Week in Photographs: 1/24/14

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Even with two weeks in France under my belt, more homework than I would like and a test on Tuesday, a rapidly growing list of French vocabulary that means I can order food without uttering a word of English, I still feel like pinching myself to make sure that this is really my life. I'll be walking home from school, exploring new alleys in the winding cobblestone streets and everything will feel utterly surreal.

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The architecture and buildings that are over 600 years old less than 20 feet from buildings less than 50 years old, a lack of parking lots (which here are called car parks), and stands selling crêpes on every corner. I've been doing a heck of a lot of exploring, shopping (getting the necessities like a french press and a new handbag), eating, and school work since arriving in Angers. The weather here is incredibly reminiscent of Seattle for me, although the French dress very differently for the rain than the people of Seattle do.

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  This photograph was taken outside of Le Chateau d'Angers, and is "The End of the World." Another very strange thing here, compared to America, is that all of the street signs are affixed to buildings on the streets at a very high point, as opposed to being on a metal pole and easily read. Therefore I'm learning a more visual map of the city, but if you asked me what street anything was on I would have no answer.

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There was one day where a couple girls and I got incredibly lost while wandering around the city, and while we encountered gorgeous architecture (as pictured below), the stress of wandering around for an hour trying to get back to school before our class began was something I hope to never repeat. I'm perfectly happy to get lost after school, but not when there is a very tight deadline.

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  These were some houses we passed while lost, and it's incredibly interesting because across the street from these apartments were complexes built with absolutely no individuality whatsoever. While I do love modern design, there is something to be said for these traditional exteriors, that have so much personality in them.

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At the beginning of this week it was super foggy. This was the view from my room on the eighth floor of our apartment complex, and normally I can see for miles and miles from my window. The fog was beautiful, and added a mysterious and magical element to the thirty minute walk to school, but also made it much colder. And, you know, I was able to see the breath coming out of my mouth, which I think made it seem a bit colder than it actually might have been.

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I cannot thank the universe enough for all of the cooking knowledge I have from my dad, which is much more than I thought I had -- especially compared to some of the people in my group. Although I am very sad to not have an oven, or access to one, it has forced me to be a bit more creative with two pots, one pan, and two stove-top burners in my kitchenette. Pasta and potatoes have been my best friends these past two weeks, although I'm excited to go to the market tomorrow morning and get some produce and meat so I can have a bit more of a balanced diet.

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  I think one of my favorite things I've discovered so far is the fact that I can buy PINK TOILET PAPER. This is a pale pink, although I've seen neon pink and electric blue for sale at different groceries. Just the option of a colored toilet paper is so novel, and I feel like I'm a bit overexcited about this particular difference from France to America. But it does make my bathroom feel a bit more decadent.

The past two weeks on Instagram:

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