Archive | Nice People RSS feed for this section

birthday (belated).

4 May

I’ve been 21 for 18 days already and I’m only now getting the chance to post about my celebrations.  I’ll start off by saying I honestly can’t remember the last good birthday I’ve had.  I think it was probably when I turned 13.  Every birthday since then has been marred by something.  Although this birthday was no exception- it was seriously marred in ways- it ended up being really, truly, perfect and so memorable.

My friend Barbara was going to be out of town on my birthday so she and Maire took me out to dinner a few nights before the 16th.  It ended up being one of the absolute best evenings I’ve spent in my entire time here! They let me choose the restaurant, so I picked a place that I’d walked by a hundred times and was always curious about.  The vibe of the restaurant was like a cross between the library in an old mansion and a bar. It was really vraiment branché. We had a funny flustered waiter and men at the table next to us trying to catch our eye but the food was so good!! It was the first real burger I’ve had in a year. I swear they must have imported the buns from the states. They even had sesame seeds on them! SESAME SEEDS!  After dinner (which was like a 3 or 4 hour experience) we went to this wine bar off of Place Ste Anne that we’d also never been to before.  All of our exploration and curiosity paid off that night because we stumbled into a really cool little place. We had a few glasses of  wine before going home, but not before drawing the attention of a few strange people sitting in the corner haha. The evening went so well that it made me feel better about all the issues I’d been having with planning my party and it made me so thankful for having good friends who care about me.

The issues that I was having planning my party that made me feel so crumby were caused by a huge percentage of my friends deciding to go out of town the day of my party.  Although some people couldn’t help it, others could have and that really hurt my feelings to know so many people that I considered my friends didn’t mind skipping my party.  For awhile I thought about changing the date, but in the end I made peace with the fact that humans are selfish by nature. In addition, the day was supposed to be about celebrating my birthday, not accommodating anyone else’s schedules. So I didn’t change the date after all because I knew that I would have fun no matter who showed up.

Like I knew it would be, my party ended up being small and humble but sort of surprisingly it ended up being so much fun! Some of my friends came for a little bit and then had to go and so by the time we left Fiona’s apartment for the center, there were only three of us, we met up with my Australian friend Annie and a few of her friends and had a blast.

We went to a boîte that I’d never been to before that was off the main street of bars.  I’m pretty sure we were the only non-French people there which was fun and different compared to the student bars that are usually full of Erasmus students. One of Annie’s friends knew the bartender and was getting us free drinks and then when we left the night bar we went down the street to the restaurant where another one of Annie’s friends worked. The owner of the restaurant had been at the bar with us and let us in and so we suddenly had a private party in a closed restaurant at like 4am! We opened wine and drank out these big, beautiful glasses, and talked and just seriously enjoyed everyone’s company. It was wonderful <3

Fiona, Hélène and I left around 5:30 and took the 6am night bus home.  Like I said earlier, despite all the negativity that led up to my birthday, It ended up being the best one I’ve had in a really long time.

Big big love to EVERYONE that made it so special (that’s you Maire, Barbara, Fiona, Hélène, Annie and friends, Maxime, Sam, Derek, Louisa, Trixie, Imogen, and Rosie).

xxo

HUGE-ASS POST! aka Liz’s Visit & An Easter Update!

7 Apr

I haven’t given you much to work with for a while so heres an official update <3

Last week my friend Liz came to visit.  She stayed at our friend Fiona’s place and we had a blast.  She studied abroad first semester in Rennes with all of us but went back to Ireland after Christmas.  Anyway it was really great seeing her!! It was like a continual party when she was visiting.  It was funny though because so much has changed since she left that I’m sure it was really weird for her, but I hope it was fun too.  We went to the Haricot Rouge everyday that she was in town :) We drank lots of hot chocolate, played lots of Uno (despite not really remembering the rules haha) and played lots of Clue which, strangely enough, appears to be called “Cluedo” in Europe.

We had a little party at Fiona’s on Tuesday night to celebrate :) For some reason my camera was hiding in my bag until the end of the night so the only photos I have are of a photoshoot of my French friend Maxime and my Belgian friend Delphine eating pasta haha.

The next night wasn’t much better on the photo front, but it was still oodles of fun.  It started at a gay bar and then finished at “le Museum.” After such a crazy week, I stayed in on Thursday and Friday nights and then bright and early Saturday morning I hopped a train to Caen to spend Easter with my friend Alyse!  It was an awesome weekend, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my Easter here in any other way.  I was explaining to some friends that I’ve known Alyse since I was about 8 and she is the closest thing I have to family in France and so it just felt right to be together for Easter weekend.

Saturday we hung out, shopped a little bit and watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Then on Sunday we woke up bright and early and went to Easter Mass. Alyse and I laugh about how we’re a horrible combination because neither of us like waking up in the morning. On Easter we accidentally overslept by an hour because we were both waiting for the other one to get up, even though we each secretly knew we weren’t going to get up haha.  Luckily, Alyse’s neighbor Elizabeth/Bipsie  knocked on the door to ask a question and so we woke up in time to get to mass on time :)

Mass was nice, I guess. It was much more sombre than any other Easter service I’ve ever been to though and the drafty old cathedral was effing freezing! I was expecting to see lots of people wearing Easter hats because I’ve seen them on sale in a lot of stores lately but I didn’t even see one. That was a let down. What was even weirder was that there were lots of people in like their late 50s early 60s who were wearing jeans.  I kinda wanted to be like, “HELLOOOO?! It’s Easter, bitches! Get fancy!” haha But there were a lot of young families and it was cute seeing how whenever the babies started to fuss, the dads would take them to the side corner of the church until they had settled down.  After mass we went back to Alyse’s and made a massive breakfast :) It was so big that Sunday was one of those “one meal” days haha.  We found “American Pancake” mix at Carrefour and Bipsie found Bacon at Marché Plus so we had pancakes, bacon and eggs.  We attempted Mimosas as well, but since we didn’t have champagne, we substituted it for cider and it turned out ok.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos of the chocolate eggs on sale, but it’s my understanding that in most of, if not all, of europe, the way families celebrate is by giving each other ENORMOUS chocolate eggs that are pretty much works of art.  I’m not for sure, but I don’t think they do the whole egg dying thing or easter egg hunts.  Because Easter without any chocolate is a sin, I bought an Easter bunny in Caen. It was hollow and to my surprise, it had little chocolates inside! I have no idea why, but they were fish… maybe the chocolatier was using up old stock? haha here is what my bunny looked like and here are a few pictures I snagged off the internet to show you what the chocolate eggs look like in France!

That night we treated ourselves to dinner out at a place called “La Fringale.”  We ordered the “le menu” (they’re very common in France.  It’s the special consisting of an appetizer, a main course, and a desert for a special price) and each of us chose different things for each course.  Everything tasted amazing and was served in a seriously gourmet fashion.  None of us really knew what we were ordering but it all turned out to be very tasty. “Émincé de la volaille au sauce Roblochon” with a side of mashed potatoes was my main course:

The whole weekend was really very adventurous because the next afternoon I tried steak tartare. If I don’t try it in France, when the hell will I try it?! I mean, it’s gotta be good in the country that created it :) Anyway it rocked my socks off.  It was hilarious because the waitress (of course, in French) was like, “you know that it isn’t cooked right?” haha anyway it was yum.


I was only going to stay until Monday (the Monday after Easter is a holiday in France) and take the train back around 7pm, but I didn’t have class until 12:30 on Tuesday and we were having lots of fun together so I decided to take the train back early the next morning and I’m glad I did :)

The train I took back on Tuesday morning was superrrrr old school though haha. There was an aisle and then compartments on the train! It was like being in a time warp.  And the compartment I sat in had an interesting message on the window: “Abîmer.”  Abîmer means “to be damaged” which is pretty funny considering that it was scratched into the window. I enjoyed it anyway, although it may be the kind of thing only French speakers can appreciate :)

Tuesday morning was pretty chilly in Caen, but in Rennes it was absolutely gorgeous! After class a ton of my friends decided to head to “la Parc Thabor” to lie in the sun and celebrate being alive. We lounged, listened to music, played a Belgian game called “Kubb” (les filles contre les gars: ALLEZ les filles!!! woohoo!) and watched the other crazies in the park (although they were watching us so that technically makes us the crazies lol).

It was an excellent end to the long weekend! Now back to work! haha

BISOUS.

Spontaneous trip to Nantes…”The most BEAUTIFUL place on earth”

6 Mar

I feel like so much has been happening lately and I havent had a chance to blog about it and then it becomes old news and then you never hear about it!!! So I’m going to try NOT to bore you but catch you up to snuff:

Monday: First day back from break. Mondays are actually my favorite day of the week this semester because I really like the classes I have on those days :)  Vacation felt like it continued a little longer though because Emily and her roommate Kaysey were on break and so Emily went to visit her former host families in Grenoble for the weekend and on Monday night Kaysey came to Rennes!  I took her to English night at an Irish pub in Rennes called O’Connells.  English night is sometimes hit or miss but it ended up being really fun.  We met some really cool people & spoke a lot of French :D

Tuesday: We woke up and I briefly showed Kaysey around the city before going to class and then she did her own thing during the day, wandering around.  We got back together for a late lunch and then said goodbye because she was on her way to Nantes, via a carpooling social network (www.covoiturage.fr), where she was meeting up with Emily.

Wendesday: I went to class like usual on Wednesday and after my last class, I took a train to Nantes…I haven’t gotten up the courage to covoiturage yet.  The train took me to Redon, where I had to switch to a bus that took me the rest of the way to Nantes…I think I heard someone mention that there was some sort of construction on the line to Nantes, which was why we took a bus. Anyway it was very strange and made me feel like I was on my way to a cross country meet that was really far away. Haha anyway, I got to Nantes and met up with Emily & Kaysey as well as Pascal.  Pascal is the guy at whose place we couchsurfed. I feel like that was a strange sentence but I think you get the idea. They stayed there the night before and I just stayed there Wednesday night.  We walked around the city, saw some crazy shiz and got some food before going back to Pascals.

Pascal had a really big apartment and so there was plenty of room for all of us.  He invited us to go to a concert that he and some friends were going to that night and since we had nothing better to do, we agreed.  Good thing too, because we had an awesome time!! The opening band was Henry’s Funeral Shoe, followed by SSM, and then the headliner was Radio Moscow. We were checking out the merch in the back between sets and started talking to Brennig, the drummer for Henry’s Funeral Shoe, and he was really cool. Hanging out with him totally made my night.  Another thing that was pretty cool, is that I found out the band Radio Moscow is from IOWA. No joke. And it gets even better.  Guess where they are from in Iowa?! AMES.  actually Story City but apparently they associate with Ames because that’s what Brennig told me first before he remembered Story City.  I didn’t want to be a creeper after the show and hunt them down but isn’t that crazy?! I randomly ended up at a concert in Nantes where a band from my hometown(ish) was performing. Crazayy.

Thursday: Kaysey wanted to make a big American breakfast for Pascal because he had been so nice, and so she made pancakes, bacon, eggs, and potatoes. All delicious, but after just one pancake I could barely move…I was so full!! yummy though.  I missed my train (bus) back unfortunately, and so I had a few more hours with Emily and Kaysey in Nantes.  We wandered around and explored but the main thing we did was go to Le Lieu Unique.  If you’ve ever heard of Prince or Le petit écolier cookies, they are made by a brand called LU.  These initials come from Lieu Unique, which is the name of their old factory.  It was converted into a restaurant, cafe, librairie, boutique, hammam, and a space for “les spectacles et exhibitions.”  Anyway it was freakin awesome.

Le Lieu Unique

detail

I got the bus back to Rennes at 16:00 and on the way I tried to write a poem about the wild mistletoe that is infesting and killing the trees in Bretagne but didn’t get far.

How is this the only non-blurry photo from the whole night?!

That night was Rich’s birthday and he had an enormous party (I think about 100 ppl were there, which meant no one could move in the apartment lol).  It was really fun because there were so many different groups of people there. There were the English speakers, the Spanish and the French and probably some other more obscure languages represented as well but it was just a really fun time in general :)  Everyone left for town around 00:15 because the last metro runs at about 00:30.  This is where the night turned strange, but amusing :) We were all going to meet up at a club called L’espace, but we lost half the group and then found the other half right outside the club and apparently it was too expensive so we all sorta split up and went our separate ways.  I was with a new friend that I had made that night called Rob and we ended up meeting a whole bunch of French people in a park at which point my other friend also named Rob joined us and then we went to the first Rob’s house (which is freakin awesome btw. He lives in a real house right off the main drag in Rennes and lives with 9 French ppl. Jealous much? Yeah, me too.) to warm up before the other Rob and I walked home. Whew! crazy night haha but really fun :)  Sometimes the best experiences in France are when you just start talking to strangers.

Friday: I didn’t do too much on Friday (I don’t have any classes on Friday), but I met up with my friends Imogen, Maire and Barbara for lunch at this adorable tartine restaurant in the middle of town before shopping a little bit (no purchases for me though, shucks!). I saw a really cool pair of frames when Barbara went in to get some contact solution.  They’re a light tortoiseshell color and they’re pretty square shaped but the coolest thing about them is that on the inside of the frames, they’re a lavenderish, purple-y color, so when I turn my head you can see a little hint of it…I’m super tempted to get them :D

Saturday: Today I really haven’t done much but recover from such a long week.  I’ve been blogging a lot today and I’m hoping to meet up with some friends tonight. I’ve cleaned up my room a little bit, but I still have a little bit more to do, like usual ;)

I’ve been listening to Wet Sand by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Neutral Milk Hotel’s The King of Carrot Flowers Pt 1 repeatedly.  It’s that kind of day…chilly and dreary.  I’m sending out rays of love and sun to all of you! Bisous!

xxo

%d bloggers like this: