Ain’t No Mountain High, Ain’t No Valley Low

So, as I wrap up my first complete week in France, I feel like there have already been so many things to talk about. Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to start a tradition where towards the end of every week, I go through the peaks/pits of the week, just to kind of keep track of everything that goes on. This is something I hope to continue for my entire trip, unless, of course, the pit of a certain week is my death, in which case this blog will probably be of little concern to anyone anyways.

Oh, and for those of you wondering, yes, I did get the inspiration for this from an episode of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” in which they did the same thing, and yes, I do hate myself. To be fair though, it was an episode during the whole 72-day marriage debacle and let’s be honest, everyone was at least mildly interested in watching that train wreck.

Back to topic, here were some of my peaks/pits of my first ten days:

Peaks

  • Meeting awesome people that use cool phrases. One of the things I was most worried about for studying abroad was not making friends and ending up like that creepy person in a downtown Milwaukee Dunk N’ Donuts that talks to themselves – France doesn’t have Dunk N’ Donuts that I know of, but you get the point. Everyone I have met so far, though, has been so awesome, fun, and welcoming; it really is such a relief. I love when people go out of their way to make people feel included; in fact, if it didn’t have any sexual connotations attached, I would have the motto “The more the merrier” engraved on my tombstone. Plus, it’s awesome having British friends that use words like “wanker” and say the time as “half past four”.

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    Here are some of the amazing people I have met in my dorm. This is the night we spent 55 euros on a single bottle of vodka, for which they gave us no chaser. In order to be properly horrified by that amount, please look up the exchange rate to American dollars.

  • Le Braderie. The Braderie is a huge flea market that takes over the entire city. It’s taken me a little bit to write about because I wanted to think of a good analogy, something that would paint the perfect picture. Turns out, I don’t really have much to compare it to because it was basically utopia! Ok, maybe not, I typically don’t imagine utopia having vomit on its sidewalks or prosthetic legs on display but, who knows, everybody’s idea of perfection is different. Truth be told though, the Braderie was completely awesome, and best described through pictures:
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This picture gives you an idea of just how massive this market is. So many people and the stores/booths on the streets were endless. Also, as you can see, there were balloons!

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Just two of the many gems that could be found at the market….a pair of prosthetic legs! I am unsure if these were actually being sold or they were trying to pay people to take them.

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I am willing to deal with how unflattering this picture is because it so accurately describes my reaction to the specialty food of the region that was being sold everywhere at the Braderie: moules et frites (mussels and French fries). The day before, I went to a restaurant and got these for lunch. I was by myself and wasn’t sure how to eat them, so an old French guy tried to show me while the entire restaurant watched. Go America.

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No alcohol sales during the Braderie (supposedly). There was a guy selling rum out of a window though and no one appeared to be concerned.

  • Saying to myself “Holy shit, this is where I live” about ten times a day. It’s France, after all. There are like a million beautiful buildings…I don’t know what they’re actually for, but they’re beautiful as shit.

Pits

  • The Great Cell Phone Debacle of 2012. It’s not even worth going into all the particulars, but the moral of the story is that when they say in France nothing is easy, they mean it. Oh, and I still don’t have a phone that works.
  • I Now Know How Southerners Feel. Whenever people hear my accent, they think I’m dumb. Ok, they don’t think I’m dumb, but they know I’m American immediately and sometimes they laugh at my accent. It’s only frustrating when you say something that uses a lot of verb tenses or is difficult to say and in your mind you think you nailed it, then people respond in English. I’m trying to learn here people!
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I just wanted to include a picture of a Barry White CD being sold in France. You’re welcome Earth.

  • Having The Best Comebacks Ever Thirty Minutes After the Interactions Occur. For example, walking down the street the other day and I was wearing sunglasses. This guy and his friend were like “It’s not sunny” to me and started laughing. It took me a few seconds to understand what they said and by the time I did I was gone, so I couldn’t say something clever back, like “maybe in my world it is” (that’s not actually that clever, but still). And for the record, it was as sunny as it gets here and I really wanted to wear my new sunglasses. Oh, also, another French guy came up to me and asked me if I was wearing a thong (real talk). And no, Mom, before you say it, I was not wearing anything even slightly provocative. I didn’t actually know what he asked me until I got home and Google-translated it. Thanks a lot, Marquette French department, for teaching me these need-to-know phrases. Also, does anybody have a good comeback for when a guy asks you if you’re wearing a thong?

Those are the peaks and pits! Next week classes start, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m taking Constitutional Law so I’ll be practicing how to say “I don’t understand” for the rest of the weekend.

Au revoir!

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One response

  1. Awesome glad you’re having a good time
    -Eric

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