Friday, March 27, 2009

Last post from France

Here is a picture from this afternoon of me and my roomates - Katie and Jen. I think I have a lot more to share with y'all, but they are a bit unorganized at the moment. I'll try to collect my thoughts and do a trip recap when I get home. We leave tomorrow morning and get to Atlanta around 6:30 tomorrow night. I've had a great trip, but I'm ready to get home to clean clothes and my bed.





Hope y'all are well! Can't wait to get back to the land of free internet and unlimited cell phone minutes!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Life in Paris so far

The last couple of days have been busy. Yesterday I had an interview with a wedding planner. No, I am not planning a wedding to a French man (unfortunately!), nor am I planning a vow renewal ceremony. I was interviewing her for an article for Alpine Living (the magazine we’re publishing this semester) about little-known romantic spots in Paris. She was really nice, and we had a great time. She told me about several great places. A photographer and I are going to go around town tomorrow afternoon to shoot photos of some of them. It should be fun.

After I left her, I met up with some of the UA group, and we went to Versailles. I had been looking forward to Versailles, but it was a little disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite grand, but it didn’t live up to my imagination. Perhaps it wasn’t possible for it to live up to the image in my head. We started by walking through the gardens which was less than thrilling. First, it was freezing outside, and the wind was unbelievable. I actually had to brace myself to keep from being blown over. Second, it is winter; no flowers, no pretty green, no nothing. The gardens were quite bare, and it looked like the grounds crew was everywhere (with their big equipment) getting ready for spring. The fountains were turned off and filled halfway. Not a great way to start the visit. Then we had trouble getting back in. We finally made it back in and walked through. There were parts that were interesting – particularly the hall of mirrors – but overall it wasn’t my style. I’m glad I can say that I’ve been though.

Last night we went to see the Eiffel Tower and to do a boat cruise on the Seine River. I was worried that the boat cruise was going to be unbearably cold, but I sat inside the boat so it wasn’t bad. We got to see the city at night which was cool. Also, we got to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle three times. Here’s a video that I took (sorry it's sideways):


video

Today I had the day all to myself which was wonderful. I have realized that I like my me time. I like to be quiet, and I like to do what I want to do without consulting anyone else. I walked to the Sacré Cœur this morning.


A view of the city:A view of the Eiffel Tower:


I got a jambon et fromage crepe (ham and cheese crepe) and a Coca-Cola Light for lunch and headed toward the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. Before I made it to either of those, though, I had to stop in Ladurée, a famous French macaroon shop. There was actually a film crew in there when I went in. I got a few macaroons and went outside to eat them. I only got the hot pink one because it was pretty. All the flavors I thought I’d actually like were a little ugly. From left to right: chocolate, two vanillas, caramel, another vanilla, and the hot pink one (I think it’s raspberry). They were pretty good. As Cole predicted, vanilla was my favorite.


(Sorry it's not turned right...technical issues.)


The Arc de Triomphe was really cool. If you come to Paris, you must go see it and climb it. Here are some photos:


Then it was on to the Louvre. The Louvre is a museum that I’ve always heard of and have always wanted to visit. I think it’s a little like Versailles though and can’t live up to my imagination. It’s almost like I half expect to fall down and cry at the beauty of these places, and that definitely did not happen. The Louvre is massive. There are TONS of people all around. I felt like I just couldn’t get a handle on exactly what was going on. Some of the art was impressive, but some stuff just doesn’t really do it for me. I had to go see the Mona Lisa, of course. And the crowd of people around it. And then I had to see the Venus de Milo. And the crowd of people there too.

I came back to my hotel after that to sit down for a bit. I tried to do homework, but that didn’t go well. Instead, I sent emails and wasted time. Since dinner, though, I’ve been researching the romantic spots we’re going to visit tomorrow, and I’ve been trying to get excited about putting the finishing touches on my thesis. I have to submit it electronically by Friday. Cole was fabulous today and got the signatures I needed from my committee members and the department chair. Without that piece of paper, I would not graduate in May.

Tomorrow morning we’re planning to head to Notre Dame. After the pictures, we’re going to go to the Musee d’Orsay. Cole said Orsay was his favorite. I’ll let you know my verdict tomorrow.

I will post a link later to the rest of my pictures, including the ones from the Louvre.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The last stop

We finally made it to Paris today after an almost six-hour train ride. Tonight Katie and I are going to take it easy and actually sit down to eat. Then we're going to plan her schedule for tomorrow. I have an interview tomorrow morning, and then I think I'm going to Versailles. I have no idea what else I'll be able to fit in tomorrow, but I'm going to try to do as much as possible.

I'll post pictures as soon as I can. I miss everyone!!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nice and Eze

Click here for pictures of our trip to Eze and some pictures of Nice. We had a good time. We wandered around, and it was almost like walking through a castle. Shops were like holes in the wall. Last night we ate at the restaurant at Chateau Eza. I had foie gras. Yes, you read that right - foie gras. I was a little grossed out at first, but I decided I just needed to do it. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I also ate tomatoes. Pretty soon I'll be able to eat onions and all kinds of vegetables!

I got to talk to my mom last night which was really good. I realized I hadn't talked to her since Monday. All my days seem to run together, and I forget how long it's been. Also, trying to think about when I can call because of the time difference sometimes makes my head hurt. :)

Tomorrow morning we're leaing for Paris. I'm really excited about going, but it's a little sad that Cole will leave right before I get there. We have less than a week left in our trip which is hard to believe.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More from Nice

I forgot to mention that Cole was really nice and let me switch suitcases with him. He packed all of his stuff for New York and Paris into a small carry-on bag. He let me pack my stuff in there, and he took the bigger bag so it would be easier for me. Since I'm traveling with about 20 other people, we have a lot of stuff. It makes getting on and off trains quite interesting. Traveling to Nice was so nice because I didn't have to deal with a big suitcase.

This afternoon a few of us are going to Eze, a town right outside of Nice. It should be pretty cool. I'll try to take good pictures and get them on here for y'all. I'm sorry I haven't been uploading the pictures into my posts. Sometimes it can take a while, and time is important since I don't have unlimited internet access.

It's strange that we have a week left until we get home. Sometimes it feels like we just got here, and sometimes it feels like we've been in France forever.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What a week!

Wow…there is a lot to catch up on. Cole flew into Paris on Monday and had a full day there. Then he met me in Avignon on Tuesday. We had a fabulous time together in Avignon. On Tuesday, we had a lazy day and wandered around the city. We walked the Pont d’Avingon (the bridge of Avignon) and enjoyed the sights.

Wednesday we had a wine tasting which was pretty fun. It was totally different from what we thought it was going to be, but it was still interesting. Cole enjoyed a lot of the wine we tasted, so we got some to take home. That afternoon we had lunch outside with the whole group. I had my first Croque Monseiur in France which was really exciting. Cole asked how it compared to Frank Stitt’s at Chez Fonfon. They are both very good, just very different.

Wednesday night we had our first dinner out. Dinner was pretty good, but dessert was FANTASTIC. I had hot chocolate cake which was essentially molten chocolate cake, and Cole had a delicious frozen some-kind-of-fruit and cream dessert. Yum! Thursday we toured the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes) and bought a few pictures for our new house. That night we got a bottle of wine and some sandwiches and went back to the room to have dinner on our balcony. Well, it wasn’t really a balcony. We had French doors that opened up, but there was no balcony to go out on, so we pulled our chairs up and pretended we were sitting on a balcony.

Unfortunately this morning Cole and I had to part ways. He went to the train station to head to Paris, and I had to go to the bus stop to get back together with the group. The group made it to Nice without incident this afternoon, and a small group of us went to the Musee d’Art modern et d’Art contemporain (Museum of modern and contemporary art). Some of the paintings and sculptures were really interesting.

Sorry I’ve been so bad about updating. We’ve had some really full days, and I have to pay for internet. Click here for pictures of the last few days. I tried to add captions to them so you have some idea of what they are. Sorry there are some really random pictures and some that aren't rotated, but I'm dealing with limited time.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pictures

Click here to see pictures of the ski resort Meribel that we visited today. It was gorgeous. A picture of Mont Blanc is in there somewhere, but I don't remember which one right now (yes, I know that's terrible...it's been a long day).

Well...

I'm not doing such a great job so far of blogging. I've had two really, really long and full days. If you'd like to see some stuff from the past two days, click on Brett and Jessie's blog on the side. Jessie is in my class and is in France with me. She has clearly done a better job than I have keeping everyone informed.

Pictures to come soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

France!

We made it! It seems like we've been traveling forever, but we finally made it to Annecy. We flew into Paris, then flew to Geneva, then took two trains to Annecy. It was definitely a full day. I've now had a good dinner (ham and cheese sandwich and a chocolate croissant), a shower, and my internet fix. The only bad thing of the day was my phone. Since Cole and I are both traveling this week, we decided we should have phones. We went through a bid ordeal to get them (including Marcia meeting me halfway between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa), and now it's not working. I couldn't even call the 1-800 number for Verizon. Finally I borrowed two phones from people on my trip to call Cole. I instructed him to yell at the Verizon people and to make my phone work. He's supposed to call me at the hotel shortly to let me know what's happening. If it doesn't work, his first case as an attorney might be to sue Verizon. I'm very unhappy.

Anyway, here are some pictures I took of the trip -
My friends Katie and Jennifer and the view from the plane coming into Geneva:

More to come later!!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Last post from Tuscaloosa

We're leaving this afternoon for France. Everyone has been asking if I'm excited, and I don't know exactly what to say. This week has been busy to say the least. I have had a ton of work for school, work was pretty busy on Wednesday, I successfully defended my thesis on Wednesday, we bought a house on Monday (just because we didn't have enough going on!), Cole left for New York for a moot court competition on Wednesday, and I think something else happened too...I just can't remember. So, I am excited to be going to France, but I haven't been able to focus on the excitement too much since I've been so overwhelmed with stuff. As long as I get on the plane with most of my sanity in tact, I'll be good and will have a great time.

We're flying out of Atlanta tonight. I think we'll get to Geneva around 2 p.m. or so, and then we catch a train to Annecy. Hopefully I'll be able to maneuver my bags when we are getting on the train and getting around.

That's all for this post. The next time you hear from me I'll be in France!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The productivity continues

Yes, I have continued my productive streak. Yesterday we ran errands, and I got some stuff that I need for France. We went to a party last night for my best grad school friend Jennifer. It was a lot of fun. I finally got to meet her fiance, and she got to see Cole for maybe the second time ever. Aren't we cute??


Today we went to church together (which doesn't happen regularly because one of us is usually out of town). After church we went to Birmingham to look at houses. I LOVE looking at houses. It's so much fun. We finally got to look at one that I've had my eye on for a while, and we saw another that we really like too. We still have a little while before we have to do anything, but it's exciting that it's getting so close.

Riding the new house high, I came home and started cleaning out our bedroom. It was amazing how much stuff we had stuffed into our room. Wow. We are giving away bags and bags of clothes and had tons of junk to be thrown out. We hadn't even looked at a lot of it since moving in almost 3 years ago. I am determined not to take junk to our next house. I'm trying to be ruthless about what stays and goes. It's tough, but I think I'm doing okay so far.

France is in 5 days. I can say that now without wanting to cry or run away, so I think that's a positive sign. I think I can get everything done by then. Especialyly if the productive streak continues this week. I'll let you know.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Umm....what?

I was sitting in my international journalism class today talking about our trip to France, and our professor mentioned that we are leaving one week from tomorrow. 7 days. I started having trouble breathing, got light-headed, and wanted to run away.

I have not done one thing in preparation for this trip. I have to figure out what in the world I'm going to pack and about 742 other logistical things. To top it all off, Cole is leaving for New York on Wednesday for his moot court competition. Yeesh...too much to do!

The good news is I'm going to France. The bad news is I may lose my mind before I get there. Oh well. I guess that's a small price to pay for a trip to France.

On the bright side, I have been super-productive this week. I have accomplished a lot at work. I turned in my application for an internship starting in July. And I have heard back from a lot of my contacts for my freelance article and my France articles. Woohoo!

To top all of that off, I just paid our bills! I don't know how people did it before you could pay bills online. It's so much easier to keep track of what needs to be paid in my inbox rather than on the piles of paper we call our kitchen table and coffee table. Maybe one day I'll be organized.

You know, my mom claims that when she was younger she was as unorganized and messy as I am.

I think she's lying to make me feel better.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

PSA

The phrase "full as a tick" is disgusting, and no one should ever say use it in conversation. Ever.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Identity Crisis

Last night I pulled the milk out of the refrigerator for my cereal, opened it, and realized something was wrong. There was ice in our milk. And it wasn't just a little bit of ice; there was an almost solid block of frozen milk in my milk carton. So not cool.

I think our fridge thinks it's a freezer. Our drinks are regularly slushy (which I kind of like), but the milk was the last straw. I don't have the heart to tell it that we already have a freezer. We need it to cool our food, not freeze it. I guess I'm going to have to break the news to the fridge soon though. Frozen milk is not acceptable in my house. It's a tease because it's almost like a milkshake, except gross.

Come on, man

It makes me laugh out loud when I hear the words, "Come on, man. This is the 90s." on a TV show. What do you say now? This is the 2000s??? This is the new millennium? Hmm...we need to work on that a bit.

If you really want to laugh, though, you can watch the movie Maid to Order. In that movie you can hear, "Come on, man. This is the 80s."