kathryne goes to france

nap time
30 January 2007, 10:26 am
Filed under: bordeaux, college, exchange student, france, study abroad

Class is going to kill me. No lie. Five hours of French class in one day makes me go brain dead. I had things to say, but I need a nap.

As a sidenote, I also need to do laundry. I’ve been wearing the same pair of socks for six days in a row. C’est dégoûter.


france makes me stupid
26 January 2007, 8:11 am
Filed under: bordeaux, college, exchange student, france, study abroad

France makes me feel like an idiot. I have my dumb moments in the U.S., but here, I am perpetually MR. My French accent is practically nonexistent. I can’t even order yogurt—which, by the way, is one of the only reliably edible items available at the cafeteria. The French word for yogurt is “yaourt.” Please take a gander at that word and note the three (3) vowels, looking so smug, all in a row. I dare you to say it. I tried my best today to say it right but it came out all wrong. All I could do after that was motion to the display case and make a circle the size of the yogurt container with my hands. It’s sad that after taking five years of French, I still have to rely on body language to communicate.

Yesterday I told a French guy, Fredéric, and his friend the wrong time to meet us. We wanted to meet him at 10 pm today. The French use 24 hour clocks, so I should have told him to meet us at 22h. Instead, I told him 20h.

Note to self: 12+10=22.

sea change
24 January 2007, 4:37 am
Filed under: bordeaux, college, exchange student, france, study abroad

It seems that my mood went south with the weather. Until yesterday, I was focused on the good aspects about being here instead of the bad. All of a sudden the weather, which had been drizzly but decently comfortable, gave way and rain and flurries of snow started falling from the sky. It essentially feels like Oklahoma here, without any of Oklahoma’s perks (e.g. good food, easily accessible Internet service, and real toilet seats.)

Class. I endured three and a half hours of French class (in a row) today. My mind was wandering after the first thirty minutes. How is my attention-deficit self going to survive this semester?

Toilets. For some reason, the French decided to forego regular toilet seats and opted to sit on the toilet rim instead. Sick. I actually have favorite bathrooms based on cleanliness/toilet seat factors. Crazy, no?

Bathrooms. The co-ed bathrooms and showers in the dorms are particularly disgusting. The smell in the stalls can best be described as a subtle but undeniable cross between dissection chemicals and a Port-A-Potty. It’s not an overpowering stench, but it still makes the nose crinkle like after you drive past an angry skunk.

Showers. The showers are not so hot, either. Literally. The first time I took a shower here, I heard someone puking while I was washing my hair, and someone lit up a cigarette in a stall before I was finished rinsing out the conditioner. Since then, my showers have been sans puker, but with smoker. Why?

Noise. A girl on my hall (la mademoiselle de chambre 208) drives me crazy and I’ve never even met her. All I know is what her laugh sounds like. Each time I’m sitting in my room with the door shut and hear her laughing, I can’t help but imagine a hyena being mauled by a hungry lion. And she laughs all the time. Considering that laughing is my all time favorite thing to do, I’ll never have the heart to ask her to shut up. I do wish, however, that she would sound a bit less like a dying safari animal.

Don’t get me wrong, Bordeaux is pretty great. Things will be looking up after I get a new battery for my laptop.

New Photos
22 January 2007, 7:26 am
Filed under: french culture, photos


originally uploaded by ms.kdizz.

New photos today!

pause, snap, run
21 January 2007, 4:14 pm
Filed under: bordeaux, college, france, photos

take a picture
run to catch up
take a picture
run to catch up
take picture
run to catch up
take picture

I have so many photos that I want to post right now, but my time at McDonald’s is running short. Check back tomorrow!

for your information
20 January 2007, 3:46 pm
Filed under: bordeaux, college, europe, exchange student, france, french culture, study abroad

So far, I have seen:

• two French midgets.
• a cat on a leash.
• an amazing black and white bird. I don’t know what kind it is, but it’s about the size of a crow, with a black head, white wings, and an iridescent blue/black tail. And of course I took a picture of it.

I have bought:

• the most beautiful pair of brown leather boots in all of Bordeaux. They were half off but they still cost big euros. Did I mention that they’re beautiful?
• postcards. With the help of my recently purchased international stamps and new address list, I’ll be sending them out tomorrow. Expect mail soon.
• as a sidenote, I plan to return from France with approx. 1000 new scarves.

I have noticed that:

• people brings their dogs around town with them. They’re even allowed in stores. The dogs are extremely well-behaved, and they somehow look a little different from American dogs. Je ne sais pas pourquoi.
• every time I go to McDonald’s (which is nearly ever day), I manage to knock over a chair. It’s weird.
• I find myself thinking that all French kids are brilliant. I’m amazed that a 7 year old can speak French better than I can.
flat escalators actually exist. Like instead of standing on a moving stairway, you’re standing on a moving hill. Why don’t we have those in the U.S.?
• due to all the moisture in the air, my hair is curlier/frizzier than ever before. The weather here is great, though, so I can’t complain.
• wearing shorts attracts entirely too much unwanted attention. I wore shorts yesterday when we went on a long walk, and I got hollered at on the way back to the dorms, a guy held the door open for me and said, “Demademoiselle,” which has never happened before, and one guy simply said, “beautiful” as I walked by. I’m not wearing shorts anymore.

Thoughts on food:

• Salmon is a pizza topping here. I love salmon, but I don’t know how I feel about eating it on pizza. Just doesn’t seem right.
• Chevre cheese looks like rotten slices of boiled egg. It comes on a lot of sandwiches and pizzas. According to Mandi, it tastes absolutely horrific.
• Salads here do not contain lettuce. They’re just a random amalgamation of tomatoes, sweet corn, shredded carrots, other vegetables, mixed with some creamy dressing. I would kill a Frenchman if it meant a caesar salad with grilled chicken (also impossible to find here) from Outback would magically appear in front o
• I found peanut butter! It’s hard to come by because it’s a specialty item around here. I think I ate peanut butter and honey on whole wheat bread for two meals today, but I didn’t really mind because it’s delicious.
• It’s surprisingly hard to find good food here. Sandwiches are everywhere, but they’re rarely made to order, and they’re often not heated up. I finally found a good sandwich today! We’ve also found a good pasta place and pizza place. The Thai restaurant was a disappointment, but there’s another one I want to try.
• Turkish food is inexplicably common. Kebabs and tabooli are popular.
• Lastly, I got an entrée from the cafeteria the other day and I still can’t figure out what it was. I think it can best be described as a sweet tortilla-like shell containing unidentifiable fish mush. Sick.
• The coffee is incredible. It blows Starbucks out of the water. It’s so rich tasting that it almost feels like there’s chocolate in your cup. I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s gooooood.
• Everyone here drinks expresso, which is really strong coffee brewed from an expresso machine when you order it. It’s funny to watch people sip on tiny coffee mugs. I need to try it. Lattes and huge sugary coffee drinks are practically nonexistent.

je suis une idiote amèricaine
19 January 2007, 5:29 am
Filed under: bordeaux, college, europe, exchange student, france, french culture, study abroad

You’d think that after five years of French, I’d be capable of carrying on a conversation in French. But no, I can’t. We’re all having problems.

While trying to order bottled water:
Give me a box of water, please.

While getting hit on/avoiding a squirrelly looking French guy on the tram:
SLFG: Well… are you married?
me: Yes.
SLFG: Oh, that’s no good.
me: Yes.

Can you aider moi?
-Jenny (to a random French guy. She mixed French and English, turning “Can you help me?” into “can you aider moi?” She received a blank stare in response.)

Mare si.
-Jenny’s Texan version of “merci”