Saturday, March 27, 2010

Giant parties and sunglasses and kebabs

So on Thursday night the ENTIRE town of Rennes decided to try to one-up Nantes and have an even BIGGER party. Which means there were about 4,000 people in the area in front of Gaumont, a big movie theater. (YouTube has videos! Look for them because my pictures can only show so much)
We went with some friends from our class, too, which was great!

Okay- now on the subject of kebabs. They are little pieces of heaven that are so delicious (and super fattening I'm sure) but so SO good. I usually get this one (shown below) that is called Kebab Salade Frites. Basically it means that I get this scrumptious sandwich made from the meat that turns and is sliced off with a knife and then is drizzled with sauce blanche (AKA tzatziki sauce!) And also it comes with fries which go wonderfully with mayo and ketchup.
Yes, it's true- I have converted. Mayonnaise with fries = excellent!!!!

In other news, I have decided to start a photo album of everyone and anyone that wears my sunglasses. I hope it gets to be extensive. I've started it on facebook, but I'm going to put it up on my Picasa web albums and also on Flickr, too. I'm going to try to get as many people as possible before I come home to the states... And even then, maybe I will continue it. :-)
Probably I should start a website about it.. hmmm....

Bon weekend a vous!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Dunkin' Donuts, please step aside. Your croissants are terrible.

When it's gray outside, but strangely warm, and there is absolutely nothing to do because it is Saturday and you can't sleep anymore, this is what happens. You make food.
But not just any food because the food here is, of course, exceptional. Especially the croissants.

So after a quick trip to Carrefour and the Boulangerie, I made my own croissant egg sandwich that Dunkin' Donuts lovers would drool over. It was lightly toasted and super buttery and the eggs were all fresh and "Bio" which is organic

It's also pretty nice that it's so easy to make.
Perfect, Relaxing Afternoon Recipe

1) Crack eggs into pan, greased with some beurre
2) Listen to "Please Be With Me" by Eric Clapton
3) Flip les oeufs
4) Sprinkle some Emmental fromage on top of that, comme ça.

5) Listen to "Germ-Free Adolescents" by X-Ray Spex.
6) Toast the sliced croissant face-down in the pan for a few minutes
7) While this is going on you may listen to "Come a Little Bit Closer" by Jay and the Americans because it's hilarious and it goes well whilst cooking afternoon breakfast.
8) Place les oeufs into the lightly toasted croissant and squish (if you want the egg guts to spill out, which is kind of enjoyable if you ask me)
9) Et voila! Enjoy with some OJ whilst watching Gilmore Girls. (If you like witty banter courtesy of Amy Sherman-Palladino)

And from here your Saturday should be pretty enjoyable. :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

When it rains...

The sad thing about Rennes is that the weather gets to be absolutely beautiful and then all of a sudden it will just get gray and rainy. Like today. It really brings down the mood, I have to admit- especially after a gorgeous St. Patrick's Day. It was one of the most relaxing days in a long time- I even got a sunburn.
Sarah and I relaxed on the fire escape and drank Heineken and did absolutely nothing, but sun ourselves until we finally decided we should go out somewhere.
After some tasty kebabs, we made it over to O'Connell's (same place where the Irish dancing took place) and had a Bulmer's just to make the day official.

Other than that, this week has been full of mid-terms, which haven't been too bad at all.
The worst part about these two weeks is that my Etude de la Langue professor will be missing some classes because she has to travel. Thus, WE have to make up the hours. At ungodly hours in the morning. AKA Monday's schedule: 8:30 - 12:30. Break for one hour. 1:30 -3:30.
I mean, really. Is that healthy? *sigh* Je ne pense pas.

On a happier note, I made an onion lady which can be seen to the left here. More vegetable people to come with photos, I promise.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Irish dancing !!

So last night after a lovely dinner of stir fried broccoli, carrots, garlic and mushrooms over bowtie pasta, Sarah and I headed out to O'Connell's by Republique for Irish dancing.
I only got to dance once because the floor space was pretty small and it was full of people wanting to give it a try.
So I sipped a Bulmer's (excellent) and watched for most of the time. And I took a lot of pictures with Sarah's camera because somehow I forgot mine on my desk!
It's basically the same as contra dancing.

I wouldn't have even been up to write this except la construction which is taking place all around our résidence universitaire (dorm building) is exceptionally loud. Chainsaws at 10:00 AM WILL wake me up. *sigh* Ah well.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A weekend FULL of plans!

Today we woke up early and went to the Saturday market again! It was absolutely wonderful. :)
We met our friend, Nicole, there who used to live in our dorm, but had the good fortune to move out and into a room in a house with a family. Her friend is visiting, so we were able to meet another Anglaise!

After Sarah and I shopped our hearts out on countless amounts of veggies, we went to Nicole's new place for a cup of tea and homemade scones! Which were delicious, of course. No clotted cream sadly, but I am on a semi-sort of diet thing, so I guess it was for the best.
(The diet/exercise routine is going all right, by the way)

Yesterday was particularly interesting because one of our floormates, Thomas, who is Polish had been asking the four of us for some help with his English and so we offered to talk with him. He might study in Chicago next year!
Two hours later after discussing the differences between Europe and the United States, religion, conspiracy theories, and college we called it a night.

An interesting thing about France is that when people tease you about being American, they're not trying to be mean. I think they're trying to joke around. Or are they? I can never tell.
I've felt a lot lately that I've been getting made fun of for being American. No matter where I go or whatever I do it's "Oh, you're so American!" .
.. yeah? And? I was born there- I didn't get to choose. Sheesh. It's starting to get on my nerves. Especially since in class some teachers always say, "Oh, you Americans always sit together!" and it's a big joke and everyone laughs.
But no one mentions that the Asian population always sits together, too.
Maybe I'm being crazy, but its really starting to bother me. Not just the teachers, but others, too.

But anyways, tonight is our friend Krista's birthday (she's from Canada) and we are all going to meet up at Funky Monky, which is a quiet(ish) bar, and then from there who knows!

I have to admit though, I am most excited for tomorrow because after I'm done with laundry and homework and the like, I want to go to the Parc du Thabor, which is supposed to be very pretty and things are starting to bloom already :)
And tomorrow night at O'Connell's there will be Irish dancing. Meagan and Kayla said it's much like contra dancing, so of COURSE I'm going!!

And I will take lots of pictures between today and tomorrow and post them!
A bientot!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New motivation...

So as I went to upload more photos this afternoon, my video of me making a crepe at Margot's house somehow popped up and uploaded. And here I thought it was lost and gone forever... So here it is!!! My first crepe carefully overseen by Margot's mom, Françoise. Merci, merci encore!

In other news, Sarah and I have officially decided to work out (via our stairwell, as our elevator is broken- yay for living on the 7th floor) and eat much better.
This is my fully-stocked cabinet with HEALTHY FOODS. Note that there is no longer any chocolate pain. (I call pain au chocolat that p.s.) All that is left is corn and spinach and a ton of kiwi and onionsssss and potatoes. And rice and dried apricots.

So the menu for tonight is chicken breast with sauteéd veggies and I can't wait to eattttttttt!
But, what else is new?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Weekend in St-Brieuc...

This weekend I visited my dear friend, Margot and her family in St-Brieuc! It's about an hour away by train from Rennes. So I departed early Friday evening and had a wonderful dinner of raclette with her whole family!

The next day, Margot's mother, Francoise made galettes and crepes and we all helped to make some! Here's Margot making a crepe! :) She is un professionelle, non?

After crepes and galettes galore, Margot took me to Binic to see the ocean, which was just a mess of turquoise beauty and white caps. We walked around and even got some ice cream because it was so warm out... in the soleil, mostly. :)

We went to her friend's house for dinner, which was lovely not only because the dinner and appetizers were fantastically mouth-wateringly delicious, but also because it was really nice to meet les francaises who are my age!! Finally! Also, I got to experience full-on informal and slang without being it being taught to me. Which was interesting and difficult, but mostly just enjoyable :)

And today, Margot's parents took Margot, her sister Romane, and moi to les felaises- the cliffs! Very close to Saint-Brieuc are these beautiful, massive cliffs that are simply breathtaking and thus I have a picture or two of them up here... Unfortunately, my battery on my camera was dying, so I don't have as many as I would like.
After the cliffs, we went to Dinan and walked around. This is a small city from medieval times and has fabulous architecture and ramparts around the city, too. It was such an interesting day that I am exhausted- haha.

The best part about the weekend though was that I had NON STOP french in my brain for two days. This doesn't usually happen when I'm with the other American girls because although we do make a point to speak in French, it doesn't always happen and we get used to our own vocabulary. I learned so many different french words this weekend just from speaking with Margot and her family!!!!! Un phare = a lighthouse. Not une maison de lumiere as I had originally guessed.
Just before I left, too, I got to check out their backyard with their chickens from which they collect about 6 eggs from every day- her little sister, Romane, adores the chickens and showed me them. :)

Really though- it was a lot of fun and it was incredible to meet such kindhearted people who let me stay with them for a whole weekend!!! :)

And now I'm going to pass out before I have to get up for my one class tomorrow (bahaha) at 1:30PM. Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. Bonne nuit!

Friday, March 5, 2010

To Saint-Brieuc!

This is only a quick update because I'm nearly off to the Gares station to take the TGV to St-Brieuc where I will spend the weekend with Margot and her family!

Last night, went to a huge party and had a fabulous time meeting a zillion new and wonderful people from all over! :D

Anyways, I'll be back for a long update on Sunday afternoon or so.

Hope the weather wherever you are is as beautiful as it is in Rennes right now!!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ireland. Enough said.

Five days in Ireland and I am speechless.
Ballyvaughan is a BEAUTIFUL place and I cannot WAIT to return. Sarah said it best on our somber journey home yesterday, "I fell in love with place- and that's never happened before!!"
I completely agree. We cried a lot on our way home to Rennes.

This was our adventure:

We found a woman through a carpooling website that was going to Paris on the day of our flight. We each paid her 25 euros and we were off to Paris- a 3 hour drive. It went by pretty quickly however and we arrived at Porte Maillot where we needed to take a bus to the Paris-Beauvais airport, which is a tiny little airport about an hour away by the bus.

Once at the airport, we checked in, ate some food and took our very short, hour long flight to Shannon. Once we arrived Shannon, it was late- around 8:00 and there were no more buses to our hostel that was only a few miles away. So, we hailed a taxi and went to the little town of Sixmilebridge, where we stayed for the night. After making tea and some dinner at the cute hostel (called the Jamaica Inn) we passed out.
We woke up at 7:00 AM to catch our bus, as we had to walk into town- a short walk. We got on the first bus and the bus driver was AWESOME. He told us all about the history of Ireland, which was interesting. We had to switch buses at Clarenbridge, but we had an hour and a half to kill before we could get on it.

Thus, the delicious IRISH BREAKFAST. I really wish I did not like black pudding, but I ADORE IT. It is heavenly and homey and a complete comfort food. I looked for it at the very small grocery store in Ballyvaughan, but they didn't seem to have it. :(
So sad. I would have left ALL my clothes and hairdryer just to fill up my backpack with pudding. But I think it's the kind of thing that you make.
However, there is a lot of blood involved, so I don't know if I'm up for that. I just want to eat it- not make it.

So after the breakfast, we got on the bus to Ballyvaughan and met yet another talkative and friendly bus driver. Upon arriving in Ballyvaughan, we had instructions from Sarah's friend Seth (who we stayed with for the week) on how to get to the house. We had to wait until he was out of class, so we decided to walk slowly and take TONS of pictures.
We passed the house and were planning on walking up towards their school (a ten minute walk from their house) but we got distracted by some big rocks that looked comfortable and decided to sit and wait for Seth to meet us when he got out of class.
He met us soon after and we went to his house. After showing us around, he had to go back to class. Since they were all letting us stay there for days, we decided to clean their kitchen and living room and such.
After doing this and showering, we started playing cards whilst speaking french, eating croissants that we brought with us and drinking until Seth came back with his roommate Brad. As soon as they walked in, we all started talking at once and they were a bit overwhelmed.

After some more card playing and getting to know one another, we headed off for a pub crawl downtown. The town is about a fifteen to twenty minute walk down a very gravelly and muddy road. We went to one bar that was really cool where we tried hot irish whiskey. It was almost like a tea and was not bad at all.

The next day we took a long walk up to these faerie forts (picture below on the left) and also went to Aillwee Cave and took a tour. It was amazing! The best part about being in the cave was that they turned off all the lights and let us "see" what complete darkness is like. It was a little frightening, but incredible.

On Friday, we went to Galway and stayed in a hostel. We had REAL fish and chips. It was the best fish I have ever eaten in my LIFE. After this, we stopped at a little shop to get some drinks for the night before we went out. Brad and I both bought this drink called "Buckfast" which is a wine that is made by monks. It had the consistency of cough syrup and had caffeine in it. Which is probably why I danced like a fiend all night until 2:30 AM when we had to head back to the hostel because the club closed.

The next day we went back to Ballyvaughan and relaxed. We went out again that night to meet more of the art students! On the way to the bar I made Brad carry me and he tripped and we fell on the gravelly road and I got quite the bruise. Hilarious. Never going to let him live it down.

Once at the bar, there was live music!! I requested my song, "Galway Girl" and the guitarist played it! It was wonderful to be in an Irish bar, relaxing, drinking a Guinness and listening to my song LIVE!
Also we met a whole bunch of the other art students, who were all incredibly nice and cool. Some of them even live near us!

Sunday we got to see the school and the studios where they all work. Incredible artwork, I have to say. I was very impressed. (Photo above of Brad's portraits). We also did a polar dip at a beach a few miles away! It was freezing, but I insisted on going in twice!!!! With my bathing suit ON I might add- though most everyone else went in naked. (Photo below of us after the dip!)

Monday, we had an early morning and had to start our journey back home. This was exhausting as we had to take a bus from Ballyvaughan to Clarenbridge, then a bus from Clarenbridge to the airport, then the plane to Paris-Beauvais, then a bus from Paris-Beauvais to Montparnasse, then a train from there to Rennes, then the subway back to Kennedy, then a short walk to our dorm.
We got back around 11:30 last night.

And we cried a lot on the way back just because of the love of Ballyvaughan and the fact that we had to leave all its beauty behind.

All in all, I had an absolutely amazing time, though and I could not have had any more fun if I had tried. Everything was beautiful and perfect and so, so real.
The whole experience changed and widened my perspective, which is what traveling and meeting new people is all about. Thus, I would not change anything about our trip at all!

There is nothing like that place in the world and I would give ANYTHING to go back.
Another trip will have to happen. Plus, we didn't visit the Cliffs of Moher and I'm DYING to do that. So of course we have to return!!!!!!

In other news, I will be visiting Margot's family in Saint-Brieuc this weekend and I cannot wait!
It's a town about an hour by train from Rennes. Since it's so close, the tickets are cheap, too!

And that is all I have for today :)