Friday, February 5, 2010

Une maison fantastique en France

Okay, one of my favorite procrastination tactics involves looking at things that are gloriously out of my budget. Recently I was looking at houses in France and stumbled upon this gem located somewhere in the Rhone-Alps region, which I take to mean that it's reasonably close to Lyon. The Sotheby's site calls it "La Tour Sarazin" or the Sarazin Tower. It was built in 1135, features 8,000 square feet of living space, 2 acres of land, all modern features (as of 2005), including a glass elevator, and also boasts 6 feet thick walls. And it's only 2,200,000 Euros. Compared to urban homes, 2 million for a mini-castle seems like a steal. I really like the kitchen. And sorry about the odd picture formatting: I couldn't arrange them like I wanted.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A new semester.

Hello world! It doesn't feel like it's been a month already since my last post. I've done so much in January, which is wonderful. I love being busy. When you're busy, life goes by faster, but when you look back, it really stretches out the time. When you're not busy, you look back and you can't remember anything! At least I can't. Like a lot of times at my previous college, when my brain's main activity was atrophying, I have no memory of what the hell I was doing, just the knowledge that I was probably bitching about some inconsequential flaw in northeastern Missouri's urban planning or watching a Stargate marathon. Thank goodness our dorms had cable. Anyway... I've been busy. My mom took me on a short cruise trip to the Bahamas, which was fantastic, but I went with the wrong expectations. I had never been on a cruise ship, so it took me the first day just to get used to every thing. It was so big! There were several restaurants, hundreds of activities, and lots of fun amenities to explore. We were still accidentally discovering things on the last day. We boarded the ship on Monday and disembarked on Friday. On Monday, with my jetlag, all I wanted to do was eat and sleep (and watch cruise ship TV, which is specially programmed for Royal Caribbean and for the most part is free of commercial advertisements), but by Friday I was wishing we could stay longer. It was a bit chilly, so no swimming or sunbathing. We actually needed jackets in the Bahamas; I got a bit windburned. Keywest was very pretty, and I would really like to go back and stay at one of the hotels. They have tons of shops and I love the buildings - they remind me of old New Orleans.

New Orleans. Pronunciation. I grew up saying New Or-LEANS. But many say New OR-lenz. But the original French pronunciation is like Noo-voe Or-Lee-Ahn... so, I'm going to say New Or-lee-enz. It sounds a little hyper-Southern at first, but it's closer to the original pronunciation.

My classes this semester have me excited. Advanced French, Comparative Political Systems, Intro to International Relations, Cultural Anthropology, and Microeconomics. I want to get A's this semester. My professor for Advanced French is actually French, which in my mind means better quality French instruction, provided they're bilingual. So far, she is the best French teacher I've ever had, and possibly also the most challenging. My teacher last year was from the Congo, and he'd occasionally rant about how kids learning English in other countries are already approaching fluency, while many of us still have the vocabulary of 5 year-olds. She's already telling us the same thing. "By this level of French, you should be able to write 2 pages double-spaced in French no problem [in addition to the 3 other assignments I've already given you all due in 2 days]. It's going to be interesting.

I've started looking at graduate school options. My parents and I can barely afford state tuition right now, so I don't know if graduate school is truly an option, without any extra support. More information on that later. And I'll be posting some pictures of the cruise.