Katie' Pau Life En France

Ma vie En France

Sushi January 30, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 12:30 pm

I had a blast with my classmates last night, making sushi is so much fun. If anyone ever wants me to make it for them just let me know!
Aside from sushi, there was a huge variety of other food at the party to try and it was all so different! I watched one girl make a Japanese omelette, which has eggs, lots of sugar, soy sauce and salt in it. Not very healthy, but tastes amazing! Also tried this cake an English girl baked…I think it was a Victorian Sponge Cake…that was bomb and she is going to send me the recipe on FB.
We decided that every week one of us should make a meal from our culture. To start it off this Monday Kawita is going to make Thai food, which is my favorite!!!!! After that Ravid will make hummus and then Rebecca will make a Swedish dish. When it is my turn what will I do? They told me to make hamburgers, but I’ve never actually made hamburgers, and they suggested southern food, which I have only eaten once and also never prepared. Maybe I should make an American take on another cultures food, like Tex-Mex or American Chinese food. Any of you have ideas? It has to be relatively easy, because I don’t have measuring cups and plan on cooking by eye.

After last night I am so envious of Hirokah! Her house is gigantic and she lives there with 4 other exchange students who speak French. She lives downtown and near all the nightlife, plus she pays about 100 US dollars less than I do for rent. I wish I had been savvy enough before I came here to figure out a way to study without a program. The tuition is only 500 Euros a trimester for the other exchange students. Even though it was the cheapest program in France, USAC has ripped me off big time!


Nothing is exciting here in Pau, I was going to go on a plane ride over the Pyrenees today and then go to Lourdes to stay with my friend Ravid, but both were postponed until next weekend, so I’m not sure what I will do now.


GRANDMA MARILEE – If you are reading this could you send me your email address? my email is kmlane20@yahoo.com and I was wondering if you have a good recipe for macaroni and cheese, because my host family wants me to make them some. Love you!


* P.S. Sorry for the last blog’s cheesiness. They asked me to talk about my emotions and feelings. I don’t write well enough to do that without being syrupy. Also, I apologize for the grammar. Got home last night and finally proofread it…oops. After a pint of Kilkenny and half a pint of peach, I’m going to assume that even then I overlooked a lot and will try to go back over it if I have time today.


WSU Blog Squad January 29, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 3:59 pm

Shortly before I left WSU I signed up for on the “Cougs Abroad Blog Squad”. They have sent out the first 2 of 8 prompts that we will need to write during our stay here. The first prompt is about preparing to leave and since I received it about a week ago, I cannot accurately answer that one, so I will start with Prompt #2, which states:

****Prompt #2 What’s Happening?

You’re abroad, settled in, and attending classes. So… how’s it going?
Choose a picture to post on your blog and describe in some detail why it best describes your experience in-country to date. Think about how it portrays the emotions, feelings and thoughts that you are having as you settle into your overseas experience

…After pasting the prompt, I sat at this computer for about 15 minutes trying to come up with something interesting to write. I’m afraid my experience abroad has been pretty standard. It’s definitely different from how I imagined it would be, but I also expected the unexpected. Frankyl, I’m not in culture shock or bedazzled by anything I have encountered thus far.

My classes are enjoyable, but I actually wish they moved at a faster pace. So far we have learned exactly what I taught myself over the summer and was then taught again last semester. I am ready to stop reviewing and tackle new material. I may be the worst in my class, but that is only because I have the weakest vocab and pronounciation, not because of the tenses we are studying. I’m definitely improving my French, but I still want more of a challenge.
My favorite part about my classes here are interacting with the other foreign exchange students. Tonight we are all going to have sushi at Hiroka’s house! I actually hate sushi, but I love to make it and cannot wait to speak French with my friends. It will be a nice change from my daily routine of going home to a lonely and cold room. Speaking of which, the loneliness has been about what I expected; some days I feel fine, others I don’t. I just try my best not to daydream of everything I miss back home and focus on the opportunities at hand.

I chose this as the picture to represent my time here. This was taken on one of my first days in France, when the anticipation of Pau and that feeling of being on the brink of a new time in one’s life was still fresh in my mind.

I wanted a picture with Sarah in it, to exemplify that even though I am miles away, I still think about my family and friends every day. Although Europe is great, I feel that I truly belong in the Pacific Northwest and for me, there really is no place like home.
I also like the fact that I am rather insignificant in this picture and the Sacre Coeur is the dominant part. Before coming to Europe I felt the primary purpose of studying abroad was to have a journey of self discovery, I now feel it is more impactful as a humbling experience. I feel out-of-place here, but oddly enough, I like being an observer and outsider instead of a citizen.
The buildings and streets are rich with culture and history. There is something new to see and learn from everywhere I go. Even the interactions of the USAC kids dealing with their lives here has taught me a lot about human nature. Surprisingly, there are many Americans in USAC who I really don’t care for. I can’t tell if I am just a pessimist, if I got put in a group I don’t fare well with or if the journey abroad has put things in a different light, but I could write an entire blog on my observations of fellow exchange students. From the long distance relationship problems, to the to whispers in the halls and dirty looks, these students have their fair share of drama.

As I’m sure most of you know, the amazing architecture here is also humbling in a manner of it’s own. The Sacre Couer (in the pic) may be the most impressive building I have yet to see in Europe.
Finally, I choose this picture because the Sacre Coeur is a famous Cathedral on the top of a hill overlooking Paris. One of my goals here is to see as many Cathedrals as I can and learn more about the history of Catholicism and the European traditions that are not present in the states. I’m a terrible excuse for a Catholic and not even certain my faith aligns enough with the church to go through my confirmation. Before I decide anything I need to do more research and Europe is the perfect place for that.

Finally the fact that this church overlooks the city made me choose this picture because I want to see as much as I can here. Waking up to the same skyline everyday is a shameful thing to do when there are so many breathtaking views just waiting for our eyes…


Faire Une Promenade January 26, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 7:53 pm

Sunday and Monday were spent locked in my dark room, zombie shutters closed and heat blasted; alternating my time between a few hours of French homework and a few hours of sleep. I did depart briefly on Monday to go to the mall and get lunch, since it is only a 10 minute walk and I had been living off of fruit and bread since Saturday.

Then at about 5pm I finally grew restless, decided a bad cold did not justify staying in bed all day and went for a walk. I explored more of the trails by my house and followed one along the river till it ended. At the end there was a fallen tree lying across the water and it wasn’t difficult at all to walk across a branch to the main trunk. Fortunately, I’d brought my book with me just in case I found a good spot to read = )

I sat on the tree with one leg hanging off above the water, book in hand, looking over a view of a dirt road with an old French farm on the other side. I had a forest behind me and a green field peeking out around the bend in the road. Picture Perfect. Plus, the book I’m reading is one I cannot put down and is a fantasy/romantic comedy set in the forest of a strange land (hope you don’t mind I brought “Stardust” with me to France Hanna!). The only downer to the situation was my constant sniffling and coughing.

After a chapter or two I realized it would get dark soon and I wanted to explore a bit more before going home. I found a trail across the river with some paths through the words. None of them went anywhere, but I did find a bench on one side of the river that I laid on and read for another 20 minutes or so before it grew cold and the sun was nearly set.

The next time it is a nice day I plan on going downtown to take pictures of the Pyrenees or wandering back along the trails to take some pictures of the woods and small river/large creek…whatever it is.Now I have to get back to French, I have a stressful night of lots of homework ahead of me and have to give a 10 minute speech in class tomorrow…eek!


My Week January 22, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 9:09 pm
Tags: ,

I wrote about Monday last night, so I thought I would fill you in on the rest of the week before I go to Bordeaux today!


Tuesday I had my first day of Business French. The class itself is alright, but by the time I get to it at 5:15 I am mentally drained from my other French classes and just want to go home and relax. I’m not used to having school from 9 or 11-7:15.


Wednesday I went by myself to this rehearsal of “Mamma Mia” by a group called the DramaFreaks solely to meet French people. My acting skills are mediocre, I cannot carry a tune at all and I was hoping to work on stage crew. However, the cast itself has 7 ppl, only 2 of which are men, at this point they can’t even put on a play. I was pretty useless to them and just watched them dance and sing and then told them which parts of the dance were the worst. I’m going to keep going to the rehearsals to meet French people, but I’m bummed it wasn’t a bigger group. 

The DramaFreaks ended at 8 and I had 2.5 hours to kill before I met Vanessa at the bar for Karaoke. I was planning on doing hw at the library, but I found it closed (closes at 6? crazy!) and the entire campus was deserted! It was really sketchy; felt eerily empty and dark.

I finally decided the only thing there was to do in this part of Pau was go to the movie theater. So I went to see Avatar in 3D (and French of course)! Unfortunately the French have more previews than we do, as well as an intermission in their movies.11 pm rolled around it still wasn’t over! I told Vanessa I would meet her around 10:30, so I gave up on finishing the movie and left to go walk to the bar (with pepper spray in hand mom!)

The bar was only a  10- 15 minute walk and when I arrived Vanessa was outside, smoking and talking to a French guy named Thomas. I said “Bon Soir Vanessa! Ca va?” and then he said, “She’s French! Tu es Francais non?”

“Non, je suis Americaine”

“Oh well you speak French really well”

“haha no I don’t! Just wait until you hear me talk more!”

He didn’t comment on my French skills for the rest of the evening =)

Vanessa speaks less than I do, but I’ve met quite a few French people through her and her host sister Helene. I’m pretty excited for Karaoke every week because of this. I want French friends to parler avec!

Karaoke itself was insane. I actually sang a song with three of my friends there. Never again.

Afterwards, the girls and I went to a nightclub which was alright, but I cannot dance at all! We were there for quite a while and I was happy to finally crash at Vanessa’s at 2:30 am.


Thursday nothing significant happened. Crashed as soon as I got home from my business French class. Brain just couldn’t function anymore.


Friday I went to the soldes one last time and bought 3 shirts as well as a very warm scarf for 31 euros! Bon Marche? I think so! Then I came home and had dinner with my host mom and met my host brother who is home from school for the weekend. Tried caviar for the first time! Wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – but I don’t think I’ll be buying it myself anytime soon!

My mom made pasta for dinner, but all they put on it is cheese. No olive oil, sauce or anything. I suppose that is healthier, depending on the amount of cheese you use. And yogurt is just a dessert here….which I have no qualms with! Love yogurt!


Now I am off to Bordeaux with my program! When I get home tonight I’m going to Vanessa’s for the birthday party of her host sister Helene. So today should be a good opportunity to taste some awesome wine and meet more French people!


Lindt Chocolate

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 5:53 pm

On Monday of this week Kim wanted to take me to the Lindt chocolate factory in Pau. (Paige -Lindt truffles are the ones we get in our Christmas stockings each year). My friend Annelise already went and said it was a 20-30 minute drive; thus I was very confused when Kimberly told me her host mom said she could walk there in 25 min. I kept mum about it though as I figured her host mom was a reliable source and figured even if it wasn’t the Lindt chocolate factory we would probably still find chocolate.

We found the street it was supposedly on, which is about halfway between the university and my house. It is a residential neighborhood and the # 6 we were looking for seemed to be missing. The numbers went in the order of 4, 5, 7…

I decided to ask for directions and saw an older woman walking down the street. She breathlessly spoke to me for about 5 minutes explaining that she didn’t know where it was. She kept grabbing my arm which was rather alarming and asking questions about the chocolates. Then she would try to remember and once again explains she had no idea where it was. She was nice, but she wouldn’t go away! When we bid her adieu, she called us back twice more to say she didn’t know where it was and then asked us many questions about the cities US we were from. As we were walking down the street and talking to her #6 came into view….

I don’t know if this place was ever a chocolate factory. Presently, it looks like the busted meth lab in Newcastle near my Dad’s house. It was a very disappointing moment.

After we finally escaped our walking companion, we found a bakery and went in to ask directions. The woman at the counter said it is about 30 km from Pau. Instead I settled for this Chocolate thing under the counter which was absolutely amazing, It had 3 different layers of chocolate (one white, one black, one milk) and the mousse itself was dipped in chocolate…mmm so yummy

I think Kim and I’m hoping to buy some half-price christmas chocolate to send home. If it is too expensive to mail I will probably have to buy some in April and carry it home with me, either way Paige I promise you will get some lindt chocolate from France!


Raclette Party and Swing Concert January 17, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 4:12 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Yesterday was a day of full immersion (aside from the internet). I stayed at home for most of the day studying for school. Eventually I went to explore my neighborhood and found a shopping center nearby. With the soldes drawing to a close I was lucky to find a ski coat for 30 euros. I plan on going skiing this Spring, because it’s only 25 euros for transportation, rental equipment and a lift ticket. Only problem is I packed no clothes for mountain weather.

As I left the mall it began to rain and I was without an umbrella, but I’m glad I forgot it, because the temperature was not too cold and the rain made my walk through a park very peaceful. The world was silent aside from the pitter-pattering sound as the rain hit the creek next to the path. I discovered that the paths in the park continue out to the roads and on. I plan on getting a used bike in the next couple weeks so I can explore them more and bike around the parts of Pau I don’t reach by bus.

When I got home I had to hurry to dry my hair and fix my makeup before my host mom took me out to a Raclette party. On the way we stopped at a bakery to pick up a Courrane des Rois and a Gateau Basque. The courrane des rois I may have previously described, but I cannot remember so I’ll explain what they are once more:

A “Courrane Des Rois” is a sweetbread/cake shaped in a ring form that comes with a paper crown when you buy it. The name literally means “crown of kings” because it has historical significance in the Catholic Church of the three kings at the birth of Jesus. At dinner the crown is cut and the youngest person present decides who gets which piece of it. In one piece there is a porcelain ornament called the “feve” and whoever gets is has to wear the crown for the rest of the night. They also are supposed to keep the feve with them for the rest of the year as a good luck charm.

The Gateau Basque is just a cake created here in the basque country of France or Spain. I took a picture of one I saw in a bakery downtown:
Gateau Basque

My host mom picked it out so I could try it =)

It actually isn’t as good as it looks. Filled with almond paste and nothing else. The outside isn’t that sweet either, but I’m sure it is packed with calories!

After stopping at the bakery we picked up two of her friends to give them a ride to dinner. A couple named Pierre and Veronique. Pierre teased me for a good portion of the night and Veronique was very nice and a typical French woman: beautiful and remarkably thin for how much wine she drank.

When we arrived at the house I spoke to the host about his visit to Seattle a couple years ago. He visited the Boeing plant in Renton!! He asked Pierre if he spoke English and he answered, “yes of course”. Anyone who speaks English naturally wants to practice it when they meet an American and the two men were about to start conversing in only English when my host mom interrupted and said they must only speak French around me. Thank you Patricia!

Our Raclette Dinner looked like this:

Pierre selecting his raclette cheeses

The way it worked was we tooked baked potatoes adn grilled them while we melted out cheeses in the little blackl shovel things sticking out from below. Once the cheese partially melt we cut up the potatoes and meats and stuck them in with the cheese to heat up for a minute….so yummy. Best meal I have had here hands down.

The Raclette cheeses originally originated in Switzerland, but parts of France make them too. They are certain cheeses that I’m guessing you cannot get in the US. Mmmmm….delicious.

After dinner my host-mom dropped me off at a swing event in the town of Monaie. I was hoping for dancing, but it only a concert. I was by myself and probably the only foreigner in the room aside from the guitarist for the band. The muscians were all wonderful and I was quite tipsy from the wine at dinner so it is probably better I didn’t get to dance (Pierre kept refilling my glass, not thinking anything of it since it obviously didn’t affect him or Veronique who drank far more than I did).

At the concert I took a video of one that I will try to post it in another blog. This one is very long and my second one of the day too, sorry about that!

~ Oh yeah and forgot to write the host (named Patrick) gave me a hand rolled cigarette….which I had difficulties smoking haha. Sorry parentals, but when in France!


Spending all my money…

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 1:31 pm

Life in Pau has been pretty laid back this week. I had a great first week of classes and am steadily expanding my vocab. During class, I write any words I don’t recognize or wouldn’t use in a conversation and go back over them to define and rewrite each one after the day is done. It takes me forever, but hopefully my vocabulary will pick up soon. Many of the people in my class are practically fluent as far as speech goes. The strongest student is the Thai girl, who’s French is absolutely incredible (I feel sorry for her because she gets stuck working with me very often). She is in a relationship with a French guy she met in northern Sweden when she studied there. They dated for three years (speaking English) and when they graduated last summer plans were made to move to Pau together. He told her after graduation he would only speak French to her. You can imagine how awesome her conversation skills are since she has been forced to speak it since July. The first day she entered our class, Kim and I looked at eachother in amazement (with a glint of fear) as she spoke about her life. Her accent is very strong though, and her writing as well as grammar needs work, but she is far, far, far above my level.

I think I recall writing in my last blog that everyone says I will not be fluent by the end of the semester. I’m really dissapointed by this and am starting to get a little irritated that so many of the American students want to speak English with me because they speak French at home. I really like my new friends, but at the same time I want to be fully immersed and feel this blog, IM and facebook give me plently of rest from French. I’m trying to find people to speak French with me, so I can hang out with another group than the Americans. Vanessa took me out to Karaoke with her French friend Wednesday. Her friend Helene is fluent in English and introduced me to her group of friends at the bar. Unfortunately I couldn’t talk to them very much because we were seated in a booth under the speaker. I did meet one girl who was very friendly and spoke English to me all night. She almost got me to sing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” but I only had one glass of wine and one beer so I was nowhere near ready for that. I found her on facebook and she agreed to speak English to me while I respond in French. She said she would text me about hanging out this week so I am looking forward to it!! I’m also going to Helene’s Birthday party this Saturday night and hopefully there I can meet more French speaking partners.

I didn’t travel this weekend, but instead went out to see the Pau nightlife Friday and a Raclette party Saturday. The occassion Friday was a classmate’s birthday party and much to my dismay she picked a really really expensive pizzeria to eat at. I didn’t order a pizza (they were all 15 euros), but I split an amazing bottle of wine with another girl, as well as the house tart for dessert. After dinner we went out to this bar highly reccomended, but the group of people present were ten years older than us and it wasn’t very busy because it was only 10 pm. I sat there for about an hour listening to the live band that was right next to us. They music was okay, the band sang in English (Can’t escape my native language!). I didn’t order a drink because that would have cost me another 4 euros, so I just sat there as everyone else drank and conversed. The group weren’t really my type of people, and after an hour and a half I got bored and tired. I decided I should just call a taxi and go home. I split the fare to the university with another student and paid the rest of it on my own. Ended up costing me 10 euros. Everything is so ridiculously expensive, even when I stay in town! I think today will be my first day in Europe staying at home and taking it easy. My host mom is urging me to take the bus and get out of the house, but the only venues open today are cinemas and a few restaurants. Plus I need to work on my scholarships and French homework.

*I was going to write about the Raclette party I went to last night, but I’ll just post another blog on it later, because this one is rather long.


School January 12, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 6:00 pm
Tags: , , , ,

So I think I wrote that I tested into a higher level than I thought I would, but here is how the system here works. The levels are as follows from easiest to hardest:

Elementaire 1
Elementaire 2
Elementaire 3
Elementaire 3b
Elementaire 4
Intermediatiare A
Intermediataire Ab
Intermediataire B
Advance 1
Advance 2

They announced at the beginning we shouldn’t panic if we are placed in elementary french and were above that at home because elementary here doesn’t have the same meaning as in the states. I think they just say that because ppl don’t realize how elementry their French actually is.

In addition to our language classes we also have a choice of electives. One of the electives is a business course taught in French, a film class in French and others are English. I didn’t pre-register for business French at home because it said you must be at a minimum 300 level for French and I took 202 last semester. I was even more upset on my first day because they announced a French tourism class being taught with business French as a pre-req. It would’ve been so perfect for my major!

Much to my surprise I actually made Elementaire 4 and will qualify for the business French class!!! I’m so excited! It is a business class taught in French about conducting business in France =)

By the end of my stay here I should ideally be at Intemediataire B, which isn’t fluent, but hopefully I will be able to hold adequate conversations on topics aside from the weather, time, ect…

I’ve had 3 days of classes so far. Each days is a total of 4 hours of French lessons and I’m enjoying it a lot. I am definitely one of the weaker (if not the weakest) students in the class, but I understand everything the teacher says and feel I am in a good place to learn. About half my class are Americans with USAC and half are other foreign students. We have a girl from Austalia, a girl from Sweden, a boy from England, a boy from Algeria, a girl from Israel (who was in the millitary), a Japonese girl, a girl from Thailand and a girl from South Africa. Maybe more….I can’t remember off the top of my head. A lot of them have lived all over the world and I’m looking forward to talking with them outside of class.

Outside of class I feel like I hang out with the Americans far too much, but it is hard to talk to French people. Most of them are so cold. Kim and I did meet a student studying English last week who spoke with us and I’ve met a lot of other foreign students. Yesterday I spoke to a chinese student in French. She doesn’t speak English and it was a very strange feeling to converse with someone knowing that I couldn’t fall back on my native tongue if I lost my place. Her accent was very strong, but I understood most of what she said to me. I also met a girl at the bus stop last week who goes to high school here. I saw her on the bus today with a friend and started talking to them. My french is so horrible her poor friend could barely understand me. She said she spoke a little Spanish and could understand poor spanish accents fine, but was hopeless with English accents. As we were talking a few mormon missionaries got on the bus. Upon hearing us talk one asked me, “D’ou viens-tu?” I told him I was from the USA and he asked which state, so I said Washington, near Seattle. He then called his friend over who is from Bonny-Lake and goes to UW. What are the chances?! He’s been in Bayonne for over a year now and wasn’t pleased at all when he found out where I go to school. Sadly our conversation was cut off there by my bus stop, but I walked home blasting my 80’s music on my Ipod and feeling much more at home here in Pau.

*Note – I’m really lazy about spell checking so please forgive my grammar and the spelling mistakes which have been steadily growing as I mix up French and English words (for example, I almost wrote Algerie instead of Algeria)


Classes commence tomorrow!! January 7, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 7:08 pm

I cannot wait to start my French tomorrow!!

I took the placement test Tuesday and got the results back today. I did surprisingly well and enrollled in a level of French that I think equates to 3rd year, second semester back home. I also think I scored high enough to take a French business class and also the new tourism class!! How perfect would that be?!

My buddy Kim is in the same level as I am, so we have all the same classes!! She went downtown with me yesterday and we toured the château and checked out les soldes. At les soldes (A giant, semi-annual sale) I bought myself a pair of boots; an essential here in France! I’m also going to try buy a coat in the next two weeks as the sales get better.

[Just met my host sister as I was writing this. I was beginning to wonder if she existed. She seems nice, looks just like her mom]

Other than that I really don’t have much to write about. Yesterday I planned to go to a karaoke bar with a USAC girl and her host sister. They called me up and said they would be here in 10 minutes so I should go stand outside. After 12 minutes I rushed out and there was no one there. So I waited 20 minutes in a dress, while it was freezing out. I spend the last 10 minutes crouched on the ground in the fetal position, trying to keep warm. I kept trying to call, but it said the number was not good. Finally I came inside and waited an hour…nothing. So I went to bed very disappointed. However, today was better and I am even more optimistic about tomorrow!

Hope you are all well! Wrote some of you postcards today!


Meeting the USAC kids January 5, 2010

Filed under: Pau — katiespaulife @ 6:35 pm

I had my orientation yesterday. My host mom realized I had no clue when or where I had to be so she drove me to the University and walked me inside. She was a bit lost as well, but eventually we found the USAC kids. Hearing English was so comforting. During the day, we were told about behavior in our homes, how the classes work, ect. We were also shown the small mall across the street and had lots of free time to converse and become acquainted. I really like the USAC group! They are approachable, friendly and most seem like they will be easy to get along with. There are a couple I already sense I probably won’t like, but far more who I see as potentially great friends.

Today we had our placement tests. Once again I slept from 10:30 – 3:15, making me very tired and cranky for the test. I hope I am placed correctly, I butchered my oral exam. My sleep depravity put me in that state where far off noises seem really loud. The only thing quiet was the woman asking me questions. I had to ask for repetition several times because I couldn’t hear her, but I could her all the other students in the room at an irritably loud volume. I will be happy as long as I am put at a level above 2nd year, 1rst semester. The system here is complicated though as they have about 15 different levels of French to start people off at.

I felt very depressed after the test. It was extremely gloomy outside and simultaneously made me homesick and downhearted. After I got some sugar in my system and returned from my run home to get my passport I started to feel better. I spoke with some girls as we waited for out next event to start. Soon I felt excited again and my gloominess was gone. I think my lack of sleep has made me an emotional roller coaster lately =S

This afternoon, the directors led us downtown for a walking tour. It was so pretty! I am going to go back to explore more as soon as possible. We saw many restaurants, historic sites and boutiques. There is something about the old rundown buildings of France that is so precious. It’s a romance that cannot be duplicated.

After about an hour of the tour, a girl named Kim who I’ve been talking to a lot decided to ditch the group. It was freezing outside and she has been as sleep deprived as myself lately so we just wanted coffee. We abandoned USAC to find a cafe. I had a Cafè Krème, which is the proper term for a Cafè au Lait nowadays. Kim told me how lost she got walking home last night and she was wandering around the dark for an hour with no phone and a map that wasn’t helping at all. Poor girl! She finally made it in tears and her family just laughed as if it happens all the time. It reminded me of Sarah’s family who we lost multiple times in Paris without phones. No one seemed to care, they just had this “meh, we’ll find each other eventually” attitude that astounded me. My family flips out when we are separated and without communication – we’ve had many hours of frantic searching chases spent on the ski slopes to prove it.

As Kim and I were sitting in the Cafe, our fear that the group would walk right past us came true. In the darkening town our group walked past us in a lit Cafe. Shortly thereafter a second USAC group passed by. Some waved, one gave me a dirty look, but it wasn’t a big deal. The tour had been optional to begin with so I didn’t feel too guilty…


I apologize for the rambling in this blog, I will try to keep it a bit more structured in the future. I am happy with my group though and excited to get to know them! Hopefully I can meet some French students too!


Oh and here’s a pic of my house at my father’s request. Dad- you should have Paige get on FB to show you more pics of Pau and Paris.