On Saturday, I did another excursion with the school to see Giverny, a village in northern France where Monet lived and painted. We took a bus from the school and first went to the Impressionism museum where they had a temporary exhibit of music in impressionism. They had paintings of violinists, guitarists, pianists, and dancers, so of course, I loved it. There were a lot of paintings by the painters we studied in art class.
Then, a few of us walked around some gardens just outside of the museum, wandered around the village, and walked in a couple of art galleries.
We walked back to the bus to get our lunches and ate on the grass with some other students. We all met outside of the museum and then walked to Claude Monet’s house and gardens (Monet had designed the gardens, which have been maintained to look how they did when Monet lived there).
We walked through the gardens in the backyard with all the flowers first:
Then, we walked through the Japanese gardens:
It was fun taking pictures in the gardens. If only I knew how to paint…
On Monday, I gave the dreaded 20-minute presentation on how to fight against burn-out in my language class. At dinner, we were talking to our host parents about anglicisms and how French people use a lot of English words like “burn-out” or “DJ” (or “jet set”… I had never even heard that one in English before). I explained how Emily and I have trouble understanding them when they say English words because we try to find a French word in what they said, but it’s not French.
Wednesday was our last day of classes before exams. Emily and I ate lunch outside and some of the professors brought in food for the last class. After dinner, we left for our Barcelona trip.
When we came back on Sunday, Emily wanted to stop and buy a pastry on the walk home from the train station, so we went to a boulangerie and when she bought it, the man asked what color rose she wanted. She said she didn’t want one, but he handed her one anyway. On the way home, we were trying to figure out why they were passing out roses and I said it must be their Mother’s Day or something. When we got home, I checked online and saw that I was right, so Emily gave it to our host mom.
I had exams Monday through Thursday, so I took exams and studied most of Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, I took the art exam and then walked downtown to find the art on display. The city of Angers had people paint some buildings to bring art into the streets.
It was nice to see downtown in the summer with flowers:
I walked across the bridge and walked around town on the other side of the river since that was one of the parts of the city I hadn’t explored yet.
On Thursday, I had my last exam, which was an oral debate between another student and I. After getting groceries, I met Edmée and her husband at their apartment. Edmée showed me a map of where they have hiked in Europe. Over the course of three years, they had hiked 900 km across southern France and northern Spain. They did another 900 in northwestern Spain along the coast, and now they’re working on the coast of the Brittany region. She then brought out some desserts she made for me to try: a pudding-like cream and chocolate salami.
Friday was Emily’s last full day in Angers, so we went on a walk and stopped at McDonald’s to get ice cream. We came back and watched a French comedy movie.
I went to the train station with Emily on Saturday and then I finally went to the big market near the station that everyone told me about. It was a pretty big market with all kinds of food, clothes, and jewelry.
On Sunday, I ate breakfast as my host dad told me about the terrorist attack in London. I finished packing and then he drove me to the train station. I ran into another girl from CMU, who happened to be taking the same train to head home. We got off at the airport and I took a shuttle to a hotel. I flipped through some French TV channels for awhile and went to bed.
I flew back on Monday. It felt a little weird being back, but mostly felt like I was just there. Here’s a quick FAQ since everyone’s been asking me about my trip: Are you planning on living in France? No, but I definitely have a list of places to travel next in Europe. Did you learn a lot? Yes. I expected to pick up on more vocabulary, but it’s definitely a lot easier to speak and understand people. Are you fluent? I guess… I can hold a conversation and talk around words I don’t know, although there are still a lot of words I don’t know that a five-year-old French kid would know (doorknob, tile, bucket…). Favorite place you went? Cinque Terre. Favorite place in France? Nice. Do you feel like a changed person? I ate Italian gelato and my whole world changed.
It really was a great experience. When I look back through my pictures, I can’t believe all the places I went. Thanks for reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it 🙂