December 29, 2010

Musée d'Orsay and others :)

Let me first start off by saying i love having a long term visa and a school card because i am considered a resident of France which means I get into almost all the museums for free :) life is good. Today i went to Musée d'Orsay which is filled with impressionist art. I loved it. The art was beautiful. There was van GoghMonet, Manet, Cezanne, and beaucoup plus. My friends and I have been trying to fit all the indoor stuff in now (like museums and what not) during the winter so we don't freeze :) even though it hasnt been too cold lately. Anyway here are a few photos I took in the museum before (and just a few i discretely took after) i saw the sign telling me cameras were interdit.
After the trip to the museum we were starving so we made our way to the Saint Michel district and went to a little creperie :) My ham and cheese crepe hit the spot.

In the same district, Jack and I found "Shakespeare and Company" which was a super cute English bookstore. We were sooo excited. We bought David Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day
" to share. (mom, i know what you are thinking--- why am i buying english books when i am in France and why am i not having the full French experience... c'est ca? haha but we were just so excited to see english books again we had to cave a little!!!) Its about when Sedaris moved to France and was learning French so I think it will be really funny :) Plus, that store is amazing. It is exactly what a bookstore should look like! It was weird though being able to speak English with the ladies working.... I would catch myself answering back in French. It is really weird when that happens....
Et voila :) J'adore tourjours Paris. I am so lucky. Its a dream come true living here. I am so happy!!!! oh and sorry about the random french words but they were the first words that came to me and i am too lazy to go find and change them into english again.


December 27, 2010

mon Noël francais.

My first French christmas was amazing :) In fact, its not that much different from Christmas back in the states. Christmas Eve was spent cooking for the big dinner that night- I made a buche de Noel with the help of Isabelle. It is a rolled cake that is the traditional dessert of Christmas. It was really yummy.

We went to church that night which was freezing because they didnt turn the heat on... we were like ice cubes. After church Patrice's parents and sister came over for dinner. We ate and ate and ate and ate... :) we had escargots, shellfish, and foie gras pour our first dish. Then we had some sort of fowl with apples and raisons for our main course, then cheese and then our dessert. It was good :) We also had a little christmas exchange that night with Patrice's family. Before going to bed we all had to put a pair of shoes under the tree because one of the French traditions is that Santa puts the presents next to your shoes so in the morning you know whos are whos. It was funny :)

The next morning (NOEL!) we woke up at like 10ish and then opened our presents. One difference I noticed is that everyone opens their presents at the same time. there isnt any "All eyes on [so and so]" like in my family. My family was so nice and gave me really nice gifts. I got cookbooks and a personalized journal and lots more. oh and a 5 KILO JAR OF NUTELLA! hahaha that is about 11 pounds.... definitley will need some help eating that.

After opening presents we had a little breakfast of toast and jam and nutella and then we went into paris because Amandine had a horseback riding lesson (talk about dedication!). After the lesson we went to the Champs-Eylsees to visit the Christmas market and the ice sculture display. It was really beautiful and surreal to be in Paris for Christmas.

It was a really really nice Christmas and was only a little hard for me to be away from my family. It didn't feel 100% like christmas since it wasn't the same traditions and I wasn't with my family, but it was still a great christmas :)

The next day was ANOTHER christmas!!! This time with Isabelle's family. Her mom loves christmas and every year plans a themed Christmas party. This year it was Christmas around the world and the colors were red and white. Everyone had to cut out a picture of a person from a different country and make a little ornament to hang on the tree and bring a dish from another country (We brought american cookies and brownies). There were more presents there too! It was really nice of everyone to include me :)Also, my family surprised me with a candle to blow out for my 4th month in France. I had completely forgotten with all the christmas stuff going on. I can't believe its already been 4 months. wow.

Yesterday was yet another little Christmas, this time with my 2nd host family. We ate lots of desserts and exchanged more gifts. They gave me a bag full of French specialties and a really nice pen set (one is a plume which i can use for calligraphy!) to use in my new journal! it was so nice!

I am so thankful for the amazing christmas I had and for my 2 amazing French families. With the Gabelotaud's we were talking about how funny it will be to have all 3 of my families together when my family comes to France. The language barrier will be the funniest :) But i think it will be cool to because the French will be able to use their English and mom will be able to use her French (john too! haha)
Anyway, I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas!!!! only 4 more days until 2011! wow!!!!


December 22, 2010

Ice skating + Lady Gaga + Notre Dame

This might have been the best two days ever :) It started off yesterday bright and early with ICE-SKATING ON THE EIFFEL TOWER!!!!!! when i heard about this i could not believe it... on the first floor of la tour eiffel there is an ice skating rink which is free! all you have to buy is the 3euro ticket to go up the tower. It was like a dream. We went early so we avoided the line and the crowds. i just kept thinking, "wow, i am really ice skating right now in the Eiffel Tower in Paris... how many people can say they have done this?" Its moments like that where I feel sooooo grateful and where i realize how lucky i am.

After a bit of skating we went up to the second floor of the tour eiffel and then hit up the christmas market across the street. i LOVE les marchés Noel! I know i'm going to miss those once christmas is over! They are so fun and festive.

And the night couldnt have ended better---- I GOT TO GO TO LADY GAGA'S CONCERT!!!! it was so amazing. She is sooo strang, but that's what makes her amazing. She had the kookiest costumes and played all the songs i love and she was actually really inspiring too telling us to never give up on dreams or never think we aren't good enough or pretty enough. She was wonderful and from what I say really down to earth too (which was super surprising since she seems so gaudy.) At the end of her show she got choked up saying how grateful she was for all of her fans and for the opprotunity to be able to show the world that its okay to be different. It was so nice. I never ever expected it from her.... and then to close the show she threw her custom-made ARMANI (!!!!) high heels into the crowd because supposedly its a tradition for dancers to throw their shoes if the audience was amazing that night.... she sais "mr. armani is going to kill me for this" Wow. i can't even explain how awesome it was....

After the concert the two girls and I stay at a Youth Hostel in Paris since it was safer than taking the trains at night. Then today, I went to Notre Dame with Sophie, Milton, Pascaline and Pascaline's church group. It was sooooo gorgeous! I was happy I got to go inside and got a tour! They had a really beautiful nativity seen in the cathedral which was really artsy. I liked it a lot.

I can't describe how grateful I am for everything I am getting to experience :) Even on days where not much happens I still feel lucky to even be in France. As amazing as these past two days have been I am looking forward to my day of recooperation tomorrow:) My feet are absolutely KILLING me.... i walked SOOOOOOOOOOO much.

anywho, im exhausted!

December 20, 2010

le foie gras.

I wish I could say that today i made foie gras, but that wasnt exactly the case haha. Today, Patrice and I went to the Gabelotaud's house for a lesson in making foie gras ( foie gras is a really famous French christmas dish involving the duck liver. its very similar to pâté). I started off making some, but got a little grossed out by working with the liver so Patrice finished the job. (notice how i haven't used "haha" yet.... seeing as i have been getting complaints...... thanks mom and katie....) Anyway, it was really interesting how it is made. Foie gras isn't my favorite dish I have tried but its not bad... I'm just not a big fan of pâté.
Anyway, i have a full few days ahead of me including a Lady Gaga concert and ice skating on la tour Eiffel!!!! so excited.
grosses bisouses,

December 19, 2010

Les Vacances! :)

My vacation started with a Friday afternoon spend in Paris with my darling Maria. We did a bit of shopping and then that evening met up with Mia and headed to Croissy Sur Seine to watch our friend Jack in a play! He's an american and he was in a French play! We were so proud of him :) (plus i was super jealous because he has an amazing accent and it made me miss theater so much!!!) The play was really funny. i loved it. Anyway, after the play we walked to jack's in the snow which was beautiful with the christmas lights. At jack's we had some tea to warm up and then stayed up really late just talking and what not. The next morning we all woke up at around 12:30 hahaha.... (not too strange for me ) We had a nice breakfast of croissants and pain au chocolat and tea. it was so nice. That evening the Lasserres and I went to Patrice's parents house for a birthday dinner for his sister and dad. It was really nice! We ate soooooooo much! hahaha first we started with a crap spread on bread, then we ate oysters and shrimp, then foie gras, then racelette dish, then salade, and then cake! hahaha. i had to use some moderation to make it through all the courses :) but worth it!
and then today was a really relaxing day because it snowed a lot last night we just stayed home. we had freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh bread for breakfast! life is good.... and then for our afternoon snack Amandine made waffles. yummmmmy :) i love that half my blog is filled with me talking about food.... wow.
Well, there you have it!
gros bisous!

December 16, 2010

tartiflette! miam miam :)

A great day topped off with a delcious dinner :) Isabelle made a tartiflette tonight and it was soo yummy. Cheese, potatoes, bacon, onions.... yum! I'm just packing on those kilos.... hahahaha. I try to avoid the scale as much as possible. Anyway, school was a little tiring today and i'm not sure why because I started at 12 hah. I had two hours of badminton which was fun even though I am now currently the worst in the class.... (seriously, today we had a competition and I ended up being ranked 8th out of 8 hahahaha) Go me! However, yesterday I had a rock climbing competition and I got 3rd out of the girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its that awesome? I'm not sure exactly how many girls were there, but I would guess somewhere around twenty :) It was super tiring though.
Oh and by the way, yesterday I learned that I can't read english anymore.... I was in my english history class and the prof asked me to read outloud and it was like I was in 1st grade all over again... I had to follow along with my finger and I couldnt read fast. It was terrible. And then when I got to the number 25,000 I FORGOT HOW TO SAY IT! I started by saying "vingt-cinq...." but then i realized what i had switched back to french so i can to hurry and search for the english word. boy oh boy. Also, when French people talk to me in english i automatically always respond in french... im not sure if i already said this, but one day in my class my friends asked me if i would talk to them only in english for a few minutes so they could practice and so I said yes of course. I started out speaking english, but then I automatically switched back to French when I answered them... they had to keep reminding me to speak English. I dont know why that is because when I speak to the other americans or my family on Skype I don't switch over the French haha. The life of a foreign exchange student I guess! Its kind of cool though :)
Anyway, ONE MORE DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS VACATION!!!! (not that i've been counting hahahah)

December 14, 2010

'Tis the season....

C'est presque Noel!!! :) yay! I cannot believe it! I've definitely been getting in the holiday spirit by playing tons of christmas music!!! love it. Oh, and I found out that the names of Santa's reindeer are not common knowledge here. hahaha i was curious to see if they had French names instead, but the Lasserres' said that they had never heard that the reindeer are named :) we ended up looking it up on the internet and French names exist but no one ever knows them.
Anyway, last Sunday we decorated the house for Christmas! I loved it. I just loooooove Noel. And then today at school was the famous Christmas Dinner at the cafeteria. It was interesting hahaha. I tried foie gras! I was really scared to try it, but it turned out to be not too bad. I think that the foie gras we are going to eat for Christmas will be even better since its not cafeteria food hah. Also, in my French class we had a little Christmas party :) We listened to music and ate and decorated the room. It was fun and reminded me of elementary christmas parties. Rotary has pre-warned all of us that Christmas is the hardest time for exchange students because the holidays are about being with family and its when the homesickness really kicks in, but so far i am doing really well ! :) I truely am loving France. Of course I miss everyone and its a little surreal that I won't be home for Christmas ( i don't know what i am going to do without Gramma Joan's gumdrop bars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or mom's sausage ring!!!!!!!!!!!!), but I am really looking forward to experiencing a different country's Christmas! It will be really interesting to see the different traditions.
Bon... C'est tout :)

December 12, 2010

what a great weekend :)

Another saturday spent in Paris :) its becoming a ritual now... but why not, right? anyway, a bunch of us Rotary kids were going to go ice skating the Eiffel Tower (yea, there is totally an iceskating rink on the 2nd story of the eiffel tour! how awesome right?) but unfortunetly it doesnt open until the 15th of december, so another day :) Instead, we visited the christmas market on the Champs-Elysees and then the one in front of la Tour Eiffel. I love christmas markets now! Sooo much yummy food and goodies. It was a really long day on our feet though haha. The best day of my part (still love this, fam..) was seeing the Eiffel Tower all light up and also twinkling! It was absolutely magical. At night, for 5 minutes on the hour it twinkles. So pretty......

That night after Paris, I went to Aurelien's 18th birthday party (my host brother in my 2nd family).
It was fun :) I got to meet his friends who were all really nice and actually talked to me! haha.

December 11, 2010

Dîner-spectacle: la Légende de Buffalo Bill!

I just got home from La Légende de Buffalo Bill at Disneyland! It was dinner and a show :) It was really cool! It was pretty much all in english which was really odd to me since it was a show in France... but i guess it made more sense being in english since it was about Buffalo Bill and cowboys. It was like taking a little trip back home to the west hahaha, except a little more extreme. We all got cowboy hats and for dinner we had chili, cornbread, and ribs! It was so exciting haha. Extremely American. Mickey and Minnie and some of the other characters were there too. Disney always makes me happy. We went with the Galpin family. They are so fun and nice. I really like them. It was also really cool to see Disney at night all light up! What a great show :) My host family is so nice to take me to do things like this. I am truely enjoying myself here! J'adore la France.

♥ bisous,

December 9, 2010

Lille pour le marché noël + snow day!

Yesterday, Rotary took us all to Lille (a city in northern France) to visit a marché noël (christmas market). It was so much fun! It really got me into the christmas spirit. Christmas markets are really common in France. They are like a little flea market, but all christmas stuff like decorations, food, and presents. There were so many delicious pasteries and yummy hot drinks. I tried so many different things haha. When in France..... right? I also bought some really cool wool socks and mittens. :) they will come in a lot of handy I think. We had the whole day to do what we shopped a lot and rode this really big x-mas ferris wheel. It was so cool! We were able to see all of Lille. It was a perfect day. Much better than going to school :)

There wasn't any snow in Lille, but when we got back to Paris there was a lot! Tons of trains were stopped and so it was a little difficult to get back home, but I made it :) I walked home from the gare in the snow and it was so peaceful with the snow and the pretty lights. I love snow. Anyway, today we had a snow day (well, school wasn't canceled, but the buses werent working so most people stayed home. )! It was really really nice outside. Sunny, but with snow so I went and played in the snow with my friends who live in neighborhood. We went to the park right behind my house and had a snowball fight, made snow angels, and went sledding. It was so nice :) I felt like a little kid again getting exciting for the snow.

December 7, 2010

Let it snow♥

It snowed quite a bit today, but it has pretty much all melted by now. This afternoon though the snowflakes were huge! I have never seen snowflakes that big before- even in McCall. It was crazy. I guess its not normal for it to snow that much here and especially not this early. Anyway, today was a good day :) which was surprising because it was a tuesday haha. But this afternoon the photographer who did a presentation for us a few weeks ago, came back and took portraits of all of kids in my French class. We also all had to bring in a photo of us when we were little to put next to the recent portrait. I think its going to turn out really cool. We are also each going to write something about ourselves to add to the project. I'm excited to see how it turns out. Also, big accomplishment on my part--- I finished the first Harry Potter in French! :) I know that it isnt that surprising that i understood it since i have already read it in english, but still I had forgotton a lot of parts in the book and i still understood those parts :) so yea im proud of myself. On to the next one!
It was a little weird today because I left for school in the morning when it was still dark outside and then when i was done with school it was dark outside... not too fond of the super long school days, but i got a little treat on the bus ride home because the town square of Vaires was all decorated and light up. There was a huge christmas tree all light up and a bunch of other little Noel displays around. I loved it. I love this time of year! Even though I can't believe its already this time of year. wow.
well, thats all for now!

December 5, 2010

surprise party & rotary rendez-vous

It was a good weekend :) Saturday night a bunch of my friends met up in Antony for Mia's surprise birthday party that her host parents threw for her. It was soooo fun :) she was at gymnastics when we got there so we decorated the house really quick and then surprised her! she got a little teary-eyed and was speechless. It was perfect. I think it really meant a lot to her that her family did that for it. Then we all stayed the night at her house. We played a game called "Times Up" it was really fun and challenging because we played it in French. There are a bunch of words written on scraps of paper in a bowl and we are split up into teams. The first round its like Taboo... You try to describe as many words in the bowl as you can in 30 seconds for your partner to guess without saying any part of the word. The second round you can only say one word to describe and the third round is acting it out like charades. Hard in French, but still super funny.
Aujourd'hui, we had a Rotary get together with all the French students who want to go on exchanges next year. Each country had to do a little presentation and then we talked with the families and students, answering any questions they had about exchanges. I was really proud of my french today :) I was able to answer a lot of questions! yayyyy!
donc, voila :)
xoxoxo emily

December 2, 2010


I started the badminton section in my sports class :) haha its amusing. Although I noticed that the students here take PE classes a lot more seriously since they arent graded by participation like in the US. They get tested on their skill in the sport! So here i am just doing it for fun while the rest of the class is worried about their technique and such haha. That's probably why I am the worst in the group at it. hahahaha :) but thats okay! I enjoy it :)
Also, in english class I started doing the exercises in French because doing them in english is a little bit pointless... so today I had to write a few paragraphs on the question "Do you think rich people are lucky?" I was so proud of myself for being able to do it in French. Even though I know it was probably elementary school writing and had a lot of mistakes, I think its good for me to try and write in French even if its not perfect. If I don't try I won't learn, right?
After school, I took a hot bath since I was freezing all day (!!!) and then just hung out around the house. My school day tomorrow is super awesome--- I only have 3 hours of classes and 2 of those hours are Calligraphie :) oh how I love not having substitutes here.
anyway, off to bed!

December 1, 2010

la neige.

we finally got snow here in Vaires. I loved looking outside my window and seeing all the houses and trees covered with a thin layer. Its starting to feel like the holidays already! i can't believe its already december. crazy... I not a huge fan of the cold, but I do love wearing the scarves, hats and gloves and drinking hot tea or chocolate! :)
Today at rock climbing we had a mini competition between the 4 of us that showed up and I got 2nd :) haha woohoo. 1st first the girls (seeing as I was the only one... but ill still count it hah)
In other news I lost my phone..... story of my life :( this morning when I was getting on the bus the driver told me that I dropped something, but when I looked down I didnt see anything so I just thought I missunderstood... turns out i didnt. I think my phone fell out of my backpack into the snow when i was getting out my card to get on the bus... Wish I would have taken more time to look around this morning when the driver told me that! next time I won't second guess my comprehension skills haha.
well, bonne nuit!!!
p.s. sorry im not posting everyday anymore. I just feel really repeatitive now that I am getting into a routine and I don't like how every post says school was fine today... yada yada yada. haha :) i'm doing you guys a favor and saving you from boring entries!