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To forewarn you, this is a trial run.  Sort of.  I have all these thoughts and mini stories and have nowhere to place them, until now.  I apologize for the lack of coherency, order, or knowledge of what I am doing.  I am attempting to figure this out as I go, attempt being the key word.

Please enjoy my everyday ramblings!  Comment, friend me, move on to a more interesting blog, do whatever you please! :)

Au revoir, Paris

Today is October 3st.  Which means I have all of today to finish blogging about my trip before NaNoWriMo starts and I have to be punished.

I really hope my computer/Internet decide to cooperate today.

So Ariel, Donovan, Kevin, and I took the last possible train back to Paris.  Which means that it was dark and creepy by the time we got back to Paris and I was a little freaked out walking back to my apartment.  But no worries.  We all got home safe and we were very nostalgic for London for all of Monday.

Because this was our last week in France, I had a bit of a panic attack.  I mean, we were only going to be there for another week and I still had a lot of things on my list that I had wanted to see and hadn't gone to yet.  There would be a lot of things that I wouldn't get to do that I had originally planned to, but I did visit the things I really wanted to do.

That week, for our museum tour, we went to La Cimitere Pere-Lachaisse.  I was excited to go back but at the same time I knew that I had a lot of other things to do that day and I didn't want to spend my time at a place that I had already been.  I won't  upload pictures this time, but I will say that it was raining when we went.  And the cemetery is MUCH cooler in the rain.  Also, Professor Hayes was smart enough to find us all maps so we weren't wandering around aimlessly.

After the cemetery, we all went to a little cafe right next door (because Professor Hayes had promised us cofee or hot chocolate because we were all cold in the rain).  They were showing footage from the Tour de France and we were all upset we were going to be leaving the day before it would end in Paris.

We all slowly split up and since I had several hours until dinnertime, I decided to visit La Parc Monceau.  Because it was raining it was very peaceful and beautiful.  And it's mostly man-made.  Someone decided that Paris wasn't pretty enough, and a park wasn't beautiful without a giant bridge, a waterfall, and lots of hills, so they built one.  I walked around it for at least an hour, admiring the beauty, appreciating all things French, and looking back at the time I had spent in France.

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In which I have the best weekend of my life.

I don't want to be blogging right now.

I want to be reading Maggie Stiefvater's THE SCORPIO RACES.  Or sleeping.  Sleep would be good.

But I can't.  Because I have a deadline.  Which sucks.

So.  London.

Ariel, Donovan, Kevin, and I, had decided to spend a weekend in London.  We had a list of things to do that was a mile long.  We were super pumped.  But, alas, the boys were in the afternoon class, so we couldn't leave until 6.

So Ariel and I took our bags with us to class, and headed off to les Jardins des Tuileries while we waited for the boys.  These gardens are right next to the Louvre.  We both wanted to see them, since we hadn't had time on the day we went to the Louvre, and since it involved sitting and doing nothing (as opposed to walking with our slightly heavy bags), we thought it was a good idea.

Ariel and I sat down and chatted for over an hour, discussing what we wanted to do, what we were most excited for, and the meaning of life.  There was a girl who was sitting about ten feet from us, reading, who was getting really annoyed.  We didn't care.  It was a park.  That had fair rides and fair food off to the side.  It was a weird experience.

There are a lot of statues in this park.

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In which I write the world's longest blog post

Well.... poop.

I didn't mean to take yesterday off.  Really.  I promise.  I don't even know how it happened.

Oh, wait.  I do.  Blame Harry Potter.  I went and saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night and then came home and crashed.

Dang it.  In order to make up for it, prepare for a (semi) long post.

Anyways, we left off on the Sunday where I went crazy by staring at too much artwork.

Monday was the Fourth of July.  Woohoo!

Since France doesn't care about American holidays, there were no fireworks, no big American flags, no giant groups of drunk people (no more than usual, at least).  Because we felt like it deserved celebration, and because Mom and Michael suggested it, I told the group I was going to the Hard Rock Cafe.  There were about eight or ten of us who went all together.

It was decorated with Americana, had Bruce Springsteen playing, and was overall a very good time.

Sorry for the poor picture quality.

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The Louvre

Today, I'm very homesick for France.*

I'm drinking B-grade coffee, the weather is acting like it wants to be like France but it won't commit, and I've lost most of my ability to speak French easily.

I can still speak French, but it's painful, and hard, and I'm only really comfortable speaking French with a few people (i.e. my friends from the trip).

I decided to take yesterday off because I was tired.  Blogging every day is tiring.  But here we go again.  Starting my second week in France!

Every first Sunday of the month, France is the best country to live in.  (Almost) every museum is free for the day.  Really.  I think everyone on the trip took advantage of it.  It was great.

Ariel, Clint, Madison, Ian, and I all decided to go to the Louvre.  Now, because everyone knows about the free admission, we knew we'd have to get there early.  The Louvre opens at 9 A.M. and all of us planned to be there by 8 A.M.  You can probably see where this is going by now.

By now we've all pretty much got the whole Metro thing down.  I'm not fond of it, but I appreciate the fact that it's an affordable, convenient way to get around the city.  I leave my apartment and start walking to the Metro.  I'm running a few minutes behind, but it shouldn't be a big deal.  Halfway to the metro, I get a phone call.

It's Ariel and Madison.  They're on their way to the Louvre too.  Now, in using the Metro, you always plan out how you're going to get there before you ever get on the train.  We got really good at it by the end of the month.  However, no matter how well you plan, there will always be hiccups.

The Metro station that we had planned to exit off of, also known as the "Tourist Line" (at least to us) because it has most of the big tourist attractions on it, is closed.  Seriously.  Madison and Ariel had to do a huge loop-around route because there was no easy way to get to the stop we wanted.  I had to quickly figure out how I was going to get there too.  (Okay, Ariel basically told me what to do, because she's awesome like that.)  Meanwhile, Clint and Ian had planned on getting at the Louvre super early (like 7-7:30 ish) and they had to redirect their route too.  We had all planned on meeting in the Metro station, but since we were going to be running really late (at least 30 minutes), we decided just to find each other in line.

When I finally get to the Louvre, dazed, confused, really unsure of where I was going, and I was freaking out.  Because the line to get into the Louvre, at 8:30 when I arrived, was ridiculous. 

This is only half of the line at that point.  It would quadruple in size by the time we were let in.

Fun fact:  I also kept peeking outside, looking at the line once we got in.  It never shrank.  It just kept growing.

Luckily, I find Clint and Ian, and we hang out until Ariel and Madison show up.  Clint and Ian showed up at 8:20, and still had pretty fantastic places in line.  I figured it would take us at least 30 minutes to get inside, which was much better than what I had been picturing.  I knew if we showed up at 9, when it opened, we would probably standing in line for at least an hour, if not two.

We hung out, spoke to those around us, and planned out what we wanted to see.  I was jumping up and down with excitement.

More of the line, snaking around.
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Paris, finally

I have a paper due tomorrow.  In less than 24 hours.

Normally, this wouldn't be a problem.  That's why I haven't done it yet.  Unfortunately, over the weekend, when I was prioritizing my homework, I forgot to include "this is the class that I hate the most and all of the readings are incredibly boring and I rarely take notes in class" next to the paper assignment.

Before you ask, yes.  I have started.  I have three sentences.  Because I still have no idea what I'm writing about.

So I decided that while I'm on my computer, I might as well do something productive.

I'm now in Paris.  For the first day, we (the two boys and my roommate) decide to head off into Paris and see stuff.  So we did.  And we walked everywhere.  Really.  Several miles.  I was very tired by the end of the day.  Most of the walking was done to get out of the "touristy" area, where all the meal prices were so high.  We had become so accustomed to the prices in smaller cities that it was a shock to find out that it was near impossible to buy just a sandwich for around three euro.  (We were also in the wrong quarter, as we would find out later.)  But we continued on and saw a lot of the touristy stuff.

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Today's post brought to you by the fast forward button

The more I write about my summer, the more I realize that I don't want to write anymore.  And it's not because I don't want to share all my stories with you.

It's because, as soon as I'm done, that's it.

There's something special about reliving something for the first time that's almost as good as doing it in the first place.  After re-telling it the first time, it's not special anymore.

See what I do for you all?  I hope you're happy.

In the interest of time, today's post is going to be a fast-forwarded version.

After Mont St. Michel, we went to another town.  (If I really cared enough, I could look up on the itenerary, but I don't care enough.  Sorry.)  It was pretty cool.  (Descriptive, I know.)  This was also the town where Ariel and I really started to hang out.  We walked around for a few hours, speaking in franglais and bonding.  It was a good time. 

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In which we act like third graders in front of sheep

Twice in one week!  Woo!  Progress!

Some things that are probably important to know about this trip that I haven't mentioned.
1.  We haven't been sleeping much on this trip.
        Specifically, we've been getting up really early (6 A.M., roughly) (which is really early when you haven't become a morning person yet and you're still struggling against the time zones and you're in college)
2.  Most people on the trip are using the nights to go out and party after dinner.  Every night.
        This becomes very entertaining, very quickly, as they can't function the next morning.
3.  It's been raining.  Every day.  All day.
4.  It's much cooler there than it is here in Kansas.  Like, 20 degrees cooler.
5.  It has become impossible to NOT sleep on the bus.

So, after the day of deep-thinking, being very existential, and death, we started the next day on the bus.  This is how every day starts, because it's impossible to want to go anywhere that's less than (at least) an hour away.  Not surprisingly, we spent the trip sleeping.

We were all waking up at intermittent times, but eventually, Roby pulled the bus over.  While we were just driving down the road.  And we had no idea what was going on.

Seriously, I was worried we had angered him and he was going to kick us all off.  Or that we were really being kidnapped.  Or that wherever we were going wasn't actually a place at all, but some "historic site" out in the middle of nowhere.

Or that we had all gotten on the wrong bus and were now going to be experimented on.*

In reality, we had gotten out of the bus because we had had one of the first glimpses of our destination.  It took all of the zoom on my camera to get this shot, and it's still not the best.

That, my friends, is Mont St. Michel.  It's gorgeous.  (Though if I have to tell you that, we need to talk.)

So, by this point, we all get really excited.  I mean, we're going THERE.  That place, far off in the distance.  It's a freaking castle!  We all scrambled back onto the bus, and hurried along.

Only to be stopped by this...
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In which there are a LOT of pictures and I cite Wikipedia

There is a reason why I love NaNoWriMo.  Actually, there are many reasons.  The first is that it's such a huge and daunting task that when you finish, there's no better feeling.  It's a huge relief.  My self-confidence has never been higher than the day I finished NaNoWriMo (until of course, I finished my novel several weeks later).

NaNoWriMo starts in a mere 11 days and I'm psyched.  I don't think I've ever been as excited for a specific month.  I can't think about much else.  I'm constantly thinking about the characters, what I can do to ruin their lives, how I'm going to build their lives through  more than just plot twists.  It's exhilarating.  Not to mention that I have multiple friends who have decided to join me this year!  Cue happy dance!  My mind is so consumed with this book that I haven't been able to do homework this week.  Which was a big problem considering I had to write a twenty page research project due Wednesday and a five page paper on Shakespeare today.  But I did it anyway.

Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure I can focus on France right now.  I'm spent the past four days writing analytically and scientifically.  If you were around me at all after I came home from France, you'll know that my mind does NOT do well by switching back and forth between different subjects.  When I came home from France, I constantly tried to speak French.  Especially when I got tired.  It was that ingrained into my brain.

I've also decided I'm going to start a new project soon, too!  Which I'm almost as excited about as I am excited about NaNoWriMo.  (And it's a secret!  For now.  Until I get a good start on it, at least.)  I honestly can't believe there's enough room in my brain right now to do anything other than get lost in one of the books that have come in the mail recently that I haven't had time to read yet.

So, here's the next part of my journey in France.  There will be a LOT of pictures.  I hope your computers are prepared to load them all!  Hopefully they will be interesting, but if they sound all analytical and critical and sciency, I apologize.  It's going to take a few hours until I can think straight again.


When we left off last time, the group had just gone to an apple cider factory.  And everyone was hungover.  And it was hilarious.

But the day became a little more serious as we continued our WWII portion of the trip (which will continue until we leave Normandy) and traveled to Pointe du Hoc.

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Cemeteries and Alcohol Do Not Mix

If I continue to follow my pattern so far, I will finish blogging about my time in France sometime at the end of next year.  2012.  As in, 18 months after I arrived back in the U.S.  In fear of family rioting, the apocalypse, and my memory issues, that isn't going to happen.*

One of the best things about college is that you learn a lot about yourself.  I've quickly learned that I need self-imposed goals in order to do things on a regular basis.  I shouldn't say goals.  My goal for this year was to blog at least once a week, if not more.**  I should call them challenges.  As in, How I Met Your Mother-worthy challenges.

As we can see from Barney Stinson's wonderful (though very poor-quality) example, the best challenges include time limits, an audience, and humiliation when failed.  While I won't be finishing my blogs in the next 24 hours, I will finish before November 1st.

That's right.  I will have finished all blogs pertaining directly to France in 19 days!  This is because as of November 1st, it will be National Novel Writing Month.  And I know I won't have any desire to write about France when my mind will be stuck in Novel Land.  If I do not finish before November 1st, I will do something.... Though I haven't decided what yet.  Probably embarrassing or difficult and hardly any fun.  For me.

Since I now have a limited amount of time to finish this project, let's continue, shall we?

If you're like me and need to refresh your memory, you'll remember that we last left off in Caen, with a cliffhanger ending of this:

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