Sunday, May 22, 2011

Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin; but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!

Yesterday the group and I went to Cannes. The city was fairly similar to all the other cities that I've been to, lots of old buildings and a ton of art to look at. There was one huge difference though, the Cannes Film Festival was and is still going on until tomorrow and there was a lot of commotion from that. I was able to see the red carpet and the private beaches where all the celebrities stay. It was lots of fun. A couple of the students from my group actually saw Ryan Gosling from afar. I don't know if I believe them, but mostly I think that I am just jealous that I didn't get to see him. I had thought before I got to France that it would be funny if I got to see Ryan Gosling, since Jason is told that he resembles him. Get a nice picture of my sweet boyfriend's celebrity look-a-like.. Ticked I missed that opportunity!! What a bummer. The best part of the day was when we were all gathering to head back to the train station, that's right I rode a train, I came across probably the strangest thing I have ever seen..

There was a man who had painted his face white and dressed in 18th century clothing, a nice baby blue color. He was also wearing a large white wig a all curled up on the edges and pulled back in a pony tail. I found just his appearance to be absolutely outrageous, but the fun doesn't end there. Perched a top his outstretched arms were two very healthy cats. Yes, real living, moving, purring kittens. He would move is arms away from each other and back in again to reunite the creatures. They would lick one another and pat at each other. A couple of playful little felines. And if that isn't strange enough they're love and affection for one another was backed by the romantic and wonderful "My Heart Will Go On". No words just the music. It was so magical.

Of course I pull out my camera to get this miraculous exhibition on film. To my dismay the weirdo with the white face starts yelling at me. "Madame! Madame!" and he starts point to this ratty old treasure chest that has euros taped to the front of it. I'm thinking yeah right am I paying you for taking one picture of your insane, ludicrous, money-making tactic. Not a chance Louis!! So I turn to walk away and he keeps yelling "MADAME! MADAME!" I decided that maybe I can spare a little extra change. I grabbed the first coin I could so I could bust out of there. As I am dropping my 2 EUROS into his stupid box he whispers, "Respect the cats. Respect the cats. They are working." Then he proceeds to to hold out his arms and make me pet the kittens. I gave a little pat to each and walked away. So I basically paid 3 dollars to get flees and mites and rabies. Awesome. It was a most hilarious and wonderful experience!
Red carpet area.

Private beaches where after parties take place for the rich and famous.

I loved that they used quilts as the table clothes. So cozy and inviting.

The man who made it all possible.
I miss you. I love you.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Then yours wasn't a really good school. Now at ours they had at the end of the bill. French, music, and washing.

I wake up everyday as close to 8 as I possibly can, rush around getting ready for school, grab a couple pieces of baguette with confiture and run out the door to start my half an hour walk to l'école. School in France is different than anything I've experienced in the U.S. of A. Now I don't know if that is because I'm in a specialized school strictly for teaching French to international students or if it's just a French thing, but I quite like it.

Class starts promptly at 8:45. My class is full of students from all over the world. There is a boy from Italy, a girl from London, a nice lady from Denver, a couple of Japanese students, also, a girl from a country I can't remember the name of and if I did, wouldn't be able to pronounce it anyway. We all sit around a large table and talk about our days then do a couple worksheets. Then half way through our allotted 3 hours of class time we take a 15 minute break. During which I run down to a sweet little pâtisserie around the corner and buy a croissant. Delicious. Afterward it's time for another hour and a half worth of worksheet and conjugations. At precisely 12:00 class is dismissed and we are giving the rest of the day to do with what we wish.

Once a week I stay after with two other students for an hour to work with the professor from UVU. We go over the final test, which counts for 20% of my grade. No need to fear though my friends, I don't need to think much when it comes to answers for this exam, because Dave (my UVU professor) gives me them to me and then asks--as if we actually know--"is that right?".  I jot them down and there we go. I got an "A" on the test without even thinking about it. Seems slightly sketchy, but he's sweet and just wants us to do well. It's a nice little school and I have learned a lot about France and the other countries of the students we're in class with. The language it still a little tricky, but I'm getting there. 5 more weeks should help.

The building that my school is in.

The table where I attempt to learn French.

A tour of my school.

I miss you. I love you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Speak English! I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!

I’ve been here for a week now and it’s been chaotic and so amazing. I haven’t had any time to actually post something. So instead of really detailed recollections of my adventures thus far I thought a brief preview would suffice and while I continue the six more weeks here I will frequently post the good and bad of France!

So after a long 24 hours full of layovers, ten degree-reclining airplane seats and horrible food I have finally made it to the beautiful city of Nice. The wonderful family hosting me is so great and the apartment I am staying in is magnificent. It is on the corner of Avenue Notre Dame and Rue Lépante, right above a quaint pharmacy. The doors are old and heavy, the floors are made of tiny grey tiles and the ceilings are 12 feet tall. I share a room with a girl from my program named Julie. She is sweet and a lifesaver. Everyone speaks lightning fast and add in all sorts of slang, which renders my two semesters worth of studying French basically useless. With her help and lots I practice I have mastered a couple of phrases—and by phrases I mean words—that have helped me get through the past 7 days. Bonjour! Merci! Pardon! Je ne sais pas! So far they have been sufficient, although I have a feeling that I should probably learn at least, like, 3 more…

We have a tour guide that is from the school that I attend here in France, her name is Blandine, and she is fantastic. On Thursday she took us to a little city called Antibes. I was able to go to the Picasso museum and it was so great. The museum had a lot of his ceramic work on display and a bunch of his sketches. It was amazing to see the process of his work. After the museum we sat at the beach for an hour or so. In Nice the beaches are covered in rocks and pebbles, the one in Antibes was sandy and we went crazy. It was nice not

having to wear hiking boots to the beach. Around the corner from the beach was this statue that was made completely of letters. It reminded me of a huge word-search puzzle. I have a to give a quick shout out to the wonderful Mower family. I was able to find a couple of words hidden in the piece and among them, with the exception of the pest of a letter "z", I discovered MOWER. Check out the picture if you don't believe me.

Just yesterday we went to Monaco. It was so much fun. First we went to Prince Albert's palace.It was a long hike up to the top of the hill on which it sat and on the way up we were able to see the track that is used for the Grand Prix,
although, that doesn't take place for a few more weeks. We got to watch the changing of the guards and got to visit the cathedral where Grace
Kelly is buried. That was neat. We also went to the Casino de Monte-Carlo. We were surrounded by couture stores and every fancy car you can imagine. I had to laugh right out loud when there was a Chevrolet parked amongst them. After we were shook from our dreams of one day being the person pulling up in the Maserati dressed in Chanel, we headed down to the most beautiful, and only, Japanese gardens I have ever seen.

Today I was able to go to church, I didn't understand a single word that was said, but it didn't matter cause the spirit of the Lord spoke to me and I knew that it was where I was supposed to be. I am so thankful to be a member of the church and to be blessed with this amazing opportunity. It would not have been possible without my Heavenly Father.

I miss you. I love you.