Friday, December 26, 2008

paris at christmas!

I had a GREAT time in Paris!! I met my friend Courtney on Sunday afternoon and we were in the city until Tuesday night. It was gorgeous, and as the French say, "Paris is magic!" :) We also managed to visit several starbucks... which was, oh man, incredible. I love starbucks.

Starbucks!!! :) :)

I also drank water... from a wine glass. So classy.

The cute hotel we stayed at.

This is the coolest McDonalds I've ever seen!! It went up all those stories!

We met up with some friends on the last day!

This guy was incredible. He's spinning a soccer ball on a pen, and he climbed up that lamp post. Incredible! And with Paris in the background...

At the Louvre Museum

The Eiffel Tower is currently blue... but it sparkles on for 10 minutes at the beginning of every hour, and it's so "magic". :)

The Champs Elysees, and the Arche de Triomphe at the end (Mom, tomb of the unknown soldier is there... hehe)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

tomorrow = paris, courtney, starbucks

I can hardly stand the excitement for tomorrow!! I am taking a 2 hour train to Paris, where I will meet Courtney, a dear friend that I joined staff with and who is working with Campus Crusade in Germany! We are staying in Paris for several days in a quaint little hotel, and we are going to wander around the Parisian streets, hoping to discover the unparalleled charm that Paris has at Christmastime! I have never been to Paris at Christmas, and I'm looking forward to seeing all of the lights and the moving toy displays in shop windows.

Besides seeing Courtney, the ONE thing I am most looking forward to is STARBUCKS! OH MAN! You might be thinking, "what?? MELISSA DORSCH! You're in Paris and you want to drink Starbucks coffee?" But you don't understand... having a cup of coffee bigger than three swallows, and with the wonderful holiday spices mixed in it -- I mean, liquid goodness in a cup with a little sleeve!!! It's all I want. :) It's why I go to Paris.

I'll put pictures of our trip when we come back! We're getting back to Rennes on Tuesday night and then we'll spend Christmas Eve with the Kellums and Christmas Day with Didiers (a French staff family!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rennes Soccer Game!!

This past Saturday, I went to a Rennes / Nantes soccer game. Originally, I was going for Nantes (even though everyone else was for Rennes... and I now live in Rennes) because I lived there for a whole year. But, after we got kicked out of our seats by some mean people from Nantes, I decided it was time to embrace the Rennes team, all the way. So I'm now a Rennes Fan. We are "the red and the black". They're actually really good -- 3rd best team in all of France! Nantes is like 16th or something... Oh the shame. So here are some pictures of the game:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Queen comes for a visit...

Jenny Walker is a dear dear friend from Nantes that I saw every week for coffee. I LOVE her! Since she is from England, she from day 1, told us Americans that she was the queen of England, and with her self-imposed title, she demands quite a lot of respect. But I love her dearly, and have missed her sooooooo much. This past week-end, she decided to visit me in Rennes for about 30 hours! It was AMAZING and so encouraging! Here are just a few of the fun things we did...

We went out for coffee... which was a little expensive:

We walked around Rennes and saw the marché de Noel (Christmas market) and all of the pretty lights everywhere. This is the Opera House. GORGEOUS!

We met up with some friends (Matthieu and Sven)

Sven found the drop off box for your letters to Santa.

We went to a creperie where Sarah joined us... they both were SO HAPPY to be there. :)

We all went to see Madagascar 2 in French -- which was interesting, but HILARIOUS! It was a great time and I miss you already Jenny!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

christmasy apartment

The decorating is continuing! Here is the latest of what my French home looks like. Welcome!

Thank you Anne for the lovely wreath!!!

Soap Stone Nativity from Africa, and Babar Christmas book from Mom!

Lindsay and Shorty, please notice your framed picture on the left...

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Woah! Hold the phones, I'm posting 2 days in a row... woohoo!! Mom, are you so proud?

I took a few pictures of my Christmas Tree Ornaments. Yes, this is all of them. :)

The star and the snowflake are from Molly because Molly has red and gold on her tree, and Anne has snowflakes. I think that's right. The others are from Rennes.

Do you like them?

Oh, and this is me having fun with the camera and seeing myself in the ornament! :)

More pictures to come soon of the rest of the apartment!

cold chinese food, expensive coffee

Awww, living in France... Last night I met up with my friend Sarah to have dinner, coffee, chat, and freely express our frustrations about the French culture! :) We were thinking about what to eat, when I remembered that there was this really good Chinese place, that was kind of fast food, and cheap, so we decided on that. Oh man. It was not the same place that I remember from before...

We got to the restaurant, and it's locked -- it wasn't closed locked, just locked. Right as we're about ready to walk away, the manager / server comes up, unlocks the door and holds it open for us, without saying anything. We were like, "hmmm, interesting, ok." Then, he goes behind the counter of food, and starts pulling saran wrap off of all the food, that had been sitting there for probably days and he asks us what we want. It didn't look super appetising, but we were hungry, so we both order, find out that it's WAY OVERPRICED, but what can you do since you already ordered food. After he puts some food on our plates, he sticks the plates, that apparantly had COLD food on them, in the mircorwave for 2 minutes -- right in front of us! Gross!! Re-heated, old Chinese food that was too expensive! So we sit down to start eating, and it's one of those things where the plate is super hot, but the inside of the rice ball and most of the curry is still room temperature. Ugh. Oh, and side note -- we're the only people in the restaurant. Maybe that should've been a clue. Although, French people never eat until 7:30-8, and this was 6:30. We are truly Americans! So I start calling out to this guy "Messieur! Messieur! Excusez-moi, Messieur!" to have him come and re-heat my cold, already re-heated food. He can't hear me, or is choosing to ignore more, so after about 10 minutes of polite calling, I start hollering "MESSIEUR!" Finally, with the urge of Sarah, I walk down by the stairs of the kitchen and yell "Messieur" again, to which he says, "oh, do you want me to re-heat your food?" without me even asking him! He knew it was cold! So he comes up, sticks my plate back in the microwave, heats it 2 more minutes, gives it back to me, and goes back down to the kitchen -- no apologies, no free food coupons, nothing. So we ate it, it was average food. Nothing spectacular by any means. Probably not going back... But we lauhged a lot, and had a good time talking!

So then, since we had time before our Bible Study, we went and had ourserlves a nice cup of delicious hot coffee. We went to this really cute cafe (one of my new favorites) where you can sit next to huge windows and you have the view of the Opera House, which is gorgeous. It's all lit up now with Christmas Lights, and since it was dark, it was breathtaking. So we had really good coffee, with a great ambiance! But we were thinking, as we were paying, how crazy it is that all the coffee we buy here is about $4.50. Now, I'm talking about starbucks size cups or a normal mug -- these are little espresso mugs, that contain a shot (sometimes 2) of espresso and hot milk. Whew! Expensive to live in France. BUT, one has to have coffee! :)

Sorry there aren't any pictures to illustrate my story. Hope you still enjoyed it! I started putting Christmas Decorations up, so I'll put pictures of the apartment up soon!

Monday, December 1, 2008

last of November...

Here are a couple of fun pictures from our Thanksgiving Outreach with students. Dan (staff guy) cut a pumpkin pie into 36 pieces!!! 36! We didn't think French people would really like the pumpkin pie (we were wrong!) but at least everyone got a little sliver. By little, I mean LITTLE. It was quite humorous. Good we thing we had apple crisp to go along with it!

We also gave everyone a taste of candy corn (thanks Mom!) and peanuts. Candy corn is one of those precious American candies (that I LOVE!) that cannot be found in France, and so you can imagine how devastated I was, when at the end of the evening, I saw some students throwing away some that hadn't been eaten!!

This past week-end I stayed with the Kellum kiddos (Nathan, Gabe, Nicolas, Mallory) while the parents were in Paris for Lisa's birthday week-end! It was loads of fun! Mallory, Nathan and I went on a walk, and it was FREEZING! And drizzling rain. Brrrrr!!!

Gabe, Mallory and I...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Carving Pumpkins in France!

This past week-end, I had some people over to my apartment to experience the joy of carving jack-o-lanterns. It was loads of fun. None of the French students had ever done it before, and it was hilarious watching their faces as they pulled out the mushy insides of the pumpkin with their hands! Beforehand, Sophie and Joanna came over to help me decorate fall sugar cookies. This is typical Sophie -- always laughing a lot! :)

We put a piece of paper on our heads and had to draw pumpkins. It was really funny.

Here is the final product! After they were all finished, we put a candle at the bottom and turned out the lights and stared at them for like 10 minutes. And the "ooohhhs" and "awwwws" were tres nombreux! Fun fun night!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Team Fun Day!

Yesterday was a holiday, so our staff team (with most of the kids) went on a 3 1/2 hour bike ride in the Rennes forest! It was gorgeous weather and so much fun.

This is Gabe and Efrem. Efrem rode 3 1/2 hours BY HIMSELF on his little bike. Amazing.

This is Silas, Efrem's brother.

My pal Mallory! We are both huge fans of High School Musical 3. :)

Gabe!! He was SO HAPPY to be in this picture... Gabe and Mallory are siblings.

The bike ride would not have been complete without walkie talkies.