24 April 2011

Party in the USA!

On the plane and heading home (well, this is a scheduled post- so let's hope it all works out!)

23 April 2011

No, Je ne regrette rien

This is an experience I had to try and an opportunity I had to take, otherwise always wondering 'what if?' I'm so thankful for everyone I've met along the way, and there are many that I will hold close to my heart.

Edith does it best:

03 April 2011

21 days!

Three more weeks until I'm home and I cannot wait! I'm certainly going to miss lemon tarts and some other french yummies, but I think I'm willing to trade them all for a freezer, friends, and the sun.

Counting down the days....

02 April 2011

Why I'm glad that I'm not moving to NYC

I don't feel the need for concrete jungle, expensive, dorm rooms. I'll take the sun and space instead.

24 March 2011

Should/ Shouldn't

Things I should be doing:

Getting some rest to get over this cough/chest congestion Anthony gave me while writing some blog updates
Going to read a French book in the park since it's actually nice out and I could do with some Vitamin D

Things I will do:

Teach class
Run errands
Head to Saint Lo for dinner with another assistant

20 March 2011

Finally an update!

Hello all,
Sorry for the extreme lack of updates in the past 6 weeks. There was a combination of reasons why no posts went up during this time. First of all, there was actually a lot going on for once! Between February 6 and now, March 20th my parents have visited, I visited Lydia (another assistant) in Carentan and we spent the night in Cherbourg, I went back to the States to Austin for a week, came back to France and visited Orrin in St. Etienne and just this past week Anthony has been here visiting and just a little while ago I said goodbye to him as he got on the bus to the airport. Besides everything going on, February was a pretty rough month for me. I've meet some fantastic people in France (like Lydia and Michelle, both American assistants in other towns) but their distance means we don't get to hang out very often. Solitary life has been a really large change for me, especially coming from college life where I had a huge network of friends and support systems. While I still keep in touch with people from Kzoo, emails and skype are not the same as getting to swing by each others' houses and make attaya, or sit outside the library in the sunshine, chatting with everyone who walks by.
The grey skies of Normandy and chilly weather don't really improve feelings of loneliness. It's fun to have people visiting here on vacation, and I'm SO grateful that I've gotten the chance to share Coutances/ Normandy/ France with others, but it's also not my regular life. Anthony might have seen it best, as he stayed with me in my dorm, but I don't usually visit Mont Saint Michel every other week, or get to go sightseeing. (That being said all those things are fun to do and lift my mood so I'm cramming as much of that kind of stuff as I can into the next few weeks).
Meike (the German assistant in Coutances) left on Saturday. That was always here departure date, but it seemed so far away before. While we weren't super close, we got along well and we had movie nights almost every week. It was nice to have someone in town to meet up with for coffee, or to talk about students. Her departure has marked the beginning of the countdown towards the end. There's only five more weeks until I leave (!) which alternates between seeming like it's sooooooooooooo far away and “omg, I'm leaving and need to start packing.”
The weather is slowly improving in Coutances, at the very least with the sun coming up before my classes, and lasting past the end of the day as well. It's still a bit chilly, but it's Normandy so I don't expect much. I'm doing a better job of reaching out to other assistants to hang out, especially so I'm not stuck in my dorm on the weekends with nothing to do (not that I've been to swim team in about 6 weeks, but I've decided to stop going on Saturdays so that way I can do more weekend visits).
Things are looking up here, and I don't know if it's because I'm reaching out more, or just because I see the light at the end of the tunnel. In any case, things are improving here.

If you've made it through that messy mass of text below are the updates for my visit to Carentan/ Cherbourg, my trip back to the USA, seeing Orrin in St. Etienne and Anthony's visit to France.

Anthony's Visit (Update Mini Series 5/5)

Anthony got a rather rushed intro to Paris as his bus from the airport didn't arrive until just 20 minutes before our train to Coutances left. We could have taken a later one, but I had no desire to hang around Gare St Lazare for 2-3 hours. I pulled Anthony off the bus and him on an Amazing Race style sprint to the train station. We arrived into the station 7 minutes before out train was to leave, I bought tickets 4 minutes before and we got on the train 2 minutes before. A little hectic but we made it all the same.

We were both exhausted arriving in Coutances, so we took a small tour of town and made a trip to the grocery store, but that was about it. Then again, it's Coutances, so there's not that much more to do anyway. On Saturday we took a better walk around the town, and I showed him the plant garden, the Cathedral, he sadly the missed the aqueducts (lame), but I think got a pretty good idea overall. I also headed out and finally bought an air mattress, because tow people in a twin bed does not make for a happy week. We had been hoping to go to either Bayeux or Mont St Michel, but the train and bus schedules were messed up because of school vacations and work on the train line between Avranches and Rennes.

On Sunday Lisa from choir hosted a lovely dinner at her house. Felicity and Richard (the British couple) picked us up from the school where we then had dinner with them and Lisa, her French husband Claude, and her son. We had raclette for dinner which was amazing (yummy, gooey melted cheese over potatoes and thin sliced meat- delicious).
Anthony held up well, despite some jetlag and having a slight cold.

Monday I headed off to classes while Anthony went to a lunch with Lisa and some other native English speakers. The lunch was for women who work in tourism in some capacity, and a chance for them to work on their English in a more natural setting. Lisa reported back that he did a fantastic job. 

Tuesday I had classes but I sent Anthony to Bayeux with enough instructions that he could go see the tapestry and the American Cemetery by himself. He made it there and back in one piece, which impressed me to no end.

Wednesday we headed to Mont St Michel. Due to the train work that was going on we had a long day ahead of us. We took a train leaving at 8:30am and we didn't get back until 7:30pm. Despite the long day, we made good use of the time. And by that I mean that I made Anthony take 20,000 photos and we sat in a cafe for 2 hours in Pontorson. I had a really good time and it was fun getting to show Anthony a real tourist attraction of Normandy (and make Coutances seem less lame).

Thursday evening we headed into Paris after my last class, however we didn't arrive until 9pm. We swung by a grocery store and headed to the hotel, blocking out the sound of the drunk Irish in the hotel celebrating St. Patty's day.

Friday I had Anthony going. It was his first trip to Paris so I was determined that he see all the attractions. The day started by walking over to the Centre Pompidou to check out the architecture, then over to Notre Dame where we went up to the balcony that is on the front. From there we went to the Louvre where we skipped the line and went in with the museum pass we bought him (so worth it 35 euros for all the museums for 2 days). From there we went to Sacre Coeur of general and "Amelie" fame. It started to rain so we headed back to the hotel. We were also pretty tired from walking all around the Louvre (I hope there is never a fire in there because I don't think we would get out in time).

Look at that gargoyle contemplating the city (Eiffel tower on the left!)

Outside the Louvre

Nike- Winged Victory of Samothrace

Booty booty booty rockin' everywhere! (Venus de Milo- as Anthony put it
 "I'm just so tired of looking at sculptures with arms!)

At Sacre Coeur looking out over the city
Saturday we went to the Eiffel Tower walking from up behind it aways all the way through the Champs de Mars and to the Ecole Militaire. Anthony is a museum lover, and Musee d'Orsay is one of the few places that doesn't give me museum fatigue within the first 5 minutes. And it's heated! Lucky for us, between our two passes we were in with no additional cost, and no lines to wait on. It had a lot of the pieces Anthony was expecting to see in the Louvre, so I'm glad we hadn't skipped it. Afterward, we grabbed some lunch and then walked up the Champs d'Elysee, staring at the crowds and the expensive stores (but also the more familiar like H&M). Along the way we picked up some of Anthony's favorites- macaroons.  We walked all the way up to the Arc de Triomphe and decided that our feet had enough for the day and it wasn't necessary to head up into the top.

My favorite photo I think
All that walking had taken a while so we went back to the hotel. For dinner that night we didn't feel like going far, so we actually ended up at a pizza/italian place nearby. The pizzas were good but the desserts were amazing. We shared a bowl of fresh strawberries and piles of whipped cream and a chocolate cake thing with more chocolate on top.

The next morning I dropped off Anthony at Roissybus, trying to remember that the end was almost near and not to be upset. I grabbed Starbucks outside of Gare St Lazare (soy chai latte- yummy) and sat down for a boring train ride. I looked through the many many photos we had taken thinking about all the fun- and all the fun in the SUN that we will have in Austin.

10 March 2011

At Orrin's in Saint Etienne (Update Mini Series 4/5)

For those of you who somehow don't know about Orrin, Orrin and I met while we were both on study abroad in Dakar. We hit it off right away and he is a friend that I keep very close to my heart, despite the ocean that is usually between us. Almost exactly two years after saying goodbye to Orrin as Alejandra, Dan, Thomas, Steve headed to the airport, I was on a train headed to him.
Orrin is basically doing the same program as me, but in St. Etienne (a bit south of Lyon). He has his own flat, an even an extra mattress so it was an easy visit. There's many wonderful assistants in St. Etienne, though I didn't get to meet all of Orrin's friends since it was the holidays and some were gone. Most days were spent sleeping, starting with a pizza delivery to Orrin's ground floor apartment window, a café with friends, dinner, drinks long into the night, mexican s'mores with the tortillas I brought back from Texas (tortillas, chocolate chips, peanut butter and marshmellow or fluff- a Glen Spey favorite). From the four day drunken revelry I somehow managed to make may 6am train to Paris to meet Anthony.

05 March 2011

Tehhhxaaaaaas (Update Mini Series Part 3/5)

While I wasn't planning to return to the States at all during my time in France and interview brought me back. I had applied to a program called “Texas Teaching Fellows” (TTF) which is an alternative teaching certification program. In their application process, they have a longer than average interview process. It seemed quite daunting at the outset, but turned out to be well run and reasonable. The interview consists of a 5 minute sample teaching session, a writing segment, a mock faculty meeting discussing current education issues and an individual interview. Given all these components, a skype or phone interview is not possible. So back to the land of large ice filled sodas I went. After some worrying delays and route changes, I ended up with a layover in Newark airport, waiting for my flight to Austin. It took quite a lot for me not to sneak out of the airport to the train and just show up in kitchen at home. I decided that may complicate things a but seeing as I was not ticketed through Newark on the return, and I had an interview in Austin in less than 16 hours.
Anthony picked me up from the Austin airport, and after a trip to Wal-Mart to get toiletries (Everyone who is returning fro abroad should go to Wal-Mart as their first thing back in the States because it is such a hearty “YOU'RE IN AMERICA”) and it was early to sleep.
The interview started around nine, though I got there earlier, and lasted until about 2pm. There were some breaks and a Q & A session in there though, so it wasn't excruciating, though by the end I was starting to fade due to jet leg. I didn't feel like it went the best, but apparently it did, because I week later I found out I had been accepted into the program! I'll be starting the “summer institute” on June 7ish, going through the end of July, and hopefully in a classroom in early August.
The rest of my time in Austin was nice and restful, full of English books, movies, tacos and ice cream. Leaving Austin wasn't too difficult because I was headed to see Orrin and only 5 days later, Anthony would arrive in France!

19 February 2011

Carentan/ Cherbourg (Update mini series 2/5)

I met Lydia at the Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Michelle in Ouistreham and really clicked with her. She's got a great sense of humor, an even better knowledge of WW2 and is tons of fun. She was also part of the group that came to Coutances and out to Mont Saint Michel. It had been a while since we had seen each other, and since she was always challenging that Carentan is even smaller than Coutances, I had to go check it out for myself.

Turns out she really wasn't lying. It's not a bad city to be in, but it is small like Coutances. There is a beautiful like harbor/quai which is connected to canals leading out to the ocean. There's a park area around it, and the grass, trees and sailboats bobbing in the water make for a pretty site. She showed me the collège where she works and lives and also the lycée. The courtyard area actually has palm trees in it! It's a surprising site, but Normandy winters are usually mild enough that the palms can handle it.

After a pizza lunch and a tour of the town, we took a train to Cherbourg, only about 30 minutes away, to visit other assistants up there. Cherbourg is a pretty big city, important because of it's large harbor (the titanic actually stopped there) , which means a fair amount of Brits also come over easily to visit and there's quite a large number of shops and so on.

A number of the assistants live in a high school flat, with great accommodations like.... an extra bed and couch! As my travel continues my standards for what is required for a sleeping surface have degraded to “some floor space only slightly smaller than my body... or a chair” so a bed or couch seems pretty lush! In any case, my acquaintances Josh and James, Lydia and I headed to a cafe. The rest of the day/ evening/ wee hours of the morning were spent drinking one substance or another. We went from café, to bar, to another bar where a Couch Surfing meet up was being held, to night club, to kebab place and home. We didn't get in until around 4am, and all went to sleep fairly quickly after that. The next day Lydia and I were able to take the same train to our respective homes. James was a gentleman and walked us to the train station to wait, preceded by a trip to McDo for hangover fries, burgers and sodas. It was a really fantastic weekend and I have plans to visit again, well rested and ready to go out!

06 February 2011

Parents Visit (Update Mini Series 1/5)

Update coming..

(31 March 2011) Sorry this updates comes nearly two months after my parents visited (!) Here's the down and dirty version, mostly told in pictures because it's easier.

Don't worry though, they got in lots of delicious food, pastries, breads, wines and a personalized tour of Normandy from yours truly (don't let them know I take everyone to the same places ;)

On Saturday with their late arrival into Coutances I cooked them (bought prepackaged) crepes and galettes for dinner, a gastronomic introduction into Normandy life. Don't worry, the meal was accompanied by cider as well!

Sunday we headed to the Bayeux Tapestry and since Mom and Dad had rented a car, a small driving tour of the different Normandy Beaches. I figured it was good I finally the whole stretch, not just the American Cemetery considering I'm a 7 month Normandy resident. Tensions slightly rose when I forgot that Mom and Dad don't like traveling like us young folk so they actually pay more than 5 euros for a meal and sit down to eat it. Luckily I spied an open restaurant (on a Sunday!) and we headed in for......... more galettes! That's ok. Cider and galettes always makes people happier.

Dad of course gave commentary on all the different places while Mom staggered in the wind and wondered how the hell she ended up on a cold windy beach while on vacation in France.

St. Mere Eglise

The stained glass in St. Mere Eglise that commemorates the paratroopers

Monday I taught classes! (Unusual occurrence, I know) but I met up with Mom and Dad for lunch (real restaurants and I didn't have to pay for them?! win!) Dad was qualified to give the Coutances tour after his December visit, so he showed Mom all the attractions (Cathedral, Garden....ummmm- aqueduct?)

Tuesday my cold/sickness/general grossness finally came to be useful. My throat was unaccustomed to all the talking I had been doing and rebelled by disappearing. Needless to say this makes being a conversation assistant rather difficult. So I showed up to my first class to let Patrick know that it wasn't going to work out and that I wasn't showing up to my afternoon class. Since, well, I couldn't talk.

We headed to Château de Gratot, only a few kilometers from Coutances, but since it's often rainy I hadn't worked up the courage to take my bike over there. The sun was actually out and the place was really interesting. Pretty much you would expect an old, little known château to look like.

After that we headed over to Agon-Coutainville to find out what the Atlantic looks like from this side (blue). It was nice to just walk outside and enjoy the relatively nice weather. We had lunch at some Michelin Guide listed place that Mom wanted to go to. Let's just say that it was very froofy. Off season isn't the best time to go anywhere, but I don't think this place was really on their A game anyway. Oh well, it was certainly an experience.

Wednesday we headed to Mont Saint Michel, with a picnic lunch featuring sandwiches and desserts from the fancy bakery in town. Mom looked like she was ready to hire a donkey to the top (if only! I wish they had donkeys there!) but persevered and made it up those many, many stairs. We did the audio guides which I think really add to the tour, otherwise you're pretty much walking through big empty stone rooms.

Fee des grèves? Must be how I keep missing so much work!

Thursday I had one class? I think another got canceled, so we were able to head to Rouen a bit earlier. We had an interesting time finding the hotel but once we got up to the room it was amazing! Since there were three of us we got a suite and it was perfect. There was a pull back curtain wall dividing the king bed from the other space, a table/desk area with a twin sized bed/couch in the corner. It was certainly bigger than any other French hotel room I'd been in (not that I have many to compare with). Best of all- for free!- there were over 40 on demand movies IN ENGLISH! I think in the less than 24 hours we were there I managed to fit in 3 movies.

Oh! So the actual city of Rouen- you want to know about that? Well, maybe I've just been in France too long, but it gets my typical review: the "old city" section was very nice, with its cobblestones and timbered buildings and narrow streets. The town cathedrals were beautiful as well. I actually really liked the cathedrales, they were different from the usual Gothic architecture which was nice. Dad also put up with me and Mom popping into a lot of shops.

Friday we headed to Mom and Dad's friends, the Westgates, about 30 minutes away. Sadly shortly into dinner Dad was struck by some poorly cooked salmon from lunch and retired early for the evening.

Saturday the parents headed off to the airport :(
I hung around a little longer with the Westgates and took a train from by them to Rouen, took advantage of the short layover and bought some shoes and a new scarf, a little of retail therapy. I arrived back into Coutances in the evening, happy because of the amazing week, but also extremely sad as the great visit onl highlighted the loneliness of the living in Coutances.

Sunday I put off writing lesson plans as usual and it was back to the "grind."

I was so happy though that I was fortunate enough to share a slice of my life hear, take advantage of their presence and visit some different places and try some new restaurants.

02 February 2011

Road Block

Why were a bunch of kids late to school on Monday?

There were horses stranded on the road between St. Lo and Coutances- HAHHAHAHAHHAH

I basically live in the French boonies.

30 January 2011

Ben l'Oncle Soul and Brunch!

Thursday night I headed to a concert in St. Lo with some lovely ladies from choir. The ticket was only 20 euros and I figured it was some good bonding time as well, so despite not knowing the performer at all, i decided to go.

What a good choice it was! The concert was fantastic! Turns out that Ben l'Oncle Soul is actually pretty big- as in I was cooking dinner the other day and his music video came on!

Here's one of his most famous songs "Je suis qu'un soul man" (I'm just a soul man)

The concert was particularly fun as Bea picked me up and then we headed over to pick up Monique and Francine. They had a whiskey before we got there so they were laughing and quite loquacious.

The concert had young and old people and it was actually kind of funny to see such an age range in a crowd. The group put on a really energetic performance as well. To be honest it was actually one of my favorite nights I've had since getting to France. Live music, a good energy, people actually talking TO me and although it was something small, it just really made me feel as if I was part of a group.

Well that wonderful group of women continues to be wonderful. This morning we had brunch chez Bea. Brunch is a foreign concept, but with the guidance of "quiche counts for brunch as well as fruit salads" we ended up with a nice spread. Bea lives and her husband runs an organic dairy farm. So we were a bit out into the country, and they just built there house a few years ago and it's a really interesting departure from a typical french home. It's got mroe of an open floor plan and a spiral staircase leading upstairs!

Our lovely brunch consisted of granola bars (made by Lisa, and American), sausages (made by Felicity and Richard- Brits) banana bread (me!), teurgoule (amazing), 2 quiches (though the dog got into a bit of one of them), 2 fruit salads, homemade yogurt (Bea- she lives on the dairy farm- remember?), a prune/apple crumble, bread/regular/savory/toast, and a chocolate mousse. Needless to say- I absolutely stuffed myself. As I said to Lisa, not all concepts of the brunch translated well (chocolate mousse) but I think that actually worked out for the better!

Felicity and Richard invited me round afterward for tea and a nice walk. It was nice to be in homes all day rather than a dorm room (though I've done my best to make it my own). Felicity and I took a nice walk to digest all of that lovely food along a path that used to a train track in Cambernon. I think you could potentially walk all the way up to Cherbourg on it.

The fun of the weekend is over and now I need to work on lesson plans :(
On the brightside- Mom and Dad visit in 6 days!!

26 January 2011

Lesson Planning

I don't feel like lesson planning, so what does that mean for my students? I get to play taboo for three hours tomorrow!

23 January 2011

St. Malo and Rennes!

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, I've been away and then lazy getting back to writing.

My one Thursday class last week had been canceled, so I had a five day weekend! Wednesdays are for swimming and choir, so I left Thursday morning on an hour late train to St. Malo in Bretagne (Brittany).

St. Malo is a coast city, about 2 hours away (south and then west) from Coutances. It's a walled city, and you can actually completely walk around the old city on the ramparts. It's beautiful to look to the left and have the beach, and to the right lovely little streets.

St. Malo (like many places) is better in summer and spring, when you can take better advantage of its beach proximity. I read about it in my guide book, and had recommendations from some the of the Breton teachers here. I spent the day wandering around the city, eating galettes made with blé noir, drinking cider, smelling the ocean and scarfing down kouign amann (literally translated as “butter cake” and attempts to give you diabetes as quickly as possible) . 

It was chillier than usual, which was exasperated by the wind the whipped my hair around. I did take refuge and thought to expand my brain a little with a visit to the St Malo museum. 

Turns out that was a mistake. I'm pretty sure the museum was put together by several members of a knitting club getting together and realizing that they had some old shit in their attic they needed to get rid of. Well, I tried to enrich my mind! 

In the evening I took a bus to Rennes to meet with Julia, an assistant in Rennes. Julia kindly answered my request for a host on the “Assistants de Rennes-TAPIF” fbook wall. It turns out that Julia went to Beloit and studied abroad in Senegal with the Baobab center a year after me. We know some people in common and we got to revisit great Senegal memories through out my visit. 

As a proper introduction to Rennes Julia took me out to meet other assistants at one of the many bars. I had a great time and more real live English conversation than I'd had in weeks. The next day I headed out to explore the city a little by myself while Julia took care of some errands. I visited the old city areas and took advantage of “les soldes” (huge sales which happen twice a year) and being in a city with shops! I got a stripey shirt for 3 euros and some gloves for 2 euros- I had left mine at home expecting warmer weather.

Julia also knows all the best places for food. My trip to Rennes was constant eating. I left her apartment with instructions for the proper bakery for a “fourrée aux almandes” which is a chocolate or regular croissants filled with almond paste and amazing. I met up with her and other assistants at a high school for lunch followed by a lovely walk in the nearby park. Soon after Julia and I met up with 3 other assistants at a tea shop, “Apple Pie”, run by an Irish woman. It was like being in someone's home and lovely. I enjoyed some tea and an amazing scone.

I went for a walk with Katherine, another assistant to who had responded to my fbook post, and we met up with Lauren who is (can you guess?) another assistant.
The three of us met back up with Julia at her apartment for a drink and then headed out for a galette dinner. The deliciousness continued.
We quickly rushed over to a lecture being held by the feminism group that Julia is part of. It was an interesting lecture about women and safety in public in Rennes. It was fairly interesting but all of us who attended agreed that it needed to go further into issues and was too much of a beginner's intro in the subject. 

Julia had convinced my to stick around on Saturday, rather than taking the early train out so that I could experience the amazingness that is the Rennes Market. I'm so glad I took her advice, and I headed back to Coutances with a tiny but rich chocolate cake, galettes to prepare at home, brussels sprouts, and nems (Vietnamese spring rolls).

It was a fantastic few days and a great break from the usual in Coutances. It also reminded me how much good food rather than night after night of pasta can affect my mood, along with the importance of conversation.
Study abroad in Senegal was a lesson in learning to be with people all the time, while France has been a lesson in largely being alone. I don't regret anything, but I have certainly learned that I do prefer the former.

Now to prepare some lessons, and hopefully more timely updates this week!

17 January 2011

Mexican Food and Mont Saint Michel!

I had an absolutely fabulous weekend. The internet went out Saturday morning, but luckily that was the only bad thing to happen.

Saturday Lydia took the train out, and Michelle and Alison drove out from Ouistreham in a rented car to come visit me in Coutances. Anthony brought me salsa over Christmas break, and a big bottle of it. I figured that 1. I could never finish on my own and 2. It's more fun to share with others anyway so 3. A nacho party would be perfect. 

I showed them around Coutances- all those famous sights such as the cathedral, gardens and.... well, we also went to the movies. We've lucked out with beautiful weather, it's usually around 40-50 degrees, with a bit of wind, but that's a huge improvement over the December weather- or any of the MI weather for that matter, so I've really been trying to enjoy it.

Since we had the car, we took a trip out to Agon-Coutainville- In order: Lydia, Alison and Michelle

We got cookin' and made fajita style chicken, beans, rice, nachos, guacamole and salad, accompanied by several bottles of wines and cider :)  Michelle hosted Thanksgiving- and there's a reason. She is an absolutely amazing cook. We all helped with prep but I let her take the reigns when it came to real cooking because she does it up right. I also bought waaaaaaaayyy too much food so I'll get to enjoy her great cooking for a while. Huimin, Meike and Vika also joined us (Chinese assistant, German assistant, and Belarus environmental volunteer) so it was a full house in that tiny kitchen. It was absolutely fantastic though, added bonus, there were even enough plates and almost enough utensils for everyone!

Meike, Vika and Lydia
Michelle, Alison and Huimin
Lydia, Michelle and Alison camped out on my floor overnight, and despite some sore backs, we headed to Mont Saint Michel Sunday morning.

When my parents visit in a few weeks, we are also planning to go to Mont Saint Michel. I don't mind the repeat visits though because I have a tendency to see/ visit cool places and then learn about them afterward, wishing I could go back with a better understanding. Now I get that opportunity- especially with the children's books I got in the gift shop!

Mont Saint-Michel is so cool! I'll let the pictures do the majority of the talking, and wikipedia can probably do a better job than me on history.

Alison, Michelle and Lydia

These are only a few of the many many steps we climbed up. Mont Saint Michel is 90% stairs and 10% monks

One of the rooms inside

Looking out over the bay. The large flats flood quickly during high tide, providing a natural moat for the Mont

Mere Poulard is heavily advertised throughout. According to legend she started out selling omelets to weary pilgrim making the trip to Mont Saint Michel. You can buy that brand, and many different types of cookies as well throughout Normandy.

Me and Mont Saint Michel!

We knew we would need sustenance on our trip, and it being Sunday and a tourist destination would only have overpriced options, so we brought along some of the leftover Mexican food for a picnic in the parking lot. I don't have tupperwear or paper plates, so we had our mexican picnic in france and ate african style. It was one of my favorite meals I've had so far :D

Our picnic in the parking lot
A fantastic weekend, with some great friends that I'm hoping to see more and more of over the coming weeks, despite crappy train schedules and distance.