Sunday, March 18, 2012

"

Wow! What a day!

I checked out of the hotel and went shopping in the underground city of Montreal (so cool!). The hotel was wonderful and let me leave my stuff there while I shopped. I bought some new clothes for DC: 1 brown dress that is A-DO-RA-BLE, 2 chemises (bleu et noir), et 1 suit jacket that matches my slacks. I dropped waaaaaaaaay more money than I meant to, but hopefully it's a good investment.

After shopping I met Roxane (the girl I'm couchsurfing with) at Berri-UQAM station in downtown Montreal! Elle est tres sympa! My French got tested hardcore tonight, and I'm sad to say I failed. They speak so quickly here! I did speak quite a bit of French, but I didn't understand as much. Their accents are thick and they speak so quickly I get lost. We went to a play that was all in French, but fortunately I understood most of what they were saying. It was a theatre de la folle - crazy theater. It literally had no point and had parts of Dadaism at the end. I actually really enjoyed it, though the orgy scene was slightly awkward.

We walked around for about 2 hours all over Montreal, so I got to see a lot of the culture. Beaucoup de gens fument, trop de gens, si tu me demandes, et la mode est....different....Il y a beaucoup de femmes qui ont cheveux rouge, cheveux violet, cheveux bleu, cheveux vert...choses comme ca. Et les hommes and les femmes portent des vetements un peu bizarre. Nothing matches, it's all punk-like, and it's just strange. You can tell they're not American lol.

Fantastic night, and St. Patty's Day parade demain! Quote of the night: "Comment dit-on 'lip gloss' en francais?" "Uhhh lip gloss?" "Oh. Pas gloss pour tes chevres?" INTENSE LAUGHING. "Levres, pas chevres." "Ca va dire 'chevre'?" makes goat noise "Zut." more laughing "would you like to kiss my goats? (tu aimerais embrasses mes chevres?"

Best. Misquote. Ever.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bienvenue a Montreal!

Sorry I'm so bad at blogging!! We've been going going going since we got here, and now we're on our last day in Montreal! I'm too tired to try typing everything in French, so feel blessed, you get to read it in English!

Today we went to the border and got to explore the Canadian equivalent of the CBP. It was pretty cool but pretty frickin' cold!!! Amanda and I woke up at 759 (to be downstairs by 8) because neither of our alarms went off. So, I had on a tank top underneath my coat and no socks underneath my jeans...and it was about 6* C. Awesome. Apparently, though, Sunday is supposed to be 22! That's the equivalent of 73* here :)

After the CBP tour, we headed out to La Face Cachee a la Pomme, an orchard and iced cider winery place. OH. MY. GOSH. Y'ALL. I'm serious, the best cider I've ever had in my life. The last one we had, Neige Recolte d'Hiver, is basically alcoholic apple juice. It's sweet and smooth and deliciously cold and golden. Definitely bought myself a bottle.

I won't say how much it was....

Afterward we went and got lunch at basically a gas station diner. Nothing to really write home about, but it was good. The best part of the day was easily the tasting and buying of iced cider though.

AND! ALERT! My Dallasites! Francois is coming to Dallas March 30-31 for Taste of Dallas and is bringing his wine with him. Help increase the market in Texas and increase advertising for him because he deserves it! He's SO nice and his cider is fantastic!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Courtney in Canada!

Nous avons arrivé ici hier soir à 6h30...juste a temps pour le diner à Play, Food, and Wine. Ce restaurant est très cher!! J'ai payé $45 pour mon diner!!!! C'est incroyable!

Notre hotel est si si si si siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii beau! Evidemment, le roi et la reine avaient déjà rester à cet hôtel! Notre chambre est $400 chaque. soir. Chaque soir! Encore, incroyable.

Aujourd'hui, nous avons rendre-visité l'ambassade americaine, où nous avons eu les réunions d'info sur l'économie, l'Arctique, le défense, et les relations entre le deux. Nos réunions d'info ce matin étaient bonnes, mais je suis malade, donc il était difficile de rester éveillée. :(

Ce soir, Amanda et moi a diné au restaurant libanais. C'était le meilleur aliments que j'avais déja mangé!! Et après, nous avons pris des "beaver tails." Ces sont un type de dessert qui a du sucre, du miel, du citron, et/ou du chocolat et de la cannelle. C'était superb!! :D Un peu cher, mais superb cependant :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

ALMOST HOME!!!

Wow! It's been forever since I blogged. Sorry!! It's been really hectic around here lately, what with getting ready for exams and going home and all. My last couple of weeks have been really great, and this one is going to be FANTASTIC!

Last weekend I went to Paris because I wanted to visit it once while I'm here. I mean really, you have to go if you're in France. So, I went and toured places in Paris that I hadn't seen before. I left early Saturday morning and got to Paris around 1ish. I went to see the Catacombs, a place underground that has tons and tons of bones and other little things to see. While there, I met some girls from North Carolina who are studying abroad in Oxford right now. They were really cool, and we wound up hanging out the rest of the night. We headed for a brasserie after the Catacombs, where I translated for everyone. The waiter was really excited to know that one of us spoke French lol. The NC girls were blatantly American, but it was really cute. They got English menus while I got a French one. The food wasn't superb, but it wasn't absolutely terrible either. I left a little note for our waiter thanking him for putting up with us and our oddities, and that got a smile and a wink out of him lol. We went up to Montmartre afterward and climbed all the way up to Sacre Coeur. The Parisian skyline at night was really pretty, so of course we took lots of pictures. The girls got bored with Montmartre after a while and wanted to go shopping, so we headed for Les Galeries Lafayette, one of the largest department stores in the world. It was freaking huge!! And, there were hundreds of thousands of lights all over the building to boot. After shopping for a little over an hour we went our separate ways, and I headed back to my hostel. I originally was going to meet Julie from Baylor there, but I left my phone in Caen (stupid, I know), so I didn't really have any way of catching up with her. A guy from Seattle and one from Australia invited me to go to a frat party with them that night, but I originally declined. My feet were killing me, I wanted to wait for Julie, and the thought of an American frat party in Paris didn't really thrill me; however, I relented and went with them. (I'm very trusting, I know...stupid yet again). The party wound up being a bust because the line to get in was about 200 ppl long, but I was able to have a 20 min. conversation w/ some Italian girl in French, so I know I'm getting a lot better. Poor Luke (the one from Australia) doesn't know but 4 or 5 words in French, so he felt out of the loop a bit. Apparently his South African friend who invited him to the party knew some French ppl and they invited us out to a club. Now, I thought they said pub. I was okay with going to a pub...it's free to get in, and I don't have to drink w/ them. A club however cost 10€, and I didn't have that. Luc (this one's from Seattle) paid for my ticket. I had a pretty good time, but I got beer thrown on me by Luc (go figure) and was out till about 4am. I know. Courtney. Clubbing. 4am. Paris. Weird.






The next day was AMAZING! After sleeping till about 9, I got up and got some breakfast at the hostel. I ran into Julie for a few minutes, and she said her friends were headed up to the Pantheon and then elsewhere around Paris. I was gonna meet them at the Pantheon, but when I showed up, they had decided to take a walking tour instead. Oh well. The Pantheon was really cool because I got to see the graves of Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Sartre, Emile Zola, and the Curies. I even was able to read the little bios they had on all these people. In the Pantheon there is also this big gold ball that is apparently there to prove that the Earth moves like Galileo said. (And yet it moves...) The experiment was actually a pretty cool thing to watch. I got back to the hostel around noonish and then headed off to Le Musee d'Orsay. That museum was AWESOME. I almost liked it more than the Louvre. I saw tons of Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Gaughin, Renoir, Picasso, and other famous artists. I also met a man and his wife from Colorado with whom I talked for about 20 min. The husband is originally from Dallas and a huge Cowboys fan, so I got to talk sports for a little bit. THAT was awesome. I miss talking about sports SO much!! And, it was really great to meet another Cowboy fan. I took a break from art a little bit later and met some British girls whom I joined for coffee. They were convinced I was from Australia for a little while because Luke's accent had transferred over to me. It was really hard getting rid of it and talking in an American accent...everything felt forced. We had a ton of fun though lol.

That night, Luke took me to the Eiffel Tower for a glass of Chardonnay and to watch the lights on the tower. The sights were BEAUTIFUL. We were originally gonna go up in it, but it was literally subzero, so we decided just to view Le Tour Eiffel from the ground. There's now a blue spotlight on the tower and the European Union symbol b/c France is the president of the EU for right now, though its presidency is almost over. After freezing to death we headed to a cafe for some hot chocolate, which I taught Luke how to order in French. It was hilarious watching him try to say "Je voudrais deux chocolates chauds s'il vous plait." The waiter understood what he said, thankfully. While there we met a couple from Cincinnati who asked if we were on our honeymoon; that was sufficiently awkward. After cocoa we headed down to the Champs-Elysees because Thomas had told me to see the Christmas lights on the streets and in the windows. I'm really glad I went down there because it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!! The only thing I can't wait to see that will be just as beautiful when I get back is colored lights...the French only believe in white and blue. The night ended very well (and very cold), and I went to sleep so I could get up early and get back to Caen for class.

Pictures: 1. Luke and I on the Champs-Elysees (a little blurry, sorry).

2. The North Carolina girls and I in the Catacombs

3. Le Tour Eiffel with all the lights

Friday, November 28, 2008

Joyeux Jour d'Actions des Graces

I'm gonna have fun with this one and write in PURPLE! Haha, sorry...totally random...


ANYWAY.

Last night the French-American Alliance threw a Thanksgiving feast for us Americans. It was really sweet of them, and the food was delicious! Granted, there was no pumpkin pie and I didn't get to watch my Dallas Cowboys whoop up on the Seahawks, but I did still have an awesome time :) Since we are in France, we had a typical French dinner, meaning there were at least 5 courses. When we got there, we were introduced to a bunch of old French ppl, some of them having emigrated from the US to Caen several years earlier. Suzanne and I were placed at the North Carolina table (sadly, they did not have a Texas one), and we began to mingle with everyone. I sat next to an older gentleman who was absolutely hilarious. He cracked jokes about every 5 seconds and laughed more than that. He used to live in Chicago w/ his wife (that's where she's from), but now he's back in France. Oh! And they have friends in Denton!! His English is very good, so when there were language problems, he was able to switch back and forth. I actually spoke mostly French the entire night, and there were only a few instances where I didn't understand ppl. I can tell that my French is greatly improving. For instance, the man told a James Bond-like joke about drinking, dancing, etc. like a Russian, and I understood everything!! :) The couple who sat across from me was also a lot of fun. Dr. Jacques was making fun of me because I kept putting my hair behind my ear since it was getting in my face. He proceeded to mock both me and stars he had seen on TV and act all haughty while doing it - and he's bald. There was plenty of entertainment throughout the night.

Our menu included:
  • Hors d'oeuvres of different pastries and some beef wrapped in baco
  • Pastilla avec des petits legumes et frie (turkey pot pieish thing w/ a lemon on top)
  • Rotisserie-style turkey w/ little cranberries, a small helping of mashed potatoes, and a stewed tomato w/ red onion on top
  • Trois fromages et une petite salade (to cleanse the palate)
  • Creme brulee
  • Cafe (coffee)
After dinner, the Franco-American Alliance wanted to get what seemed like hundreds of pictures of the 17 of us and had us introduce ourselves as well. There are 4 ppl from Connecticut here, and the last one to speak, Aaron, said he was also from Connecticut, clearly the better state. Since I'm Texan, and I was alone last night, I showed my Texas pride and proudly claimed right after, "Je m'appelle Courtney, et je deviens de Texas, le vrai meilleur etat." I'm Courtney, and I come from Texas, the truly better state. That got quite a few laughs from people.



Pictures: 1. Dr. Jacques, his wife, and me



2. The funny guy and me (never got his name sadly)


3. John, Henry, and me (John is from CT, Henry is from PA)



4. Thomas and me again!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

We will never forget...

This weekend I took a spontaneous road trip to Bayeux. One of my friends Thomas lives there, and I wanted to go visit both him and the D-Day cemetery at Omaha Beach. Originally I was going to take the bus to the beach, but because it was Saturday, they were shut down. Lame. However, Thomas invited me over for tea and then took me to the museum and beach. His house is unbelievably beautiful!! I seriously cannot tell you how gorgeous his place is. It was built around 1740 (if I remember correctly), and Thomas took all last year restoring it. It is three stories of absolute beauty. Outside there is a garden and some stone walls covered in English ivy. The fireplace has a little soufflier start the fire; most of the floors are wooden; there are 4 bedrooms, each with their own theme; and the parlor where we sat made me feel as though I lived in the glory days of France during Rousseau and Beaumarchais. Thomas used to own a B&B, so the decorations are exquisite and perfectly chosen. I might take him up on his offer to stay there one night!

After tea, we went to Omaha Beach and visited the museum that was constructed last year. It was a very, very good museum: totally modern in appearance, but very detailed in the history of what happened 60 years ago. There was a name database that allowed you to search for soldiers buried there by name, unit, and state. I was easily able to find John Pavlich, the soldier whose grave I visited 5 years ago. They had detailed information on Patton, the Flyboys, what happened on D-Day in 2 hour segments, and plenty of videos and paraphenalia. I learned two very surprising things there: 1. Teddy Roosevelt's son, Teddy Jr., fought and died during Operation Overlord. 2. Saving Private Ryan, one of my favorite films EVER, is actually based on the true story of the Niland brothers. Fritz Niland (James Ryan in the film) was the last brother remaining, so the US government sent him home. It was cool to read all the different stories of people who died there and the sacrifices they gave (some the ultimate sacrifice, others lucky enough to survive).


Pictures: 1. Omaha Beach


2. John Pavlich's cross


3. The brothers whose lives are what Saving Private Ryan is based on

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fall Break '08

Fall Break this year was like a whirlwind. I spent 4.5 days with one of my best friends, but it was over way too quickly. I thorougly enjoyed spending time w/ her and her friends. It was so unbelievably amazing to be able to get a hug and talk with someone I've known almost since birth. Definitely needed a change of scenery, and I got it.
Monday consisted of me being able to sleep in until 11 while Christian went to class. That afternoon we went to her geography class, which I had a blast in. I learned all about rocks, volcanoes, tectonic plates, etc. I found out why Alaska and the Netherlands are rising, as well as why Venice is sinking. Speaking of Venice, if you haven't been, you should probably go. Prof. Brack was saying that it might be gone by this time 22nd century. I also went to Christian's Modernism class, where the teacher was Irish, A.D.D., and pedantic. He was...interesting. Apparently he did his doctorate on why Ezra Pound is not that great of a poet. Later that afternoon, Christian led a Bible study. I was really REALLY excited to be a part of an all-girls Bible study again. I haven't been able to go to Bible study since being here because I still haven't found the Baptist church. This one was also in English, so that helped lol. At six I went to play practice which was absolutely hilarious. Franklin College is putting on The Complete History of America (Abridged). I don't remember who it's by, but it's a satire on our history. I was rolling with laughter on many occasions. Some included: the farce on the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, the birth of John McCain (which according to them was 17000 B.C.), anagrams of American and Spiro Agnew, and conspiracy theories in general at the end. One part that made my jaw drop was when Bryan gets asked to play the piano 19th century style. So, what does he do? He lays on the piano and plays "The Entertainer" upside-down. UP-SIDE-DOWN. It was freaking amazing!!

Tuesday morning I was a nerd and went to French class. Yes, I know, I was going to be skipping French class in France Wednesday morning, so I figured I would make up for it. It was worth it because I learned something that my grammar teacher didn't teach me! Woot! Christian took me to a chocolate factory about 15 minutes from her apartment. It was cool to watch the chocolate get packaged and shipped, and we got free samples! I definitely did some of my Christmas shopping while I was there. :) Since we had a couple of hours to kill, we decided to walk to Italy for lunch. Yeah, I said it. We took a train for about 10 minutes and then walked across the border into Italy. There's a video on here showing the two countries. We ate at a wonderful Chinese restaurant (go figure) and had pineapple gelato for dessert. I was going to go to Christian's seminar, but I decided to take a shower and pack. It's a good thing I did, too! We were in a hurry to get me on my train (which we wound up missing by literally 5 seconds). I hugged everyone goodbye, and May gave me some of her fabulous Bahranian beef and Thai coconut stew for dinner. Then, I rushed off to the train station where I finally took one to Milan for the night. I met a very nice police officer who wants to go to America who helped me find my hostel. Now I'm back in Caen and ready for my last month to fly by!!

Pictures: The cow at the chocolate factory
The pineapple gelato we enjoyed
Another bit of Swiss scenery

video