Wednesday, September 30, 2009
"work to live, dont live to work"
My last blog update was about a week ago, so I would like to take a minute to fill you in on the latest (I enjoy numbering things as part of my OCD – if you cant tell yet):
1) I went to Paris last weekend at the last minute with a family that lives on the estate. Maryse and her family (who are SUPER nice) gave me a lift, because they were going to the south of France to visit friends, so they dropped me off in the city on the way! To be honest, I was a bit scared; because I got dropped off at 10pm Friday night, and had no idea where I was in relation to my hostel, and really cant speak much French. However, with a bit of patience (I got lost on the Metro) and some friendly people, I made it safely to my hostel. Now my hostel is a WHOLE different blog entry (well at least it could be), but long story short, it was a shit hole. I didn’t pay much to stay there, so that was fine, but lets just say I didn’t shower for 2 days because the bathrooms had mice and roaches. I am very glad I brought my own sleep sheet and towel as well because you have to rent them from the ‘front desk’ and they cost as much as one night to sleep!!! Crazy! Anyhow, in no way am I complaining, I think it really added to the whole experience and adventure! The first morning I was there I got a croissant (okay, lets be honest, I got 3) for breakfast, followed by crepes for lunch, and pasta for dinner. I think I consumed my body weight in carbohydrates while I was there, but oh well! I walked around the city and went to all the tourist attractions (i.e. Eiffel Tower, La Seine, Louvre Museum, The Pantheon, Notre Dame, etc) and had a fantastic time! Saturday night I went on my first ever “Pub Crawl” with the other people in the hostel, which was quite an experience. I met a lot of friendly people, literally from ALL over the world, which was incredible, and got to see the “nightlife” side of Paris. On Sunday, I rented a bicycle in the city and just went around to look at some parks and gardens, and read under the Eiffel Tower with some ice cream. Overall, it was a fantastic trip and very “Freeing” to have the independence and confidence to find my way around a huge city. I feel as though traveling by myself has some great benefits, but also some drawbacks. One positive: I heard a quote saying “You never learn anything while you are talking”. Well, there are hours and hours where I just don’t talk, so I just listen. I think it is fascinating to just ‘people watch’ and listen. I now agree that you can learn so much by just observing. To wrap up this ever so long paragraph: I had a really good time in France, and am looking forward to going to Germany this weekend to meet up with Dani.
2) I started my new French class at the CLL and really love it! It is so much better than my last class (taught in Dutch) because now I can actually understand directions and it makes it much easier to follow what is going on! I am just delighted to be back in the school setting, and it is so nice to interact with people with different backgrounds! I met a few very kind girls in my class, one from the Philippines, one from Lithuania, and one from Sweden! I need to practice my French a lot more, so I am trying to speak it with the children!
3) I had my TFA phone interview last night, and will keep you updated as that journey continues.
4) I am finally coming out of my ‘comfort zone’ and making a few new friends. I went to IKEA with a very nice girl (Hannah) and we spent all day together just hanging out and talking about life. She is from the UK and very nice, and we are going to take a shopping trip to Brussels together to load up on winter clothes. I also am joining a volleyball league (our first practice is tonight) with Kerry and Kathleen, which will be SO nice to just play volleyball again! They are American, and super nice! WOOT WOOT
5) I am becoming so domestic, and I really never thought I would say that. I am taking a 4 week cake decorating course and I love it! Crazy! It took me 2 hours just to make the rose buds out of frosting (and then we dye them specific colors), but it is so fun just to relax and get immersed in something creative! This year break has already been good for my ‘creative’ side, and I am still enjoying taking photos and doing crafts : )
6) I cant believe it is almost October! CRAZY! Time is flying!
7) I really enjoy the markets here! On Fridays, they have the Stockel Markets, where all local growers come and sell their fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Also, there are specific ‘stalls’ where you can buy fresh cheese, meats, and jams. I love the atmosphere of the markets, where everyone is smiling and happy and buying local! It’s wonderful!
8) I miss everyone. Sometimes I have my good days and sometimes I have my bad days when I get really lonely. I know those feelings are normal, but it is hard for me to know what I am missing out on back in the states.
9) COME VISIT!!!!!!! The weather is getting colder now, but will begin to warm up again in March, which gives you PLENTY of time to book your flight ; )
10) All my love, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog! I hope you are all doing well, and please provide me with updates as well! Au revior!