Five months later, here I am at the end of my semester abroad in Europe.
There have been things that I’ve fallen in love with, things that I’ve not liked at all, things that have made me smile, and things that have made me upset.
One of my favorite things here are the friends that I’ve made. I met people from France, Spain, Panama, Ghana, Korea, China, and Japan. The first day I was in Europe, I met an amazing French guy and have been with him ever since. I had every opportunity in the world to speak French whenever I wanted to, and I was situated right in the middle of Europe and able to travel wherever I wanted to and however far my money would allow (9 countries and 18 cities to be exact). Even within Caen, I lived with no car and could easily get around the city thanks to an amazing public transportation of busses and trams. I wasn’t working, and besides being in class I had so much free time I didn’t know what to do with myself.
But of course, there are things here that I won’t miss at all. Continue reading
We left the hostel at 3am, said goodbye to those who were still up in the hostel kitchen, walked to the commercial center, got on the bus, and passed out. An hour and a half later we were at the airport, an hour later we were on the plane, and two hours later we were in Brussels at 9am. I called Michel, who was coming to pick us up, to let him know that we had arrived. He told me that he was outside of Quick (a French fast-food restaurant), but when I asked security where the Quick was, they laughed and said there wasn’t one at this airport. Uh oh.
So we were both at different airports. Who was I to know that there are two airports in Brussels? Continue reading
We had planned on leaving the hostel in Paris by 6am the next morning to catch the bus to the airport on time. What actually happened is we woke up at 6am the next morning to catch the bus to the airport JUST in the nick of time, getting to the gate just 5 minutes before boarding started. We were lucky. Once we got off of the plan in Sweden, we bought our bus tickets to the town center, got on the bus, and found out that it would take us nearly an hour and a half to get there! At least we had time to nap on the road. We arrived at the commercial center and decided to have a bite to eat there. A little stand in the center was selling wraps and soups, so we indulged. I ate a red curry soup that was somehow purple served in a Styrofoam cup along with a muffin that tasted like pizza, and Jed had a wrap filled with rice, fruit, and black beans. Sweden is strange!
Since we had 5 days off in between our national exams and university exams, doesn’t it make more sense that I traveled around than sat at home and studied? Yes, I think so.
Yes, I was back in Paris. No, I didn’t want to be. Not after all of my terrible experiences there. (Am I being a little overdramatic? Perhaps. But seriously, Paris was not in good standing with me at the moment.) Nevertheless, Paris is a necessary connecting point to basically anywhere when I’m traveling outside of Caen. Continue reading
Jed and I hadn’t traveled together since our big backpacking trip that we took at the beginning of the semester, so we decided to spend a weekend in Rouen. We used two of the greatest organizations on the internet: Covoiturage and Couchsurfing. Covoiturage is a French website where people post if they’re driving somewhere so others can ride along with them and just pitch in for gas; Couchsurfing is a worldwide website where people post if they’re willing to lodge travelers while they’re visiting certain cities. Continue reading
I finally made the legendary trip to Mont Saint Michel when my very own Michel surprised me with a road trip there while he was in Caen to visit me for the weekend. The moment I mentioned it to my friends in class on Friday, everyone was jealous and wanted to come along. I invited Andrea from Spain, Ruben from Panama, and Noelle from Baylor to come along with us for the ride on Saturday.
We took our time on Saturday morning and left Caen around 10:30 AM. Although the weather wasn’t perfect, we decided to go anyway because it would probably be the only chance all of us would have to go this semester. Continue reading
Due to the Barcelona mishap, I found myself in a car on the way to Lille for the weekend. After being dropped off at one of the train stations, I realized I had about an hour before Michel got off of work. I decided to wander through Lille Europe, a huge shopping center in between the two train stations. It was just like an American mall, although I had to pay to use the bathroom – definitely not American! Once I found my way to the other train station where we were supposed to meet, I just hung around near a big fountain out front until it started to rain. Luckily, Michel showed up pretty soon after and we hopped on a train to Hazebrouck, a town just outside of Lille where Michel lives.