Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Went to Le Puy again today. Only this time I went with Bob. Bob is the English assistant who works in the primary schools in Brioude. I'm always really jealous of him because he's the town celebrity (even though I like to think that I am...haha). Seriously though, all the little kids come running up to him in the street wanting to say hi, etc....it's like he's the new Jesus or something. Anyway we're becoming good friends, Bob and I. It is good to have someone around who is going through the same things I am, and who actually wants to talk to me and go places with me. Well, someone apart from Christine because I can't be bothering her constantly...just almost constantly...haha.

Well Le Puy was really nice despite the rain, the cold, and the way I was wearing the wrong shoes (I always do that....dammit). I don't think we were sure exactly of what we were going to do when we got to Le Puy today...we just knew we wanted to get out of town for the day. We ended up having breakfast at a crepe shop because we left so early in the morning that it wasn't breakfast time until we got there. Crepe was good...yum as usual, and we got some good medicine from a pharmacy in Le Puy thanks to the nice lady pharmacist there. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Bob and I both have nasty colds...mine's mostly a cough which sucks...I sound like I'm dying all the time...but I'll probably make it. After breakfast/taking our meds, we didn't really know where we were going so we just ended up wandering around...which is my favorite because you end up surprising yourself. Which is exactly what happened.

Le Puy en Velay is a really cool town. It's not too big yet much bigger than Brioude at the same time. The town features a couple of very high peaks amongst the shops and residences. They almost look like they don't belong there, but they're very cool...like I said before. Anyway one peak has a church on top and the other....a virgin. Today we climbed the peak to the virgin....well, it was more like we wandered up to the virgin. Anyway, it was the best day of wandering and sight-seeing I've experienced in a long while. The view from where the virgin stands is outstanding and you can actually climb up inside of her...yes I just said that. That part was fun/creepy...it was rainy and dark and creepy and creeky inside the virgin....not very virgin-like at all, but a good experience all the same :)

After this, we met up with some of the other assistants who live in Le Puy and had...you guessed it...more crepes...haha. It was delicious as usual and I was very hungry after our excursion to the virgin...hehe. It's nice to talk to some of the other assistants...I love Brioude, but sometimes I feel like I live on an island away from everything...that's a good feeling sometimes, but other times you have to venture onto the mainland so to speak....

Was happy to make it back home today as usual....kind of cold outside...don't want to go to school tomorrow...because I'm lazy, but the day will end well at least...Christine and I are having girl's night!!!! Woop Woop! I need a girl's night since I haven't had one...oh I dunno since I lived at Pointe West....depressing thought. No matter....tomorrow will be a fabulous girl's night...we're having pizza and watching Brides Maids....cannot wait!

I think I'll leave you with a picture of the virgin...
 close-up of the virgin...
 and me inside the virgin...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brioude...there are no words...ok maybe a few :)

Hmmm Brioude? What is there to say? I love it here! Of course there were  hard times in the beginning....getting used to living alone (at first anyway), getting used to a new place, getting used to a small town, getting used to everyone and everything being French. But, I can honestly say that now and probably for the past two and half weeks, I am totally and completely acclimated! What I cannot say is that I was able to do this on my own. I have several kind people to thank, but most of all...Christine Fontes.
Originally assigned as merely my "contact person" or "life-line" here in France, she has quickly become my best friend whether she likes it or not (but I think she likes it). Now, everyone knows that I have several best friends so I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings. If you already carried the title you haven't been stripped of it...don't worry. Hmmm what was I saying? Oh yeah...Christine...she's smart, very funny, loves stripes and nuts, hates dogs, and overall we speak the same language (in more ways than one...i.e. she's very good at English...I'm convinced that she speaks the language better than I do). Anyway from the first moment I saw her, I must have known a great friendship was in the works because when she picked me up from Brioude's little train station, I ran and gave her a big hug...I know it's not a very French thing to do, but I had to. I was so happy to finally have finished travelling and to have met someone who was finally going to help me get settled in! She has lovingly helped me with everything since I've been here (even figuring out how to use my gas stove), and I truly feel that I can talk to her about anything! I don't think I've ever become best friends with someone that fast before. It's only been something like a mere four weeks since we met, but she's like my sister :) Anyway, if Christine were reading this, she would probably tell me to stop talking about her so I will move on...
School...school has been great. The teachers are so nice to me and classes are going well I think (I hope so...don't really know what I'm doing). I love all of the English teachers especially, but everyone has been very welcoming and patient with me and my less than perfect French. One teacher even gave me a bike :) The students can misbehave sometimes, but I win them over eventually [come on...it's me :)]. So far in class I've used everything from Arcade Fire to The Devil Wears Prada to get the kids to speak/like English...sometimes it works...sometimes it doesn't, but I'm trying and that's all I can do I guess.
Auvergne is so beautiful!!! I love when Christine lets me ride with her to Issoire or Le Puy (nearby towns) because I get to see the countryside and castles and lots of other cool stuff that I would never see at home. The food here is delicious...the wine is superb...and life just seems to be a little easier. I'm becoming more patient here which is something I really needed to learn. I love small town life because I am really never lost here...no there aren't as many distractions here as there are even in Columbia, but I'm learning to enjoy myself in simpler ways which is very good for me. Hugs and kisses to you all...and thanks for reading my stupid blog :)
Catch you later!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ok....woo that took forever! If anybody cares at this point, I am officially settled in in France...in Brioude more specifically. And when I say settled in, I really really mean it. Not only have I moved into my fabulously shitty (and I meant that in the best way) apartment, but I'm making friends. People are so nice here, and I'm beginning to feel more comfortable here than I do at home. I know, that's a scary thought. But it is so quiet here and beautiful, and quite unlike Columbia, South Carolina. I am usually partial to the beach, the sun, etc. but I'm getting used to life in the mountains and It is quite nice. 

I probably don't have to say it, but the food here is worth dying for sometimes. I don't eat out as much here because it is quite expensive, but it is more of a treat that way and the food is BETTER so it's worth the money.  It was like that in Paris except I was forced to eat out a lot those few days.

Oh yeah....PARIS. Was beautiful....just as I suspected. hehe. It is a crazy city, but I think I did alright for a first timer....freaked out a little in Charles de Gaulle airport though....that place still haunts my dreams.....oh and yes I took that photo :)

Met some fabulous and loving people in Paris....Ana and Marcos. They're both from Brazil, but Ana speaks English very well in my opinion. We became a little family of three for the few days we were in Paris because you can't see Paris alone...trust me I tried. It's physically possible, but utterly lonely. Anyway by day four, I was walking through Montmartre and someone asked ME for directions....sadly I had to admit that I wasn't Parisian, but I took the case of mistaken identity as a huge compliment.


I took this photo as I was walking up to la Butte for the first time...wanted to cry a little bit. I was blown away by how beautiful it is and the view from the top....i die. I went there everyday that I spent in Paris because the hostel was probably less than five minutes walk from there. At sunset it is unlike anything I've ever seen in my whole stupid life.


Oh yeah. Then I saw this and it was over. I've fallen in love with this country. 
I was always on the verge on tears in Paris just because most everything was beautiful. With almost every corner you take, there is something incredible revealing itself. I sound dumb, but I was moved. I was especially moved when I attended mass at Notre-Dame...the choir really does sound like angels :)

I think I'll finish up Paris with a few photos from my journey...







i die


I think that's enough for now, I have so much more to say about Brioude and how wonderful things are here, but I think I should save that for another post....just so I don't overwhelm anyone. haha
Til next time.