A Travellerspoint blog

Carnaval Caen 2k16

5 °C

Happy Carnaval!
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It is Wednesday once again meaning that my school day ends at 11:30. Usually I stay out for a bit, but it's raining and I had told my family that I would make lunch. Because I forgot to check my phone, they thought I wasn't coming back until later so I have free time: time to write!
School update: I now do all of the homework and tests in my classes :( It wasn't that I wasn't doing anything before, it's just that I'm not a big fan of the tests. I'd rather just try to learn in class and not be scored (ignorance is bliss). Last week was my first geography test: scored 16/20. The topic was the US. So a good grade is expected, right? If it were the states, but it was this:
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The map given to us was just the outline of the US and the key was a blank piece of paper
Yesterday was the carnaval de Caen! The numbers dropped from 30,000 to 20,000 people this year due to recent events, but the crowd certainly did not feel small. The most interesting part for me was just seeing all of the costumes. The ones I can remember are:
Animals (real and fictional) onesies: giraffe, lion, tiger, bear (oh my!), zebra, unicorn, lemur, stitch, Sully, pig, monkey, bee, lady bug, fox, pikachu, dog, crocodile, cow, dragon, chicken, penguin, shark, gorilla
USA related: the us flag, Obama, Bush, Trump, Clinton, Cruz, Lincoln, Uncle Ben, captain america
Social media: facebook, instagram, tinder, snapchat, twitter
Fictional characters: Loki, Thor, Mario, Luigi, every disney princess/villain, team rocket, Ash, breaking bad, spongebob, batman/superman/etc., mickey/minnie, tarzan
Foods: avocado, banana, watermelon, M&M
Other: ninja, vampire, zombie, cowboy, zombie cowboy, flower, farmer, football/baseball/soccer players, guys dressed as girls and vice versa, indian, gypsie, cop, pirate, clown, mafia member, french person (complete with baret and baguette), nun, monk, guy riding a dinosaur, santa, legos, prisoners, mime, beer, doctor, sailor, waldo
The best people were the ones that really got into character! For example: the three nuns that would walk in a line while humming to every class, the guy dressed as tinder that would hand people X's or check marks (similar with Facebook with "likes"), and the kangaroo that would hop up and down through the high grass during the march.
For an idea of how crazy it was type: carnaval caen 2016 into google images
We had the practice round for the repas de saveurs this past weekend. Every country pairs off by two, and one makes dessert and the other a main dish. We sell tickets to people who will come and try a bit of all of the food. The students then pick a charity organization to donate to. Last year raised 3,000 euros!
The tiger makeup took about an hour and 3 tutorials...
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Posted by rachelkronk 05:19 Archived in France Comments (2)

Post bac blanc/vacation/family#3

-2 °C

It took about a solid 3 hours, but I have finished packing to move to my third host family! It seems a bit weird to pack considering I have to unpack it all once I get there and then repack to leave for the skitrip tomorrow. I started this year with one large suitcase, a carryon, and a backpack. It is now all that and two more bags and a box.

The bac blanc was definitely an interesting experience. Monday morning was philosophy. The teacher handed out a paper with three subjects: language as a tool, if your past experiences have an effect on who you are now, and comment on a text. Now keep in mind that the test was four hours long and the only thing on the paper was the three subjects. I answered each the best I could, and was really looking forward to getting my score back. Then my friend informed me that I will get an automatic 0 out of 20 because you're supposed to pick just one subject. Then of course on the history exam it was clearly stated on the paper "choose just one."

The english exam was nice and (at this exact moment is when I was called downstairs to switch families and then left for the mountains where I didn't have wifi for a week... now I continue) I expect that I passed it. The history/geography exam was to write a description of the evolution of syndicalism and socialism in Germany since 1815 and then fill out a blank world map and key with geostrategic maritime placements.... not feeling too confident on that one.

My new family is my host mom and three host sisters. Still not all that used to having sisters, but I became the designated hair braider after about two days. We drove 3 hours to my host mom's parents and spent the night. We left the next morning and drove 6 hours to Châtel. We stayed three nights in an apartment-like cabin and the rest of the nights in the same complex but different room. Each day was pretty much the same: wake up around 8, eat breakfast, find way to the slopes (either by shuttle or car), ski from 10-2, eat lunch at a picnic area, ski until 5 and then take the shuttle back, shower, and dinner.

Two of the days were a bit different as it was raining so we went sledding or to the olympic museum. Sledding wasn't all that successful because the snow wasn't packed down, making it difficult to move. The snow was, however, perfect for an igloo! Took a solid 3 hours, but it was one nice igloo. The olympic museum was very high-tech and featured things like a track that had lights that simulated the speed of Usain Bolt, monitors that showed videos of past opening/closing ceremonies, collections of medals and torches, and games of speed and balance. There was also an exhibit that featured the next host city: Rio. There were lots of pictures of the beach, soccer, and dancing. Then at 4 there was a show with Brazilian drummers, a singer, and five carnival dancers.

The landscapes I saw while skiing were absolutely incredible. I took the Rotary mentality of "just say yes" and tried every obstacle that came my way while skiing. I now have a badly bruised hip and knee, but I pulled off some pretty cool jumps. Of course, the only video there is is of me falling, but hey, I tried.

The week also featured two nights of fondu, a dinner of waffles and my new favorite topping-speculoos, and lots and lots of abondance (the cheese of the area)

Now back at my host family's house, I'm just trying to recover from my sore legs, unpopped ears, slight cold, and sliced finger from using an incredibly sharp knife on soft cheese (won't make that mistake again)

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted (There are so many of you subscribers now! So thank you!) I'd love to answer some questions in my next post so if you're curious about anything, ask in the comments :)

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Collection is now at 20

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Trip to the mountains

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Skiing!

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Museum

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This is the same place a day apart

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Flag pictures!

Posted by rachelkronk 05:21 Archived in France Tagged landscapes mountains chatel Comments (4)

Almost 5 Months

The count up has ended and the countdown begins

I have reached the point where there has been talk of my return to the US. This is also the time where my teachers have realized that I somewhat understand, alors, I have to participate. At the parent-teacher meeting, I was told that I now have to take the BAC Blanc (basically a pre-bac).
"It's just for practice, and I'm sure you'll do fine" said my philosophy teacher.
I'm sorry Monsieur Plet, but the work seems a bit above my comprehension level...
So for the first time, I really concentrated in class and tried to take notes. I copied a few sentences verbatim until I realized that no matter how many times I re-read the concept there was absolutely no way I could possibly analyze it.

So I'm hoping my grade on the english bac blanc will make up for the horrible history, philosophy, and literature marks. (I'll update on what I get because it's sure to be hilarious)

Other notable things since the last post:
I have learned a few phrases in Japanese and Portuguese
(Such as "hello" and "I don't speak Japanese/Portuguese") The pronunciation is even worse than my French, but hey it's a start

I went to visit Anthony at his track meet. I am still rather proud that I figured out the transportation there on my own, and didn't get lost.

The raclette party was a lot of fun, and only one minor injury due to my klutziness. Long-story-short, I have a slight headache and now can say "accident prone" in French.

I went on a bike ride into town with my host parents. Really nice weather and the path was beautiful!
Just one thing, if the bike does not have mud protecters, don't wear nice clothes. My jeans were polka-dotted lol (sorry i didn't take a picture before washing them) Also, the destination of the bike ride was to a mall. Being that this is a culture of dressing up to go out.... and I was covered in mud, I got a lot of weird looks.

On the way back there was a man with a long, grey beard riding his bike with his hands clasped behind his back and a large smile on his face. Definitely one of the odder things I've seen, but he was just so happy-looking that it made me happy :)

I haven't been very good at taking pictures or uploading so here's a few from the last week or so:
The ferris wheel is down now :(

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Posted by rachelkronk 09:32 Archived in France Comments (3)

Post-Christmas

pour les francophones, il ya un résumé à la fin ;)

So three swedes, four french people, and an american walk into a bar.
This is not the beginning of a joke, it's what happened yesterday
As incredibly cheesy as this is, it made my mom laugh so

Shout out to Uncle J! Thanks for checking for new posts :)

For Christmas I decided to make buckeyes for my host family. While making the grocery list I said I needed powdered sugar. As it turns out "sucre en poudre" does not mean powdered sugar... it means just sugar. Sucre glace is powdered sugar.

I think they enjoyed them because there was an investigation of, "Why are there only a few left? Who ate more than two?!"
This is not necessarily a compliment to my baking. When European chocolate is mixed with JIF, the result is amazing

After the OSU Christmas presents were distributed, I told my family that they should now say that their favorite football team is the Buckeyes.
Host family:"Wait eye? Then what is a buck?"
Me: "Its an animal"
Host family:"Your mascot is the eye of an animal?"
Me:"Buckeyes grow on trees, I just split up the word for pronunciation purposes"

*Twenty minutes later*
Me: "So who is your favorite football team?"
Host mom: "Go Buckets!"

I now have a collection of 15 different camembert cheese boxes and no more room on my blazer.

Today (Jan 4) was a milestone I think because I was having a conversation with my DNL teacher about a project when she stopped and said "You're French is really good now, I consider you fluent."
Trust me-- I am not fluent, but I can fake it til I make it

The second week of vacation was spent with my YEO, and it made me realize how much I miss stand-up showers. My first two host families have sit-down showers that I still do not understand the benefit of.

The exchange student (Gabi from Brazil) hosted by my club returned on January 2nd to take the French graduation test (BAC). It was fun to be in on the surprise for most of my friends, and also to compare my experiences thus far with his from last year. Funny story: I was in math with my friend Lucie (its an optional class so none of our other close friends are in that class) and we were talking to a boy behind us about Gabi when Lucie said,"He knows 4 languages and is learning 2 others." The boy said, "Ok so Brazilian and what else?"
My response was, "American."

Je vous souhaite à tous rencontrez un merveilleux temps des fêtes! Il a été beaucoup plus chaud que ce que je voudrais attendre en Décembre, mais toutes les activités vraiment fait sentir comme Noël! Un arbre de Noël juste d'apparu dans mon école le premier du mois. Mon école a également joué de la musique de Noël, et mes amis m'a appris les paroles de chants français tels que «Vive le Vent.››
Ce mois entier que je suis avec ma deuxième famille d'accueil l'Rannou-Cantimpres. Je suis passé d'un frère d'accueil à de cinq qui a certainement été différent. Nous avons fait du patin à glace, des cuisiner gâteaux, shopping, et regardé de nombreux films. Cette famille a une télévision tandis que ma première famille n'a pas donc je suis en appréciant la télé-réalité française. Ils ont également mis en place le «nouveau mot ou expression en anglais de la journée››. Cela vient généralement de quelque chose que quelqu'un souligne dans la maison / ville ou une phrase que l'un de mes frères d'accueil a vu en ligne. Jusqu'à présent, avec le mot que nous avons appris torchon = towel, Grand rue = Ferris wheel, et le echanger = trade. Les phrases ont été un peu plus difficile parce qu'ils sont un peu difficile à expliquer. Mon frère d'accueil demandé ce que ‹‹flotter partout le bateau›› signifiait. Je me suis finalement rendu compte que cela était ‹‹tout ce qui flotte votre bateau.››
Je l'ai visité trois marchés de Noël (Fleury, Caen, et Rouen). Ils ont tous pour la plupart les mêmes choses. Il ya de la nourriture comme chichis, barbe à papa, et les bretzels; merry-go-rounds (une grande roue si est une grande ville); et des stands avec des jeux, des bijoux et des vêtements. Fleury et Caen étaient avec ma famille, mais Rouen était avec les autres étudiants. Il est difficile de croire que la prochaine fois que nous serons tous ensemble est le voyage en bus!
Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Happy Holidays, Joyeux Fetes, and Happy New Year!!

Christmas/New Years Eve Pictures

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Posted by rachelkronk 09:14 Archived in France Comments (4)

Hello, c'est moi

Been pretty busy trying to get some things done for college/enjoying the French holiday festivities so here's some very unorganized notes that I have taken during the past two weeks:

Tip: Saying the english word with a french accent usually works.. unless you can't remember the french word for "phrase" because "fraise" is strawberries. (Mistake I made my first week and forgot about until now)

My new host family has established the "new english word or phrase of the day". This usually comes from something that someone points to in the house/town or a phrase that one of my host brothers saw online. So far with word we have learned torchon=towel, Grand rue= Ferris wheel, and trade=echanger. The phrases have been a bit harder because they're a bit hard to explain. My host brother asked what "Everywhere float the boat" meant. I finally realized that this was "whatever floats your boat" then had to explain that with my limited vocabulary.

Somehow in my history class, in english, where we're studying the civil rights movement, of the United States, I don't have the best grade in the class. ??? Also my host brother has a better english grade than me?

I love the french words for junk food! Chichis are these delicious, fried, churro, sugary, heavenly things. Also the word for cotton candy is barbe a papa (say it out loud really quickly a few times)

I'm not the biggest fan of acrobatics class. The teacher just puts pictures of stick figures in human pyramids then we're supposed to try it. The stick figures make it look so easy....

I have found that the more I understand French, the less I understand French reality TV. A short description of a show I watched the other day: A mother and son are fighting over a tv remote, then a man in a leather jacket comes in. He tells them to stop, talks to them for a bit about how violence is bad, and tells them to pack their bags. They drive to the middle of nowhere. The son exercises a bunch while the mom talks to a counselor. The mother and son both go ziplining. They show selfies of the mother and son being happy, and that's the end of the show.
I didn't really get it either.

I have now had the French version of Jingle Bells stuck in my head for the entire day
Update: That lasted about 2 days^^

New segments for my blog posts: Things I See on Public Transportation (Train, bus, tram) and Things I See in School

First up with public transport we have:
a baby stroller full of lettuce (tram)
a monk (train)

and in my school:
there's just a bunch of electric guitars hanging in the office
the Pirates of the Carribean soundtrack was playing on the loudspeakers
On the first day of December I almost walked into a christmas tree in the middle of the hallway
The show FRIENDS plays on the tvs during lunch hours
A roll has been on the window ledge of my english class for the entire year

Now I'm off to go christmas tree shopping at IKEA!

Posted by rachelkronk 06:32 Archived in France Comments (3)

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