Saturday, January 30, 2010

I kinda like my new home :)


Well it's been a few days since my last post...
Thursday was Shannon's 21st birthday so there was lots of celebrating! The night before we put streamers and balloons on her door. That night Megan made bruschetta and chicken fettucini alfredo..it was delicious! While we were eating Katie, Kim, and Liza were decorating the kitchen on Katie's floor with streamers and balloons. We celebrated in the kitchen with a bunch of the exchange students before heading out to James Joyce. It was so much fun! There are about 25 students in the program that I'm in so we take all of the same classes...I think all but one went out for her birthday!
On Friday Shannon, and Kim and I went into town and walked around and did some shopping. I bought some chocolate from this amazing chocolate store...I keep telling myself I'm not going to buy any, but I can't help myself! :)
This morning when I woke up I opened up my window and saw snowflakes!! It was so exciting!! We all went to the market around 10am. It was huge! They sell everything from flowers, fruit and veggies, clothes, antiques, fish..the list could go on for awhile. I bought some delicious goat cheese, clementines, bananas, a 3 euro hair dryer (it works!) and a cute little thing of flowers to bring life to my cubicle!



We headed back to the dorms after the market to put our food away and then headed to the Chateau d'Angers. It was amazing! We were walking around the castle and it started snowing again! I don't think there's proof (fortunately) but I'm pretty sure I jumped with excitement haha When we walked around to the front of the castle it was bright and sunny which was very strange! It has been cold and foggy for awhile so the sun was definitely nice!


After the Chateau d'Angers we headed home to get ready for dinner. We went to a place in the center of town called Hippopotamus. It was a lot of fun! There were 14 of us total. This is Henna and Katja, two of the girls from Finland. They're really sweet! I had a really nice day and I'm glad we went to the market and to the Chateau d'Angers. It made me like and appreciate Angers a lot more!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Life in Angers...


Well I've been in Angers for almost a week...It's a little ridiculous the amount of paper work and errands we have to do to get settled in. I'll be happy when it's all done! Saturday night we went to a bar called K'lypso with pretty much the same group of people that went to the Irish Pub on Thursday. K'lypso was fun! They have a row of flavored syrups at the bar that they put in beer. It sounded so weird to me, so I had to try it! I got cherry flavoring in my beer (Kronenbourg) because I had heard it tasted good. It was actually really good! I was shocked! After the bar closed we all walked to a local park. The bartender from K'lypso and a couple other guys were playing guitar and singing. They played some American songs that everyone knew, so everyone was singing along. It was a lot of fun!

Monday was the first day of class. There are 5 girls from Finland, 2 girls from Sweden, 3 people from Indonesia, 3 people from Hong Kong, 1 from Hungary and a girl from Thailand. It was a lot of fun meeting everyone! I look forward to getting to know them better. My first class was Commercial Negotiation and my professor is German, it seems like it will be a very interesting class. I also had International Marketing. Although I'm usually interested in marketing, I'm not so sure that I'll love this class..we'll see! Today I had my French language class. The professor walked in and spoke French to us for the first 10 minutes. I'm so glad someone told me she was going to do that because I may have either wet my pants or cried! haha! I'm sure it will be a difficult class for me, but it will definitely help me while I'm here. After the French Language class I had Sports & Tourism. The professor seems pretty nice and I think I'll enjoy the class...I just wish she would add a lecture on the Gators :) Nothing else is new...just trying to get used to life in my cubicle haha :)

The 1st picture: some of the group before we headed to K'lypso.
The 2nd picture: on the bus...our main form of transportation in Angers
The 3rd picture: School...I take all of my classes in the far left building.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hello World!

Well it's been a few days since I've posted something...we left Paris Wednesday and I haven't had internet access in my dorm room until this evening! So Wednesday morning we left our cute little apartment in Paris and headed to the train station. Our train ride to Angers was about an hour and half..it wasn't too bad, but I was getting anxious about getting settled in my dorm. The reality of being in France for over 4 months hit me on the train. One of the study abroad professors for Universite d'Angers picked us up at the train station. He seems very nice! I think he will be teaching one or two of my classes. We got settled in our dorms and let me tell you! They are small! haha It reminds me of a cabin on a cruise! I can literally brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, and shower all at once! Don't worry I don't think I'll ever be doing that :) But I have a bed and my own bathroom so I can't complain! We met up with some other girls from UCF, a girl from Sweden, and a couple girls from Missouri to go on a tour of the campus. We are about a 20 minute bus ride from campus. We ended up being late so we missed the tour...oh well, it wasn't mandatory. We all went to a cafe and grabbed some food for dinner then headed back on the bus to go home. When we got back to the dorms some of us went to Shannon's room and watched Euro Trip because most of us had never seen it. I'm shocked that we were able to fit 8 people in a room...6 were squished together on the bed, and 2 on the floor!
Yesterday we met with the professor in charge of the hospitality study abroad program and he gave us some information and took us on a very short tour. We also opened accounts at a bank that is affiliated with Bank of America, some of the girls got phones for Europe, and we went grocery shopping. After we got back to the dorms we met up with some of the other exchange students. We went to an Irish Pub that some of the other students have been to before. We took the bus to the pub; there were probably 25 to 30 of us going! It was a lot of fun meeting everyone, they all seem very nice! It seems that the majority of exchange students are from the United States. I met people from Virginia, Louisiana, New York, and North Carolina. I also met a girl from Scotland, two girls from Sweden, and a girl from Argentina. The Irish Pub was a lot of fun! It was really crowded, there was a live band playing, and people were dancing on the bar...it reminded me of a scene from a movie! haha
Today we had a few things to do with school and the bank. We got our student id's and activated them and then we went back to the bank so they could make copies of our id's. We didn't have great timing running our errands because both places were closed for lunch. When we activated our id's at school we were able to login to the computers in the library. They have a different keyboard, so it was very interesting and awkward typing on it! We stopped at CarreFour on our way back home. It's very similar to a Sam's Club or Walmart. It is huge! When I got home tonight my internet was working!!! It was so exciting :) I'm going to try to get some sleep tonight. Tomorrow I think we're going in to town to do some shopping and actually walk around Angers and take pictures. We realized that we've been so busy running errands that we haven't been able to enjoy it! I know this post wasn't very exciting, but I promise to post pictures as soon as I take some in Angers :)
Nicole

p.s. Every website is in French and when I translate it to English my last name becomes Fleming...haha :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Until next time Paris...



Today we went to Montmartre, Which is a really high hill in Paris with an amazing view of the city. We walked right past the Moulin Rouge area to get to the top of the hill, I Considered applying for a job! just kidding! Montemartre was a really cute place with a lot of little shops. It was really cold, but the sun came out for a little bit Which was wonderful! We went inside the Sacre Coeur church Which is on top of the hill. It was really pretty! There was a guy playing a harp outside and there were also people dressed up in costumes with their faces painted begging for money (i do not know what they're called). After Montmartre we took the metro to the Eiffel Tower. The weather was nice so we Decided to climb to the top. You should not be too impressed though Because we took the elevator! haha! The line to get tickets for the elevator was about a mile long and the line to climb the stairs to the top had about 2 people in it! It was crazy seeing the inside of the Eiffel Tower.

There are a couple gift shops and a little place where you can buy food inside too. And in case anyone is wondering, the bathrooms in the Eiffel Tower are disgusting! After going to the top of the Eiffel Tower we went back to the Champs-Elysees. Cahal's friend Lucy told him about this really cool wine store so we Decided to check it out. We also grabbed some lunch at a cafe nearby. On the way home we stopped at Monoprix to get some food for dinner. We all ended up getting some type of fruit Because we were all craving it. Fruits and vegetables is lacking in our diet! On a side note: France has pink and orange toilet paper. The orange is scented Peach ... kinda gross! We came home pretty early Because we all needed to pack and get ready to head to Angers in the morning. The train ride is about an hour and a half from Paris to Angers. One of the professors at Angers is meeting us at the train station so he can show us the way to our dorms. I absolutely love Paris! I think tomorrow it will finally hit me that I'll be living here for 5 more months. It's crazy to think about ...

Monday, January 18, 2010

I'd like to thank Michele Ferrero, the creator of Nutella!

We (finally) stopped at a crepe station on our way to the Eiffel Tower and boat tour. I got a nutella and banana crepe...it was delicious!! It was really foggy outside and we couldn't even see the top of the Eiffel Tower so we decided not to climb to the top today. Hopefully the weather will be nice tomorrow so we can climb to the top! We took a boat tour which was really neat! We saw the Notre Dame from the water, along with museums and amazing buildings. It was freezing though!

We took a long walk to go to the Musee d'Orsay (an art museum), which we found out was not open on Mondays :( Oh well! One of the girls from UCF that is studying abroad, Shannon, lived in Paris for 3 years when she was little. We took the metro to her old neighborhood and saw her old apartment and the playground she used to play on with her brother. We went to this really cute cafe near her old neighborhood. I got a croissant and hot chocolate!! It was probably the BEST hot chocolate I've ever had! We went shopping afterwards...I got a few things from H&M (they have H&M's in the USA too) after a couple hours of shopping and walking we headed back to our apartment. We got dinner at a cafe right down the street from our apartment. I decided to be adventurous and get escargot. It was not the smartest decision I've ever made haha I'm glad I tried it, but I have no desire to order it again. It was a fun day! I think we're planning on making dinner in our apartment tomorrow night...it's our last night in Paris. We're heading to Angers on Wednesday morning...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm in love with Paris!


Bonjour! Yesterday the weather was gross! It was rainy, windy, and cold so we decided it was a good day to go to The Lourve! French students get in free, so I showed my passport and student visa and was able to get in free!! The Lourve is HUGE and amazing!! We spent 2-3 hours just in one section of the museum which included the Mona Lisa painting. We're definitely going back! We went to this cute little cafe for lunch and got panini's. After lunch we stopped at La Cure Gourmande, which was a really cute candy shop. We each bought some bon bons and then went shopping at Galeries LaFayette, which is 6 floors! The store was having a big sale, so there were way too many people. After a few hours of shopping we headed back to our apartment to cook dinner. We had a lovely family meal of chicken fettucini made by Cahal and Shannon. :)


Today we went to mass at The Notre Dame, it's gorgeous! We were able to walk around the church and take pictures of the beautiful architecture and stained glass. After mass we met up with Elizabeth who was an exchange student at UCF last year and her cousin Adelle; as well as Lucy who is a friend of Cahal's. We got un sandwich poulet(chicken) at a Boulanger Patissier and walked the streets of Paris. The weather was beautiful!! It was such a surreal experience! I still can't believe I'm going to be in France for five months! We walked to Champs-Elysees which is an avenue in Paris full of restaurants and shops. Elizabeth took us to Laduree because she said they had the best macaroons in Paris. It was such a cute place! We each got a macaroon to try and they were delicious! After Laduree we said au revoir to Elizabeth and headed to the Arc de Triomphe. It was so amazing! We walked to the very top of the Arc de Triomphe and saw an amazing view of the Paris skyline. We did a little shopping and window shopping at Champs-Elysees, said au revoir to Lucy and headed back to our apartment. There was a place called Buffalo Bills near our apartment which served American food, so we went there because some of the group wanted something more filling for dinner. I would have rather not spent 10 euros for a hamburger, but oh well! We ran out of toilet paper Saturday night, and nothing is open on Sunday so tomorrow we will definitely be heading to Monoprix (the local grocery store) to buy some toilet paper!! Tomorrow we're going to climb the Eiffel Tower during the day, and take a boat tour around Paris. I still haven't had a nutella crepe or a croissant so hopefully i'll check one of those off tomorrow!

Friday, January 15, 2010

First discovery of France: the three food groups are wine, cheese, and bread!

I finally made it to France! I flew from Orlando to Philadelphia with two girls from UCF, Katie and Megan. We met up with Shannon in Philly and the four of us flew to Paris together. It was about a 7 and half hour flight, but felt more like 24 hours ... it was miserable to say the least! When we got to Paris we met up with a guy named Cahal from Houston, TX who is doing the same Study Abroad program that we are. The five of us took a van from the airport to the apartment that we rented. When we got in the van, the song Replay-by Iyaz was playing in English so I didn 't feel like I was in France quite yet. We got to our cozy apartment ... Two small bedrooms, one bathroom for five of us! I really only felt bad for Cahal because he has to share a bathroom with four girls! After we all finished skyping/emailing our friends and family we took a walk around Paris to see what was near our apartment. The buildings are so pretty! We constantly look at each other and say "Oh my gosh we're in Paris!" It's such a crazy feeling. I had 'un sandwich fromage' (cheese and a Bagette) for lunch. We all realized we were in Paris because it took us awhile to communicate with the server ... and by "us" I mean Shannon and Cahal. My French is almost as good as my Chinese! After lunch we went to the grocery store to get food for breakfast. We went back to our apartment and enjoyed a complimentary bottle of wine that was left for us by the owner. We then took the metro and went to see the Eiffel Tower! It was absolutely beautiful! It did not look real! After admiring the Eiffel Tower and taking a million pictures we walked around and decided to eat at Cafe Brasserie. We shared a cheese plate and a charcuterie plate, and some more bread and wine! It has been a long, but fun day! Lots of cheese, bread, and wine! haha I'm not sure when it will hit me that I'll be here for 5 months...we're heading to The Louvre tomorrow!! I miss everyone!
Bonne nuite,
Nicole
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