26 October 2015

last three

This isn't going to be a very long or interesting post, but I just wanted to quickly explain the last few posts. I was afraid I'd forget to upload pictures so I uploaded just the pictures...and left the explaining for later. As I've shared before, I am currently enjoying a two week long break from school - Toussaint break - but before being turned loose my class mates and I enjoyed a three day long school trip. All seventy of us, plus our teachers, headed off to the Loire Valley to visit chateaus. Chateaus equal castles, really really cool French castles. I enjoyed the trip quite a bit, and thanks to my host brother's reminder my camera was charged... There were so many things I wanted to photograph (I ended up with 1000 from just three days) but in the end I narrowed it down, and put them into three categories...in the last three posts. We visited chateaus but also their gardens, which provided excellent photo opportunities... I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed the trip! Until next time, xoxo lu.

18 October 2015

*one month*

Hello again, I'm back! As I shared before, I now get to blog for two platforms - this one (allllllll mine) and SYA's.... The prompt for the first month was "one month" (surprise, surprise) and I just sent in my submission - and wanted to share it with this blog as well. In the future, the posts that are for SYA will have their titles in between two asterisks (*title*) so you can tell wthem apart. I will also post the link to the other SYA campus bloggers as soon as it is posted... I hope you enjoy it!

One Month
I honestly can't wrap my head around the fact that I've already been in Rennes for a little more than a month, yet here I am trying to write a blog post about it. When I began thinking about the prompt, I realized that I'm stuck in a strange limbo - on one hand it feels as though I was in the US yesterday but on the other I feel as though I've been in Rennes forever. 
I keep waiting to wake up from this dream and go straight back to my every day routine, where school ends at 3:30 and my friends have know each other since before Pre-K. But then I remember the incredible situation I've landed in... Even though school here ends at 18h00 (that's 6 pm, a la française) I've already adjusted to the schedule - trust me I have no complaints about Wednesday and Friday half-days. I never thought it would happen, but Ive even found myself memorizing the bus schedule for my line - ligne 72 - and making it to the stop on time every day. 
The people I've met here are incredible, too. Just a few days ago my friends started to tell a story and then stopped when she realized we wouldn't understand the context - we hadn't been with her in her pre-SYA life when part one of the story took place. She then explained it all, and everyone ended up laughing, but for me the whole thing emphasized how quickly I was able to connect with my amazing new class mates. 
Other people, like my rowing team-mates and my host brothers, have been no different. Yesterday, at a discussion group at the Franco American Institute (if you're ever in Rennes, I highly recommend checking it out) my classmates and I exchanged stories with French kids our ages. The language obstacle certainly existed, but it disappeared when we all laughed about getting pushed off the metro at a stop or almost being late to school due to being trapped on the metro by a rainy day induced crowd. 
I really do think that my struggles to speak French have begun paying off, and language isn't the only thing that gotten easier - I feel like I've adjusted pretty well to Rennais life. I really do think that the entire class of 2016 has a metamorphosis of sorts - were certainly not the same scared kids that met for the first time in the Boston airport. We've all had crazy adjustment experiences, and it certainly hasn't always been easy, but in the end it all ends up beings either a learning experience or a funny story to tell to people back home, or both. Just in the first month, there have already been so many incredible thing that I can't not be super excited for the rest of the year. I'm about to head off on a trip to the Loire valley with all my classmates, which promises to be the next on my list of incredible French experiences...I can't wait to write about them all. Until next time, xoxolu. 


15 October 2015

Mont Saint Michel

Apologies for the lack of posts....contrary to what I'd hoped, school here is just as intense as ever. On the upside, this past week has only been crazy because our teachers are trying to finish everything up before setting us free for our two week (!!!!) toussaint vacation! 

I have a more thoughtful post coming soon (writing it for the SYA blog!) but in the mean time I wanted to share a few quick pictures from this past weekend. Our whole class and some of our host siblings went to Mont Saint Michel to cross the bay, which was an incredible experience. 

We were lucky and got good weather (in the past it's been compared to the apocalypse...) so the six mile march through mud, quicksand and water was actually quite fun... the fact that it was a massive group of friends made the clay in between our toes and on our faces even funnier. I'm sorry about the photo quality but I was to scared to take my real camera after hearing all of the horror stories, so I resorted to my iPhone and a plastic bag :)


08 October 2015

Birthday Thinks

I can't believe that "seventeen years old" applies to me too, now...
Those of you that know me, you know I'm really more like seven... 
Birthdays are a crazy thing...
Humans are pretty close to magical...
Human relationships are definitely magical...
Being an ocean away from home somehow made my birthday even better...
I am so insanely lucky...
Gearhearts chocolate is super tasty - if you're in RVA, go get some asap...
Mommas and little sisters and dads are pretty darn cute...
I have the best (immediate and extended) family ever...
I have the coolest and kindest friends ever...
It baffles me how the Atlantic can't touch my back home friendships...
My nuggets are more perfect than they know...
And just as confusing, my friends abroad...
In less than a month, I've made friends that I feel like I've known forever...
None of this makes much sense...
But I just want to say I had an amazing day, all thanks to incredible humans...

(Including my incredible English teacher that understood the struggles and changed the due date of our essay, perhaps the best birthday gift in the whole world. Anyone who's ever experienced high school will understand....)

03 October 2015

one month in

I think I have to start with the title...one month in seems crazy. It feels like I was in the US just yesterday but at the same time so much has already happened. Regardless, this first month has passed extremely (and frighteningly) quickly. There are so many things I want to share, but in the interest of honesty I think I have to start with a few lists...

*Things (Expected and Not-So-Much) That I Miss*
My People 
Peanut butter
BLT Sandwiches
Iced Coffee
My own bed
My front lawn 
Sour Patch Kids
Ben and Jerrys Ice Cream
American paper and notebooks
The legal right to drive

*Things I Already Know I'll Miss As Soon As I Board My Flight Home*
Chocolate Macarons
Caramel au Beurre Salé
The Metro 
My Frenchies
Pain au Chocolat + Coffee for breakfast
Cobblestone streets that ruin your shoes
Free Wednesday and Friday afternoons
Scoobi Fizz / Carrefour
2€ coins

These lists are random, yes, but I hope they convey a bit of my current state of mind. I've certainly begun to miss certain things but at the same time I've begin finding my own favorite things here in France. I've begun settling into my routine but also my surroundings. 

Today when shopping for a gift to send for my little sisters birthday (counting on the fact she probably doesn't keep up with my blog and therefor won't see this) the people in the store didn't realize I wasn't French until my credit card had to be swiped. Side note : in France all of the card readers are basically wireless now, if that makes sense...think Apple Pay type stuff...needless to say my swipe-only card has baffled quite a few check out clerks. I'm finally feeling like I'm getting closer to my goal of lasting a few minutes before being identified as a foreigner. 

Something else struck me today while traveling home that really made me realize how much I've adapted to Rennes. My current host family's house is about a half hour bus ride from Rennes and on the weekend the busses have quite the ornery schedule. (Example : last night the only busses home were at eight and midnight thirty...seeing as my school curfew is 12 my big night of partying ended at eight.) Today I went to rowing an hour away and on the way back arrived at Republique knowing exactly what time I had to get on the metro...and that I had enough time to grab a macaron before heading home. After catching the bus without any stress at all, I realized that having the schedules close to memorized must mean I'm settling in. 

In other exciting news I will no longer only be posting regular posts and English assignments here...I also now have monthly posts for my role as Campus Blogger! I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences in Rennes with readers here and on SYA sponsored posts and I look forward to reader crossover...once I have the link to the blog page I'll share it so you can check out what my other classmates (in France as well as other SYA locations) are up to! Exciting stuff, I think. Until next time, xoxo lu.

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