Friday, May 15, 2009

My Blogging Failures

So I am officially finished with my semester in Aix. Finals are over, papers are finished, and turned all of my books and the key to my locker. I cannot believe that I will soon be leaving Aix and Europe. This experience has really been more than I could have ever asked for and has forced me to grow up in ways that I never would have imagined. ANWAYS, one big shocker was that my blogging skills could not keep up. So to make up for it I will try to remember fantastic stories from the past semester and post them for you all to read, because I am sure you are dying to. Just give you a little taste, I will now retell the story of Barcelona...for your reading pleasure:

Story 1: Barcelona
5:30 a.m.: Claire, Samantha, Lauren and I were dropped off at the Barcelona bus station and proceed to walk the 20 minutes to our hostel.
5:40 a.m.: We pose to take a fantastic picture on the street in Barcelona, being the great tourists that we are
5:45 a.m.: As we read our somewhat confusing directions to the hostel a guy comes up behind me and start pulling on the strap of my Longchamp. I wasn't sure what to do but decided that my best option was to hang on and get out the only words I can ("hey"...I think). He then proceeds to push me into the street and pull me through it by the handles of my bag. At this Lauren has gotten just a little upset and decides tackle, yes tackle, this man to the ground (while screaming some good profanities at him too!). Sam wanted to get in on it too, and come up with the great idea of repeatly hitting him with her open umbrella. So then the burgular and his friend ran away, and people proceeded to shh us on the street.
6:00 a.m.: We end up safely in our hostel, right before a huge thunderstorm.

I would also like to note that a week later, another guy in the program was in Barcelona for spring break and was robbed at gunpoint. At 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Week in Exile

So I did end up having to stay in Aix for winter break. That meant a week of renting movies from itunes and attempting to complete seemingly endless scholarship applications. It also meant no Munich, no Prague, and no Vienna--oh but don't worry, I still got to pay for it! I enjoyed waking up everyday at 8:00 a.m. to wait for my nurse, who likes to get the apartment about an hour later than she should.

I also had fun meeting a plastic surgeon (who only speaks French, like my nurse) who told me that pretty much all of my skin is dead. She is going to slowly cut away the dead skin, leaving me slightly more holely than I should be. After each patch heals up she will cut away some more, leaving me with a hideous scar that I will have to get surgery on when I get back to the US. Oh and I also have to see my nurse every single day for about the next 2 months. Joyeous.

BUT the week was not all bad! My besty MG (whoo DC '09) decided to come cheer me up last weekend! We went to the movie theater--twice. Which made us cry a lot (Slumdog Millionaire and The Strange History of Benjamin Button). We also watched a few movies in my apartment, cuddling around my laptop and enjoying some chocolat chaud; so us. We weren't entierly reclusive though, on Friday night we went out with some true Frenchies--a.k.a. my host sister, Lorraine; her bf, Frank; and some of their friends! It was quite the the interesting mix of French and English languages!

I also have been dealing with my loneliness in a way that we can all appreciate--shopping!...and chopping off my hair (Laura, isn't that what they do in Japan after they get their heart broken?). Thankfully Claire got home last night and the rest of my friends get home tomorrow, or I would have a quite a bit of credit card debit!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Erin and the Terriable, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

So on Sunday I decided to go ski the French Alps with a few of my friends, yay! Besides for the fact that I have not been skiing in about 7 years, it seemed like a great idea. There is a company that my school recommends that takes you to the Alps for the day, and for around 50 euros, you can get transportation, a ski pass and rentals. So I woke up at 4:00 am had a bowl of cereal and started my 45 minute walk to the bus stop. We then arrived in Pra-Loup, where the ski resort is, and all of my problems began.

After holding up all of my friends because I couldn't find a ski boot that fit well, we finally took up the lift to go down our first run of the day. It was a gorgeous day out--warm and sunny! I was feeling pretty confident in myself and started to go down the run, I was doing alright to start with but then lost control when I started going too fast, my skis feel off and I tumbled to the ground. I thought I was alright but then got a look at my wrist, which had blood puring out of it--a problem but managable. Next I looked at my knee, bad idea. My pants were completely ripped and my skin was falling off. My friends went off to find ski patrol (which, by the way, was apparently almost impossible to do) and I waited on the hill. They finally made it up to me and then continued to take me down the hill in a rather embarrassing fashion--I was in one of those tobbogans, all covered up.

By the time my friends got down to me they were driving away with me in the back of an ambulance (they also took my bag, with my money and cell phone in it to a different building). Little did my friends know, I was only about 2 minutes away in the doctors office. Once they looked at my cuts the doctors (who spoke very little English) realized that I needed to go the hospital for stitches. The one woman kept telling me to call my friends and repeatly asked me where the were...even though I had no way to call them.

So I waited there for over an hour until the ambulance showed up from the hospital. Once it did they stopped to get my bag and to try to get me to pay for things. Some woman came out and had me charge 417 euros on my credit card to pay solely for the ski patrol and that stupid tobbogan ride...ok people, I could of slid down the hill on my own! Then since I didn't have my insurance card with me the people driving the ambulance all just sat around for a while deciding whether or not they wanted to take me to the hospital and if I could pay. They finally decided that I could and drove away before I could call any of my friends to come with me.

So the men driving the ambulance spoke zero English. I finally realized that the hospital was an hour away (hence the wait) in a town called Gap. By now, not only was I confused and in pain, but I had not gone to the bathroom or had anything to eat since 4 in the morning. Just a few minutes away from the hospital we stopped at an ATM and they made me get out of the ambulance to get out 343 euros to pay them for the trip. What if I wouldn't have had it?? I think I would have been stranded.

We finally get to the hospital at 3:30 where I do so more sitting around until a doctor can finally see me. I go in to get my stitches--15 right under my knee in a nice round circle. He says there are two bad things about this:

1. It is never going to look nice, I will have a huge, perminant, ugly scar
2. My skin may die. If this happens I will need to put some special patch on it to make my skin grow back which will take at least a month.

I then got one more a little farther down on my leg and two in my wrist.

After all of this it is approximatly 6:00 and I begin my 15-20 minute walk to the train station, alone, to go back to Aix. I got home at 10:00. Oh and I had an exam this morning that I definitly failed...great.

Lets just add on to it. I can't really walk, so I am not going to school for the next few days, ok that I can handle. I need to get my leg checked by a nurse every two days for the next 12 days (when I am supposed to get the stitches out). Problem: I am supposed to be leaving for winter break (to Munich, Prague and Vienna...which I already paid for) on Friday night. Advice from my school, they don't want me to go. Fantastic.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nice, Monaco and Cannes

So this weekend my program took us on an over-night trip to Nice and Cannes. Nice is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been to. The weather was kind of glum when we first arrived, but we managed to make it through. We hiked up this little mountain/cliff-side and took some amazing pictures. After that things started to clear up and we all decided to try one of their local dishes: Socca. It is like a crêpe but made with mashed-up garbanzo beans and pepper. Add in some fresh fruit from the marché and a picnic on the beach and you get a great day!

That night we stayed in this amazing hostel/youth retreat. The balcony/walkway from my room overlooked the Mediterranean Sea and I woke-up to a gorgeous sunrise. On Sunday we headed into Cannes, home to one of the world's largest film festivals. We did a lot of walking and sitting on the beach...nice but Nice is nicer :)

Oh yeah we also hit up Monte Carlo in Monaco...holy cow. Money. That pretty much sums up that one. The marché at NiceMid-cliff climb in NiceView of NiceSunrise at hostelCaitlin and I in Cannes

Monday, February 2, 2009


If you read Mary's blog, I apologize for making you mouth water twice, but it must be done. February is the month of crêpes in France. Yes, they have an entire month devoted to this wonderful food. So last night my host mom made crêpes for dinner; they were served with nutella and bananas, sugar, and jam. My host mom kept insisting that I eat more of them (they are her specality after all) because "they are so thin". When I finally told her that I could eat no more, she wouldn't believe me, leaving more out for later. They are probably the sole reason that I would come back to the United states fatter than when I left it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Les Deux Garcon

So Les Deux Garcon used to be this amazing café that all of the great poets and artists (think Hemingway) used to go to have coffee and watch all of the Aixois. However today it is just a huge tourist of course my friends and I decided to go get lunch there. We were quickly seated and given menus, only to discover that it was not only a big tourist attraction, but an expensive one. Lunch would cost us each between 25 and 35 euros; we thought it best to just order coffee and desert and go somewhere else later. However the waiter was not having this. He promptly told us that we were not allowed to sit in the resturant and escorted us to a smaller, much less fancy area where we could actually afford to order food. It was a bit embaressing, especially because he then decided to treat us like stupid Americans who can't understand French.

Scary experience, good salad.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Honeymoon and Homesickness

After a tearful goodbye in the airport I am finally in Aix! The city is so beautiful and just about everything that I imagined it would be. My host mom, Mme Hervouet, is very kind and knows a bit of English (which really helps our conversations along!).

The apartment is nice; most French apartments are quite small. I have my own bedroom and wifi so I am perfectly content here. However the shower is like the one that we had Paris, you have to sit down in the tub in order to use it. I guess I am getting over my fear of tub germs after all Allie! Also I will have to get used to the fact that the toliet is in a completly different part of the apartment from the rest of the bathroom. I was very confused before I realized this and all that I saw was a bidet!

Besides for dealing with all of these changes, I am a little homesick. On the plane ride here I was not sure why I thought I could do this, however praying really helps this! I was fine again until I went to bed. Then this afternoon I started orientation and walked around Aix. I wondered how I could ever question my decision to come here; everything is beautiful. I guess it is something I will have to deal with as it comes.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A New Beginning

I leave for Aix in three days. Three days! I can't believe that after preparing for this all semester that it is finally (almost) here. So I thought the best way to begin this blog was to reminisce on how I got here:

1. It all began after I turned in my application filled with dreams of becoming bilingual and discovering a new world--somehow they held back the vomit and accepted me
2. CampusFrance. That is really all I have to say about that
3. I applied for my visa, which is a story in itself, and ended up having to go to the French Embassy in D.C. where I was mistaken as French and called a princess!

So now all I have to do is figure out how to pack my life into two 50 lbs. bags, that should be fun.