Monday, January 31, 2011


Spain could not have been any cooler if it tried.  I am very (pleasantly) surprised to hear my self say that.  I’m not sure if it was growing up in Southern California, but I because of the constant exposure to Spanish, I had no real desire to know it.  That has changed.

I’m not really sure how I want to write this blog post, but I’ll try and just go chronologically.  But there are some things that, in order for the flow of this post to work I want to get out of the way now.  I went to Granada to go visit my friend Amara, who I worked with over the summer.  She is teaching English at a school about an hour outside of Granada.  She also just graduated from UCSB and is living with three Spaniards, two guys and one girl.  She studied abroad in Chile when she was a Junior.
So I flew out of Paris on Tuesday morning.  I flew out of Charles de Gualle, so it was pretty simple to get there.  I had done that before when I flew home to the US for break, so I knew how to get there.  I arrived in Malaga, a small town about a two hour bus ride away from Granada.  Now, as I said before I never had any desire to learn Spanish, so as a result, I knew virtually none.  I could say I have a large cat in my pants, but I couldn’t see how that was going to help me get from Malaga to Granada to meet up with Amara.

One of Amara’s friends from Chile is also living in Granada, and it just so happens that her cousin was visiting her and arriving about an hour before me at the same airport in Malaga.  Thanks to the wonders of social networking sites like Facebook, Amara’s friends cousin and I met up at the airport and got the bus to Granada (all thanks to the Spanish that Christine, the cousin, knew).

When we got to Granada, Amara met up with us and since Christine and I hadn’t had much food that day, we went out and got a late lunch.  Or what I would consider a late lunch, but more about that later.  I got ham.  The Spanish love them some ham.  Huge shanks of ham were just hanging in shops, sometimes covering entire walls.  God, it was delicious.  While we ate our lunch, Amara had to go teach a private lesson.  It only lasted an hour, so Christine and I just kind of sat around and hung out.
After her lesson, Amara walked us to Christine’s cousin’s house.  Michelle lived fairly close to Amara and we hung out there for a little while.  Then Amara took me to her place and I dropped my stuff off.  Then we were off to explore.

Granada is a beautiful city.  I didn’t really know what to expect, so I didn’t expect anything.  I knew it was in the south of Spain, a region I now know is called Andalucía, and that it was going to be a heck of a lot warmer than Paris, but I didn’t know anything else.  I wasn’t sure if it was a big town, or if there were things to do there or what.  I was blown away.

On the walk from the Plaza de Toros (yes, a real bull fighting ring) to Amara’s house (Christine and I met Amara at the Plaza) we walked along this main street with a picture perfect view of a neighbor hood called the Albizine (sp?).  It was situated on a small hill and overlooked the rest of Granada.  Behind that hill though, were these beautiful snow capped mountains.   Those mountains are part of a pretty small mountain range, but they certainly were pretty. 

When we went out exploring, we went to Plaza de San Nicolas up in the Albizine.  It was a kind of look out, and what it looked out on was breathtaking.  Granada used to be a Moorish city, back in the day.  Most of Spain was conquered by the Moorish people who came up from North Africa.  As a result, they heavily influenced architecture, sometimes leaving behind their own buildings.  Granada is home to one such building, called the Alhambra.  It was an old Moorish Palace that was taken over by the Catholic monarchs of Spain and continued to be built upon.

The way they had the Alhambra lit up at night made it so I could have stayed there and looked at it for days.  But there were more important things to do, like Tapas!  Tapas is a traditional Spanish food, which is literally just a small plate of what most people would consider hor d’oeuvres.   The cool thing in Granada, though, is that if you go to a Tapas place and order a drink, they bring you a dish for free.  Michele and Amara knew of a place that had a Tapas buffet so we went there.  It was delicious, and surprisingly filling.

A quick note, as I promised I would get back to it later, but the Spanish have screwed eating times.  It is a late rising country (something I don’t mind) but their hours of eating are just messed up.  I don’t really know when they eat breakfast, but they eat lunch anytime between 2PM and 4PM.  It may be the American in me, but I just can’t wait that long to eat.  Dinner is even worse.  Most of the time they don’t start eating until 10PM, sometimes as late as 11PM.  We actually did that for two nights and I now know that I will never be Spanish.  I cannot wait that long to eat. 

Anyway, on my first full day in Granada I actually left Granada.  Amara decided to take me with her to school, which is about an hour car ride away.  Amara carpools with a few other teachers, so we all rode together.  Not a lot of them spoke English, but some did.  I mainly talked to those ones.  All of the people I met there though were incredibly nice to me. 

The strangest part about going to school with Amara was probably the fact that it was the first time I had gone back to a high school since I graduated one myself.  What was even weirder still (I guess making the last part not the strangest, but still very strange) was that it seemed like a typical American high school, like the ones they show on TV.  It was a one building school complete with three stories, indoor hallways and lockers.  There was a teachers’ lounge, and a small cafeteria.  It was like stepping into the twilight zone, where I was in America, but everyone was speaking Spanish.  Every stereotype (jock, nerd, tween wannabe slut, etc.) were all there.  I guess that adolescents isn’t just limited to the US.
OK, so after school Amara and I wanted to lay low and kind of relax.  We decided that we were going to cook dinner at home.  We invited a bunch of her friends over and made some great chicken.  It was really funny meeting all of her friends, again because they were almost all Spanish.  We had the chicken, made guacamole and just ate and talked until around twelve.  I was super tired and had plans to go get up relatively early the next morning so I was pretty relieved when her friends said they were leaving.
On Thursday, Christine and I went and did some exploring.  The biggest attraction in Granada is the Alhambra, a morrish palace that was built (I want to say…) in the 14th century.  It was then taken over by the Catholic monarchs after they kicked the Moors out of Spain and converted into a palace for them.   The view from the Albizine was pretty enough, so I knew I was going to like it when I got up there, but I wasn’t sure how much.

It was probably the coolest single place I’ve seen in Europe.  It was this huge complex of ornately decorated buildings.  When I say ornate, I mean entire façades of buildings were hand carved with the most incredible detail, or that huge swaths of wall were inlayed with beautifully polished tiles.  I took over three hundred pictures in two hours.  To top it off, because we got there so early, there was barely anyone visiting it.  Well, that may have been due to the fact I was a Thursday in January, but still…
After we wandered about the Alhambra to our hearts content we decided we wanted to go find the Moroccan market in Granada.  Amara and Michelle had told us where there was one, and Michelle had apparently taken Christine past it the day previous so we had a vague idea of where we were going.  On the way there we found a woman selling fresh tea (it actually looked like pot pourri).  Now I have never been one to enjoy a cup of tea, because all it is is super hot lightly flavored water.  But there was one tea that she was selling that smelled better than almost anything else I have smelled in my life.  Anyone who has spent any time with me knows how important the smell of my environment is to my well being, so naturally I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to but this sweet smelling wonderfulness.  It smelled reminiscent of those Troli peach rings, and was made from tropical flowers and herbs. 

Anyway, moving right along.  After we bought our teas, we found the market.  For a long long time I had wanted a cool leather satchel/messenger bag, but nowhere in the US could I find one.  Over winter break I went shopping with Nick and Nana and never found a bag that really worked for me.  That changed in Spain.  The Spanish love them their leather products.  We walked down small corridors lined with purses and bags, all 100% Moroccan leather.  Then I found it.  It is a beautiful three pocket, double lock leather satchel.  I was so tempted to buy it then and there, but I knew I was going to Morocco in a month with Dad and JoAnn.  I decided to hold off, but I would just see how much it was. 

Christine was actually going to get some purses for her and her sister so we hung around and the more time I spent looking at this bag I had been searching for the more I knew I should get it.  But, no I could probably get a better bag/price when I was actually in Morocco.  But I asked the man how much he wanted for the bag.  He said forty-five Euros.  There was no way that I was going to pay that much for this bag, as awesome as it was.  I said that was too much for me, and right off the bat he lowered it to forty.  Christine chimed in and said (in Spanish) that I “couldn’t” spend more than thirty Euros and thank you.  He finally got down to thirty-five.  I was still holding off.  I kept saying thirty was my limit.  He tried to throw in a free scarf (it was two Euros on it’s own).  Since I had just bought one from another vendor, I didn’t need another one.  Christine asked if he would just deduct the price of the scarf from the price of the bag.  He said he could do thirty-three Euros.  I wasn’t about to let him get away with that, so I said thirty-two Euros and a scarf.  He said I could have it for thirty-two Euros and no scarf.  Deal.
So now I have the most handsome mahogany brown leather bag.  It is a tad heavy, but it works perfectly.  I have two large pockets, in which my computer fits perfectly, as well as a small pocket and a zipper pocket.  The white hand stitching shines impressively against the dark brown leather.  Needless to say I am really happy for the purchase. 

Ok, so after the market, it was almost time for Amara to get back from school.  The Spanish were big on taking naps, so that is exactly what we did.  We took almost a two-hour nap.  Once we got up, we didn’t really do a whole lot.  We were going out that night because it was Amara’s other friend, Nicole’s birthday.  We went over to Nicole’s apartment around nine thirty.  It was a five-minute walk from Amara’s house to hers.  The weird thing though was that on the way over we passed a store that had police surrounding it.  I noticed that the front door’s glass had been smashed in and was shattered.  I didn’t think much of it but I was pretty curious. 

We went out to a great Italian restaurant for dinner, but we had to pass that same store.  Jokingly I said I wondered if someone had died, based on the amount of police that were there.  Literally the minute after I said that, a hearse pulls up.  We didn’t find out until the next day, but the owner of that store apparently beat his pregnant wife to death while someone else was in the store.

Not to change the mood at all, but after dinner everyone wanted to go Salsa dancing.  Amara and her friends go salsa dancing every Thursday at a club in the Plaza de Torros because their favorite teacher goes there.  So to recap, they took me to a salsa club in a real bull-fighting ring.  It was awesome.
On Friday Amara and I were off to Seville.  I had been told by my step-sister if I get a chance to go to Seville.  Not knowing anything about Spain, I figured why not?  Amara really liked the city and still hadn’t done a lot of the touristy stuff there.  Plus I was going to stay at my very first hostel!
We got on a train from Granada to Seville.  It took us about three hours to get there, arriving around 2:30PM.  It took us a while to get to the hostel because I wrote down directions but literally they said “turn left before the McDonalds” and nothing more.  Luckily Amara can speak perfect Spanish, so she just called the lady at the hostel and figured out where we need to go.  It was a cute little place, and we had our room to ourselves.  It was about a ten minute walk from our hostel to the Cathedral (which is the third largest in Europe).  On Friday we kind of just walked around.  By the time we got settled all of the tourist sites were closed.  We did however get to go see a free Flamenco show that night.  Man, I didn’t know how fierce looking flamenco dancers were.  I thought this lady was going to kill me with her death stare!

I had to fly out of Malaga the next day at 5PM.  The bus that was going to take me there was leaving at noon and the cathedral didn’t open until 11:00AM.  So if I was taking this bus then we weren’t going to get to see it.  We were both pretty bummed.  Then Amara had the great idea of checking the train schedule.  There was a train leaving around 1:30PM getting me into Malaga about an hour and twenty minutes before my flight.  Perfect!!

Thanks to that we got to go and see the Cathedral and go up the Giralda (a tower built by the moors for their prayers).  It had the best views over Seville and we got to spend our time up at the top! 
From then on, the rest of the trip wasn’t exciting.  Amara put me on my train and I took a cab from the train station in Malaga to the airport.  Then I hopped onto my flight back to Paris.  And that was Spain! 
The best part was after going out (most of the night… I got home at 4AM) I was off to Germany to spend a week traveling with my Dad.  More to that when I am back in the states though.  Oh yeah, I am going back to the states for a week.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pourquoi j'aime Paris

I'm not going to lie.  This city and I have had an interesting relationship.  There are times when I could swear that it wanted nothing more than to crush my very soul, but there are other times when I guess it felt sorry for me and let me experience things that would replenish the very soul it was trying to crush.  I've had some replenishing experiences as of late.

So after my final final, I invited my friend Allison over to have some wine and cheese with my roommate and I (well, I just had red grape juice, but I drank it from a wine glass).  The three of us just sat in my kitchen eating Brie and Goat cheese catching up on our winter break activities.  It was great being able to do that and not having to stress about anything.

I guess I am still not adjusted to the time change because yesterday I was up at 5:40AM.  My roommate was up then too, so we both kind of just hung around.  At 8:00 she skypes me and asks if I wanted to go see the sunrise from Sacré Coeur.  I was just planning on staying in my PJs all day, but I figured why not?  When is the next time that I would be up and ready to go to see the sunrise.  So we hopped onto the Montmartrobus and it dropped us off at the church before the sun rose.

I'm not sure why, but no one in Paris seems to get up and out of their house before 9:00AM.  Don't get me wrong, I would be right there with them on a normal day, but I thought it was weird that I was up before a majority of the population.  As anyone who has ever lived with me can attest, I am not a morning person in the least.  But it actually worked out in my favor that the Parisians were still asleep.  There was no one at the Church.  Normally Sacré Coeur is busy with tourists taking pictures of this marble basilica but not at 8:45AM.  There were maybe three other people there.  I got pictures with literally no one else in them except me, which is unheard of at any tourist site in this city.

After we were done at Sacré Coeur, we walked down to the Moulin Rouge.  Again, we wanted to profit from the fact that everyone was still asleep.  We got there, but they had turned the lights off and the windmill wasn't moving.  But it was fine.  We ended up seeing some guys sitting on the roof at the base of the windmill just hanging.  They saw us taking pictures and started waving.

We kept walking past the Moulin Rouge and ended up at the Cimirtère de Montmartre.  It may be because living in LA there aren't any cool cemeteries that I have been to, but I could spend hours just walking around and looking at all the old graves.  I had my camera and I took way too many pictures of that cemetary.  In this one, there didn't seem to be any famous people buried there, but it was still cool walking around.  Because Montmartre is a hill, by the time we got to the cemetery the sun was high enough in the sky to shine down on the tombs.  It was eerily beautiful.

After we finished there, my roommate suggested we go across the city to Père Lachaise.  It is the most famous cemetery in Paris.  You know, the one where Edith Piaf and Eugene Delacroix and Moliere and James Morrison are buried?  Well neither of us had been there before, so we hopped on the metro and headed over.  We spent probably four hours walking around but we saw everyone that was worth seeing at that cemetery.  And yes, I again took far too many pictures.

But all in all, I was thrilled to have actually done something in this city.  For so long before I left all I could think about was going back to the US that I forgot where I was.  I was deteremined to not do that when I got back.  That was the reason I walked home from school (a two hour walk) after my final final.  I saw parts of the city that I lived super close to but never new existed.

I leave tomorrow for Spain and it starts my three weeks of international travel.  I guess Paris will have to wait until February.  Now I am off to go explore the rest of Europe!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Je suis heureux

I am done with my first semester of SciencesPo.

I took my second and last final today.  Yeah, I thought it was weird having a final on a Saturday too, but to be honest since I've been back I have kind of forgotten what day of the week it is.

The exam wasn't too bad.  It was in my Social History of the US in the 20th Century course.  I really liked that course.  It was the one where the professor sounded like the offspring of Yoda and Kermit the frog.  The fact that I was one of like four Americans in the class also made me feel a little important.  Every once in a while the professor would ask for our own experiences living in the US.  He asked me to describe what it was like growing up in a suburb, because most of the french students didn't.

The exam question was simply "The Civil Rights Movement (1945 - 1970)."  No prompt, no directions.  So basically we just had to write as much as we could about that subject.  We could choose between that and "American Middle class in the 20th Century."  I wrote about four pages on the civil rights movement, mainly based on what I learned in elementary school.  But not to worry, I have two things working in my favor.  The first is that I am being compared to French students.  They can write English pretty well when they get to take their papers home and work on them there, but I have a feeling on an in class timed essay the upper hand goes to the native English speaker.  The second thing is that my paper is being graded by a non native English speaker.  So I feel pretty confident that I at least didn't fail.

So when I got out of that exam I was finished with my first semester here.  I was so happy, I decided I wanted to walk home.  The weather since being back has been pretty nice.  It has been in the low fifties. So I decided to profit from this rare lapse in cold. I walked all the way home.  It took me about two hours.  It was pretty cool to see parts of Paris I had only gone under (via metro).

Now I am sitting in my apartment about to cook dinner.  I have tomorrow and Monday in Paris and then Tuesday off to Spain.  After Spain, my dad gets here and we are going to go to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Austria.  The day after that trip I fly out to the US where I am going to see m jaw doc.  The afternoon of my apointment I fly out to LA where I will be able to see my friends I didn't get to over break.  Then I go up to Seattle for a night to see where Dad's new office is.  Then it is back to Houston and then back to Paris to start classes.

I've got a pretty jam packed January, but I think I'm okay with that!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Introduction Aux Grands Systemes du Droit Etranger

I am finished.  I took my final and I am done.

So for future me, if you don't remember you freak out and stress about everything.  I doubt you'll have changed much by the time you re-read this but I just wanted to underline that point.  Don't get me wrong, I hope you do change, but let's be realistic here.

So anyway, back to the story of my final.  As I mentioned yesterday, I got back into Paris yesterday morning after a flight where I got virtually no sleep.  When I got home I checked my e-mail, did some facebooking and fell asleep.  I planned on taking a short nap and studying for my final.  I gave my self until 1PM to sleep.  I feel asleep at 11AM.  1PM came and my alarm went off.  Then I pushed snooze.  2PM came and I pushed snooze.  By 3PM I just turned off my alarm and said screw it.  I knew I wasn't doing myself any favors as far as adjusting to the time change but I was so tired it didn't matter.

At 6PM I woke up and just kind of oriented myself.  I hadn't had any food since the croissant they gave us an hour before landing on the plane.  I knew I needed to go to the store and get some food, but I was still too tired and lazy to do it (quel surpise).  So at 8PM I went out and got, what else, a kebab from my kebab friends down the street.  I got home, watched some Futurama and ended up crashing around 10:30PM.  I got no studying done.

I was okay with not getting any studying done because I knew I was going to wake up really early today.  As predicted I woke up at 5:00AM and couldn't fall back asleep.  It didn't help that the people above me sounded like they were salsa dancing then, but it didn't matter.  I wasn't really that tired anymore.  So I got up, made some hot chocolate and had a madeline as my breakfast.  Then I watched the news.  It was 5:30AM.  I still had five and a half hours to go and re-watch the lectures that I didn't go to.  With all that time I could watch one or even two.

So with that confidence of my time management skills I went on facebook and talked to my friends who I knew would be on.  After talking with them for an hour and a half, I got super tired.  That was fine.  It was only eight, so I could sleep from then until nine and still watch one full lecture.  Yeah.... I got up at 10:20AM.  I had enough time to shower and get down to the school though.

But let us just recap my preparation for this final.  No lectures watched.  I didn't reread my paper.  I didn't really touch anything for this course since I left France.  Needless to say the entire walk to the metro I felt like I was going to pass out.  Trying to plug my headphones into my iPod was the hardest thing I had done in a while because my hands were shaking and I couldn't get a good grip on the plug.

On the sheet that told us our times it also gave a location.  It said B 101.  I thought I knew where that was so I went to the building where I figured it would be.  I had to ask the security guards but I was in the right place.  Ok, so that went well.  I at least made it to the right room.

Waiting outside that room every possible fantasy of what that oral exam was going to be like flashed through my mind.  When it was explained to me at the beginning of the semester, they said it was going to be you defending the paper you wrote in front of three people.  I figured that there was no way I was going to pass it because I can barely speak french (in an academic setting, my conversational french is pretty good) and I don't know a lot about different legal systems.  In addition to defending your paper, they said the jury was going to ask you questions to verify that you attended lectures.  Great.... They were going to totally know I didn't go to the lectures, although even if I had I wouldn't have understood them.

So when the door opened I was expecting some old frenchman with a furrowed brow to lead me into the room and sit me down in front of the panel.  My heart was beating so loud I literally felt my chest move in and out with every pump.  I could hear the exam before me going on.  I wondered how it was going, how he did.  Then the student opened the door.  He didn't look that defeated so I had hope.  Then I saw who my examiner was.

A handsome young french man, no more than thirty opened the door.  He was dressed in a full three piece suit (sans tie) and had at least three days beard growth on his face.  He asked me if it was cool if I waited a few minutes for him to go get something to drink.  I said it was no problem.  Once he got back he invited me in.  He started off by asking me if I was related to the philosopher John Rawls.

Complete tangent, but back at UCSB no one knows who that guy is.  Here, I've been asked at least three times if I was related to him.  I love seeing their face when I tell them John Rawls is my father.  Then I tell them it's a different John Rawls, but they still think it is pretty cool.

Anyway, he invites me in and I sit down.  He just says "Je vous ecoute."  I ask him what I am supposed to do.  He says just talk about the paper I've written and he will ask me questions when he has some.  In my broken french, I describe what the common law system is and how it differs from the Civil Law system.  Then I describe the creation and tradition of the UK Supreme Court and then the tradition of the US Supreme Court.  After I finish he asks me a few questions about Jurisprudence in the US and a lot about US Supreme Court.  But before I know it was done.

On the walk home, I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.  I knew that I passed, so I passed the course.  The biggest source of stress, the reason why I didn't want to come back to France, was done and finished forever.  I have never been more tempted to go out and buy some champagne to celebrate than I was after I finished that final.

I guess I'll just have to weight another two months for that!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Le journé aux États Unis

Here is the blog post I wrote while traveling to the US before break.  I wanted to post this after writing about how it feels to be back so I could see how my ideas on France changed.

As I write this I am sitting at a little table at my gate in Charles de Gualle airport.  I have a smoothie in one hand and a Ciabatta baguette in the other.  It is 9:24 AM.  I only note that because I don’t want to pay for Wifi so I am writing this in word to be uploaded when I get to Colorado later today. 
But as it stands, I have officially finished SciencesPo.  I don’t have to do any thing else for that stupid institution until 2011.  And even then, it isn’t that much.  The best part is that I have almost an entire month off.  I finish with finals on Jan 8 and I don’t start my courses until around Feb 4. 
But I’m sure I’ll talk more about that when I get there.  I still can’t believe that I survived.  I made it.  We all made it.  Everyone at SciencesPo has survived this semester.  Some made it through with fewer bumps and bruises (both literal and figurative) than others, but the point is that it is December 16, 2010 and I am on my way back to the United States.

I have been looking forward to getting back to the US for a long, long time.  There was a point when I was still at my first host family that I counted down the number of days until I was going to be back.  I think I was around seventy.  And I checked off every day on my calendar.  I felt like one of those kids who was waiting for his advent calendar. You remember how much you wanted to just rip open that little box and eat the chocolate inside?

For me the wait has made this trip home all the more sweet.  I know now what I appreciate about the US. I also know that I never ever want to live in a place where they can have multiple days of temperatures below 32˚F.    Finally I know that I can do anything.

I have found an apartment, semi-opened a bank account, gone grocery shopping, made friends, gone to classes, all in a foreign language.  The weirdest thing for me is that there are people who I have not heard speak English.  I have never spoken to them in my native tongue.  How cool is that? 
This experience (while hellish at times) has opened up an entire new world for me.  I can now communicate with millions more people that I could before.  Plus I can say that I’ve lived in Paris.  Not many other people I know can say that…

I’ll be seeing you all state side!

First post from the US

So the flight over wasn’t bad.  We were sitting in a plane that was two seats, three in the middle aisle and two more on the other side.  I was aisle in the set of three.  I’ve come to realize that that isn’t a bad place to be, mainly because the person in the middle is just as likely to go down the other aisle if he or she needs to get out.  So I didn’t have anyone going over me.
And there was an adorable little blonde baby (probably no more than fourteen months) who was walking up and down the aisle.  He had this huge smile on his face and paused and just stared at me for a few seconds.

Right now I am sitting in Newark Airport in New Jersey.  Getting through customs was kind of a hassle.  The worst part is that they confiscated my mom’s Christmas present from my brother.  I guess those terrible invasive tulips from the Netherlands really can pose a threat to national security…  I have to say that it was a really disappointing way to be greeted by a country I had been missing for so long.  But in the overall scheme of things, I guess it really wasn’t that bad.

In Newark, after clearing customs I had to go through security again.  (Again a major annoyance, but it wasn’t going to make me miss my flight) After I got in, I found a Ruby’s.  Holy mother of god.  I hit the mother load.  My first food ingested on American soil was nothing other than a simple Chocolate milkshake.  My stomach must be used to French portions because I couldn’t finish it.  It was too big!  I didn’t touch the extra flow over they give you in the metal canister. 

Oh well… I guess that’s probably a good thing.  I thought it was really funny too because when I went through security I had to take my belt off.  But my pants are still too large for me.  They legitimately almost fell off of me…

Guess I will just have to go shopping with Nana when I’m home (which should be in a few hours!). 

La nouvelle année

I am back.  I figured that I would not bore you with the details of my winter break.  After all the purpose of this blog is to document my time in Europe, not the US.  But I feel like I have to say a few things.

It wasn't nearly as weird as I thought it would be going home.  I didn't feel like I had left.   Everything was pretty much the same.  Aside from Mom's new tile in the hallway from the garage and some framed pictures at Dad's house it was just as I remembered it.  Charlie (my dog) was just as excited to see me.

It was so comfortable it actually did make coming back to Paris pretty hard.  I didn't really feel anything until I was on the plane but about hour three of the flight it felt like someone punched me in the gut.  I'm sure the only reason I felt like that is because I have my law final tomorrow at 11:15AM.  Once that is over, I will have finished the hardest thing I've ever done.  I will have survived a Law class taught in a foreign language and taught about foreign legal systems.  And I won't have failed (assuming I can get at least a 10/20 on my oral exam tomorrow).

After that exam is over, I'll be home free.  I have offically bought my tickets to go to Spain to visit my friend Amara.  I'll be there from Jan 11 to Jan 15.  Then my dad comes here and we are off to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest from the 16th to the 24th.  Then on the 25th I fly back to the US to see my doctor about fitting me for a device that will relax my jaw muscles.  I cannot tell you how excited I am for that appointment.  He said within the first two months eighty to ninety percent of the pain should go away. Then it is just a matter of relaxing my jaw to where he can resent my bite and make me a normal human again!

So I have a lot to look forward to.  I just need to get through today and tomorrow until 11:30AM.  Then I'll really start to love this country (again).  Good news is that I landed at 8:30AM and I've made it till 7:30PM without really thinking about my final tomorrow.  Yes, it was due to the fact that I was asleep for seven hours, but still, I'll take anything to take my mind off it.

I've realized that I have a problem where anything that is a source of anxiety gets all of my attention.  So once that exam is done and over with then I won't have anything to worry about.  I will be living in France carefree until Feb 3.  Although I will only be spending two nights in Paris between the Jan 11 and the Feb 1.  But c'est la vie.  I came here to travel, and gosh darn it, I am going to travel!

Also, my new years resolution (although I think they are profoundly stupid) is to write five times a week, regardless of what is happening in my life.  I don't want to regret not documenting my time here better.