Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Vacations!

Today is the last day of winter vacations, so I'm taking the time to catch up on everything I've done in the past two weeks.

My vacation started with visiting my friend who lives in Montpellier down in the south of France. I took the TGV train down there, which I absolutely love. The TGV trains are super awesome. But let me tell you something, although the TGV train system is pretty sufficient in France (although they are always at least ten or fifteen minutes late), the TER trains are a really weird mess. My total travel time was around four/five hours. The TGV I took from Valence to Montpellier took about an hour and a half. The train I took from Annecy to Valence however, took around three hours because it stopped in every train station along the way... Literally there were about thirty stops listed on the board before leaving.

BUT ANYWAY, I got to Montpellier just fine and it was a nice relaxing morning. I stayed in Montpellier for about four days, and then took the train back. The south is super beautiful. The thing that always throws me off is doing the bises three times, instead of two. I like go to pull away after the second time, and the person will be waiting for a third and it gets a bit awkward. But in Montpellier, it's so beautiful. There are millions of palm trees, rarely ever any clouds, and it's just a 30 or so minute drive to the beach. (which yes, I did go to :P) Also, it's close by to a city which is called Nimes, which used to be a Roman city. My friend's host mom took us there, and we were able to see la Maison Carré (The Square House- constructed in 2 AC) and les Arènes (The Arena- constructed in 70 AD) and also le Pont du Gard (constructed around 50 AC). I was practically flailing all over the place because I've never ever seen or touched buildings so old in my life. It wasn't so bad for my Hungarian friend because he lives in Budapest and sees Roman ruins all the time, so I was the only one dying from absolutely astonishment. I'll add pictures of all of this in the end of the post. We also went to the beach. It wasn't very warm (around 40 degrees) when we went, but of course, I still went into the water. I mean, it was necessary considering it was the Mediterranean Sea. It was so beautiful. It's been ages since I've been to a beach (if you don't count Lake Michigan, lols) and it was so wonderful. I picked up a few seashells I still have in my drawer here. Other than that, we just wandered around Montpellier, which is a really beautiful city. Oh, funny story: We were walking around the city the second day (I think) I was there, and I was feeling really super good because his host mom had just told me she was taking us to see the Roman buildings that day. So this is basically how it went:
Áron: Uhm, yeah, you're also going to see one in about three minutes.

*three minutes later: a huge roman structure appears*
*I die*

No, but it was really amazing to see and touch such an old civilisation. I'm so glad people took the time to preserve all these old buildings because they are so spectacular to see. Truly one of the highlights of my exchange.

Once I got back home after my four days in the south, I chilled around the house for a few more days. My host sister was in Greece with her school the whole first week (I know, what a field trip...) So it was really just a calm three days. The Monday after we got back, we went up to the Chalet (cabin) where I tried skiing again for the second time. It was muchhhh muchhhh better the second time, and I really started to get the hang of it. I could go so much faster while still feeling comfortable. I'm definitely going to try to keep skiing once I get back to the US if I find the time. I also tried cross country skiing which was a workout. My host grandma and I did about 9 km which is about 5 miles. It was much easier, I have to say, although the skiis slip more and it's harder to stop. I also went snow-shoeing. I basically did the three most popular sports in my region of France all within three days, haha. I really enjoy going to the Chalet though because it's so beautiful and quiet and calm.

After that we went down to my other host grandma's house in another department of France. Get this- She lives in a town of 25 people. 25 people. My host sister also told me there is a city in France with 1 person. I looked it up- it exists. Haha. We stayed there for about four days as well, and then came back yesterday. We basically just sat around the four days watching movies and relaxing. However, my host sister swears the house is haunted as it was built in 1887 and people have previously died in it, so there were some nights where falling asleep was harder than others. But in the end we made it out alive, so no worries.

Now I have school again tomorrow. Yipeeeee. I'm actually happy to see everyone again, and because I don't have school every Monday afternoon I'll get to go into Annecy again which I always love. But, blah. The BAC is getting closer and closer, and I'm slowly dying on the inside because of it, haha. I really really don't know what I was thinking when I decided that I should take the BAC. All my other exchange student friends taking the BAC agree with me. It's so much more strenuous and inclusive than any of us thought. I would pull out if given the option, but then I'd be a quitter and probably disappoint a lot of people which I don't want to do. But oh well, we'll just see how it goes.

Other than that, vacation again in a month and a half! I've already planned out going back to visit my amazing Australian friend in Saumur for the whole two weeks. I'm super excited to see her again, I miss her so much.

Anyway, I should probably start homework, hah.

À bientôt ! (Just realised the only time I ever say this is on my blog, lols)

 This is le Pont du Gard ^
 This tree start growing in 908 AD. 
 This is la Maison Carré ^
 This is the Arena ^
 The Arena still hosts bull fighting shows as it's pretty close to Spain


I saw this shirt in a store here and just laughed and laughed and laughed. Thought I'd share.