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Time Flies

rain 45 °F

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With so much to talk about, I really don't even know where to begin to write this post, but I guess the title says it all. Time flies by so much faster than you ever think it will. I remember when I moved to Vail at the beginning of June this summer thinking, man, I have 3 months ahead of me of living in one of the most beautiful and most desireable places to live on Earth! This is going to be amazing! And then at the end of August, I began to realize how quickly that time had passed. Here I am now, with only 12 days left of my study abroad experience, and 4 of those will be spent in Agadir, Morocco, and one of those is the travel day home. So really, I only have one week left here in Dijon. I am absolutely positively ready to come home, but that's not without a bittersweet feeling of everything here that I'll miss. The people I've met here have been amazing, and the friendships I've made are incredible. I'm going to miss the moments and memories I've shared with every single person here, especially the wild travel adventures. All of that said, here's what I've been up to for the last couple weeks as well as everything that's on the horizon.

Paris

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After I wrote my last entry, I headed off to Paris for a few days to join my family. I can't believe they flew all the way across the world to spend a week here with me. It was great to see them, spend time with them, and have them on this side of the great pond for a bit. In Paris we spent time seeing most of the major attractions, the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs d'Elysées, Arc de Triomphe, Mont Parnasse Tower, Musée d'Orsay, as well as a few other highlights. I had a few interesting observations too. First of all, the Notre Dame in Paris is no doubt impressive, but I've seen plenty of Cathedrals in Europe now ("oh god, we're going to see another cathedral in <insert city name here> tomorrow?") because that's just the way Europe is and it is by no means the most impressive cathedral in Europe. My travel advice would be to see the cathedral in Strasbourg instead, which is much more impressive and equally as ancient... or old, rather. The Louvre was pretty impressive too, and the amount of famous artworks in there is phenomenal. The Mona Lisa? Not as phenomenal as everyone thinks. It's small, has a room dedicated to it, is dark, you can't get close, is behind bulletproof glass, and is surrounded by a horde of people. It was cool to see the world's most famous painting, don't get me wrong, and the thing is invaluable, but it's not nearly as impressive as I thought it would be. The artwork at the Vatican Museum in Rome or the Uffizi Museum in Florence is much more impressive to me. Everything really is better in Italy.

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The Eiffel Tower was pretty cool to visit, and it's cool that I can now say I've been up to the top of it. We were pretty lucky to have such a great day for weather when we visited it too since almost every other day was foggy or gray. The disappointing thing with the Eiffel Tower to me was the sheer number of Asian tourists that were there. It's not really the Paris or France experience I was looking for. I'm really glad my brother can say he's been to the Eiffel Tower now though since he's always talked about it like it existed in some far off place. The Champs d'Elysées and Arc de Triomphe were also pretty cool, though we didn't go up inside the Arc. The Mont Parnasse tower was cool too but we had terrible weather so the view from the landing pad on top wasn't very impressive (and cold!). The Musée d'Orsay was probably one of my favorite things we did actually. The artwork in there from van Gogh, Renoir, and other famous painters was cool to finally get to see, and I got some awesome pictures from inside there too.

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Dijon

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After visiting Paris for a few days, my family and I took a TGV to Dijon, which was their first real train experience. It's kind of a weird thought to me since I've traveled all over Europe on nothing but trains, so the train station drill is normal too me. My dad has also never taken the Denver lightrail, so it was his first actual train experience too. I explained to my parents how gates are announced just 15 minutes before departure most of the time and is pretty normal in France, which is a totally foreign idea to us Americans who are used to getting to the airport hours before a flight and knowing exactly which gate to go to. We spent the next few days in Dijon, which was nice. It was actually kind of funny when my parents asked me what there is to do in Dijon and I felt kind of clueless because I've been traveling Europe so much this semester. I'm really only in Dijon when I have class or on weekends when I feel the need to stay here to get classwork done (which has only occurred in November). But it was nice, we did part of the owl tour around the town, visited a few cathedrals, yes, more cathedrals, and just kind of explored Dijon. We also rented a car, which was quite the experience... With all of the tram construction going on in Dijon right now, the entire city is screwed up for traffic purposes, so driving is far from ideal. We took the car out to the Burgundy wine region though, which was fun for the day, even if there were moments where I thought we were going to die. We drove part of the Rue des Grands Crus, and actually had a really sunny day for it, which was great. After a few days in Dijon, my parents boarded their TGV train back to Paris to fly out the next day. All in all it was a fun few days in Dijon and great to spend time with my family again.

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What's Next?

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I've spend the last few days since they left wrapping up school papers and projects and random ends trying to get ready for the end of the semester. I've said it already but I'll say it again, time flies and I can't believe I only have one week left here. I finished my last paper last night which leaves just a French language exam this week and a French Culture exam this week. After that, it's off to beautiful Agadir in Morocco for a few days with my American friends to send off the semester the same way it began and then a quick turn around in Dijon to Paris and a flight home. I have a few odds and ends things left to take care of here in Dijon like the OFII forms (that I was supposed to do months ago), close up my French bank account, and hopefully finally resolve things at the residence, but then it's time to go home. I'm going to miss this here, no question about that, but it will be nice to go home and return to a life and culture that I fully understand, and hopefully I can make use of everything I've learned here back home and in future adventures.

That's all I've got for now, and this may be one of my last real entries, but make sure to stay tuned for my blog that sums up 6 months into one word, which I'm planning to start working on today. I'm really pouring my heart into it in the hopes that others will be able to get as much out of it as I have writing and living it. Looking forward to seeing everyone back home soon!

Au revoir!

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Pictures
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2755652452477.2148433.1292672395&type=1&l=a3693937bc

360s
http://360.io/EhT3vt Burgundy wine region
http://360.io/CkKFkE Dijon mustard store
http://360.io/jUZmMv Paris old military courtyard
http://360.io/2RzAn8 Near Napoleon's tomb
http://360.io/4vHKdv Standing under the Eiffel Tower
http://360.io/kaXxQ5 Standing inside the Louvre pyramid (my favorite!)
http://360.io/hHXhpx Standing outside the Paris Notre Dame

Posted by la vita bella 03:06 Archived in France Tagged landscapes mountains beaches bridges churches skylines people animals snow trains castles cathedrals paris france travel hotel colorado train trekking austria italy pisa backpack city aspen ski museum friends philippines florence garden cathedral family africa castle hostel rome photos language french morocco europe painting camels vatican pantheon denver international housing college dijon united eye swiss student abroad alps michelangelo american panoramic experiences residence catholic cultures notre dame architechture marrakesh renaissance relationship massive law jardin study iphone agadir learning strasbourg euros 360 emerson scouting nigeria beaune esc dieu camera+ francophone uffizi Comments (0)

Inspired Again.

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Today was my first "official" day with RMVR, meaning I got your typical training today at work. Policies, procedures, meet with different people, etc. Not a bad introduction, although after a few days of work last week and the "retreat" this past weekend I already knew a lot. So far, everything is working out pretty well. All of the interns in the house are really chill people and everyone gets along really well so far, and the same goes for all of the other people at the office. My only real complaint thus far is the use of weed. I knew and expected it to show up more so up here than in Denver, but I hate being around it, and the amount of people at work/in the company who use it is more than I'd like, so I've just had to become really creative at getting around it when it's in use. This past weekend we took a retreat as a company to Breckenridge and stayed in some 7,000 square foot mansion (here: http://www.luxuryrealestate.com/vacation_rentals/24853-chateau-at-trappers-glen-breckenridge-colorado) for free and basically threw a huge party. Everyone was drunk, stoned, etc, except me probably, although I did have more to drink than I ever have (still never been drunk). Needless to say it was a good time, a good way to meet everyone in some way or another, and a great way to kick off my internship. I still can't get over the concept of weekends free after sacrificing my weekends for JFN for so long. It feels unbelievably great to be free of that headache.

With that, I have this weekend free, and... am planning to go hike some more 14ers. Antero and Princeton both look like good bets and the weather looks good also. Right now, I have one friend I'm waiting to hear back from, otherwise I'm planning to probably go solo again, despite my experience last time. This time I'll bring the weight of extra batteries and these two peaks have less vertical gain and seem to be easier to follow as far as trail/ridges go. Also, being two weeks later, more snow should have melted with none new fallen, making route finding easier. But, that aside, I'm hoping my friend is able to come and I won't have to worry about any of this, but I'm planning either way to leave from work Friday and head down to Buena Vista with my eyes on the prize. Wish me luck!

The last two things I want to write about are two epiphanies I feel like I've had in the last week that need to be shared.

The first of these being that I always thought it would be good, but living and working in the mountains is probably one of the greatest things I've ever been blessed to have in my life. I really do have an endless playground in my backyard every day, and hiking or biking are always an option for after work. Last week the company played a round of golf at Vail Golf Club for free after a half day at work. We're going rafting in a few weeks as well as biking (down) Vail pass into the Vail Valley and back to the office. It's awesome to finally work for a company that truly understands a great work/life/play balance and encourages that in everything you do. I never want to work in a city again after being up here and hopefully, if all goes well this summer, I'll be back post graduation for more, and with the company being ranked in the top 500 (I think, or 5000) fastest growing companies in the US this year, there's promise in the future too.

The second thing I'd like to share, going off of that, is the conversation I had with my dad the other night. He is still unhappy that I'm at an unpaid internship, although they are paying for my lodging for the summer. To this point I have just mentioned how it's in Vail, it'll be a lot of fun, the owner personally hired me, etc. But this week I came across an old Emerson quote that put everything into perspective: "I find, where I thought myself poor, there I was most rich." It's really been true for me thus far up here in Vail. You take a job for no pay or little to no pay since I've found out my boss doesn't make much either, but you get to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The views, activities, and opportunities are endless here. Emerson has once again inspired me and allowed me to find myself again. Thank you all for reading, and stayed tuned for a report Sunday night of the weekend ahead!

Posted by la vita bella 20:25 Tagged vail princeton antero emerson rmvr Comments (0)

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