Tuesday, September 29, 2009

hello, beautiful

I wish weekends were longer. I spent this last one in Biarritz, a beach town in Pays-Basque, the southern part of France, 30 km from Spain-it was absolutely breathtaking! I went with three girlfriends from my program on Saturday morning on the TGV (the train system here) and arrived just early afternoon. We were welcomed with gorgeous weather and a breeze that could soothe anyone. Our hotel was not far from downtown, and the only reason why I mention our hotel is because it was fully equipped with bunk beds! For some odd reason, this made me very excited to see this! After a much needed nap (says the girl with mono), we went out for our night on the town. We ate at a respected fish restaurant located on a cliff of sorts near the ocean, and then made our way to a lounge and a night club. We danced and pranced and I loved every second. On Sunday, we went into the downtown again where an outdoor street market was happening-it was extremely precious! I can't find a better word for it. Vendors everywhere selling everything from 1 euro towels to 160 euro stilettos. Then-to the beach! We explored the steps and bridges and rocks which make Biarritz so unique. There is a viewpoint where you can look through a gap in the rock and see Biarritz's lighthouse, buildings, and beach. I had to take a moment away from all of the girls to take it all in. Being in such a beautiful place helped me strip away all of the stress and worries I have been carrying and feel tranquility. I felt at peace at that moment, a peace that I carry with me now, thanks to Biarritz. I would like to go back someday, and bring my loved ones with me to share this place with them! Also, this place almost looks fake, I need to reassure you all-it is real!
Love to everyone,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

An update is way past due:
I now sit on my red comforter in my Bordelais apartment on the third floor, about to get myself a cup of tea. It is fairly warm out, but I can tell it is slowly getting cooler. I live across from the center of Bordeaux, on the other side of the Gironde-the river that runs through Bordeaux. It is absolutely beautiful, I walk along the river (in a park) every morning to catch the tram for school. I am about a 45 minute tram ride to my university, which is normal for most students. I don't mind, the ride gives me time to think and listen to good music.
I live with a single mother named Stephanie, and her five year old daughter, Malia (pictured below). I absolutely love them, they have been nothing but welcoming and patient with me. I learn a lot from Malia everyday, I know all the names of the Disney classics in French! ...blange neige, cendrillon (you guess!). It is wonderful. So amazing to be out of the dorms, which I had to stay in for almost three weeks! I actually feel like I have a home.
This past weekend was "Les journees europeens du patrimoine", which is a two day celebration of France's heritage and culture. So, most churches, museums, chateaux, etc were free and open to the public. I went with Stephanie and Malia to the Botanical Garden, which is very close to our house, to see an Orchid exhibit! In french, they are called "les orchidees". They were breathtaking! I want to live in a room with just orchids! It was a wonderland of shapes and colors!
Now, it is time for me to start my homework, but I hope I gave you a glimpse of my new chapter here in Bordeaux!
Bisous (kissess), Kelsey

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hello World!

I finally have internet and the time to write! I am here, in France, in beautiful Bordeaux!

I am sitting in the DEFLE, the building where international students take their classes. A lot has happened in the past two weeks or so. With my family, I have walked the streets of Paris, climbed the Eiffel Tower, explored a fraction of the Louvre, and eaten at many delicious restaurants. Since I have arrived in Bordeaux, a lot of my time has been dedicated to touring the city. With my program, we went to the Dune du Pyla, the highest sand dune in all of Europe! It was fascinating. On the one side of the dune was a canopy of trees, and on the other, the Atlantic Ocean. We climbed up the mountain of sand and then took a nap at the top. Instead of taking the stairs down, we all raced down the side of the dune, loosing control of our speed and our laughter. It was such a euphoric feeling!

Yesterday, we took our second excursion to the Chateau de Raymond LaFond, a famous winery. We got a tour of the property (all in French, of course), and tasted the expensive desert wine. C'etais delicieux!

The city of Bordeaux is absolutely beautiful. It is such a different feeling to live in a town with such a history-the churches, buildings, monuments all blow my mind!

It feels great to finally be here. Of course, I already miss everyone at home and think about you all constantly, but am ready to begin my adventure!