Edith Piaf, Long Lost Professors and Living the French Life

It has occurred to me that I should probably update all of you on what I’ve been up to the past few days – and it’s been a lot. First, let’s start off with the most recent French film I went to (alone again, because that’s my new favorite thing) – “La Tête Haute/Standing Tall.” Centering around a troubled young boy just trying to find his way in the world. He’s abusive and temperamental and a disaster to be around but by the end he’s grown into himself. Full of anger, hatred, compassion, love and a happy ending, it was as uplifting as it was upsetting. Oh, how I love these French cinema experiences that I keep all to myself. Next, I spent my Saturday afternoon exploring the Edith Piaf exhibition. I’ve loved her for years; that dark, smoky voice and soothing lyrics – I’m a sucker for French classics. Immediately upon entrance I was handed an audio guide full of about 50 Edith songs to listen to while walking through the exhibit. With movie clips, vintage mementos and even a live karaoke box inside, I became lost within history. The exhibit even had one of her little black dresses (her signature look) hanging from above in one of the sections. I learned so much about her and her tragic life and I have a newfound respect for the glorious French singer. For those of you not familiar, here is one of her most famous songs, La Vie En Rose:

         Then, I spent all day Sunday running around in a real princess dress at another castle – Vaux-le-Vicomte – but that’s going into a separate post because it was so special to me and deserves more attention than a mention. Then, yesterday two things happened. One, I received my new custom made leather journal cover for my personal journal I’ve been keeping throughout my time here in Paris! I was so delighted when I saw the package sitting in my family’s flat that I literally squealed! It’s so beautiful and personal and everything I wanted. Thank you so much, Megan’s Mark for this wonderful work of art!     And then two, I met up with one of my French professors from university! She and her hilarious other half are in Paris for the week for the beginning of her last study abroad that she’s leading. This wonderful lady is one of the three main reasons I was able to go to France the first time two (!!) years ago and then decided to come back long term. She led my study abroad group back then and it’s only fitting that we met back up at a cafe for drinks while I’m living here.    Finally, last night I spent the evening with some of my favorite people in Paris just lounging along the Canal Saint-Martin having a picnic.       Honestly I couldn’t ask for a more perfect life to live, I thank God every day for my abundant blessings. I’m in awe at every moment of every day of this beautiful life I get to live because of Him.

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Leaving Home Behind

IMG_1502Well, this is it. It’s my last night in this wonderful country that I’ve come to love with all of my heart. Tomorrow morning I’ll be leaving my home behind and a piece of my heart. This has been the most wonderful summer of my life and I hate to see it come to an end but all good things must come to an end. So, as I sit here with tears in my eyes, I recall all the amazing memories that I’ve made throughout this time.IMG_1494

This city has become my home and even though I know I’ll return one day soon, I hate to say goodbye. Everywhere I look, memories surround me. Starting with this wonderful family that took me in as their own for the summer, I can’t say how grateful I am to them. I look at the girls as my own sisters now and know that we’ll always be family. I love this house and how beautiful it is when I look outside. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend this time and don’t want to think about leaving it.

The relationships that I’ve established here are for a lifetime. I’ve found some of my best friends in the entire world and now that I have them, I can’t imagine life without them. God truly blessed this trip for me and I am so thankful to Him.IMG_1426

Austin, Austin, Austin. Austin is such an amazing guy and I love how close we became. We fought and bickered constantly but the kid is great for dealing with 19 females for the entirety of the summer without another male to help soothe the pain. You have to give him props. That’s pretty spectacular. He didn’t even kill any of us, which is a plus. Seriously though, my summer wouldn’t have been the same without him here to spend time with and eat lunch with and have hold my things for me while I was shopping and listen to me ramble about Johnny Depp and take care of me when I was down. I love that kid and know that he’ll go incredibly far in life. He’s going to be the world’s most renowned anesthesiologist, I know it.1010055_10152045606817564_101705474_n

And now for mon petit oiseau. Man, oh man, do I love my little Aubs. She is one of my favorite people in the entire world. Who knows what would have happened to me if she hadn’t been on this trip to keep me calm when I needed to vent or to take care of me. Literally. I can recall a night when I wouldn’t have lived through it if she hadn’t been there to get me through it. Honestly, I’m being for real people. I already miss our movie nights with horrible wifi that stopped us from always completely watching a movie and our dinner nights where I would cook for her and our multiple conversations about beautiful Frenchmen. Well.. MY conversations about beautiful Frenchmen and her listening of the conversation. I really like Frenchmen…But anyway…Auburn is my soul mate. We’re exactly alike. So much so that it’s scary. So, she’s my soul mate. End of story.

I’ve made a lifetime full of memories this summer and can’t wait to come back one day. I met some friends whom I don’t want to leave behind. Tasted food that will forever haunt me. Tasted food that will I forever crave. Explored ancient ruins. Experienced the best nightlife ever. Became addicted to macaroons. Became addicted to quiche. Became addicted to wine. Became addicted to hamburgers and rice. Became addicted to basically everything here. Tried everything new. Came to know and love a world outside of my own.IMG_1520

I found myself. I fell in love with a part of the world that I never thought I’d see. And I had the absolute best summer of my life.

To all of you back home, I’ll see you soon. To all of you on your way home already, I’ll see you later. To France, I love you and I’ll return one day soon.

Bastille Day

Yesterday I was able to celebrate Bastille Day here in Lyon with some amazing friends.

I spent the evening in town watching fireworks explode over an ancient basilica and it was breathtaking.IMG_1491

My time here in Lyon is coming to a close and I can’t believe it…but I’ll save that for another time.

Chez Martial

Last night was the last dinner I’ll share with Auburn and Austin at our favorite restaurant here in France. We discovered Chez Martial at the beginning of our trip and it’s been our favorite place to dine ever since. Even though this was the place that I had my first and only interaction with boudin noir, I still love it.IMG_1485

It was bittersweet being there last night because we knew that we don’t get to go back again, but we made a pact to come back in five years no matter what we’re doing and make some more memories. Well.. I made the pact and I don’t really remember if they agreed to it or not. We drink a lot of wine when we go there..

We didn’t have our usual server last night but it turned out to be pretty awesome because we had the owner as our server instead. The guy was awesome. He knew us when we walked in and then gave us free drinks of “his” specialty, just because. He was pretty hilarious. And flirty. By the end of the dinner (after free shots) he had pulled me behind the bar to get my name and number and give me his. Oh, and he said that he was going to move to the States to open a restaurant in Missouri and name it “Chez Megan,” which is pretty cool, so, I’d say it was a successful night for me. Having restaurants named after me? Yes, please.

I think I like Frenchmen.

We wined. We dined. We stuffed our faces. We took shots…Of something. And we made our last memories of Chez Martial.

And the countdown begins…

One week. That’s it.

One week from now I’ll be on a plane hating life because I’m no longer in France. I can’t even describe how I feel when I start to think about leaving this place. I know I’ve missed home at times throughout this trip but now I can’t even imagine leaving. I constantly tell my Momma not to make me come home because I just want to live here for the rest of my life. This has by far been the most amazing experience of my life and I’ve made so many ridiculously incredible memories that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. God has truly blessed me and I couldn’t be happier. Except for the fact that I have to go home…in one week. I really can’t believe it, but I know that one day soon I’ll be back.

I have so many new best friends now that I can’t imagine my life without and can’t begin to tell them how much I love them. My French family is a part of my life now too and I don’t want to ever leave them and I’m dreading saying goodbye.

This adventure has reinforced my confidence in my decision to move out to L.A. next summer because I know that if I can move halfway across the world to a completely different country with a foreign language, then I can definitely move halfway across the country with no problem. I have so many dreams to accomplish in my life and I’m blessed to be able to say that I’ve already begun to conquer them.

God is good.

Fancy French Chef

Tonight I cooked a real life French meal. Whoa, I know right? Calm down guys. Yes, I will come cook for you now. I charge a fee, though.

Anyway..

The whole class went to a cooking class together and made a fancy schmancy meal that included:

Smoked salmon

Some chicken thing that was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS

Caramel apple crisp/crumble/caramelly thing

I was in charge of the potatoes and man, oh man, am I a good potato peeler/chopper. Although, I have to say that nobody can beat Tessa when it comes to anything potato-related. Irish to the bone. And get this…I didn’t even chop my finger off! I know, right? The whole time I was freaking out that I was going to have to be rushed to the hospital because I was going to slice my finger with the 18-foot spear that they gave me to chop with. But that didn’t happen, I just got skills I guess. Yes, that was a Napoleon Dynamite reference. You’re welcome, people.

Pretty much everything was amazingly tasty and I can’t wait to make all of it for my fam bam back home. You’re welcome, Momma.

…But I still say that tomatoes and mozzarella and macaroons (not the three together, macaroons are best NOT eaten with tomatoes and mozzarella) are the best foods ever invented.