At bit more about my life in Angers.

Trip Start Jan 25, 2010
Trip End Jun 09, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of France  , Pays de la Loire,
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Angers is a slow paced, smaller city-- but I like it a lot. Not that I really know what a fast paced city is really like, as I've only ever really lived in a smaller, middle of nowhere town where the closest movie theater was a 15 minute drive away, as was the nearest mall. I was lucky though I suppose, as I know people who lived even further away from anything to do on a slow night or a weekend. Here, for most people, everything is a 15 minute walk away. It's a bit further for me, being a 15-20 minute bus ride, but I don't really mind it that much. It's given me a chance to see other parts of the city, people watch on the bus and it has allowed me to be slightly more independent, as I need to pay attention to bus schedules. Huzzah for time management!

School is becoming more routine, so it's getting easier to adjust. My schedule is a bit wacky though. Some days I start early, around 9 AM and other days I don't start until 1:30 PM. Classes are a bit random too. Sometimes they are two hours long, others one hour. My Histoire de France class meets in the mornings on Tuesdays and then 6PM the same night, so that's kind of weird too. I don't much like the random breaks scattered throughout the day, but I've learned to deal with it. A lot of people don't have the same breaks as I do, so I find myself sitting in the computer lab or in the foyer downstairs for 2 hours waiting for my next class. But, c'est la vie and no point in really complaining about it.

I like my classes a lot, as I've said before. Grammaire is pretty self-explanatory. You do grammar excercises and learn the rules of the language. I've done it all before, so it's sort of a review. You'll be surprised however, how much you forget in a few semesters. I feel like its the first time that I am doing it sometimes. Histoire de l'Art is one of my favorite classes as well. We are looking at pre-Revolutionary french paintings, starting with neoclassicism and ending with modern surrealism and other modern methods of painting. I've briefly studied french art before but only in a few classes in our French 308 class. It's pretty awesome though, especially since toward the end of the semester, there's going to be a "field trip" to the Musée d'Orsay, where we will be able to see a majority of the paintings that we are studying. How cool is that? So far, we've only studied Jacques-Louis David but it's only the second week of classes. We will look at Delacroix (one of my favorites), Monet, Manet, etc.-- everyone really influential in french art. It should be awesome. Histoire de France is really interesting too. I took a French History class at Niagara, so I already know a lot of the material, but its really interesting to learn the French's history from their own perspective. I've learned a lot so far and remembered things that have slipped away from my memory and its good to reinstate important dates and events. Phonetics will easily be one of my most useful classes. The class teaches you, obviously, the phonetics of the french language. That's to say that we will learn very specifically how to pronounce different spellings, annunciations, accents, slang and how to correctly pronounce the language. Hopefully, my accent will be improved, my pronunciation won't suck as much and I can sound closer to a native speaker when I leave.

Overall, my time here has been pretty awesome. I've met great people, tried new foods, new wines (and other alcohols) and have learned a lot about the french culture and the language. I'm fulfilling my reasons for coming here everyday and it makes me really happy. I had doubts that I wouldn't meet a lot of people, I would never speak french and I wouldn't learn too much but those doubts have gone away. Now that doubt has turned to oppurtunity. Call me cheesy, but I now feel an oppurtunity to travel, learn, meet people and live life in a new way. I highly reccomend living in a foreign country for a while, even if you choose to do so in an English speaking country. Theres a lot of growth that happens within you and its a humbling experience at the same time. You realize how big the world is and how much you are missing. I have kids from all over the world in my classes, some of them from China, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan and others from Nebraska and Oregon. I've never been to any of those places and it made me realize how small New York is. I want to travel more and more everyday that I am here. I have finally made it to France, yet at the same time I can't wait to travel other places.

Tonight the plan is to go home and eat dinner and have some sort of party with my family. They are having people over who have traveled all over, so it should be interesting to speak with them. After that, hopefully (if the dinner does not take too long), I'll be heading out to Mardi Café, which happens once a week on Tuesday (Mardi) at different bars throughout the city. Each week its somewhere different, and students go there to drink, socialize and meet people from all over the world. It's a cool idea. I've met quite a few people there, including my friends from France (kind of). It starts at 9 but it goes until the bar closes, so I should be okay getting there some time after 10.

This weekend we are going to Mont St. Michel and St. Malo so I'm stoked for that. If you haven't seen it, Google it. It looks like something out of a fairy tale, really. Sunday, we may hit up the Anjou Troglydites and eat in a cave and try different wines and such. It's bound to be a fun weekend, no?

Things I learned since coming to France so far:

1. Baguette is awesome, as everyone knows. It's also insanely cheap. You can buy a full baguette on the street for 0.70 Euro. It shouldn't cost you anymore than 1 Euro from wherever you go, and they all taste the same. So, don't pay more than that if you come here.
2. The movie The Hangover, as I'm sure everyone knows, is called (in English) A Very Bad Trip in France. I have no idea why. That being said, the word hangover in french is "une gueule de bois". I guess that doesn't quite roll of the tongue, but still.
3. Like in Ireland, most of the music here is American. There is some french music, but not a lot. At dinner every night, they put the radio on and Maroon 5, Jason Mraz, Ke$ha, Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé, etc. always come on. The other day Hansen came on-- that was shocking.
4. Most of the younger french that I have met (meaning in their 20s) love classic British and American rock. Whenever I ask them what kind of music they like, they respond AC/DC, The Who, Journey, Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, etc. You get the picture.
5. French wine is gooooooooooood.
6. I have chocolate for breakfast every morning, eat a ton of food at night, drink like 5 glasses of wine for dinner and I've lost weight. Boo to American food for being unhealthy.
7. James can sing the Marseillaise by heart, and it is my believe that this is how we acquired french friends. New goal in life: learn the Marseillaise by heart.
8. Life in the north of the US and the south are completely different in so many ways.
9. Soda is more expensive than juice-- more expensive than anything really. That's backwards than the U.S. I may have solved the obesity problem in the U.S.
10. I knew this already, but the word preservatives in french does NOT mean preservatives. Although Dr. Borgstrom told me what that word meant in passing like 100 times, I forgot of course, and informed my family that American food has a lot of condoms in it, unlike the french food (the word is conservateurs). Yayy me. At least I haven't mistakenly said Je suis plein (literally means I am full), which actually means "I am pregnant".

(Sorry I know many of these aren't that good, but I can't think of specific things that I have learned since coming here. They will get a lot better, I promise).
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