Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pictures Galore!

OK, so again, this is going to be a picture-orientated blog post, mais c'est ça! But first, your weekly updates! So things here have more or less settled into a rhythm and I'm getting settled and everything. As you know, I finally have my bank account up and running. I got a bureau so I'm not literally living out of my suitcase anymore, which is nice. I also got a cell phone, which is worth noting because the who cell phone thing is very different here in France. Calling is really expensive so my plan is 1 hour of calling per month and unlimited texting. This is what mostly everyone my age has so the #1 method of communication is, you guessed it; texting! However, unlike at home, it's not really a problem in school here. Everyone does their texting between classes, not during, whereas at home it's a constant problem for the teacher. I guess France is just cool like that! School has also regularized (c'est un mot? je ne pense pas...) and I now know my schedule and my classmates well enough so that I no longer run around getting lost in the hallways and walking in to classes late. Although I did do that the other day, but hey!, no one told me my free block was being replaced by a class president election so I turned up 20 minutes late. Ah well... We've also been having a lot of tests recently, which is normal, but unfortunate for me. The tests, or "controls" as they're called, are usually hard and depend on knowledge gained in the classes, which is a problem for me since I don't pick up too much of what happens in class. But I'm lucky to have at least one really nice teacher. My Français prof is super cool and she realized there was no way in H-E-double-hockey-sticks that I could create a dialogue between Pascal, Fontonelle and Voltaire having a scientific/philosophical discussion in the 2-hour class so she shortened the assignment and gave me a week to do it! The other teachers are less forgiving but that's okay because I'm focusing more on classe de Français because I'm interested in it more than I am in math or physics or biology. Another thing is tennis. As you know (I think I told you, right?) Guillaume and I signed up for tennis lessons at the Mûrs-Erigné tennis club and yesterday we had our first lesson. We got put in the beginner's group for some reason so everyone more or less sucks and we rock but I'm pretty sure we're going to be moved up. It was nice to finally start doing a sport, and to do it weekly because at home I'm used to soccer/nordic skiing/tennis practices everyday so it's pretty different not doing that here. But, now, at least I'll be playing and learning to play better tennis once a week, which I'm excited for.
Okay, the photos, as promised. However, there's a lot fo them, as promised. The first couple are just randoms from stuff I talked about but didn't add pictures at the time. They're also all ridiculously out of order. Also, to explain most of the pictures, today after school I took a bike ride around Mûrs-Erigné, along the river, and then up through Ponts-de-Cé and to my school alone! I'm proud that I knew where I was going enough to not get really lost but it was also nice to explore a little and bike around for the first time.

 This is, from left to right, Ivy, Me, Guillaume and Gabe, at the AFS reunion picnic. So apparently we were pointing at the camera but I didn't get the message in time and Ivy just missed it completely. AMAZING! (Guillaume, tu, seulement, comprend le référence!)

 This is basically it for Mûrs-Erigné main street. Further away there's the Hyper U and the big shopping plaza but it's ugly and I didn't bike there so this is the downtown of my vilage. There's a tabac/bar, a hotel/restaurant, a boulangerie (bakery)/pâtisserie (pastry shop), a mini épicerie (grocery shop) and further down a post office and a small gas station. And that's about it!

 This is at the top of my neighborhood which is, apparently, called the Quartier de la Fontenelle. It's the residential-only section where I live with all the "quaint" and traditional French houses.

 This is the bus stop I'm at every morning Monday through Friday at approxiamately 7:33 AM. From here, we take our #3 bus to school... >

 This is my school! Lycée Jean Bodin, view from the street. Behind those front doors it stretches out like a big E with three wings and little courtyards in the two slots between the wings.

 I'm pretty sure that says something along the lines of "it's not the wealth but the men", but don't be too sure. Anyway, so this is where I spend most of my time! It's a lot less scary-looking on the inside, I promise!

 This is coming down the street into Mûrs-Erigné. I figured I needed at least one shot with the name of the village in it.

 This is in Ponts-de-Cé, just before my school. Obviously, you go to the right if you want to go to school and to the left if you want to go to Angers!

 This is looking down a little river called the l'Authion on the way to school. Not too shabby, eh?

 The same view but with less zoom and more flowers...

 This is not a chateau but actually just a castle-like tower that houses some kind of museum in Ponts-de-Cé.

 This is the Loire river, from which our section gets its name, Pays-de-la-Loire and one of the two big rivers from which our département gets its name, Maine-et-Loire. I don't think this picture does justice to the size and awesomeness of the river but I liked the birds on the rocks so that's how it is.

 This further down on the same bridge overlooking the same stretch of the Loire but this looks down the river where you can see some guys fishing (a very popular pastime for some of the more elderly residents of the area) as well as the silhouette of one of the traditional Loire boats.

 Again, the Loire, but on the other side of the bridge where, yes I know, it looks more or less exactly the same.

 Entering the slightly-larger-than-Mûrs-Erigné-village of Ponts-de-Cé which I drive through everyday on the bus.

 Just heading out of Mûrs-Erigné crossing the bridge over le Louet, the same river that runs at the bottom of my street.

 Some big church in Ponts-de-Cé.

 A section of the walk I take to my bus stop every morning that goes from the bottom of my street along the Louet for a little then up onto the main street.

 So besides just biking around the villages, I also took a path down the Louet going the opposite direction of Mûrs-Erigné and everything else. I just thought this looked like something out of Lord of the Rings, not really sure why.

 This is the street parallel to mine, another extremely narrow, small rue filled with traditional beautiful French houses.

 This is right at the bottom of my street, where it goes down to the Louet. There's usually at least a couple geese chilling somewhere around here.

 This is all the way back at the AFS reunion: Guillaume and I. (I told you everything was out of order!)

 This is la belle poule we got the other day at the market who now lives in the half built chicken coop in our yard.

 The Louet from the path I biked earlier today.

 Jumping at least one week back, me making pancakes for my family.

 This is from the market in Brissac where we also got the chicken. No that's not a dog I'm standing next to but a mini horse.

 This is an example of all the yummy sausages I was talking about. And these are all homemade from farms and little local delis, not from companies or even stores.

This is from my birthday, duh!

And finally, this is my street, "street of marroniers" which are (I think...) chestnuts but right now I'm blanking on the English name. There are a lot of trees and therefore the chestnuts all over the place but unfortunately they're poisonous, absolutely not the kind you can eat. 
Okay well, once again it's 10:45PM and I gotta move on. 
Au revoir pour maintenant

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