So I have been so busy/lazy/French/relaxed that I have not posted in over a month I think? And so much has happened! So settle down, cause this will probably be a long one.
First thing’s first: I got into grad school!!! I will officially be in London next year (technically Essex, but it’s on the Underground line, so it counts) pursuing my MFA in Theatre Directing at the East 15 Acting School! It was actually one of the last things I was expecting to do next year because I really didn’t think I would get in…but this does mean another two years outside the US. I’ve definitely been thinking about going home a lot recently and I was getting used to the idea of at least being back somewhere in the US next year but I’m really excited about this opportunity! It’s hard to imagine getting back into a busy schedule with a lot of work though; our lives here are so laid back and we definitely have too much time on our hands for our own good.
On a sort of related note, we’ve started our last month here in France. I’ll be back in Dallas exactly a month from today…it feels so surreal! Like I said, I’m ready to be home…for a bit. I want to go home, get my fix of Dallas and Tex-Mex and then come back to Nantes! So we’ve been trying to soak up all that Nantes has to offer and visit whichever little towns in the Pay de la Loire region that seem interesting. We recently went to Clisson, which will have to be its own separate post.
Right after the craziness I spoke of in the last post, it was time for les vacances! I spent my vaction with a French family, kind of acting like an au pair but the main reason this woman invited me on their holiday was to speak English with her four year old grandson. So we left Nantes to go to Geneva to spend the night at her daughter’s house and pick up their ski stuff/car and two other grand children to drive to the Alps. Geneva is a very pretty and international city. We only spent a couple hours walking around but I saw the big lake with the fountain and the cathedral…it seemed like a good city for shopping.
The next day we packed up the car and left for the Alps. They have a chalet in the Hautes-Alpes region near the Les Orres ski resort. It was about a four hour drive and we stopped at a local fromagerie to pick up cheese, a lot of cheese. We ate cheese after dinner almost every night and in France, you just put the cheese on the plate, you don’t cut it into bite sized pieces…which is what I did the first night (how American!) Their chalet was big with a great view of the valley and only a 10 min drive from the village where we skied called Crévoux.
It was fun to be skiing again even if I felt really slow compared to everyone. It was also the first time I’d been skiing at a non-resort/non-touristy area.
The week in the Alps was spent speaking lots of English, spending time with some great kids, and trying all sorts of new foods. I ate boudin noir (blood pudding) with apples for the first time…not too bad but it has an interesting texture. Lots of new cheeses, vegetable soup every night, raclette, banquette de veau, all types of crudités (very French), and a lot of sandwiches for lunch!
After the Alps, the four year old and I took a night train (the first time I’ve been on one) to Paris where he lives and I spent a couple days staying with his family and spending time in my favorite city! Overall, I had a great vaction and experienced so many new things with a very welcoming and interesting family.
So in Paris, the weather was gorgeous (I left the morning the city made the public transport free due to pollution problems) and I hit up my usual haunts but some highlights include: a Van Gogh/Antonin Artaud exhibit at the Musée d’Orsay, champagne at Galeries Lafayettes, and a monument I’d never seen before honoring the Jews who were deported during the war. The exhibit was kind of a look into how Artaud studied Van Gogh and his mental illness and how it affected Artaud; it was really interesting, especially if you like Van Gogh…I would’ve liked to see more about Artaud and his work. The monument was just across the street from Notre-Dame and kind of almost under ground, from far away it just looks like a park. It was inaugurated in 1962 by de Gaulle and was created to depict certain features that define concentration camp environments: narrow passages, restricted views, and tigh staircases. It was very moving to walk into a structure like that.
I also had the chance to have dinner with my friend Sophie from Greenhill at one of my favorite restaurants Candelaria. It was just as crazy as I remember it and the food was just as good and it was so nice to see a familiar face and catch up!
Since returning from the vacay, we’ve celebrated St. Patrick’s day and Anna’s birthday, said goodbye to the Germans 😦 who leave a month earlier than us because of their school schedule, and said goodbye to Devin. It’s hard to believe that the goodbyes have already started and that we have so little time left to “profiter”!