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Showing posts from February, 2017

Chocolate crinkle cookies!

You can never go wrong with cookies. I think that that is a very important lesson to baking - if you had planned to bake something extraordinary or difficult and just aren't feeling up to it, cookies are always a good option to fall back on. That is what happened today - I had planned to bake chocolate éclairs, but I just didn't feel like it. Plus, I forgot all of my baking stuff in Vienne including my piping bags and I couldn't find any at the store, so cookies seemed like a good option.
Which cookie do I choose? This question could take a while to answer. There are so many amazing cookies out there and they all have different meanings. For example: you make chocolate chip cookies when you just want a damn cookie and don't want to go to the store to get ingredients; you make peppermint mocha cookies when you want to make something impressive, but just for you to eat; you make macarons for the pictures and bragging rights. At least, thats what those cookies mean to me…

Calissons and tapenade and lavender! Oh my!

Thursday the 23rd of February
My host sister and I went to Aix-en-Provence today! We had to get up a little earlier than I would have liked during my vacation time, to drive to Salon-en-Provence with my host mom - we took the bus from there and that's also where she works. The bus was about 40 minutes, so it wasn't too bad, but for some reason public transportation is very expensive here!

We arrived in Aix at 11 and we went straight to the atelier de Cézanne which was the whole reason that I wanted to come to Aix. It was a very interesting studio - he built it with a huge window facing north to let as much natural light in as possible. I also had a very interesting and educating conversation with the guide there. We had seen the movie "Cézanne et moi" in French class before Christmas, so I felt that I knew a lot about him, but she went into detail about his paintings and not so much about his life and I left the conversation feeling like a Cézanne expert!

We then wal…

Day trip to Nîmes!

Wednesday the 22nd of February
I woke up pretty late today, because the train to Nîmes left at 12:30. I left the house at 11:45 though, because the train station was a good 30 minute walk away and I didn't want to miss my train - not the best walk, but I did find a line of maybe 100 millipedes (?) across the sidewalk. I got my ticket which was super overpriced and waited for the train. Nîmes wasn't actually super high on the list of towns to visit, but there are some Roman monuments that I thought that I should see.

I arrived at 1 and went straight to the Arena of Nîmes which is the best preserved Roman amphitheater. I got an audioguide and was there for a good hour! I learned many interesting tidbits, for example during gladiator fights, the loser did not always have to die, but usually stopped fighting due to fatigue or injuries - then the arena master decided if he had fought a worthy fight and was either killed by his opponent or left the arena alive.

After the Arena, I wa…

Been dying to see this!

Monday the 20th of February
Oh my god we visited the Pont du Gard today!!! I have always wanted to see it and we have talked about it a bajillion times in history and Latin class in Villach, and I even did a presentation about it in French! If anyone doesn't know what the Pond du Gard is, it was a Roman aqueduct with 3 stories - and is the second tallest Roman construction still standing (275m). It transported water from Uzès to Nimes which is about 50km. It is amazing and it totally met my expectations! It was so beautiful and the weather was perfect - there was not a cloud in the sky.

The Pont du Gard was about a 45 minute drive from where my host mom's mom (my host grandma?) lives, but the view was nice. Very flat, but pretty. It is very strange to look out of a car or train and have no mountains. Anyway, there was almost no one there when we arrived which is the best thing about travelling in February. We took a few pictures before the tour started in front of the Pont and…

Went to the Mediterranean Sea!

Sunday the 19th of February
We are in Saint-Martin-de-Crau! My host sister and I took the train yesterday and met up with my host mom who lives here with her mom during the week now, because she got a job down here. We were already here a few weeks ago and didn't visit many cities, but we are going to stay here for a week and I have lots of things planned! The first thing that I noticed here, is that it is much warmer than in Vienne - it will be around 60°-65° all week, which is about 10° warmer. It is the perfect temperature and since it is February not as many people will be visiting all of the major tourist sites! 

I got up pretty late today - the blinds in my room work very well, so it's always pitch black in my room when they're down. The whole family came over for lunch today, so my host mom and I got the baguettes and did some last minute grocery shopping. My host mom has 2 younger brothers that live pretty close and they came over with their families so there was a…

Not the best Wednesday

Wednesday the 15th of February
Today had lots of potential to be great. Unfortunately, it was poorly thought out and executed which I probably should have known would happen - you can't plan group events in less than 24 hours. As I'm writing this, I realize that I'm not so mad at today as I am at myself. I always have such high expectations for things and when things don't turn out exactly as I imagined I feel let down and very disappointed. The day itself wasn't horrible, but in comparison to what I had hoped for, it kind of was, which is something that I feel quite often. Like Jenna Marbles says, if you don't have high expectations, you can't be let down.

Yesterday at school I brought up the idea of going bowling - I had already researched beforehand and knew that there was a bowling alley in Lyon, so I brought up the idea to Dārta and Alex. They were very enthusiastic about it, so I proceeded to invite a few other people that I had been friendly with. I …

A very active day

Saturday the 11th of Febuary I walked for 3 1/2 hours today! This morning, my host mom, dad, brother and I went to the market to get some fresh produce - we walked around for about an hour and got some lettuce, oranges, cow cheese, artichokes and a few avocados for my school lunches (I can't eat pb&j's everyday...). I love going to the market, there are so many different stands there selling different specialties like cheeses, olives and mushrooms - the atmosphere is great.  We didn't go straight home, because we had to pick up the fresh bread at the boulangerie - obviously. I always feel very French when I hold baguettes. 

We arrived back home around 12, so we made lunch and ate together. We tried the cheeses, that we had bought - some firmer and some softer cow cheese. The firmer one had a much more intense flavor and the softer one was very creamy and mild - the latter of the two tasted much better to me probably because the first one smelt bad in my mouth, if that is …

Thursday the 9th and Friday the 10th

Thursday the 9th
Our German teacher was not at school today, which meant that the whole class had to sit in a huge room for an hour and not talk. So that was fun. After that I had science/biology for the first time, which started out with a test that I was not prepared for, but I still believe that I at least passed it. All of the answers were on the front side and the questions were on the back side and they could easily be filled out with some common sense - either that or I completely failed the test. We didn't really do anything for the rest of the lesson but copy the answers to questions that another student had finished. Before we could go to lunch, all of the international students from our class went to see an English teacher that helps us out if anything is going wrong. The teacher had really good English and was extremely nice.

Alex wanted to get kebabs and I was on board, but when we got the the kebab place I changed my mind because they were expensive! I had brought a …

Monday the 6th and Tuesday the 7th of Febuary

(Not much happened on Saturday and Sunday, because I was sick.)

Monday the 6th
Today was the first day that I had to wait at school before first period started and I was kind of nervous, because I didn't know where my classmates like to wait before class. Small things like this are things that I never thought about before changing schools! You don't want to be the strange kid waiting around with no friends - thats why I tried to get to my old school as late as possible. So I saw some students waiting in the corridor, but I didn't see anyone I knew so I climbed the stairs, hoping that someone would be in front of the classroom. I lucked out! A few of my classmates were waiting there and I partook in some light conversation - it feels great to be included.

I asked a few questions about the schedule and it turns out that we don't have any math/biology/sciences which is pretty strange, but also means that we don't have school on Wednesday. Ever. Which is amazing, but I …

First day of school Take 2

The first day of school at a new school is always hard, especially if you are in a foreign country and shy. This is common knowledge. But a lot of people have never been the new kid at school - I was the new kid twice in the past 3 weeks. It was much harder than I anticipated. My expectations were way to high going into the public school - I thought that I would leave school with tons of new friends, because I would be the cool, new Californian that was a little weird. But I was not at all prepared for the realities of every other school system other than the Austrian one. See, in Austria we live in a bubble, which my parents have always said and I always agreed, but I never really got it. Having gotten a glimpse of what a real public high school is like, has really helped me understand and has also frightened me.

When I got accepted to the private school I was ecstatic, but I was even more terrified that I would go through the same things as I did in the public school. So when I arri…

Wednesday the 1st of February

Happy February! I had en exciting start to the day today - I woke up 10 minutes before the bus left! I still managed to leave the house at the right time, and I caught the bus and the only thing that I had to sacrifice was a thorough face wash, substituted by a slash of water. What happened is, that I had set an alarm for 6:45, which is probably way to early considering it takes me 1 min to get dressed and maybe 5-7 minutes for my bathroom routine. I don't eat breakfast, so that takes away a good 10 minutes from my routine. Usually, I turn off the first alarm and set a timer for 10 minutes and wake up again after that. This time, I forgot to set a timer. But everything turned out fine, so I think I'll wake up 15 minutes before my bus leaves now - I know that I can catch it anyways.

1:45 PM
OH MY GOD THE PRIVATE SCHOOL JUST CALLED AND ACCEPTED ME!!!!!!! I am extremely excited! My host mom called in the morning and they said that they would call us tomorrow to tell us, but then t…