Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Wow, have I been slacking. I will attempt to catch up on the past few weeks...
The election in Paris was an experience not to be missed. Europeans generally seem to be more interested in international politics than Americans. Perhaps interested isn't the best word, but at least better informed. When I turn on my radio here, I hear about what is happening all over the world. It has been something unique to follow my first election in another country. The night of (which incidentally commenced at around 1am because of the time difference) the election some fellow expats headed to an American bar in the latin quarter to watch the polls come in. There were big screen t.v.s and the bar brewed its own assortment of beers ranging a light ginger to something much heavier than guinness. Besides the bundles of American students there were also a surprising number of Parisians crowded into the pub. With each states tolls coming in the crowd reacted with cheers or boos. The French and vast majority of students are Obama supporters, so the place was alive and jovial. Anticipation was just hanging in the air. When the last poll came in to confirm Obama's victory the bar went wild and everyone started dancing around. Right after that it seemed, we were all shooed out because the bar legally had to close by 4 am. We rounded up the troops and embarked on a journey across town to a dinner called "Breakfast in America" so that we could watch the acceptance speech. It took at least an hour for us to get our act together and find this place. When we got there, we weren't allowed inside because it was already too crowded. So we stayed outside and watched the rest through the front windows with a bunch of other Breakfast in America rejectees. It was raining by this time mind you, and cold and miserable but somehow everyone was peacefully content. I thought that McCain gave an earnest sincere congragulatory speech. One of the best I've heard from him. Saddly though I was drawn home before I got to see Obama's because of a looming class presentation to give the following morning. I would have to wait for youtube the next day. I got home at 6:30 am. My presentation, thankfully well prepared, was painful to give at 12:30 that next morning. But it was for a politics class so I'm assuming that everyone, including the teacher was half asleep. I've never felt so tired in class in my life. At one point, I could not physically read my notes so I just winged the rest of the current event. I think it went quite well considering. Don't be alarmed though, I'm doing quite well in my classes so far. As far as midterms I received nothing less than an A-. Now onto another topic....
Fall Break
During my unoffical IES fall break I made a trip to Prague with Genna, Nick, Rose and Sammy. We stayed in a hotel in the center of town, which wasn't all that big so we could walk everywhere. The city itself was charming and majestic. I've never been somewhere that felt so old and rich with history. The buildings were all painted warm pastels, the squares had looming towers, the streets were winding and cobble stoned. The first night as we walked back from dinner I really felt as if I had fallen into some time portal and been thrown out the other side into the 17th century. Prague is great place to simply wander. It was quite accessable as an American tourist as well because everyone spoke english as a second language. It seems that Prague has a booming touristic economy right now. The food was hearty, as was the culture. A breath of fresh air from Paris. There was less emphasis on what you were wearing, how well-mannered you were etc. It was an interesting contrast between the people and the archtecture. We visited two museums, which were definitely some sort of novelties; the museum of communism and museum of mideval tourture devices. The first was a historical account of the spread of communism through the Czech Republique, the Russian rule uptill the Velvet Revolution. Very informative. I'm finding politiques and history to be my new found passions here between classes, the media, and pleasure reading in my spare time. The other museum, was exactly as it sounds. O man they're were some twisted creative people back in the mideval area. Our favorite, which I have since used as a treat, is the Spanish tickle tourture. Most of the rest were not so light. More on the creepy/sick! side.. It was crazy to think that these wild devises were actually once used on people! We also saw the charles bridge, the castle and jewish quarters. I will put pictures up soon to better explain that. I would totally recommend Prague. The trip ended up being rather in expensive too. You can stay in a really nice hotel double for around 50-100 euros a night. We got our flight on sale for 54 euros round trip and the restaurants and bars there were a welcome treat from the high prices of Paris.
Expect pictures very soon and more frequent updates. Midterms, exterior classes and visa issues were really stressing me out at the end of October/early November which rendered me a little on the lazy side. Thats all resolved now, so you'll hear from me again soon! And to everyone who has been keeping in touch, thank you so much. It is such a pleasant surprise to get letters or emails from family and friends. It really makes my day. I'm thinking of all of you often and wishing you the best.
Love Chelle

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