A New Day in the Old Town

It’s so hard to believe that we’re nearly halfway through the semester already. Tomorrow, well technically today, I suppose, I have to take my English 304 midterm, and I am very nervous about that, because I remain pretty confident that I am going to get a pretty terrible grade on it. I am just not used to this kid of English course. Ever since middle school, English classes did not involve actual assessments but instead portfolios which consisted of written work throughout the year, and now, I have to take an actual written assessment in the traditional sense, and I have a multitude of different terms that I need to know the meaning of as well as a multitude of different names that I need to associate with literary periods, and I am really stressing out.

Basically, this semester has really been pretty on and off for me; it’s been pretty bittersweet, in other words. A lot of goodness has come out of this semester, a great deal that is much different than my situation last year. For example, I have an awesome roommate who I am so happy I asked to room with last year; there have been absolutely no issues whatsoever thus far, and I don’t foresee any taking place. There’s a great deal of respect between us, and I definitely think that that is the main reason why this is really working out for us. So, anyway, I am really happy with my living situation, which is currently Waterbury, and apart from the ear-piercing fire alarm, I love everything about it.

Other than that, though, like I said, I’m kind of struggling to sync myself with this English class, and additionally, I am taking Biology, and I am having a really tough time with that as well. I got my first test back last week, and I remember leaving the class in which I had taken the test, thinking that I had managed to pull of a solid C grade, but no, I didn’t have any such luck. I failed it miserably. I was really upset the day that I found out, but not that I’m the type to blame other people for my mishaps, but in this case, I really do think it’s partly my professor that is at fault for this grade, because she flies through the slides, and when a student will ask for the slide to be brought back up, because he or she didn’t have enough time to get everything down, she will say, “All of this is in the book,” so what I’m wondering is why I’m wasting time coming to class then if all of my learning is to be done from the book.

I learn by taking notes in class, letting that sink in and then going over my notes and deciding on what I understand and what I don’t, and what I am not quite absorbing, I resort to the book for, and I am having trouble doing that now, because I’m not learning anything in class. She did say the other day in class that all of the notes are on Angel, so I might just have to go there to read up on the notes, because this really is pretty ridiculous if I may say so myself. I cannot allow myself to fail this class; I really want to put all of my general education courses behind me so that I can get into my major. I honestly do not understand general education requirements. I’ve never in my lifetime going to use anything that I am learning in Biology, for example.

Anyway, I went home this past weekend, and that was really nice. I love this weather; and I love this time of year and everything that it involves. I love the Autumn air, leaves, apple cider and Halloween, of course. The only thing that I don’t like about is that almost all of the things that I love about Autumn, with the obvious exception of Halloween, are indicators that winter is coming, and I hate winter. I can’t stand snow, and I can’t stand the cold, and yes, I chose to Oswego, but don’t ask me why. Everyone always asks me that when I declare my detestation of the winter time, “Why are you going to Oswego then?” Well, I suppose that’s about everything that I wanted to cover this time around. Hopefully, I will be writing a bit more often, but there is just always something occupying my time, and it’s usually not something I’m having too much fun doing. I hope to write again soon, though!

The wonderful things that happen in Paris, pictures included!

So I am offically finished my first week of university in Paris.  I will have to say it is better than I expected, and sitting in a class for three hours is proving to be easier than I originally thought it would be! 

 The most difficult class I am taking, Scolarisation des eleves non-francophone, is an undergraduate/graduate class.  Lucky me!  It was very interesting, and my education classes I have already taken in the States made it easier.  During class our professor asked the class what the definition of multiculturalism was, and after taking an education class that focused on multiculturalism, I immediately raised my hand.  I said that it was a mix of many cultures and my teacher responded by saying, “that is so anglophone of you, where are you from?”  I said New York State and she said, “Yes that is why you think that.”  I was so confused as she asked another student to answer the question.  Apparently different cultures have different definitions for words.  In Europe, all the cultures are essentially divided by the borders of their countries, so in Europe the definition of Multiculturalism is juxtaposing cultures or cultures side-by-side.  Since the United States is many cultures mixed together, it is obvious we would believe multiculturalism is various cultures in an given area.  I knew I was in France, but I never thought I would hear someone tell me, “ohh that was so anglophone of you!” 

The rest of my classes went well, although due to a minor conflict in classes, I switched from my grammer class to an Interculturality class.  I think that comparing French and American cultures will be more interesting than grammer anyway, so it all worked out fine.

Friday I had no classes, but it ended up being one of my busiest days of this week!  I have to go to the Office of Immigrations and have a medical appointment to get my Carte de Sejour that allows me to reenter France if I travel.  So I am hoping to start travelling very soon.  I know that I am going to spend Christmas in Germany with my “brother” Johannes.  Johannes was an exchange student who lived with me and my family while I was in high school.  I am very lucky to be able to spend Christmas with people I know while I am living in Europe.  I hope to visit some other friends I have in Europe as well, but we will see what time allows.  Speaking of travelling,  I booked a spot to go to Mont-Saint-Michel at the end of this month with my exchange program.  I had said before I even left to come to France that if I went anywhere while I was studying abroad it would be to Mont-Saint-Michel, so I am very very excited.

On Friday night I went out to dinner at a resturant near Boulevard Saint Germain.  I went with two of my French friends and it was a lot of fun.  We had some champagne, wine and we ate lots of French food!  For our appetizer we had a french dish that was an egg in a cream mushroom sauce.  It was very good.  For dinner I ate Boeuf Bourguignon, it is beef in a sauce with potatos and carrots.  I forgot the name of the dish my friends had but I tried it then they proceefed to tell me that I actually ate the bone marrow from a beef bone.  It was surprisingly good, but it was hardest to get over the fact that I had eaten bone marrow, I had assumed that the center of the bone had been stuffed with something, not that we were actually eating the marrow of the bone.  Oh well, cultural difference and I tried something new!  And of course for dessert we had creme brulee. 

Saturday I went to La Fete des Vendanges. 
fete des vendanges
It is the festival of grape harvesting, and there were lots of wine stands to buy local wine.  I saw a parade in the middle of Montmartre and it was a lot of fun.  In addition to a wide variety of wines, many of the regions of France had stands with their local cuisines and wines.  It was once again a festival celebrating the culture of France.  I have never seen a country so proud of their culture and heritage and I really enjoy all of the events that happen every weekend.  I have been here for a little over a month and there has already been 3 separate festivals and events celebrating culture!  

People in Montmartre at the Festival!
sacre coeur fdv

Later Saturday, I went to the Seine (The big river that runs through the center of Paris) to celebrate one of my friends birthday.  We sat on the edge of the river, drinking wine and eating lots of Prince cookies and bread with cheese.  It was a lot of fun and I loved watching all of the tour boats going by with their bright lights that shine on the shore.  It was so relaxing and peaceful!

Oh and this is and advertisement in the Metro for Orange Internet and I think it is hilarious so I am posting it!
ily i et i
(There is Internet…… and Internet, I love Mr. Potato Head!)

Paris has been so fun this week, if I stay this busy Iwill be it will be January before I know it.  I don’t know how time can seem so fast or slow!  But  am enjoying my time here while it lasts!  Hope you enjoyed my post this week!  ENJOY!!!!!

Toute a l’heure!

Owen does the Oswego Indie Series

The music scene is quiet around these parts. Unless you travel to Buffalo or Rochester, chances are you probably won’t find much live music. Thankfully, ARTSwego and WNYO college radio are teaming up to bring “The Indie Series” to Oswego State campus.

This month, the campus gets to indulge in the acoustic folk sounds of Owen. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Owen is the brainchild of singer/songwriter Mike Kinsella. Mike is a well-known name in the Chicago indie scene, to say the least. Owen manages to take the unpolished and raw acoustic style of an old-school Bright Eyes while utilizing the sweet sincerity of other stringed instruments like violin and even cello. Mike plays virtually every instrument on all nine of his EP’s and albums.

Owens lyrics are pretty down to Earth. He sings about things going on in his everyday life, sort of like an angelic, teen Bob Dylan with girl problems (and a lot more fluid melody). It doesn’t leave much to the imagination, but it’s calming and soothing. Owen is more of a band to sleep and reflect to than to get amped.

No matter what you choose to do with your Friday night on October 16th, just remember for $5, you can catch a decent show with a bunch of people looking for the same thing; some good music to listen to.

Grad school, its like apple picking

I am looking at grad schools and it was just like this weekend when I went apple picking…some disappointing, some fabulous but so far out of reach.

I am a business student, which means I take the GMATS to get into graduate school. However I will be searching the world over to find just the right fit.

The great thing about apple picking is that just about every apple can be made into a turnover. It is different with grad schools :)

I am loaded with work though, and on the search for another internship for the spring! Everyone should know that the Alumni Symposium is this Monday and Tuesday. The Media Summit is Wednesday and my marketing projects are all due that Friday. So remember to attend them all!

I have so many events to attend next week, I am sure my closet will be destroyed, mad cool times at oz!

Apple Picking in Oswego!

I love the Fall. Even though it means that its getting colder and raining every other day in Oswego, it’s still such a beautiful time of year. Every Fall, at home I used to go apple picking with my family, but now since I’ve been to college it’s been a while. This year some of the girls and guys from my Swimming and Diving team decided to go. We had a lot of fun picking apples and then making a bunch of pies and stuff after! Being here in Oswego, we have the opportunity to take advantage of doing the apple picking and things like that with some awesome orchards around. The place that we went even had kind of a carnival with games, food, and lots of people. It was definitely fun to get away from schoolwork and normal weekends to do something different. For those of you who are reading this, THERES STILL TIME! Make a day out of it… nothing like apple picking and some Sunday football after with some apple cider and pie :)

fellow teammate, Emily!

One of my teammates, Emily!

Une semaine libre et mes cours a commence! (A free week and my classes started!)

So this week has been very eventful.  My orientation program ended about a week ago and I had an entire week to have fun and explore Paris!  Not to mention that I took lots of time to relax before classes started.

So last monday I went to my university, Paris 8: Saint-Denis to choose my classes.  I am taking  literature and politics, advanced grammer, written and oral expression in french and teaching french to non-french speaking students.  I am very happy with my courses that I have picked, but the only class I have actually been to so far is my literature and politics class.  The classes are much different here.  Instead of having one class 3 times a week for 50 minutes or one class twice a week for an hour and 20 min all the classes are 3 hours long and they are each only once a week.  And as a result, I have a lot of free time.  I only have classes on Monday’s, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  It is nice to have a lot of free time, but I am trying to find a job to fill up the rest of my days.  I am waiting for a call from a woman who is looking for a native english speaking person to tutor her two children.  Hopefully it will work out, money and a cultural experience what could be better! 

Last week I also took a day and went to the neighborhood called Bercy.  It is a more modern neighborhood.  I had to take the metro line 14 which is 100% automated, there is nothing running it but computers and I felt like I was in a space age in the metro station.  It is really cool.  Anyway, I took a walking tour of Bercy and I visited the Ministry of France which is a building that was actually moved to it’s current location from the Louvre.  My walking tour continued with the Pala omnisports de Paris-Bercy which is a sports complex and it has grass convered walls that slope down at a 45 degress angle.  I saw a maintenance man mowing the walls, it was an interesting process.  There is a skating rink in Bercy, but it is most used to figure skating and other events like that.  It is sad that the French don’t play much hockey.  Ice Hockey is so rare in France that you actually have to say I play Ice Hockey, because if I were to only say I play hockey everyone would assume I play field hockey.  Oh well, its just another example of cultural differences.  Speaking of hockey, there were several hockey games played in Finland recently and I am very sad that I didn’t get to go, I wanted to but it is quite expensive to fly to Finland from Paris.  C’est la vie!  Outside of the entrance to the skating rink is a water feature that is meant to replicate the gorges of North America, it was very interesting.  Anyway I also visited the Cinematheque Francaise which is a cinema museum and a theatre that showcases  different periods and styles of french cinema.  Right next to the French Cinema there is le Parc de Bercy which is a beautiful park with beautiful gardens and different water features.  It was beautiful.  I really enjoyed my exploration of Bercy.   After visiting Bercy  I went to the Gym and on the way home I happened to meet a French guy named Bille, he was very nice.  It was interesting to meet a french person and spend an evening talking one on one in french.  We visited the Sacre Coeur and then we went to the Champs Elyees.  It was very relaxing and it was such a beautiful night. 

On Thursday I spent a day sightseeing in the Jussieu neighborhood.  I started my walking tour at the Jardin des Plantes.  It is another beautiful botanical garden in Paris.  There are pathways that are protected by trees which arch over the pathways.  It was very magical especially when the sunlight was shining down through the trees.  Then I walked to the Mosque.  It cost money to take a tour, and I just wanted to see the building and the courtyard, but from what I saw it was a very beautiful building.  It was exotic white walled muslim styled building.  It was incredible from what I did see.  My walking tour then brought me toArenes de Lutece.  To me it looked like an arena for theatre or performances, and i learned that it was actually used fcircus and theatrical presentations.  Next to it isthe Cluny bath house which took my breath away the details and beauty of the staircase near it was incredible.  I was really shocked to see that today the arenes de lutece is used for leisurely activities for the people of Paris.  I love when buildings and monuments are used practically and they aren’t just sitting to be looked at.  I also walked by the Pierre and Marie Curie University.  It is a very modern and chic looking building in the middle of Paris, I was quite surprised. 

I think the biggest event of my week was La nuit blanche.  It is an event that happens once a year in Paris.  Basically, it is a celebration of contemporary art that lasts from 7pm until dawn.  There are light exhibits and live music and there were techno dance parties and it was a lot of fun.  It was a really big event and the streets were full of people all night. Here is a link to la nuit blanche in english:   

http://www.paris.fr/portail/english/Portal.lut?page_id=8118&document_type_id=2&document_id=59828&portlet_id=19237

So Saturday night I went to sushi restaurant with a bunch of my friends.   It was good, I don’t like fish but I had some really good kabobs.  After dinner we did some sight seeing in the city until we met up with a few of our other friends.  Then we went to the Luxembourg gardens which was the main event location for la nuit blanche and we had to wait an hour to get in, but we hung out and enjoyed the night while we waited to get in.  The exhibits the garden were incredible they were all based upon lights and expression through light.  I really enjoyed myself.  After that we went to a restaurant bar and got some dessert with wine at 4 in the morning.  It was a nice way to end the evening.  We sat and visited for a few hours.  I stayed the night a friends house and we didn’t go to bed until 7:30 am and of course I got up at noon because I had plans to go to the Louvre. 

Since the Louvre is free the first sunday in every month I decided to spend a few hours exploring the parts of the louvre that I didn’t visit when I last went in March.  It was very relaxing and I had a good time.  I went with one of my french friends and it was funny trying to explain the story behind some of the paintings in French when I learned about it in English.  After spending a few hours in the Louvre we went to eat a late lunch and it was really fun.

Today was my first day of classes.  I had one class and it was literature and politics.  I really enjoyed the class.  It is going to take a little time to get used to the difference in teaching methods from the US to France, but that is why I am here.  I am looking forward to my classes on Wednesday and hopefully they will be as good as my class today! 

SO I wrote a lot today.  It has been a busy week.  I hope everyone enjoys my post and I will try to post more often so my posts aren’t so long.  Thanks for reading and ENJOY!!!

Here is a link to my photo album on Facebook with all my pictures from this week, its my post in photo form! :
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2109922&id=28408367&l=6bbaac8df9