Archive for February, 2013

London graffiti!

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

London graffiti!

A Beautiful Day in February

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

This week is Reading Week at my Uni here, so we have no classes but a decent amount of reading, papers and presentations to work on. We basically get a week of for midterm preparation, which is something we’d never get at home! So today I planned to work on one of my papers this afternoon but went out with Kerstin this morning because it was beautiful! It is rare that when you pull open your curtains in the morning the sun will shine through. If it is… GET THE HECK OUTSIDE! 

So Kerstin and I walked around our area (we live right by the financial district) so there are lots of cafes and business buildings as well as shops. So we walked around all morning aimlessly and ended up pretty close to the water so we walked right down to the Thames and hung out by the Tower of London in the sun!! It sounds so silly to be able to say I could just go hang out at the Tower of London for the morning.

And it was finally warm enough to get a 99 flake..I’ve been waiting so long!

99 flake…meet the tower of london:

Oh we also found a place called the BoxPark which is a sort of outdoor strip mall of pop-up stores. Pop-up stores are lots held my companies for a very short amount of time and while the retailer is there so sell their products for very cheap! 

It was a great day! and now I’m back to study and get some work done… cheerio!

9/11 – A World Event

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Something that I’ve realized so much while I’ve been over here is the relevance of America in other countries, especially UK and Europe. The one thing that really got me thinking about this is September 11th. Being an American and this event being such an American heartfelt day, a day when really pulls together each year and remembers… I never really thought what this day may mean to the rest of the world or if they really even thought about it. Being in the UK, I’ve heard 9/11 referenced by my professors on multiple occasions as a day that really changed the world. This was not only surprising to me to hear English people referencing 9/11 at all, let alone in this way but it was extremely comforting. It is so nice to know that America was not completely alone on that day that the UK (and probably many other European countries) were pulling together with us and acknowledged that attack as something as deeply profound as we did. 

It seems obvious when you think about the Western world, that of course the UK would acknowledge it…but I really had never thought about it before and when the US is mentioned in the 3rd person, it really makes you realize the connectedness of the world on a greater level. 

Le Weekend de mon Anniversaire

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Samedi soir, je suis allée à un spectacle de cirque “Le Bal des Intouchables” avec ma partenaire de langue et sa famille. C’était INCROYABLE! Le cirque n’avait pas d’animaux, de clowns, etc. juste des personnes. Ils ont marche sur le fil et ont fait de l’acrobatie avec des cordes et des trapèzes.  En plus, la musique qui l’a accompagnait était autant fantastique. Une fille a traversé le fil pendant qu’elle jouait au violon! 

La thème du cirque a combiné les éléments de vieux et jeune, de fort et fragile, en célébrant la vie d’un homme du cirque qui est tombé du trapèze en 2000 et s’est fracturé des vertèbres. Maintenant, en dépit du fait qu’il a du mal à marcher, il a aussi participé aux spectacles. Il a fait des acrobaties en fauteuil et avec des béquilles. Une de mes parties préférées était un autre homme plus agé qui s’est tenu en équilibre sur la tête au trapèze pendant longtemps! J’avais vraiment peur qu’il allait tomber. Une autre, une jeune fille qui a fait du “vol aérien" avec une corde suspendue.  Oh, et en plus, ils sont arrivés dans les sacs poubelles avec les mains et pieds saillies!

Apres le cirque, je suis sortie en ville et j’ai rencontré un orchestre de jeunes qui jouent aux instruments à vent. Ils jouent au Vieux Port le dimanche, mais ils on fait un concert surpris au Cours Julien a 1h du matin! Ils ont joué beaucoup de chansons de pop.

Et, comme les photos montrent, ma famille d’accueil a fait un dîner pour mon anniversaire qui était incroyable! Je suis vraiment chanceuse!

Joyeux Anniversaire à moi!!! Mes parents d’accueil ont…

Monday, February 18th, 2013


















Joyeux Anniversaire à moi!!! Mes parents d’accueil ont fait un dîner du polenta pour moi. A la tradition italienne, on le mange sur la table sans assiettes. C’était délicieux et plein de surprises! Voici moi avec ma famille d’accueil, quelques amies, et ma partenaire de langue.

Happy 21st Birthday to me! My host family made a traditional Italian dinner of polenta, which you eat directly off the table! It was delicious and full of surprises! Here are some pictures of me with me host family, friends, and my language partner.

British Museum and Tower Bridge

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Started meeting with groups and continuing to work on projects this week on top of regular classes.  On Wednesday I went to a bar with a couple friends to watch a great match between Real Madrid and Manchester United for the Champions League.  On Thursday, in celebration of Valentines Day, a local club had a party for international students in London, which a bunch of friends and I went to and had a really good time.  These past few days the weather has been really nice, warming up a little and finally getting to see some of the sky and sun, making for a nice weekend.

On Saturday, we all went to the British Museum.  This was one of the largest museums I have ever been in and contained interesting artifacts from every age and every culture you could think of.  We walked around for over 3 hours and still didn’t get to see everything.  While walking around I saw artifacts such as swords, shields, books, pots, sculptures, coins, clothing, and so much more from sections such as the Enlightenment, Renaissance, and ancient times, and from cultures such as the Vikings, medieval Western Europe, Ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece, Mayans and Aztecs, Native Americans, and many more.  I got to see some very famous historical artifacts, such as the Rosetta Stone, other ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian sculptures, and even pieces of the Parthenon from Greece.  After the museum, we had a good lunch in an Irish pub and eventually headed over to the Tower Bridge.  We came out of the tube right below the Shard, just opened to the public on February 1.  We walked along the Thames River from the London Bridge, got a good view of the financial district, past the new City Hall, and across the Tower Bridge itself and along the Tower of London.  I passed by all these my first week during our little river cruise rather quickly, and got to appreciate them more getting to stop and take some great pictures of this part of the city.

 

2013-02-16_18-19-39_341        2013-02-16_18-50-19_559

 

Class and Carnevale

Monday, February 18th, 2013

All of my classes have officially started. I have been enjoying all of my classes so far. I am taking business classes that relate to Milan, which makes them even more interesting. For example, my instructor has incorporated Italian fashion and luxury brands into our marketing class. This is something I would never have the chance to learn about in America.

After my first full week of classes I visited Venice for Carnevale. This was my second time visiting Venice and it was even more beautiful than I remembered. All of the streets were packed with people decorated with masks and costumes; it was a lot like Halloween. The Carnevale celebration continued when I was back in Milan. There was a parade at the Duomo and everyone in Milan was dressed in costume. The streets of the city were covered with confetti by the end of the celebration. It was so cool to see the city transform!

 

 

379278_10151710795598776_821940615_n

Crowded street in Venice

Crowded street in Venice

Carnevale in Milan!

Carnevale in Milan!

 

Borough Market

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I am not sure why it has taken me so long to write about Borough Market, I go here once a week. Sometimes, by myself but mostly with my two mates (hehe..don’t judge me, I am just trying to fit in) Ashley and Danielle. It is off the same tube stop as my work, London Bridge. 

When you arrive, you walk down a set of stairs next to Southwark Cathedral and you are immediately greeted by the grilled cheese man..compte and cheddar..what more do you need? 

(Also, do not judge my poor pictures. I was not prepared picture wise to write this post.) 

There are fourish different parts to the market. You can buy fresh vegetables and fruit, baked goods (my one true weakness in life), turkish delight (TURKISH DELIGHT..it’s a song), fresh pasta, sauge sandwiches  curries, salted meat sandwiches, duck confit sandwiches, pies, pasties (!!for Ash), different types of meats and fish, fresh juice, and salads!! The list could go on. OH and goat milk ice cream (which we can eat Maddy..they had maple and honeycomb!!) (this sandwich is for you Daddy!)

When I go with my mummy, I will take much better photos. 

Also, everyone tonight is the eve of when PAMELA CAPRIOTTI MARTIN FLYS TO SEE ME. I could honestly not ask for a better mother in this entire world. And, she is going to write a nice guest blog about her journey here. Tomorrow, I will meet her at her hotel and we will meet up with Cat to grab brunch at the Breakfast Club before we see Helen Mirrin in The Audience. I know I am excited to see it so that must mean she is CRAZY excited. 

I hope you all have as wonderful of a weekend as we do! Also, Alex and Kirsten are hanging out this weekend and I wish i could be there with them! Missing my bebes.

Borough Market

Friday, February 15th, 2013

I am not sure why it has taken me so long to write about Borough Market, I go here once a week. Sometimes, by myself but mostly with my two mates (hehe..don’t judge me, I am just trying to fit in) Ashley and Danielle. It is off the same tube stop as my work, London Bridge. 

When you arrive, you walk down a set of stairs next to Southwark Cathedral and you are immediately greeted by the grilled cheese man..compte and cheddar..what more do you need? 

(Also, do not judge my poor pictures. I was not prepared picture wise to write this post.) 

There are fourish different parts to the market. You can buy fresh vegetables and fruit, baked goods (my one true weakness in life), turkish delight (TURKISH DELIGHT..it’s a song), fresh pasta, sauge sandwiches  curries, salted meat sandwiches, duck confit sandwiches, pies, pasties (!!for Ash), different types of meats and fish, fresh juice, and salads!! The list could go on. OH and goat milk ice cream (which we can eat Maddy..they had maple and honeycomb!!) (this sandwich is for you Daddy!)

When I go with my mummy, I will take much better photos. 

Also, everyone tonight is the eve of when PAMELA CAPRIOTTI MARTIN FLYS TO SEE ME. I could honestly not ask for a better mother in this entire world. And, she is going to write a nice guest blog about her journey here. Tomorrow, I will meet her at her hotel and we will meet up with Cat to grab brunch at the Breakfast Club before we see Helen Mirrin in The Audience. I know I am excited to see it so that must mean she is CRAZY excited. 

I hope you all have as wonderful of a weekend as we do! Also, Alex and Kirsten are hanging out this weekend and I wish i could be there with them! Missing my bebes.

So…I’ve decided that I’m the worst blogger ever. I was all excited when I started,…

Friday, February 15th, 2013

So…I’ve decided that I’m the worst blogger ever. I was all excited when I started, but it’s proving to be a little trickier than I had thought. It’s tempting to go out and get a croissant or set up at  coffee shop and figure out travel plans rather than write about what I’ve been up to. But alas, I am sick today and it’s snowing. No croissants for me.

I’ve settled into life here pretty well, and I already know I’m going to be Grenoble-sick starting the day I leave. Here’s a couple more pictures of the city:

image

image

image

Would you blame me for missing it?

Anyway, my language professor is the most stereotypical French woman ever (without the rudeness). She must be at least 40, but I’m pretty sure I could break her in half. She’s that little. She’s got this enthusiastic, kind of high pitched voice and when she can’t figure out how to work the Smartboard, she gives a distressed “Oh, la laaaaa." It’s wonderful. On top of 10 hours of language a week, I’m taking English to French translation, French History, History of French Art, and Politics of France. You’d think with all this French going on that’d I’d be near fluent by now, but I’m constantly finding myself saying “Pardon?". In my defense, the French talk SUPER fast. But I’ll get there eventually…hopefully. 

Miranda set us up with some French students the other weekend, and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had here. I actually had conversations with French students! I know it’s their language and everything, but it blows my mind every time a French person understands what I’m saying. That’s the cool thing about language. French is one of the few things I’ve learned in school that I can see being applied to real life. Oh, by the way, all  the French will tell you they suck at English. NOT true. They’re so damn modest about it, and then they start speaking this basically fluent English and make you feel horrible about your level of French. It was definitely a good night though. I can’t tell you how proud I am to say I have French friends. The French are much more to themselves than Americans. They’re not a friendly people at all. Marie was talking about this proverb that they have about a French city up north. They say when you visit there, you always cry twice; once on arriving because nobody talks to you, and again when you leave because when you get past actually meeting French people, they become really nice and you don’t want to leave. 

Well, I decided to suck it up and try skiing while I’m here. I’ve never done it before, but  I felt like I had to because I’m in the Alps. I’d be ashamed of myself if I left Grenoble without trying it at least once. Vincent, one of the university’s employees, sets up a bunch of international activities and he offered a ski course for students that are beginners. All I had to do was borrow the ski clothes from Marie and then show up at the bus station. I’m a little “mal-a-droit" (literally, bad at finger. Just means clumsy), so I was pretty nervous. When I first got there, I realized most people had brought friends. Kinda awkward, but I eventually hit it off with a girl from China. Another cool thing about knowing a different language- you can talk to people from other nations who also know the same language. I wouldn’t have been able to talk to her if we both didn’t know French. Sounds obvious, but I think it’s really cool.

We had about this hour and a half drive up one of the mountains (Vercours I think is what it’s called) and the view itself was worth it. This is Grenoble: 

image

image

And these are the villages and landscapes further in the mountain:

image

image

image

image

image

Absolutely incredible. The mountains to the Grenoblois are like the beach to people from Virginia; the mountains are always there so they aren’t really phased by them, but I can’t get over them. 

We pulled up to this little village with a ski shop and got our skis and shoes. Ski shoes are the most difficult, uncomfortable shoes in the world, worse than heels in my opinion. Our ski guide came and we had to walk in them for about 10 minutes. I’m telling you, I almost died. Even before I started skiing.

I was expecting the big slopes, but we ended up at this tiny little training course that was meant for children. 8 year olds were zooming past me.image

Turns out I needed extreme beginner lessons because I couldn’t get the hang of it for the first hour. The hardest part, for me anyway, is just walking with the skis on. At the bottom of the little hill, there’s this moving walkway that takes you back up to the top. The snow right before you get on is kind of slick, and I got stuck. I tried to move forward, but every step I took only put me farther back. I was there for at least ten minutes before the guide saved me. It was bad. 

Once I caught onto it though, I loved it. I guess I just liked being able to control where I wanted to go and how fast, kind of like I was controlling my own personal roller coaster or something. I moved on to the much bigger slope where I actually got to use the ski lift thing, and me and the other people in the group just hung out and skied for a couple hours.

image

image

See the little lift? The slope is bigger than it looks, I swear.

Surprisingly, it’s pretty hot up in the mountains because the sun is right in your face, plus the snow reflects the light on you. We had to quit eventually and then we walked around the ski village for awhile while (this is why English is a pain) we waited for the bus to come. I went with the Asian student I had met, a Brazilian girl, and a Dutch couple. Again, there’s no way I could’ve communicated with them if they didn’t know a language other than their own. Granted, most people speak English, but still. Language is key. 

Overall, I was really, really glad I went. I did something new, met people from all over the world, and got to work on my French a ton. I still have a giant bruise on my shin from the stupid ski shoes, but it was definitely worth it.

Speaking of something new, there was an international cuisine feast held at the university the other day. I went to the Carrefour, which is kind of like Walmart but smells raw fish, and looked for American food to bring. I figured since Grenoble is such a diverse city and since Carrefour is so huge, they’d have something I could bring. Peanut butter, Ben and Jerry’s, and Oreos are the only things that comprise the list of American food in that entire store. And peanut butter is four euros! FOUR euros! It’s not even the real kind. There’s no preservatives or weird chemicals or anything. It’s just not the same. 

I ended up making peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Pretty simple, right? My  host family went ballistic over them. They never, ever eat that stuff here and it was just so…foreign to them. Of course all the Americans flocked to the container I put them in. It’s surprising what you miss when everything you know has changed. 

Well, I have my week-long winter break coming up pretty soon. Me and two other girls planned a trip to Berlin, Prague and Budapest and we’re going to stay in cheap, good-quality hostels. Never in my life would I have imagined I’d be going to three countries of Europe in one week. It’s insane. Hopefully, I’ll find the motivation to write a post about it…we’ll see. A bientot!