Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Madrid, Spain

I don't have a ton of pictures from Madrid because most of the sights we saw were in Art Museums that you can't take pictures of... but I met up with my friend from DPU Beth Beulher and we hung out and drank Sangria together! It was a great time!

Lisbon, Portugal

Our first stop on our whirl wind two week tour of southern Europe was Lisbon Portugal. I would recommend this place in a heart beat, and I would love to go back and explore Portugal more in the future if I get the chance. The food was cheap and delicious and we got to ride bikes along the coast. We enjoyed local pastries and coffee and the sun and the sea Breeze! Here are some of the pics from our three days spent in Lisbon...

Down town Lisbon

From above

more pictures of the city

The beach! even though it was a little cold and cloudy...

Matt and I on the beach

On our bike ride

the castle in lisbon

the castle view

Final touches

So... here I am sitting on Kelley's Island with Matt, Mirandy and Tati... who flew in from NY to come on vacation with us! Senior year is going to start in just a few days... and I am going to finish my blog now, as promised. Here is what I am going to do... I am going to post pics from each city I visited on my travels at the end, and then I will write a final reflection post. So sit back, enjoy the pics and this will really conclude my semester abroad during the late winter and spring of 2010.


Friday, May 21, 2010


Wow. Its done. My memoire is done, my internship will be over in 30 minutes and tomorrow at this time I will be basking in the sun in Lisbon. Where did the time go? Have I really gotten up and gone to the IMA every day for the past 12 weeks? It doesnt feel like it. It all kind of feels surreal.

I am relatively happy with my memoire, but I am not letting myself look at it any more because I will keep finding things to fix, and I just cant fix any more things. I cant do it. I just have to turn it in and hope for the best. I got my grade back from my last class, and I got an 18 on the test and an 18.5 overall for the class. If you know anything about the french grading scale, you will understand what that means, but for me that is pretty freaking good. It is the equivalent of an A which is awesome. I am really pleased with this! I also asked Thomas yesterday what grade I got on my soutenance and he didnt know specifically, but he said it was good, which makes me think it was probably a 16... also an A. The scale is a 20 point scale... but dont multiply by five to get a percent, it doesnt work like that. Anything above a 10 is really good... and poor Tati didnt realize this and just didnt understand her grades... when actually she has been doing great! But regardless, I am pleased with my grades so far.

Tomorrow I am heading out to travel for two weeks. I will be in Lisbon Saturday-Monday, Madrid Tuesday- Thursday, Barcelona Thursday - Saturday then in Montpellier, the south of France for until the next Thursday when I am going to come back to Paris. Then from Paris to Iceland for 5 days, and I will be back home the 12 of June. I am so excited for this vacation... and dont worry mom, I have lots of sunscreen.

I decided not to take my computer, but just a journal so that I can update this with my entries and my pics when I get home. I will update it dont worry! I am sorry you will just have to paitent, but it will all be worth it when I get it done. This blog has been a great project for me, and I cant wait to finish it up.

This entire semester has flown by, and I cant imagine my life right now, not in Paris. But soon I will be home, with my mom and grandma and friends, and I am looking forward to that too. So peace out for now. The title of the post is a very common phrase in arabic... Inshallah. It means God willing. All of this has been a wonderful expeirence thanks to God, and the rest of it will be wonderful too, and I will be home safe and sound to update my blog before everyone knows it. Inshallah.


Friday, May 14, 2010


So I have hit rather a road block in writing my memoire… it is very hard, actually harder than I thought it would be, but I don’t know why I was expecting it to be anything less. But ok, since I am not being productive in that realm I thought I would write a quick rant of a blog post that I have been thinking of writing for the past few days since I have a really long weekend this weekend, thanks to the holiday of Ascension. You know, when Jesus got sucked back up into heaven forty short days after he was resurrected on Easter.

First I am not complaining about having a long weekend. I really need the time to work on my paper and to just focus (although I am moving in and out of focus rather sporadically and I think I am driving Matt crazy. Sorry Matt). It is raining and cold, a perfect weekend to spend inside writing papers. Right? Something like that.
But back to my rant at hand.

So France. This lovely country where I have spent the last several months of my life… the country that wrote the first declaration of rights of man (wait where were the women? Oh yeah not getting the right to vote until 1945 after WWII, but I am just getting side tracked here.) This country that purports to have all of the qualities of a democratic republic, and the welfare state, offering universal health care and all that good jazz that the USA is about 50 years behind on getting. All that stuff. This country who has its very own word to describe the secular state which keeps religion and state separate. That word being “Laïcité.” A word Mac and Anne and Matt and I spent several hours discussing… what it means and if it can really be achieved.

Since then, that weekend in Bretagne, after spending almost a total of 12 weeks at the Institut du Monde Arabe, I have learned a lot about what it means to be a practicing Muslim in France today (several of the other young female interns there are Muslim, and none of them wear the veil integral, or even cover their hair) mostly they are just careful to check at restaurants for a certificate of Halal (the Muslim equivalent of keeping Kosher and not eating certain meat products) and trying to be good people. That is about it.

But as the debate in this country rages on about the Burka, and why there should be a law in this country banning it, and banning head scarves too in public places, it is already banned in public schools (based on the concept of Laïcité), I can’t help but notice, and get mad about what a crock of crap this argument is. France is a secular country? Really? Because last time I checked they have about five national holidays… Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Christmas, and the day that celebrates the end of WWI. Yeah, those are definitely state holidays… having nothing to do with the Christian and Catholic roots of this country. Nothing at all, my ass. You better not cover your hair because it is in keeping with your religion, but the only days you get off work (besides your 8 weeks paid vacation) will be those that celebrate the comings and goings of our lord and savior Jesus Christ. Got it? It makes me sick.

It is fine for a country to be a Catholic country in my opinion, especially a catholic country that passes out condoms to all high schools for free… those are my kind of Catholics. But don’t try to cover up your racist, discriminatory, flagrant anti-islam, anti-arab politics by using the word “Laïtcité.” Because it is a lie. You can be catholic, and celebrate every catholic holiday ever, that is fine, but don’t pretend not to be. And don’t use your meaningless words to try to cover up you hatred of the immigrants and citizens and families who have been living in your country for generations because you told them they were French citizens like everyone else during colonialism. It is just bull shit. And everyone knows Sarkozy is using this debate over the burka to distract citizens from what he is really doing in government, which is taking the country back a couple decades… but don’t get me started on a Sarkozy rant…

Point of this post—thanks France for the long weekend. But don’t pretend to be something you aren’t. It just proves that you are not the secular country you purport to be. You are actually a hypocrite. So just admit it. Or admit you are still a catholic country. Or change your holidays. Which would you prefer? Personally, I would just change the holidays. But that is just me, and it seems like France prefers hateful racist hypocrite…

If this post makes no sense just ignore it. I am going nutso over here and just being kinda wacko.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


So as I keep mentioning here, my time here is constantly growing shorter and shorter, but I don’t think that that fact has really hit me yet, I don’t know. But all the big things that were going to happen have passed now, Matt’s parents have made it back to the states, and I survived my last test at IFE, although I am sure that it could have gone better… oh well.

But this past weekend was really fun, and I wanted to put up a post about it before my life gets too consumed by writing this paper and I only have time to post little “god save me” posts… and before I leave on my adventures. Several people have asked if I am going to continue blogging during my adventures… and the answer is yes, but I am not exactly sure how. We will be travelling all over, and staying in several different hostels, and I am sure I will be able to find internet sporadically to keep things updated… but the question is whether or not I want to take my computer with me. I am only going to take my backpack and no other bags, and my computer will be heavy… but more than that I am just not sure how many secure it would be to leave it in all the different hostels we will be staying in, if they all have secure lockers or not… I would be really annoyed if I brought my computer to blog and it got stolen, although the chances of that seem kind of small… what does anyone think? I might take so many pics that I need a place to upload them to clear my memory card on my camera too… or I could just take my journal and write my entries there and type it all up and put up the pics and everything when I get back… I haven’t decided yet and I would appreciate any advice on this anyone has…

But back to this past weekend. On Saturday morning I got up bright and early and I met the Brauer family at Gare St. Lazare to go on a little day trip to the city of Caen… but little did I know how nice it was going to be. Part of the reason Mr. Brauer wanted to come to France this spring was because it is the 40th anniversary of the start of the study abroad program he did when he was in college… and the 30th anniversary of his year spent in France. So they spent some time during the week going back to visit all of his old haunts, and meeting up with friends who had come back as well… and he just happened to meet up with the son of the family he lived with 30 years ago, who called his sister Isabelle, who insisted that Mr. Brauer come visit her and her family in Caen on Saturday. She was 16 when Mr. Brauer was here before and they had seen each other a few times since but not in about 10 years, so it was high time for a visit… and for Matt and I to take a day trip outside of Paris, and a little trip down memory lane for the day.

So the train was delayed, but we finally made it out to Caen, where Isabelle and her husband were waiting for us… and they immediately welcomed us into their home, and fed us a wonderful lunch and took us on a tour of their town… It was really a great afternoon. And Matt and I had a great time befriending her French children, Julien age 9 and Tiphaine age 7. They were really fun, and really excited to hang out with us because we could speak French to them and the other grown ups couldn’t… and they are working on learning English but it is a process. But they have already had years of it at school, and it made me think about how much the US needs to get on the language train and start teaching languages much much earlier, long before seventh grade.

But as you can see from the pictures here we spent a lovely afternoon talking and playing soccer with the kids, and Mr. Brauer got to spend time with old friends which was really nice for him. The afternoon flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to get back on the train to come back to Paris for the evening. But the entire afternoon just made me think about where I want to be 30 years from now, the type of person I want to be, and where I want to be and what I want to be doing. I don’t know for sure, but I am sure right now that Paris, and all of France has made an imprint on my life that will not go away, and I only hope that in 30 years I will be back in Paris, visiting my friends from IFE and catching up with the wonderful people I have met here and all the places I have seen and love to go. More on this a little later, as I need to get working on my paper for the day, but here you can see the lovely house and cute kids we met, and I can continue to muse about where I want to be in 30 years, and marvel at how it may not all turn out how I plan it, but I am sure it will be good… and I look forward to seeing how the story unfolds.

Friday, May 7, 2010

more musings

So, I think the fact that I am writing this proves that I survived my soutenance yesterday… it didn’t go half bad I don’t think, even though my grumpy tutor was quick to point out everything I didn’t do… I think the others who were there probably thought I did a good job. We shall see what grade I get, I am actually really curious to see. But now that is over and done, and all I have left to do is study for the test I have on Tuesday and write my paper out… oh lovely. I can do it I think.

I am not exactly sure what this weekend holds, but we might be going to go out to Caen this weekend and the up to St. Michel which would be really nice since I didn’t think I was going to get a chance to go up there. But we shall see. And at some point this weekend I am going to study for my test and get coffee with a French girl who is moving to Dayton in the fall to go to UD for a year and she wants to hear what I have to say about the place, which is kinda cool. Sunday evening we are having a study group to talk about the upcoming test this week and then Sunday night I get to skype with my mom and grandma for mothers day and I will hopefully get to talk to Alana as well since she is only going to be on the continent for a few more days… which is so weird! There are only two weeks left until I leave for my travels around Europe and then go to Iceland. How is all of that even possible I don’t know. Where has the time gone, seriously? There are so many things I am going to miss about being here… express coffees in the morning and glasses of red wine with dinner. I know we have those things in the states too, but here it is just different seeming. Although there are so many things that I miss about home, and my summer plans are starting to come together nicely! I have two weddings to go to this summer and some of my friends at home are having babies and I need to meet them! But now I am about to go meet Tati for lunch (we think we found a place with cheap tacos… but their quality remains to be seen.) I am really going to miss her when I am back home… although I guess cell phones and skype will make the distance between DePauw and Weslyan much smaller… But now for today I have some song lyrics for you, which were written by men named Harburg and Duke, and it has been sung by lots of big names including Frank Sinatra… and you have to trust me that there is a lot of truth in it… (And even though it is may now, it still holds true.)

(Harburg / Duke)

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace

Till April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees
April in Paris, this is a feeling
That no one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
I never missed a warm embrace
Till April in Paris
Whom can I run to
What have you done to my heart