Sunday, August 7, 2011

Clothes, Costco, and Crazyness

Andrea and I slept in this morning, thank goodness!  The boys left to explore Barnes &Nobles while the moms went on a walk, and Andrea and I were left alone.  I decided to show her a little bit more of Charlotte, so we walked in the hundred-degree heat to the Arboretum.  I wanted her to see the store Tutti, but we passed a consignment store on the way to it and went in there instead.  They were having the best sale!  I found a $150 Lilly Pulitzer dress with the tags on for $40! Andrea got a really cute Ralph Lauren bathingsuit cover-up, too. 
Afterwords, we went to Costco, one of my favorite stores in the entire world.  We made the rounds to taste every single free sample they had-the smoothies were the best!
We finally departed for my uncle's lake house on lake Hartwell in South Carolina.  We arrived late in the evening.  After hanging around a bit and eating dinner, we all had super intense Wii Dance-offs!  Even Franck and Nico joined in the awkwardness that comes with not-really dancing!
When everybody went to bed, Andrea, Nicolas, Taylor, and I all hung out downstairs.  I think it really bothers Taylor that he can't understand a word that I say in French.  I've gotten tired of translating everything word-for-word for him.  He and the frenchies had fun exchanging cuss words, though.  I'm just glad to be speaking French again!  It's been too long! 
Even after the boys hit the hay, Andrea and I sayed up talking and gossipping and laughing! 

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Summer Duck Farm

I cannot begin to express in words how excited I am to be able to speak French again!  If I had it my way, Andrea and Nicolas would move in with me in Charlotte and I would never speak American ever again!
We made a pit stop on our way to The Farm.  We paused at a Walmart in Albemarle to pick up Nico's prescription. Here, I introduced them to "the people of Walmart".  I am not a Wally World snob by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, it was one of my most missed stores while I was in France.  They were amazed by the vastness of it.  (I, honestly, did not think it any more impressive than the Auchan in Henin-Beaumont.)  The great thing about speaking French in small-town America is that no one understands anything.  If, perchance, anyone has learned French, it is most likely classroom French in which case, there is only the slightest possibility he or she knows what any of us say.  It totally bugged my brother, Taylor, that I would not translate everything for him. 
We finally arrived at The Farm.  After a traditional southern US meal of REAL BBQ, we spent the afternoon riding golf carts and ATVs, walking the grounds, lounging about, and just chatting.  Even though Taylor has trouble understanding a lot of what goes on, I think he likes Nicolas, and I'm pretty sure he has a crush on Andrea (no suprise there).
Andrea and I beat the boys in a golf cart race.  They got even by initating a water fight. 

Ma Famille Ici!

To fill anyone in on what I have been doing since my return to the states from Frogland, suffice it to say that I have been exceedingly busy!  I returned home on Thursday, June the ninth.  On Saturday, June eleventh, I took one of my still unpacked suitcases and headed from Charlotte to Charlottesville.  There, I have spent the past eight weeks in a classroom for seven and a half hours a day from Monday to Friday learning Italian.  While I have no where near the fluency I have in French, I feel pretty confident that I know most all of the Italian grammar!
Ecco un corto metraggio che abbiamo fatto in classe e che ho messo su YouTube!  Non vi preocupate-- è un film d'orrore e deve farvi paura!
Today is actually "Graduation Day", but I asked for special permission to leave early.  For the past two weeks, my second host family, the Helous, have been touring the southeast states in the USofA.  I did not actually think that I would be able to see them because they had planned to pass through Charlotte the first through the third of August.  I begged them to come on a later date, because if I had missed even one day of classes, I would fail automatically. 
I spent last night at my dad's house in Radford, VA.  This morning at 7h45 my grandmother came to pick me up, and I drove three hours to Charlotte to  meet my family!  Both Andrea and Nicolas have ear infections, and without American insurance, the doctor's visit cost $150 per child and the prescription cost $138.  Che peccato!  After letting everyone know that, "Aux USA on se fait des câlins, pas les bises," we departed almost immediately for The Summer Duck Farm.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Me Voilà!

After a nine hour flight during which I watched The Tourist, Burlesque, and half of Chocolat, my feet are finally touching US soil.  Amidst my hours of movie-marathoning, I also sweaked in one hour an a half of a nap, but that was all I could manage.  I tried my hardest to sleep more than that, yet counting sheep has never had much appeal to me.  This entire past week I have fallen asleep past two o'clock in the morning and I have awoken before six without any alarm.  Someone must have slipped Adderall into my fruit juice, because I have had nothing but energy all week long, whereas I usually need ten hours a night just to function!  Even now, I feel the adrenaline rushing through my body, and I know that I will not crash until at least 19h00 tonight.  The great side effect resulting from this is that unless I die and take five days to catch up on sleep, I doubt that jet lag will affect me too terribly.
Anyways, this post was just to let everyone know that I'm alive and well.  No, the plane did not crash in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Now I'm off to drive a car!

Ça Y Est

Well, here I am in the airport.  I finally broke down and trashed my Rotary vest.  The only problem now, besides not being able to move, is that I feel and look like a Christmas tree.  Ironically, I've been craving Christmas music all of this past month!  
At least I'm giving the airport staff a good laugh.  They had a good time picking through my pins, pointing at my carte 12-25 that I have affiched to my back.  I even had one woman from Minnesota ask me if I were a stewardess!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Le Gala

I rushed when I got home to eat my host grandmother's super yummy Calamars Provencale.  I was already running late.  Of course, it was my host grandfather who drove me at 40 km/h to Mathilde (host sister) and Cloe (school friend)'s dance spectacle.  I just barely made it.  As I walked in the door, I saw Mathilde begin the dance that she had begun to learn in February when I first arrived.  I had thankfully only missed the beginning, and I was able to watch both of Mathilde's dances and both of Cloe's dances! 

Chantilly: The Home of Whipping Cream

Despite my lack of sleep this entire week, I awoke this morning around seven to leave for Beauvais at 8h30.  Mr. and Mme. Delesalle came to pick me up from the house, and we drove about two hours to see the cathedral.  It was beautiful!  Plus, the town had cleaned it, so the front half was a pearly white that almost hurt my eyes!  The grandeur of the church was incredible.  It was so large that it had already collapsed twice; ironically, it was not even completed.  The entire church consists of just a choir and a transept; there exists no nave, and if there did, it would be four times the size it is now! 
After lunch, we drove for another hour or so until Chantilly.  Driving around the town, I realized that that was the town in which I had dreamed of living.  It looked so typical French, especially with the imposing chateau in the background.  I wish I had had more of an opportunity to visit multiple chateaux.  This one was magnificent!  Apparently, the last Duke who owned it gave it to France with the stipulation that his art collection remain exactly as is.  Boy, does he have a collection!  Among the artists displayed, Raphael, Delacroix, Fouquet, and Poussin are some of the most well known.  When we finished the tour of the chateau itself, we moseyed on over to the stables.  If anyone else saw them without knowing what they were, he would confuse them for a chateau, too!  They are the most elegant stables I have ever seen in my entire life.  It's because the Prince who lived there believed that horses were the reincarnation of human beings, so he made a temple devoted to them. 
Since Mr. Delesalle used to be the principal of Lycee Saint Paul for twenty-eight years, he took me to see the chapel within the school when we returned.  He could not believe that I had attended the school for an entire year without going in there!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Une Lettre

Chère Madison,

Si tous nos students exchange ont toujours été merveilleux, toi tu exceptionnelle.

Malheureusement l'heure du départ est venue, mais toutes les bonnes chose ont une fin et Nicole et moi ne sommes pas là pour te souhaiter un bon retour... Ne soit pas triste de repartir, tu sais bien que quand on vient dans le nord l'on pleure 2 fois, en arrivant et en repartant, ton amie nous l'a rappelé ce samedi a la conférence de district et puis tu te souviendras toute ta vie de cette année. Et comme maintenant tu aimes la France, je suis sûre que tu y reviendras et puis un nouveau challenge t'attend, la reprise et la réussite dans tes études.

Au nom de tous les membres de notre club, j'ai souhaité te remettre la médaille de notre club afin que tu emmènes un petit morceau de nous dans ton pays.

Bon vent Madison, au plaisir de te revoir


Nicole et Jean Michel DeGrugillier

My Last Rotary Meeting

Tonight was my last Rotary meeting.  Mr. Vanoverberghe started the meeting by giving me another flag, a medal, and a package which I later opened to discover a stuffed dog.  Mr. Vanoverberghe owns a toy store in Lens called Joue Club.  I named my puppy Eleu. (Don't even try to pronounce that in English, please.)
Then, Mr. Crapet read me the lovely letter from the President of the club, Mr. Degrugillier. 
For the real meeting, Mr. Delesalle gave a Powerpoint presentation of the World Heritage sites as named by UNESCO.  I now have a long list of places to visit and things to see, as if my list were not already around the corner and down the block in the beginning!

Une Peche Au Thon

Today was my last day of school in France.  Ever.  School technically does not finish for Lycee Saint Paul until this Saturday, and even after that, the students still have to pass the BAC.  If you wonder whether they had a big bang party to send me off into the vast unknown that is my future in the United States, I will quickly put an end to that thought by noting that nothing out of the ordinary happened at all today.
I arrived at school at 9h15, decided to skip Spanish class to hang out with my friends, took notes in French and Economy, ate lunch, and took some more notes in Maths and History.  The funniest part of the day happened at lunch time.  I was looking at the menu for the day and noticed that in the entree (appetizer) column, the dish "peche au thon" was noted on the board.  At first I freaked out, saying, "Eew! How gross! Who in their right mind woud serve tuna fish with a peach?"  I then realized that peche also means fishing, so I corrected myself, "Oh, wait, that's not right; it's probably just freshly caught tuna! Duh!"  Surprisingly, however, Cloe turned to me and told me that I had been correct the first time.  So, in an effort to try new things, I ate a tunafish filled peach at lunch time today.  What's even more surprising is that I enjoyed it, in fact!  After lunch we went back to the Salle de Travail where I recounted stories from this weekend; we laughed so hard we almost exploded.  After school had ended, we also spent the last hour in the Salle de Travail.  When we left it was pouring down rain.  Under Marie's umbrella that barely covered my head, I removed my shoes so as to avoid ruining them.  I thought my friends were going to die of laughter!  You cannot imagine how may weird looks I received, running through the rain from the bathroom with Somaya.  I even got a text from Andrea (host sister) who had seen me from the bus window.

La Conference de District

Hugues came and picked me up from the house at 7h45.  The 1520 Rotary district conference did not take place far from home.  I was one of the first of the exchange students to arrive in Lille besides Jess (US) and Kathryn (Australia).  When everyone started arriving, we discovered that we didn't actually have to attend the conference.  Instead, we all went out in the courtyard to catch up on everything and sunbathe a little.  Some of my favorite Rotary moments happen when we're all just sitting in a circle and chatting together.  I don't know why we even had to arrive so early, because when we sang Gregoire's "On a Tous Le Meme Soileil", it was after 11h00.  Cari gave the most wonderful speech, though, beforehand, about how this was the best year of all of our lives, and we all probably would have cried had there not been two hundred adult Rotarians staring at us.  The best part of the conference, besides the people, of course, was that we got Rotary satchels!  I love free stuff! 
I sat next to Kevin (India) and Suzanna (US) at lunch.  Afterwords, Suzanna and I ended up being late for getting on the bus because we went on a wild goose chase for filled water bottles to drink after lunch.  When we finally found two, we couldn't find any bottle openers.  Thank goodness buses have toilets. 
After spending the entire bus ride singing, we arrived in Dinant, a small town in Belgium, around 18h00.  We put our affairs on twin bunk-beds in rooms of ten and almost immediately re-departed to go visit the town.  Unfortunately for us, at 18h05, we discovered that all of the shops and pretty much the entire town closed down five minutes before our arrival.  Tant pis! 
Except for the beautiful buildings in the typical Belge style along the river, the landscape reminded me a little bit of the Vermont.  The big bummer for me was that even though I had charged my camera the previous night, it died within ten minutes.  Suzanna and I walked around the town, sitting next to the statue of Adolf Sax, the inventor of the saxaphone, crossing the bridge with tens of giant saxaphones, and participating in swan staring along the river. 
At dinner time, I sat down next to Michael (US), Chris (US), and Kevin who were having a delightful conversation about fecal matter which developped into stories about bidets.  After eating, I joined some girls outside until it started when we went inside to continue our girl time. Pretty soon, Michael joined our girl time, and not long afterwords, we had a giant group of people playing a card game called PIG in a circle around us.  When the whole PIG group formed, I had gone to the bathroom, and when I came back, I was too late to join. So instead, I played good watch-bad watch, umbrella, and concentration with Rafael (US).  By the time we got to concentration, though, I was so rattled by the other two games, that I couldn't focus.  We ended up playing it with continents. However, I still had to ask for a specification: whether there were five, six, or seven continents.  The big group of people finally got tired with PIG and let me join in to play a different kind of reflex card game, and, no surprise, I lost. We played one more round, and that was the end of the card games for the night.
Suddenly, we remembered that Kevin had promised to let us get rid of his moustache!  I ran upstairs to get my facial wax because no one had remembered razors.  We only got half of his 'stache with the wax (I don't think they removed it properly).  Those who waxed his moustache kept trying to reapply the strip and rip it off; it didn't work.  In the end Kevin got fed up from getting hurt so much and went to shave it off himself with a razor that we discovered someone actually had brought.  All of the other guys were incredulous that I actually put myself through a similar torture with wax on a regular basis.  When Kevin returned, he looked like a completely different person!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Famimial AuRevoirs

Tonight Pascaline dropped me off in Vermelles. I went to Sabine and Christophe's first to say goodbye.  It felt bizarre to know that I will not return to their home in the near future.  Afterwords, I stopped by the Ghysel's.  Philippe had spent all morning putting together a video of our time together.  They also gave me all of the pictures we took together, pyjamas I had left at the condo in Stella, and Pierre discreetly passed me a card that Mathilde had written to me. (The card had bounced back, and Pierre was supposedly told to give it to me a while back.  After they gave me all of that, we rushed over to a practice-run of Mathilde's dance recital.  It was so cute, she and her friends dressed up as cats and pranced all over the stage looking adorable!  When she finished, we rushed over to say a quick "Hello" to Stephanie, and then I had to return back to the Adamski's
I honest to goodness hope that each and every one of my host families comes to visit me!  I know we will have the occasion to see each other since I'm coming back to France as soon as I can, but I just do not wish to leave France in the first place!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

La Descente De La Lesse

I ended up staying last night in the guy's room with a few other girls because we went over there to talk (all of the other girls fell asleep straight away), and then on avait la flemme to leave, so I squished into a single bunkbed with Rafael (US) and Jess (US).  Those were some of the most pathetic bunkbeds in the world! Whenever one of the guys tried to climb up to go to sleep, some of the support boards always broke off, so we finished by putting all of the upper mattresses on the floor.  I have to admit that sleeping at three in a twin bed does not provide an optimal space, so at I'm guessing 4h30, I changed back into the girls' room, and made Maddi (Australia) scootch over since I did not want my top bunk to break on top of her.
When we awoke around 8h00 this morning, we had a quick breakfast, jumped in the bus, and headed for Dinant Adventure where we all picked out our paddles and prepared for our kayak adventure. 
I rode in a kayak with Suzanna (US).  It was so much fun because to enter the water, we had to use a type of slide, and Suzanna and I chose to slide in backwards!  We didn't even get wet!
Awkward moment of the day:  I really needed to use the Ladies' Room, but the water was too shallow where we were.  So, Suzanna and I rowed over to the shore and climbed up the embankment.  I started to head to where there might be a tad more privacy until I noticed that it was a field of Ortie.  I needed to tinkle so badly, that I just pulled down my pants there and went with barely any heads up to Suzanna.  She also needed to go, bus since she had already gotten stung by the nettles, she decided it could wait.  I'm amazed at myself for not feeling at all embarassed, even now!  When I had finished and was pulling up my shorts, Asaki (Japan) and Yuki (Japan) rowed by in their kayak and said, "Aw. Did you go pee pee?"  Why yes, I did. 
Amazing moment of the day:  The morning began beautifully with blue skies and warm weather.  The news had warned us that it might rain, however.  At one moment Suzanna and I looked ahead of us to see two kayaks in front under a downpour of rain while we rode along completely dry.  We then passed the frontier of the rain cloud.  It was breathtaking!
When we all arrived at the campground 21 kilometers later, we ate lunch with a Rotary exchange group from Belgium that included a guy who resembled Jesus. 
After playing Umbrella, My World, and Good Watch and singing every other song we could think of in the bus ride, Hugues presented me with my Rotary Ambassador Certificate.  The best part about leaving are the hugs.  The worst aspect is that I actually have to leave.  We did manage to get through the afternoon without crying, which is wonderful in my opinion!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Problem With Music

Tonight we went over to Pascaline's sister's house for dinner. Almost as soon as I arrived, their son Nathan invited me to go to a "rock concert" with him. I was already exhausted, but I knew that we would leave after he returned home anyways, and it was a better option than sitting at the dinner table for five hours.
When we arrived at the Rock Café with his friend Alexia, there was no one there. The band had not even arrived at 20h30. The people around the bar were super sketchy. At one point, some creeper, who we later discovered had 31 years old, came up to us and started chatting. He was completely hammered already and refused to leave us alone. He kept talking and talking. Of course, because he was so drunk, not even the French could understand him.
By the end of the night, I was pretty much ignoring him, noddin my head, "yes" to every question he posed. By 22h the band had finally started to play. I think that tonight was the first time in my life that I have ever heard "Mary Had A Little Lamb" as a rock song.
I couldn't pay attention to the music because the weirdo kept repeating a question. I asked Alexia what he was saying. When he repeated it again, Alexia told me that he asked if he were my type. I cannot believe that I nodded a "yes" to him! When we went outside to wait for Alexia's dad, he came out and asked me to go to dinner with him sometime. Nathan and I then proceeded to pretend we were in a relationship. Why is it that I already attract weird, creepy, loser-ish, old, unemployed, freaks on a guy level?

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I road the RER this morning from Paris to Versailles. In the train station, I met some super nice people from Oklahoma.  On the train itself, we had wonderful entertainment by some musicians on accordians!  I arrived in Versailles around 9h30, but since the Adamski's were not supposed to get there until 10h30, I waited for an hour by the statue of Louis XIV. 
When the Adamskis did arrive, we decided to do everything backwards. We began in the horse stables that now hold a carriage exhibit.  Oh, how I want to ride in a horse drawn carriage wearing glass slippers on the arm of a prince!  A girl can dream..
In the Queen's appartment we walked through rooms whose lavishness I could never compare to any American suite.  She had a view to kill for, and enough distance from her husband's chateau that she could breathe enough, so the idea of killing her husband would never present a problem.
We moved on to the gardens so extravagant that I thought I might lose myself even with a map. We watched a fabulous waterworks display in a labyrinth of roses.  I just kept wondering when the dolphins would make their appearance.
We finally, after waiting a modest amount of time, we entered the Château. No comment.  It was incredible.  I am officially marrying the next monarch who calls himself the Sun King!
I honestly think that Emilie had more fun in the gift shops afterwords, though!  The guards had to kick us out at closing time because we overstayed our welcome. 

I wonder if it would be possible to be a squatter in a chateau like Versailles....

Movin' On Up

I discovered this morning that because I have been accepted into an Italian language immersion program at the University of Virginia for this summer, my plane ticket has suddenly been moved from the eighteenth of June to the ninth.  This only leaves me seven days!  I think I want to cry.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

La Fete Des Meres

We celebrated, belatedly compared to the US, La Fete des Meres (Mother's Day) today.   I took a train back from Lille with Paul (Germany) this morning around 10h00.  With barely any sleep from the night before since I slept over with Sofie (Argentina) and Emma (Finland), I just wanted to rest. 
Instead, I ate a "barbeque" with my host family and Jean-Michel's parents (Pascaline's are actually in Montenegro.).  Speaking of barbeque, I miss it dearly!  In France barbeque is like what you get when you ask for barbeque in California, which means that barbecue is the verb that means to cook out or to grill.  When, in the south, we say barbecue, we mean the real stuff, the pulled pork sandwich with the ketchup-based sauce (because it tastes better than the SC mustard-based or the western NC vinegar based sauces). It's heaven in a bun.
Anyways, after talking briefly to Pierre-Alexandre via Skype, and eating grilled chicked and sausages, I took a nice long nap.  When I awoke, I packed my affairs and headed over to the Helou's to spend the night with them. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Last Lille

Today was the last day in Lille for me for this year in France.  I met up with Maddi (Australia-whose French has either improved greatly, or who has become a lot less self-conscious) almost as soon as I got there, so we spent most of the afternoon together.  We saw a giant parade of people playing instruments on bicycles for no purpose, we saw at least three groups of fiances acting crazy before getting married, we drank yummy, pulpy orange juice, and we got half of our shopping checked off of our lists.  We also had a super dooper time singing the song 1234 by the Plain White T's.  While we were walking towards the shopping centers, first Printemps, then Gallery LaFayette, I saw a large, creepy, tattooed, biker-looking guy hanging out with the homeless people on the side of the street.  I turned to Maddi and said, "Oh my gosh, that guy over there is so scary!."  Then he moved, and I added, "Oh no, he's walking over here. He's walking towards us!"  Then, as if I were not already freaked out enough as it was by his appearance, he barked at me.  Yes, he barked like a dog, and I screamed at the top of my lungs in the middle of the square in Lille.  I started cracking up afterwords because I could not believe that I actually screamed out loud. 
After Maddi bought her Longchamp bagfrom the Galleries LaFayettes, she ditched me, and I went to hang out with Marti (Argentina), her friend Sofie (Argentina), Cari (Ecuador), Emma (Finland), Tim (Australia), and Paul (Germany).  We all gave Sofie a mini-tour of Lille, and at around 20h, the girls headed over to Cari's house to snack on dinner, chat, and watch the Barcelona-Manchester football game while the guys just went to a bar.  If anyone is vaguely interested at all, Barcelona creamed Manchester 3 to 1.

J'Ouvre Les Parenthèses

Whenever my Economy teacher, Mme. Braun gets off topic in class, which happens quite often, she always opens and closes the parentheses. Today, she made a Titanic reference. When she asked about the Celine Dion song and no one knew the reponse, I automatically said, "My Heart Will Go On." Of course, I used my normal American accent to say this. She just looked at me and said, "Can you repeat that so I can understand?" Without missing a beat, I said, in the most amazing French accent in the world, "My Arte Weeeel Goh Onne". Everyone died of laughter, but Madame understood this time. She then closed the parentheses and went on with class.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Metaphorical Baby

One of my friends at school pointed out that I would be giving birth to my baby today if I had gotten pregnant the day of my arrival in France. I hope I don't look that fat!

On a more serious note, Daniel's (Mexico) father passed away today. Daniel, you and your family are in my prayers.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pairi Daiza

Today the Adamskis and I went to Paradisio, the most amazing zoo-park in the entire world! We arrived at 11h00, and immediately wanted to see the feeding of the monkeys.

While heading over there, we ran into kangaroos!

Unfortunately, we walked rather slowly, taking in the breathtaking scenery, and we missed the feeding. I was amazed at the monkey enclosure, though. I thought they would be behind cages, but it was completely the opposite! They had their own little island on which they roamed freely. They even came close enough for us to pet them.

Taking the bridge off of the island, we walked into a grotto filled with seals and penguins!

That eventually led us into the aquarium that housed, among other animals, sharks, bubble-eyed fish, and jellyfish. I wished all throughout the aquarium walk that I had seen Finding Nemo in French, because I could have quoted the entire movie in there.
We had Chinese for lunch. Why is it that almost every single Chinese restaurant on the planet is buffet-style or at least has some sort of buffet in it?

Afterwords, we read on the map about Dr. Yu's. I had read about it, but had never tried a foot massage by fish! It was amazing! I didn't know what to expect, really, but it tickled! It was the oddest sensation to have hundreds of tiny fish eating my feet! (I saw an advertisement for a thirty minute, 45Euro session in the Touquet, but my twenty minute session here was only 5, and it was so worth it!) It was the coolest experience I could ever imagine involving fish! I highly suggest it! (Mommy, can I have a new pet? We don't even need to buy stuff for it, 'cuz I'll keep it in the bathtub, and we don't have to pay for food!)

After walking through the Chinese gardens, lighting incense, tying goodluck ribbons on a tree, and banging the gong, we went to the aviary. MeepMeep I saw the roadrunner! In your face, Wylie Coyote!
We took a quick break for mate tea, and continued on to the African animals.

We were even allowed to feed the giraffes and elephants!

Let me just say that Dumbo has a pretty prickly trunk, but he's very friendly and likes carrots.

We rushed through the rest of the park because it had the shortest hours known to man and closed at 18h00. We saw the elephant get a bath, a show given to us from the raptor center. I totally thought at one point in the show that the eagle would land on my head.

We finished the day in the petting zoo farm area. Guess what I just realized? Mutton is a lot like the french word for sheep, mouton! Whoa!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Le Retour du Gastro

I knew I couldn't avoid it forever, and now it has made its comeback. The infamous gastro (stomach bug) hit once again. Unfortunately for me, it chose the most inconvenient hour of five o'clock in the morning! At least I didn't have school today anyways since it's a journée pedagogique (teacher workday).
So, I went back and counted all of my other blog posts, and this is the eighth time I've had the Gastro since I've been in France.
Why me?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

One Month

I only have one month left as of today.  Pauline initiated a vote today inquiring how many of my friends petitioned that I stay.  Marie raised both arms and a leg.  What I'm telling people now is that as soon as my visa expires, I'm becoming an illegal immigrant.  (Let's just hope that no one from the French government reads blogs.) 
I had a full day of school today.  It's for a good cause.  I consequently don't have school on Friday or Saturday!  Plus, I didn't have Italian this afternoon.  I was in a goofball mood all day.  This morning in French class, we were talking about some ninteenth century seductive traits, so I drew a moustache on my index finger and held it up to my nose.  This afternoon in Political Science (The Saturday classes moved to Wednesday afternoon this week.) Florine was yawning, so, while Nicolas and Paul were taking credit for a Powerpoint that Yamina made, Flo and I played thumb wrestling to keep her awake.
This evening, Pascaline, Jean-Michel, and Emilie picked me up while I was walking home so we could all go shopping in Lens.  One of the great things about living in an itty bitty town (approx. 30 000 people) is that when you go out, you know half of the people you see.  I saw Corentin from my class at school in Yves Rocher, Andrea (host sister) in front of Pimkie, and one of the girls with whom I was interviewed for the Rotary in front of Etam.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Powerpoint Playback

I had my second Rotary presentation tonight. Hugues had told me that I could talk about whatever I wanted. I originally thought I should do my life in France up to that point, but since I had to do the powerpoint in my Political-Science class the other week, I decided to choose the lazy route and not make extra work for myself.
It was nice because not only did Sabine, Christophe, and the Adamski's come, but Elise, Louise, and Marie from Spring Break came as well. There was also a futrue outbound going to Kansas named Paul.
I was a little nervous about my presentation to all of my Rotary club, and it didn't helped that half of the pictures on my powerpoint just decided to disappear for no reason. On the plus side, when I did give my presentation, everyone inserted comments, questions, and witty remarks that greatly lightened the mood. They even made fun of me a little bit, but in a teasing way!
After my whole schpeale had finished, we all sat down to eat. At one point in the evening, we were talking about weight gain, and I mentioned how I have an Indian friend who has lost at least ten kilos here. It was followed by the quote of the night given by seven year old Miss Louise Bultez. She said, "But the Indians, they don't exist anymore," with the most serious expression on her face. Have I mentioned how much I love little kids?
When we were leaving, Hugues mentioned how he thinks that I have changed. I am apparently more open and confident now. My secret? High heeled shoes. (I know my dad hates them, but it's true!) Even though I like being short most of the time, hight gives confidence, at least it does for me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Welcome Back

Welcome back to my blog!  I'm sorry, but due to suspicious activity, I had to take myself off of the internet for a while.  Don't worry!  I've been posting this whole time, so you have a whole afternoon's worth of blog posts awaiting.
Have fun!