Lyon Coming to an End

Lyon

So last night marked the final banquet of our program here in France. Like everything else, it’s always bittersweet having to say goodbye. We shared the night with all of the other host families and their students drinking wine, eating pork roast, and reminiscing these past few amazing weeks. I don’t think it has quite hit me yet that I have to say goodbye to this beautiful country and more importantly this loving family I have been blessed with, that allowed me into their home, and took me in as one of their own children here in France.. in just a few short days.ImageImageI am also going to miss the amazing people I got to share these experiences with. Looking back we had a pretty cool group of people many of which are also apart of the Greek Community at Mizzou along with me. 🙂

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I have enjoyed watching myself improve these past weeks. At the beginning of this trip I could not comprehend nor speak very much French and now sometimes I have trouble telling if someone is speaking English or French to me.. and finally being able to understand a foreign language is one of the coolest experiences.

After Eulalie left I asked one of her friends that she introduced me to if she would like to get lunch and spend the day with me. The entire day was all in French.. and yes I look forward to coming home where I don’t have to think before I speak, but being able to carry on an entire days worth of conversation in French was very cool. We went to La Crayon, one of the tallest buildings in Lyon and a very nice hotel, to have drinks.

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That same day on my way home a poor middle aged man was lost and couldn’t find his bus.. and he tried asking me and I told him I spoke English.. so he tried to ask me in English but couldn’t put the words together so I said to try French and he did and I was able to help him! It was such a proud moment for me.

Having to celebrate the 4th of July in France was a little disappointing especially when my heart was in America on this particular day. For the occasion my French dad made Gin Tonic and American ribs but to my disappointment, the ribs were pre-cooked and were far from American tasting ribs. 😦 He tried, that’s all that matters! But my dad back home made sure to hang up an American flag for me 🙂

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In the past weeks, I also travelled to Prison Montluc. This prison was used all the way up until 2009, but back during the World War it was used as an interrogation center and interment camp for those waiting to transfer to a concentration camp. I learned that here they divided the prisoners into two groups: with luggage and without luggage… those without were sentence to death. It’s crazy to think that up to 10 people at a time lived in these small cells with such terrible living condtions… they had to take turns sitting, use the bathroom and everything in here. Afterwards it was made into a Military Prison.

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My host family invited me to come with them to a 50th birthday party of one of my mom’s coworkers. What a neat experience to say the least. First of all the theme was 50s… well I don’t think my French mom has seen Grease when she said it was Grease themed.. more like disco. Anyways these were some of the nicest people I have ever met, and made sure I had a pleasant time.. and the food was incredible, it was ALMOST a true American BBQ! (I think Im getting more pictures soon)

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Last Sunday I made my family French toast, since its ironically foreign here and happily it was a success!

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After class Sarah and I went to grab some lunch and explore some more of Lyon. It’s a never-ending city. For lunch all I wanted was a cheeseburger, which I almost found.. but it still wasn’t American .. I really miss cheddar cheese because French cheese is not one of my favorite foods to consume…. Their ketchup is even different.

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Another afternoon we ate lunch by the river and took an afternoon stroll. Unfortunately, I got pooped on by a bird.. so I have good luck coming, right?! Sarah also sketched me!

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Of course before I leave my French father had to make frog legs and snail, the specialties of here, for me to try. I was either really hungry or the butter and seasoning was enough for me to actually like what I was eating.. I just had to pretend I didn’t know what was going into my mouth.. which I have found I do a lot here. We had cow kidney’s the other night…… oh but even worse than that I had they lyonnaise specialty of cow intestines.. afterwards I almost wanted to go vegan.. it tasted bad and even smelled bad.

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I would have to say my favorite experience so far has been L’Ateliers de Chef because we got to learn how to cook and the food was fantastic! For an appetizer we made smoked salmon rolled with a goat cheese spread and a French salad. The main meal was baked chicken and mashed potatoes mixed with olives… never thought mixing olives and potatoes would be good but it was phenomenal. Finally for dessert we had caramelized apples, almond/sugar crumble, and salty caramel ice cream .. to die for. They also have a cocktail making class.. maybe next time 😉

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I sure post a lot of pictures of food, but how can you not.. the presentation is always so grand.

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I was all about this whole summer romance in France thing, but since that isn’t working out to well for me looks like I won’t be moving to France afterall 😉 bet my dad’s happy about that!

Everyone knows about the People of Walmart page, but I really think France could use a “people of public transportation” page … because it never fails that my ride to school every morning was quite the entertainment.

Every night my French brother joins us for dinner I never fail to have a good laugh.. Last time he was over he downloaded an app on how to tie a tie.. and attempted to figure it out.. but failed miserably.. what’s even worse is that he is 30.. haha

I look forward to coming home so I can finally get back into a routine of exercise, it is just inconvenient here and there is just no place to do it.. I don’t get how to French eat so much, but yet stay so skinny… boot camp starts when I get back home.

Let me also add that my French family doesn’t think I’m American because I don’t like coke….

All in all, I have loved my time here, but I am ready to come home. I ready to not always make it seem like I have everything together.. I’m ready to spend my last couple weeks of summer.. without makeup and carefree having the time of my life American style… doing the things I miss most about home. One of those being eating dinner not at 10pm…. And I’m ready to eat the foods I am used too.. chocolate milk, breakfast, pancakes, cake, cookies ….

However, I’m going to make these last 3 days here count! 🙂

Je crois que tout arrive toujours pour une bonne raison!

Bisous!

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Study Abroad Weekend Travels – London

ImageThe weeks continue to fly by, especially this last weekend in which I got to spend in London with a good friend of mine. Thanks to my awesome class schedule, with no class on Fridays, I hopped on a plane after class Thursday to explore the beautiful country of England. England was a lot less sunny than France, however it was still incredible. Getting their was quite the experience. I have never boarded a plane outside… Europe style for sure. Image

My friend met me at the airport and we took an hour train ride north to her hometown of Soham. Upon arrival, I had an actual American cheeseburger with YELLOW mustard. I was one happy camper. Yes the French can make burgers, but they just aren’t the same. I’m not even sure the English know how to make them, but her father, who is a chief, is currently stationed in England, so I was spoiled with their American cooking all weekend. I had chocolate chip pancakes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (because France does not have peanut butter), and ribs with mac and cheese. It was nice having a little taste of home, that is for sure.

That night we walked the streets of her town, which was so quiet and peaceful. In most cities in England the Church is almost always at the center, it was pretty neat to see one at night. ImageImage

The next day we made our way to London. The first thing we saw was the London Towers, and my favorite the Tower Bridge. The colors were so vibrant and I just fell in love. Image

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I also took a picture in front of a classic red telephone booth. Image

We basically spent all morning running all over the city and taking the tube (underground transportation system) here and there.

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Here are some more pictures of everything I got to see:

London Eye Image

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Bigben

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Westminster Abbey where Kate Middleton and Prince William got married Image

Buckingham Palace Image

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Policemen on a Horse

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The park where Peter Pan was written

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Abbey Road Studios – I finally got to walk across the actual Abbey Road crosswalk just like The Beatles. I think we walked across the crosswalk a 100 times before we actually got a picture we liked. The cars were not very happy with us… but we weren’t the only ones. ImageImageImageImage

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We also went shopping in Harrods, which is a big store that has basically anything you could ever dream of. Image

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After shopping we wanted to find the house used for filming in the Parent Trap movie, but neither one of us had access to the internet, because 3G does not exist in these countries, so we weren’t able to look up the address until we got home. Little did we know it was a block over from Harrods.

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M&M World (I was like a little kid on Christmas, it was kind of embarrassing) – and I took a picture with the nice little midget that was greeting everyone at the door. He was so cool, it’s not everyday you see midgets.

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After walking everywhere our feet needed some rest so we stopped and had the classic British meal of Fish and Chips with mashed peas. SO GOOD. Image

Then we headed home out of the London King’s Cross Railway Station from the very Platform used in the Harry Potter movie. Unfortuanely, I didn’t get any pictures because we didn’t want to miss the train home.

Saturday we walked around the open air market, got some ice cream, and spent the rest of the afternoon sitting by the river. I love being in countries where nothing is commercialized and everything is so rich in History. However, don’t get me wrong though, I do miss home.

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In England I was also introduced to Cadbury Spread, which is 10 times better than Nutella. I was also introduced to Ginger beer, beer I could actually drink AND I got carded for the first time in England… felt so grown up.

All in all England was a lot of fun, especially since I got to spend it with a sorority sister on the entire other side of the world. You never know where life can take you.

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While waiting for the plane at the airport I ran into Madame, our professor in charge of our Study Abroad Program, with her husband. They were flying back from Ireland. I love how the world is so big, yet so small.

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