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Natasha in France

Natasha: This is the end… (of the innocence?)

After a mere four and a half months, I found myself back in Minnesota, with not even a day to recover before driving my sister to Florida, 24 hours of driving time of which I drove at least 19. Coming back I felt like I had never left—everything was the same, my semester in France only a dream. Yet I know I’ve changed—my plans for the future more solidified, and every time I open my mouth something strange comes out. I’m using French words like they’re English, and random British […]

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Natasha: la côte

My last excursion in France meant I travelled four hours by train to Antibes, where I met my dad’s cousin, Terry. I had stayed with her in Biot for three weeks back in 2001, my only previous experience in France, so I felt it was only right I should see her again since I was so close. I arrived Thursday afternoon, and after having a quick lunch at her home, she took me to Tourrettes-sur-Loup, a perched village overlooking the river known for its abundance of violets. The town was […]

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Natasha: I think I have sand in my camera…

Yesterday I finally made it to the beach, and do I ever have the sunburn to show for it! I went with my friend Bridgette, with the intention of studying a little for our German test while sitting on the sand. I ended up playing in the water (which was absolutely freezing) while she was sunbathing, then sat to dry whilst looking over my textbook for a little while. We didn’t end up staying very long, mostly out of boredom but also because the wind kept blowing sand everywhere – […]

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Natasha: May Day

Today’s a national holiday in France (fête du travail – labour day) which means absolutely nothing is open, the buses and trams aren’t running, and of course there’s a protest at the Comédie. Now, I’m hiding in my room trying to finish my last paper, but I know of this because people have come around knocking on all the doors in the dormitory handing out fliers and encouraging everyone to “venez nombreux” in support of whatever cause they were fighting for this time. I’m down with “fighting for your rights” […]

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Natasha: Alba

I headed off Friday afternoon for a weekend in Scotland and had a really good time. I flew from Montpellier to Gatwick, waited two hours, then caught a flight to Edinburgh, arriving just after 8. I took the bus into city centre and walked to my hostel, only a few blocks from the bus stop, and just off Prince’s Street, one of the main thoroughfares of Edinburgh. Since it was late and I wasn’t feeling well, I just took a short walk to get some dinner and then called it […]

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Natasha: Ticket to Ride

Well, I bought a Eurail pass intending to use it for spring break, but since I had extra days I set out Thursday night for a long weekend in Italy. A weekend isn’t enough time to make it as far east as Venice or as far south as Naples or Rome, so I decided to spend one night each in Milan and Florence, as well as a few hours in whatever cities I hit by train along the way, due to a lack of direct routes that didn’t require an […]

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Natasha: Winter Break

The French sure do love their time off, and I can’t complain, since that meant this past week was filled with travel and adventure instead of classes. I left Montpellier on Friday the 13th (scary?) on a short flight to London. I met up with my friend, Jamie, with whom I would spend the next two days. We dropped my bags off at her flat and headed out in search of food. Walking past Trafalgar Square we saw a huge gathering of people; it almost looked like a protest. We […]

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Natasha: Le Théâtre

Tonight was a little theatre outing, to see a two woman comedy show. I was amazed that I understood about 90% of it. Sadly, I did not understand what made it funny. I think the lesson here is simply this: if you’re going to see a play in another language, see a drama. Humour just doesn’t translate well. Next week we have off for winter break, so I’m headed back to the UK! Here’s hoping I don’t get snowed in again….

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Natasha: Toulon & Barcelona, Spain

Toulon: I recently went out for another day trip, this time east to the coastal city of Toulon. It was once the site of a famous prison (where even Jean Valjean was supposed to have been incarcerated) and is still the home of a large naval base and a bustling port on the Mediterranean. I decided to start out by finding the office of tourism, which was right on the harbour, and they had maps for tourists. So I started walking from there toward the naval base, where I found […]

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Natasha: Three-day Weekend… and then some

The weekend started out so lovely, and spiralled downhill rather quickly. I flew to London Friday afternoon to meet my sister, with whom I took a coach bus to Birmingham where she is currently studying. I was supposed to be back in Montpellier by Monday morning but here it is late Wednesday and I’ve only just gotten back, by a couple of hours. To blame is the worst snow storm to hit London in 18 years. This paralysed the city, stopping all trains, planes, and coaches, and frightening other drivers […]

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Natasha: Provence

Yesterday our programme organized a day trip to see some of the historical sights of Provence, namely the ones it would be hard for us to get to on our own. We piled into two buses and headed out on an hour long trip towards Nîmes for our first stop. The Pont du Gard is part of the remains of the Roman aqueduct system, which was built in the first century AD. It’s huge, and the view both of it and from it is absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately because our schedule […]

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Natasha: Day Tripper

Those of you who don’t know me personally, and some that do, may be surprised to learn that generally I travel by myself. Many people ask me isn’t it boring/lonely/dangerous etc., but the truth is I actually prefer it. I’m the kind of traveller who takes lots of pictures and just tries to soak in the scenery, see absolutely everything I can in the time I have. When I travel with someone else, I always feel like I have to follow their schedule, which can sometimes be a downer. That […]

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Natasha: Le Zoo

Today, we thought, was a good day to go stare at some animals. So I went with a couple other people to Le Parc Zoologique, which turned out not to be very far from the campus. It was a pretty nice day, so walking around the zoo was actually rather lovely, but a zoo is a zoo. Monkeys playing around, antelopes staring at you, and so on. Anyone who wants can see more animal pictures here.

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Natasha: L’Epiphanie

Well, it was only a week late, but today we had a small party at the programme office for Epiphany. In France it is celebrated with a special cake, la galette, which contains a small figurine in each cake, placed randomly. Whoever is lucky enough to find it in their piece gets a crown and is the king or queen for the day! Of course, we had a lot of people and so there were several cakes and therefore several royalty… Not me though. The cake, on the other hand, […]

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Natasha: Week One

I left off my last real post Friday the second, shortly after arriving in Montpellier. That evening I went with a few others from my group on a short walk around the downtown area, from the Place de la Comédie where our hotel was located to Montpellier’s Arc de Triomphe, about 1km each way. The weather was beautiful already, and somehow I felt like I’d been here for months. We stopped at a café for sandwiches and tea and then headed back to the comédie. Saturday we were given a […]

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