FALL BREAK

Not that I needed a break from school but it was good to have a chance to catch my breath and just enjoy my city. I have been so focused on travelling Europe as much as possible since I’ve arrived I had pushed my beloved Strasbourg to the side. Fortunately, travel plans fell through and I spent my fall break here in Strasbourg, boy, am I glad I did.

Throughout my fall break I’ve had the opportunity to travel my city and enjoy several of the experiences it has to offer.

Last weekend, I went to a cupping event (mentioned in my last post), and I enjoyed an amazing concert in the evening at Le PréO for Leyla McCalla‘s last show here in Europe before her return to New Orleans. I was very much looking forward to a taste of back home and she did not disappoint with her beautiful vocals, and créole songs, plus, she killed it on the cello. Diana and I ventured out to Oberhausbergen together for the event and she was equally as impressed. It was a great evening and time well spent with my sweet flatmate!

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Monday I enjoyed costume shopping for Halloween, and we celebrated the much commercialized American holiday in spooky fashion and all got into the spirit of dressing up!

Tuesday, my French friend, Victor, who I was paired with through a buddy program at uni drove a group of our friends to Europa Park! This is the largest amusement park in Europe. I felt a little protective of Disney as several ideas, rides, and the design of the park seemed oddly familiar. However, if you have the chance I highly recommend. You even get to wait 90 minutes in line, just like in Disney!!

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Halloween night we hosted a party and as mentioned everyone showed up in spirit!

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Wednesday, Diana and I ventured out on another outing and despite a mild cold she still joined me on a boat tour through Strasbourg. It was great to hear about the history of the city, from Medieval times, to when it was under German occupation, to now. Afterwards, we enjoyed a wonderful cup of coffee from Coffee Stub Cafe before heading home.

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Thursday, I went ice-skating with my housemate Saito, we’ve become new friends! She’s from Osaka, Japan studying here to become a pâtissier (pastry chef).  There’s an ice-rink here in Strasbourg called, IceBerg, it’s very nice but somewhat out of the way (considering everything is 10-15 minutes distance and this was 30; I’m in for a rude awakening once I’m back home). Regardless of the travel time, it was great. The rink is 2 rinks connected together, and the music being played was electro; it brought me back to my time as a figure-skater at the HockeyPlex in Lafayette. Our visit was cut short due to a skate malfunction, however, I plan to go back!

 

Friday, Victor and I went hiking at Mont St.Odile. I enjoy being able to leave the city (and ride in a car), mostly because of the views I get to see of wide out open fields, it reminds me of home. I returned home still speaking French because I had exercised my brain so much throughout the day buy constantly maintaining our conversation in French. Once we reached the peak of our hike we had lunch at the Abbye and beat the cold on the way down. It ended up getting rather chilly as we were leaving.

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Finally, this weekend I plan to relax and hangout. Several of the roomies have fallen sick and being constantly on the go all week has me drained!

November is full of new plans, our next holiday to celebrate is Thanksgiving! I can’t wait to share this tradition with the “flat family”.

***Heater still not on……it was in the 30s the other day.

***We’ve been using our common room a lot more and the light is a sensor light so we constantly have to move around or flail our arms so we aren’t caught in the dark mid-conversation.

I couldn’t leave everyone thinking it’s been all peaches and cream, especially my ice-cold shower yesterday evening, that didn’t leave me too happy either.

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Les vacances n’étaient pas nécessaires, mais tout de même, c’était une bonne chance à faire une pause et m’amuser dans la ville. Depuis que je suis arrivé ici, j’étais tout concentre de voyager l’Europe ; j’avais oublié mon cher Strasbourg. Heureusement, mes plans de voyages pendant ces vacances ne se sont pas réalisés donc j’ai passé mes vacances ici et je suis content de ça.

Pendant ces vacances j’ai eu la possibilité de découvrir ma ville et de profiter de tout ce qu’elle a à offrir.

Ce weekend dernier, je suis allé à un évènement de cupping (mentionné dans mon dernier post), et je me suis bien amusée à un concert incroyable au PréO pour le dernier spectacle de Leyla McCalla en Europe avant son retour à la Nouvelle-Orléans.

J’étais excitée à l’avance de retrouver un bout de chez moi ici, et je dois dire que sa voie et son inspiration créoles ne m’ont pas déçues. De plus, elle était incroyable au violoncelle. Diana et moi, nous sommes aventurées à Oberhausbergen pour le spectacle et elle était également impressionnée. C’était un beau soir et avec ma chère coloc on s’est bien amusé.

Lundi, j’ai passé un bon moment en faisant du shopping pour mon costume d’Halloween. On a célébré la très commerciale fête américaine comme il se doit : tous déguisaient et terrifiants.

Mardi, mon ami français, Victor, avec qui m’a été assigné comme buddy par le programme de mon université, nous a emmené en voiture à Europa Park ! C’est le plus grand parc de manège en Europe ! J’étais un peu sceptique et sur la défensive parce qu’on aurait dit une copie de Disney. Bref, tout cela était un peu trop familier. Néanmoins, si t’as l’opportunité d’y aller je le recommande fortement. Tu peux même attendre les 90 minutes de queue, comme ‘à Disney !

Le soir d’Halloween on a organisé une fête et comme j’ai déjà mentionné tout le monde est arrivé dans l’esprit de la fête.

Mercredi, Diana et moi sommes sorties encore une fois pour aller faire un tour de Strasbourg en bateau, même qu’elle avait un petit rhume.

C’était bien d’écouter l’histoire de la ville, des temps médiévaux, à l’occupation allemande, jusqu’à aujourd’hui. Après, on a dégusté une merveilleuse tasse de café de Coffee Stub avant de retourner chez nous.

Jeudi, je suis allée faire du patinage avec ma coloc Saito, nous sommes devenues des nouvelles amies ! Elle est de Osaka, Japon faisant d’études ici pour devenir pâtissière. Il y a une patinoire ici à Strasbourg qui s’appelle IceBerg, c’est très sympa, mais un peu loin (considérant que tout ici et dans une distance entre 10 et 15 minutes et cela était à 30 ; un réveil difficile m’attend à mon retour au pays !). Même avec le temps de voyage, c’était bien. La patinoire est deux patinoires conjoint et la musique était Electro ; ça me rappelle au temps quand je faisais du patinage artistique au HockeyPlex à Lafayette. Notre visite était rendue un peu courte à cause d’un patin défectueux, même, je compte bien y retourner.

Vendredi, Victor et moi avons fait une randonnée au Mont St. Odile. J’aime bien avoir l’occasion de quitter la ville (et faire une balade en voiture), surtout pour les paysages de champs à perte de vue, ça me rappelle chez moi. Je suis retournée à la maison en parlant français parce que avais dû faire un effort pour tenir la conversation en français toute la journée. Quand nous sommes arrivés au sommet on a fait une pause pour manger le soir à l’abbaye et pendant la descente on a pressé le pas pour devancer le froid qui commençait déjà à frapper et durement à notre départ.

Finalement, ce weekend, je compte seulement me reposer. Mes deux colocs sont tombées malades et d’être constamment en train de faire quelque chose m’a fatigué.

Novembre est plein de nouveaux projets, notre prochaine fête a célébré c’est Thanksgiving. J’ai hâte de partager cette tradition avec ma petite famille colocataire.

****Le chauffage encore ne marche pas…il faisait 7 degrés l’autre jour

****On commence à utiliser notre salle commune de plus en plus où la lumière marche par détection de mouvement. On devient fou chaque fois nous sommes dans le milieu d’une conversation y qu’elle s’éteint, il faut agiter les bras jusqu’à ce qu’elle se rallume.

Je ne pouvais pas vous laisser pensez que tout était parfait… spécialement ma douche hier soir à l’eau glaciale, ça ne m’a pas rendue très jouasse.

 

Food Brings People Together

So the past week and a half has been quite eventful! I’m not sure if I had mentioned this but our new flatmate from Portugal arrived! Her name is Diana, she is from Portugal and came to Strasbourg to work at the Portuguese Consulate (She even has a special passport, so it’s legit).

As I had mentioned in my last post being a tourist in your own city often gets overlooked, however, Diana and I made the trip to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame here in Strasbourg. It’s huge…. 332 steps later and here was the view.

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We gazed out on to our city from the top and since she speaks Portuguese we discussed our languages as well as cultural differences. Diana loves to talk about people’s point of view and is always asking me about Louisiana and the South because of the many stereotypes and assumptions of the people and mindset. In this conversation I told her pretty much the only thing I know about Portugal is that it’s where Christopher Columbus was from. It then dawned on me if he was Portuguese that could not possibly be his name, so ladies and gents after investigating I would like to inform you all the man’s name is actually……

Cristóvão de Colombo

that ending is pronounced like “oww”

Later in the week, Tatiana cooked some Russian soup for us called, Borscht. It was red because it’s made with beets, it was a pretty interesting dish. We ate it with egg cucumber, carrot, fresh cream, and parsley.

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***this is just to show what it looked like, this picture isn’t mine. 

I love how diverse our apartment is, and anytime I mention to the people who I live with they’re always super intrigued and asking how I got this arrangement. Despite all of the inconveniences with Marie-Anne (our landlord), it’s turned out to be an awesome house to live in!

During class this week, we had a meeting for the study abroad fair we will be presenting our universities at and Abi and I met this guy names Alex there from California. He’s French and Mexican. He came to study here for a semester to get more in touch with his French culture considering his grandparents and mother’s side of his family lives here and he’s never had a chance to experience that.

*I thought I had it hard with Damian being far away, but our situation is temporary….his girlfriend lives in Marseille!*

He said he wanted to visit Louisiana more than any of the other states because of it’s heritage and so he passed the friendship test…@Abi usually dogs Louisiana so she’s constantly losing brownie points.

Alex mentioned that there was a bus going to Oktoberfest that evening and so spur of the moment I bought a ticket and at 1:00am I was on the bus with other ERASMUS students about to experience Oktoberfest in Munich,Germany!

Oktoberfest was fun, though in all honestly (and I’m sorry for any German friend who may read this) Louisiana does it better.

When we got to Munich it was 6:45…..there were people standing in line to get in to the festival already drinking beers, dressed in Lederhosen. They take their traditional costume seriously. After dismounting from the bus, more festival-goers began to arrive and it became a sea of dresses, cleavage, leather shorts, and high socks.

The security took their jobs very seriously and it was actually quite terrifying to hear people screaming at you in German…..it is a very angry language, and it didn’t help that he was actually angry.

In line I became friends with some Australian guys who were part of our group; Tom and Myles. We stuck together with Alex the whole day. So, Come 9am we got to enter and the way Oktoberfest works is that you don’t walk around with beer on the grounds. There are about 10 tents and you have to be seated at a table in order to be served which is why people arrive so early. Well, when they unleashed the crowd it was a free for all and everyone just started running to get a spot.

Schützen-Festzelt is the tent we went to; it’s the very first one and one of the most popular because of the younger crowd.

At 10am all of the waiters and waitresses began bringing beers to the table. They carry out maybe 10 at a time and whoever wants one pays for it and the table slides it down. This continues throughout the day and they just keep it coming. Each mug is a liter of beer. (almost 3 – 12 oz. bottles)

Traditional German music plays in the tents and everyone stands on the tables to dance and sing along.

Lastly, for those of you who know me, let me just say the bathroom line was outrageous and there were some close ones. Considering how many people go, at Mardi Gras they have port-o-potties. Here, it was actual bathrooms with a janitor on staff cleaning throughout the day. It was similar to a conveyor belt and they shuffled us in and directed us to which stalls were open to keep the line moving.

Outside of the tents the grounds are set up like a state fair and they have rides.

At some point my phone screen was cracked. I had it in my jacket pocket to prevent it from getting lost, and I didn’t end up losing it but amidst all the commotion and me taking my jacket off it got cracked, and lucky me it was the 2nd screen….the one that makes the phone actually work.

So despite it being a great experience Oktoberfest turned out to be quite expensive.

The beer is 11 euros + tip, and burgers and pretzels are 4-8 euros

Phone Replacement – 139 euros.

Regardless, I don’t regret going, Oktoberfest is one of the biggest festivals in the world. However, I can say no one does it better than Mardi Gras in South Louisiana. Germans would have a field day at an LSU tailgate.

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On Sunday to finish the weekend my housemates and I all went to Parc d’Orangerie and had a picnic. Abi made snickerdoodles and I made chicken pasta. We played heads up and got plenty of looks but were enjoying ourselves. Also, the weather was absolutely beautiful, we couldn’t have had a better end to the weekend!

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This week Tatiana had a friend from Russia come, we had a little wine and cheese night and we had caviar……I dont understand the hype, it’s extremely fishy.

Yesterday, I cooked Gumbo and we had dinner with our housemates, and a few other friends. It was a hit and everyone loved it! I don’t think it lived up to my standards but for my first time it was okay! The weather has been getting colder so it’s perfect for some gumbo for the rest of the week!

**I’ve turned everyone into spice lovers because I always bring my tony’s and Louisiana hot sauce….they’ve even started asking for it!

Also, speaking of cooking let me just say how difficult it is when everything is in the metric system. A must if you like to cook is “normal” measuring cups from back home!

Anytime someone tells me the temperature in celsius, no idea, any time someone tells me how many ml…no idea, grams, no clue.

Finally, I brought the PB&J to Europe… it’s not a very common snack here so after a few too many beers for my friends yesterday at our dinner, I made them a PB&J and it was declared the best thing ever.

My laughable moment of the past 10 days was when I was coming home and it was getting dark, I couldn’t remember how to turn my bike light on (I’m pretty sure a piece was stolen). I stopped and sat there fumbling with it and then proceeded to flip it upside down to figure it out on the sidewalk and then decided to just peddle fast to get home before it was too dark. People walking past were quite perplexed why I was fumbling with my bike.

In all, loving my time here and all the new friends I’ve made, and all the meals we share!

 

 

 

 

Je Parle Anglais en France.

Depuis mon enfance, j’ai étudié la langue française.

Je parle français grâce à l’héritage Cajun dans ma région et à l’immersion française dans la ville de Cecilia. C’est un honneur et je suis fière de cette compétence. Cette année je suis venue à Strasbourg en France pour étudier le commerce à l’EM Strasbourg. Je serai ici jusqu’en avril. C’est un rêve d’être ici car je suis fière de pouvoir parler français et maintenant que je suis en France, c’est incroyable.

J’étais motivée de faire une publication en français  parce que je n’ai pas l’occasion de parler français avec mes camarades étrangers qui parlent anglais.

Quand je me suis rendue compte que toutes les personnes autour de moi me parlaient anglais, j’étais un peu déçue. Cependant, il y a toujours des occasions pour moi de parler français par exemple dans les banques, la rue, quand je me déplace, quand je fais mes achats et quand je commande au restaurant.

C’est pour cela que je vais essayer de commencer a écrire des publications en français pour pratiquer et j’espère, améliorer ma grammaire. Mon objectif est d’écrire français pendant toute l’année. Je vais essayer de traduire toutes mes publications.

Après le commencement de mon cours de français, j’espère avoir plus de connaissances qui peuvent parler français.

***Mise à jour: Depuis le début de cette publication j’ai commencé mon cours de français. C’est intéressant parce que je note toujours les mêmes choses. Ma capacité d’écrire en français est moins bonne que celle de parler. J’ai eu une conversation avec Diana (ma coloc du Portugal) hier soir et elle était étonne que mes cours a l’école en français ne se focalisaient pas sur la grammaire. Je l’ai explique que mes cours étaient en français mais je n’ai jamais suivi un cours formel de grammaire française jusqu’a l’université. Elle a dit que pour la plupart des cours des langues étrangères, ils enseignent d’abord  la grammaire puis l’expression orale. Pour moi, c’était le contraire.

***Hier soir, Diana et moi sommes montées jusqu’au sommet de la Cathédrale de Notre Dame à Strasbourg! C’était trop beau!

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C’est un peu frustrant d’être venue en France et de parler seulement en anglais. En même temps je sais que c’est à moi de faire l’effort de parler en français.

Au sujet des Cajuns, j’étais un peu étonnée du nombre important de personnes qui les connaissent. J’ai montré la vidéo sur ma page d’accueil et honnêtement ce n’était pas la réaction que j’aurais prévue. Peut-etre c’est parce que j’aime la Louisiane donc pour moi c’est le top, mais mes colocs m’ont dit que c’est du français paysans (@virgil) (vieux français selon @Sarah) et ils se sont moqués du français cajun. C’était pas pour être méchant. Sarah m’a dit qu’elle ne savait pas qu’il y avait une communauté qui parle français aux États-Unis. Après qu’elle a vu la vidéo elle a même dit que c’est incroyable et que cela était le vrai français (@Virgil) (il n’a pas évolué depuis que les Cajuns ont immigré).

Je vais faire mon exposé dans mon cours de culture et civilisation sur les Cajuns dans la Louisiane. Je pense que je vais comparer les cultures et montrer les choses qu’on a gardées, et celles qui ont changées!

J’aime le français et la culture enracinée en Louisiane ainsi que son influence sur ma vie.

**Collaboration: Sarah Damoun**

This Little Piggy Went to the Market

This morning I woke up and got dressed to go to the Saturday market. It was exactly like in the movies. People rode up on their bicycles. There were people with their kids. There were old people and young people. There was a whole block sectioned off and loads of booths with competitive prices selling all a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, jam, meat, and other goods.

I bought 2 onions, 2 green peppers, a whole stalk of celery, a head of garlic, and a bundle of parsley for 3 euros (equivalent to about $3.60).

 

market 1After returning from the market, I went to my appointment to purchase my bike. I have yet to buy my basket, but that will be soon. Everyone’s bike has a basket here.

It isn’t to look cute either.   People have them on the front and back of their bikes, and you’ll often see them with bags of groceries in both baskets along with a backpack.

I had my little GPS in my pocket, and she talked to me on the way home. It rained a little which wasn’t all that pleasant.  There was no torrential downpour, so I managed to get home mostly dry.

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My housemates and I then all went to Kehl, Germany to go “real” grocery shopping. Germany really is a lot cheaper than France, and they have huge grocery stores with lots of options. I was soooooo happy to see Tabasco on the shelf.

In addition, it’s very common to make drinks with “sirop”, comparable to grenadine. There are different flavors, and you simply add water. You can purchase this at restaurants and bars. I purchased maracuja (passion fruit) flavor; this is my favorite juice in Honduras.

We also ate at the food court in the mall, it was the most familiar thing to home we’ve done. It was a Chinese buffet; we got fountain drinks. It was quite amusing to find out, after hearing of the stereotype, that it’s true: There are no refills, and no iced drinks in France. Abi went and asked the cashier if we could get more, and she looked at us very strange.

Last night when I got home I cooked some red beans and rice! I got this German sausage from the deli with Cayenne Pfeffer (pepper), and it was delicious!!!

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I brought some to Francesca and Sarah. They’ll critique it this evening; home-cooking is always good the day after!

This morning (Sunday), Marie Anne came to do Tatiana’s contract and she tried some Tony Chachere’s because I was eating lunch.

She exclaimed that I need to throw it away because it has way too much salt and is super bad for you.

Her reaction was quite entertaining.

Overall, it’s been a very lazy Sunday. Tomorrow Abi and I begin our orientation week at school.

This evening we plan to go to the church to see the light show. It was explained that they do something similar to in Disney World when they project the lights on Cinderella’s castle.

Fun Fact: Sarah and Francesca have both studied in England, according to them the peace sign in England is like flipping the bird.

The Reason: In the Middle Ages when sword fights were a common practice, knights would throw up “peace signs” or 2 fingers to taunt their opponents to show they hadn’t cut any of their fingers off. There is also another origin often referred to,

In a survey of gestures in Europe in the 1970s, Desmond Morris and his team found that this gesture was almost exclusively found in the British Isles. It is also used in Australia and New Zealand. Folktales of its origins abound, the most popular being that when the English bested the French in The Hundred Years War with their fancy high-tech longbows, the V hand shape of the archers lining up their arrows became a battle gesture. There is no evidence to support this story, and quite a lot of evidence to contradict it, although that doesn’t stop the story being told (Lauren Gawne).

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