Well this is my last email from Bordeaux. I have my bags packed and am ready to go. A friend, Jenny, is picking Nezia and I up later tonight and we are having dinner with her family and she will take us to the aiport early tomorrow morning. My flight to Paris leaves tomorrow at 6 30 am and my flight to Dulles leaves at 10 15 am and I will arrive in Dulles around 12 55 pm.
The last two weeks have been pretty normal. I finished up all the work I needed to get finished and got all of my grades. I have been tryng any restaurants or coffee shops I have wanted to try and have been saying goodbye to friends. I really wish time would stop.
I am excited to go home but very sad to leave. This has got to be one of the greatest cities in the world. I am so glad I chose to come here. Bordeaux and I were the perfect fit. I recommend studying abroad to anyone who is thinking about it and to anyone thinking of traveling to France - stop by Bordeaux. The experiences I had I will never forget. I have learned more about French culture than I ever would have in a classroom and I learned so much about myself, too. I have met many different types of people who are not just French which have taught me about many different types of cultures around the world. I don't think Nezia and I would have bumped into eachother on St. Mary's campus but I have learned so much from her about African culture and cooking. If I am visiting Africa anytime soon it is because of her.
I was very open to all types of people and ideas before but I think this experience has opened my eyes even more. I think this has also helped me to take different situations in stride. Sleeping in a freezing cold bus station for over 7 hours - no problem!
I am excited to share my stories with everyone when I return.
PS For those who were wondering: When we first got here, Sarkozy (whom they call the "American" president)had just finalized his divorce. He is now engaged to a model. Ah the French!
Did you study abroad? Did you have any travel experiences that changed you?
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So the strikes finally stopped last week and classes resumed. Of course this was just in time for Rich to get here last Sunday. Last week I took Rich around Bordeaux. We got a private tour of the Grand Theatre thanks to a friend of mine here. I had to attempt to translate for Rich. Translating is a lot harder than understanding I found considering I understood everything and translated almost nothing. I don’t think I would ever want to do it as a job. We walked down Rue de St Catherine which is the largest pedestrian road in Europe and climbed the Tour Pey-Berland to get a beautiful view of Bordeaux. Then we left for Paris on Thursday.
It was raining when we arrived in Paris. When we finally found our hotel (it was not really where it said it was) we dragged our luggage up four flights of stairs. Rich had brought an extra bag for me to pack so he could take the things I didn’t need anymore back to America. That night we found a Lebanese place and had really good hummus and kebab sandwiches. Then we went to Le Pralin, a bakery right next to our hotel, and got real French macarons and a little cake thing.
Friday, after our breakfast at Le Pralin, we went to the Musee d’Orsay. This is probably my most favorite art museum I have visited since I have been here. It had a lot of impressionist paintings which I like. After that we went to the Eiffel Tower but decided we would climb it later at night (bad idea – explained later). After that we saw the Arc de Triomphe and walked the Champs Elysees which is when it started to rain again. This did not stop us from visiting Louis Vuitton, Chanel, et al. Later that night we met Nezia at the Louvre (she was staying with her uncle in Paris). After that I had an amazing kebab sandwich from a Turk place we found on the way home. He really knew the right amount of tzaziki sauce to put on (and by 10 pm I was starving).
Saturday, we went to Le Pralin for breakfast again (this is when the lady said “get something for my new American friends”) where Rich discovered a very good vienoisserie. After that we took the RER to Versailles. Apparently they didn’t know we were coming because there was construction being done on the building which did not make for very good pictures. But we got to see the Hall of Mirrors which is all I really cared about. After that we came back and saw Notre Dame in the rain. Later that night we trekked out into the rain and went to Nezia’s uncle’s house for dinner and watched part of the Miss France pageant.
Sunday, we went to Le Pralin and then skipped the Seine River cruise because it was freezing and we were afraid of getting stuck in the rain on a boat. Instead we went to Sacre Coeur and saw the Moulin Rouge. After that we decided to walk the Champs Elyees again. Later that evening we decided to go out into what seemed to be a hurricane to climb the Eiffel Tower. Well Eiffel decided to close the top of his tower due to strong winds so we were only allowed to go to the second level. This was still a good view of Paris though. When we got up there we soon understood why they closed the top. On the one side you just got soaked from the rain but if you walked to the other side you seriously could have been blown of the tower. I started to walk over there but stopped for fear of being swept away. We decided since we could not go to the top that we should make up for it by going to the swanky Eiffel Tower restaurant but we soon found out that you needed to reserve ahead of time. So we decided to go back and eat some place close to the hotel. We found a wonderful Greek place and had (yes you guessed it) kebabs. After that, we went to Le Pralin because the snooty French restaurant wouldn’t let me get just crème brulee. So Rich and I compensated by getting two “mini” chocolate mousse cakes and a huge slice of an apple tart. (And yes we ate the entire thing.)
Monday, the shuttle came (in the rain of course) and picked us up from the hotel and took Rich to the airport and then I made my way to the train station. Sadly, for some reason Le Pralin was closed.
I have less than two weeks until I am back in America so be on the lookout for a last email.