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more journal from France

Day 19- The Heart of Normandie.

So yesterday we went to see the BBB tapestry. It basically is this GIANT tapestry that is over 70 meters long and it tells the story of William the conqueror and his fight to take the crown of France. The tapestry used to be displayed once a year in a st. Micheal cathedral but after years of wear and tear, it was put on display at a museum in Normandy. It was sewn in 1067. I wasn’t able to take any actual pictures of the tapestry, but I got some good ones of the museum and stuff..At the little gift shop, I got my sister and I matching rings. They’re made from twisted metal and the TYPE of jewelry dates back to the 800’s. Our rings are silver with two small pieces of metal twisted together. They’re supposed to represent unity for eternity. =)

Today we went to Rouen. According to Steve, no one except a native French speaker can pronounce the name correctly (I feel like I’m choking when I try) so it’s also known as the town of “ruin”. Rouen is famous for a lot of reasons, one being that it’s the biggest city in northern France and in normandie, another being that it has the BEST macaroons in the world (in my opinion and in others), but mainly because it’s the city where Jeanne d’arc was tried and burned at the steak. The story is pretty incredible…its one I definitely knew of, but not ABOUT…if that makes sense.  The story goes, Jeanne d’arc was 13 when she started hearing voices. These voices, she believed, were the voices of the saints. They told her to lead France in victory over England. (This was during the 100 years war, where France and England were arguing over who should have the crown of France) No obviously, Jeanna D’arc was a girl…and that’s a big no no. She went to her uncle for help and he told her she was crazy, but that he’d help her if she really believed the saints were telling her to fight. So, they cut off her hair so that she’d look like a boy, and she wrote to the king requesting to see him about it. They king did not believe she was the real deal, so he tried to play a trick on her to prove she was fake. He traded all his clothes for that of a worker, and he had a worker dress up in his clothes so that he’d look like he was the king. When Jeanne D’arc came, she walked right past the pretend king to the real one and started telling him of her plan. He granted her with an army and men’s armor. She was on 16 and she started fighting for France, leading an army, and doing really well. As the war was coming to an end, the king was ready to start fighting by Jeanne wanted to continue the battles, so her and the king weren’t really Seeing Eye to eye..The English were angry that they were being beaten by a girl (obviously) and they set out to capture her, and they succeeded. By this time, the French weren’t too happy with her either so the English sent her back to France where she was tortured and questioned constantly about her “voices”. They told her that if she would sign a paper saying the voices were fake, and that it was wrong of her to dress as a man, she could go to mass. Most people believe that she didn’t really know what she was signing, but that she just signed it so she could go to mass. She signed the document with a cross. After, they questioned everything about her faith…They accused her of heresy and questioned the voices. History has it that she was very humored by their questions.  When asked, “were the saints clothed when they spoke to you?” she answered, “Do you think God doesn’t have the means to clothe them?” They continued to interrogate and accuse here. They checked her virginity, and they wouldn’t give her proper clothes to wear. (She was still wearing the clothes she fought in…IE Men’s clothes) She was tried in Rouen with 4 crimes, heresy being the main one, and found guilty. She was paraded through the streets to the center of Rouen where she was tied to a stake and burned. As she burned, she prayed aloud and a small boy ran to the nearby church (St. Michaels cathedral) and got a cross for her to see. Her last words were “Jesus Jesus” and she died, at 19 years old. Despite all the oil and ash, however, her heart wouldn’t burn. The crowd explained they made a mistake: they just burned a saint. Her heart was thrown into the Seine out of fear of it becoming a relic…and thirty years later, the King explained that he should have stepped in at her aid. Shortly after, she was declared a saint because whether or not the voices were of the saints, she believed they were God’s will and she obeyed as best as she knew how. Kind of amazing huh?

After we went through the museum about Jeanna D’arc, we went shopping in the town. There were a TON of really cute boutiques and I was able to buy the last two gifts I needed. Roger and Nira wanted a mug, and I found a set. It actually looks like one mug, but in reality its two halves and a mug with a handle on each side. Ones red and the others white and they have the Eiffel Tower on them and it says Paris. It also came with a small, red plate that it sits on. Its super cute. Then, for Steven and Christ, I bought them a shot glass with the Normandie flag on it. (I had originally planned on getting one with the Eiffel tower on it..or Paris or something, but all the ones I found were ugly) (Update on this…I did eventually find them a shot glass with paris on it that was cute)

Day 20

I’m not posting this particular blog. Sorry.

Day 22- Through the “troth”

So yesterday we had a service project at this really cute church in Carbourgh. The pastor of the church is American, he and his wife both, and they came here as missionaries. They’ve now lived here for 27 years. The church was pretty small, but very cute. Since it was rainy and cold, we started the project by painting some new signs for them. I was absolutely miserable at it, but my sign ended up looking really good in the end of it. After it warmed up we went outside and cute the hedges and raked (?) and pulled weeds….BUT, while we were outside working, a man comes walking up the street in a costume. I couldn’t really tell what he was dressed as at first, but then he walked into the courtyard of the church and I realized right away that he was dressed as a penis…I can’t even describe the costume other than to say his head was its head, with a giant pink hat, and his feet were stuffed. Then, all of a sudden a ton of cars came pulling up and a bunch of men jumped out and we realized it was a bachelor party. Apparently the guy had a list of tasks he had to complete in the penis costume…So he asked us for an under garment, and we all said no…THEN, he asked if one of us would kiss the top of his head…And someone, I’m not going to say who, did it! And it was the funniest thing I’ve seen all summer.

Eurovision 2010 was that same night. I had never actually heard of what Eurovision was until I came here, but it’s a huge deal over here! It’s a show that’s put on once a year and all the European countries participate. They hold contests and each country picks a representative, who then writes a song and performs it at Eurovision. This year it was freaking awesome! We watched the preshow that showed to winners from the past years and they were all pretty good. My favorite was definitely France (NOT biased at all! Really!) he was so so good and hopefully I’ll be able to download the song, if not, I’ll try to remember to link it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVtV9K-aosU

After France my favorite was Greece, who sang a song called OPA! And it was awesome…  The girl from Germany was really cute, She was kind of a Taylor swift meets Kate Nash and her song was really catchy. It was pretty cool to watch the voting. Each country gets to award a certain amount of points to another country (you can’t vote for yourself) and it was interesting to see how the politics played into it. 39 countries voted and the leader changed a lot…BUT, by the time it got to the 19th country voting, Germany was way ahead and in the end she won by almost 150 points! It was so great because she was adorable and she had no idea she would win. She was literally speechless.

After that, it was about one in the morning and I had a pretty awesome 10 minutes in the bathroom with Jacob. I guess we were so tired it was just to the point to where everything was hilarious…but while I was brushing my teeth I commented on his really strange contact case and he just goes, “yeah its just like making meth” just…all of a sudden without any kind of a thought and I cracked up and toothpaste came through my nose. We were basically in the floor laughing. Jessica came in to see what was going on and I washed off my nose, but it was bright red from where the toothpaste burned so much. So so funny.

The next day, Sunday, we went to the church that we did the service project for and it was WAY better than the other church. I really enjoyed the service and I wish we were going back there. Maybe if Jason and I do actually move over here, I can take him there. After church Jessica and Jacob and I went to the café in town and Jacob and I traded music. He has a really awesome taste in music and I got about 2000 songs from him. (SO glad I brought my back up hard drive!)

Our “buddy” system thing started this past week as well. My buddy is Veronique and she’s really awesome. She’s probably about 60 and she’s a Christian from carbourg. She’s got a really funny sense of humor and its really easy to talk to her because she pronounces everything very clearly and she also speaks a lot of English incase I can’t understand something she says. She LOVES to read just like me so the first night we talked a lot about our favorite authors and stuff. We also talked a lot about travels and she told me that when I want to move over here (and HOPEFULLY that will happen!) that I can call her and she can help me shop for an apartment from the US. =)

Hmmm..what else is there…? OH! Est-ce! So there are specific ways to ask questions in French, est-ce que and que est-ce que and after 6 years of studying French, I NEVER understood them! But then, today the prof sat down with me and explained it and it totally clicked….which is freaking awesome…so I’m excited about that.

One thing we have to do while was here is watch the news at least 4 nights a week. It’s freaking awesome because the people on the news’ pronunciation is very clear and it’s easy to understand, AND we are able to get some insight on the culture and major events. Its definitely one of my favorite parts of the day.

The other day, (sorry…this entry has ended up spreading over about 5 days) the other day we were supposed to have an excursion. That was also the first morning I went to get bread (I’ll explain that in a sec..) So I woke up at 5AM with a blistering migraine and I laid in bed until about 6…I got up and took some medicine, then I started getting ready for the day. I figured taking a shower and getting up to get ready would make me feel better. Nope. I got completely dressed and ready and went for the bread, and when we got back I was literally lightheaded. So, I went and took some more medicine and then I ate breakfast. As soon as I ate it got much worse…So I talked to Steve and went right back to my room, washed my face, put my pajamas back on, and as I laid down in bed, the rest of the girls left for the excursion. I had an ice pack in my room from the week before (I’ve had a few migraines already, but not as bad as this one) and I laid it over my face and fell asleep. At some point Danielle must have came into the room because when I woke up (5 hours later) The icepack   was gone and my lunch was sitting beside my bed. I didn’t really feel like eating so I just took my pillow and my blanket and went downstairs to the couch, where I slept for 2 more hours. When I woke up Danielle was there and she gave me a freshly frozen ice pack and I realized it was pouring down rain outside. I picked up my blanket and pillow and went BACK upstairs where I fell asleep again, and when I woke up the girls were coming in and they were all miserably soaked and uncomfortable…SO, all in all, I’m pretty glad I didn’t stick it out for the excursion because it would have been a disaster…The migraine lasted about 3 days, but that one day was definitely the worst.

Ending this one with a quote from Becky while we were in class one day. The prof had just started to explain an exception to a rule and Becky banged her head down on the desk and exclaims, “There’s an exception for every word with an accent!!”

Day…26? –I’m way behind on writing!!

The theme for this week, even though it’s not Thursday…was Exploring World War II. Obviously, our home is right on the beaches of Normandy right where D-Day happened, so we have to have a week themed around it right? Also, this Sunday IS D-Day. So today, we went to the largest WWII museum in the world, which is just about 25 minutes away in Caen. It was absolutely amazing. Completely exhausting and upsetting, but the museum captured the feel of the war so well. Tomorrow we are going on an all day excursion up and down the coast of France to see the main D-Day sights. It’s kind of a privilege for this group because we get to do this excursion two days before the 66th anniversary of D-Day.  I’m excited to go see all of the sights, but I’m also nervous about how it will affect me emotionally.

The first exam in the second class was on Monday and I’m not proud to say that I made a 68% on it. Ugh. It’s killing me because I KNOW THE MATERIAL. I’m just a horrible test taker. I make the stupidest mistakes and forget the simplest things. Hopefully I can make this up with the next two exams. One’s Monday and the next is Saturday. On the quiz we had yesterday I made a 94% and on the one today I probably made about the same. We’ll see….

I can’t WAIT for our last excursion before Paris. We’re going to see a sight I have been DYING to see for ages. Its called Mont. St. Micheal. I’ll link it here: http://www.paris-france-hotel-reservation.com/images/IMAGES_DIVERSES/Mt-St-Michel.jpg

I can’t freaking wait to go. I’m so pumped. It’s going to be awesome. 3 days…

Oh so in the last entry I said I would explain the bread, and I never did. It’s very possible that I explained it a few entries ago, and if I did, oh well. I’m going to explain it again. So our home here in franceville is right on the public square, which is actually pretty fortunate because it’s in the middle of everything. Right across the square there’s a bakery and part of our participation grade is going to get the bread in the morning. So, for 4 days each, we have to get up early, go downstairs to pick up the order, and then walk to the bakery and buy the bread. I went these past 4 days and I have to admit, I really loved it. Waking up before everyone else was really nice because I could take a shower and then open the windows in the bathroom and get ready for the day in complete peace. Then, a nice walk in the morning and when you walk into the bakery the smell of all the fresh bread just overwhelms you. It’s incredible! PLUS, you get to interact with some cool frenchies. =)

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One thought on “more journal from France

  1. Alicia, I love reading about your trip. It’s absolutely fascinating!! I’m so glad you got to go and had such a great time. Oh, and I love our shot glass. Thanks again!

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