je suis trop occupée

Just a brief update to explain why I’ve been too busy to update.

Last weekend – a wonderful trip to Copenhagen!

The previous weekend – an AIFS trip to Provence! (Arles, Baux en Provence, Avignon)

Posts and photos will come eventually for both of those trips, as well as a post about my week and small travels with Heather and Bill. I know, I’m behind. 😦

But why do I have no time to write about it now? Too much time in class and rehearsals, art history final on Thursday, my Distinction Proposal (for Emmanuel) due Friday, and the play next Monday and Tuesday. Je suis trop occupée.

Then, next week the film festival begins! And I hope that I will continue to be occupied with that, but perhaps find some free time to write these long awaited updates.

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4 May 2009 at 6:03 am 1 comment

est-ce que je vous manque?

Did you miss me?

Forgive me, dear readers. It has been too long since my last blog, but I have finally found a free moment to let you all know what is new in my life here on the Cote d’Azur. Since it’s been so long – prepare yourself for somewhat of a … random update.

First of all… I’m exhausted. I thought that traveling for 10 days was exhausting (and really, it was…but in such a great way…) but now, it’s more of the, I’m-in-high-school-again type of exhaustion: class early every morning, most afternoons, and theater rehearsal EVERY night for two to three hours…then attempting to have a social life but always battling my body which seems to tell me every night: “Go to sleep! Now!” yet even when I try to, I am kept up by my hundreds of lines scrolling across the backs of my eyelids…

Oh, and another good kind of exhaustion: having guests. LOVE IT, but boy, do they keep me on my toes! First there was Nat, then Baird, Charly, and Lisa (we celebrated Lisa’s 21st here in Cannes a few weeks ago!), and now Heather and Bill are here! (And if any of my guests are reading… you’re awesome and I loved hanging out with you here!)

Back track, back track. Three hours of rehearsal? What? Sarah doesn’t even do theater! WRONG! I am now starring in a french play. HA! And my character, Manon, has to be angry and yelling every other scene. It’s so funny. Who’s ever seen Sarah yell at anyone!? Anyway, I’m having a really fun time with it, although it’s beaucoup de travail. It’s hard enough to memorize loads of lines, let alone in another language. The play is going to be May 11th and 12th… so we have lots of work to do!

My one relaxing weekend in the past month was probably the weekend after spring break..Easter weekend. I stayed in Cannes, and went to a little Easter service at the chapel on campus. And since the weather was gross, I spent most of my free time in my pajamas, watching movies and tv shoes with my friends in my room. And it was AWESOME. Yes, I love the French Riveria, but being lazy? Never gets old. Due to that weekend, however, I developed a new addiction… 30Rock. My friend Grant has all of the DVDs, and so… well… Tina Fey is brilliant. Just watch it. That’s all I have to say.

Oh! And, that weekend, there was ONE nice day, and it was spent entirely on the beach with my friends. And I got completely sunburned. I know Mom, I should have worn more sunscreen!! I should listen to you more! That sunburn was the most painful thing for about a week. But I’m not asking for pity. It was my fault, completely. On the bright side – I am nice and freckly and tan now! Once I get that base sunburn, it’s smooth sailing from there. 😉

In recent news: I’ve done some light traveling this week. St. Tropez on Saturday with AIFS. The market was super cool, and it was a lovely day to walk around and relax. Sunday was a trip to Nice, for Bill’s semi-marathon… which he did a great job in. I am so happy he decided to sign up for it, cause it was also really fun to watch! And then, today I took the day off from class for the first time, and enjoyed a nice day trip with Heather and Bill. We went to Cagnes-sur-mer, which is pretty close by, and checked out the Renoir museum. Although it didn’t have too many of his works, it was in his house/studio… and was really interesting to see. We also checked out Cagnes en haut (the high medieval village in Cagnes) which was super european, beautiful, and filled with cats. Basically… I loved it. We enjoyed a delicious lunch and then hopped on a bus to St. Paul de Vence for a short portion of our afternoon. St. Paul is an another adorable medieval village, filled with artisans and artists with shops and studios lining its winding cobblestone streets. We didn’t have nearly enough time to explore… so I can’t wait to return in May with AIFS.

Stephane and I are still meeting once a week. I’ve come to think of it as my weekly conversation class. He’s been helpful with my pronunciation for my theater class… and we usually have a nice relaxing afternoon chatting and walking around Cannes. I still can’t quite get over the strangeness of our age gap… but I know it’s a good exercise.

Side note: One of my classmates told a great story in class the other day. She was walking down the street, and she saw a woman with a Louis Vuitton bag. No big deal, right? We’re in the south of France! No… BIG deal: her little DOG was carrying a matching Louis Vuitton bag IN IT’S MOUTH. Yes. I wish I’d seen this. It sounds like the epitome of Cannes. Everyone has little dogs here. I’m actually surprised that not everyone’s pooch is strutting with their own designer bling.

Other side note: I MISS MEXICAN (well, Mexican-American) FOOD. I WANT BURRITOS AND TACOS. If it’s in any possible way to overnight FedEx me some Taco Bell, I might marry you.

If not, Peanut Butter would also be appreciated it. The French don’t do Peanut Butter. I know. What the heck.

What else? I’ve been utilising the mediatheque. I read an adorable french graphic novel called “Adieu, Chunky Rice.” I was so proud. My next endeavor is Stuart Little, in french.

Oh! I swam in the Mediterranean Sea! It was cold.

I also saw the musical Fame at the Palais de Festivals. The Palais was cool. The musical was less cool. Too long. And translated into french. I may or may not have fallen asleep.

Not sure if I’ve updated on this yet… I have a new French teacher! Sylvie. Sylvie has normal hair, unlike my previous prof, Annick, and is way more laid-back and downright wonderful. My mornings are so much more bearable! And it’s much easier for me to participate. My french is actually improving!

I can see this blog post easily turning into a list from here on out.

– Official new favorite dessert: Creme Brulee

– THE FILM FESTIVAL IS IN THREE WEEKS!

– THE PLAY IS IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS!

– I dislike having the urge to start a coutdown while simultaneously wishing I could freeze time because it passes TOO QUICKLY over here!

– I see boobs on the beach every time I go.

– My bedtime tonight is going to be midnight, I think.

– Right. Goodnight.

22 April 2009 at 5:01 pm 2 comments

les photos

Photos have been updated!

12 April 2009 at 1:47 pm 1 comment

merci

This is a thank you to all of the people who have shown me kindness and love for my birthday and over my spring break.

to Nat – for visiting me and giving me a perfect birthday

to Craig, Bre, and Michael – for my first surprise birthday party

to Tahvia – for lending me your book and not minding when it got warped by the rain in Venice

to the Brits from our hostel in Florence – for making my birthday a blast

to Alex and Liz – for showing us around Florence

to the three midwestern sisters at the pub in Florence – for my birthday shot

to Facebook – for reminding everyone it was my birthday

to the leather market guy – for making me laugh

to G’ma and Papa – for the birthday money that bought me my leather boots

to Heather – for getting through to me on my birthday

to Mom and Dad – for trying to hard to get through to me on my birthday

to our Hotel Concierge in Venice – for getting us back on track

to our waitress, “Prego” – for being at our service

to the random lady on the Ponto Rialto who saw me and said out loud “poor dear” – for her sympathy in my moment of misery

to Nick from Vienna (from Pennsylvania) – for his kindness and conversation, and helping me find Sudbahnhof

to the random man in my sleeper car – for our silence and for helping me turn my bed into a seat

to Marissa – for being a fabulous host in Prague

to the receptionist at the Wombat hostel – for always being friendly and dead on with her recommendations

to our Berlin roomies, Phil and Lewis – for a fun time

to Ken, at the Wombar – for sharing his chips

to Simon, at the Wombat – for being the best roomie

to our waiter in Paris – for a bilingual dinner

to Janet and her mom – for getting lost with us in Paris

to the Conceirge in Paris – for telling us not to worry about check out

to Baird – for a wonderful week together

12 April 2009 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

paris, avec mon chéri

Baird and I ended our spring break in the beautiful city of lights, and it was wonderful.

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We landed at Paris Orly Airport, and an RER and metro ride later, we arrived at our old fashioned hotel in Montmartre. Since the Louvre is free for students on Friday evenings, I rushed Baird back out and we arrived in time to see the masterpieces before the museum closed. From the Louvre, I was able to find my favorite restaurant from my last Paris visit, Le Comptoir des Saints-Peres, where Baird and I then dined. We took a nice long walk to the Eiffel Tower with hopes of climbing it, but discovered that it had closed to the public hours ago, so we simply enjoyed the tower’s ambiance as we waited to meet with two of my friends from AIFS, Mark and Ashley. We spend the rest of the evening with them at a wine/piano bar in the Latin Quarter.

Sacre Coeur

Sacre Coeur

After our exhausting week, we couldn’t help but sleep in. And it was so nice to finally do so without snoring roommates or a binding agenda to wake us up. When we finally awoke, our first stop of the day was to meet my friend Janet (finally, a week later!) at Sacre Coeur with her mom. Only a short metro ride away, the church was even more asounting in the daytime…and I was able to go inside, which, though it couldn’t rival the beauty of Notre Dame’s interior in my eyes, was still quite beautiful. From Montmartre, Janet and her mother and Baird and I made our way towards the Centre Pompidou, which was surprisingly turned out to be one of my favorite museums in Europe. This museum had a collection of modern art that I truly appreciated, unlike the contemporary art we saw in Berlin. I developped a new love for an artist: Chagall. I am so excited to go the Chagall museum in Nice for our art history class! 

Parade at the Arc de Triomphe

Parade at the Arc de Triomphe

In the afternoon, Baird and I took the same walk that I took the last day I was in Paris with AIFS: from Pont Neuf to the Louvre, through the Tuileries Gardens, to the Place de la Concorde, up the Champs Elysees, stopping for a delicious crepe, to the Arc de Triomphe. And this time, there happened to be a parade going on at the Arc! We weren’t sure exactly, but we think it was a veterans parade of some kind, as it ended under the arc at the grave of the unkown soldier.

We took the metro to the Eiffel Tower for our second attempt to climb it — and, since we decided to climb, rather than wait for an hour in the line for the elevator, we were able to do so rather quickly! And climbing it wasn’t so bad! In fact, I found it very excited to be able to see Paris from all different levels on the way up. Once at the top, we walked around and found all of the other sights from a bird’s eye view. We rested for a while on the second floor, drinking some (rather poorly made) cappuccinos, and enjoying the atmosphere. When we finally descended we walked along the Champs de Mars, where I took that lovely Eiffel Tower picture featured at the beginning of this post.

Our dinner that evening was perfect. We were tired and so we headed back to our hotel, and ate at the restuarant called “Rez-de-Chaussee” that was right down the street. We treated ourselves to wine, escargots, delicious courses (Baird had the duck, and I had Provencale macaroni) and dessert (Fondant au chocolate et creme brulee…delicieux!!). I spoke French to our waiter the entire evening, and was happy to have experienced what may have been my first truly authentic French meal so far (how sad is that? I guess that’s what happens when you eat cafeteria food every day…)

At Notre Dame, avec mon cheri

At Notre Dame, avec mon cheri

Sunday came too quickly and before we knew it, we were checking out of our hotel and dragging our bags across Paris. We made a stop at Notre Dame, which bustling on Palm Sunday, and Baird was able to go in and see the beautiful interior while I waited outside in the sun with our bags. From Notre Dame, we walked to Gare de Lyon along the Seine, and I picked up a few more souvenirs from the Bouqinistes.

Our ride on the TGV to Cannes was beautiful. I’ve always found trains to be romantic for some reason, and riding with Baird and watching France go by outside our window fit right into that impression. Though I was sad that my spring break was coming to an end, I was happy to be with mon cheri, Baird, and happy that he was coming back with me to Cannes. He left on Tuesday morning and I had to get back to “real life.”

But real life, here in Cannes, isn’t so bad either. 🙂

12 April 2009 at 10:06 am 1 comment

berlin était cool

Berlin was cool.

After a train and a metro ride, Baird and I checked into our hostel, the Wombat Hostel. Coolest hostel EVER. We were in a dorm, and of course our roomies were sleeping, so we tiptoed in and dropped off our things before heading out for a cappuccino and a snack. (yes, I have taken a liking to cappuccinos. They seem to taste better in Europe.) The cafe we went to came recommended by the awesome receptionist at the hostel who never steered us wrong.

Berliner Dome

Berliner Dome

Our first evening included a bit of exploring, as per usual. We came across the beautiful Berliner Dome, and heard the bells clanging away as we rested on the inviting grass in front of it. Next, we walked along the street called Untden Linden (or something like that?), otherwise known as the Idiot’s Mile. It’s a beautiful street that was built to show how great East Berlin was, yet it didn’t reflect must of the rest of the east. We ended up in the Marx/Engles Park where we relaxed as the sun set upon this new and fabulous city.

Our receptionist buddy sent us to this fabulous brewery for dinner, where I ordered “pork fresh out of the oven” (literal english translation.) Which, was SO GOOD. German food, though it included a lot of meat, was really great! After dinner, we bonded with our roomies, Phil and Lewis, who are from New finland. We found a bar called “White Trash”… which was actually quite hip. The night ended at the “Wombar” in our hostel, where we encountered a very friendly Malaysian gentleman named Ken, and were subsequently owned at a game of pool vs. our new Canadian buddies.

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

Thursday was JAM-PACKED with walking around. So many sights to see! East Side Gallery was one of my favorite sights, and that’s where we began. It is the largest remaining portion of the Berlin Wall, and is covered with grafitti, much like the Lennon Wall, but larger, and more interesting. Other sights that day included Brandenburg gate and the Holocaust memorial. The memorial was very moving — simple large rectangular blocks of stone stretching across a large area, organized in rows and columns. It reminded me vaguely of a graveyard, moreso of isolation… it was definitely a sight worth seeing and contemplating.

Holocaust Memorial

Holocaust Memorial

From there we saw the Reichstag (parliament) and headed towards the Hamburger Bahnof Muesum which was a modern art museum that my guidebook recommended that happened to be free on Thursday afternoons! I was excited about the opportunity, but the museum ended up being SO peculiar (modern art is that way, so often) that it wasn’t worth our time. At that point, we were exhausted (I forgot to mention that all of this sight seeing involved walking something like 10 km) so we headed back to the Wombat for a rejuvinating nap before our dinner at a local Thai place. Why are we eating Thai in Germany, you wonder? Well, we were told Berlin was known for it’s good asian cuisine, and well, Baird and I also just love Pad Thai.

Our evening activities commenced at the “Volksbar” down the street, which had a great atmosphere but was unfortunately lacking very many “volks” (german for “people”), so we didn’t stay very long. As our feet were throbbing and our legs were aching, we opted again to simple stay at the “Wombar” in our hostel for the evening, so as to avoid walking back late at night. I sampled a variety of mixed drinks including a swimming pool, planters punch, and a slippery nipple, all of which were quite tasty.

The following morning, we had to check out from our hostel, and we ended up back at the first cafe which the receoptionist recommended for a magnificent breakfast with possibly the best french toast I’ve ever tasted. With a little bit of extra time after breakfast, we walked to the famous T.V. tower to go to the top and see the view of the entire city. It wasn’t quite as breathtaking as seeing Florence from the top of the Duomo, but it was a great view nonetheless. Berlin isn’t particularly a “beautiful” city, but it’s modern vibe really made it easy to love. In fact, it kind of reminded me a bit of Boston for some reason… so maybe that’s why I loved it so much.

Baird and I enjoying Berlin

Baird and I enjoying Berlin

We headed to the airport midafternoon to catch our Easy Jet flight to Paris…

9 April 2009 at 6:29 am Leave a comment

un voyage à prague

Finalement!

I’ve finally found the time to beging blogging about my wonderful spring break. My life has been a bit of a whirlwind for the past two weeks, but since Baird left Cannes this morning, and my friends Lisa and Charly don’t arrive to visit until tomorrow evening — I finally have a few moments to myself.

So where did I leave off? Ahh, leaving Venice. I endured the rest of the day in the Venice train station and was happy to finally board my overnight train at 9:05. I fell asleep almost immediately, and when I woke up and looked out the window, I was in Austria – which was covered in a blanket of snow. I felt like I was traveling backwards through the seasons: Cannes felt like summer, Venice like spring, winter in Austria… I wondered, would Prague feel like autumn?

My train transfer happened in Vienna, where I had to get from Wein Westbahnhof to Wein Sudbahnhof within an hour. I am happy to say that with the aide of a very kind fellow student who I met on the train, I was able to conquer the U-bahn system and successfully make it! And then, finally, on Monday afternoon, I arrived in Prague, and Baird was there, happily waiting for me at the train station.

For me, Prague happened too quickly. After meeting Baird, we took the metro to our hostel, where Marissa, Charly and Lisa were waiting. I squealed with excitement and ran to them, and then we dropped off our things and headed out to explore while Marissa went to class. (Marissa is studying in Prague.) We stumbled upon Wenceslas Square and the National Museum (which reminded me a lot of the Hotel des Invalides in Paris). From there, we headed towards Prague Castle where we were going to meet Marissa around 7. Some unfortunate confusion and bad luck with the trams ensued, so we didn’t actually meet her until 9, at the end of the Charles’ Bridge. We found a beer hall where I stuffed my face with goulash and Pilsner. I’m not sure I’ve ever built up such a massive appetite. After dinner, exhausted from traveling, we all turned in for an early night.

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Astronomical Clock

The following morning, we split up until lunctime. Baird took me to the old town where I saw churches, towers, and the famous astronomical clock. We met up with the girls beneath it, and foudn a place for lunch, but when they tried to rip us off with a tourist menu, we left and enjoyed the Easter festival in the old town square instead. I ate a big sausage and a warm apple drink. MMM!

From there, we headed to Prague Castle, which was a long haul up the hill, but with beautiful results. We wandered the castle grounds, and my two favorite parts were 1) the view and 2) the cathedral (I wish I knew the names of all of these places. I still have some research to do.) I could really see what Baird meant when he told me that Prague had a love affair with Paris and France in general. Not only is it common to find french words on restaurants and stores around town, but their cathedral resemebled Notre Dame a  lot. AND, they have a mini Eiffel Tower called the Petrin tower.

Cathedral resembling Notre Dame. Anyone know its name?

Cathedral resembling Notre Dame. Anyone know its name?

When we were sitting outside the castle grounds, I could also see what Baird meant when he told me that Prague is called the city of 100 spires. Gothic church steeples sprinkled the horizon everywhere we looked.

After a quick nap at the hostel, we met Marissa after her class and from there, she took us to the Lennon Wall. Wikipedia nicely summarizes its story: it is a wall covered in John Lennon and Beatles inspired graffiti, and it’s really beautiful. We all wrote our own something: “I get by with a little help from my friends.”

Charly, me, Marissa, Lisa & the Lennon Wall

Charly, me, Marissa, Lisa & the Lennon Wall

Another long walk took us to our dining destination: this local place that Marissa frequents which I think was called “Boca, Boca.” I had a wonderful garlic soup and an eggplant dish, and I was truly happy to be with my friends. From there, we went back to Marissa’s dorm, and fortunately, while we were there, we could skype our other Emmanuel loves, Alyssa and Allie! But, unfortunately, we didn’t make it out to enjoy any of Prague’s night life, which I must admit was a great disappointment.

Baird and I parted ways with Prague the following morning, Wednesday. I converted my leftover crowns to Euros (thank god! They confused the heck out of me and threw off my entire budjeting system!) and boarded our train to Berlin.

Prague was a truly beautiful city, but the amount of tourists was overwhelming, and I wish we could have had more time to enjoy the nightlife. At least the weather was beautiful and I had a great time seeing my friends!

Stay tuned — a Berlin update will be coming soon!

7 April 2009 at 1:23 pm 1 comment

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Sarah in Cannes

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