25 January 2012

Chambéry and panic attacks.

It has been a long couple of days. But they have all made me appreciate where I am and what I am doing.

On Saturday, I got up early and headed to Chambéry with three friends. We picked this because the train tickets were 10euros and we had nothing else planned for the day. I had also heard that they had an elephant statue from my mom, and I love elephants. So we got to Chambéry and we realized that this place is basically the size of a postage stamp. It was kind of a shock because I am now used to walking for hours and in an hour we walked around the city three times. But we did a lot of shopping, and I did find a good pair of black slacks that I can't wait to wear. Annie also found some darling shoes.

 Unfortunately the castle was closed so we just took pictures outside of it. Then it started raining and we realized that we were the only people on the streets. Just us Northwest girls braving the rain. 

We ducked into a Pastaria for lunch. Note, that I am always skeptical of ordering things that that country isn't known for. Sushi in Grenoble? No thank you. But this place was so perfect. It was warm, dry and inexpensive. I had the hardest time deciding between pizza and lasagna. And their lasagna was delicious, even if it was nothing like my mom's. Where it lacked in tomatoes and crispy cheese toppings, it made up for with creamy French cheese and delicious meats. After lunch we did some more shopping (BURN THOSE CALORIES.) and then we found a tour of an old hotel that told the story of France. The tour guide was really nice, and she asked us where we were from and what we were studying. Thankfully she didn't automatically switch to English. I hate it when they do that. People, I am hear to learn French, please make my life easier and let me try to speak it. Thanks.

After a few hours of wandering we had seen everything Chambéry had to offer so we headed home, where Rima and I bought a 4 euro bottle of wine at Monoprix and went to her house with Taylor and made dinner. Never buy 4 euro Monoprix wine. It tastes like purple vinegar. But we had a laugh, chatted, ate macaroons, and watched Devil Wears Prada in French (FYI: Stanley Tucci does not sound like Stanley Tucci when he is dubbed in French. Awful.).

Sunday we had a get-together at Maria's with a group of us SU kids. It was fun. We watched Virgin Suicides, which is extremely sad. We ate chocolate.

This week I have had grammar classes in the mornings and cultural classes in the afternoons. It is hard when all of your classes are in another language but I find myself understanding more and more each day.

Last night, I had a minor panic attack when I realized that I have been here for almost a month and I still feel like I can't speak at all. Yeah I can understand more, but I am can't speak.

This realization made me feel like I couldn't breath, and a listen to my favorite song, then prompted an email to my professor and we arranged some converstion groups for this week. She volunteered to meet me twice a week for about an hour each, just to chat and help me further my conversational skills. Then tonight at dinner, I had a "good" conversation about technology in France and America and it's affect on the family dynamic with my host sister and host dad. It was interesting, and I fumbled/repeated the same words a lot, but eventually this will get better right?

The thought that I will come back without being able to speak to anyone seriously scares the shit out of me.

At least I will be able to say I have been to Europe.

14 days until Dublin.

I leave you with a picture of me wearing pearls and a comfy sweater. Happy Wednesday y'all.

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Merci mon amie!

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