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France Update

Thoughts on paper.

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Milan Train Station in Italy
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No really significant updates in this entry, just felt the need to write. Thoughts on paper. In an odd sort of way it's a great outlet for me, soothing, and just nice to get things out. I'll do my best to get things caught up since returning from Rome to the best of my memory.

Sunday

Sunday was a relatively nice rest and catch up day. Despite how awesome Rome was and all of the unbelievable things we got to see, I was ready for a day to relax and sit for a little bit. I basically spent Sunday on housekeeping related things around here. Still unsure if the bed bugs came from Rome or my studio here, I cleaned the entire place. Swept the whole room, cleaned the kitchenette spotless, etc. I found no signs of them here, but as of today on Thursday I still can't say I know where they came from for sure. Sunday I also wrote some postcards to friends and family back home, wrote the previous blog, skyped with my parents and skyped with my girlfriend, and so on. Lots of little things that just needed to get done, and seeing my family back home and my girl was great too, as always. The letter I received from my girlfriend the night I got home from Rome was a nice little treat also given how much I miss her here. Not a bad day, especially given that everything in France is closed on Sundays. Everything.

Monday

Monday was a very good and productive day. I had received mail from the bank here that my ATM card was available for pick up, so I went to get that, which was a huge relief. Not only did I get it on my first visit to the bank that day (great success), but it worked and I no longer have concerns for running out of money here in Europe. Both great things. That day also I went to the train station with the other American friends of mine to try to book tickets for future trips, but had no luck because I guess these trains fill up early, no matter where you're going according to the first guy we spoke too, so that was a bit frustrating. That evening I attended my first class here in Dijon, French Intermediate, which went pretty smoothly. The professor speaks no English, which might prove to be difficult at some point, but I understood nearly every word she said, and could speak better than some kids in my class while not as well as others, which to me says I'm right where I should be. The grading seemed pretty fair and relatively easy enough, so that's always a plus. Monday I also received my first care package from home, from my mother, which had my scale from home, a razor since I blew mine in the outlet the first time I tried to shave here, a wireless router since wifi is hard to find here in Dijon, and another converter and adapter for outlets. Amazingly, having not weighed myself in two weeks and eaten everything that looked deliciously European, I hadn't gained an ounce. Not bad!

Tuesday

Tuesday was a less than fabulous day here. I didn't end up doing much for most of the day, and when I did finally try to go do something (meet up with another international student from Germany at the gym), the gym was unavailable for use, which was disappointing. My wrist was giving me problems for most of that day, which was also pretty frustrating. I still think that something in there is broken or messed up, more than a sprain, but who really knows at this point. All I can do is hope it heals by the time I'm back in the States and if not, I'll have to get it professionally looked at along with my knee to figure out what's wrong. I also returned to the train station again that day with the other American students, to no luck with booking anything. That afternoon while relaxing in my apartment my bed broke for the second time also, so add that to the growing list of the many reasons why I'm already tired of this residence. Tuesday night I was back from class and realized that my International Law class which has been missing from my schedule and I'm told "isn't scheduled yet but will be shortly" is on my schedule, and is holding a 3 hour class session at 9:30 Wednesday morning! I swear this school sometimes... Anyways, seeing that I went to bed since I knew I couldn't sleep in, and I was frustrated with the day.

Wednesday

Wednesday turned out to be a much better day. I went to my first real International Business class in the morning for the Law stuff, which turned out to be alright. The professor is from Peru and is fluent in Spanish and French and good at English, although at times he turns to me for help since I'm the only native English speaker in the room. It looks like the majority of our grade in there is going to be based on the team project, which we began on Wednesday without even realizing it. I am in a group with four other students from Germany, Mexico, Pakistan, and China and our task is to find a common natural resources problem in our country and build a treaty around it with the others. Pretty cool to see it from a global perspective like this too, something I definitely wouldn't get in a class at DU. After class I went to try out the school gym, which worked out ok. Not having access to a legitimate bench press free weights machine for the next 3 months is going to be rough, but I was able to find enough things in there that I shouldn't lose too much strength hopefully. No one else was around while I was trying things out too, which was nice for me. I'm definitely sore today, but hoping to go back there tomorrow to give it another try. The last French class of the week last night was good, and not too much homework is given by this professor apparently, so that's always nice. I did it this morning so I won't have to worry about it while traveling this weekend, and it was super easy. Good start to the semester. Yesterday a light bulb burned out in my flat as well, which is not the biggest deal in the world, but mildly frustrating since I've only been here two weeks. You can add that to the list of frustrations I have with this residence also now, as well as still figuring out if I have bugs in my flat. The highlight of yesterday though was probably booking travel for my next two weekends with other students here. I've given that it's own section at the end.

Thursday

Today turned out to be a pretty good day. I was able to sleep in and relax most of the day, and then went to my French culture and societe class this afternoon. It turns out the same professor teaches the class in English and French back to back, which may come in handy. I definitely feel that my comprehension skills are lacking in the class which is in complete French, but it'll force me to pick up the slack and get better at speaking and listening to French, which is good. And I can't take the English version anyways to complete my French minor, so that's not an option. I understand most of what he says, but I'm worried about the key points he makes. Guess we'll find out in coming weeks where I stand. The grading is super simple and easy also, which is again a plus while I'm over here and would rather travel than do homework. After class tonight I met my French "buddy" who ESC set me up with, which was cool. She's really nice and speaks fluent English and French and had offered to be really helpful. She didn't stick around for too long when we met up, but I have her name and number which should come in handy at some point I'm sure. Tomorrow I'm hoping to visit the gym again, I have a class for International Management, and all International students in Dijon are getting to meet the mayor of Dijon tomorrow night, which means I need to find something decent to wear. Also, a friend told me before I left that "everyone in Europe wears leather", and now that it's starting to become cooler at night, it's becoming obvious that it's true. I'm super happy since I brought my real leather jacket over here with me, which weighs a whopping 6 pounds by the way, and I can't wait to wear it out and about soon. So, that brings most things up to speed as of tonight, except travel!

Travel Plans!

This weekend, my friends and I were able to reserve tickets to Strasbourg, France. It's a town on the edge of France and Germany, and while I'm not totally sure of everything to see there, we have about a day and a half to wander around and explore, so I'm sure we'll find something. We'll be heading out Saturday mid morning and returning late Sunday night, making a nice little trip. I'll be traveling directly with the two other guys from U of Kentucky, since the two other girls decided to go to Paris instead (mistake!), and a bunch of my friends from the Philippines are going to be there on the same train and same hostel as well. Should make for a fun weekend! And then there's next weekend....the real actual Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. Yeah, it's actually happening. I won't go into the details of how we're getting there, since 10 days out was last minute and we're taking about 5 or 6 trains to get there, but it's happening, and we'll be there for about 2 days. I'm pretty excited for Oktoberfest. I've never been drunk in my life, but this may be the time to try on that hat, since rumor has it the event runs 9-5 everyday and is all you can drink beer for 5 euros... Either way, it promises to be an adventure, and what pictures I take will be worth the lifetime of memories they'll create. I'll try to take plenty of pictures in Strasbourg as well, which I've heard has some pretty sweet Gothic architecture around the town. The weekend after that no formal plans have been made yet, but I'm thinking about heading to Switzerland. The other American kids want to head to Amsterdam for a weekend they'll never remember, and I'm not so much into that kind of thing, and Switzerland sounds much more fun and beautiful, so I think I may head there. Regardless, if I've learned one thing here it's that life is an adventure, you just have to go out and live it, so that's what I'm doing my best to do. Traveling the world certainly opens your eyes and teaches you a lot and you never really know what to expect, and every single minute of it has been awesome. I miss home a lot some days, but I wouldn't change anything about where I am and what I'm doing here today. I'm too blessed and lucky to have an opportunity like this, so I'm doing my best to make the most of it. Until next time, thank you to all you awesome people out there who read everything I have to say, and look forward to some awesome pictures and 360s from the travels and journeys that lie ahead!!

Au revoir!

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Posted by la vita bella 11:59 Archived in France Tagged castles cathedrals france history hotel italy rome roman dijon abroad study vail 360 beaune girlfriend esc dieu Comments (0)

Dijon Aujourd'hui, Roma Domani

The adventure begins.

overcast 65 °F

So much has happened since I wrote last that it's hard to remember where I left off, so I'll start with Saturday. Saturday I went on a pretty cool wine tour of the Burgundy region. Unfortunately, it was more a vines tour sans the wine, but was nonetheless fun and exciting. It was an absolutely beautiful day with nothing but blue skies from start to finish, which made for phenomenal pictures all day. I also realized that 85 degrees, it was the hottest weather I had felt in a full 12 months thanks to Denver fall/winter/spring and summer in Vail. Not a bad way to live. I have attached a few pictures below as well as a link to the full gallery I posted on Facebook to the pictures from the wine tour. It's pretty unbelievable how much wine and vineyards there are here... It was almost as though I had traded a skyline full of mountains for a skyline full of vineyards as far as the eye could see at times. Pretty awesome. I got to see my first two castles here in France, which was AWESOME!! It absolutely blows my mind, still, to think about those. How long they've been around, how long they will probably still be here because of the protection and acknowledgement of their historic significance, how much they've probably seen, from wars to plagues and famine, to drought, harsh winters, etc, the architects that designed them, the fact that they were probably built by HAND over a thousand years ago, the wars they've fought and seen, so on and so on. It just blows my mind. So so cool, and they're everywhere over here! It's awesome. On the tour we also got to visit the Hotel Dieu in Beaune, which you may not know by name, but I'm sure you've seen pictures do to its famous rooftop tiles, and I took a 360 shot from inside the courtyard as well because I thought it was just too cool. We were then given a couple of hours to explore Beaune after visting Hotel Dieu, which is a very cool, cute, small town about 30 mins by train from Dijon. It's definitely on my list of places to day explore and also to take my girlfriend for a day when she comes here to visit in a couple of months.

Sunday was mainly just a lazy day. I didn't realize how much is actually closed around here on Sundays until I tried to find things to do here. I've heard from many that the French have a great appreciation and respect for the family and self time and long lunches and relaxing and so on, so everything was closed on Sunday. The one highlight on Sunday was the 9/11 service held for the handful of Americans who live in the city. The ironic part of it was that 9/11 is also the anniversary of the liberation of Dijon during World War II, so it was really more of a celebration than remembrance for us, full of a full band, soldiers, the mayor of Dijon, and so on. Pretty cool, and we got to see the inside of the town hall here, absolutely gorgeous as you would expect, and we got to be interviewed by a news reporter for TV as American students on our reaction to 9/11 then now. Cool fact related to that also, I have now been in all forms of news media: print, online, radio, and TV. Weird, but cool. No one I know personally can say the same. There are pictures of that as well in my gallery, Daily Life in Dijon, France, link is below.

Yesterday was another adventure, although stressful at times. It was a combination of more exploring, which led to more pictures of Cathedrals since they're everywhere and super photogenic and a new 360. I haven't fully explored it yet, but from the campus tour, the ESC gym is tiny. It makes me respect, appreciate, and miss the Ritchie Center SO much. I'll be looking forward to coming home to that, both for fitness and job's sake. As a result, I looked up a bunch of "home gym" body weight exercises and made a long list before going to work. I worked out for about two hours since it's been almost 10 days since the gym at home, doing everything from dips with a chair and my bed, to pull ups on the back of the door, to push ups, sit ups, and a variety of other things. It's going to be interesting for sure, but another kid I met from Germany wants to explore the gym too since he works out a lot at home, so maybe next week I'll give that a go with him. Monday was also a bunch of running around trying to figure out my bank situation. Long story short and many hours of walking later, I've been to the bank five times in the last two days, and I finally have money here. Just in time before my last meal was eaten too. Also yesterday, my girlfriend bought a ticket to come visit for a week over Thanksgiving break in the States. I am too excited and can't wait to have her over here. This has been a bit of a roller coaster ride and an adventure to say the least, but she and I are taking it step by step and week by week, and I couldn't be happier with that right now. I'll have to work out the timing while my family is here part of that week also, but I'm sure we'll find a way.

That brings things up to the present for now! Tomorrow morning I am leaving with the four kids from Kentucky and we're all going to go explore Rome for a few days before coming back on Saturday since "class" starts on Monday evening I think. I can't even begin to express my excitement to spend the next few days in Rome. Five years of Latin in high school and having just finished up 3 years of classes for my Italian minor, I am going to explode. Literally. My Osprey backpack I bought way back in April for 14ers is turning into an amazing travel pack also, and I couldn't be more satisfied with that also. I probably won't update again until I get back from Rome, full of pictures of every Roman place and artifact I studied about through high school, or at least as many as I can find while we're there! I'm hoping to get a 360 from inside the Colosseum also...so stay tuned for that!

Until next time, au revoir, arrivederci, et merci beaucoup for reading!

PICTURES:

Daily Life in Dijon (ever growing, so bookmark it!): http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2394979315874.2138738.1292672395&l=e693c79b73&type=1
Burgundy Wine Tour: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2405930389644.2139035.1292672395&l=b843accb82&type=1

360s

(these look better if opened on an iPhone, by the way)

Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne: http://t.co/lCij9eq
My flat in Dijon: http://360.io/Q2hnRe
Chateu Vougeot: http://360.io/PXeLpv
Hotel Dieu: http://360.io/aQWhxd

And the highlights!

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I am taking my girlfriend here first thing for a date night out, and I can't wait.
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Au revoir!

Posted by la vita bella 11:00 Archived in France Tagged castles cathedrals france history hotel italy rome roman dijon abroad study vail 360 beaune girlfriend esc dieu Comments (0)

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