Thursday, April 21, 2011

We Tend to Do Everything Weirdly

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So I realize that I left the beautiful city of Nantes over a week ago, oops, been busy as usual. Sunny and warm it was last Saturday, and after awakening from a restful sleep, I left my hotel room to traverse the streets in search of Le Salon Blanc, a little tea room which I had seen in a French magazine a few weeks back. Upon entering, I was greeted by a tall, pretty woman, light pink walls, and stylish, white furniture. I ordered some green tea and lemon cake and sat down to eavesdrop on her's and the man's conversation, which they had begun before my arrival.
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After leaving, I made my way to le ch√Ęteau des ducs de Bretagne, but was a little detoured by Le Passage  Pommeraye, which is basically, a half-underground shopping area that connects two streets, built in the 1840s. Walking through it, I just took pictures and window shopped. There was a hustle and bustle of Saturday shopping in the air with a mixture of languages, smells of baking bread, and music from an accordion throughout the passage. Surprisingly, I didn't buy a thing other than food in Nantes, I was completely content with the photos and memories :)

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Notice the bug on the wall. I didn't do that.


I exited my detour and took my original course to the castle, which is not in ruin, and has been turned into a museum. When I rounded a corner to find it, my heart fluttered a bit when I saw the moat. A castle with a moat, how quintessentially French is that? I took a few gazillion pictures and made my way inside. There was an entrance into a courtyard with Cinderella-esque stonework all over the buildings and a wishing well of which Snow White would be proud.  



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After marching the walls of the castle, I entered the museum and skipped half of it on accident. I think I missed a staircase somewhere, but I was getting hungry anyway, so I plopped down on the grass and watched some ducks and turtles in the moat while eating a granola bar.

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People watching is a blast in a foreign country, a cause de tous les nouveaux mannerisms and behaviors that seem just slightly off to a foreigner. One thing that the French do that I find adorable is that, when the sun finally emerges from its hibernation, everyone just finds grass and lays do in it. Everyone. Around the moat, couples, groups, families, single people, comme moi, just sit and chill in the grass, hence the awesome people-watching. Love it!

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After sunbathing a bit myself, I continued my walk to Le jardin des plantes that is on the same street as the castle, at least one of the entrances are there. It was paradise. There were plants from all over th world, including American natives like magnolia trees (one of my favorites), and EVERYTHING was in bloom. I walked and completely demolished my camera's battery while soaking up all of the prettiness and floral aromas.

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I continued to walk and wander in amazement until my stomach began chewing on itself, so I departed and made my way back to the hotel, considering that I needed to recharge my camera battery anyway.
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Again, side-traction happened (I am aware this is not proper English, I don't care) and I ended up standing in front of a massive cathedrale. It was beautiful, like all of them have been, and the stained glass windows were arrays of pastels, as opposed to the harsh reds and jewel tones in the other churches and cathedrals which I've seen. It makes sense, a port town should have more softly colored things.

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I stopped at a boulangerie close to my hotel and bought a quiche, coffee, and giant, chocolate macaron. Feeling awkward carrying everything, I sat at one of the tables outside and inhaled said quiche. Sitting in the sun and being further south than Caen, it was much warmer than I had anticipated, and just as the thought to take off my jacket crossed my mind, I felt a bead of sweat cross the side of my face. I got up and tugged at the leather to pull it off and then mounted the hill and stairs to my hotel.
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Upon arriving, the floor to ceilings windows were thrown open, my shirt was rolled up and my shoes were off, while I laid on the bed and fanned myself with my tourism map. It was rather warm. Once the sweating had stopped, I regarded the map to find my next destination.
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I promptly decided to find the isle of Nantes next and made my way down the warm street. At this point, the sun was blinding and all of my pictures, indeed my vision, became washed-out. No matter, as I was fascinated to find that while walking across the bridge, the buildings back on the other bank are tilted. They're actually sinking and tilting.

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The river and harbor are gorgeous too :)

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There was even a giant, mechanical elephant...

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and giant cranes too.

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Pretty much, it was an awesome day. After walking the packed streets, where one would think one was in New York during New Year's, as opposed to Nantes, France, I returned to my room with the intent of eating at a cute creperie later, but was so utterly exhausted, I just talked to my man and crashed.

The next day, I ordered room service for breakfast, in French (I was pretty excited about that, it was over the phone) and chilled in the plant garden until it was time for my train to leave. I had to make 3 train changes, but didn't mind, as long as there was no bus involved :)

On continue. The reason for the title of this week's blog has nothing to do with Nantes, but everything to do with a certain someone who induces in me those gross, gooey feelings that make other people want to puke. See, when I came back to Caen, a friend of my host dad came in from the States, stayed with us, and then was heading to his apartment in Paris. He's pretty freakin' awesome, has a strangely accurate Californian accent (with just a hint of French), and a lovely French Bulldog named Mister Fizz. He is the one who offered to let me stay in his apartment for a week, while he is babysitting his nieces and nephews in another region of France. He explained that if I wanted my fianc√© to stay, that would be cool and he has a fold-out couch if I wanted to bring a friend for the week also. I explained that my man has finals that next week and he doesn't have a passport and blah, blah, excuse, excuse.

That night, I told my guy about our conversation and we goofily joked about him coming to see me, and then signed off. The next day, my host mom returned from her two week tour in Champagne and Bretagne. She handed out little presents she had brought back for us, and then I told her about everything that was going on, and she looked at me with enormously wide eyes and said "Oh he has to come see you. He has to come see you and the two of  you have to discover Paris together, because that would just be way too romantic!"

Oh dear. All of the daydreams that had been floating dizzily around my head suddenly seemed like they could manifest into reality. I just smiled and responded that yes, it would be sickeningly romantic, then left for class. After class, which had been frustrating, because I was too busy thinking of ways to make it work and convince him to come see me to pay attention, like the faithful student I am used to being. Upon my re-enty to the house, I proceeded straight to my room and typed out a Facebook message explaining all of the reasons he should come see me. Basically, this is something that will never, EVER happen again. The whole meeting someone who HAPPENS to have a Parisian apartment in the chic 16th district, who HAPPENS to want to let us stay for free, and who HAPPENS to be gone for a week straight. That shit doesn't happen twice. I would have never believed that it would have happened once, for that matter. Parisian early honeymoon for the price of his plane ticket and passport. Genius.

With that, when he called me on Skype, I pretty much told him that he was coming to see me and that we are just going to do things backwards and non-traditionally in concurrence with how the entirety of our relationship has transpired thus far. Translation? HONEYMOON BEFORE WEDDING! YAY! Yeah, so I began prattling away, regurgitation the message I had sent him, that he had yet to read, when a smile just crept over his face. "Baby, I'd already decided to come see you, you don't have to tell me."
Awe (only in that voice).

Silly timing, oui, the only thing that will happen the way it is "supposed to" in the course of our relationship will be the order of marriage followed by babies, mais c'est tout. Obviously, I am inconsolably excited-I am aware that the adverb is awkwardly placed, but my English adverbs have been misplaced in the rifts of my grey matter on account of all the French words being forced to my attention-and am counting down the days. He went to get an expedited passport the day after our talk and bought his plane tickets that night.

I have two more days of classes, as of tonight, until spring break, and then I have to find SOMETHING to do for the first week, so that I am not twiddling my thumbs and watching the clock tick away. I had a thought to go to London for the royal wedding, but the timing doesn't work, so I'm trying to decided between laying on the beach-alone-in Deauville, exploring somewhere else, like Giverny, or hopping La Manche to see some of London before all of the hub-ub gets too crazy.

So incredibly excited! Going to pop excited! Eyes watering, cheeks hurting, wrinkle-inducing, jumping-up-and-down-wringing-my-hands-like-a-two-year-old-EXCITED!


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