Wow this week has really flown by! But I've been so busy! Here's a recap of what's gone down since my last blog:
On Saturday, I met with the older French woman again and we chatted for 3 hours :) Getting way easier every week! It's more of a conversation and less of her just asking questions, lol. Um Sunday, I went with some of my friends to the Natural History Museum! It's free the first Sunday of every month, so yeah, that is really cool! It's a really cool museum too. They had lots of dead stuffed animals though which I'm not a fan of. BUT-and Heather you will appreciate this-they had the skeleton of a DODO BIRD!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!! I took a photo ;) You'll see it when I get home ;) They also had lots of really cool artifacts from indigenous tribes in New Guinea and Indonesia and stuff. Very interesting! I'd love to go back next month. Got icecream afterwards (Yes, we found something that's opened on a Sunday!! Besides the tourist restaurants right on the old port).
Monday not much happened, just the same old classes and nothing new to report. Except......I am heartbroken to find out that Afeniganov and Peters are no longer with the Sabres!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOO! So sad :'( I couldn't get over it for a while..
Tuesday was busy busy busy!! I had a meeting at the HSBC bank here at 10 am. Went very well and I am happy to report that I have my very own French bank account now!!!!!!! Yeah pretty awesome! The guy who opened it for me was very sweet. His English speaking assitant was supposed to be there (because I was supposed to open it in English, to make sure I understood everything. It's like a policy or something..) but she ended up having some seminar to go to, so it was just the two of us. He spoke a bit of English though, so then he could just fill in with French words (plus we both had our dictionaries) so we were able to communicate in a way that would have at least made the bank a little happy, lol. And now I'm just waiting for my pin number and online account info to come in the mail, and then I'll be able to pick up my debit card at the bank. Woohoo! THEN, I decided to trek up the street to buy that stupid 55euro stamp for my visa verification meeting. It took me forever to find it! I walked almost the whole way to the airport. Insane how small this city is! But yeah I was like in the suburbs, and I ended up passing the building because it was in a parking lot surrounded by other businesses. Then, I didn't know which building to go to! It wasn't labeled "Tresorerie" with a big sign. Just a little piece of paper taped to the front door so...... But it only took about 2 seconds to get the stamp. I showed them the sheet I got from the "authorities" and gave her my 55euros (which is definitely more that 55 dollars!) and she gave me this tiny little stamp. Like the kind you put on an envelope. Not cool. Don't understand why we needed it. Yet ANOTHER tax I need to pay for the visa (because I haven't already paid ENOUGH back in the states, to go to NYC, pay for the visa, eat in NYC, go home, fly back to NYC, eat there all day, fly home. [THANK YOU MOMMY!]) Yeah. What a major pain in the arse.
After SMECO (the housing and health insurance [and maybe car insurance too....]) reopened at 1:30, I went there to see about getting housing insurance. Once again, this was WAY easier than I expected! Took only 15 minutes, and that's just because I had to fill out a form. I had to pay 48euros for the year (a bit more than other students because I have a studio, but I love my studio so there..) Annoying that I had to pay for the whole year because I'm only here until December but okay. Got that done with. So now I'm all set! I have my housing insurance and my bank account!
My CUFLE class on Tuesday was great. We went to the science building to use a computer lab, and we got to pretend we were a French detective and solve a murder and there were cool grammar problems! Heather you will so love it!!!!!!!!!! I still have the link!!!!!!!!! I felt like I was Alex or Olivia from Law and Order :) Really really awesome!!!! But of course, maybe I'm just too excited about it and I liked it too much because I haven't watched Law and Order in over a month now.....hmmmm.....It's surprising what you can live without when you have no choice, LOL!
Wednesday I have no classes at the moment. So I decided I'd go pay my rent for October and give them my proof of housing insurance and my French bank account info (because they are the reason I had to get it....) Of course, I get there and give them the stuff and say I want to pay my rent, and I find out that I don't pay my rent from now on until the END of the month. OK. Not complaining. The people in my residence place and a few others just pay at the beginning of the month for our first month here. From then on, we pay the NEXT month. So like....I pay my rent for October on Nov. 1st. And rent for Nov. on Dec. 1st. And I pay my Dec. rent before I leave. Interesting.....
Then I went to the market (because it's every Wednesday and Saturday from 10am to 1:30 pm.) It was really great! I love it so much! Just the atmosphere is amazing! And so much fresh fruit and veggies!! I bought apples because I needed some good ol' Fall food. There's a woman there who sells pumpkin bread and other pumpkin and apple stuff sometimes. Hopefully she'll still be there around Thanksgiving because I will totally buy food from her for my Thanksgiving meal!! And I'll have it with my canned goose casserole that has been sitting neglected in my cupboard since the date of my arrival (thank you so much, though Judith for buying it for me!) I will eat it for Thanksgiving. It's at least sort of like turkey LOL. I'll pretend it's turkey and drink some wine before eating it, and then I won't know the difference!
Oh yeah and by the way Wednesday was "HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!!!!!!!" day :) I wanted a chocolate cake, because that's what we always had on his birthday, but they are seriously lacking in good ol' American chocolate cakes here.....so instead I got a "maxi pain au chocolat" and was it maxi!! It was huge. Like double the size of a normal one! Yummmmmm!!!!!! I also bought a bottle of wine, made it Bordeaux (OMG it's like, local wine!! feels weird saying that..). And I'm proud to say, that this was my very very first time EVER buying wine at a grocery store!! And I didn't even get IDed!!!!!!!!!!! Yayyyyy!!!!!!!!!!! GO KELLY!!!! I felt so great ;) The wine was only about 4euros, it's a rose (like a blush I'm guessing?? there were so many types of wine I've never heard of!). It is really good :) I think it's supposed to have a hint of raspberry flavor in it, and it's just fruity enough, but not by any means sweet. It's definitely still wine :) I love it! Also got some cheese to go along with the wine. I had originally intended on getting camembert and goat cheese. But then I saw this HUGE family sized pack of Brie, for like 3euros. And Brie is so expensive back home! And I know I don't have a family in France to share it with, but I bought that and the camembert :) And I am in cheese heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also....my fellow Buffalonian pointed out that she's been eating lots of goat cheese, and I guess some of the cheeses we've been eating have penecillin in them or on the skin or something? And she's allergic to penecillin, and she's had hives (not bad ones though) on her arms and shoulders for a while now......I've got some weird things that look like they want to be hives but aren't. I wonder if it's because of my allergy?? Interesting......In any case-it's not a big deal because I feel fine!
Also took a walk to the ocean yesterday :) It was so pretty! And the weather reminded me of Fall in Buffalo. It was only about 63 and it was a little overcast and it was raining on and off all day but so nice!! I'm so sick of 80 degree weather in October! It's supposed to start cooling down. There were actually thunderstorms in the forcast for today, but the clouds are all gone.....
Have I mentioned yet that the sun here rises an hour later?! It'll rise in Buffalo around 7, but it's still dark here, and I mean pretty dark-until 8!!!!!! WHAT?! I'm sorry but that's just wrong! It is really messing me up too. Back home I always get up around 8 and I'm really rested. Here, I wake up at 8 and I think it's 7, and I realize I need to get up for school, but I'll be SO exhausted all day because I feel like I got up so early!! I know it's a mental thing but it sucks.
Today I had to get my visa "verified". And surprisingly, I was the only person of the 3 New Yorkers who had everything I needed! So I was the only one who got verified! One girl had to come back later and the other has to schedule a new appointment because she needs money from her family before she can buy another stamp. So now another page in my passport is occupied. I've got a big yellow sticker and a stamp and a pretty swirly thing in there now :) So I guess now I can travel freely throughout France and Europe without fear of being deported :) Woohoo.
Did I mention that I had absolutely NO internet service yesterday?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course I had no classes and that's the day I had NO internet!!!!!!!! Gotta love French wifi.. Um I did manage to get to my homepage just once, to find out that the Alex Band 2010 Calendar (procedes go to Donate Life America!) is up for sale again!!!!!! And I also did manage to manouevre over to paypal.com to order mine :) Teeeeehehehe!! So Heather-be on the look-out in 2 to 3 weeks for my calendar in either a tan or a white envelope from Debbie in Binghamton :) Okay?! And don't open it :) I'm so excited! She posted pictures of the September page and it looks SOOOOO good!!!!!! Yayyy!!!!!!
Got my mail yesterday and what did I find?! My notebooks from Marsha!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! They are absolutely positively perfect!!!!!!!! Lined paper, how I missed thee! Sahhhhhmoooochhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And today in my mail, what did I find?! A card from Mommy!!!!!!!!!!! With a photo of me and Jacob (from my birthday I assume) inside!!!!! Awwwwwww!!!!!!!!! It's now taped to my wall with my other photos ;) I heart you so much Mommy!! You're the best! Also, I don't think you realized this Mother, but in the background, the TV is on, and GHOST HUNTERS is on the TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All I see is a black and white image of Jay sitting in chair, obviously in the middle of some intense investigation :) I'm SO excited about that! You have NO idea!!!!!!!! At least now when I crave GH, I can look at the photo and remember that I DID get to watch on my birthday :) What a wonderful wonderful photo!!!!!!!!!! And it was totally unintentional too, which makes the whole thing so much greater!!
Also in my mail today I got a slip of paper saying I have to pick up a package at the post office. It's either the thing for Marsha's friend or it's a package from Gramma :) I'm guessing the packages that don't fit in my mail box get held at the post office. Not a big deal though, the post office is not too far away :) Plus I have letters I wanted to mail tomorrow, so I can mail my letters and pick up my package! Can't wait to see what it is <3
Tata for now! I have coffee waiting for me on the stove (or, rather, a pot of near-boiling water just waiting to be poured into my instant coffee grounds!)
Love you all!