Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Salut manège que je suis trop grande
Bye merry-go-round I'm too big for

Salut les animaux des Halles
Bye animals of the market

Salut les jeux intenses à Le Serpant Volant
Bye intense games at The Flying Serpant

Salut les mannequins folles
Bye crazy mannequins

Salut les chapellier que j'aime
Bye hat shop I love

Salut le monstre des Halles
Bye "les Halles" monster

Salut les prétendus jardins de Tours
Bye so-called gardens
of Tours

Salut les meubles politiquement incorrect
Bye politically incorrect furniture

Salut la voiture détruit par le feu à Carrefour
Bye burned-down car outside of Carrefour

Monday, July 6, 2009

Et Plus!

Continuing on my updates (whoa, so soon after my last one, how cool am I?) The weekend after the Fête de la Musique, just about everyone on the face of the earth went off to Paris - except for me. So, in order to find amusement, Dane, Jordon, Katie and I went off to visit a chateau, because what else is there to do in the Loire Valley? Anyway, it was off to Azay-le-Rideau. For the most part it was just us exploring the chateau, but we did take the French tour, which explained a lot of cool information on it.
The lake makes it magestic, no? The inside wasn't as exciting, and I was having a hard time keeping track of which kings lived there when and with what wife (oi!) but in all enjoyable.
<--- Check out those sweet handrails

Jordon is beyond interested in intricate doors--->

We even made a little friend. Salut petite chauve-souris!

Katie and Dane showed us some pretty awesome tricks (due to the fact Dane could do magic, it's a video and I shall not add it), and after the tour of the Chateau we were hot and tired - thus a lawn-nap ensued.
<-- Impressive, non? Sleepy boys, sleepy boys-->

As I have previously stated, the weather last week in Tours was god.damn.hot. Unbearably so. Or perhaps it is the fact that there is so much humidity, and I am unaccustomed to humidity. I don't like sweating, and I surely do not like sweating while you are just laying around in bed reading. Joy. Anyway, Madison and I decided we'd try to go on a little swim in the Loire. We spotted other people doing it and hell, if they can, so can we, right? Anyway, when we got out there it was just a little to algaefied, so we just waded instead. The Loire is surprisingly shallow and calm, so we were able to walk out a good distance.
Ah, la vie en rose, non?

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Yes, I've been a little lost lately. Lost in my own world, at a loss for time, losing sleep, so on and so forth. Anyway, here goes:

First we had the Fête de la Musique, which is a large musical festival all throughout the country. It starts at 22h (8pm) on a Sunday, and ends at 5h (5am) on the next Monday. Every 20 to 50 ft there is a different stage set up which plays a whole bunch of different types of music and bands. Additionally, there is a marching band which goes up and down every street throughout the time. Pretty cool, yes, but there was much too much French bands attempting to play American songs. Note to France: Oasis' 'Wonderwall' is not as great as you think it is.

Also, the Soldes sales are going on. It pretty much means all of the stores are having huge sales. Great, no? Well it would be if it were like America, where all the large sizes are taken and all the smaller ones left to those of us who fit, but NO! French people wear my size, and thus I am unable to find cheap, cute things to buy. GR!

Last week I headed down to the Harry Potter Train with some friends. It sounded really exciting, until we got there and realized it was just a regular SNCF train which some decorations on the inside. Ah well, some highlights nonetheless:

<--- Matt and Amelia getting Quidditch Supplies, wow! Katie at Fourish & Blotts--->

And yes, I am bad-ass pals with Professor Snape, thank you very much:

Last weekend, most of the other area kids (Alabama, South Carolina, Penn, etc.) left as they were here for a four week class and the U had a five week class. We had a couple of "verres" with our awesome French teacher and did all the goodbye things. Grand.

As I was saying, we had a lot of time hanging with our awesome possum professor, Frederic. He's just one cool guy, raised in the suburbs of Paris, but was lucky enough to get to go to college and get out of there. He has some great stories on how he avoided joining the army and just the crazy sort of stuff he did. It was also interesting to hear him - a socialist like myself - go head-to-head (yet all very calmly and collectedly) against the very right-wing Ron in our class. He took it better than I did. I do not like being told I would rather kill someone than be killed, as honestly, I think I'd rather be killed. I also do not like being told all the good things which come with strict liquor laws and openly available guns. Joy.
Awe, what a cute class. Sadly, my last week was a class that was way too easy for me on "le gout" (the taste) of Tours. A cool subject, including trips to Les Halles (indoor market, really great), le marche des fermes (farmer's market), and a cheese, wine, and bread tasting day. The teacher was SO sweet and we read an interesting book, but I still missed my old class... and still do!

Now, I promise to return soon with a new post. I already have ideas for two more, and due to the lack of loads of people here to entertain me, I'll probably have the time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Alright, as I've been rather busy, I'll just give you guys the gist of what I've been up to. First, my new 'digs.'
<--- My neighbors
My Street--->

On my floor there are a lot of different nations, some French, some American, and Moroccan, some Korean (a.k.a. the loud ones) and for the most part they speak French, though I haven't done too much chatting with them as of yet. The Koreans just stare at me if I enter the room and are silent until I leave (unless I say something), and the rest aren't around all that much.

<--- Cute park pas loins de m'auberge
View from my window --->

Last weekend we went to a couple of Chateaus (Amboise and Blois) which were pretty fantastic. I have a TON of pictures so I will not wear you down with them all. Amboise is pretty much you classique Chateau, very pretty, and in the fun little town that's rather dedicated to Di Vinci as he lived there and conducted many of his experiments at the Chateau. Blois is a chateau which was built over the time-period of four different kings, thus has SO many different styles to it. It is known as the asymmetrical one. It was cool just for that fact, though I found the inside to be rather hideous. (Think purple and yellow floors... what the hell?)

Sunday, a couple of the girls and myself wondered around to the fetes which are ever popular here. There was the Grande Marchee, which was pretty much a gigantic yard sale at Les Halles. I got a .50 mug as there were none at the hostel (it turns out Madison had taken the only one for tea whenever she pleased) and a 4E purse, which I found a couple of stamps inside of. My pleasure with this find was doubled when I saw almost the exact same purse at Monoprix for 29E. Take that over-priced items!!! Next we hit up the Fete des Livres, which had used books, new books, hard-to-find books, authors, and even comic books there. I attempted to find some English books but they only had junky ones. (I've become the lending-library amongst my friends, but I have lent out and read all but one book, and thus need more to continue!) I did find an awesome gift for my papa, however, which I'm hoping he will enjoy.

Other than that, my life is pretty much: wake up, go to school, meander the town with friends, read, run or bike, meander the town more or chill at Place Plumereau, then head to bed. A lot of that, and it's so perfect for me. I love it!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Harder Than I Thought

Man! Maintaining this blog is harder than I thought it would be! The problem? Too much to say and show and not enough time or patience to do so. France is just so great... can I live here? It's awesome.

The main reason for my shift in viewpoint is the change of my living situation. I had a little problem with my old host-mom going through my bags and bureau and such (which I say is not okay) and that added to the weird eating-everything-on-the-plate ("what, are you 12?" - Heidi) I had to run. So... now I am on the long-term stays of a hostel. It's a great location, next door is a cheap student lunch place, across the street the Loire, and a block from Place Plumereau, nice, no? The only problem is that the Koreans who live on my floor with me are a little loud. The extra money which would normally be given to the host-family is going to be given to me for my food purchases. The hostel has a full kitchen and three fridges. It's fine with me, though I've already lost a head of lettuce and now a soy pudding! For now I just moved my stuff to a different fridge (less used) and if it happens again I'll pay the 10E for my own fridge.

So I've been making more new friends (yay!) and have been going out a lot, it's pretty grand. Other than just meandering around the city, we decided to go to a winery on Friday, Vouvray. It's pretty simple: hop a bus, get a little lost but as some really nice guy, walk to the location, get a tour and drink wine! The total in all was less than 5E, score. We also had a really sweet guy for the tour (though he laughed as I spoke to him in French though we spoke fluent English for us. Some pictures for you:
<- Us walking along, yay.
Imagine 3k of caves like so ->

<- The carving of Bacchus in the cave
The awesomeness of us ->
(Jenna, Katie, Jean, Jill, Amelia, Amber, Madison)

Today (Saturday), we went off to Amboise and Blois, but th
ose pictures you shall have to wait for, along with the pictures of my room and what not. But on parting, I shall leave you with my new obsession: Troglodytes. Yes, the are houses in the Loire valley cut into the stone, and each has it's own wine cave. How great is that.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is Bad

Ok, so I'm not the best at updating this thing all the time. It's what comes of having somewhere to go out to late at night (yay for Place Plume!)

Classes seem to take up a fair amount of time, but I still manage to have a good time. On friday we celebrated Amelia's 21 birthday and got some peach beer, which turned out to sound more exciting than in is. In truth? It's regular beer (don't know what type they used) with a big of peach syrup added, wow.

Today was pretty chill, lots of hanging and doing some shopping. The stores are so much fun around here, but really too much money. I did learn of a Farmer's Market not far from my house on saturdays (though too late to hit it up today) and am excited for that next week! At the Flower Market today, I did see some cops-on-horses which I found very amusing:
And I got a French phone for use while here, though shall limit it to texto's as they are free, while calls are not.

Anyway, I thought I'd give you guys a little of the 'basic life' of Jill while here:

The one on the left is obviously the street I live on, which is one of those annoying streets where if you cross the rue to Leon someone-or-other (perpendicular to it) it becomes a street with a different name. The one on the right is Rue de Beranger, which I walk down to get to school or go anywhere downtown. So I see a lot of it! It's also where the Flower Market is.

This is the church I have to pass everyday as well. It's cool because it just sits on it's own block between two rather busy streets and is ignored my everyone.

My last picture is just a picture to say bonsoir on, as it's a lovely sunlight we had a night or so ago. We do have lovely sunsets here! The building in is actually fairly pretty, even if it is just a hospital.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Sorry to say, folks, but I believe this may be a rather text-heavy post, as most of what is going on has less to do with pictures and more with actions (that or I just suck at taking pictures at opportune moments.)

The past few days I've been chilling with some amigos mostly, just checking out the town and such. The place de plummerie is definitely the place to be, as it's packed past 11 on all nights and has such great little cafes. My personal neighborhood is rather residential and modern (er, 1900's perchance?) but there is a great little shopping district not far from here (hell, everything is pas loin here). I met a guy at a store who, when he found out I was from America, asked me take me with him when I go (not in a dirty, leche way, mind you), but I set him straight and told him it is no fun there; he replied everything is fun if he is there. I shall return just to chat with him, haha.

Today was also the first day of school, due to the holiday yesterday. We were supposed to take a test online, but it worked for about 10% of the people (we are the first year with it) so we all took the test in a classroom, got a tour of the school and the area around the school, and then were free to roam on our own. I got to see main cathedral here (there are many very cool little churches that are just like slightly smaller cathedrals and lack the bishop or what not):

I was having a bit of problems with my host-family for awhile, they just aren't all that accomodating, but life goes on. Christine asked me if I would stop by the bank to get money today. I was like "uh, sure" and got $100 worth of Euros (damn exchange rate is terrible), but when I returned and told her this she was all shocked and showed me the amount due for the semester at L'Institut de Touraine. I guess what happened was the two other girls who live here pay Christine, who then pays the Institut, while my program just pays directly to the Institut. So my fears of the location are over.

The last little heavy-text I have is that I have decided I shall join a gym. I wasn't going to, I can get plenty of exercise just walking, but I have been SO damn depressed and that's really the only different thing here. That, though I miss my family and sleeping with my cats... I hope they forgive me when I return.

Onward: one of the best parts of Tours are the tiny alleys all over with randomly placed "cool old stuff." While walked around and getting gelato last night, we came across some fun stuff:

Anyway, that's pretty much all for now, other than the fact I took a shot of myself yesterday that turned out a little crazy, and thus shall leave it with you:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Welcome to France

So, yes. I went on a tour of Tours (har har) and this was what I found. Ah, good ol' France and their protection, we should learn something from them.

Anyway, the morning was not so cool. I had had a long night of not sleeping and thus getting in "jet-lag" mania where I regretted my decision to come out, but luckily it passed as soon as I went out on a walk. Can I just say how nice it is to walk around and see so many people getting their baguettes, pastries, or groceries every morning? Though I didn't splurge because I ate at the hotel (which was not free as I thought, it cost 13 Euros, ouch!)

The train to Tours was a hassle, the metro and TGV is faaaaaaar from disability-friendly, thus making it a pain-in-the-arse to get my luggage around. But the TGV is way nice, and second class is great even if it's 'second.' At la gare de Tours (train station) I met up with Mme. DeRaedt (the head prof for the program) and we waited for my family. Though it was nice I got to see some of the other people from the program, my host family did NOT show up. When I called, she said "telephonez un taxi." Needless to say, I was afraid she was scary and not into being a host.

I was wrong. The house (er, very large apartment) is adorable. I have a great room upstairs, with a queen-size bed, a large window to cool it out and get natural light, a desk (where there is wireless available.) All with nice people and freedom (go out when you want to, come back whenever, can use fridge, etc.) I have yet to meet the student from Saudi Arabia (domain- I guess she came not speaking a word of french, eep!) or the student from Belgium (vendredi).

And of course, I cannot forget the sweet and funny cat, Bisquit:

I later went on a walk around town and saw the Botanical Garden which is about a block (think downtown SLC block) away, and is quite amazing, with random animals there. I also checked out the neigborhood and walked down to la Gare, which is right by the Plaza, which is the center of town with beaucoup des magasins (stores) et cafes.

When I returned, Christine told me we were going to head to the Loire for a restaurant/bar/dance area. We stayed there for about 4 hours just drinking AMAZING Louverny sec and some terrible vin rouge, dancing (think 'Born to Be Wild' in French... scary), and eating. The food was amazing, a huge plate of ratatouille, rice/barley mix with a delicious mushroom sauce, and a salad with just a little oil and vinegar - nothing like America! All for 5 Euros (though I wasn't paying, it's still a screaming deal). I met a ton of French people, only two of whom spoke more than a couple words of English (I guess not all French people speak English, only the ones who work with tourists) and managed to get by. They need to go slow and sometimes reword things, but we can converse. There was un homme tres leche (very sketchy man) who kept dancing with random women, so the girls (there are two older daughters as well) forced Christine to dance with him:

When we returned home, I got on the computer and Christine and her daughter are downstairs talking. It's 1:30 and I think I'm the one going to bed first... wow, this is not normal for me!

Sorry for the long-winded post, I just had a great time today... you know, before and after the whole carrying-suitcases-up-tons-o-stairs deal.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

From Paris!

Well, I made it to Paris safe and sound. Once I found Liv in the airport, it went up from there. She was much too kind and acted as my guide for the day:

Mostly we just walked around Paris and 'got a feel of things' (which is my favorite thing to do) but we did run off to Notre Dame for a bit:

And now I am off to bed, so sorry for the short post. Tomorrow I head to Tours and meet my host family, scary stuff, man. Sleep well!