Spring Break, Paris style

Well fellow bloggers or blog readers it has been quite a lovely week I must say! Had my first Spring Break in Paris, minus the “spring” weather but needless to say I have enjoyed well.. being lazy πŸ™‚ I have had quite the spark of interest in watching all my favorite childhood movies again that I have not seen in years. So far I have watched The Little Mermaid (1 and 2), Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and now working on the Lion King 2. Brings back such wonderful memories πŸ™‚ One thing I thought that was rather cool is the amount of French words that were spoken in Beauty and the Beast and even the Little Mermaid. Who would have ever thought?! As a little kid I paid no mind, but now that I am in Paris and studying French I tend to notice things like that! Beauty and the Beast is a French specialty so that came to no surprise after I had discovered that. When it comes to movies I love all of them, except for the scary movies. I have always firmly believed why must I watch those movies in seeking the thrill and then be afraid afterwards and all throughout life? Just never was my fancy! But look at me watching all of the “fairy tale” movies, a girl can dream right!? πŸ™‚

Besides watching movies I have been quite productive. Did all my laundry, have cooked almost everyday, and even cleaned my dorm room! As well as some homework everyday. I have been trying to keep up on my Managing People project. Running a business, or building, is no easy task needless to say! Right now we are trying to finish our Business Plan and then make Presentations and start accumulating meetings with sponsors for the upcoming weeks. It is quite amazing though, we have prospects that think we will succeed in this project far beyond just the class. Who knows, maybe this will be the next hot “app”. I told you I have dreams right! It is funny my French classmates tell me I am so “American” with my big dreams and all πŸ™‚ haha That is after all why I am here HELLO!!

After meeting up with a girl in my group today at OpΓ©ra she showed me around. I have officially fell in love with Paris again! OpΓ©ra has got to be one of my favorite parts of Paris so far. There were stores that lined the streets, department stores like you wouldn’t believe! I do not even care to shop and this girl was in heaven. She also took me to a famous macaroon shop in Paris called LadurΓ©e. I must say I have never been a huge fan of macaroons but that just so happened to go down in history today, I LOVE THEM! See πŸ™‚

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I am going back to OpΓ©ra tomorrow with Ariana so there will definitely be more pics to come! Hope everyone is having a great week. Will catch up with you this weekend.

AU REVOIR
Kels

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One Month Down

The weeks are beginning to fly by. I am officially on Spring Break this whole week! Rather odd seeing as how I just started classes 3 weeks ago but then again, who’s complaining?! The week was rather long, had 18 hours of classes so most of the time spent outside of class was just spent resting. I actually was a little sick last weekend, head cold stuff going on and that happened to carry through the week as well. Started taking some medicine and actually feel much better now. Been trying to get a head start on a lot of the projects I have to do this semester. I am in 2 Masters classes (Managing People and Entrepreneurial Marketing) so compared to back home they are quite a bit different then what I am used to. The plus side is that I am learning so much here just by all of the changes and differences!

A couple of my American friends were in Paris for the weekend from Germany. Steph lives in Germany and Hanna is visiting her for 2 weeks so they decided to make a trip to Paris! We met up at Moulin Rouge yesterday and walked around, ate lunch, chatted, laughed and then walked to La Seine River and saw the mini Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower of course! I enjoyed their company, it was nice having people from back home in EUROPE of all places πŸ™‚ We did not end up meeting up last night because travel time sometimes is too much on metro, especially because it stops after Midnight but maybe during the break I will get the chance to go visit them!

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A picture of us girls with the Statue of Liberty

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Statue of Liberty

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and again

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Eiffel Tower with La Seine River

As far as today goes I think Persia and I will head to China Town, been craving my Chinese food, maybe go shopping a little bit and then I will probably top the night off with a movie. Now the rest of the week has quite the potential! Just have to figure out what I would like to do on my time off πŸ™‚ I contemplated coming home almost everyday for the past week but that is such a long trip and would be pretty tiring I am sure. Most likely I will spend some time sight seeing and maybe even head somewhere for a couple days! This week is also Fashion Week in Paris so you know I have to go check that out!

A few fun “FACTS” about Paris, I will keep updating in time when I discover more!
*Drinks are ordered when food is ordered and served with the food or slightly before
*Whipped cream is AMAZING here, also known as Chantilly
*Pizza is always served with chili oil
*You have to cut your own pizza
*Always use fork and knife with pizza, eating with hands is so “American” ha
*American music is everywhere, on the metro, in clubs, restaurants, shops, etc.
*Mac computers are very popular, all the French kids in class have them
*French love Italian food, there are restaurants everywhere
*Everyone eats dessert with every meal, I am not kidding people
*Mushrooms are in everything, I am in heaven πŸ™‚
*Always pour your own drinks
*Sometimes you will wait 30 minutes after you are done eating to receive your check, it is not looked down upon if you get up and go over to the waiter to pay

Hope you enjoyed those just as much as I do πŸ™‚

Talk to you soon,
Kels

Time Goes By

Time seems to be getting away from me now that classes have started up full-force. I had all of my classes last week so I was a busy bee to say the least! My schedule pretty much rocks though because I have managed to get Mondays and every other Friday off of school, whoop whoop! As far as classes go I have the following: International Business Practices, Managing People, Entrepreneurial Marketing, International Contract Negotiation, French Civilization and French language class. Each of these are worth 4 credits (in France) and only a mere 2 back home at Wichita State. Which I might add makes no sense because these classes are almost twice as hard! All in all they started off good. The classes here are set up differently then they are in the US, from what I have experienced. A lot of their work here is done in groups and off of notes given by the teacher, whereas back home notes are relayed from a textbook and then you may have 1 project in a group but the rest is individual work. Seeing how my degree is Management I think this will indeed be a good thing to learn while I am here!

In my Managing People class we are split into 2 groups, about 20 people in each group. We are to basically make up a company and manage it for the next 3 months. We have a CEO, Asst. CEO and then 4 managers. I just so happen to be 1 of the managers and the only International student who is one! No pressure right?! I am actually in charge of managing the Public Relations department of our group so wish me luck! I look forward to sharing more information about our “company” later on so you all can maybe start checking up on that as well πŸ™‚ In my Entrepreneurial Marketing class we are to choose a company we want to Market for the next 3 months. I must say I have not gotten into any of these kinds of classes back home so I will sure be learning quite a bit! As far as the other classes go they are a little more on the “easy” side compared to these 2 intense Masters classes but I have my work cut out for me in it all!

Last week I spent in class and then come Thursday a big group of the ERASMUS students went to a club called Mix Club. We definitely do not have clubs like that in Kansas! Pretty much 3 stories, huge dance floor, big DJ stand and all. I again skipped the drinks because this time they were 12 freaking euros instead and I am sorry I just do not give a sh*t to drink anything for that kind of money, unless it is a nice glass of wine or something πŸ˜‰ People here do not normally go out clubbing until Midnight or after so we all gathered in the Cambodge House in CitΓ© U (the house where I live) and pre-gamed. Here are a couple of pictures with my girls and I!

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Adriana and I, she is from Mexico!

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Persia and I, she is from Guyana!

I had a great night out with everyone! The girls and I only stayed out until about 1:30 because this girl needs her beauty rest. Most people wait until the metro starts running again in the mornings at around 6am to go home but I just cannot do that!

I spent the weekend resting, did not feel well for some of it (cold and/or allergies) but it was nice to be lazy and hang around my place. I also got some bedding and cleaned a lot so I feel much more comfortable here!

This weekend a couple girls that graduated a year younger than me are coming to Paris to visit! One of the girls lives in Germany and teaches English and her best friend is coming to visit her and Paris is on their list of places to visit so what better timing πŸ™‚ We will probably explore a lot which is a good thing because I have not done too terribly much of that yet. Should be a great time!

Next week I actually have Spring Break, my first one at least so I think I will be booking a trip to Germany for a few days! I also have planned a day trip to Champagne in March as well as my Ireland trip when Amber comes to visit me πŸ™‚ eeeek! A few other prospects as far as vacays go the next couple months I plan on visiting Italy with my mom on my 2nd Spring Break, Amsterdam, Spain, London and some more of France for sure. Hoping to see a lot of Europe during my time here of course.

I pretty much only have 3 months left of school, crazy because I technically just started but also exciting because the next 3 months will be full of adventures and then I will most likely be heading home the first part of June! Such a wonderful experience here so far πŸ™‚ OH OH I also got a French phone so for you iPhone users I can text anytime, unfortunately I was unaware that I cannot call the US or text anyone without an iPhone outside of France. Ehhh oh well! Feeling a little bit more connected now which definitely makes it easier talking to my friends that are here and making plans and also keeping in touch with my parents more.

Well I am off to do some homework, shower and watch a movie so God bless to you all! I will keep you updated later this week.
Kels

Feelings and Bruxelles, Belgique

TGIF people! I have successfully completed my first full week in Paris. Through all of the new experiences and changes things are beginning to settle in. However, I do miss home every single day. This is a huge step for me in my life and I know I will cherish it forever but being away from home really makes you see everything from a different perspective. This week has been full of emotions. The sense of loss, uncomfortable void, lonely, and feeling out of place. All of these are good ofcourse because when we feel uncomfortable and are experiencing so much change, that is when we grow the most. Usually when I wake up it is the hardest, a hole in my heart aching to be back home where I am comfortable and that pain in my throat desiring for surrender, letting go and acceptance into the unknown. Definitely easier said than done. Right now I am trying my hardest not to get lost in the feelings. It is easy to feel sad and then more sadness comes and more and so on but I am doing my best in feeling that and letting it go. Needless to say it continues to pop up everyday but after time I know it will dissipate. After all I am meeting new people, making new friends and living a new life.

Yesterday (Thursday) I had class that lasted until 7:15pm and then a few of us made our way to the ERASMUS party that was being held for the new International students. We arrived at the bar and it was a sauna! People were shoulder to shoulder, it had to have been around 90degrees in there and getting a drink was pretty much impossible. I still managed to meet people from all over the world, share some laughter and enjoy a night out with everyone! After the bar we headed to a nightclub on a boat on La Seine river. It was much much cooler there so a lot of us were happy about that. I checked my bag and my purse for a whopping 6 euros and headed to the dance floor. I decided to skip the drinking (yes mom and dad I skipped it) because another 6 euros for a miniature solo cup of a mixed drink just is not my cup of tea. Speaking of tea that would be nice, I miss Iced tea! After an hour or two of listening to some good oldies, I can’t believe I am calling 1990s music oldies, a couple of us headed back to CitΓ© U. I showered and got in bed and Skyped my dad and then my mom. I have to say one of the greatest challenges about being in Paris and my family and friends back home is definitely the time difference. Paris is 7 hours ahead of Kansas and that really puts a damper on communication. When I get my phone working over here and have the freedom to get a hold of my parents or even friends here and back home that will be nice.

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That was from Friday, I saved it and meant to add to it and publish later but here I am going to add on πŸ™‚

For those of you who do not have Facebook and could not keep up with me this weekend on there I went on a spur of the moment trip to Bruxelles, Belgique (Brussels, Belgium)! Let me just say was that fun πŸ™‚ My fellow American friend I met here, Valerie (she is from Louisiana) and I decided to getaway for the weekend, I know most of you are thinking “but you just got there!” Well yes indeed I did just get here but I have 4 more months to explore Paris and travel Europe, I am definitely making the best of it πŸ˜‰ We left Saturday morning around 11am and arrived around 2:30pm. Not too bad of a ride, I slept most of the way actually and then Val and I chatted throughout! It was also nice to ride through France though, I have been seeing so much gray around here lately that the green fields and grass definitely helped me feel more at home.

Shortly after we arrived, and ate, we made our way through town to find our hotel. Took a little bit longer than expected, having gone in circles a couple times but that’s the adventure of it all right!? Since it was getting dark soon we decided to venture towards Grand Place, a main tourist attraction in Brussels filled with stores! Halfway there we saw a little ride that took you up high to where you could see throughout Brussels so we paid some money and headed up top with a beautiful view of the land.

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After, we went on to Grand Place and man was it beautiful (sigh)!

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We stopped in at Stella Artois and I had an amazing steak. Good meat is hard to come by in Europe, atleast the kind of meat we are used to (Filets and hamburgers), but wow was this one a winner!! Again sorry for any vegetarians. A mushroom cream sauce to top it off and may I just say ’twas magnifique!!!

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Not sure how but after we finished our meals we walked through stores and enjoyed the scenery and then we stopped for a Belgium waffle. We were in Belgium, of course we had to!

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Made our way back to the hotel to get some rest for the fun filled adventures we had planned the following day. Woke up the next morning around 9ish and got ready and headed down for breakfast. Headed out to the Atomium around 11am and boy was it cold and windy, brrrr. For those of you who have never heard of this here it is!

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We were deeply disappointed when we found out that Mini Europe was only open during March-October. I would have loved to venture through and take pictures of all the miniature artifacts that are famous throughout Europe, a good excuse to go back though! I however did take a picture of Mini Europe from the Atomium.

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After that we headed back to Grand Place to discover so more shopping and the beautiful landmarks during the day. I will tell you one thing, Belgium is known for its chocolate. Altogether I bet we saw 40+ little chocolate stores in Grand Place and all of them were swarming with people! Never in my life have I seen so much… CHOCOLATE πŸ™‚ After quite the afternoon we headed back to the room to relax a little before we decided to go to the movie. How could I not go to the movies in Europe!? hahaha. We went and saw “That Awkward Moment” and it was hilarious! Then we headed back to Grand Place, which was one metro stop away (and walking distance back to the hotel for when the metro stopped running) and found ourselves a place to eat the infamous Moules and Frites (Mussels and fries), Belgium style! I have never tried mussels before so when in Brussels πŸ™‚

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Surprisingly they were quite nice, a very light meal. The last adventure of our day was to the famous Delirium CafΓ©/Pub. I was told by a couple friends here in Europe to visit this bar while we were there. It was packed and has over a few thousand beers, Europe really does know how to do it lol. So of course I got a beer (apple cider, that counts right?) and tried to enjoy some girl time however, a guy just managed to sit with us the whole time we were there and he had other plans. Do not worry though, we left shortly after, as for we did not get good vibes off of that. Took the route to the hotel and enjoyed being off our feet and a good nights rest ahead.

Left on the bus ride back around 1130am and returned back to my dorm, did some laundry, went to dinner with a friend and came back to hang at my place and finish up my blog πŸ™‚ So far Europe is a huge success! I feel a whole lot better and less homesick after this weekend and getting out and about. This week I have all of my classes so I will be busy again keeping up with school, the adventures of Kelsey and so on!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, Γ  bientΓ΄t!
Kels

Class begins

Had my first day of class today, only 1 but a 3 hour class per day suffices for me! Managing People at 8am this morning. Actually was not too bad getting up that early, got ready in about 30 min, ate a little KIND bar and left for my morning commute. Took about 45 minutes to get to class, including walking so that was not too bad. Showed up and realized I forgot to look what classroom it was in. Thank goodness I saw a new friend and asked what class she had and ended up being in the same one so phewww! Pretty full class, tons of International students but remarkably a lot of French too. Needless to say I did not mind the class one bit, my teacher is hot πŸ™‚ But now that I have that out of the way I can tell you that we were split into 2 teams, about 17 people in each team, and then we are to make up our own company and run it over the next 12 weeks. After he was going over all of the rules I realized how overwhelming it sounded but he also made it sound quite fun! I am interested in seeing how we can make this work however, I did not take the place of CEO. I figured for my first semester abroad and already being overwhelmed that I should probably just settle with manager of a smaller team for this one (bummer I know). This is a 4th level course over in France so even though we have no final exam, this course is the real deal. Excited to get this kind of experience, especially since this is specific towards to my degree.

For the past few days I have spent my time around my dorm just relaxing and trying to get all of the paperwork done as well as “mentally resting”. Who knew there would be so much work just to be “legal” and in school over here! I am working on getting my OFII set up, which is a form needed in order to be a legal student basically (since my Visa is Autorise Travail I can work and extend my Visa if desired). In order to do that I need the form the consulate returned to me with my Visa, copy of Passport, copy of Visa and then copy of Immigration stamp. That one was surprisingly the easiest process but it doesn’t end there. I have to go do a medical check once they get me scheduled, can take up to 3 months to do, then I have to have a tax stamp, housing contract, official picture, official passport and convocation papers. WOWZERS! Now I am also applying for the CAF which since I am Autorise Travail it means I am eligible to receive money that will go towards my rent each month. For the CAF I need the application forms, copy of Passport, copy of Visa, copy of my birth certificate I got translated in French back in the states, ESCE student attestation (stating I am in school at ESCE), French social security and French bank account information. It surprisingly sounds worse typing it all out! That process can take up until the time I leave Paris and I could even receive the money after I am back home, so frustrating! I surely am learning my patience over here though that is for sure. I am so American when it comes to me having a to do list of 10 things in a day and actually being able to achieve all of that. It takes days to pretty much get anything done around here.

I have also been trying to figure out my phone. I suspended my service with AT&T while abroad but they won’t unlock my phone while I am here because I am still under contract, definitely irritating! But needless to say after some digging I think I am able to unlock my phone through a good friend of mine. After I do this I am can get a French sim card to call the US free and unlimited as well as unlimited texting. Only 300MB of data but if I use that just to iMessage I will be just fine! It is not the fact that I have to have a phone over here it just is one of the ways that really makes you feel 4700 miles away. Plus the only way I can talk to my parents is through Facebook for my dad and email for my mom. It would really be nice to be able to text them whenever I want! Although I am not going to lie not having a phone has not been that much of a difference other than feeling out of touch and a little more lonely. That can’t be bad for anyone though right?! πŸ™‚

There are 2 more things that I need to do this week and one of them is open a French bank account. I have to do this in order to get the CAF. Also have to have a doctors visit for my French social security. BLAH!! Bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch lol I am sorry I am not trying to do that I am just merely being honest about the whole process in studying abroad. A lot of people do not realize the time, effort and money this takes and they only see the benefit of being able to live in the City of Love or the City of Light. It is wonderful, magnificent, and beautiful but it also takes a lot of adapting, uncomfortable, different, new, and changing situations and experiences. That is when we grow the most so I know it will all be worth it! After all I am definitely here for the experience so letting go and letting be is at the top of my list!

Tomorrow is the ERASMUS welcome party, basically a shindig for International students studying at ESCE. It should be a blast meeting more people who are experiencing the same thing as me and making new friends! I am sure it will be a crazy, fun night so I will keep you posted on that. Also have class tomorrow afternoon, French Civilization, hoping it is interesting!

I have been keeping up on all of the snow Kansas has gotten the past 24 hours or more and needless to say that makes me homesick. I love the snow, and especially because the past 2 days have been snow days! Mom and dad sent me pics so I enjoyed virtually this year. Here the weather is usually mid 40s and gray. I love when the sun comes out because you do not realize how much you love the sun until you are in a city that is pretty gray all throughout winter. Extremely excited for Spring because that will be BEAUTIFUL! I must say it is indeed warmer here than Kansas has been for quite some time and since you walk everywhere that is a perk for sure.

It is around 9:36 pm or 21:26 shall I say. I think I am going to snuggle up in bed and watch some Netflix! All of my love fellow blog readers, stay safe if in Kansas with all of this weather.

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Kels