Pigs and Gypsies

I knew coming over to France that I would get a lot of attention. My blonde hair makes me stick out like a sore thumb in this country. However, I never thought the attention would be this extreme.

I have to say that I’m already incredibly sick of a lot of people in this country. I’ve survived a pickpocketing experience, multiple stare downs and today I survived my first potential mugging. Yeah, that’s right. I said MUGGING.

I’ll start from the beginning. The first week in France, we were in Paris. I loved the city. Marvelous and beautiful. However, I had one little (BIG) incident that I believe has forever scarred me to the core. I was pickpocketed. Here I am minding my own business trying to get to L’Arc de Triomphe and the next thing I know, there’s some little gypsy girl up on me trying to get me to sign a blank sheet of paper. I realized something was up when she wouldn’t get off of me so I decided to check my pocket for my phone. Yeah, stupid me I left my phone in my jean jacket pocket instead of hiding it. Well, as I’m reaching into my pocket to make sure I still have my phone, she’s pulling her hand out of my pocket with my phone! Next thing I knew, she had my phone hidden under her clipboard that she was carrying and don’t ask me how, but somehow I knew where it was and I just snatched it right back out of her hand and turned away to get as far away from her as possible before I beat the living daylights out of her.

There’s my first horrible incident in France.

Then, today I had an incident with a man at the ATM. Stupid me (again), I think that I’m invincible and that nothing bad will happen to me. This entire trip thus far has proven that I’m indeed entirely incorrect in that state of mind. Everything bad that happens to someone over here always happens to me. Anyway, this is the story.

I leave lunch and everybody else to go to the ATM to withdraw some money because I’m getting low. The ATM was only a couple blocks away so I thought I’d be completely fine. I was wrong. As I’m putting in my PIN number, a man comes up behind me and starts to talk to me. He asks says hi and asks me how I’m doing and starts to ramble. I glance quickly at him and then away disgusted, but I probably shouldn’t have looked at him at all. Well, I’m still trying to withdraw money and he keeps talking to me. He starts to now talk in French and ask if I speak French. Again, I don’t answer and I don’t even acknowledge his presence. He still goes on trying to ask me why I’m not answering him and why I won’t say hi and trying to get me to talk to him and I’m assuming trying to distract me. Well by this point my heart is racing as fast as it can and I’m about to have a heart attack. Here I am, a little, blonde American girl trying to withdraw a large amount of money in a foreign country and there’s a huge man hovering over me, obviously trying to get something from me. As soon as the machine spits out my card, I snatch it up and when it gives me my money I grab on and hold for dear life so that this jerk can’t take anything from me. I rip my receipt out of the machine and speed walk away from him around the corner. He was still calling after me by the time I rounded the corner, but I’d gotten away from him and I was safe. Then, I realized my phone wasn’t in my back pocket. Frantically, I searched throughout my purse for it and started to panic. I swore I had (stupidly, again) left my phone in my back pocket and now it wasn’t there. I was sure that jerk had stolen my phone at this point. I started sprinting back to the restaurant, praying to God that I had miraculously left my phone on the table and forgotten to bring it with me. I reach the doors to the restaurant and search the table with my eyes before even getting to it. Yup, there it was. I’d left my phone on the table with all of my friends and everything was okay. I’d survived the potential mugging and he didn’t get away with anything. Having your guard up at all times really does pay off. I’ve learned not to trust anyone except the people you know in this country. By now I’m ALWAYS on alert for the next person who’s on the lookout to take something from me. And this isn’t even the last part of my story.

After a six hour train ride from Cannes back to Lyon, I’m exhausted. We all were. As all four of us eventually separate and go our separate ways to head home, Auburn and I are left alone in the metro station waiting for our bus to take us all the way home. It’s at this point that a huge, drunk man walks into the station and sits down on the bench next to us. As he walks in, he says something to us in French about asking how we’re doing. Of course, we ignore him. Next thing I know, he’s rambling on and on and Auburn and I both think he’s talking on a cell phone. Nope, we were wrong. Five minutes later, I feel something hit me. I look down and see that he had thrown at bottle cap at me and hit me. I look up speechless and in disbelief at Auburn as she screams, “EXCUSE YOU,” and he mumbles something about making us mad. We get up to get away from him and he starts to ramble and get upset about us leaving, which was pretty terrifying in itself. We walk around the corner and get away from him and I can’t help but almost burst into tears.

The way that men treat women over here is ridiculous. I’ve never felt so abused or targeted in my life. It’s honestly disgusting. And that means a lot coming from me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good compliment and love flattery. So, if you have me disgusted and hating every man that I see around me, you know it’s a pretty big deal.

So, there you have it. Three weeks in France and I’ve already been through more than what most people go through in their entire lives. But I can say that I’ve survived all of it and it’s made me more cautious and taught me to never let my guard down. I love this country and I love this experience but the male mentality around here has me on edge.

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Cannes, you have my heart.

I don’t even know where to begin when talking about this weekend. All I know is that it can be summed up in one word: Indescribable.

We arrived late Friday afternoon and the day was perfect for the beach. Funny thing is, we never really made it there. Friday just happened to be the Fête de la Musique throughout France. Basically it was a big music party.. which is actually what Fête de la Musique translates to. I’m so incredibly clever and witty. Anyway, we go to the hotel to check in and drop all of our luggage off (I say “all of our luggage” but I’m really referring to everyone else’s luggage and not mine. I was smart enough to take only a backpack and cross-body purse. I’m prepared for my two weeks of backpacking I have ahead of me at the end of the summer). So, we get ready in our swimsuits and get all pretty for the beach and then head out.

Walking down to the beach we get distracted (easily) and stop to eat. Afterwards, we’re out looking for drinks and discover an Italian appreciation festival thingy going on and see a sign for STRAWBERRY BEER. Naturally, we run to the sign and grab us some strawberry beer. Delicious. Then, a little closer to the beach, we try to get to it again. Fail. We discover the sidewalk with all of the handprints of the stars and of course we have to read each of them to find out who’s been there. Guess who I found? TIM BURTON. Gah, I was ecstatic. Seriously. I want to work with Tim Burton before I die, like that’s bucket list material. I love that guy. Right next to the sidewalk was the building where the Cannes Film Festival is held and I HAD to get a picture on the red carpet. Like I said, I’ll be there one day, so this was a dream.IMG_1038

One day...

One day…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this, we try yet again to reach the beach. Double fail. We get distracted by cute, shirtless boys street dancing. It was a grand ole’ time. Theeeeen, since it’s the Fête de la Musique, there are outdoor concerts going on that we become enveloped in. It was such a great time. We found a little band playing on a street that we fell in love with. They played Hey Jude and Sweet Home Alabama. WHAT. So, being the loud Americans that we are, we sang and sang and sang at the top of our lungs with the band, while the rest of the crowd awkwardly stared at us as if we were aliens. Technically, I guess we were. It was such a great time. Buuuuut, we never made it to the beach. But we decided that that was quite alright with us because we’d had such a wonderful time TRYING to get to the beach. Well, I take it back that we never made it. We made it but only for about two minutes to look at it and step in the water for pictures. But by then the sun was starting to go down and it was too late to soak in the sunshine. We decided to try again on Saturday.

Saturday morning rolls around and we are ready for some beach time. It was the first thing we did. We actually made it to the beach. Oh man, it was beautiful. There was a huge rock island thingy that was a short swim off of the coast that Austin, Tessa and I adventured to and explored. The Mediterranean Sea is ridiculously salty. I could taste salt for the rest of the day. We stayed at the beach until almost 7pm and got some really good tans – at least I did. No burning. I was pretty happy about that. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to get pretty again and get ready for dinner.IMG_1036

Dinner rolls around and we find a nice, little place to eat. And man did I eat. I ate an entire pizza to myself. I’m a champ. And then I ate some crème brûlée on top of the entire pizza. I don’t know what came over me but it was awesome. I just kept hearing Jennifer Lawrence in my head talking about eating an entire pizza by herself and I felt invincible. It was liberating.

Then came Sunday. And Sunday meant coming back home to Lyon. And that was a sad thought. Two days at the beach is not nearly enough when you’re in Cannes. But, we had to come home and come back to the real world. Full of studying for quizzes and homework and other such nonsense..

Wait.. what am I talking about? I’m still in France. So the last statement I made about returning to the real world was irrelevant.

Field trips galore

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Today, we explored Hôtel-de-Ville in Lyon, which is like city hall in Lyon. It was absolutely beautiful. It was like a castle, seriously. As you can see from the photo above. Stunning.

Most of the day, though, I spent looking forward to the trip that we’re taking tomorrow to Cannes. Auburn, Austin, Tessa and I are all spending this free weekend off from school there and I couldn’t be more excited. A weekend at the beach? Yes, please. Not to mention the fact that I will one day be a part of the Cannes Film Festival, so this trip is like halfway part of a dream. Just have to wait a few more years until I’m actually IN the festival itself. Shouldn’t be too long now.

My host sister is better than your host sister.

TODAY IS A GREAT DAY. I FINALLY HAD MY MEXICAN. LIKE REALLY.

So.. basically I have the absolute best sister in the entire world.

I was out this afternoon with Auburn for drinks and a snack, just walking around our favorite part of Lyon, taking in life in Vieux Lyon. Around the time we were heading home I got a text from my host sister asking if I was coming home for dinner. I told her yes and asked what time it’d be ready so that I would be home on time and wouldn’t make them wait on me. I didn’t think anything of this text.

Well..

I get home tonight and my host mom tells me that Mathilde made dinner tonight and that SHE MADE MEXICAN FOR ME. Yeah, that’s right. She made dinner especially for me because she knows how badly I’ve been dying for Mexican. It literally made my whole week. She is the absolute best and I adore her. Like seriously, I couldn’t have asked for a better family to live with here in France. They are wonderful and I love each and every one of them.

Obviously, dinner was the highlight of my day and yes, I did have TWO fajitas. I got to eat the last one because dinner was made special for me. If you can’t tell, I’m beaming right now. We even had chips! I’m so ecstatic.

Ok, now that I got all of that out of my system, I shall proceed to tell you what else I did today because the entirety of the day was pretty great.

Well, for lunch I had a burger on a bagel. Yeah, I know. Weird, right? But nooooo. It was amazing. I don’t understand why I don’t eat all my burgers on a bagel. It was genius. So, yeah, that was pretty cool.

After that we took a class excursion to the Lumière Museum, a museum dedicated to the brothers who created the cinema. As you can imagine, this was pretty exciting for me seeing as how I shall one day be an actor on the big screen.

Yeah, so I’m going to go ahead and say that today was a pretty awesome day.

I'm a part of the Lumière Museum.. obviously.

I’m a part of the Lumière Museum.. obviously.

DORITOS

Yesterday quite possibly was the best day in the history of the universe. I FOUND DORITOS. God heard my prayers and all is well with the world. Seriously though. It was a glorious moment when I saw them for the first time. And yes, I was on the verge of tears. And yes, the first thing I did was pray and thank God. That is how badly I wanted some Doritos. I stupidly only bought one bag and of course I ate the whole thing in half a day. But that’s ok! I now know that France does indeed have a taste of America within it and I can sleep soundly.

Of course I plan to go buy another two bags today, but hey, it’s my home-away-from-home comfort food. So all is excusable.

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Time Machine: Medieval Times

Today I visited a real-life castle for the first time in my life. It was incredible. I’m not quite sure that everyone else on the trip had as good a time as I did in Perouges but I have to say that I was completely in my element. The entire place reminded me of scenes from Lord of the Rings and the whole time I just wanted Frodo to come walking up the cobblestone road to greet me.

Seriously, I think I was born to be royalty or something because I know that I belong in a castle. I’m a princess, everybody knows that. But today I also realized that the lifestyle of the royalty makes me happier than almost anything in the world. Yeah, I’m that high-maintenance. At least, that’s what my Dad has been telling me since I was about two years old. Now I’ve fully realized how right he was; although, I’m pretty sure I’ve known it this whole time.

Yeah, so I just realized how much both of those paragraphs differ from one another. One is total geek out and the other is complete brat. Funny thing is that they go perfectly hand in hand in my personality. I’m such a weirdo. But..

I am the princess.1011722_10151982601317564_1134185310_n

Ghostface Encounter

Yesterday was an awesome day. Miniatures museum, that’s all I got to say.

..okay, actually that’s not all I have to say, I have a lot more to say. That place was awesome. They had all originals of so many things and it was incredible. For starters, before you even walk into the museum, there is C-3PO from Star Wars and an ape costume from Planet of the Apes with Mark Wahlberg from 2001. After that, I met Ghostface from Scream 4! Like, legit the real costume that they used for the movie. If you don’t already know, Scream 4 is one of my favorite movies of all time. I looooove it.

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Theeeeennnnnnnnn, I realized they have a REAL-LIFE SWORD FROM PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN! Yes, from a scene that Johnny was in. I was so close, yet so far from him..

Basically, that place was awesome and Austin and I were able to hard-core geek out. After the museum, we stayed in Vieux Lyon for the rest of the day and got drinks and food from a boulangerie.. I swear I’m obsessed with those places. So. Much. Quiche.

To end the day, Auburn, Kelsey 2 (There are three Kelseys on this trip so Auburn, Austin and I numbered them all according to the order that we met up with them on the trip) and I went back to Auburn’s to watch a scary movie. If you haven’t learned this already, you will learn that I’m obsessed with horror. Honestly, it’s my absolute favorite genre of anything in life. I’m incredibly “dark and twisty” as Auburn says. Well, we couldn’t get the wifi to load the entire movie, which was Orphan, so we only ended up watching half of it before I had to catch my last bus home. Needless to say, I was scared out of my mind walking the block home from the bus stop after midnight on my own after watching a scary movie. I was quite disappointed in myself. Although, I blame it on the fact that I’m not quite used to my new house yet.

That’s plausible, right?