Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Welcome to classes

So classes have officially started and I'm getting used to my schedule. I don't even realize how fast the time goes by, but it seems like I just arrived yesterday and had no idea what to expect. I have now used up all my minutes on my not so fantastic french phone, attempted to do laundry (just the delicates) in my sink and bidet (I bleached the sink and bidet first don't you worry!!) and I'm starting to plan trips and little voyages of my own outside of Rennes.
The next trip I am going on is this coming weekend, and it's a little city called Nantes. Well maybe not little city, but to me all the cities here seem adorable and cute so I call them little! I can't wait to go explore some more, and me and the girls are going to be planning a trip to Italy soon to go visit some of our friends! I couldn't be more excited about this! If there is any other food on the planet I would like to try it's Italian food haha. Speaking of food, the girls and I went to the market this past weekend and got to explore downtown with the crowds of hungry french people. It was amaaaazing! I've never seen so many food stands with vendors alike yelling out prices and weights and selections of food. They had a variety of meats, cheeses, beers, wines, chickens and ducks, butters and creams, vegetables and fruits, jelly's and desserts. I can name just about a dozen more items you can find there, all coming in a variety of flavors, colors and tastes.
The people at the market seem to be regulars because they know exactly what they want, how much it costs, and how much they want to get. I loved watching people swarming to the fresh seafood and meats. There were a million different things to look at as well as the old fashioned buildings that loomed in the background, giving the girls and I something to sing about. We literally did sing. And it was beauty and the beast. How were we supposed to help that?
After the market we decided to hit up a little café and grab something to drink before we made our way back into the swarms of people doing their shopping. If there is one thing I love about France, it's the coffee. Everyone knows how much sugar and milk I put in my coffee, when I do drink it that is, but here I only add a sugar packet to my café au lait and I am good to go. It's amazing what certain places make me do: cut my hair, drink coffee with practically no sugar, air kiss perfect strangers. I don't know exactly how the French make the "kiss" so impersonal, but it's amazing how extremely normal it is to go up to a stranger you just met and air kiss them on both cheeks without a second glance back. I'm still getting used to this odd phenomenon, and I severely miss hugs! (I better get lots of them when I return home in May!)
So back to my afternoon at the market! We did some more shopping after our little break in the coffee shop, and took advantage of the wonderful sales going on. I have already told myself I need to go back to the center and shop some more before the sales stop completely. Like I have stated in previous posts, the sales in France are only about 2 or 3 times a year and they run for about a month each. I don't know how they don't go out of business in between that time, everything is so expensive here! It's no wonder the French all drive tiny little cars that don't work very well, they probably can't afford them with this euro! I'm afraid to look at my bank account everyday and see just how much I really spent on food, groceries, withdrawals and shopping.
So by the end of our market day excursion we were all pretty tired and were in desperate need of sustenance so we bought some fresh butter and brussel sprouts and made our way back to our ghetto dorm to steam them on the only two hot plates on our floor. They took a very long time to steam but weren't too shabby in the end... we also made nachos and of course our ritual bread and cheese routine took place while we cooked as well.
By the end of the day none of us wanted to stay cooped up in the ugly, stuffy,cold dorm so we packed up and went out to a local bar called Funky Munky. The atmosphere was really laid back and very cozy, and we got a round of these very interesting, all natural shots. They had the most interesting flavors! For example, the different flavors I tried, without knowing what I was going to get, were: Cucumber, tropical citrus, blackberry, and nutella. They were all very interesting to taste! Other flavors were the normal strawberry and raspberry and peach, but they also had violette, chocolate mint, lichy, and mango flavors. The bartender was very passionate about his knowledge for shots and he gave us a few pointers before diving in. 1) The shots came on this long board called a baguette and you had to twist them out of the holes to get them out, 2) Don't sniff them before we take the shot because it will mess up the taste for the other shots we take later, and 3) Take our time and indulge in every flavor. Unfortunately in the end we were scolded for not taking our time, haha, but we didn't smell them, and we twisted them out as we were told! We definitely need to go back for a second round and try the other flavors they have!
It's very cool being able to walk about the streets at night and see hundreds of people just chillin' out and relaxing with their drinks. It was a very good atmosphere to be in, and we made a lot of friends that night just for being 4 American girls! They apparently love or hate Americans here, well I find most of the men love Americans, but it's all the same, they are a very curious bunch and love to sing American songs to us and see if we know them! Of course we know the majority of them and like to sing along too!
Well it's classtime! Gotta go do that French speaking thing ;) ... a tout a l'heure et a bientot pour la jour prochaine!