. I keep forgetting to learn! When I get back I'm smoking the baby powder cigarettes everyday, because French people always look so cool when they do it.

We have a 7:22 AM TGV to Paris tomorrow. So tomorrow I'll be in Paris! Then eeeearly the next morning we're flying to Rome, then I separate from my friends and meet up with Kayla for London and Edinburgh, yesssss.

It's hard packing to look fabulous for two weeks, though. I have one smalllllll carry-on, and then a small (by normal standards) checked bag, which cost me extra to bring. But it's going to be awesome, so it's okay! I wish I could post pictures as I go, but again, I'm not bringing my computer, so I'll have to make a make-up picture post when I get back to Bordeaux.

Gros bisous!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I'm currently running around the house trying to get ready to LEAVE FOR TWO WEEKS. Which I'm only able to do because apparently the volcano is spewing less ash than before.

(7:18AM this morning)

(6:16PM this evening)

(15 minutes ago! (10:16PM))

So YAY FOR TRIP. But sucks to be Helsinki. Oh well.

It's hard to pack for two weeks! I'm not bringing a lot of luggage though, because of RyanAir and EasyJet's baggage restrictions. But who knows what I might want to have with me through Paris/Rome/London/Edinburgh, right? Eeeeeeeee.

Today is April 21. Tomorrow is the LAST DAY OF CLASSES. Oh, and I got DOUBLE the points on my Louis XV oral exam than I had gotten on my last assignment for that class. My little speech on France's wars and its relationship with Espagne definitely wasn't perfect, but the professor told me that I had progressed in the class, which is the point of an immersion program (right??), so I'm very happy (and even happier to never have to take a history class in French again).

I come home in 21 days, which is absolutely nothing. So weird.

I won't have my computer with my on my trip, which is going to be a large challenge unto itself. Which means I'll only be able to blog short, choppy sentences while sitting in an internet cafe trying to hurrrrry. But I promise to take notes so that I can recap when I come back to Bordeaux.

Ahhhhh, see you tomorrow :)

Monday, April 19, 2010



Please stop having such confusing 18th Century History. Thank you.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


So, normally, European airport closures don't really interest me much -- they just aren't something that really holds my interest/AFFECT ME, you know? So it's JUST MY LUCK that the ONE time in my life when I am IN EUROPE, when I might need to, say, fly from Paris to Rome to London to Edinburgh back to Bordeaux, ALL of my airports except Rome are closed indefinitely. Every update on the airport-reopenings have been updated daily. In a way that bodes badly for potential travelers like me. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Here is a handy map with handy information to make things more clear:

ALSO, as if a large, Icelandic ash-spewing volcano weren't a big enough problem for us, a LARGE number of trains in France are currently on strike, and they WON'T back down, even though trains are really people's only option without their airplanes. Except for John Cleese, I guess, who apparently took a 3,000 pound taxi ride from Norway to Belgium this past week when he was stranded. Basically, according to the French news that I was watching t0night over dinner with my host mom, people are stuck evvverywhherrrrrrrreeee.

My friends and I have a 7:22 AM train ride from Bordeaux to Paris this upcoming Friday morning. We're definitely going to take that, and at least spend the night at our hostel there. But our plans after that remain to be seen..........

If Paris-Beauvais doesn't open in time, then we don't get to Rome. And if we don't get to Rome, then I don't get to London. And if I don't get to London, then I definitely don't get to either 1) see Kayla, and 2) go to Edinburgh, all of which is ridiculously distressing. And eventually I have to get back to Bordeaux, but hopefully THAT'S the least of my problems. I don't want to be stranded anywhere, obviously. But, I guess, at LEAST the places where I might get stranded are fun places.............Not like a few weeks ago, when I got a text from my friends who were supposed to be coming back on a train from Barcelona, but who instead needed me to find them a hostel via the internet because the trains had decided to strike and they were stuck just over the French border for the night. No, unless my planes decide to make any unplanned stops, I should at least find things to enjoy wherever I'm stuck. But still, this is nervewracking. At what point do we decide to scrap our original plans and buy train tickets from Bordeaux to Normandy??

At least today it was SEVENTY-ONE DEGREES in Bordeaux. Incroyable. People were wearing shorts! But not me, because I only packed for cold weather. Whoops. It's supposed to rain this week though, so I guess we'll be back to the way things were before anyway. But, at least for today, it was AMAZING outside.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I just bought my final train ticket which will lead me away from Bordeaux, for May 10th. Triste.

But, also excited to go home and see all of my people, some of whom I've been talking to on a weekly basis, and some of whom I haven't really spoken to since I left. I haven't technically been gone for so long, but I'm still nervous about whether or not things will jump back into being the same as before.

I was just thinking about how much my French has improved since I've been here. It's obviously not as good as it might be, but because I came in to this program knowing such a miniscule amount of French, I could really only improve. And when I think of all of the French I use here, a LARGE percentage of it is stuff that I didn't even have in my brain before I came. So I am really happy and satisfied with the amount I've learned :)

I need to finish the plupart of my Garden of Earthly Delights paper today. Or else.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


We went out with the intention of drinking wine, but I ended up with ale and gelato instead.

The ale was from Sweeney Todd's, and it was definitely the best-tasting alcohol I've ever had. The gelato was from a gelato place on the way from Houses of Parliament (which we left because we couldn't find a table, and also secretly because it's name reminded Katie and I of how much we dislike our Louis XV class) to Sweeney Todd's. Mine was vanilla and cherry-flavored. It was a particular triumph to come across this specific gelato place, because two months ago, on a freezing-cold day where I was exploring Bordeaux's various places, I recall seeing it all boarded up and not yet ready to be serving. But now we know that's open, and late at night! A triumph!

I'm making serious progress on my Bosch paper, and I don't think it's going to be as hard as I thought. And approximately a week from right now, I'll be on an early morning train to Paris to kick off two weeks of European adventures!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I'm trying to remember what I did today for this blog, but I can't remember.......hmmm.

I stayed on campus and finished up a LOT of work for Meth(odologie), which was probably a good thing. I thought a lot about how much I don't want to write my Bosch paper. Ooooh, and I decided that I am TERRIFIED of my Louis XV oral exam a week from today.

I decided that I really like the soup that they sell on campus. For one Euro, you get soup and bread -- how cool is that?!

This time next month I'll already be home, which is odd. I'm caught between being really ineffably sad that won't be with my amazing friends anymore after this, and looking forward to an easy life in Burbank, where I won't be expected to be familiar with 17th Century royal documents written in old fashioned French. Except that I'm worried that I'll be really restless during my four-and-a-half month-long summer.

I told my friends from home & sorority sisters that I expect to be driven directly to Yogurtland when I get out of the car from the airport. It will definitely have a bump in revenue in my first month back from Bordeaux! France is definitely missing out on the non-fat yogurt craze. Valerie and I talked today about coming back and opening up a yogurt/burrito place here. We'll be millionaires.

I'm back in the mindset of wanting to speak a lot of French all of the time (but, only with French people). I spent extra time doing so this weekend, what with taking a mini trip with my family, ordering more espressos than usual, making a new French friend. Speaking in French SO MUCH this weekend felt really satisfying for the first time in a long time, which is just my luck because I now have LESS THAN ONE MONTH LEFT. It's definitely true what everyone says: something with the language really DOES click when you're on your way OUT of your study abroad experience.

This is the plan for Spring Break, by the way:

Friday, April 23rd: Paris
Saturday, April 24-27: Rome
April 27-May 2: London with Kayla
May 2-4: Kayla and Amelia go to EDINBURGH
May 5: Amelia flies back to Bordeaux, meets up with friends for Margaritas because it will obviously be Cinco de Mayo. We just have to do some serious research first, because there is nothing close to Mexican food here, so we might be stuck drinking them at our favorite pub, Sweeny Todd. Which will definitely be an experience, so that wouldn't be the end of the world.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Quand t'es un Jet, tu reste un Jet"

Hello all! So, if I were a better blogger, I would have been blogging after each of my adventures with Kayla, but the two of us were running around so much this past weekend that I was too tired each night. So here is a mini recap of our weekend, and I'll upload my pictures to Facebook too.

First of all, Passover had just ended (luckily for her), so France was the perfect place to be. And we definitely took advantage of all of France's pastries and bread products (there was an incident that involved eating an entire baguette within five minutes of buying it). We also definitely drank a lot of espresso. I'm normally not an espresso fan, but Kayla is, and I have to admit, that after drinking about 500% more cups of espresso than I usually do, I can see why people like to sit outside and drink it while reading English literature. Which is what we did, because it was the most BEAUTIFUL weekend that I've experienced so far in Bordeaux, and because Kayla insisted on being outside because she's been cooped up in rainy London this time, and because we both had English lit that we happened to be reading (Jane Eyre for her, North and South for me).
Cafe #1, by the river.

Cafe #2

Cafe #3, back to the river again.

We also ate a lot of amazing salmon sandwiches (salmon in this case is more like lox for us). Now I'm really obsessed and all I want to lox lox lox all the time. There's this amazing formule at this place nearby where for 3Euro90 you get 1) an amazing sandwich 2) a drink 3) a real patisserie ("none of that venoisserie crap" as my friend Valerie described it), a can of soda, and DRINKABLE YOGURT. We went twice this weekend, and we probably would have gone on Sunday but it was closed.

Also, Kayla got to practice her French a lot ("Je voudrais un cafe et un croissant s'il vous plait"), and I was impressed. We also have a new legitimate French drummer friend, and we saw real French music being played in a real French bar, all of which I get to cross off my list now.

On Thursday we saw West Side Story at the Grand Theatre, which was a good enough production. My seat was so high up that it wasn't even in an area considered a balcony, but rather "paradis". But it was either where my seat was located, or the direction was very biased, because the whole time I could pretty much only see what was going on with the Sharks. And I believe I saw Maria's face literally three times throughout the whole show. But the music was amazing, obviously!

On Saturday Joana drove us and Ynel to a castle, which was really fun, even though we got really lost on the way there. Again, I need to stress that my host family is AMAZING. We get along so well. And it was interesting being on the road versus being a pedestrian, because I haven't been in a car for months, since Joana picked me up from the train station my first day in Bordeaux.

Joana, Ynel and Me.

On Sunday Kayla and I hiked up the 231 uneven steps of the Tour Pey Berland, the belltower of St. Andre. It's separate from the Cathedral because the bells' vibrations would ruin the Cathedral otherwise.

Me in front of my cathedral.

The view from the belltower.

Basically, to make a long story short, we ate a LOT, to the point that we were feeling nauseous the last day, enjoyed some AMAZING weather, took in the Bordelaise scenery, took a MILLION PICTURES, and had an awesome time being cousins together in Europe :)

Next time: LONDON :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I haven't had much time to post in the last few days because Kayla and I have been running around Bordeaux/eating pastries like crazy, but I just wanted to mention that my Spring Break just got even more exciting: Paris - Rome - London- EDINBURGH!!! AHHHsooocooolIcan'tevenstandit.

Details later :)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I meant to write something on each of the last few days, but then, go figure, I forgot. So here's a quick catch-up of the last few days:

I got to Saint Andre early a few days ago before I was supposed to meet some friends, and it was BEAUTIFUL outside.

(look at all of the little gargoyles trying to jump off! I had never noticed this angle of the building before).

I still feel incredibly lucky to be living in a city where the cathedral is so easy to get to that it's usually the place we choose to meet up. And we've agreed that it's a better cathedral than Notre Dame, because it's approximately the same size, just as beautiful, while remaining less commercial (and, with fewer crowds, so it's easier to walk around at one's leisure). It's the cathedral where Eleanor of Aquitaine and what's-his-face (the French once, obviously) were married, and the cathedral where Richard II was baptized. Everyone should be able to have a cathedral that they can feel possessive about.

Then, when my friends finally showed up, we went to an official soccer game!! It was the Girondins vs. Nancy (Amelia: "We saw the Girondins play today!" Mom: "Ooooh! Were the Sans-Culottes playing too? And the Jacobins??"). It was definitely a very European experience and I had an amazing time considering that I am Not A Sports Fan.

We bought the cheapest tickets, but we were still sitting closer to the field than I will ever be sitting in the States. Christine bought a "hot dog", but because they don't use our type of hot dog buns, opting for whole baguettes instead, what she got was a baguette so long that it required three hot dogs to fill up the space. Mmmm France. It was ridiculous how wild the crowd was: standing on the railings, waving huge flags, flipping each other off, etc. We decided that soccer games are excellent places to go if one wishes to learn French swear words. Bordeaux lost to Nancy, unfortunately.

Then on Easter, my friends and I were planning on using the day as an excuse to have a chocolate picnic. I was really excited, because we had been having bad weather up until then, but when I woke up on Sunday it was gloriously sunny out. I decided to wear brighter colors than usual because of the picnic, then I went out into the living room to say hello to my host family.

Amelia: Bonjour!
Joana: You're dressed like it's Spring, but it's still Winter, Amelia!
Amelia: Noooo, look how nice it is outside!

As the words leave my mouth: *hail*, as if my host mom had paid someone to stand on our roof with a bucket of ice.

So we had it at Monica's house instead, which was totally fun anyway.

Especially because we had a 1kg chocolate egg.

And now I'm off to the airport so that I can pick up Kayla, and help her celebrate the end of Passover with pastries :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Forgot to blog yesterday! I kept putting it off and then before I knew it I had skipped a day. Oh well!

I've come to realize that there are sleepy days even in France, but if I need a topic to blog about, the one subject I will always be able to depend on is FOOD. Case in point:

Katie, Candy and Valerie and I met up for lunch yesterday. Crepes. But why eat real lunch crepes when you can eat BETTER crepes, right?

And the "maison chocolate" crepe, which I got, is filled with dark chocolate, and is AMAZING. Then we went to Carrefour to prepare for our Easter Chocolate picnic tomorrow. Pictures will be posted after we've unwrapped our FOOT-TALL CHOCOLATE EASTER EGG.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

lapins chocolats

Today we had kebabs for lunch (there are as many kebab places in France are their are pastry places, it seems. NO JOKE). I'm getting tired of the type of chicken that comes in one (it's a very specific, pretty-good-tasting but not that appealing to look at type of chicken), so today Valerie and I ordered the Feta sandwich. It was definitely weird, but I was impressed. Because these are the type of sandwiches that always come with french fries INSIDE the sandwich, my sandwich was made up of 1)kebab bread, 2) CRUMBLY feta cheese, 3) onions, tomatoes, etc 4) KETCHUP and 5) french fries. It sounds weird, but it's actually a lot better than the chicken option.

Also, I started reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell! I like the prose a lot. And I feel productive while I'm reading it, which is a good feeling.

This Sunday is Easter, which means that we have an excuse to sit in the park with a picnic made up of chocolate bunnies and pastel colored (French) macaroons. Yessssssss. Also, the heat is back at my homestay. The last few days were cooooooold.