Sunday, August 2, 2009


So the second leg of our trip was to Berlin. We couchsurfed with the very sweet Fidi and Marcell. The were also planning on leaving their home countries for another english speaking country, Australia. We met Marcell in their adorable east german apartment, near a former Nazi airport. The US used this airport during the cold war to bring in supplies to East Berlin. Now the German government wants to tear it down and make it some sort of public place but some Berliners are strongly agains this. It seems like everything is like this in Berlin, some people want to move on and forget the war, and others think it's important to remember it and make sure they never forget their history. Fidi had the weekend off and took us on an amazing two day bike tour of Berlin. He was a fantastic tour guide and we really felt grateful for their hospitality. Because we did so much there's no way I can describe it all so i've listed it, in no particular order:
  • visited the Rijksdag
  • went out to some cute bars with our couchsurfer's german friend (who speaks english with an australian accent) and her roommate from seattle
  • visited cool/interesting jewish and others, holocaust memorials
  • ate yummy vietnamese food
  • biked around the east side of the berlin wall, including visiting the church of reconciliation
  • ate at a cool hipster waffle shop
  • visited the Pergamon museum
  • ate australian hamburgers with german friends
  • went clubbing to a fun club with a rock room (after skipping out on the "best club in europe" when we realized it was a 12 euro cover)
  • visited the jewish history museum
  • walked home at 4am, watching the sunrise over the western (artistic) side of the berlin wall
  • biked by a former turkish bath, turned into park
  • wandered through the holocaust memorial
  • partied with german anesthesiologts at a garden party
  • stopped in Alexanderplatz the cent of east berlin
  • taught our couchsurfers Farkel at the neighborhood bar.
  • weaved our way through a protest of the airport closing with hundreds of leftists/hipsters/hippys and many scary looking german police
As you can tell we fit in a lot into our 3 1/2 day stay in Berlin and thanks to Fidi and Marcell it was probably my favorite place in our trip. Such a fresh, alive and exciting city! Prague is next, sorry these posts are taking so long but i'll try to get the next two out soon.

Off to Pullman tomorrow to find a job and get all moved in. I'm excited to start a new school year, and hopefully it's a good year and I can finish school in a timely manner (cross you fingers for that one :/)

Gros Bisous,

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Woo long overdue posts about my awesome endings in Europe. We'll start with my 4 days in Amsterdam. My sister and her boyfriend KC arrived in Geneva and we got over jet lag, and the next day took an easyjet flight to Amsterdam. We arrived and met up with our couchsurfer, Jaap, at the train station and he showed us to the bus as he biked home. The first surprising thing in Amsterdam we noticed was the crap loads of bike, EVERYWHERE! Everyone rides a bike and the bike traffic in the city is probably heavier than the car traffic. We spent a nice relaxing evening with Jaap eating lasagna and jamming to Johny Cash. Jaap was actually planning on immigrating to Vancouver soon so maybe we'll see him sooner than I think.

We started our trip in Amsterdam with a free New Europe tour learning about all the history and architecture of Amsterdam. It's a really gorgeous city with beautiful canals and interesting architecture. The rest of the day was more wandering and taking in the sights.

The second day we decided to rent bikes and explore the city the locals way. We took our bikes to a nearby market buying bread and cheese and fruit for a picnic in Vondelpark. We also cruised over to a local brewery on the west side of the city called, Brouwerij't IJ. We finished off the day with a tour of the redlight district. It's definitely an interesting sight to behold, but no pictures were captured because apparently the prostitutes have big scary body guards that come out and smash your camera... OR they may have a cup of urine placed next to them that they throw at you. So good to know that.

We finished off the stay in Amsterdam with some delicious traditional pancakes, more like crepes if you ask me. And then headed over to Museum Island to check out the Rijkmuseum, the Dutch museum of history and art. It was unfortunately under construction but all the masterpieces were there so we oogled at some Rembrant and Vermeer before heading out for a nap on the lawn. Sara and I visited the Anne Frank house, the house where she was in hiding during WWII. It was pretty emotional and interesting. We finished the day meeting up with Jaap and the other couchsurfers who were staying with him and heading to his friends' freegan dinner. Every thursday they prepare a vegan dinner from free food they've collected at the markets, either asking vendors for food they wouldn't sell or dumpster diving for discarded food, here's they're website, very interesting blog! The dinner was delish with some stir fry, salads, delicious turkish food, hummus and more. There were people from everywhere, Italy, Turkey, Israel, you name it. It was a really fun experience and only something you can experience with couchsurfing. I love couchsurfing soo much!

We then boarded a train for Berlin and that story comes next, look out!

pictures here,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Endings :(

So as you all probably know I arrived back in the US last Thursday after a great 2 1/2 week trip with my sister and her boyfriend, KC. It was pretty sad to leave Chambé for the last time, and now that I'm back home I'm starting to come to the realization that I won't see the friends I've been with for the past year in a long time. Hopefully I can make to over to Brazil and back to Europe soon to see them all again. I still had an amazing year though and one that I will never forget, I feel that I understand my American identity more, and I've learned a lot more than I ever thought I would about some European cultures and how they view Americans. I've come to the understanding that I'm very lucky to be born in the US, and it's an identity I never want to lose, even if I end up living in Europe, or somewhere else, in the future. I can't imagine living in a country where everyone looks the same, acts the same, and whose opinions and beliefs are the same. Before I moved to France I had the idea that Europe was just as mulitcultural and diverse as the US but really it's all very seperated by country, the czechs in the Czech Republic, the fins in Finland, etc. I feel that France is pretty diverse for Europe and everyone, for the most part, is accepted by their French neighbors.

I hope I can continue practicing my french because I definitely don't want to lose it after all the hard work I've put in. Hopefully one day I can use that skill in my future career, fingers crossed.

Well anyways I'm actually back in Pullman now which is pretty strange, after being gone from here for a year. Not much has changed, but I do have a really nice apartment with 2 close friends. So that's much more bearable than dorm life. Right now in mid-July it's pretty dead around here so I'm hoping the excitement picks up in August when school starts. My schedule looks pretty full this semester, with lots of Finance courses and the stress of getting my French credits to transfer over here. I also need to find a job but that's pretty slow going right now too so we'll see what happens. I'm going back to Seattle on Tuesday, and my cousin is coming to visit us for a couple days, and I'm going to a concert and then in August heading over to Chicago and Ohio to see family, so pretty busy summer plans. I'll prolly keep updating this once a month or so, so stay tuned :D.
Gros bisous,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Long time no see

Wow sorry it's been awhile since I wrote. Been a little stressed with the end of school and everything, but so far I've passed all my classes so we're doing OK!

I visited the south of France last week, and it was a great little vacation from Chambery. My polish friend Karolina and I started out in Avignon a cute town in Provence that's surrouned by a medieval wall and of course the Pont d'Avignon (bridge of avignon).
Avignon also has the Pope's Palace that was built in the 1300s when the popes fled Rome. It's gorgeous and enormous, and we arrived just before a rose festival there so it was also yummy smelling! A couchsurfer took us to the little town across the Rhone River from Avignon called Villeneuve d'Avignon which had adorable provancal houses and a mightly looking castle.

After Avignon we headed to Marseille the second biggest city in France. We started out by taking a boat trip to the Island of If where a famous castle sits, the setting of Dumas' book the Count of Monte Cristo. It was a cute little castle and had amazing views of Marseille. We then wandered around the old town a little, and the old port, before meeting up with our couchsurfer. He was a great guy and was so nice and welcoming to us. He showed us some Marseille night life, and had an adorable little american themed apartment downtown. The second day we headed out to conquer the sites of Marseille and mounted the big church on the hill Notre Dame de la Garde. We were gross, hot and sweaty by the time we got to the top, but it offered amazing views once again. We then walked down to the sea, and took a walk along it, cooling off. The third day was probably the best. Our couchsurfer took us to the Calanques which are these beautiful cliffs just an hour bus ride from the center of town, on the Mediterranean. You can hike down the cliffs where there are little inlets to swim, and we took advantage of that even though there were tons of people. I really liked Marseille, it was a fun, active city, and seems like there's always something to do.

Right now I'm just chilling out in Chambery, relaxing at the lake, and catching up on reading. I only have about a week left here so I'm getting down to packing and figuring out what to do with all the stuff I've collected this past year. I'm pretty sad to leave, but at the same time really excited to travel with my sister and KC. On the 15th we fly out from Geneva to Amsterdam then it's Berlin, Prague, Munich and back to Geneva to fly home the 2nd of July. It's kinda surreal that I'm gonna be home so soon but i'm sure it'll hit me soon and i'll post another update :).

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Gros Bisous!


Sunday, April 26, 2009


Salut tout le monde!
Yay finally legal to drink in the states!! It's about time, had a good bday night with good friends and lots of laughs (and a pie in the face, no that's not a french tradition it's just my silly friends).

Unfortunately I'm in France where 21 is no big deal and where this week is finals, ahhhhh!! One test tomorrow, 2 Wednesday and 2 again on Thursday. I'm also starting some new classes which is a pain in the butt and not good timing at all. But at the same time, in reference to my finance classes, I feel like no other class I can take ever will be as hard as this is now. I'm deathly terrified of my finals, not even that I'm going to fail them all (which is a possibility, fyi our grade is based on one final exam) but just of getting into that classroom and the act of taking the test! I've been studying quite a bit and I hope I can squeeze by, but whatever happens it's been one crazy couple of months and I think I will never be as challenged by school as I am here. It's funny because I'm probably in the hardest group in my program (the finance major) and a lot of my friends don't have any finals, but they said they didn't learn anything in their classes. So at least I learned a lot from my classes, probably too much for my little finance brain, and I can hopefully take that knowledge back to WSU, even if I don't pass all my exams.

Fewww, well I'm gonna try to calm down a little and try not to get too stressed about it. What happens happens and I know I learned a lot and it was all in FRENCH!! woot! I'm excited to go back to the states as a 21 year old, fluent french speaker, well traveled, finance whizzz!

Have a good week everyone!
Gros bisous,

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunny Days in Chambé

Salut tout le monde,

So I've had a great couple of weeks here in Chambery. The weather's gotten amazingly beautiful and it seems when that happens the population of Chambery doubles. Everyone's eating outside, walking around, and it's just more fun and lively.

Last weekend was really great. The sun came out for an all day "jeu de piste", which was basically this crazy scavenger hunt that one of the classes organized for us. We started off the day being blinfolded and kindnapped by 15 or so French guys, then led back into the school where the scenario was that we were escaped convicts trying to prove our innoncence against a murder that had been committed. We had to solve puzzles, walk backwards with eggs on spoons and run around the campus in the hot sun. It was lots of fun and my team was 2nd place! woot. That night we were pooped, but decided the next day to head to the St. Cristophe Caves about a 30 minute bus ride out of Chambery. Unfortunately on the bus ride we realized that it's Sunday in France and the bus wouldn't pass for another 6 hours after we had arrived. So we got to the caves took a tour around, it was pretty and stayed sunny for us. We then ate our lunch and pondered how we would get home. My two brasilien friends and I decided that walking back the 20km was out of the question so we hitched hiked home with a young guy heading off to a rugby match. He lived near the caves but worked in Chambery, and was heading there to pick up a friend, since we didn't have plans for the afternoon he invited us to join them at the rugby match and after he would take us back to Chambery. He seemed like a good guy so we went for it and I experienced my first rugby match at Montmelian. The guy, Mathieu, was a rugby player so after the victory we hung around, and drank beer with his friends. They kept giving us beer and while delicious and refreshing, around 7pm we were tired and ready to head home. So that was a pretty exciting weekend and I was much pleased with my first hitch hiking experience!

This weekend my friend from preschool, Allyce, came into town and we spent a nice relaxing weekend basically catching up on our lives since preschool. It's kinda sad that it takes us to be in Europe to finally get together, but hopefully we can start meeting up when I'm back in Seattle. It's crazy how much time we spent together when we were 4-10, and we talked like no time had passed! I love great friends like that, they're few but I really cherish those moments. We spent another sunny weekend riding bikes to Lac du Bourget and visited my friend's adorable one room apartment with a great backyard to soak in the sun. We also cooked delicious market fresh food, and I'm really impressed by how well we ate, Allyce is one mad vegetarian cook, and was more than comfortable with the French way of eating lunch for hours on end. I'm definitely making that stuff again! Unfortunately the Easter weekend ended this morning and it's back to another couple weeks of school.

Just have two more weeks left of classes and not very many at that, so should go by fast! Then we have finals than I'm done! I've decided to stay in Chambery and take classes this May so I'll be taking a business French class, and then a class in English called Doing Business in France. Hopefully it won't be too boring, and keep my busy. Today I rented a bike for the next two months so I'm hoping the weather stays like this, and I can use it as often as possible! My sister and her boyfriend are coming June 14 and then we're off on the last hurrah trip in Europe. The plan is Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munich and back to Geneva to fly home. I'll be home July 2 so not too long now. My friend from Bordeaux, Emily, is coming in this weekend and we always have a great time together so I'm excited for her to see my cute little town!

Hope all is well and thanks so much for reading! Have a great week!

Gros bisous,

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rennes with Irennes :D

Bonjour to all,
I'm been neglecting this guy a little so I'll try to get you all up to date on what's going on here in France. Chambery had gotten really sunny the past couple of weeks so my friends and I enjoyed every bit of it with walks in the park, bike rides to a nearby lake, and snowshoing (which is much harder than i had imagined). My friend from the states, Irene came to visit me for a week and it was lots of fun seeing her and we took a trip to Rennes as well. Luckily the weather stuck out for her too and we took a hike in the mountains, ate tartiflette and gorged ourselves at the market, before making a delicious quiche.

Tuesday morning we truged to the train station in the pouring down rain (ya sun's gone back to cloudy gray skies) and headed to Rennes. We couchsurfed and our host met with us before she had to go babysit. She told us her roommate needed models for a photography shoot so we headed to the park with her and dressed up as clowns for her photo. I'll try to show you guys the final product if I can get a hold of it, but we saw a preliminary picture but unfortunately Irene's face was cut off by the confetti we were throwing, so hopefully she's gonna fix it so we can see her lovely face :D. Couchsurfing is always a good time, hehehe. That evening Auriane, our host gave us dinner and we headed out to explore Rennes at night. Auriane is an English major and was so nice and welcoming, and unfortunately she was on her last day of "vacation" after her university's six week strike! Ya six weeks can you believe it? I understand the french's need to show their governement when they're mad or don't agree with something but six weeks of no school seems a little too much. Apparently Sarkozy wants to make a lot of changes to the system because right now it's pretty easy and there's too many students and not enough teachers. He wants to make it easier masters students to teach, but also wants to make it harder to become a masters student. There seem to be lots of other requests too, that I need to research into more.

Rennes is basically a big collage party town, 200 000 residents with 60 000 students and Auriane told us many people come to university here, just for the party atmosphere. There's a street in the center of town called the Rue de la Soif, street of thrist, that is just bars and kebab stands. It was pretty quiet during the week but Thursday nights are when it gets insane with college students. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling too great during our nights out there (just a little cold that's passed now), but it was still crazy to see so many students in one little area.

We also took a day trip Wednesday to Mont Saint Michel, which was pretty incredible. The weather wasn't perfect, but no rain so it was fine. We took a tour through the abbey and the tour guide was this bitter man who basically told us that no one really knows the history of the Mont because most of the documents were destroyed while it was a prison during the French Revolution. Either way it was really cool and amazing to see such an old and sacred place. The views of the bay were also incredible and we enjoyed looking at all the stupid souvenirs :D.

Back in Chambery now with Irene back in the states. Had a calm weekend just recovering from my cold and doing some research on zero based budgeting (facinating I know). This week (and next) is back to the crazyness of "majors" so not really looking forward to that but I just have to take it day by day and remember to breath :). With Irene here I'm really getting excited about moving back to the states. I was talking with another American friend, Grace, the other day about our experiances and both agreed that while Chambery will always be with us, our lives are back in the states. I could definitely see myself living in France one day but not in Chambery, and maybe when I find a job that can bring me back here.

Still no idea yet when I'm coming home, but it's looking like either June or July so hopefully I figure that out soon. I'm meeting with someone Tuesday about an internship so hopefully that works out, and I can have a project to do for May and June and then travel with my sister and her boyfriend in July. I'll keep you guys updated and can't wait to see you all back in the states!
Gros bisous,

They basically turned their union building into a squat.