23 November 2008

Power...

So, now that the internet has become almost reliable, apparently they thought we were getting spoiled here at Fransiscaines de Lille. SOOOO now the power goes out. At least 3 times a week, often more. Always to my half of the building, and usually RIGHT when i get my arse motivated to study.... GRAH!

On the plus side, while my closest friends are expected to miss me, a lot of the ones I didn't expect to much care, have started asking when i'm coming home. :) makes me dread the inevitable return to the states a bit less... lol.

Ireland.. i know i know. I owe you posts about ireland. soon, really, i will.

18 November 2008

Random thoughts

In amsterdam, we met this guy on the street, trying to sell jokes. He gave us a long speal about how they are an investment and you can pass them on and theres a garauntee... and omg. It was hilarious.
Trams were awesome, it was weird to watch them move...

Swans are EVERYWHERE. I've seen them in every city I've been to this far. Well, maybe not paris. But lille and amsterdam and limerick... It's fun.

I love window seats on airplanes. Some of the most beautiful sights I've seen were out airplane windows. Like a view of the coast of Wales on my way to Ireland, it was beautiful. I wish I could've gotten a picture. Even the clouds can be beautiful...

Care packages are wonderful things, they just make me feel so loved. :) I got one today and am SO excited. I missed my mocha mix. If you come to france, definitely bring some of your favorite foods. Way more important than more clothes. And chex. oh how I missed chex....

And peanut butter... I never even ate it that much. Some of the foods I'm craving were only once in a while things.... but its just OMG I need it NOWW! lol.

17 November 2008

Panic attack averted.

So I procrastinated until my paper was barely done in time for class. But it WAS done in time. And I took my USB stick down to print it, and wait in line for TEN minutes. And then the guy informs me that he can't print for me right now, because this other guy is using the computer that the usb sticks go in.

AHHHH!!!

So I went to class without my paper, even though I spent half the night making sure it got done. Thank god that because I am erasmus, prof's expect me to be retard, be late, misunderstand stuff, and hand things in late. He told me to bring it in tomorrow. Yay!!! I was about ready to cry after all that work making it done, and then a stupid printing issue ruining it all. I think tomorrow AM I'ma try to print it at the library instead.

So I am going to relax for a bit this evening. (not too much, mind you) And then its back to the grindstone. Another paper, and a possible retake... and then more papers. ugh.

Ireland, I'll post up about ireland soon, really I will.... Its a good story

14 November 2008

Second DS

Yay! I made it. Hah. Really, it wasn't as horribly, terrifyingly awful as I feared. I'm not sure how I did. If it were a course back home, I'd say I did fine. But it's french, and I'm not positive my notes, and thus the resulting essay, were complete enough. Now, 2 papers, 2 translation DS and a retake to go... THEN I'll post up about Ireland.

Speaking of papers... this school's library SUCKS. I haven't found much of anything for resources, for either paper. And I tried to go today, because I am SO much more productive in a library (fewer distractions) However, the internet refused to work for me. Sooooo I came home. sigh.

But the DS is done -yay- I feel better now. On to the papers....

12 November 2008

Terror

OK ok, maybe terror is too strong of a word. But I am definitely worried about how well i will succeed this semester. I have a midterm, a paper, and 2 translation midterms in the next week. Plus 2 translation midterms (eng-french has me quite worried) and I'm behind on my thesis.

Small word of advice, DONT go abroad AND try to start your thesis in the same semester.

So I'm loaded with work, plus I have to work on philosophy final papers soon. I feel swamped, and I know part of it is my fault, I never study early in the semester. I never needed to before college, and when I started needing to... well old habits die hard. And i'm a procrastinator.

The more work I get, the more I worry, and the more I worry, the worse my concentration becomes. I miss the NU library. This is the time of the semester that I would take my laptop, piles of work, coffee and headphones, and hide in the silent room for hours until I was caught up.

I can pull through this. I know I can, I always do. But until then, my head feels about ready to explode. Tomorrow... tomorrow I will get up early, empty my desk, and get some of this done. I must. I just hope that I caught enough of the notes in class, and understood the lecture well enough for fridays exam... I have only a very vague idea of what to study for it.


I will post up about my Ireland trip soon. It was absolutely wonderful, but right now I am going to bed so that I can get up at a decent hour, refreshed and ready to work. Maybe I'll even go to breakfast...

05 November 2008

Ireland here I come!!

Ah!! After fighting all week with ryanair lines, and wondering whether I should spend the money, I finally bought the tickets! i'm going to ireland this weekend. I am SO excited!!!

I'm flying out fri morning from Brussels to Shannon Airport. From there, to Limerick city, where I am going to explore and have a great time. Saturday, a bus tour of the gorgeous country side, sunday more exploring of limerick, and finally monday I fly back to brussels. I will be back in Lille just in time for S's birthday. It is going to be AMAZING! and no, I don't care that I am going alone. I don't need someone to hold my hand, and this way I can do whatever I like. hehe.

I'm going to be bouncing off the walls tomorrow. -grin-

At la Catho

Class can be discouraging. I understand most of what is going on. And I feel like I should be ok. But it is so unknown. It is hard to take notes and keep track of the lecture. My note taking has become more and more abbreviated. As Dr. B recommended, I try to listen more and write less, which is definitely helpful. That and giving up all usage of phrases, articles, etc.

The catho is a very upper class school. Which makes some students a bit unapproachable, but there are still plenty that are friendly. Especially if you have fun colored hair. No one here wears colors. Black, grey and brown are the predominant wardrobe colors. And noone has unnatural hair colors. thus, the few international students with green or pink or blue in their hair get lots of attention, both positive and negative. And everyone remembers them. It's an interesting technique for meeting people, lol.

The most detrimental part is mind wandering. I am used to being able to let my mind wander a bit here and there, but it is just not plausible here. I get lost, and there aren't a lot of notes on the board, and french doesn't penetrate day dreams like english does. It is a very very bad idea, but it is very hard to avoid, i just can't concentrate purely on note taking for an hour or 2 hours straight.

My classes are all in the afternoon. I still am not sure if i like this or not. I means i can stay up later to talk to ppl at home, and sleep in later, etc. But it means i have no motivation to get up earlier and get stuff done, and less time after class to do things.

It is pretty well essential to study everyday. Reread or rewrite your notes, and fill in the wholes, because there will be holes. I am feeling swamped now, because like i always do, i put too much off until too late, and I am a bit behind, and a bit lost on somethings. And I currently have 3 papers and my thesis to work on. Can you say stressful? Next time, work harder, sooner (of course, i say this to myself EVERY semester)

But seriously, despite all this, i love class. I am so pleased by the amount I understand now. And the material is interesting (there was so much to choose from) and it is fascinating to see the differences between the 2 unversities.
I am very glad I came here instead of Angers.

Partying international student style

So, before france, I NEVER went out to bars and clubs, and I drank all of 3 or 4 times a year, at redneck-bonfire-in-the-backyard parties.

Thus, the past month and a half was a huge change of pace. I go out 1-3 times a weekend. The best part, is it is easy to do so without spending tons of money, so long as you don't plan to drink (a lot). Most places don't have door fees, and those that do, that i've been to, are quite small. The dance clubs are generally so busy that you can get away with not buying a drink if you don't want to. So even poor int'l students can have a good time.

There are tons of bars in one district, probably because of the colleges, and also some really good ones in Old Lille, even though it is a bit farther from the school (but much closer to me). There is a kareoke bar that I really enjoyed, it is small ( a common theme here) and has lots of music- french, american, even romanian. It's a good place for going in a group and having fun.
Nearby is the Palace, which is a dance place, a bit heavy on the techno, but really fun, and one of the few places you can get in if, say, you have green hair. The drinks are a bit expensive, although "The Palace" is huge and quite good.
I haven't been to most of the other dance clubs on the strip, mainly because one of the people I go out with most has green hair, thus, can't get in. I have been to 7th heaven, which was a good time. I have no idea how the drinks are, as I didn't even go to the bar. I went there on my birthday, and danced until I thought my knees were going to give out. It was awesome, we took lots of pictures, and goofed off, and finally walked home at 3am.

Walks home after partying are so relaxing, its quiet and so pretty. Especially on Rue Nationale, which leads to the Grand Place, and in Old Lille.

there are lots more bars on Solferino, in the bar district, but my favorites are in Old Lille.
Coming Out is awesome. S n I go there so often that the bartenders recognize us. (granted, his green hair helps. everyone recognizes him) There is good music, with a place to sit in the back, and barely room for 2-4 people to dance. It can get rowdy, which is ridiculously amusing. Right across the street is Miss Marples, a (mainly) lesbian bar, which I am going to go to one of these days. If I ever convince someone to go with me. they both get in a steady flow of people, yet are small and familiar enough to feel like the corner bar. I love it there. And they have decent priced drinks to boot.
Pop Paradise is right around the corner. It is fun. No door fee, but it is a euro to check your coat, which I highly recommend. Not a lot of seating, but a big enough dancefloor. Not a lot of techno, which appeals to me quite a bit. And there are the most interesting people there. Women and men, and everything inbetween. Within the first hour of our first visit, two transvestites came in, it was fantastic. apparently the drinks are a bit pricey (again, i haven't bought one there)

The Golden Wave is the place to go if you want to relax after partying, especially between 3 and 6. It has an interesting mix of rock (acdc and such, but some european music too). It is quite eccentric in d├ęcor. (they have some gorgeous pictures of naked she-demons). It gets loud, but it is a great place to meet french people. Especially if you smoke. The smoking room is a bit suffocating, but every time I've gone up there to keep a smoker company, at least 2 or 3 people struck up conversations with us.
The first time I went there, it was with S, before he moved into the residences. We had already gone to the karaoke bar, and the palace, and everything on solferino was shutting down. So we were wandering back towards my room (he had to sleep on my floor that night because all the public transport was shut down for the night). We kept wandering, looking for somewhere that was open, because we weren't nearly ready to go home. We finally stumbled onto a group of people near the train station, who took us to the G. Wave. They were really friendly, and we've run into them there again and again. They bought a whole bottle of this pink vodka, and shared it liberally. I didn't care for it, but they got S wasted. By the time 6am roled around, and they were closing, I was surprised he could walk home. Ah, the speeches of drunks are hilarious. We passed out and woke up at 4pm to go get a kebab, and go out with a friend for her birthday. However, we both cut things short early that night. No surprise there.

Where else? The Aussie bar is in old lille too, a big, noisy bar, without a lot of dancing space. It was fairly cool, but not my kind of place. If you like big bustling bars, check it out. A lot my friends like it. And the highlander is pretty good. But honestly, Rue Solferino has all the bars and clubs you could want.

One of the most memorabme nights was a couple weeks ago. Saturday night I went to S's, all dressed up, and we prepartied (i love my grand marnier and coke) and a bunch of french students stopped over, and a whole group of us went out.. thoroughly drunk, walking the 20-30 minutes to Old Lille. For some reason, I find it more interesting to speak french when I'm drunk. Ha. We had more fun walking to the bar than we did in them. That night ended entirely too soon.

I don't know what else to say about this. It's fun, and awesome. Come here and try it :)

Ahhh life is good here

I'm sorry I don't post enough. It is difficult to make time. There is so much to do.

So... what to tell you?

I went to Amsterdam last week during the week break. It was lots of fun. I went with a group of 8 other people, by bus. It was only 100 euro for the bus rides, and 3 nights in the hostel. And we saw lots of the red light district, and a bit of historical stuff, but really not enough. It was ridiculously cold. And it got dark so early that we didn't get much daylight time to wander.
We went to an art museum, which as far as art museums go, was pretty cool. They had this old 'doll' houses, which were actually ridiculously expensive reproductions of the rich ladies' houses. And cool tulip vases, and lots of famous paintings.
I was lots of street performers. The magician was the best- straight jacket and chains. I missed the end though, which sucked. He was (i think) australian, and was quite humorous. If you go and want to see them, definitely keep some 5's on hand, it's very insulting to watch and not give some money. (this is how they make their living).
It was SO weird to talk english to store workers, etc. We constantly found ourselves contemplating how to ask things in french before remembering that we couldn't use it here. Lots of wierd looks when english speakers would walk up to the register and say 'bonjour' 'merci' 'au revoir' lol.
I recommend going in a smaller group though. One of our biggest problems was that with 8 people and one shower, we just couldn't get out of the hostel very early. And noone wanted to split up the group, but we also wanted to see different things. Difficult indeed.
Oh, and don't take pictures anywhere near the prostitutes, they don't appreciate it AT ALL.
And really, I swear, we didn't do any drugs... nope, none at all. heh
We didn't do as much as I hoped, but it was definitely worth the trip, and I would like to go again someday. It is really pretty, and an interesting mix of old gorgeous architecture, and modern city. And the trams are so cool.
And definitely take the bus up, it is about half the price of the train, and doesn't take much longer (assuming it is on time)
Oh, and amsterdam bikes... TERRIFYING. They are everywhere, and those people fly on their bikes. All of the big roads have bike lanes right next to the sidewalk, made of the same material. Tourists are always walking in them without realizing it. The worst part is you can't hear them coming like you can cars. So, everyone in the group almost got run over by a bike at least once. I feel bad for the bikers, that has to be terrifying.



A couple weeks before that, I went to Paris for a day. THAT was a great trip. Stupid me, I stayed up ALL night the night before. I met a few people at Coming Out, my favorite (gay) bar thus far. Great atmosphere, and cool people. And everytime I was ready to leave, they would decide to go to another cool place. Such as pop paradise, a (gay) dance club, which I had been wanting to check out, and which was awesome. And after that, the Golden Wave, which is a after 3am kind of place. Not quite a dance club, but with more dancing than a bar. (i'll make another post just for bars, lol). So, when all was said and done, it was 5 am. So I ended up going home, showering, and then leaving for the train station.

I almost had a panic attack while I waited for the train though. I was supposed to meet 3 other people at the station, to head to paris. And I kept waiting, and looking, and waiting. And they didn't show up. I finally got on the train, and continued calling them over and over. The worst part was I hadn't done any planning for the day, and thus had NO idea what I would do for the day if I ended up going by myself. And I wasn't at all confident with public transportation, and don't particularly care for big cities. It could have been a bad day. But, 5 minutes after the train was supposed to leave, they ran up and just barely made it. I will never let Kendall live THAT down. Of all days to over sleep!
So we made it to Paris, and it was quite pretty. All though I thought the Eiffel Tower is not very pretty at all. We saw the cemetery Pere Lachaise, which was astounding! It is huge, and has the oldest and biggest and most ornate tombs. I loved it! We could've spent the whole day there and not seen all of it. After that, Victor Hugo's house, which I found less than exciting. If you really really like him, it might be cool, but I got tired of the many copies of original manuscripts and journal entries and letters...
And the best part, Invalides. It was amazing. The courtyard is so pretty, and I quite enjoyed playing on the cannons. And we saw Napoleon's tomb, which was pretty sweet. And the museum of ancient weapons, they had everything from medieval european to asian weapons and armor and old guns and... yea. It was cool.
At last, we went to Parc Monceau. It was very pretty, with varied components (a lil pyramid, roman esque monuments, statues... etc). We even saw a train of pony ride ponies. It was a nice, relaxing way to end the day.
When we finally went home, I went out (again), but went home around 1 because I just couldn't stay awake any longer.
It was a long and exhausting day. But I took 500 pictures and saw so much cool stuff. All the gold plating in that city amazes me. And the metro isn't that hard at all, it was worth going just to learn about them (i'm a country girl, and hadn't used public transport before.) I can't wait to go again in December before J gets here, and see even more. I want to see a couple cathedrals, and the older districts, and ... lol. The list goes on forever.

More to come...