kathryne goes to france


Check it out! Berlin
21 July 2007, 11:13 am
Filed under: berlin, exchange student, germany, photos, Schmapp guide, study abroad, travel

These photos were published in an online Berlin guide. Click on the pictures to see them in the Schmapp guide!



Jüdisches Museum


Bebelplatz



Check it out!
29 June 2007, 7:06 pm
Filed under: england, europe, london, photos, Schmapp guide, travel

This picture got published in an online London guide. See it here!



bittersweet
27 June 2007, 11:59 pm
Filed under: europe, exchange student, france, french culture, study abroad, travel

I miss watching French people walk around with baguettes sticking out of their bags.

At the same time, there’s something strangely comforting about looking down at the ground beneath me and spying richly red Oklahoma dirt.



God bless america!
31 May 2007, 9:44 am
Filed under: American culture, exchange student, study abroad, travel

Land of the free, home of the brave, where the free refills flow like water and customer service reigns supreme.  Where everyone speaks my native language, where the time is given in 12-hour format, where the first floor button on the elevator actually takes me to the ground floor.  Land of the half-gallon cups of iced coffee, home of the malt ball, the country in which I don’t have to beg for more ketchup.

I’m not quite home yet, but I’m thoroughly enjoying being in the same time zone as my family and spending dollars instead of euros (and especially instead of pounds).

Oh it’s good to be back in this glorious country!



cankles
24 April 2007, 4:37 pm
Filed under: exchange student, france, study abroad, travel

Something about walking about various locations in Europe for two weeks in uncomfortable shoes has made my ankles swell to unsettling proportions.  The two joints formerly known as my ankles are approaching cankle status, and that’s just not okay.  I’d hate to think that my ankles will forever be different sizes: pre-Europe ankles and post-Europe cankles.  Aye.  We’ll see if Advil and rest will solve the problem.

In other feet-related news, my trusty Old Navy flip flops broke for good yesterday.  I hobbled across our poorly paved campus wearing only one shoe.  Did you know that flip flops cost no less than 9 euros around here?  Ridiculous.  I refuse to spend 12 U.S. dollars on one pair of flip flops when I could buy four pairs of flip flops at Old Navy for the same price.  Ankles, I don’t want any more complaints.



American-watching
22 April 2007, 11:55 am
Filed under: American culture, europe, exchange student, france, paris, travel

I love figuring out who’s American and watching them try to get around in France. See a group wearing North Face jackets, sweatshirts, and baseball caps? Definitely American. See an overweight guy? He’s more likely to be American than French, that’s for sure. Hear someone butchering the French language, saying mare-see and bone-jour instead of merci and bonjour? Probably American, and probably from the South, but you have to appreciate their effort.

My favorite Americans today:
The lady wearing a windbreaker with the American flag printed on it who was trying to use the subway system and the husband who congratulated her on the other side with a “You’re gettin’ it, baby!”

The family on the subway. The little boy munched on a chocolate pastry while the parents looked at the subway map and tried to decide where to get off. “Should we get off here? No, wait, there? Or there? Oh hell, we’re in France. Nothing makes sense here.”

The teenagers running through Musée d’Orsay. They’re surrounded by statues by Rodin and they’re running toward the gift shop. All I heard one of them say was, “Dude that sucks!”

The classic middle-aged American woman who laughed and pointed to a statue of a man wearing a helmet. “Let’s get out of here, I’m bored. Who is that, anyway?!” she shrieked. I wanted to tap her on the shoulder and say, “Ma’am, his name is Symbolism. You two should get to know each other.”



cultural confusion
10 April 2007, 9:53 am
Filed under: europe, exchange student, france, french culture, paris, study abroad, travel

I spent my day in Paris surrounded by tourists. As I was trying to make my way through the crowded Musée d’Orsay, people were speaking different languages around every turn. Hearing American English, French, German, British English, and Chinese, mixed in with languages I couldn’t even identify, was completely overwhelming. I didn’t know whether to say “excusé moi” or “excuse me” or or “désolée” or “sorry.” I feel like an idiot when I say “excusé moi” to Americans, but do they even notice that I’m American anyway? And does saying “excuse me” in the correct language matter if we all know what they mean? Besides that, when I’m surrounded by as many Americans as I was today, should I start talking to people in French or English? Which is the better bet? It’s so confusing.

I can’t decide if all Americans really are as uncouthe as they seem over here or not. Granted, we’re out of our element when we’re in Europe. We’re not used to being surrounded by different languages everywhere we go. We don’t know how to travel on a subway system because we’re accustomed to driving cars everywhere we go. And I probably shouldn’t be talking about the kids in Musée d’Orsay who exclaimed, “Dude that sucks!” because I say that all the time.

Not only that, but do all the other Europeans walking around with me just seem more sophisticated because their style and body types are a little more in line with the French? And do I just assume that they’re having conversations about significant topics just because they’re speaking in a language that I can’t understand? Are all the Italians running around saying the Italian equivalent of “dude that sucks” after all? Do I just think that they’re talking about something important because it sounds prettier when they say it?

Je ne sais pas. I’m off to Rome tomorrow. My head’s still spinning from seeing so much art at the museum (I feel like I just read my entire art history book at once) and I have to wake up insanely early tomorrow morning to catch my flight.

Lessons learned today:
Rousseau is awesome.
Realism is a bore.
Americans are amusing.