Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Goals for my Year in France

        Obviously, the main point of the next year is to do some really awesome chemistry research and change the world one discovery at a time, but here are some of my personal goals. These aren't exactly the result of days or weeks of thoughtful consideration, but some of these have been on my mental short list for a long time.  
  • Go back to Notre Dame de Paris. Last time I was there, I didn't get to really spend much time there and it's just beautiful. 
  • See the Parisian catacombs. When I visited Paris, I got to do just about everything I wanted, but there wasn't really time to see the catacombs, and I've heard they're really cool.
  • Absorb more art by visiting some of France's many wonderful museums. 
  • See the Normandy beaches. 
  • Visit Chambord. I'm a castle junkie and this one begs to be visited:
Chateau De Chambord Castle Loire Valley France
  • Learn to make crepes like a French person. Oh yes, anyone can look up a French recipe for crepes and with practice become a good crepe-maker, but I don't want to make crepes that are "pretty good for an American". I want to make crepes that are good, no qualifiers, and the best possible place to do that is France. 
  • Become fluent, really fluent in French. I've been studying French for a long time, and I can read and write with a certain amount of ease, but my speaking abilities are not really where I want them to be. 
  • Go to a soccer game, a real one, with people who care. I like sports, particularly football, basketball, and baseball, but I just can't get excited about soccer. I think being at a game in a country that cares about soccer, with people who care about soccer, might at least help me understand some of its widespread popularity. 
  • Get my groceries from a farmer's market and go make something awesome with it. I have this probably out-dated idea that this is a very European thing to do. In reality, they shop at supermarkets just like we do, but they still have a plethora of butchers and bakers, and produce markets, whereas these are not present in my suburban world. 
  • Go to a used bookstore, get some french books, and then spend an afternoon reading them. Used bookstores are a great way to get cheap books, and I love books. 
  • Visit Chateau Falaise. This feeds my castle addiction in a somewhat more personal way. A teacher of mine once became inspired to have us all look up our family histories to find when we immigrated to the US. This could have been an interesting project in our Ellis Island unit, except that my family has been in the US for ages. I'm not kidding. We must have been some of the first pilgrims to come over because you can go back a good 18 to 20 generations before getting outside the US; in fact, about 13 of those generations are all from Indiana. However if you go back as far as you can go, I am a descendent of Fulbert the Saxon de Pollock (who may have been one of Charlemagne's good buddies), who was grandson of Fulbert de Falaise (maternal grandfather of William the Conqueror). The Chateau de Falaise is the birthplace of The Conqueror. Since I am (nebulously) related to someone who once lived there, I feel an obligation to go visit. Plus, it's practically in Caen. 
Falaise chateau guillaume conquerant 2.jpg
  • Go to England. I don't really know if I'll be able to accomplish this one, but I'd really like to go see London, and ride the London Eye. 
  • Eat a lot of cheese. 
  • Eat a lot of chocolate, specifically Kinderbars.
  • Eat a lot of bread. (Ok, so I like food. Sue me.)
  • Take pictures of Cocky, and the sash (not necessarily together) at various locations. On a visit weekend, USC's admissions gave me a little stuffed version of our mascot, the wonderful Cocky. It's a trend with students studying abroad to take pictures with this little guy wherever they go. I forgot to take him on my previous trips. This time he will not be forgotten, and his picture will be taken. As for the sash, well, I'll explain that later on... ;)

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