Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rain, Hail, Snow< Blood Drive Jam Band

So today was nice- besides the weather. We went to the bank right away in the morning and set up our accounts so we can get our food stipend wired to a bank account every month. C'était simple!

Then we headed off towards the farmer's market that is on Saturday mornings, but unfortunately it started to hail and so all the vendors either went home or covered up their products. Then it snowed for about three minutes and stopped. Weird. Next Saturday it is!

After that we had a DELICIOUS lunch at a little place called Queen Mum, I believe. Delicious. French. Classic. Food. We all got roasted sesame chicken and white wine and lots of little veggies. Next time we go I'm going to branch out and get l'agneau- the lamb! Mmmm.

We walked around quite a bit after this, stopped at a patisserie, where I got a delicious coffee éclair. Also mmmm.

We also stumbled onto GREAT live music (shown above!) whilst a blood drive went on. Of course we couldn't donate, but we still enjoyed the jam band. Didn't catch their name, but they were fabulous.

After this, it was too cold (and sunny, strangely enough) so we went back home where we ate baguette and brie and pasta later on in the evening.
Sarah and I did a lot of homework in the late afternoon, which was good to get out of the way. Tomorrow will be a lot of sleeping in and cooking! Bonne nuit!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Converters. Get some.

One more quick update.
As I prepared to go out for the evening, I decided to use a friend's curling iron. With no converter, as I simply don't have one.
Do not ever, ever do this. Especially with a curling iron.
As I brought the curler back in front of my face after curling the back of my hair, which I could not see, I realized that the giant black lump left on the curler was MY HAIR.
I burned off a good inch-long chunk of my hair on the back of my head (At least it's underneath, so you can't see it). Go me. A few more seconds on my hair and I would have LITERALLY been ON FIRE.
So lesson of the day: Buy a freaking converter.

I would have included a picture, but yet again, it is just too embarrassing. And it was pretty disgusting to look at.

Grocery Shopping. Finally.

So today we were finally able to get our stipend for food!!!!!! So immediately, we went food shopping at Carrefour. I got raspberry juice, spinach, corn, garlic, apples, potatoes, a cucumber, hand soap, red wine, spaghetti noodles, a candle, tissues and milk. You know, just the essentials. Haha. The awesome part about living right next to the other three girls is that we share all our food by making meals together! Mad savings!
Tonight we are having salmon! And Meagan is making it! Finally. Real. Cooked. Food.
Well, besides the deliciousness of the restaurants here of course!

Unfortunately, people on our floor have been stealing from the PADLOCKED fridges. Really mature. So I am keeping the majority of my food on my shelf above my desk as shown in the photo above. (I got spinach and a cucumber mom, you should be happy :))

Today we had more classes! The first one was kind of too easy for me, but the second one was modern art and was AWESOME. The teacher is SO hilarious. Very funny and super nice. We look at slides and talk about different French artists and we are starting with the Impressionists. So, it is not bad at all!

Last night, instead of going out to the crazy Rue du Soif, we stayed in, got some VERY CHEAP bottles of champagne and had a girls night in in our pajamas. That was definitely the way to go with the 10:30 AM class this morning. Gah. Anyways, it was pretty fun.

With Carrefour closed (the very close grocery store) we didn't know where to get wine or anything. We texted a friend who lives a door away from me to ask where we could still get a bottle of anything.
He told us that there is a place across from Carrefour and it closes at 10 PM.
We had ten minutes to get there. We ran. We made it. We had cheap, shitty champagne.
It was great.

Tonight we may venture out (since we have our STIPEND!!!) but the night is still too early to tell.

And the salmon dinner is calling me. A bientøt!

A quick update: Dinner was fabulous!!!!! Meagan's salmon cooking skills are off the charts. Really. Along with some pasta and pesto, baguette and camembert, it was completely delish!
And now I am going out! I promise to get many pictures of the Friday nightlife. :) Bonne nuit!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Classes begin!

Today was the first day of classes! Yay! I had three and they were all pretty easy.
The first one was at 10:30 and it is our main course that we have three times a week, two hours each day we have it. This one is called Etude de la Langue. It's our main course of study and our teacher is very, very nice.
We were a little late however because we couldn't find the classroom! We ended up going through an entrance that is apparently only used by faculty and we were allowed to go through a shortcut from the faculty area to where the classrooms are by some lady from the faculty.
She said only this time would she let us go through though! AHH! Well. We have only been here six days. We are just barely figuring out the campus and there are FIVE MILLION BUILDINGS! (Okay there are about ten or something and they are all huge).

My second class was Comprehension Orale, which basically was an hour of just listening to a French conversation and answering questions about it. That one is only an hour once a week, which is nice. That one was much harder for me than the first one, which involved writing opposed to listening.
Thirdly, we had our class called Labo. All we did in this class (this one is also only an hour and once a week) was set up our email account with the teacher.
An easy day of classes done!

Also, on Monday we were able to choose a few different "option" classes. I ended up getting "Art Moderne", which will be fun, I'm sure. I have that one tomorrow and Expression Ecrite. Both are two hours long and after that, let le weekend commence!

I'm trying to write some letters and postcards now, but it's too cold to go outside and post them!!! So I'll do that tomorrow- look out for some postcards in a week or so people! :)

After getting lost a few times in the city of Rennes, things are starting to look up. I can locate myself now ... finally. Shortcuts are getting easier to find. Also, we all got our Carte d'Etudiante. This was a pain in the fesses because we had to get our own pictures taken at the nearby grocery store where they had a passport photo booth thing. I made mine look very strange.. Sarah said I look like I'm in the matrix in mine because I tucked my hair into my jacket and look super serious. And my collar of my coat is up. I would the picture, but it's slightly embarrassing.

Tonight is the big night for drinking at La Rue de la Soif, but I think I will be staying in and going to sleep early (ish) because I have class at 10:30 AM. So tonight will be soup and bread and jam and pajamas. With leggings underneath because there is NO HEAT in the building.
Did I already say that this building that we are living in is so crappy that they are TEARING IT DOWN as soon as we move out?
Oh yeah. We got the classy dorm. We met some Australian girls and they went in, decided they hated it and got an apartment immediately. They call the rooms of the dorm that I'm in "suicide boxes" I don't think it's quite THAT bad, haha.

Tomorrow is more classes and the bank. We have to open a bank account so they can wire us our food stipend every month. "Food stipend." I plan to eat a lot of bread and save this money for travel and whatever else I need. Not that it's THAT much money, but it helps!

A toute a l'heure! More things tomorrow! And a photo tomorrow, I promise! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hot Chocolate!

Le Haricot Rouge! A delicious hot chocolate place that was perfect for warming up at this COLD afternoon in Brétagne. Also good at giving one the sugary jitters!
They even give you a tiny glass cup of water because the sheer amount of sugar becomes too much after a few bites.
So much for hoping the weather would get warmer... today it was FRIGID. And windy. Aghhhhhh.

Last night however, the girls and I ventured out to Republiqué and went to the Irish bar (O'Connell's) that gave us the tip about the Italian restaurant the other day. Monday night is English Speaking Night there, although I honestly didn't speak much English. There were so many interesting people who spoke French, I ended up practicing my French more than anything, while sipping Guinness. Which I have decided that I really love.

Today was a mess of cold and ridiculousness. After paying a "social security" deposit of 198 euros, we found out finally what no one would tell us. Apparently, we were paying for insurance. Insurance that we had already bought in the states. No one bothered to tell us that there was no need for us to pay twice. Now we have to try and get our money back. Which is really just a pain- thanks a lot CIREFE program and Global Education Office. The communication is just fabulous. Not.

The jet lag still hasn't lifted and I am still so tired that I had a two hour long nap when we came home and were able to relax after the fiascoes of the day. (And the SUGAR from the hot chocolate! :D )

A bientot for now!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2nd Day: An Italian Feast

So this was dinner tonight and it was HEAVENLY. I tell you- heavenly. It was at an Italian restaurant called Papamia in the historical district. It was small and brightly colored and filled with jazz music and although it was a small portion of pasta, it was the most delicious pesto I've ever had. The bread was to die for, too.

But how we came by this wonderful place is the interesting part. As we were on our search for food, we thought we would stop at an irish pub to have some beer and some pub food. We asked the bartenders for food and they replied that they only served food with lunch, however they recommended a nearby Italian restaurant and even had a copy of the menu for us to look at. We were very impressed and after talking more with the bartender we learned that they host an "English Speaking Night" that we are going to go to tomorrow evening! It should be fun to meet all the other Americans, Irish and English in Rennes! Also, the bartenders were so nice, they gave us maps of Rennes and told us we could go to them with any questions about Rennes at all!

Thus, our day was not bad at all. Now, tomorrow morning we have to get up at the CRACK OF 7:00 AM !!! But at least it's for good reason- we have class orientation. Classes don't start until Thursday, but this will be good for us. Hence, I must get sleep. Bon soir!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

This is my first full day in Rennes! And this is the first thing I saw when I walked into my room. A bidet. I think it's hilarious that not only does our room get a sink, it comes with a bidet. And lots of shelf space, an itsy bitsy bed and a really bad fluorescent light.
Yay, right?

Well, yesterday it looked pretty bleak and I was quite considering buying a return ticket.
After a LOT of sleep and some excellent duck for lunch today (finished off with delicious cafe au lait) I was feeling much better. Even about the room.
My window has a beautiful view of the skyline and we've already figured out how to use the metro, which is great.

The only problem is that it rained yesterday and today. Perhaps tomorrow will be better weatherwise!!!

I have to admit- the trip was long. After taking two planes, we realized we had to take a bus to Montparnasse to get onto the TGV train that would take us to Rennes directly. I already felt crappy because of being so congested and the dry plane didn't help that at all.

Once we got onto the train with MASSIVE amounts of luggage that took a lot help from random strangers (which was GREAT) we relaxed a bit and then were able to freak out yet again at the train station when we didn't know where Morgan was to pick us up. Luckily, we were called the GEO in Keene from the train station before we left and Katie helped us by calling Morgan or emailing him and let him know approximately what time we would be arriving. And he did arrive!! And we practically fell asleep on the metro. At least I did.

After dropping off our bags at the dormitory called Normandie on the SEVENTH FLOOR, we met our director, who gave us much information (though I don't know how much I retained whilst so freaking exhausted). And then he took us to dinner for crepes which was HEAVENLY. I had some goat cheese, tomato and herbed crepe. It was delicious and after that, we retired back to our dorm for a much needed shower and some sleep.

Today, we had a wonderful day shopping, getting our mobile phones, and eating duck. Also, we went grocery shopping. Interesting, fun, and freaking expensive.

And now, I'm looking forward to a dinner of baguette, artichoke and spinach soup and some red wine. Bon appetit!!