Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Au Revoir, Poitiers


I didn't realize until last Saturday that I had forgotten to post anything the previous Wednesday. That's ok, though; I hadn't done anything worth mentioning.

Come to think of it, I haven't really done anything since then that's interesting at all.

I've been super busy with school work. I finally finished my International Experience Report and got that turned in. Now, these past two weeks, I was assigned two more reports, two more projects, and two more exams to study for. I guess that's what I get for signing up for the last two classes of the semester!

So far, I've only finished about half of my school work, but I'm determined to get the rest done today, because quite honestly, today is my last chance to do it.

I've also been packing up everything. I can't tell you how many times I've packed, unpacked, and repacked because I forgot something or needed something I'd already packed. You'd think, with all the practice I've had over the past 9 months, that I'd be pretty good at packing things by now. This is not the case. I thought I was good, but I realized this week that I still don't know which way is best. I can roll my clothes and cram stuff into my shoes, but I'm still going to have to sit on the suitcase just to get it zipped.

This morning I was looking around before class, and I think I'm nearly finished. I've got clothes set out for the next two days and only have small things left to put away.

The rest of this week, for me, will be pretty awful. I have class all day. I've got to finish packing and move out of my apartment tonight and then go back early tomorrow morning for checkout. Then, I've got a presentation tomorrow morning and an exam tomorrow afternoon. Right after class, I've got to get all of my luggage to the train station and take the train to the airport, where I will be until Friday afternoon when my flight leaves.

When I land in SLC, I expect to be sleep deprived, yet happy to be home!

Lately, (when I'm taking a break from all of this school work) I've been walking the streets of Poitiers. I am going to miss this place. I'm not ready to leave this life I've been living here. As much as I'm looking forward to driving again, I'm going to miss walking to school. As much as I'm looking forward to seeing the mountains on the horizon, I'm going to miss the view from my window.

I'm so ready to be home, but I'm not ready to leave here. I'll miss this lifestyle. And surprisingly, I'm nearly as scared to go back home as I was to leave it. Of course, I'm excited about it. I'm ready for something new, but my goodness, I'm nervous. Change is hard.

I cannot believe it's been 9 months since I left the US. It has flown and dragged and been wonderful and crazy and one of the best things I've ever done. I've grown up a lot. I've learned a lot. It's been amazing.

Au revoir,


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

So Close


I am in absolute awe of how quickly May is passing. How is it nearly half way over? I'm not complaining, but, oh my goodness, time is flying.

This week has been... not really busy, but I've had enough to do. Last week I finished my Supply Chain Management class, so that's nice. I don't think I ever mentioned how much I liked the class. I really did. We had to do calculations of how much space we need or when to order new products, and it was fun to get to learn something that's not just theory. We were doing actual math and I was loving it.

Today I'm finishing up another class. This morning my group went in to present our project to the professor and he said we had a half-way decent presentation that was above average. I'm not sure if that's good, but I think it might be. Our professor really likes the people in my group, so we had a good time presenting and talking to him about our findings.

This afternoon I have to go back in and take the final, but it shouldn't be too difficult. Then I'll be finished with this class too!

From here, I have two more courses to start and finish. Of the 16 days I have left here, I'll be in class for 8 of them. That's the first time that's ever happened! So much school is such a little time.

These last two classes are being taught by a professor who's coming over from Southern Utah University (my home university). I've never taken a class from him before, but Joe and Lizette have and say he's a nice guy, so that'll be fun.

Last night I took my final french test. (And that's all I care to say about that.)

I've also got this huge paper to finish writing for the school. When the students leave, the school requires a report on the experience in the school and in France. It has some serious guidelines, so I've been perfecting that.

Aside from school, I've been spending some time at the park. The days are so beautiful lately. I've been breaking out the tank tops, hoping to get some sun on my shoulders before I return home and start working on my farmer's tan. (It's inevitable.) It's going well so far!

I've also been walking over to Sainte-Radegonde and spending time there. If you remember back to a post in September (maybe), Radegonde is my favorite church in Poitiers. It's so calming to sit and think in the nave. It's even better when I catch the organist when he's practicing. I could sit and listen to the music all day.

I've not yet begun packing although I'm itching to get started. I think it's a bit too early still, although I may need to start soon since my last two weeks are packed with classes every day. I did schedule a check-out with the residence, so I know when I have to be out and everything.

The next 16 days should be interesting.

Have a wonderful day!

Je t'embrasse,

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Coming to a Close


My days in France are quickly coming to an end. As I was looking through my planner earlier, I was surprised anew at just how little time I have left here.

I'm beyond ready to go home. I've reached the point in the school year where I have zero motivation to do anything at all. And since I'm at that point, I'm having trouble making myself get anything done and I'd really just appreciate it if I didn't have to do the things and I could just go now.

By this time next week, I'll have finished two classes and will only have two left, plus another French test, and a paper to write. It doesn't seem like that much. It's too much.

This past weekend, I took my final trip to Paris with Joe and Lizette. We had an amazing time! Thursday, we went to Disneyland Paris! It was so much fun (except that it never stopped raining). We had a really incredible time in the park.  Despite the rain, we went on several rides and walked around the park all day. We never had to stand in line for more than 45 minutes, so really, it wasn't too bad. And it wasn't crowded at all!

I think my favorite ride was the Rock'n'Roller Coaster. We rode it near the end of the day when the line wasn't long, so we went twice. My second favorite would have to be the Indiana Jones Temple of Doom (or the Temple of Peril, when translated from French), we rode this three times.

Overall, it was a great day. At the end of it, all three of us were exhausted and more than happy to go back to the apartment and go to bed.

Friday, I ventured out by myself and explored the neighborhood of Le Marias. It's one of the more famous areas of Paris and I had never spent much time there. Unfortunately, Friday was International Workers Day, so most everything was closed, but I still got to see a lot. I stopped by a Starbucks for a mid afternoon drink and wandered over to the Latin Quarter across the river before I decided to head back to the apartment.

Saturday, the three of us set out to buy artwork along the river. There are booths all along the Seine near Île de la Cité, so we spent several hours wandering among them, searching for the perfect souvenirs. We ended up back in the Latin Quarter and had lunch at a small restaurant. Any guesses as to what we ordered??

That's right, Escargot! I was very nervous to try it because, well, it's a snail. Zane and I used to play with snails behind the bushes at First Baptist Church, and I just couldn't imagine eating one of them. Eventually I forced it down and was pleasantly surprised with how it tasted. The green stuff is really garlic-y and the texture wasn't nearly as rubbery as I imagined it would be. (I was expecting balloon consistency.) I ate two of them and I think it's probably something I would eat again.

Sunday, we left Paris to see Château de Fountainebleau. It's very similar to Versailles except not nearly as busy. (It was even free because it was the first Sunday of the month and it wasn't very busy.) As far as the rooms go, I found them to be just as good as the rooms at Versailles. The gardens, however, were nothing compared to those at Versailles. Still very pretty, but not as grand.

We returned to Paris in late afternoon and I left the apartment to visit Sacre-Coeur just up the hill. Every time I'm up there, I'm blown away by the view. It's magnificent. I went inside the chapel and sat through the last half of a mass, then walked the perimeter and wandered back outside and watched a street musician on the steps.

I had heard that there were some interesting goings-on behind the Cathedral, so I went back there and was greeted with a lively art market. I had already bought my art, but I meandered anyway and ended up finding a piece that I fell in love with. (The one that I actually wanted was very expensive, so I didn't buy it Saturday, but I found one similar to it today at a much cheaper price!!) With canvas in hand, I walked through the streets of Montmartre and got lost in the neighborhood.

Monday was our last day in Paris, so that morning, I got up and went to Galeries Lafayette to have breakfast above the city. I grabbed my Starbucks on the 3rd floor and headed on up to the roof to enjoy the morning. It was perfect. The skies were clear and the breeze was warm. I felt a little sad at the thought of leaving the city, but I'm glad I got to see that view again.

I walked around a bit and did a little shopping. Joe and Lizette had somehow lived in France for nearly 9 months and had never tried a macaroon, so I picked up a few of those to take back to the apartment.

I made it back to the apartment by noon and helped clean the place up before we left. Our train wasn't until 4pm, so I hit the streets again because it was too beautiful to be stuck inside. There was a small park a block or so away, so I went there and sat for a while with pen and journal, enjoying the day. I wasn't the only person with such an idea. Nearly ever bench was taken by people eating their lunch or mothers with their children.

After this trip, I'm convinced that Paris really is magic.

We made it back to Poitiers that evening and went our separate ways. That night, there was a thunderstorm! I've always loved watching the storms roll in. The lightning is exciting and the rumble of the thunder makes my heart pound. I'm in such awe of God's creation when I get to watch that kind of spectacle.

I treated Tuesday kind of like I would a Sunday-- I didn't leave my apartment at all. I really should have because I had things to do, but it was windy and cold and rainy and I just didn't want to deal with it.

Today, though, I made up for it and am getting things done! (Kind of. I'm writing this as I avoid my homework. This is more fun anyway.)

23 days and counting.

Je t'embrasse,