This morning sucked. We missed our bus due to the fact that we're still getting used to the bus schedule. We had to take the tram to campus, which meant stopping at every single tram stop. ugh!
We were 15 minutes late for receiving our exam results. Justin scored at the DEF level (Diplôme Elémentaire de Français), and I scored at the DPF level (Diplôme Préparatoire de Français). In normal terms, Justin scored higher than I did, and will be in higher level classes (I'm really really sad, because our classes aren't even at the same time, but we will make do. We won't have time for lunch anymore, so our big French-style lunches will come to an end on Monday. Most of the restaurants here close around the time our classes let out, so meals will be quite meager for the rest of the semester).
My classes focus around basic things such as grammar, vocabulary, speaking, prononciation (which Justin says I badly need). Justin will get the same thing but on a higher level, and he gets the addition of taking a few culture classes. Our classmates are a mix of people from Germany, Russia, Sweden, Thailand, and Japan. Obviously, the only unifying factor for us is French, so French will be the only language spoken for all classes. A few of our teachers do not speak English at all. I am very excited to get started.
We get two long vacations. Our first vacation starts February 16. With Valentine's Day being around the same time, we've decided to take the first day and go to Paris for Valentine's Day. After that, we'll spend the rest of the break in London, visiting our friend Sarah. I also have a few places I want to see in the UK, so the majority of our first break will be spent in English-speaking land.
Our next big break is around the end of the semester. It starts at the end of April. We've decided to go to Italy for that break. We're still in the planning stages of this trip, but we decided to do Italy later in the semester due to the fact that neither one of us speaks Italian, and we have no connections in the country. By that point in the semester, we're hoping that our French will be good enough that we can use it to get around. Surely in Italy we can find people who speak either English OR French (we may learn a few Italian phrases as well, such as "I do not speak Italian."). Justin says we may go to Greece then too, depending on the country's political state at the time.
On weekends, we're going to do in-country travel. I really want to see Bordeaux and Provence in the spring, and I want to go to Normandy.
Our semester is officially over on May 8. We then have two months to travel how we wish. We will first meet one of our professors in Nice, France to see the South of France. After that, we're meeting a close professor friend in Vienna. A large amount of time will be spent in Vienna because we both have an interest in classical music and opera. After Vienna, we may go to Poland. We want to go as far East as possible. In early June, we will complete our traveling by going to Germany to see Bruce Springsteen in concert. The Springsteen concert will be our re-introduction to American culture, and on June 21, we hop the plane across the pond again.
It's a lot. I know. :)
Besides the planning, today was a beautiful, sunny day in Orleans (those are rare). We had lunch outside at one of our favorite restaurants (one of the few still open at 2 in the afternoon). Justin had a sandwich, and I had a large salad (grilled steak, potato-y things, and a yummy dressing. and I had a glass of red wine. Justin had a beer). After lunch, we stopped by a chocolate shop, and I wanted to eat everything in the store. I settled on Tiramisu chocolates (my mother is eating her heart out), and Justin had a big bar filled with cointreau. Both were absolutely amazing. We stopped and looked at flowers, and then we had an espresso at our favorite café. Friday nights in Orleans are amazing! There were musicians in the street and the market opened by the statue of Joan of Arc. We bought dried fruit (strawberries! yum!), bread for breakfast in the morning, and some coffee (we forgot to have it ground, though. oopsy!).
It was a wonderful, beautiful day, and I've never been happier for sunshine. Tiramisu chocolates are pictured.
We leave at 7:30 tomorrow morning for Paris for the weekend. EEEEE! :D
I still hate the cat.