A week in the life of Jay Arthur Rank Jr.

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

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Flag of France  , Pays de la Loire,
Saturday, February 27, 2010

In an effort to make you aware of what I have been up to recently during my travels here in Angers, I decided to compile a bunch of experiences from my week into one blog. It's not only time efficient, but it saves you guys the trouble of having to read multiple blogs of my ramblings about nothing. 

Let's see-- what happened this week exactly? Well, classes of course. They are going smoothly so far. I enjoy most of my classes, the exception being grammar. Not because of the professor, just because it is boring. I mean, people say you either love grammar or you hate grammar, but I disagree. I have a platonic relationship with grammar. We are friends, but I don't like to see him that much. The class seems to go by somewhat quickly, its just boring. Exercise after exercise of the passé composé or something along those lines. It gets old quickly. This week, we had to play some game and come up with an alibi for a news story where an exchange student was killed in Angers. I have no idea if it was a real article-- dates were whited out, as were places so its highly possible (don't worry parents-- there's not a serial killer in Angers). Anyway, we had to come up with an alibi to what we were doing that night and then get interrogated in front of the class. The class then had to choose who they thought did it and guess who the murderer was? Yours truly, of course. I'm going with its the beard. When I brought it up to my friends, they actually said "well you do kind of look like you could be a killer..". I have great friends, yeah? Also my grammar teacher called me an alcoholic since in my alibi I was at a bar. Fun times, grammar class.

Anyway, enough about that. Other than that classes went well this week. My art class was cancelled for 2/3 of the classes because she was sick. We are still learning about the Revolution in history and I finally started my practical phonetics course. Hopefully it will help me. I'm already improving on my "french R" I feel, so that is good. Its a necessity to be able to execute it and I still am horrible at it. Overall though, I'm learning a lot, especially with comprehension. 

On Tuesday, Mardi Café was cancelled. I'm not sure if I have explained Mardi Café on here so I will do so now. Every Tuesday a bunch of people in CIDEF all go out to one bar so that they can mingle and supposedly meet people from other countries. Its usually a good time. The bar changes weekly as well. Anyway, it didn't really matter that the night was cancelled as we had a party to go to for our friend Bastien. He had found a job working in Lille, and so it was time for us to bid him adieu. He was the first french guy that I met here and he's still one of my favorite frenchmen. He took us on a wine tour and he has spent countless nights with us at Le Soft teaching us how to improve our french argot and teaching us things that you wouldn't learn in school. He will sorely be missed but we plan on visiting him in Lille. It will give us a chance to visit our new friend and see a new part of France.

For the going away party, we, along with a bunch of Bastien's friends, went to a creperie down the road from Le Soft. It was a lot of fun and the food was really good. I ordered a galette for dinner, which had sausage, cheese and egg in it. Then for dessert, I ordered a chocolate and pineapple crepe which, may I add, was DELICIOUS. Pineapple is easily my favorite fruit and I have had an obsession with it lately. If I were a woman, I'd guess I was pregnant, just because I have been craving pineapple and peanut butter like it's nobody's business. It's the weirdest thing really. After the fete, we walked down the street to Le Soft to have a few last drinks with Bastien and friends. We will still see some of our other favorite french people like Mathieu, Bambi, Anne-Céline, Léa, etc. but I sure will miss Bastien. 

 Wednesday, the weather was beautiful-- for like a minute. I walked outside and I thought to myself,  "I don't even need a coat, its SOO nice out". Luckily, I brought one anyway. I met up with Ashley to go to town to get some lunch, as neither of us have classes until the afternoon on Wednesday. We went and bought some baguette in order to be thrifty and walked back around to the school where we met up with Mar. We learned that our art class was cancelled AGAIN, which meant that we had around 5 hours of free time until our next class. So, we decided to bask in the sunshine and walk into centre-ville. Wrong. It started to rain and it got really windy so we decided to head back toward the school. At one point the wind got really bad so we took shelter in the nearby Cathedral to wait until the wind would pass and my God, thank the Lord that we did.

The Cathedral was beautiful on the inside, and on the outside. It was empty, it being 2 PM on a Wednesday afternoon. Like I stated in my previous blog on St. Malo, I become overwhelmed in these massive churches. They are beautiful and awe-ing. I decided that I'm going to try and visit the cathedrals in each town that I visit to look at the difference. The stained glass windows are enough of a reason to walk in the church. If I have learned anything in France since coming here (which I have actually learned quite a bit), one of the things would be a new appreciation for architecture. Europe is beautiful, especially the older buildings. One thing our country really lacks is the sense of medieval history. Our country was not founded until almost the 1800s. By that time, the French were revolting again and they were about to enter their first Empire. Sure, we have the natives that lived in the Americas before the Europeans got there, and that is really interesting as well. However, there are no remnants of castles that were around 700 years ago. You won't find anything authentic roman ruins and you can't mark the progression of architecture throughout the US like you can in France. I love the United States, but I am loving Europe as well. It really is a beautiful place. 

Throughout the rest of the week we just did the normal stuff that an exchange student would do in a foreign country. On Wednesday, Ayana gave me some Japanese refresher lessons after dinner and she taught me how to do some origami. I only made a crane since it's the easiest and I had the faintest memory of how to do one from when I was younger. Mine was pretty terrible however. Ayana was sweet and said it was very good around 24.5 times, but it really wasn't. It's wing was lopsided and his beak was crushed. So, she gave me hers instead, which is basically perfect. I'm really sad that she leaves this weekend. I've had a lot of fun getting to know her. She's shy but really sweet and I wish that she could have stayed for a longer time. I've relearned quite a bit of Japanese and I think that it may actually stay with me this time (fingers crossed). After crane-making, we watched the Olympics and talked about differences in the language. For example, we say China. The Japanese say  "chuuka jinmin kyouwa koku" or "Chuukogu" for short. It's an intense difference if you ask me. We talked about foods, popular ones in the states and in Japan and then we talked about our plans to visit each other's country one day. France has taught me to want to go to Japan and China more than ever now. Also, Vietnam is on my list of places to see.

Thursday, James, Chanell, Ashley and I went to eat at a place called Le Tuscany or something along those lines and I highly recommend it. The food was really good, the service was good and the people were nice. I got a whole pizza loaded with vegetables and whatnot for under 8 euro I think, so that was a good deal. I learned Chanell's rape song-- "Stop! Don't touch me there. This is my no-no square (box is formed with hands around said "no-no" areas). R-A-P-E, R-A-P-E, RAPE RAPE RAPE". I thought this was kind of ridiculous, since they learned it in school, but amusing at the same time. Not that rape is at all amusing, (it's not), but the song is. After dinner, we met some of the french at Le Soft and we came to find out that it was Leah's birthday. That was a good time and we stayed for quite a while. 

Friday, we went bowling. Woohoo, bowling in France! But no, seriously, it was a fun time. It was literally a bar, with six lanes of bowling open. It was called Le Colisée (http://www.bowlinglecolisee.fr/). For 6.90 euro, you got two games of bowling and shoe rentals, so it was not bad at all. It was a lot of fun. Not that the week was stressful or anything, but it was a good way to kick back and relax and do something different. I got like 8 strikes I think between the two games so I didn't do too shabby. Ashley broke her previous record, yayy!! And Chanell broke 50! I want to return to the bowling alley soon with more people. With bowling, usually the more people, the more fun the night becomes. 

Afterward, we went out to eat at this Vietnamese Restaurant and I got this curry chicken with friend rice and "nems", or spring rolls filled with chicken. It was a delicious meal and it filled me up (all under 8 Euro-- 7.80 euro to be exact!). Then I got the most delicious dessert that I have ever had. It was passionfruit and mango sorbet with lychées (does anyone know what these are? Since we didn't and when we asked the man, he was like you don't know? Really?) and pineapple. Mmmm is the only word that I can say to describe it. I love pineapple and have been craving it like mad. 

Overall, great week. Also, to top it all off we got to see castles this weekend. I'll write another blog very soon about all of the castles that we got to see. 

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twin on

I love lychees!!! they're so good. basically its a little sphere (about the size of a walnut) and the outside side is all bumpy. you peel that off and you eat the white meat surrounding the pit. it's super sweet and delicious but they're hard to find in grocery stores in the us.

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