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I can’t believe I’m already a few weeks into my senior year of college!  I remember starting as a freshman like it was yesterday.  I also still can’t believe I’m in the US and not in France 😦  I’m starting to apply to grad school in just a couple of weeks — I am so excited!  I’m trying to go to Middlebury, in Vermont, which is one of the best schools in the nation for foreign language.  They are known for their intensive Language Pledge, in which students pledge to only speak the language they are studying for an intense 6 weeks.  Students have the option to complete their M.A. several different ways — but the option I would like to do is the 6-week intensive program in Middlebury and then the academic year abroad in Paris (September-June).  It has my name written all over it!  More updates on that later.

This semester I’m taking some pretty interesting classes.  I love them all!  I’m taking one of my final French classes, French Women’s and Francophone Writings.  We’re reading 8 mini books and so far I like them!  In Spanish, I’m taking Hispanic Readings and Conversational Review.  Both of my professors are native speakers — which is a HUGE plus!  One professor is from Argentina and the other is from Spain.  Then for political science, I’m taking American Presidency and Politics of Identity, both very cool classes with very smart professors.  And last but not least, to fulfill my last writing intensive requirement at Temple, I’m taking the popular Death and Dying class at the Center City campus, called TUCC.  My first paper for it is due in 2 days on psychology.  Overall though, I’m loving all of my classes!

In other news, the next Temple home football game is this Saturday against Buffalo!  We’re playing music from 1979 because Temple Football is inviting the 1979 bowl members back to watch the game, etc.  We’re playing Earth, Wind, and Fire’s September, My Sharona, and then Styx’s Renegade.  It should be pretty good!  Our first show at the first game was an alternative-themed show.  I believe we’re going back to the show for the game after next.  We played Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance, Can’t Stop by Maroon 5, and closed with Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.  When we return to the show next month, we’ll be adding on Fat Lip by Sum41.

Here are a few videos from the first performance at the football game:

That’s all I’ve got for now.  More updates to come!!

-Monica

So… I haven’t updated in forever.  As I’m sure you can imagine, I just got caught up with everything so I didn’t have much time to blog!  Since Prague (which feels like so long ago), I’ve been to lots of other cities and done some pretty cool things….and I also returned home, with mixed emotions.  The first 2 weeks back were nice since I was able to catch up with some family and friends (and celebrate my 21st birthday States-style), but after that it finally hit me: 

I’m no longer in Paris.

I’m back to the grind now..working the same job as the last 2 summers at Temple.  I still love it!  But nothing is the same.  I feel like a different person than when I left.  I mean, I’m still the same MONICA as before…but I feel like I see things and the world through a different light now.  A better light, a more understanding light.  I love Europe so much..and I miss it so much.  It’s going to be hard for others to understand who haven’t experienced something similar.  I’m sure people won’t want to continue hearing about all my stories and adventures, haha.  But all good things come to an end, right? 😦

So after Prague, I went on my Spring Break which was 16 days long!  Matt (from my program) and I backpacked through Italy for the first week together.  We landed in Rome and spent a couple days there, then took a train to Florence and spent a few days there.  After that, we took a day trip to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower, and then took a train to Milan and stayed there for a day.  Then finally we took a train to Venice and spent a couple days there.  Italy was absolutely gorgeous.  I’ve never had such good pizza and gnocchi and gelato.  It was so delicious.  After our week in Italy, Matt went to England and Scotland and I left for Barcelona, where I spent a week with Ashley and her friends there.  Barcelona was one of the COOLEST places I’ve ever been.  There are mountains surrounding one side of the city and the Mediterranean surrounding the other side.  Just gorgeous…and everyone was friendly and so laid back and chill.  Much much different from Paris, but I loved it!!  It’s second in my top 5 favorite cities…right after Paris of course 😉

Me in front of the Colosseum in Rome

Roman Forum

The best Pizza on Earth!

The best Pizza on Earth!

Colosseum @ night!

Colosseum @ night!

On top of the duomo in Florence

On top of the duomo in Florence

Ponte Vecchio...famous bridge in Florence

Ponte Vecchio...famous bridge in Florence

typical picture..holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

typical picture..holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa!

Duomo in Milan - my favorite of them all!

Duomo in Milan - my favorite of them all!

gondola in Venice :)

gondola in Venice 🙂

St. Marks Square

St. Mark's Square

Ponte Rialto..famous bridge in Venice

Ponte Rialto..famous bridge in Venice

trying spanish tapas for the first time in Barcelona!

trying spanish tapas for the first time in Barcelona!

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Park Guell

Parc Guell

group shot at the fountain show in Barcelona

group shot at the fountain show in Barcelona

After Barca, I flew back to Paris and had a week of class then traveled to London for a long weekend.  We took the Chunnel (Eurostar)!!!  It was so fast!!  About a 2 hr train ride and we were only under the Channel for about 20 minutes.  London was also one of my favorite places.  I went with Alexa and Rosy from my program and we stayed right by the train station, King’s Cross/St. Pancras.  London was amazing!  I had THE best Indian food there…best curry chicken & samosas ever!  We saw all the major sights, plus we took a really cool day trip that was totally worth it (about 35 pounds) to Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge!  I think I met the friendliest people there, too.  And I really loved the London Underground 🙂

In the London Underground :)

In the London Underground 🙂

:)

🙂

London Bridge!

London Bridge!

posing with a guard at Windsor Castle

posing with a guard at Windsor Castle

jumping pic at Stonehenge!

jumping pic at Stonehenge!

crossing Abby Road with Rosy & Alexa :)

crossing Abbey Road with Rosy & Alexa 🙂

in a souvenir shop in Piccadilly Circus

in a souvenir shop in Piccadilly Circus

Me with the London Eye at night

Me with the London Eye at night

Big Ben at night!

Big Ben at night!

Then I returned back to Paris and had another week of class and then took a weekend trip to Berlin and met up with Ashley!  We took the free walking tour and had a really funny tour guide, Summer Banks.  We also both bought Birkenstocks, which by the way, are SO much cheaper in Germany than in the US!  We had some good beer and some good currywurst, too 🙂  Berlin was also in my top 5 cities — it just has so much history…the Berlin Wall, Hitler’s bunker, etc.  It also has the coolest street art ever.  Every corner you turn there is street art on the walls of buildings and on sidewalks, etc.  It was awesome!

Ash and Me at the Berlin Wall

Ash and Me at the Berlin Wall

TV Tower in Berlin

TV Tower in Berlin

Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral

Brandenburg Gate at night

Brandenburg Gate at night

Inside the Reichstag looking down at all the seats

Inside the Reichstag looking down at all the seats

The next weekend I spent my last weekend in Paris just doing all the things I enjoy doing..walking the streets, getting crêpes, sitting in the beautiful gardens and people-watching, and visiting some places that I hadn’t been before.  It was a nice relaxing weekend…and a bittersweet one as well.  Then the following week I prepared for my finals and actually took my huge (3 hour!) final on Saturday, May 23rd, aka my 21st birthday.  As soon as we were finished, a few of my friends and I went to Maoz to get falafels and then I took a 5 hr train ride to Amsterdam to meet my friends for the weekend!  I had an amazing time… we also saw Anne Frank’s house where and her family hid during WWII and went to the Heineken Experience to see how they brew their beer!  Definitely a fun time.  Then Ash and I returned to Paris where we spent a week of sightseeing and hanging out.  It was fun seeing everything for the last time and for the first time for Ashley.  My last night in Paris we spent on the Champ de Mars where we had a bottle of wine from Bordeaux and watched the Eiffel Tower and laid out on a blanket.  It was such a good way to end my experience in Paris.

Brewing beer at the Heineken Experience!

Brewing beer at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam!

beautiful canals in Amsterdam

beautiful canals in Amsterdam

Ash and Me in the m of the I amsterdam structure :)

Ash and Me in the 'm' of the I amsterdam structure 🙂

hehe, a big dutch wooden shoe!

hehe, a big dutch wooden shoe!

After our week in Paris, we flew to Athens and spent a few days there with a friend of my Aunt Sheila.  His name is Kostas (so greek!).  We walked all around, went to the National Museum of Archaeology, climbed the acropolis and Mt. Lykabettos, and saw the Parthenon.  We also visited Sounio, which is the southernmost point of Attica to see the Temple of Poseidon.  Athens wasn’t one of my favorite cities — but it had amazing sights and history.  After our few days in Athens were up, we took a TINY (like 40 people)  flight to the island of Kythira in Greece, where my Aunt Sheila and Uncle Panayotis live.  The flight was only 40 minutes long.  We could have taken the ferry, but that was a 6 hour journey.  So we spent a week there visiting my Aunt and Uncle and staying in their home.  Greece was BEAUTIFUL….the beaches were unbelievable and I ate the best food the whole time.  THE BEST FETA CHEESE IN THE WORLD!  We had gyros, souvlaki, baklava, and paximadi!  By the end of the week though,  I was all traveled out and ready to head back to the US.  By that point, I had been in Europe for 4+ months!

typical greek homes :)

typical greek homes 🙂

Theater of Dionysus, climbing up the Acropolis

Theater of Dionysus, climbing up the Acropolis

Ash and I at the Acropolis

Ash and I at the Acropolis

the Parthenon!

the Parthenon!

view of Athens from Mt. Lykabettos

view of Athens from Mt. Lykabettos

the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio

the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio

Aunt Sheila & Uncle Panayotis home in Fratsia, Kythira

Aunt Sheila & Uncle Panayotis' home in Fratsia, Kythira

Kapsali...the most beautiful beach ever!!

Kapsali...the most beautiful beach ever!!

Me, Uncle Panayotis, and Aunt Sheila

Me, Uncle Panayotis, and Aunt Sheila

Ash, Me, and Aunt Sheilas 2 neighbors..who are Kostas parents!

Ash, Me, and Aunt Sheila's 2 neighbors..who are Kostas' parents!

Me, Uncle Panayotis, & Ash

Me, Uncle Panayotis, & Ash

Ash and Me in our shades :)

Ash and Me in our shades 🙂

Anyway, so I’m 21 now and back in the US of A.  As if celebrating my 21st in Amsterdam wasn’t enough, I celebrated with friends and family the week I got back at Chickie’s and Pete’s.  What a fun night that was!!  It was good seeing some people and it was a lot of fun because turning 21 in Europe just isn’t the same!  This Friday Ash and I are going to the Phils game (we’re playing the Mets!!), which was her bday present to me!  I’m so excited!  Then we’re heading down to her beach house in Rehoboth with Ash’s friend from HS, Denise, and the rest of Ash’s family.  I cannot wait to be on the beach and set off fireworks for the 4th of July!!  I really  hope we have great weather.

That’s all I’ve got for now…I still can’t believe I’m home and that I just spent the last 4 months in Europe.  It feels so surreal.

-Monica

This past weekend I went to Prague with 2 of my roommates, Krystal and Kassie, and it was AWESOME!  It was my first time in Eastern Europe and my first time being in another country that didn’t use Euros as their currency! We flew in on Friday night and checked into our hostel which was actually pretty nice.  The next day we got up early and walked around the city, got some food, and went on a 2 hour walking tour of the city.  We saw so many things!  Prague is such a cool city…you feel like you’re in a Hans Christen Andersen fairytale (as Krystal said) haha.

Also, while we were there, we randomly saw our friend Matt who we had met in Brussels back in February.  He was traveling on his spring break with one of his friends from his program.  The two of them, Matt and Jill, are studying in southern France in Montpelier.  So the 5 of us hung out for most of the weekend!  So much fun!!  And also, we didn’t find out until Friday, but Obama was going to be there at the same time we were!!  He spoke at Prague Castle on Sunday  morning…and there were thousands and thousands of people there.  We didn’t go because it was a madhouse – but we did watch his speech with 2 other Czech guys who worked at the front desk of our hostel.  It was really neat to hear their point of view as well.  Obama’s speech was mostly about making an international effort to stop the threat of nuclear warfare.  I love hearing him speak!  It’s always so moving.  And Michelle Obama was there with him, and they looked great!  All the Czechoslovakians gave them such a warm welcome, too.  🙂

Here are some pictures from my weekend in Prague!

Crazy Czech currency! In Czech, it's called koruna česká (Kč), or "koruns" (crowns) in English! The exchange rate was about 20Kč = 1€

Crazy Czech currency! In Czech, it's called koruna česká (Kč), or "koruns" (crowns) in English! The exchange rate was about 20Kč = 1€

Prague's famous Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square

Prague's famous Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square

Old Town Square with Tyn Church in the background

Old Town Square with Tyn Church in the background

Me, Krystal, and Kassie with Prague Castle in the distance :)

Me, Krystal, and Kassie with Prague Castle in the distance 🙂

Krystal, Kassie, and I during our pub crawl

Krystal, Kassie, and I during our pub crawl

Prague is also well-known for their Bohemian crystal!

Prague is also well-known for their Bohemian crystal!

We got Starbucks on Sunday morning.  This is my Iced Caramel Macchiato and look how they spelled my name! Haha, Manaka.  I like it.

We got Starbucks on Sunday morning. This is my Iced Caramel Macchiato and look how they spelled my name! Haha, Manaka. I like it.

Jill, Me, Matt, Krystal, and Kassie in Prague Castle

Jill, Me, Matt, Krystal, and Kassie in Prague Castle

Saint Vitus' Cathedral

Saint Vitus' Cathedral

Changing of the guards at Prague Castle

Changing of the guards at Prague Castle

Where Obama spoke just 2 hours before we got there

Where Obama spoke just 2 hours before we got there

View from Prague Castle...overlooking all of Bohemia!

View from Prague Castle...overlooking all of Bohemia!

Cool band playing on Charles Bridge!

Cool band playing on Charles Bridge!

Ah trdlo!!! A delicious dessert in Prague. They roll dough into these little mini-barrel shaped forms and they have sugar on the outside!! Sooo good, esp when they first come off the roller :)

Ah trdlo!!! A delicious dessert in Prague. They roll dough into these little mini-barrel shaped forms and they have sugar on the outside!! Sooo good, esp when they first come off the roller 🙂

Langoše!! We each had one for lunch and they were delish! Ketchup, Cheese, and Garlic on this really good fried dough, haha. Not exactly healthy - but so good!

Langoše!! We each had one for lunch and they were delish! Ketchup, Cheese, and Garlic on this really good fried dough, haha. Not exactly healthy - but so good!

This is a short post but I don’t have much time because I’m leaving for Spring Break in just a few hours!!  Matt and I are backpacking through Italy!!  We’re starting in Rome, and going to Florence, Pisa, Milan, and Venice!  Then I’m going to Barcelona to stay with Ashley for a week!  HAPPY SPRING BREAK!!  Write again soon!

Bisous!

Monica

For St. Patty’s Day weekend, my roommate, Kassie, and I went to Dublin!!  Where else would be better?!  It was both our first time there, and Ashley was also going with some of her friends from GSE Barcelona…so needless to say, we had a MonAsh reunion!!  It had been over 2 months since I last saw her!  I can’t tell you how amazing Dublin was.  What a beautiful and lively city…with some of the most friendly people I’ve ever met!

We first arrived in Dublin on Friday night, so we checked into our hostel quickly,  and then met up with Ashley and her friend Shaina to go grab a drink at a bar before they closed.  We didn’t have much time before they closed but we were also tired from the traveling, etc.  So that night we went to bed early because we were going to get up early the next day and explore Dublin!  On Saturday morning, we did the Free Walking Tour of Dublin which was REALLY good!  Basically, this company called New Europe believes that every visitor should have a tour of the city at no cost, regardless of their budget.  They have volunteer tour guides who work on a tips-only basis, so their tours are really good.  Most of the tour guides are college or grad students so they’re very knowledgeable, friendly, and funny!  Basically, they want to make the tour the best it can be so they can get tips!  And if you don’t want to tip, you don’t have to – that’s their whole idea.  Anyway, our tour guide was Conor and he was really great!  Here are some pictures from the tour:

Christ Cathedral

Christ Cathedral

Tour Guide Conor!

Tour Guide Conor!

Me & Ash on tour :)

Me & Ash on tour 🙂

Temple Bar!!!

Temple Bar!!!

Liffey River :)

Liffey River...O'Connell Bridge in distance 🙂

The story behind the colorful doors in Dublin: Women painted their doors different colors to help their husbands distinguish which door was theirs when they were drunk, so they wouldn't end up in the wrong house and in the wrong bed! :)

The story behind the colorful doors in Dublin: Women painted their doors different colors to help their husbands distinguish which door was theirs when they were drunk, so they wouldn't end up in the wrong house and in the wrong bed! 🙂

They had these reminders on the streets at every crosswalk to remind tourists to look a certain direction when crossing....HAHA! Ireland and England are the two crazy countries that drive on the opposite side of the road ;)

They had these reminders on the streets at every crosswalk to remind tourists to look a certain direction when crossing....HAHA! Ireland and England are the two crazy countries that drive on the opposite side of the road 😉

The Spire!

The Spire!

After the walking tour, we walked around because every Saturday in the Temple Bar District they have a market where you can buy all types of food.  There was Indian food, Asian food, all types of nuts/cheese/fruit, and then there were OYSTERS.  Since I’ve never had an oyster, I decided to take my first oyster shot.  I like to try everything once!  So, Kassie, Ashley, and I all had our first oyster shots in Dublin.  They didn’t like theirs – I was the only one who liked them!  🙂

About to try our first oyster shot!  Mmm.

About to try our first oyster shot! Mmm.

Then after the food market, we headed over to the Guinness Storehouse to take a tour of the factory!  It was AWESOME!!  We learned all about Guinness and how they brew their beer!  And at the end of the tour with your ticket, you were entitled to a free pint!!  You got to pour it yourself and get a certificate as well!!  After we poured our pints, we could go up to the top level of the Guinness Storehouse which was called the Gravity Bar.  You have one of the best views of Dublin up there!!  Overall, one of the coolest tours I’ve ever been on.

Guinness Storehouse!

Guinness Storehouse!

Me & Ash!

Me & Ash!

This is true!  Since Kassie & Ash are actually Irish...it wasn't necessary for them to be in this one!

This is true! Since Kassie & Ash are actually Irish...it wasn't necessary for them to be in this one!

Guinness pelican ad

Guinness pelican ad

Me pouring my pint!

Me pouring my pint!

The Perfect Pint!

The Perfect Pint!

Perfect Pint Success :)

Perfect Pint Success 🙂

View from the Gravity Bar...Wicklow mountains in the distance

View from the Gravity Bar...Wicklow mountains in the distance

Shaina, Kassie, Ash, and I in Gravity Bar

Shaina, Kassie, Ash, and I in Gravity Bar

Then Saturday night we went out of course!!  Dublin has over 800 pubs so we went to a good amount of them 🙂  For dinner, we went to this place called Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar district and had some good Irish food!  I got a chicken boxty for dinner and I also tried my first soda bread!  Then afterward, we went to Porterhouse Brewing Co. where they had this AWESOME live band that played really good Irish music.

My chicken boxty for dinner.  It was delish :)

My chicken boxty for dinner. It was delish 🙂

Streets of Dublin @ night

Streets of Dublin @ night

Porterhouse!!  Our favorite bar!

Porterhouse!! Our favorite bar!

Live Irish Music!!

Live Irish Music!!

Me & Shaina in Porterhouse :)  Having a great time!

Me & Shaina in Porterhouse 🙂 Having a great time!

Then on Sunday, Ash and I walked around Dublin.   We checked out Grafton St. which had really cool shops and things to look at.  While walking around, we even got to see some Irish dancing!!  They were so cute!  Ash got a really cute Ireland track jacket and we both got claddagh rings.  We walked all around and did some souvenir shopping until Ash had to leave.

Ash & Me on Grafton St.

Ash & Me on Grafton St.

Irish Dancing!!

Irish Dancing!!

So far, the weekend in Dublin was BY FAR my most favorite.  Dublin is a FANTASTIC city and I had such a great time.  Got to see so many things and just really enjoyed myself.  I highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance 🙂

And then for actual St. Patty’s Day, my friend Rosy and I went out to Corcoran’s Irish Pub in the Latin Quarter here in Paris.  It was a LOT of fun!!!  So they were giving out free Guinness hats and we managed to get one for ourselves!

Me & Rosy at the Irish Pub. Happy St. Patty's Day!

Me & Rosy at the Irish Pub. Happy St. Patty's Day!

That’s all for now!  This Saturday I’m going to Versailles, which will be my 2nd time visiting, but I can’t wait!  Look out for another post soon 🙂  Bon week-end!

Bisous,

Monique

Salut tout le monde!!!  Haven’t updated in quite some time, so I shall fill you all in now!

First things first.  Just a forewarning, actually: I visited a lot of cemeteries/cathedrals/museums so there will be many pictures of all those!  Hopefully you’ll find them interesting 🙂

Two weekends ago, I went to Reims, which is about an hour away from Paris on the TGV.  Reims was somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for a long time so it worked out that my program planned a day trip there.  I read all about the Cathedral of Reims in my French textbooks for years, so to see it in PERSON was just absolutely incredible.  Many French Kings were crowned there and Clovis was baptized there!  Any Francophone knows what I’m talking about!  And if not, Clovis was the King of the Franks in the 6th century, and is also considered the founder of the Merovingian dynasty (which ruled the Franks for the next 2 centuries).  Enough of being a nerd!  We also took a tour of a champagne cavern, since Reims is in the Champagne region of France.  Here are some pics:

Cathédral de Reims

Cathédrale de Reims

the back of the cathedral

the back of the cathedral

Champagne tasting at Vranken-Pommery!

Champagne tasting at Vranken-Pommery!

The next day was the first Sunday of the month in March, so all the government-run museums are free!  I went to the Musée National Picasso in the Marais district of Paris, and then to the Musée Rodin with Matt, Beth, and Kassie.  It was a really good day.  It wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t raining!  I don’t really have any pictures from the Picasso Museum because they didn’t allow you to take pictures.  Bummer.  But, I do have PLENTY from the Rodin Museum — and I really loved this museum, so I was happy that we were able to take pictures inside!

Me and The Thinker!

Me and The Thinker!

Kassie, Beth, and I all posing with The Three Shades

Kassie, Beth, and I all posing with The Three Shades

The Gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell

The Kiss :)

The Kiss 🙂

Random sculpture that I really liked

Random sculpture that I really liked

In my free time, I’ve checked out a lot of different places.  I made a list of everything I want to do/see while I’m here in Paris.  I’m totally a list person!  So far, I’ve visited Saint Sulpice (the 2nd largest cathedral in Paris after Notre Dame), and if you’ve ever read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, you’ll be familiar with this cathedral, le Cimetière du Montparnasse where many famous people are buried, Les Invalides, where Napoleon’s tomb is, and just the other day I visited Les Catacombes!  All these places were very interesting…well, at least they are to me!  Haha.  I’m really starting to get to know Paris…every district..every metro line.  I’m totally loving it.  It always feels good when you really start to know a city – inside and out.

Saint Sulpice (with construction)

Saint Sulpice (with construction)

The gnomon on the floor inside the cathedral

The gnomon on the floor inside the cathedral

The organ inside Saint Sulpice. It was HUGE!

The organ inside Saint Sulpice. It was HUGE!

Me inside Camille Saint-Saëns' mausoleum.  One of my favorite composers!

Cimetière du Monparnasse: Me inside Camille Saint-Saëns' mausoleum. One of my favorite composers!

Beckett's grave

Beckett's grave

Sartre & de Beauvoir

Sartre & de Beauvoir

Baudelaire

Baudelaire

Les Invalides by day

Les Invalides by day

Les Invalides by night...from across the Seine

L'Académie Française at night...from across the Seine

Me with Napoleon's Tomb behind me.  Such a large tomb for such a tiny man. Hm.

Me with Napoleon's Tomb behind me. Such a large tomb for such a tiny man. Hm.

Entrance to the Catacombs: Stop! This here is the empire of death.

Entrance to the Catacombs: Stop! This here is the empire of death.

the bones are literally right in front of you...

the bones are literally right in front of you...

lots and lots of skeletons...

lots and lots of skeletons...

I’ve also taken a few other trips with GSE as well.  The most recent trip was this past weekend.  We took a train from Gare Saint-Lazare up to Normandie…about a 2 hour ride.  Not bad at all.  When we first arrived, we went to see la Tapisserie de Bayeux, which tells the story of events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  Unfortunately, photography wasn’t permitted in the museum, but I found some Google images of the tapestry that I’ll post.  Then we grabbed some lunch at this galette place, which was really good actually.  Afterward, we went to some of the D-Day beaches (Gold and Omaha), visited the American Cemetery, where there are about 9,400 soldiers buried, and if you’ve ever seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, the opening scene is filmed in the American Cemetery, and then lastly went to Pointe du Hoc, which was a point of attack during WWII.  I had been to Normandy once before when I visited France 4 years ago, but it was nice going back and seeing some more things.

Part of the Bayeux Tapestry thanks to Google Images :)

Part of the Bayeux Tapestry thanks to Google Images 🙂

Gold Beach

Gold Beach

American Cemetery

American Cemetery

another view

another view

Me standing between the flags of my two favorite countries!!! :)

Me standing between the flags of my two favorite countries!!! 🙂

Pointe du Hoc

Pointe du Hoc

C’est tout!  I leave tomorrow for Dublin for St. Patty’s Day weekend!! WOOO!  I am SO excited!!  I’ll be posting again soon 🙂

Ciao!
Monica

I feel like I have so much to say!!  I don’t even know where to begin.

Last weekend, for Valentine’s Day weekend, I went to Bordeaux with the people in my program and it was a lot of fun.  We took the TGV down to Bordeaux, which was about a 3hr train ride.  We got in to the hotel pretty late and went to bed shortly after arriving.  Then the next day, we walked all around downtown Bordeaux, which is BEAUTIFUL.

Beautiful Bordeaux

Beautiful Bordeaux

all of us in front of the Opera House

all of us in front of the Opera House

Afterward, we had some free time so we all went shopping because they had a huge weekend sale, called the “braderie,” which is where they have all these street markets with really good discounts and sales.  I bought 2 pairs of shoes: one pair of boots and one pair of flats, which are really cute!

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la braderie!

SO many people out shopping

SO many people out shopping

Then we took a tour of 2 different châteaux.  In Bordeaux, they call their vineyards châteaux.  We learned all about making wine and the fermentation process…and we even got to taste it!  Everything was so delicious.  Then after that, we had some free time so we just strolled the streets and shops until dinner.  We ate at this place called Chez Edouard and I tried something that I’ve been wanting to try for so long:  les cuisses de grenouille!!!  aka FROG LEGS!!!  They were sooo tasty.  I think they’re my new favorite food here now 🙂   After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go out.  We went out to this bar called The Frog and Rosbif.  We had a few drinks, hung out for a while, and went back to the hotel because we had to be up early the next morning to see our last château, which was by far my favorite!!  That pretty much wraps up the trip to Bordeaux.  I really liked it there.

the vineyard

the vineyard at Château Pape-Clément

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wine tasting 🙂

Then this past weekend, we went to Brussels!!  I HAD AN AMAZING TIME THERE!  I loved everything about that city.  There is cobblestone EVERYWHERE…to the point where my feet were happy to be back in Paris, haha.  But seriously – some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Everyone was so outgoing and friendly and from all over the world.

Market Sq when we arrived in Brussels

Market Sq when we arrived in Brussels

view from outside the hotel!

view from outside the hotel!

After getting into the hotel, we headed back outside to check out this bar called Delirium Café, that has 2,004 different types of beer!!  I had SUCH a good time!!  It was PACKED in there on a Friday night.

Delirium Café!!

Delirium Café!!

inside Delirium Café

inside Delirium Café

group pic!

group pic!

We stayed at Delirium for a long time and then we went across the street to anothe bar called Floris Bar to try absinthe!!  We all wanted to try it and figured why not.  It kind of tasted like black licorice and it wasn’t really bad — I actually liked it!!  Good times.  After Floris and Delirium, we were all hungry so we got pitas at this falafel place and they were all so nice there!!  They let us go behind the counter and somehow I ended up holding the knife!! HAHA!

pita place!

pita place!

The next day we got up early for a tour of the city of Brussels.  We had a GREAT tour guide!!  He showed us all around the city for nearly 2 hours.  It was so nice getting to see everything because I don’t know if I would have been able to if I did it on my own!  Some pictures from the tour:

Market Square filled with people

Market Square filled with people

Belgian Waffles! Mmm.

Belgian Waffles! Mmm.

Me about to eat my Belgian Waffle!!  It was so good.

Me about to eat my Belgian Waffle!! It was so good.

The famous Mannekin-Pis statue, haha

The famous Manneken Pis statue, haha

Group pic in front of Market Square

Group pic in front of Market Square

Overall, I had an AMAZING time in Brussels and in Bordeaux.  Everything has been going really well here.  I love it 🙂  Just last night, my roommates and I went to go see Ce que pensent les hommes (He’s Just Not That Into You) and it was so cute!  We saw it in English with French subtitles.  It was a lot of fun and nice to check out a new, BIGGER, movie theater.  Today after class, Matt and I went to Saint Sulpice to look around inside and then afterward, we headed back towards the Saint-Michele area and went into Shakespeare and Company to look at some books.  I’ll definitely post more pictures soon!!  Tomorrow we’re checking out Père Lachaise, one of the main cemeteries in Paris where famous people like Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried.  And then on Saturday, we’re taking a day trip to Reims to which I’m really looking forward!!!  Keep checking back for more pics and updates 🙂

Love and miss you all!!!

Bisous,

Monique

I’ve officially been in Paris for a week now!  AND I’M LOVING IT!

Let’s see, let’s see..time flies here it seems.  I’ve done a lot already and it’s only been a week.

First things first: I finally got my class schedule all set.  I technically have 4 classes.  I have my grammar class Mon-Fri from 2-4pm, which I’m loving so far.  There are about 16 of us in the class and the professor, Mme Dumery, is REALLY nice and a REALLY good prof.  Sometimes I can’t believe that I can understand what she’s saying.  I mean, all my classes at Temple are taught in French, but this is a French class IN France and taught by an actual French professor.  The students in my class come from all over the world.  At the end of my first class a few days ago, I actually asked the girl next to me a question in English about one of our homework assignments just to make sure I got the directions right in English.  After she stared at me for a few seconds and didn’t respond, I asked her in French if she spoke English and she didn’t.  And you know what?  It turns out that a lot of people in my class do not know English.  HOW COOL IS THAT?!  The language we share in common is FRENCH and I love every part of that.  I speak French every possible chance I get.  This grammar class is really going to help my speech and my writing.  I can just feel it.

Next week, my phonetics class starts.  It’s Mon-Fri every OTHER week from 430-540pm.  And then I’m taking 2 “conférences” which are my electives.  I chose to take “Littérature française du 20ème siècle” every Tuesday morning from 10-12 and “La politique en France” every Friday  morning from 10-12.  I am VERY excited for these classes to start.  I’m so happy to finally have my class schedule set 🙂  I can’t tell you how much I love taking the métro and RER to class every day.  I can’t believe what I see every day.  The line I take crosses over the Seine every day and it’s gorgeous.  When I finally exit the métro and RER above ground, I walk towards my school, which is practically NEXT to the Panthéon, where famous people like Voltaire, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, and Émile Zola are all buried.  I literally pass that every day.  Not to mention the Panthéon overlooks the city of Paris and it’s so elevated that I get to see the beautiful Eiffel Tower as well.  I LOVE where my school is located.  I couldn’t ask for anything better.  Oh yeah, Notre Dame is right nearby as well 🙂

Panthéon

Panthéon

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devant Notre Dame 🙂

A few days ago when I was walking to class, there were all these cop cars and I’m guessing the French  S.W.A.T team, haha.  There were people EVERYWHERE and loud chanting.  Next thing I know I see an entire BLOCK of students with signs chanting and protesting up and down the side streets.  I asked these 2 guys what was going on and they told me in French that they were rallying/protesting because they were unhappy about student laws.  Anyway, it was quite a sight:

les manifestations

les manifestations

tous les policiers sont prêts

tous les policiers sont prêts

beaucoup d'étudiants

beaucoup d'étudiants

In other news, all my roommates (Beth, Krystal, Kassie), Matt and Alexa (who are also in GSE) and I went out to dinner last night at this place called Watt.  It was delicious and such a cute place.  It’s located in the “quartier Latin” in Paris, right where the main Sorbonne campus is.  So far, it’s my favorite district in Paris.  Last Sunday night, Matt, Krystal, and I went to the Bastille district and saw Les Noces Rebelles (Revolutionary Road).  It was in English with French subtitles.  I have to say… it was really good.  It really makes you think and question your life.  It was funny though since they kept mentioning Paris, haha.  But I actually took a picture inside the theater before the movie came on because it was SO SMALL.  We actually tried twice before to see the movie but each time it was sold out.  The reason being because there are only like 30 seats!

c'est très petit!

Last weekend Matt and I took the métro to Montmarte, climbed a MILLION stairs just to get out of the métro, and then climbed even MORE stairs to get to Sacré Coeur.  After that, we just wandered the streets of Montmartre (one of my favorite districts) and got some hot chocolate since it was snowing.  It was nice to walk around though, because once Spring comes, sooo many people come out and it gets so crowded.  So it was nice not having many people around.

View of Paris from Sacré Coeur. It was snowing!

View of Paris from Sacré Coeur. It was snowing!

)

posing in front of Sacré Coeur 🙂

Streets of Montmartre

Streets of Montmartre

This weekend I’m going to Bordeaux (Southwest France) with GSE.  GSE (Global Student Experience) is the study abroad company that organized my trip, in case I haven’t mentioned that detail.  Anyway, Bordeaux is known for its wine industry so I can’t wait to see (and better yet, taste) all the wine there.  It’s about a 3 hour train ride from Paris.

I’ll update after this weekend is over!!  HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

Bisous ❤