Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day two en France

Day two. Ah much better! I got some really good, sleep like a rock, rest! This made my first day in Rennes, and what a fabulous day it was! So here is my list of exciting things that I encountered today:
1) Woke up at the embarrasingly late time of 12:45, and took a shower in the weird showers that you have to press a button in order to keep the stream going.
2) Took the metro down town to check out restaurants and found this really cute one that we were automatically beamed down as American's because none of us could understand our waiter for the first three minutes and he had to explain the menu.
3) Ate my first "dejeuner" in Rennes! When they say French food is good and good for you, I think they underestimate it. It was beyond delicious. I had a white fish with an olive oil sauce, and potatoes, and this interesting mesh of artichoke, spinach and cream sauce. I know it sounds tasty!
4) Had my first cup of cafe au lait!!! They brew the coffee and then they put the cream through a dispensor so it's frothy and hot and you pour it in yourself. I had ONE little baggie of "sucre" in my cafe au lait and for those of you who do not know how I drink coffee, I have coffee with my sugar and cream. But here, it is heavenly and fantastic and does not need sugar, even if it's strong.
5) Bought the most ADORABLE pair of French heels that match my French-looking coat. They hurt, but they are tres chic!
6) Since eeeeeeveryone here wears black from head to toe on a daily basis I bought some black tights (well two :)) and hope to blend in a tad bit more!
7) I heard a French accordian while we were walking on the street!!!!!!! How incredibly steriotypical but it made me so giddy!!
8) We encountered French cheese. All I can say Julie is that brie here is beyond beyond beeeyoonnd amazing!
9) French wine..... mmmmmmm...

So there are some good encounters and the reason why I am already feeling practically home! I miss you all, and a bientot pour la jour prochaine!!!

Day one en France

Day one. What can I say about the country of France? It's extremely different. If you ever come here, expect a bombshell of change because it's quite clear that America and France are two VERY different places. First off, the flight was very tiring. Our first stopover was in Iceland (I know right?) at the Keflavik International Airport in one of the most hoppin' cities in Iceland. Jess I got you a postcard from there. Icelandic is a funky language too btw, we heard it all throughout the flights and there were little service tags on every seat on the plane that gave you a little tidbit from the language. Also the plane was abnormally comfortable and spacious, owing to the fact that we had three seats to two people and had more room to put our stuff on. In front of each seat was a touchscreen monitor where you could watch movies, tv, play videogames, and even see exactly where you were on the flight (like altitude, how far you were by miles, and where in the world you were).
The flight then took off from there and we were flying over the english channel.... this is when I started to get very very giddy and stare at the moniter for an hour to see when we would touch down in Paris. For all of you who do not realize how much I am in love with France, I basically had a coniption when we landed and almost died when we got out of the plane. One thing you all need to know is that the Charles de Gaulle airport is a crazy maze. And also pack light. I had to lug around 2 giant things of luggage (one of them was extremely annoying and kept falling over) a carry on colling bag, and a giant "purse" filled with odd things such as my rain boots. From the airport we took a "mini-bus" as they called it to the Montparnasse train station. This is where we got laughed in giggled at because we had about 9 things of luggage that we had to try to get up an escalator (which was blocked off with these big metal stumps... why would anyone do that?) and we got the entire train station to know that "HELLO! We are Americans!!!") It was pretty painful.
Then was the process of buying the tickets, which we couldn't do with our American visa's at the automatic ticket booth so we just went to a ticket person instead. The train ride from there to Rennes was very very long and we added even more of an American flare to our already American selves by having extreme issues with getting our luggage to fit on the train. Merde. As the train arrived in Rennes we were super tired, super cranky, and super annoyed that it was raining and looked terrible outside. I suppose it was then that none of us had any energy to speak in any French and we could have passed out right there in the train station. But no, from there we had to take the Metro to the University to check in, speak to the head advisor of the exchange program, and then finally wander to streets for a place to eat.
Now the French in Bretagne prefer to be called Bretans apparently, and they love a drink called cidre, and they love love love crepes. There are two types of crepes: gallettes, which are the savory kind in which you can get cheese and meats or egg in them, and then there are the sweet crepes, which are more like dessert and have a lighter colored flour in them. The cidre was very different from American cider because first off, like most drinks you find at a French table, it was alcoholic. So there began my first alcholic beverage in France, and I was too tired to care! Quel domage! But I definately tasted the gallette. Oh did it taste fabulous! From then on we finished our meal (no tip because the tip is always included in the meal, so you are weird if you do tip) and we made our way back to campus to unpack and finally passout.
Yeah, we didn't go to sleep till probably midnight Rennes time, which made it so that we had been up for a total of 38-40 hours. Ugh. We strolled the streets looking for a store that might be open for a little but NOTHING is open at 11 at night. Although people seem to like to walk their dogs at that time? Weird. So the one thing that I think I might go crazy about here is the obsessively chirping birds that do not stop no matter what time of the day. And I mean they chirp even when the sun goes down, when it's 3 in the morning, when a dog walks by.... it's annoying. Also the toilets in the dorm are from like the 70's and I feel like I am going to fall in everytime I sit on them. Not to mention there is a bidet in my room. According to modern Frenchman though they are not used for your butt anymore, but rather to wash your feet. Again, weird. Also the rooms themselves are extremely outdated, but private none the less. I finally fell asleep around midnight listening to birds chirping outside my window and not very happy. But as Sarah's nerdy German calander said to her, "everything takes time". Good advice Sarah's calander. Bonsoir, et a bientot pour la jour prochaine!