Tuesday, September 30, 2014

La Bretagne

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1. The Pointe du Raz, 2. Some delicious macaroons, 3. Cathedral #1, 4. A couple picture with my friend Marisa, 5. The Château de Kerguéhennec, 6. Quimper resembling the Republique in Rennes, 7. The Breton flag, 8. At The Château de Kerguéhennec with Marisa + Nhyria, 9. Walking along the water in Douarnenez, 10. Triskell symbol decorated loafers, 11. The Pointe Du Raz with my English D gals (Marisa + Olivia), 12. Quimper cuteness, 13. Descending down the Pointe Du Raz


    Just last weekend, we took a school organized trip throughout Brittany and we visited Finistère and Morbihan, which are departments adjacent Ille-et-Vilaine. Coming off of our first full week of school, my enthusiasm was nearly nonexistent and my expectations low. You can't really expect too much excitement from school trips, but school trips in France definitely have an edge on the others. While a lot of it was historic and educational, there was still a good chunk of which interested me. After a few stops spent analyzing some gothic cathedrals, we stopped at the Château de Kerguéhennec, which you can see in the fifth picture. It was so grand and elaborate- we all could't help but joke that it was our summer house, haha. There was also a surrounding park with sculptures and a mini lake which added to the wanderlust. Eventually, we were back on the road again en route to Douarnenez, which is a town outfitted with boats and fishing galore. We took a stroll around the area and surveyed the different boats, then resorted to some comfy chairs in the museum lobby. Our next day, Saturday, was spent mostly in the town of Quimper. After a quick walk around and inside the under construction Gothic Cathedral of Quimper, we had a guided tour around the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper, where we learned about different artistic techniques and intentions for painting. One of my favorite parts of the trip was probably the free time we were given in Quimper. I would describe it as a quainter and cuter version of Rennes. For lunch, my friends and I found a cafe at the center of the town, which was buzzing with people. We originally went to this cafe to avoid an extremely loud traveling musical group, but then they found there way to us, trumpets and all. I indulged in a galette with egg, cheese, and chorizo, and then we all split a wonderful lava cake brownie. Some of our teachers recommended Les Macarons de Philomene, which had some of the best macaroons I've ever eaten. Plus, the dark chocolate coco one was painted with a galaxy like overlay, which was a firm selling point for me. The day was finished with a visit to the Pointe Du Raz, which is the closest spot in France to the USA. When our teachers informed us of that, I was a little bummed to be "so close to home", but at the same time it was a really cool idea to think about. After just a few steps on the vast area, my friends and I had decided that this incredibly picturesque place was straight out of a Patagonia ad or even the movie National Treasure. We could hear the violently crashing waves without difficulty as we all descended down the rocky mountain. Many students were more brave than others and climbed different mini rock mountains, while my friends Marisa, Carolyn, Olivia, Heather, and I stayed on flat terrain and had a photo shoot. On our long return home, we made a stop at the museum of Jean Dubuffet, which was filled with over 200 of his works of art. It was a bit of an eerie museum, but I did quite enjoy his 3D sculptures from his Coucou Bazaar collection. As with all of our bus rides to each stop, we all then gave into sleep and woke up finally back in good ole' Rennes. 

P.S. We had an assignment to shoot different symbols of Bretagne, which includes the triskell (featured on the shoe basket) and the unofficial flag of Brittany. We learned about the symbols and flags in great detail as well, so it was interesting to see the images come to life. 

Hope you enjoyed this post! Things have been a little crazy here and it feels like school picked up the pace in a matter of a day, leaving everyone a little scattered/distressed. I've just been trying to get things figured out, especially the fact that I'm almost 1/9th done with my school year abroad. Insanity! Next weekend, we will be crossing the Mont Saint-Michel with our host siblings, and I honestly thought it was much further away- I guess the month just went quickly. Time is definitely flying by and I just hope I am not regretful of not using this year to the fullest. Just some Saturday afternoon thoughts. Have a wonderful day! xoxo


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Saint Briac Sur Mer

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Wearing:// Top: Brandy Melville, Jacket: Mother Denim, Shorts: LF (Urban Renewal Chiffon Short), Shoes: Jack Roger, Sunnies: Wildfox 


Within a week, I had gone from spending my first weekend in Rennes overwhelmed with sleep deprivation weighing heavily on my eyes to making my first voyage around Brittany with my host family. Like lots of Americans, many French people escape the suburbs or the city for a tranquil alternative- the beach. Several of my friends also made a trip to the beaches of Saint-Malo, while my host mom took me and some of the college students boarding in her house to Saint Briac Sur Mer, which is just next to Saint-Malo. Growing up, I've always had the beach right at my fingertips, and being able to hear the crash of the waves as opposed to the sirens and speeding cars of Rennes was refreshing.  We took a semi-chilly hour long walk along the beach with my host mom's daughter and her huge lug of a dog, Pearly, who loved to run along the empty beach. One of my favorite sites along this walk was a strange cross over of the water going in two different directions, which you can see in the sixth picture. Even though we remained on the same path in the same place, it was almost as if the scenery changed significantly with every step. After some fresh air, we had a massive lunch as per usual, which was finished with a tarte au chocolat to make the bread/quiche/chicken/everything filled meal even better. Stomachs rounded and spirits high, we sat and relaxed on the beach for our afternoon remaining. With my eyes resting and serenity washing over me, I was quickly awoken by hearing  "Let it Go" from Frozen being sung passionately in French by a group of little kids. What a delightful day. 

Even though I brought mostly [several] mountains of sweaters for this year, I still remembered to throw in some more summery pieces for part of September. In order to tone down my rather loud patterned shorts, I chose to go more basic for my top since I didn't want to stick out too much as an American. There's only so much you can do, really. The first week or so I was here, it was pretty brisk but would get progressively hot, and so a jean jacket was the perfect go-to for layering. Ignore the fact that I may or not wear it for the next 1000 posts. I brought out my inner boarding-school-prepster with some gold sandals to make our beach promenade a bit easier. My priorities are a new level, that's for sure! Hope you enjoyed these pictures! Talk soon. xoxo 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Promenade

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Wearing:// Top: Nordstrom, Jacket: Mother Denim, Jeans: Citizens of Humanity, Shoes: Converse, Sunnies: Wildfox, Bag: Longchamp 



Even though I've only been here just two weeks, it feels as if I took these pictures ages ago. Somehow, the time passes slowly but the days feel super long and jam-packed, which I've started to realize is la vie en France. Just a few days ago, we were sent out to discover this enchanting and vast city, while our teachers scrambled to create our schedules. After a good hour or so of "trying" to find answers, we stumbled upon some of our other classmates and while some students bought croissants, my friend Carter and I took some pictures in front of the Maison Ti Koz. Evidently, the date written on the facade of this medieval looking building ended up being a question later in the hunt, so I was easily able to find the answer by zooming in on these pictures! #bloggerwin. With my feet tingling from walking to all ends of the city, we returned with a good bit of the sheet done, not exactly caring whether or not we would win the hunt since we were satisfied with our solo explorations across Rennes. Because this was a Wednesday, our first Wednesday of the school year, we were then let out at 12, in response to the universal Wednesday half day in France. My friends and I hit all of the European boutiques and outdoor cafes, noting a Lush and The Body Shop in town (there's also Subway haha). It was really hard not to grab everything in sight at these quaint shops- gorgeous cardigans and elegant shirts graced my yearning fingertips and I may or may not have walked out with one. Or two. It's all a blur at this point. You could say that was a good day. 

Today I went to the weekly Saturday market with a student renting a room at my host family's house, Estelle. She pointed out all of the different sections of the market (fish, meat, flowers, jelly, vegetables, chocolate, etc.), helped me with names of things I didn't know in French, and showed me *the* best chocolate stand. Ever. Thank goodness for samples! Afterwards, we both decided we should probably do some homework before we would have drinks with some neighbors and head to Saint Briac-sur-Mer all day tomorrow. If I have my facts straight, it's a beach/town just an hour outside of Rennes. I will definitely be posting some pics from there soon! Hope all of you are well. Kisses from France! xoxo


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lustering

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Wearing:// Sweater: LF Stores, Jeans: Topshop (Run small but the waist is huge!), Booties: Jeffrey Campbell


With the nights getting brisker and the fall feels coming on, I say bring on the sweaters and pumpkin aromas! While I could live with having summer/no school year round, there are a few fall things that make the transition less grueling; cinnamon + other spiced drinks, cozy knit sweaters, ankle booties, and the changing of the leaves (I really enjoy the red ones). I'm not quite sure if I'll get that whole experience in France, considering it rains on reg in Brittany. Although, on those chillier nights when I will likely be avoiding homework by taking strolls, boyfriend jeans + booties + cropped sweaters will = comfy bliss. Sounds like a plan to me!


Sorry to keep this post short and very scatterbrained, but I'm off to the book store to buy some more school supplies! I swear I've been to the mall here at least 5 times, each trip for more notebooks! I didn't realize we would need so many and I also accidentally bought a graph paper only one, haha. Additionally, I am thoroughly regretting not bringing those boyfriend jeans and that sweater right now! Anyway, I hope you guys are doing well and had a good Monday! I'm pretty exhausted, I've got to say. But get pumped for my first France outfit post coming next! Woo hoo! 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Rennes | First Glimpse

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1. An important politician's house, 2. Some of the beautiful flowers in the Parc du Thabor, 3. My host mom walking her energetic dog Athos, 4. A Pyrenean mountain dog that I stalked in the park because I saw the movie Belle et Sebastian, 5. A young woman on her scooter rocking some color + a union jack, 6. A little girl pokes around for fish in a water basin in the park, 7. An awesome vine growing on the facade of a house in town, 8. The street where our school is, 9. Insane architecture in the center of Rennes, 10. Flower mazes in the massive park, 11. The beautiful SYA school building, 12. Some photos I took on my phone


        To say these past few days have been a whirlwind of overwhelming and exciting emotions would be an understatement. I guess I should start from the beginning- Boston. Before heading off to Paris via Boston Logan airport, my mom and I drove up early in order to explore Boston as well as avoid being late due to traffic. We spent our two days shopping on the wonderful street of Newbury and stuffing our faces with lobster rolls. YUM. For a while, our stay at the hotel and the touristy things we did just felt like a regular vacation, as opposed to the launching point for a completely new life I would soon being creating. It only really hit me that this was all actually happening once we were in the Hilton listening to the director and president speak about the year that would ensue. With all the talk of their expectations and other things that were said in order to reassure the parents, I felt almost dismayed by their lectures. "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea?" But alas, I eventually boarded the plane and said a goodbye to my mom. Eventually, I made my way through the decently long security line and waited as my classmates slowly made their way through the overweight suitcase lands to the more relaxed gate area. 

Our flight was at the late hour of 10:50 PM, and I was thankfully able to sleep somewhat, but still talk to some girls from my program sitting next to me. When we finally arrived in Paris, the only thing going through my mind was, "How will I ever transport my suitcases?!" However, my friend and I ended up finding those rather large suitcase carts which were free at CDG. When we arrived at the busses, we were all buzzing with nervousness in anticipation of our arrival. That feeling subsided after sitting for an hour when we were eventually informed that 7 peoples' suitcases were lost (and still are). We left Paris sans their suitcases and began our 5ish hour drive to Rennes. The speed bumps in our journey did not stop there. When we were just 30 miles outside of Rennes, my bus's tire just beneath me on the driver's side exploded! I honestly felt like we were going to flip or something horrible was going to happen. It was a scary experience, okay? About an hour later, we transferred everything onto another bus and continued the adventure. After being dropped off, I found my host family within seconds and we walked to the house which happens to be about 2 minutes walk from school and everything really. 

These past few days have been all about adjusting as best I can before school starts. Yesterday, we took a little tour of Rennes and the bustling city life. There are so so many shops and restaurants, a few of which are American- I also can't wait to venture into some of the hole-in-the-wall cafes. After a cheese, bread, and avocado filled lunch, I took a solo trip to the Parc Du Thabor, which we had visited earlier in the day with my host mom's dog in tow. The park was so much bigger than I had imagined, with oodles of flower mazes, a lawn filled with people chatting, and a large grass square. With my camera in hand, I explored all of the ins and outs, taking in the beauty. I stumbled upon a small basin of water, where tons of children sat pointing at fish and trying to touch them. After sitting there for a while just watching, I eventually returned back to the house for a pie-cheese-type dish for dinner. 

Today was a bit more jam-packed, with lots of walking and running involved. This morning, I took a nice run through the Parc Du Thabor, which was full of other people running and reading beside the flowers. After conquering that pursuit (I've had so.much.food. It was necessary!), we took yet another tour of Rennes, though this time more extensive. We passed by houses with more of a medieval feel and the train station which I expect I will be using in the future. On our way back from the tour, we saw someone from my group and promptly invited them over for cider. Even though I didn't understand a lot of the conversation, observing multiple french people talk was helpful. And now, I am going to finish up this post and set out my clothes for tomorrow because we have school!! Yayy!!!!! So fun!!!! To my luck, it's just orientation and then we have testing Tuesday, with Wednesday being a Rennes exploration day according to one of my classmates. Thank-goodness for two day school weeks. Hope you guys are doing well and enjoy these photos! xo 

P.S. Sorry this is so long! I don't know what got into me, haha. 


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