Thursday, May 28, 2009
i had to say goodbye to aix on the 16th of may! it was very very hard to do. leaving the aixois (my french friends) was very difficult, plus my american friends, plus my host family, plus my city!!! it was an emotional day. I am very fortunate to have been with a family as amazing as the Meyers. They taught me a lot about SAVOIR VIVRE! that means "know how to live" : they definitely work very hard, but they are a very happy family. they spend a lot of time with each other and have fun together. although they work hard, they break hard as well. they love cooking for each other and drinking wine ! they love singing and dancing throughout the house after dinner! they love sitting outside on a sunday morning in their underwear eating tartines of fresh bread and drinking coffee! they love going for walks with their dog! they love reading the paper in their slippers on january mornings. i definitely understood that their lifestyle was not lazy but rich :)
one thing i will also note is that i think french culture is one of the hardest for americans to adapt to. french people are quiet, and keep their business to themselves. one example that sticks out in my mind is when I was locked out of Erik's apartment (for 15 minutes) in amsterdam. I was sitting on the sidewalk, and 2 people asked me if I was ok or needed help, in 15 minutes! In France, no one would have offered to help me because it is not their business. Any sign of emotion like anger or crying in public is not really socially acceptable in France. I remember this one woman was freaking out and crying and everyone was just staring at her. Another thing that is difficult is the obsession with image: being skinny, well-dressed, and good looking is very important for French people! Sometimes it got to be a little too much.
In the end, I stopped trying to hard to be French and embraced my exotic self! I mean, where else are boys going to tell me that I have a cute accent??
i turned 21 in france! i had such a great day! the weekend before my host parents let me have a bbq at my house, and my actual birthday my host mom cooked me all of my favorite foods. including a delicious cheese plate! YUM!! so i got to celebrate with family and friends! i am very lucky.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
my host sister, eve, turned 9 last week. you would think from the pictures she turned 29! She is a little diva; the only thing she wanted for her gift was a massage chair (and she got it!). But she really has a good heart and cracks me up. She wanted everyone to have a great time on her day! I got her a little bracelet and she said she really likes it, so I was happy :) Enjoy the pics!
this post is for my maman!!! who is the most amazing maman in the whole wide world! (now that i've traveled i can say that). i couldn't ask for anyone more loving and giving than her. how do you do it???
miss you mom ! love you! happy mother's day!
Saturday, May 9, 2009
what can I say about london! it was great! I got there on thursday, and my friend from Catholic who had an internship in parliament this semester gave us an awesome tour of the Parliament building. It was a little Catholic reunion in London, plus we got the hookup! Mark made some friends over the semester and we got to see things inaccessible to the public, like the chapel of st mary undercroft. This crypt-like church was where St thomas more used to come to pray! It was absolutely beautiful.
It was cool to see how the House of Lords and the House of Commons are a lot like our government in DC. The actual building was a lot older and more ornate, but there was the process bears some similarities (wonder why?). After parliament we walked around London and saw the street where the prime minister lives, Westminster Abbey, and of course BIG BEN! When we walked by Trafalgar square there was a free Pink concert going on!! We were really lucky that day.
On Friday I took a day trip to Oxford, which was AWESOME! It was pretty much my dream, because that is where they filmed most of Harry Potter. There were tons of people with really posh accents, and we saw a wedding taking place - English people really do where funny hats to weddings, just like in the movies! We had lunch at Jamie Oliver's restuarant in Oxford ; it was so tasty. I got a veggie sampler thing: it had breads, olive oils, roasted veggies, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and a little salad. And not too expensive either! We ended the day at Blenheim castle, and wouldn't you know it, Jack Black was shooting a movie there with Emily Blunt (she IS really that skinny in real life). Jack Black seemed just like how he does in his movies in real life. Anyway, the castle was beautiful, even though we were star struck walking through it.
Saturday Matt's friends and him took me on a walking tour of London, starting the the market near Matt's house. We got all sorts of delicious food, and then saw Globe theatre, the Tate modern, Millenium bridge, and St Paul's cathedral. After taking a little siesta in Hyde park on the row boats (Matt is on the crew team so we'll let that be my excuse as to why I didn't help him row) we went home and got ready for a big night out on the West End! We got a drink at this awesome bar overlooking all of the city, and the weather was beautiful! There were tons of artists outside performing for all of the tourists who were walking by. Then we went to see SPRING AWAKENING! I didn't know anything about it, except for that it got amazing reviews in NYC. I found tickets for 20 pounds - I wish the shows in NYC were available for that cheap. The show had some heavy topics, but the music was excellent. I loved it :)
Sunday Matt and I got an English breakfast (he promised me I had to do it before I leave) : baked beans, sausage, bacon, ham, eggs over easy, toast, and tea! Heart attack on a plate. Then I went wondering around Notting Hill, which was beautiful, and to Harrod's. Harrod's was the most exquisite store I've ever been into, except for Galaries Lafayette in Paris. I got some tea to bring home for mi familia!
The only thing about London was that it had a lot of my favorite things from home - like normal sized coffee! It made me a little homesick, but I have to take advantage of my 2 weeks left in Europe!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
My mom sent me an email just before I left Amsterdam saying “maybe you should skip Liverpool”. SKIP LIVERPOOL!??! Are you crazy Elise? You who loved George? Who now has a crush on John’s son? You didn’t want me to see where it all began? I am so glad I went to this funky city!
First of all, Scousers are the friendliest and warmest people I’ve ever met! I was taken care of from the moment Jay met me at the airport! I was so happy to see my former co-worker from summer camp in his home city. We went out to dinner with all of Jay’s family and friends, and then I experienced the nightlife in Liverpool! It was so fun! Everyone was so nice and wanted to show me a good time. We went to the pub that the Beatles used to go to before they were famous, plus the pubs they played in before they were famous. Then we did some dancing! It was really cool.
The next day, Jay made me English breakfast and tea and we were off to explore Liverpool. We walked Matthew’s street, which is famous because of the Beatles. Then we went to St. Albert’s dock, and I saw all the government buildings. Along the way, I of course was amazed by everything typically English: red telephone booths, black taxi cabs, double decker buses, driving on the wrong side of the road, the word “cheers”, (still gets me every time). Liverpool is known for its cathedrals, so afterwards we went to the Liverpool Cathedral, which was absolutely amazing. So huge! We even climbed all the way to the top for the view. We could see the two football stadiums in the city, which are right next to each other. On one side is Liverpool, on the other side is Everton: the city is split into two!
For my last night I went to a pub quiz with Jay and his dad. I embarrassed myself horribly and fulfilled every known stereotype about the IQ’s of Americans. Does anyone else know the only American president to wear a Nazi uniform? On what part of the body is the diastema? I got one question right, about foreign affairs. But I promised Jay’s family that I am not as stupid as I came across in that quiz! I don’t know if they believed me, because when Jay’s parents talked to me I usually only made out about 25% of what they said. The scouser accent is HEAVY! Beware!
I had a great time in Liverpool and I was sad when Jay sent me off to London on the train Thursday morning. But I was glad I got to meet his family and friends and hopefully I can return the favor for him this summer in the US OF A!