Sunday, March 20, 2011

Luck of the Irish!

Neil Conway, our Irish jeweler and friend!
The weekend of March 10th-March 13th a few friends and I went across the Channel and over the Irish sea to take a weekend trip to Dublin, Ireland!

We had such a great weekend. Dublin is such a different city than Paris. It's smaller so it feels so much more hometown compared to the sometimes gigantic Paris :) The best part was Lexi and I got to hang out with two of our best friends with our new Paris friends! It made the trip so much more fun to be able to enjoy it with good friends and have some tour guides show us around.

We literally packed as much as possible in 3 days. Lexi and I stayed with our two friends and our other two friends stayed at a local hostel. Lexi and I stayed up until 4 am for a much needed catch up session with our good friends and then Friday took on Dublin.

Breath taking view of Irish coast :)
We saw JFK's favorite pub, Trinity College, attended a book fair at Trinity College, had real Bangers and Mash and Irish stew, bought real Irish Claddagh rings from an Irishman, had Irish Coffee, sips of Guiness ,and Bulmer's Cider. What a day. To top the day off we saw Irish Step dancers and listened to an Irish band. Perfect.

Saturday we saw the green countryside of Dublin as well as the Irish Sea. We also enjoyed walking through the streets of Dublin. Some shopping may or may not have taken place. C'est la vie :)

When in Dublin...See Guinness' Home

Seeing best friend Elise!

Before boarding our 5 am Sunday plane back to Paris we went to Dublin's oldest pub. There we met our friend Dermot. It was Dermot's 26th birthday. All in a days work, exploring Dublin and getting invited to an Irishmen's birthday party...

Happy Birthday Irish friend Dermot!

Irish Dancers!

Bordeaux, France and Castles Oh My!

My first weekend trip while abroad in Paris was a trip to Bordeaux (to the Southwest of France). This is where Bordeaux wine is made! It was such a great first weekend trip. Another friend from my program went with me and it was a such a peaceful weekend.

Yup, I stayed in a hostel!
We literally spent the two days walking, walking, and walking. We stopped a few times to eat when needed and of course to taste real authentic Bordeaux wine. :) I know absolutely nothing about wine, but I do know that it was good.

The weather was warmer than Paris and the pace much slower. I was able to walk around without being pushed, bumped into, or cursed in French! Quelle chance! It was also the perfect first place to try out living in a hostel. The hostel was clean and full of neat people to chat with. Of course, I met someone I could talk about my beloved Morocco with so that was great.

Bordeaux, France

The next weekend our class took a day trip to one of the nearby castles. Dad always said I was a princess. I just hadn't found my castle until now!

Some friends in front of Fontainbleu Chateau

Have a Little Faith

My mom has this incredibly annoying habit, as all mothers do, of always being right. It's like a superpower. I just can't wait until I'm a mom and can master the talent as well.

The ebb and flow of traveling abroad is the best way to describe one's feelings. You adjust to not being a tourist, to being a habitant of the city, to then resenting it and missing A'murica. I've gone through the rollercoaster :)

I can say, though, that it's a wave I can appreciate for my character growth. I always wonder when we've had enough character building situations, but apparently that isn't now!

Often times, people deem the French as rude, provencial, and unfriendly. However, many Americans forget that France is equally as exotic a land and culture as somewhere in Africa, Asia or some place else far away. Just because the French may look like other Anglo-Saxons (do NOT tell them I referred to them as Anglo-Saxon because I'll be deported) does not mean they have the same culture or even same mannerisms. The language in it of itself is exotic enough, however, for fun we added a totally different culture.

My French family relations continue to improve. They aren't as "welcoming", "friendly", or "bubbly" as families I'm used to, but in their own way they are equally as friendly and welcoming. It's just in their own way.

Despite the adjustment to the cultural differences, one thing that hasn't gotten hard to adjust to is the amazing architecture and life of Paris. It seems like any homesick day or a bad day can be cured with an ice cream cone and walking around Notre Dame, a glass of wine by the Seine river, or even wandering through the back streets of the city.
Friends at the National Opera

Seine at Night
Friends at the Seine :)

The Opera!
So like mom says...have a little faith. If today isn't your day, take a breath because your glass of wine by the Seine moment may just be a few minutes away. :)