A beautiful day in Annecy

Yesterday was a great day. I spent the day in the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen in my life and I now know where I will live later on in life.

Auburn and I woke up early yesterday to take the train to a town about two hours (by train) away from Lyon. Once we got to Annecy, I fell in love. We ate lunch on the river that leads into the lake and I had a view of the mountains from my meal. It was breathtaking. The mountains, I might add, are a part of the Swiss Alps (.. I think) if that gives you an idea of how gorgeous this place was. But first, let’s start with what I tried at lunch.

I’ve had a list this whole summer of things I’ve wanted to try while over here in France and thus far I’ve almost conquered my list and even added more to it. Yesterday I was able to check one more thing off of said list. That one thing was frog legs. Yup, I did it. Auburn ordered a plate of them and I ate the entirety of the one that she gave me. Not my favorite and it was completely shaped like the back half of a frog with the body intact even, but it also wasn’t completely horrible like other experiences that I’ve had while on this trip.. Ahem, pig’s feet.. steak tartare..

Anyway, after conquering frog legs, we headed to the lake to check it out. The water was the prettiest shade of blue that I’ve ever seen in my life, and then entire lake was this color. I was so amazed that I had to text one of my professors who is on the trip with us, and whose parents also live in Annecy, to ask if it was a real lake. Of course she replied that it is. I can’t express to you how beautiful this lake was. But wait, there’s more!

Aubs and I find a boat tour to go on for an hour on the lake and I was so excited I couldn’t contain myself. She was getting annoyed. But she loves me so it’s okay. Finally, after waiting around for 45 minutes for the boat, we can get on. The tour starts and I’m in Heaven. I had a seat at the open window and I could feel the breeze on my face as we cut through the beautiful waves. The tour took us around the entire lake and during it we were able to see three castles. However, only one of them sticks out in my mind. This castle was Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Yeah, you heard me. Sleeping Beauty! Walt Disney modeled her castle after this one after seeing how magnificent it was. I believe it was built in the 11th Century, but don’t quote me on that. I do know, though, that the same family has lived in it for 27 generations, which is mindblowing. And awesome. The lake is surrounded by mountains and mountains and more mountains. So much room for hiking and boating and even paragliding. We saw like a million paragliders out yesterday. I kept begging Auburn to go there so that I could paraglide too, but that plan was a no go.971502_10151816465908465_1945242730_n

The water was gorgeous, the mountains were beautiful, the town was adorable. Basically, I’ve found the perfect spot for when I can afford a castle of my own, which should be here in about seven years or so. Not too long.

I’m thankful

As I sit here on a bus driving to Beaujolais this morning, I can’t help but thank God for what I have. Driving through this beautiful countryside, listening to John Lennon and life is exactly as it should be.

Right here, right now, this moment is perfect.

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I have found the meaning of life…

And the meaning of life is macaroons. Yesterday I had a macaroon for the first time in my life and I knew the second I tried it that they were going to be a problem for me the rest of the time that I’m here in France. My mouth was in Heaven.

If you don’t know what a macaroon is, then you’re missing out on a vital part of life. No joke here. They are the most delicious thing in the world and it’s a crime that you can’t get them in the U.S. At least not “real” French macaroons. I had a chocolate macaroon for my first one and I swear I died and went to Heaven. I wish I could bring 87,000 of them home for all of my friends and family but they’ll be stale by the time I get back to the States. I guess I’ll have to eat all of them for everyone else.. Hmm, bummer for me.macaroons

Have you ever eaten a pig’s foot?

Tonight I quite possibly made the worst decision of my life. I ate a pig’s foot, tail and ear. Go ahead and read that again.. pig’s foot, tail and ear. I ate them. Worst decision ever.

Auburn and I were out to eat in Vieux Lyon tonight and decided to be adventurous. Or at least I did. Mistake. I ordered the pig’s feet knowing exactly what I was getting and I was excited to try it. Well, the meal comes out and you can totally tell that they’re pig’s feet. It looks exactly like a pig’s foot. Imagine that. Anyway, I start to dig in. Problem one: It was almost all bone. Problem two: I didn’t know what was meat and what was fat. Problem three: I was about to eat pig’s feet.

I took my first bite and thought it was a joke. The thing tasted like the smell of an entire farm. No joke. I now know what dirt, mud and animal crap tastes like. But the story doesn’t end there.

I decided to try more and this time use the dipping sauce, which I believe was the staple French version of mayo, but I’m not sure. It gets better but I still taste farm. Finally, I give up and can’t take anymore. But throughout my whole ordeal, Auburn was having her own.

Auburn had ordered “hot pork served with potatoes,” which turned out to be the ears and tail of a pig in a stew pot with half a potato. She couldn’t eat more than two bites before almost throwing up. We STUPIDLY decided to try each other’s dish to say that we did, and by this point we were about to throw up. BUT WE DID IT. We ate pig’s feet, tail and ear. And survived. We are survivors.

Needless to say, I’m now sick.

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Of Monsters and Men concert? Yes, please

Yesterday I went to my first concert in France. Gotta say, it was quite amazing. We went and saw Of Monsters and Men and they were absolutely magnificent live. I couldn’t have been more happy with their performance and I’d recommend them to anyone. Seriously, if you ever have the chance, go see them.

We didn’t know going into it if anyone would know who they were in France but we got to the venue and it was packed.. packed with Americans. Yeah.. lots of Americans. But it was nice to hear lots of English. Even if it was coming from frat boys.

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Tomatoes and mozzarella

images-12I’m developing a strange food obsession over here in France. Like I said, I’m eating things I normally wouldn’t try at home and I’m loving them. Things like avocados and tomatoes. But there’s something that I love the most over here that I don’t think I’ll be able to get enough of when I get back to the States. And that’s tomatoes and hunks of mozzarella. Together. I love them.

I had this combo for the first time last week and didn’t even know what I was eating. I knew it was tomatoes but couldn’t tell what it was paired with. I could tell it was something weird by the texture and eventually just had to end up asking my family what it was so that I could stop driving myself crazy wondering. Tomatoes and mozzarella. Man, oh man, is that a magnificent combination. I started to crave them about two days after trying them while I was in Cannes. I couldn’t stop thinking about tomatoes and mozzarella! Of all things, tomatoes and mozzarella. I quickly got over my craving for food back home as you can tell and moved onto something even better.. because even though I’m obsessed, it’s a healthy food to crave. Wellllll, when you compare it to Doritos, yeah, tomatoes and mozzarella are pretty healthy.

Craving, craving, craving, I started to talk about tomatoes and mozzarella the second day of our trip in Cannes. I was wanting some so badly and then all of a sudden, voila! There was a tomato and mozzarella salad on the menu of the restaurant we were eating at. It was a glorious moment when the server brought out the tomatoes and mozzarella for me to eat once again. In addition to being healthy, I eat my tomatoes and mozzarella with a fork and knife all proper-like so I feel like a pretty classy lady when I eat tomatoes and mozzarella.

This country is changing my eating habits in some pretty spectacular ways and I couldn’t be happier. I love all kinds of veggies now and I crave so many healthy things. In addition to tomatoes and mozzarella, I crave salad. I love the salad dressing over here and it’s so simple. To be honest, I have no idea what kind of dressing it is, I just know that it’s a combination of oil and vinegar and possibly dijon mustard? Not quite sure.. But I know that I need the recipe before I go home.

So, there you have it. I never thought my eating habits would become healthier here in France but God worked a miracle and this girl finally loves her veggies. Do you think I said “tomatoes and mozzarella” enough today?

GUYS IT’S SO INCREDIBLY HARD TO MAKE BUT DON’T WORRY, I’LL MAKE IT FOR YOU.

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.