Monday, March 4, 2013

Travels and pictures and snow, oh my!

I'm baaaaaaack! 
After multiple requests from my giant fan base to update my blog, I have no choice but to grant their wish. Seven months and some later, and I'm still here. I look back on entries when I first arrived in 2009, and I do miss the time I had to explore and write and travel. Gone are the days of having loads of spare time! Down to business, semi-adulthood, etc.

So! What am I doing!
Still studying. Forever, apparently. I'm in the last year of my Master's. Last summer kicked my ass. Writing a thesis is basically no fun and takes up all the good activities like drinking wine and sleeping. I *literally* (I'm using this in the correct sense I think) didn't do anything but work and write for the better part of a week. Which is horrible because I should have been doing it all year. Or at least all second semester. But really...ain't nobody got time for that. (relevant)

And thus went the most boring and longest week of my life. Only to get a "yeah sooooo that was ok but if you could do it again that'd be great thanks" response from my profs. (Everyone got that response, as we are all at about the same level of mediocrity--always comforting in grad school.) And so round two ensued in September, and they somehow accepted that questionable piece of thesis I passed off as Master's-level in French. Self-deprication is my own little specialty, but in all was not a 62-page paper that I'm enormously proud of. into second year, wooo! I got a 13 overall, out of 20, which for a non-French student isn't that bad. No one gets 20/20, ever, and 10/20 is passing. Good students get 16s, and maybe the exceptional 17; it all depends on the teacher. These are all made up numbers to me anyway since my brain still does not really react to the French grading system!

This school year has been a lot more laid back. We didn't have as many classes first semester, but I took a few extras, including Portuguese and German. This semester is entirely devoted to an internship (550 hours, or about 4 months full time) that we'll have to write a paper about in addition to the 120-page (ish) thesis. I'm really trying to get my German level up so that I can translate from it, so I'm still taking two German classes this semester, once a week. It's hard to push myself to go to my uni in the suburbs since my one day off is the day I have class..but I know that if I were left on my own to learn German, I'd never do it. I had to sadly drop Portuguese this semester for sanity reasons, but I was really looking forward to continuing it. Maybe another time--preferably before China and Brazil take over the world (I'm convinced).

Internship, check. Working as a translator/marketing assistant at an online games company. Not really my cup of tea because I'd rather be doing more straight translation, but I'm happy to have a internship and the techy stuff that I'm forced to learn will look good on my CV. The bigger issue I have with the internship is that it's nearly full-time. Seeing as I still work on the side around 25 hours a week, I am not joking when I say I have no free time to myself. I'll only complain about it in this little paragraph because I know I live in Paris, have a (very poorly paid) internship, am getting a Master's for next to nothing..but *whine whine whine* I miss sleeping, watching trashy tv shows online, going out for drinks, staying up late, etc. Guess this is real life now, huh? I can deal with the 60+ hour work weeks and classes, but I am sincerely worried about where I'm going to find time to write this f-ing thesis. Le sigh. It'll work itself out, methinks. Worse comes to worst, I'll defend the thesis in September. It's just much more tidy if I do it in early summer, and I also get docked two points if I do it later.

America, fuck yeah! I should mention that I went home in January for the first time in 2.5 years. It was weird. Felt the same, yet different. New buildings, others torn down, redecorating of places for no apparent reason. Wal-Mart changed around and I couldn't find anything. Lots of driving, but I enjoyed it. Although I like not having to keep up a car and constantly worrying about crazy people killing me, I must admit that there's something very calming about just chilling out to music and driving long distances.

Casey's built a new gas station by my house, which is pretty exciting when you've been away from fountain drinks, doughnuts, and pizza by the slice for this long. I probably drank at least 45 litres of Diet Mountain Dew. I only let myself indulge in a double-chocolate doughnut once, and it was everything I had hoped and more. Sadness kicked in after one bite because I knew it'd be over soon. Oh Casey' stole my heart at age 12 when my paper route gave me $60 of store vouchers as a welcoming gift..

While I was home, I felt like I was living in a parallel universe. I got back to Paris and it felt like it had all been a dream. Visiting everyone was really great, but since I had so many places to go and people to see, every visit was short and sweet. I also spent an embarrassing amount of time shopping. But it needed to be done; I desperately needed more clothes and shoes. And cold medicine and ibuprofen and makeup. And an iPod and some other stuff ok FINE maybe I went a little overboard. It's America, land of consumers! Anyway, I hope not to go another 2.5 years without seeing anyone again. Too long. And my shoes will surely not last quite that long!

Without further ado, some photos of the last few months to titillate and amuse you!

Trip home
Down in Missour-ah:
Mom, Grandma, Aunt Bonnie
Adorable cousin Genevieve and her trainers/family supporters

In my old university town:
Lunch at the restaurant I worked at for 3 years..not my idea!
Baby Harper! So cute.
Amanda stealing Harper
Obligatory cheap ass drinks with Amy

Meanwhile, up in freezing Iowa:
Scrabble with sister, cousin, uncle, parents
Home cooked dinner
Hi uncles!
Right before I leave, a giant snowstorm decides to show up. Oh, Iowa.
Sisterly love
Wearing half my wardrobe at the airport
Me and Pops
The last photo on my phone as I boarded the plane back to Paris. :)

Champs-Elysées at Christmastime
Hanging out with friends a few days before Xmas (Chris was hurt, spinach was what was available)
An inflatable pig because..why not

Christmas Day! 
Will and I wearing our crowns (British Christmas day tradition, along with corny jokes, trifle, whiskey, board games, naps..they aren't that different from us)
Will cutting said trifle. It, it was really delicious, Will, really.
Duncan pouring the most important part of the meal
Smitten mittens
Christmas isn't complete without Easy Jet stocking caps and pub quiz questions 

Weekend trip to Lyon with Brittany:
DSC_1283 - Version 2

Other tidbits:
The xx = amazing live
as are The Black Keys
and The Maccabees
and The Lumineers!
And finally, I got a loft bed to give me a wee bit more space (that I've already found a way to fill up, naturally.)


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