10 June 2010

I live in a boarding school.

Here I am in Lyon !! Sorry for the slowness of posting about the move; I can only get wifi if I go outside and sit on the stairs to my floor and if I want to use the school’s computer room I have to be lucky enough to find someone to unlock it for me first. So, it’s definitely a do-able thing and I still manage to get the internet whenever I need it, but It means that things are a bit more of a “process” than they used to be as far as internet-ing goes J

Life is good here, I live in one of the rooms of the boarding school and it’s definitely bigger than my room in Clermont, which is quite a nice change. I have to wake up SOOOO early here…7:15am every day. But I can go to bed early, too. So I guess it’s not that bad. I eat breakfast with the nuns and lunch and dinner in the school cafeteria usually. There’s another girl here right now doing the same thing as me, so that’s nice because I have another young person to chit chat with. So far I’ve met three of the six nuns who live at the school (Lycée Don Bosco): Sr. Marie Béatrice, Sr. Marie Therese and Sr. Françoise. There’s also another community of nuns from the same order in Lyon and I also do stuff with them a few times a week. They’re Sr. Chantelle; Virginie (postulante, not a nun yet), Sr. Jeanne-Marie, Sr. Anne and Sr. Catherine. Sr. Catherine is so cute ; she’s pretty old and she has Parkinson’s Disease, but she’s still very “with-it” and fun to talk to.

During my first week and a half here I’ve done quite a variety of things: worked with some mentally handicapped students, talked to girls from the boarding school, done some outreach-type work with kids from poorer neighborhoods, tutored a boy in English, eaten traditional Lyonnaise food.

I really enjoy all the work I’ve done so far, each experience has been worthwhile and confirmed my belief that, despite growing up with different cultures, languages, etc. people are mostly just…people. So there aren’t really that many differences I’ve been able to pinpoint between the kids I’ve been interacting with in France and the ones I interact with in the U.S.

Sooner than later I’ll manage to take my camera out and get some pictures of where I live now, but until then, that’s all I’ve got!

27 May 2010

List of 10--Fail.

I've now spent six nights in Paris. However, it was for a good cause. Two of my friends from home were in Paris last weekend and I hopped on a train and went up there for the weekend to meet them. It was fun to see them and get to talk to people from home, greet them with hugs instead of bisous [the kiss on either cheek], and hear the Johnson County accent I know and love so well.
We didn't do anything too exciting; walked around the first night and got to the Eiffel Tower just in time to see it light up and start flashing, which is always beautiful. Then Saturday we did some shopping [Mom-I'm sure you haven't sent the package still. I just bought shorts. You can pay for them if you really want to :) ] and hung out in le Jardin Luxembourg for a while, then stopped by the "Mimes in May" show that was going on.
It was nice to be able to be in Paris and just relax instead of going like crazy the whole time, and the girls had an extra couple days there after I left, so they could still do things I'd already done without making me repeat anything--perfect!
On Monday I'm leaving Clermont-Ferrand for good and moving to Lyon...I'm excited!

11 May 2010

Une Parasseuse

A lazybones. That's what I've been lately. So, it's May 18th and I'm updating for the first time in weeks. Sorry.

So here's what's been happening....
April 28th: Went to class, turned in a paper that was unfortunately quite full of typos but also lots of good ideas. So my teacher liked it okay-ish.

April 29th: Went to class, went to this really-cool-but-hard-to-describe gathering in Centre Jaude...evidently "they" (the ever-elusive "they") had tried similar things in bigger cities around the country and Clermont-Ferrand was the first middle sized city they tried. Basically, all the youth of Clermont and the surrounding towns gathered in the town center to drink, eat, play, and enjoy each other's company. It was very cool actually.

April 30th: Went to class (littérature) at 8h45 after going to bed around 5h00. Pleasant.

May 1st: Watched "Into the Wild" with Ola, then went over to our friend Siavash's apartment (Siavash is Iranian and introduced me to Iranian pistachios, which are red, delicious, and addictive.) While there, Samantha, who is from Glasgow, taught us traditional Scottish dances and Lukasz and Krzysztof taught us how people dance at Polish weddings. It might have been the Polka. I'm not sure.

May 2nd: Went to a hookah bar...green apple flavor was good, fruit punch was not. Said hi to Jesus.

May 3rd: Homework

May 4th: class

May 5th: Cinco de Mayo...Cari, Chantelle and I made fajitas for dinner

May 6th: Went to Afterwork, a monthly event at a local club-ish place. It starts at 5 or 6 and people go there straight from work (hence the name) and ends around midnight. It was fun, good music and good people. When that was over, Chantelle and I met up with some other Erasmus (European study abroad program) students at the "Soirée Désintégration" for students who had finished their study abroad and were going home. While there, we met Pedro, the French man with an Italian mother who "had always dream to meet American real girl!" Needless to say, that was his only dream to come true that night. The American girl was not very impressed.

May 7th: Gave a presentation about a chapter of Candide

May 8th: Hung out in Chantelle's room...actually, crammed 13+ people into Chantelle's room. It was very fun, but a little too loud, or so said our Résidence administration.

May 9th: Mother's Day. I got Mom flowers. but I got them Saturday. So they were delivered on Thursday. Oh well. Said hi to Jesus.

May 10th: nothing exciting

May 11th: one class

May 12th: two classes

May 13th: No class, spent the day doing homework so I wouldn't have to over the weekend.

May 14th: One class, then met up with a bunch of friends to do some grocery shopping...our friend Cécile offered her home for a multicultural sleepover Friday night and it was great fun. We made pizzas, Spanish tortillas (omelettes with egg, onion, potato and chorizo), a Polish yummy thing you make by lining a pot with cabbage leaves then layering in potatos, onions, carrots, and sausage. Let the pot simmer for an hour or so and then it's ready. We also made Sangria, Zubrowka and apple juice (a popular drink in Poland), crêpes, and a really big mess. But we cleaned it all up in the morning and left Cécile's house looking as good as new :)

May 15th: slept.

May 16th: slept more. Said hi to Jesus.

May 17th: Cleaned my room and went to the grocery store.

Annnndddd....that is what I've been up to.

27 April 2010

More Paper!

Here's a link to the article I wrote this month for the K-State Collegian :)

Stuck on the Emerald Isle

Sorry it took me so long to update. But. I can now say I experienced first hand the effects of Eyjafjallajokull, the unpronounceable volcano.
I headed to Ireland the 13th, fully prepared to stay there for a week with Ola, for my mom to meet me there the 18th, and for us to leave together and wander the southwest of France for a few days before she went back home to Kansas.
The staying there for a week happened, but that's the only bit. Even that isn't completely accurate, because I actually stayed there 12 days.
Fortunately, Ola and I were staying with the lovely Finola Clancy, one of the numerous relatives from the Ridgway/French side of my family, and thus didn't have to pay for an extra hotel, expensive food, etc while we spent our extra 5 days on the little green island.
We did so many things and went so many places that I honestly can't remember them all, but here is what I CAN remember:
-meeting up with Chantelle and Cari and kissing the Blarney Stone
-seeing Bona Fide Federation at The Pavilion, a pub in Cork with Michael, Finola's son
-Being impressed at the view and lovely sand at Inch Beach in Kerry
-Visiting Trinity College and the Museum of Modern Art in Dublin
-Seeing various churches, town halls, cemeteries, houses where my family members lived/died/were married/are buried/were politicians/etc
-Wandering Cork City
-Going to the Mitchellstown Caves
-Eating dinner in Dungarvan
-Seeing the dead man sleeping
-the Rock of Cashel
-Cobh harbor
-touring the Jameson Whisky distillery in Middleton
-playing the bells at Shandon

Honestly, the best part about Ireland was the food. Ola and I both gained weight while staying with Nola, because everything tasted sooooo gooooddddd. France has great cheese and great bread and I definitely am not starving over here, but there's just something about France that makes it difficult to find a hearty slice of bread with deliciously cholesterol-filled butter slathered all over it. As many people know, I love bread. And I developed a deep love for Irish butter. Pair that with the "full Irish breakfast" Finola made for us every morning and it's a surefire recipe for Elena to get fat. Luckily, I knew I would be leaving eventually, so I didn't really feel bad about eating my little heart out, after all, it's vacation!

Another excellent aspect of Ireland was that I got to watch the first two episodes of Glee, something I'm not sure I'll be able to continue here in France. So that's actually quite depressing.

Here are some random pics of my time there, sorry this post is so short and boring, but we really didn't do anything too exciting while there...just lounged around. And that, as many people know, is exactly what I like to do when on vacation :)

My mom's birthday cake, which she wasn't actually there to eat...

I think Ola took this picture. But we went to the greyhound races and bet on the dogs. I won 5.60euro :)

There were baby swings at Blarney Castle. We used them.

Kissing the Blarney Stone.

Ola, Nola, and Jack...three great people :)

11 April 2010


"Every field wears a bonnet with some spring daisies on it, even birds of a feather show their clothes off together...spring, spring spring"

IT'S SPRINGTIME!!! And the flowers are in bloom and just as lovely as they can be :) So here are some shots of color to brighten your day.

Sorry if it takes a long time to load; Blogspot only lets me load five pictures and, well...I had more than five pictures to show you. And this way you also get to hear Beyoncé singing to you, which can never be a bad thing.

Also, I do believe I'm supposed to announce to the world that I do not own Beyoncé or her songs or her voice. So. I don't. Lastly, I really hope the song plays without skipping, but it skipped once when I was watching it. So if it does...just mute it and listen to Beyoncé some other time.

09 April 2010


In just four short days, I will not only be in Ireland, but Glee will also have started it's final episodes of Season 1!!!! I'm quite excited about both facts.
But, before those things happen, I suppose I should mention things about Easter and class and such that have happened in my life.
So. Classes continue to go well, I enjoy them all and haven't completely failed anything yet, so that's a plus. My room is currently messier than it has ever been while in France and it's driving me a little crazy, but that's easily fixed.
Easter was quite different than anything I've ever experienced; gone were the glories of Curé, it's choir, and Fr. Charles' quaky singing voice and "little prayers."
Palm Sunday was nice, the Frenchies waved their palm branches (which were actually leafy tree branches) during the Hosanna, so that was a neat touch, and it was overall an appropriately Palm Sunday-like service.
Thursday I didn't go to church so I can't vouch for how that went; Friday Cari and I tried to go to the veneration of the cross but ended up at Stations of the Cross instead, so that was...that. Saturday we went to Easter Vigil but it was actually really un-festive I thought. Again, it's probably mostly because I like my own church with the organ and piano and flute and strings and bells and tympani and good choir and Mark Fortino singing about Horses and Chariots. But it was still Easter, so that's good.
Sunday afternoon we got together to have an international feast, featuring delicious Jura soup from Poland (Ola's mom is going to teach me how to make it when I visit), yummy homemade brown bread from Ireland, tortilla pizzas made by yours truly, and delectable pasta from Cari. We also had some Cadbury easter eggs and Bulmer's hard cider, which were both quite tasty.
That night Ola invited us to join some of her Polish friends for a "vodka night" with Polish vodka (I think it's called Wyborny but I could be wrong). The vodka did taste okay, it wasn't the mind-blowing experience I was expecting from their description of the greatness of Polish vodka, but it wasn't bad.
Wednesday we surprised Cari for her 21st birthday; we bought her a tiara and a wand (both of which she was extremely excited about) that she wore the whole night long...we started out with cake and champagne in Chantelle's room then went to a bar where there was supposed to be a karaoke night. The karaoke night ended up not happening, but the bar was nice and we'd never been there before, so that was good. Then we went to an Australian Pub we'd been wondering about since getting here where we met some French men who were more than willing to help Cari celebrate her birthday. So that was fun.
This week marked the end of classes until April 27th and also the first time my Argumentation teacher was impressed by something that came out of my mouth! It was quite an accomplishment. Generally that class is just filled with him making fun of me for always forgetting my accents (it's true, I'm very bad about that) but I actually came up with an interesting intro on Thursday and I was/am quite proud. [notable note: my Argumentation teacher is actually my favorite; he's really funny and blunt...he's the kind of teacher you either hate because he's sort of sarcastic-ish or you love because he's sort of sarcastic-ish. And I happen to love it. ]
This weekend will be full of laundry; packing, and sleeping and after that...IRELAND!!!!!! Can't wait :)