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Mont Blanc, and YES! There is beer in France!

June 6, 2010

Early Saturday morning we took a bus to Chamonix. Hands down, this place has the most beautiful mountains I have ever seen. Much different from Colorado mountains jagged and fierce instead of rounded and modest. We decided to take a train up the mountain. I promise, I will post pictures soon. The tracks led us up up up up to 1913 meters in elevation! After a photo shoot, Jenn and I got a beer and just sat trying to comprehend the view in front of us. Another girl, Yumi, was with us and wondered, “Why do people like mountains?” Such an odd thing for us Coloradans to hear! Then, we saw an avalanche! A loud boom preceded the falling snow, but what a breathtaking sight. Leaving the mountain there was a group of school children on the train. This was confusing at first, and then we remembered they have school for 1/2 days on Wednesday and Saturday. The rest of the afternoon was relaxing, just sat outside and enjoyed another beer. The trip was topped off with my first… and possibly last… visit to MacDonald’s outside of the US! MacFlurries are so good anywhere though. Dinner was bittersweet Daniele will be gone for a week to visit her new grandson in Paris. We had champagne to celebrate his arrival, my arrival, and Guillaume’s fantastic score on an exam (The scale was 1-20, most score 3 or 4- he got a 15!!!). Daniele made a meal inspired by Provence. The veggies were all cooked in the same pot carrots, potatoes, broccoli, and something I didn’t recognize. Then we had salt cured cod. This was ok, but a little too salty for my taste. As you all know, I prefer pepper! Ha. After this we had smelly cheese! My nose is so stuffed up now the smell didn’t bother me at all, and it tasted great. Dessert was a simple serving of wine soaked strawberries and the white cake from earlier in the week. After dinner, Guillaume took me to his favorite bar in Annecy- Cafe des Arts. We sat outside and spoke of the differences in French and American culture. I tried to explain “that’s what she said,” but failed. How do you do this with very limited vocabulary? And all in all, it doesn’t sound very funny if you haven’t seen Michael Scott say it… So it was reduced to the stupidity of the “your mom” joke. When I hadn’t heard of the French equivalent of the Oscars Guillaume remarked, “Me gan, you are very strange!” Then, he told me, that there is plenty of beer in France, and in fact, he prefers it! It was a long, but very excellent day!

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My favorite part of the day…

June 4, 2010

Dinner! Tonight was a very light dinner, and nothing too extravagant, but I think it is my favorite meal yet. To begin we had a salad with fresh raw salmon and some kind of citric dressing. Next was what looked like a zucchini pizza in french a “feuillete a la courgette.” Flaky crust covered in zucchini slices, olive oil, and some almond crumbs. The cheese tonight was a local cheese – comte le mois, lait cru, et ribore jacque min. Very light, and Daniele told me this is one of the first cheeses they give to children here, because it is so light. School the past two days has been challenging. We have focused mainly on grammar, and I guess it will be good to know these things after a while. For now it is hard to understand! I have used a dictionary more this week than in my entire life for certain! It is so nice to have Friday afternoons off – me and Jenn at lunch outside, enjoyed a beer together, and then sat in the sun. As we were walking we saw a couple with their feet in the water, so we did the same! And it was all of a sudden, summer in France. Ah may it never end!!!!

Settled In

June 3, 2010

After a few days with my host mom, Daniele, I am really getting settled in here. I am still leaning my way around town, but I know the basics of how to get from point a to point b. Last night dinner was amazing, as usual! We had really good cheese from sheep with bread and white asparagus to start. The main course was a sort of cod casserole- baked in the oven with potatoes and cheese melted on top. For dessert we had a rhubarb dish with a local kind of cake, very similar to angel food cake. Today was just as great- a beautiful salad with deviled eggs and flowers (I even took a picture!), followed by bread and cheese, and then mushroom ricotta. It was a little cold this evening, so we had bananas flambé for dessert. I could get used to this… haha. This afternoon we had a picnic by the lake with all of the new students. We played spin the bottle, but instead of kissing the person on the other side of the bottle, we asked a question in French. It was good to speak with people of all different levels. And yes, we drank wine! I have to say, it was really a nice change up from my usual drink of choice. When in Rome, right? Next week there is an international animated film festival, movies are played on the lake. I am not sure how that really works, but my roommate is working for the festival so he will tell me all about it then. Shrek 4 is playing in English, so I will recognize one film. Unfortunately I still have this cold from traveling, I really really really hope it goes away soon so I can enjoy being outside more! Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I have class in the afternoon, and Thursday Friday I have morning classes. This makes for a long weekend, and hopefully some time to travel within France. I guess Paris is 4 hours away- not too bad!

Made It!

June 2, 2010

Even after only 2 days in Annecy, I think September will come to soon! The weather has been great so far, only a little bit of rain. My host mom has been wonderful too! Her name is Daniele, and every night she has prepared a 4 course meal! First we had a salmon dish that was baked in the oven with a flaky bread crust and pea soup on the side, with a salad from the market and chocolate cake for dessert! Last night we had an open face sardine sandwich (kinda like our tuna salad sandwiches), zuccini quiche, some wonderful cheese, and yougurt with roasted pinneapple for dessert. So far we have been speaking mostly English, my French has plenty of room for improvement. Today will be my second day of class. There are 5 students in my class, so I know I will improve more and more each day. It is hard to study or be in class when this amazing lake is outside though! Honestly, it doesn’t look real. The water is so clear and the mountains all around look like the set of a fairy tale! I think plenty of people from around the world come here, this is why the town is a little more expensive than I am used to. My room is up in the attic, I have a nice little place to myself. Another student is staying here too, he is really nice and has been helping me with my French. To shower here, there is only a bathtub and a sprayer-you must sit down, there is no shower curtain! This weekend I am going with the school to Mount Blanc, pictures will come soon!

Getting There

May 23, 2010

Still uncertain about how I will get to Annecy, but I have a feeling something will work itself out. A few friends have offered rides from nearby cities, so I’m hoping to catch a ride instead of navigating the train system there. The plan is to be there on Sunday the 30th, that night I will stay with my host family. Then its off to school the next day at 9am for a placement test- wish me luck!

Ready, Set, Go!

May 16, 2010

Just about ready to hit the road. On Friday I had a great family outing with the whole crew from Tee & Cakes. We discovered the best pizza in Boulder at  Pizzeria Basta– check it out if you are in the neighborhood. I even went non-veggie for the night to enjoy all the menu had to offer and yes, it was worth it! Shirley goodbyes are in order, but since 3 months doesn’t seem too long, it feels strange to say “goodbye.” Anyhow, to anyone I didn’t get the chance to see, I’ll be back soon with plenty of good stories. Packing and ideas of what to bring and what to leave behind have been taking up way too much of my mind thinking about the trip to come after I fill my suitcase and board a plane is overwhelming and exciting all at once. To everyone who has helped me narrow down this daunting task, THANK YOU!!! I know regardless of what I forget, I will have what I need and be able to get by! What will I miss most about Colorado for the next few months? You guessed it : The Mountain Sun. Haha. But really Ryan, Keenan, and Lexi, we better Skype often!!!

More to come soon.

Bonjour!

May 11, 2010

Getting ready to go! More to come soon. Depart May 17th.