Saturday, September 24, 2011

Finding Nemo

les haricots: beans

I thought it was the 22nd all day today, which makes me sad because 23 is my favorite number.

But now it makes sense really, when you think about it. Because today was great.
I was productivity incarnate, and it feels fantastic.

'Lil Recap:

-I went to an English grammar class this morning, thinking it would be working on phrases and clauses and conjunction junction type stuff. Well, needless to say I already know the difference between "to know," "to be," and "to do." Because I know that I need to be in another class to do something a little more challenging. See that? Piece o' cake.
-Then I went to the post office to mail some forms to some office so I can eventually travel outside France blah blah blah...
-Then I went to the $bank$ . . . oh wait . . . to the €bank€.
-Then I went to the bus office to buy a yearlong bus pass. All by myself!
-Theeeen I went to the grocery store! Note to readers, don't go grocery shopping when you're hungry and you've watched too many cooking podcasts on iTunes. But I am so proud of my purchases! I got:

*can opener
*fingernail clippers
*2 reusable grocery bags (because the 1 I brought was NOT enough)
*wooden spoon
*a pot (I realized the indefinite article was necessary.)
*1 liter EVOO
*2 different tomato sauces
*4 yogurts
*2 bananas
*2 pomelos
*2 avocados
*12 apples
*chick peas
*green beans
*8 tortillas

. . . all for . . . (drumroll please) dugududugududugududugududugudu (triple tonguing)


Seriously I should have my own show. "How to spend money without actually spending any money."
It's brilliant.

-Then I dropped a paper off at the bank. (Yes, this is still my recap. Sorry. Almost done.)
-Aaaaand then I brought everything back to my dorm and scurried off to my archeology class at 4.

Whew~ (as I wipe my brow)

So this week's been pretty average. Still a lot of administrative stuff to do. So that's fun.

1. Last Saturday evening, Helen and I went to the grocery store and bought fun stuff like grapes and cheese and crackers and wine and hummus, and we had ourselves a French night! It was great. and super delicious. (Also we met a guy in the wine section who was from Toronto like Helen. Very charming. So, Toronto #2, if you're reading this, Helen is looking for you. Thus, by association, I am looking for you. For Helen. So um, yeah.)

2. Then, Sunday we were going to go to Cannes with some friends, BUT (she says angrily) it rained. I mean, obviously. So we decided to do something fun in Nice. I use the word "fun" lightly.

The Parc Phoenix. Sounds great right? Beautiful plants, some exotic animals, one of the largest greenhouses in Europe . . . what could be more cheery?

Essentially this was a zoo with everything you don't look at in the other zoos. Plants, birds, fish, and bugs. But is that enough to make me unhappy? Not even close. You just have to work a little harder to enjoy yourself.

View from the entranceway

Well this is peculiar.

Black swan?

Fairy grotto :)

Shout-out to my family in Arizona! woot woot!

Because, like concerts, I know how much people like to look at pictures of flowers.


Everything I learned in the French "aquarium," I already learned on Finding Nemo.

2. We wandered around a little after the parc and the complementary Asian museum at the entrance (?) and happened on a collection of office buildings where French people work . . . allegedly.

Art installation? Or phone lines?

"Autres Directions" means "Other Directions."
Why, thank you, road sign. Look how helpful you are.

I'm sorry, please notice the road sign in the background saying
NICE CÔTE d'AZURE is on the right now.

Ultimately the rain was good.

3. Lastly, my theatre class. Seriously, most of the time I have no EARTHLY idea what's going on. I just follow everyone else until I (hopefully) begin to understand. On Thursday, my professor was saying something about how stepping onto the stage is like stepping into a different time, an imaginary place (or at least this was the sense I injected into it). So then we started walking around the stage, either super fast or super slow. Again, just following suit. By the end of the class we were supposed to listen to the people around us and react to the sounds and behaviors of others? So, for instance, if someone clapped their hands, everyone else would start clapping too. This eventually translated into tribal war chants, an asthma attack, and a zombie resurrection. Are you confused? Well, there you go.

Wow. This was a long one. Even I went to sleep before I could finish it. Jeebus, if I couldn't make it through, how can I expect you to? Of course, the internet shut off at about midnight, so that . . . yeah that was probably why.

Well, if you did make it through, or if you just skipped to the end, CONGRATULATIONS!! You have a longer attention span than I do. Or you cheated. But I'm not pointing fingers.

Amitiés :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Ten Commandments

And God spake all these words, saying,

1. Thou shalt not wear colors--it is forbidden;
2. Thou shalt not pay attention to body language--it is also forbidden;
3. Thou shalt not bother to find a bathroom at the beach;
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (barring thou wasn't out until 7am the night before--in this case, thou should sleep);
5. 3 days shalt thou labor and do all thy work (as long as it's before 8pm), but the other 4 days are akin to the sabbath of the LORD thy God, in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy neighbor, nor thy grocer, nor thy ISEP coordinator;
6. Thou shalt not be patient with exchange students, they're not actually people;
7. Thou shalt not carry a backpack;
8. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors house (unless of course thy neighbor's house has 2 rooms and a kitchen);
9. Thou shalt not give thy students textbooks;
10. Honour thy father and thy mother (especially if they sent thou a package with bedsheets, towels, books, and lots of love!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lost in Translation

les betteraves: beets

I'm beat.

Classes started this week. This would be why I’ve been a neglectful blog-mother.

Let me break it down for you:

Classes taught in French = Constant language-ninja awareness required
Constant language-ninja awareness required = Complete physical and mental exhaustion
Complete physical and mental exhaustion = Sleepy Molly
Sleepy Molly = Little incentive to find internet access
Little incentive to find internet access = Extended lag time between blog posts

Thus, due to the transitive property of equality (if A=B and B=C then A=C), you can clearly see that “Classes taught in French” = "Extended lag time between blog posts.”

Factor in:
     -The energy lost through stressed temperature equilibrium (ie. sweating)
     -The health detriments incurred by smoky French people
     -The number of brain cells killed because of university administration incompetency

Aaaaand you’re left with one slice of “my brain hurts” and a large order of “I slept for 11 hours last night.”


See this is why I’m not a math major. And probably why you’re also not a math major.

So let’s get down to brass tacks (tax?):

1. And where better to start than with these carnivorous classes that have consumed my whole week. So the way the system here works is that French students pick their majors and then all three years of undergrad are pre-planned. And that’s it. For international students, you just go to as many classes as you want in whatever department you want for however long you want. You don’t even have to officially enroll in the courses until November. It doesn’t even matter! It’s French. It’s whatever.
It’s super frustrating.

So that's what I did.


1. Les langues du monde (Languages of the world)
-don't need it. not going back.

2. Portugais (Portuguese)
-met a girl from England. also I'm pretty sure one of the teachers made a joke about how rare it is to find anglophones interested in languages. yeah, whatever, teach.

3. Initiation à la phonétique (Introduction to phonetics)
-kinda boring. but I need it for schooling.

4. Analyse des spectacle (Play analysis)
-not fun enough to take for fun.

5. Dramaturgie des textes (Theatrical literature)
-maybs. also theatre students are clique-y (clicky?)

6. Grammaire française (French grammar)
-this teacher was a god-send. she actually emailed us a copy of the class notes.

7. Traduction-anglais (Translation-English)
-pretty easy. but still really helpful. class=1/2 canadian.

8. Littérature française XXè siècle (20th century French literature)
-what are you saying. I hate this class.

9. Techniques d'expression (Techniques of expression?)
-another literature class? seriously, who named this?

10. Archéologie: Théorie et Pratique (Introduction to Archeology)
-very tiny class. lots of handouts. happy Molly.

11. Pratiques de l'acteur (Acting)
-so apparently there was a black shirt/black pants memo that I didn't get. seriously. I could not have been more out of place with my pink skirt and bright blue cardigan.

Also I got to class early, saw the class before mine, and thought it had already started. So I ended up joining some voice class and sang "Il y a longtemps que je t'aime, something something t'oublierai."

Then (in the real class) we all had to perform monologues from our repertoire (obviously mine was in English). One girl did her monologue, and the professor made the rest of us stand around her and say her lines back to her. I had no idea what I was saying. Probably nothing. Somehow we all ended up rolling on the floor whispering something about being old. I have no idea.

2. Enough about classes. So the other night we also went to some festival thing at the Nice port. I went for the fireworks which we missed by 30 minutes, but there were a few concerts going on so it was still pretty fun.

This statue is called "The Butt of Nice" because
you can see it from the beach on the other side.

Because I know how much people like to look at pictures of concerts.

Chimene, Alice, and myself in front of something big.

We happened upon these guys singing Simon & Garfunkel and
the Beatles. It was great.

3. I've killed 3. Helen and I have started luring them out in the hallway with light. They are terrifying and fly as if they're intoxicated. Don't know if they sting. Don't want to find out.
bee + wasp = WHAT ARE YOU

This was the first one we killed. It was on Helen's floor for the night. This is post-shrivel. Seriously, they're huge.

On that note . . .

Amitiés :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011


As promised:
Apparently he's a Place Massena regular.

Once again, since chronology is of little importance here, I'm just going to write things as they pop into my head. Obviously this is the best method.

1. Finally, after a lot of confusion and miscommunication and unprofessionalism and not-my-fault-ism, I am enrolled in the University of Nice as a student! FI-NUH-LY. This means I can access the internet through the student network. Unfortunately, the connection is really bad, and I can only access it from my friend's room on the 5 floor of the residence hall sitting right by the window, but it's a start I guess.

2. I met the other 3 ISEP exchange students earlier this week from Canada, Uruguay, and Argentina. We've definitely got the Americas covered. Which is good, because I've found most international students here are from Germany. Seriously. Maybe 2/3 of them.

3. I went to the beach for the first time this week with Helen (Canada) and Camillo (Argentina--He is obsessed with Celine Dion. Also, I have no idea if this is how you spell his name.) It was really fun, but the water is really salty and gets SUPER deep instantaneously, so it's difficult to swim for too long.

Not every view is ideal.

Then, Camillo and I walked further down the Promenade des Anglais to what we thought was a castle near the beach. We never really found the castle and ended up getting kind of lost at the top of a big hill (story of my life), but the view of Nice and the surrounding area was SPECTACULAR.

Post-beach is a rough look.

Camillo at the falls (artificial . . . mildly disappointing)

Forefront: Vieux Nice (Old Nice): houses, churches,
markets, and everything adorable


Port view on the other side of the hill

4. One night when Helen and I were leaving to find something to eat, we met a big group of other students and ended up staying with them for a while. They're really nice and helpful when I don't understand something (which is pretty much all the time), and we've hung out with them a lot since. When we first met them, they told Helen she looked like Eva Longoria. They told me I looked like Laura from Little House on the Prairie.

5. There are very few introduction activities for exchange students here. It's pretty much a DIY environment (especially with ISEP).

6. Malls are malls are malls. Nothing too special there.

Except for the elevators. Very "Willy Wonky"

7. Last night, there was a big beach party thing & most of the international students were there. I met a LOT of Germans. One girl in particular survived a Creepy-French-Guy-Encounter with me (which are all too frequent here), and we totally bonded over that.

8. I've decided I miss goldfish. Not the animal. The cracker. There aren't any snacks that smile back here.

9. Also I tried paté for the first time. Not too bad. Didn't ask what was in it though. Didn't really want to know.

Amitiés :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


No phone. No bank account. No internet (of my very own). C'est la vie :)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia

une cuillère: spoon

"In the film 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice" the hero's name was:"
A. Percy Jackson
B. Dave Stutler
C. Edward Cullen
D. Harry Voldemort

This was a question on a French game show I was watching in my hotel. Needless to say I would have kicked butt.
Hairy Voldemort?

Anyway. I've finally moved everything into my dorm. Unfortunately, I don't have internet access their yet because I don't have a phone yet. (It's very complicated and equally as stupid.)

"But, Molly," you might ask, "How are you updating your blog? Isn't that on the internet??"

Yes, hypothetical reader, you're exactly right. But I'm not in my dorm. I trekked all the way back to my hotel, and I'm in the lobby using their wifi probably not entirely legally.

So a lot has happened these last few days, and since I don't have my journal next to me, I can't remember everything chronologically. So here are some pieces of my memory batter, cooked and ready for you to enjoy:

1. My dorm room is miserably hot and humid. I'm not sure if it's that Europeans don't believe in air conditioning or if they just don't want me to have it. Last night I slept with my window open (which only goes up about 6"--I think it's broken) and my door open to improve circulation. I still woke up at 4 though and laid on the floor in front of my open refrigerator. It was super fun.

2. I have introduced myself by name to only one other student so far. We got off at the same bus stop and he had 5 or 6 rolling suitcases, so I offered to help him carry them up the MOUNTAIN to the dorm. His name was Michel, and he is literally the only person I've talked to without then having to purchase something.

3. Observation: Americans are EXTRA easy to spot.

4. Observation: New people in general are even easier to spot. They just stare at things for a really long time. I watched this guy stare at the bus ticket machine for at least 5 minutes without touching it. (He also still had an airport tag on his backpack [clue #2].) He then went over to the atm and stared at it for another 3-5 minutes. Just staring.

5. In the Place Masséna (the central shopping area of Nice), there was a man dancing to Billie Jean wearing all MJ attire. He pretty much only had one move. It was hilarious. Pictures to come later.
Place Masséna--picture from the Internet. NEVER this empty.

6. Observation: Buses are unreliable. I lugged my luggage (ohhh, I never noticed that . . . ) from the hotel to my dorm, a trip that should have taken 40 minutes to an hour tops, but, instead was delayed, rain-soaked, and moderately disgruntled for 4 1/2 hours. Basically, there was an accident on the bus route, so they were redirected around my stop (obviously). I wandered A LOT.

7. I asked the front desk of my dorm if they had bed sheets for sale. The man asked me if I was a doctor. Also, they didn't have sheets.

8. In the shower, the water stops running about every 30 seconds. You have to keep pushing the ON button. I guess it saves water.

9. I did find a little convenient store the other night on accident (where I bought the pomélo, the delicious imposter). So I tried to find it again last night, but I couldn't. It was gone! Then I stopped looking for it, and I totally found it.

NARNIA. Yet another instance where a bad sense of direction=MAGIC. It's very cute and price friendly. They sell some foodstuffs, household items, !fresh produce!, a wall of wine, and BAGUETTES!!
I bought some fruit, yogurt, and, of course, a baguette. He remembered me from before, and we talked for a minute. The price came out to 6,66€, so he made a joke about the devil. blah blah blah. Then, he taught me the word for spoon (see above) and gave me one too! Yay!
This will be my store. Pictures to come . . . again.


Amitiés :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Around the World in 80 Days!

I want to dedicate this poem to the many hours of sleep that I lost 2 nights ago. You will be missed. I call it "Nice's Pieces."

I made it to Nice,
And all in one piece.
Wow! It hasn't sunk in that I'm here!
Even though I've no friends,
I'll make some by the end,
Since I've already paid for the year.

Nice ahoy! I can't believe my directionally challenged brain was able to get me here FINALLY. And I haven't really gotten that lost yet!

Here's one for you: if a plane leaves Nashville at 12:25 in the afternoon traveling at 30,000 ft, flying at whatever speed planes fly, how long will it take a sleep-deprived 20 year old to get to France?
Somehow the answer is 4 in the afternoon the next day. But Nice is also 7 hours ahead. Too much math there.

Some of the highlights so far:

1. Nashville
    -There was a bird in the airport. So I took a picture.

    -There was also a woman reading The Help upside down. I did not take a picture.
2. New York, New York!!
    -Surprise! I was waiting in the wrong terminal for like an hour and a half. This did, however, wind up working in my favor because I totally saw Nigel Barker on his way to the Helsinki gate. Finland's Next Top Model?

    -I did manage to make it to my terminal on time. Whew. Then they called my name over the loudspeaker to swipe my passport for some reason. I don't know, maybe I'm on a list now.
    -I watched Paul on the plane. Don't do it. It sucked.
    -Also the guy next to me had dreads, his pants were rolled up to his knees, and he drank 2 mini bottles of airplane wine before falling asleep on my shoulder. Oh, I'm sorry, the Captain guy sitting next to me.

3. London
    -I saw a double-decker bus.
4. NICE!
    -I kept finding myself nodding off with my mouth WIDE open. One time I jumped and made a nasty throat noise, so I tried to cover it up with a cough. I thought it was successful, but the next time I woke up the girl next to me was gone. I thought she'd gone to the bathroom. She never came back. I must have scared her off with my rude American sleepiness.
    -There was another bird in the airport. It's symbolic and meaningful.
5. Le bus
    -We rode past the beach. Speedos.
6. Temporary hotel
    -All the amenities of an American hotel, 1/4 the size.


Views from mah window.

    -When I turned on the tv, the first shows I saw were 7th Heaven, Extreme Home Makeover Edition, and Kyle XY (in French, obvi). Classic television.
    -A yummy boulangère-made sandwich ensued.

Today was filled with traveling from one side of Nice to another trying to sort through my housing sitch. REALLY long story short, I now have a dorm room! It is, if you can believe it, at most, 1/2 the size of my hotel room. So what is that, 1/8 the size of an American hotel room?? F'reals.

This was the view from somewhere on the street where I found my dorm. Sometimes being lost has its advantages.
I kid you not.

Also I thought I bought my first PAMPLEMOUSSE today. Turns out it was a pomelo? Disappointment. Then pleasant surprise.

These posts won't be so long as the year progresses. But isn't that how blogs work?

Amitiés :)
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