Sunday, January 31, 2010


Last night a couple of the students went out to find a discotheque because we all wanted to go dancing. We went to this place that said it was a discotheque but we had stayed a while and no one ever started dancing! (except for McKenna and I who danced at the table :P) We were kind of disappointed but it was fun nonetheless.
We met so many cool french people! They are so much nicer than everyone told me they'd be. One very drunk french guy told us he loved George Bush and the US and wanted to drive Route 66 while listening to Elvis!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A tour of Caen and various fun (and not-so-fun) events following.

Yesterday, the school gave all the exchange students a tour of the university and of the town. I really love this town, even though it rains every other day. There are so many neat things here. There is a huge castle with a big moat down the street. There is a boat port with pubs and clubs all around it where the nightlife happens (I will be frequenting that area!) There are various shops and cafés and restaurants to go to.
There are many more American students than I thought too. I met many of them and made a lot of friends. So much so, that I have forgotten half the names I have learned!
Most of them live on campus, but I have to say that I enjoy living with a family much more than I'd enjoy living in a dorm with other english speakers.
I think I got pretty lucky too. My hostess, Elizabeth, speaks with me all the time and corrects my french. She also is very accommodating and is an excellent cook.
I went out with some of the students for lunch and then went shopping with my new friend McKenna. And I have done it, I have bought a beret. But on the way home, I got lost. I had forgotten my map so I wandered around aimlessly for almost two hours in the dark! Finally, I used one of my very expensive minutes on my cell phone and called Elizabeth.

Today, I had to go pay for my social security and wait in line for an hour! Then I had forgotten my birth certificate and had to go all the way back home. On the way home, I found an outside market on my street where they were selling vegetables of all kinds (many I had never seen) and cheese and meat. They also had clothes and books and such.

But the best part of the day was lunch! I bought un croque monsieur, which is a ham sandwich covered and stuffed with cheese! It was wonderful until about the last quarter of the sandwich when I decided that one can have too much warm mushy cheese.
And for dessert I had un pépito, absolutely the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. It is this soft pastry, not quite as flaky as a croissant, filled with cream and chocolate chips (or pépits, hence the name pépito). I might not come back to the states just so I can keep eating these.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Food, food, and more food! (and pregnancy!)

I am afraid that this whole blog is going to be about food! At least until school starts tomorrow. The food they eat here is so much better for you and it tastes better to me too! This morning, the first course of lunch was sweet beets (it reminded me of the Nick show Doug). At first, I was like "ew, that looks disgusting!" But then I tried it and it was very good!
They do things very differently here and I enjoy it very much. For example, they don't use paper napkins at home. They have cloth ones that come with little pockets. So you use the same napkin for a few days and put in into the pocket and into a drawer when you aren't using it. It seems less wasteful than using paper napkins. They also use cloth tablecloths at every meal. I think it's mostly because they eat so much bread and there are a lot of crumbs everywhere. Tonight for dinner, I think we are having turnips and leeks. Have you ever had a leek? Not me! I will let you know how it goes!

Today I made a cultural faux pas...
Apparently, in France, you never leave the bathroom door open. Even if no one is in it! She said all the American students leave the bathroom door open and she has to tell them! The students also say "Je suis plein" or "Je suis rempli" (I said the latter) to say that they are full. It actually is a vulgar way to say "I am pregnant." Whoops! I am sure I will be saying a lot of things wrong though.

I bought a cellphone today too for emergency. It was 54€ for the phone and for less than 2 hours of talk time. Très cher!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I just had my first french dinner! It was so cool. They eat their meals in courses, so at first I was thinking "only pea soup for dinner?" haha and then there were three more courses! We had cheese and bread as a course (so very french) :)
During lunch I had a glass of wine at Elizabeth's request and it made me a little dizzy so I took a two hour nap!
I also watched Friends and Smallville in french. It was so bizarre but cool at the same time.
I have already learned so much. It's funny because I keep typing french words and having to erase them on this post. I am also already starting to think in french and I had a dream where I spoke french when I was napping.

My first french breakfast!

See the whole album at:

I am waking up in my first morning in Caen.

I love my french hostess(elizabeth). She is helping me so much and we spoke in french for like 45 minutes over breakfast! I am getting better already! She said I was very studious and an intellectual!

This morning I had tartines (french bread with jam) and she makes the jam herself! It was peach jam but I thought she said fish jam! hahaha

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tips on applying for a visa.

I applied for my visa in Houston today! I have a few suggestions for anyone else who will be studying abroad or needing a visa.

1. Don't put it off! It takes a week to receive it. A girl applied today and her flight leaves on Thursday! Now she'll have to reschedule her flight!

2. Read their website! Read the list of required documents thoroughly and triple check that you have them all.

How to get a visa? (for Texas and Oklahoma residents)

FIRST- apply with campus france.
That process can take 2-4 weeks.

SECOND- once you have your campus france confirmation email, you can make an appointment online with the embassy. (Use a PC and it helps to have a printer)
They are open 8-noon Monday- Friday.

THIRD- Prepare your documents.
  • A passport valid at least three months after the last day of your stay in France. Please make sure two blank pages remain in your passport for the visa stamp; one copy of the first page (the one with your picture);
  • 1 OFII application form (no copy)
  • the identification number given by Campus France ;
  • A letter from your university in the US stating that you are currently registered there as a student, serving as proof of residency or of studies in one of the following states : Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana. If you are neither living nor studying in one of the 4 above mentioned states, you have to apply with another French consulate : click here;
  • Letter of admission or pre admission from a French school/University ;
  • Proof of sufficient funds : If your parents are going to pay for your expenses in France : a financial guarantee such as a notarized statement certifying that the applicant will be provided with a minimum monthly allowance of € 430 for the duration of his/her stay in France, OR proof of personal income along with a letter from school stating that room, board, and tuition are fully prepaid . If the host provides the student with a letter certifying that lodging will be free of charge, and provides a copy of his/her pictured I.D., an allowance of € 215 will be accepted. If you pay for your own expenses, you have to bring your three last bank statements ;
  • For non American citizens : A proof of your status in the US : green card, OR a valid US visa WITH the I-94, the I-20 or the valid I-AP66… ;
  • A secured self-addressed prepaid envelope (Express mail…) in order to get your passport back with the visa, if granted. Your passport will be kept during the processing time. If you wish or need to keep your passport during the processing time of your visa, you will be required to come a second time at the visa section to bring back your passport and have your visa issued.
  • Processing fees: by credit card (Visa, Mastercard) cash or money-order only. Personal checks or American Express are not accepted. It costs about $70.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Country, New Year, New Me

This year I am making a resolution for myself. Purge everything in my life that causes me unnecessary stress or pain. It seems like I have been putting all my energy into changing the bad things in my life into good things. But maybe I have been approaching life the wrong way. Things and people may change, but it is not you who can change them. So what is more productive? Focusing your energy on the bad things or cutting them out as best you can and spending your time on the positive aspects of your life?

When I leave for France, I am going to leave behind

1. All the people who bring me down. I am a bright, shining person. Yet I surround myself with people who make me feel inadequate. But I am adequate! I am an intelligent, independent woman who deserves to be surrounded by the positive energy of people who can see that. I am tired of being made to feel insignificant by people who should really be insignificant to me.

2. My negative attitudes. Optimism is my goal for 2010. You make your own reality. I am going to make mine.

Listening to: Animal Collective- Chocolate Girl

Monday, January 4, 2010

It's almost here!

One week until I get my visa and only 20 days until I leave for France! I heard back from my host family today and they said "Your bedroom is waiting!!"
Tomorrow I'll pay my tuition and start packing up my room.

Caen Here I Come!