Thursday, December 29, 2011

such a special moment

Lindsay and Erika had arrived 4 days earlier and the three of us were now waiting for Andrew and our parents to arrive. We were EXCITED!

We got to the train station 10 minutes before their train was supposed to arrive. The longest 10 minutes ever!

Finally, their train was on approach!  

Just a few minutes later, we saw our mama!!!

What a JOYFUL reunion!!!

What a sight to see ALL of my family walking up to catch the bus!

A few pics from the metro that crack me up. 

Aren't they just the cutest?

We're kind of all 6 in this picture. I like it. :)

We've had so many fun times and the adventures just keep happening! Today we went to a really really cute medieval town that may be one of my new favorite cities in all of France. I'll have to post pictures later! 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

the game

My sister Lindsay is regularly updating her blog about our adventures here in Rennes -- a highly entertaining portrayal of what we're doing. Linds has a way with words that is truly entertaining. :)

So I'm sure she'll be blogging about the soccer game last night, but this is my favorite picture of the night.

Rennes didn't play their best, but we won 1-0! I got the goal on video, as well as our screaming reactions!

2 things to note -- I had a problem with the zoom (lots of up close shots of faces!) AND I was trying to get an excited reaction out of Joel... which eventually came! :)

You can see the video here.

I'm having a LOT of fun with my sisters. Introducing them to friends, taking them to my favorite coffee shops, and laughing a lot. :) Aren't they so beautiful?

We're SOOOOOO excited to welcome the rest of the Dorsches in a few days! Mom, are you getting excited?? :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I have 2 new roomates!

The girls are here! After a looooong and stressful trip, they made it and I'm so so very happy. It was quite something to skype with our parents all from the same room! That was a first! 

This morning when I got up, I had a facebook message from my brother saying "the girls are probably going to miss their train as they left the twin cities with an hour and a half delay". Oh man. They were supposed to land in Paris at 8, and then quickly get to the train station (in the airport) and get on their train to Rennes by 9h48. It might seem long, but waiting for your checked bags, going through French customs... it takes a long time. So already it was going to be a short window for them to get on the train but then their plane was delayed! I logged onto the Air France website and was watching every update as their plane approached Paris, hoping it would somehow go faster. Their new scheduled time was now 8h52 -- not even an HOUR before the train departure! 

I skyped with my parents and they too were skeptical, and wondered what would happen. "Let's pray and wait and see" was their response. And we did. A lot! "What would they do!?!" I thought! It would be so expensive to get a new train ticket, it's Christmastime and there are less places available...and then they'd have to buy calling cards to call me (their cell phones don't work here). It just wouldn't be good. 

But I didn't want to think about all of the "what if's" and so I just kept planning on being at the Rennes train station at the designated time, and hoped they'd be on the train. 

On my way to the station, I had such mixed emotions! I was SO excited to see them, but what if they weren't there? I didn't want to get my hopes up. 

As their train pulled up, my heart started beating faster as I quickly located "car 15" (these are long trains!); the car they were supposedly on. As the train came to a stop, people started piling out and I frantically tried to see the girls. And then I saw them -- not the girls, but 2 hard case Samsonite suitcases. The ones that every member of my family has. They are the greatest traveling-the-world suitcases! I immediately recognized them and KNEW the girls were there! What a sense of relief and joy that flooded my soul! 

I was SO happy to see them! Then all the questions came, "I didn't think you'd be on the train!!" I said, "well, neither did we" answered Lindsay. 

Apparently they ran ran ran to make it on in time, and actually hopped in 3 cars away from the one they were supposed to sit in. So they had to make their way through the aisles, with all their baggage. Erika said she ran over someone's toes. 

When I asked them what they would've done had they not made their train, Lindsay very confidently and excitedly said, "we would've visited Paris for the day!!" :)

What a joy to have them in my home! Erika has even done the dishes already! Woohoo! Lindsay and I enjoyed a wonderful cup of coffee together, and it seems surreal that we are actually in each other's presence. What a blessing and a gift. 

We went to the outdoor fruit and vegetable market to stock up for the week (sounds yummy huh Ando??) and snapped a quick picture on our way home. Not the best picture we've ever taken but... we're together!

Tomorrow we're going downtown, having coffee, walking around... the girls will probably take a nap (jet lag!) and then a RENNES SOCCER GAME!!!!!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

the story of my intercom

About 2 months ago, my intercom stopped working. Just like that. It buzzed when people pushed the "Dorsch"  button, but then nothing happened. I couldn't hear them, I couldn't talk to them, and most importantly, I couldn't buzz them in.

So I would holler over the railing "helllloooooooo???" and then tell them to catch my keys so they could let themselves in. I live on the 3rd floor, so sometimes catching the keys was painful. Oops. :) It was border-line effective and a truly annoying system.

But it wasn't this way for 2 months because of any fault of my own! It was a long, complicated process.

1. I asked Dan (Jack of all trades, team leader of mine) to look at it. He couldn't see what the problem was, and said I needed to talk to my agency.

2. I called my apartment agency who told me that problems with the intercom had to be dealt directly with the company who was in charge of the WHOLE apartment complex. You see, my apartment complex has both renters and owners living in the apartments and so my agency doesn't deal with problems related to the whole building. So I was told to call the company that deals with the intercom, elevator, and other "general use" stuff.

3. I called this company. They said that they couldn't do anything until my apartment agency faxed them a paper, explaining in detail what the problem was, and then they would call me back and let me know where to go from there.

4. I talked to my agency AGAIN and asked them to kindly fax a paper to Delphine, explaining the problem.

5. They did, and then I just had to wait. And wait. And wait.

6. 3 weeks later (it took several months between steps 2-4 because things just take a long time here) I got a call on my cell phone from an unknown number saying "can I come over tomorrow to look at your inter-phone?"

That was yesterday. So he came today, and it was highly entertaining.

Several times since I've lived here, various technicians or workers have come here to do work on my apartment, and I still NEVER know if I'm supposed to stay and watch them work, in case they need anything, or if I should go and do other stuff and let them call me when they need me.

Today, I decided to hover. :) It must've been quite irritating to the guy because after a few minutes he said, "can you go downstairs and ring the intercom to see if it works?" Hahaha. It was like 2 minutes after he got there and he'd had only enough time to dismantle the phone!

But I obediently went downstairs and stood out in the cold pushing "Dorsch" over and over again, without any response from him. Finally he came down to the door, and said "you can come back up now." How kind.

When I got back up to the apartment, I figured I shouldn't just hover around him any longer, so I went to another room.

After a few minutes he called out and said he was going downstairs to test it.

I took the opportunity to take 2 pictures.

Trying a few different intercoms ones, to see if the problem was in the wiring of the phone.

Once he realized that the problem was with the main "buzzer system" downstairs, I was instructed to stand by the phone and answer it when he buzzed, so he could see what the problem was.

So for the next 25 minutes, I stood by my inter-phone, answering "alo? alo?". When he finally got something to work, he'd say "do you hear me now?" and I'd answer "yes" and he'd say "how about  now?" "and now?" and we did that for FOREVER.

I don't know what the deal was, but it FINALLY started working every time he buzzed, and not just every 3 times.

The last time he called, he goes, "ok. it's fixed. have a nice day." And just like that, he was gone. I didn't sign anything, I didn't get to say thank you...nothing! I don't even know what the real problem was!

But I'm thankful that it's now working!

And as for what's missing from the fountain...

Apparently the head has been removed for some needed fountain repairs. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

something's missing...

Halle and I were walking around downtown tonight (yes, in the rain... it's been raining non-stop all day) and we came to this fountain...

Anyone know what's odd about this fountain? :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

a bit of Christmas cheer

Guess who I saw last week when I was downtown? Can you see him? 

Yup, it's Santa! He was wandering all over the streets of Rennes, looking for children to say hello to.

It was very interesting. I have yet to see a "Santa Workshop" set up somewhere, where people go and take pictures of their kids sitting in Santa's lap. I guess maybe here, he just wanders around... bringing Christmas cheer wherever he goes.
 I mean, I was excited to see him! :) Can you tell how lovely the weather was that day? Gray, rainy, cold. That's what the weather is like here during winter. So seeing something bright and red definitely stands out and makes you smile!

There is a new little tea shop in the shopping area where I do my grocery shopping. (Could I say "shop" one more time in the same sentence!?!) It's kind of like an indoor mall with lots of little stores and then a really big grocery store. I don't go there a ton, but when I need to stock up on big items (like 12 liters of milk!) that's where I go.

The other day, Kat and I went there to buy decorations for our Christmas party, and we had a little bit of extra time, so decided to try the new tea shop. I got coffee of course.

Aren't the cups cool? It stayed really hot!

This is a brand new section of the "mall" and I almost thought I was in America. See the hugely lit Christmas tree? It's soooo big! And then if you look up and to the right, it's a new fitness center with tons of workout machines and people who are working out RIGHT by the window! It reminded me of the rec center at Kstate.
In the end, we concluded that it wasn't our FAVORITE place to get tea and coffee, but always nice to try a new place.

Speaking of favorite places to get tea and coffee -- a week from now, I'll be able to take my sisters to my favorite place! OH MAN!!!! :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

family traditions continue!

Sophie is doing a study abroad year in Granada, Spain this year. It's been really really sad having her gone from Rennes, but I'm really happy that she is having a blast and getting to experience so much fun stuff. And she teaches me cool gangsta Spanish!

She was just home for 10 days (before having 2 more weeks in Spain, and then coming home for Christmas break) and so we got to decorate for Christmas!

For the past several years, she's come over to help put up the tree and one of the nativity sets, and last year Sam (her fiance) came over to put the star on the tree. Thus start traditions...


Sam was in charge of taking pictures. This kid cracks me up. He takes TONS of pictures of everything and nothing, just so I can have a few surprises when I look through my camera later on. Praise God for the digital age, is all I have to say about that! 

But there are always a few that crack me up. This one for example. Hahaha. It's a picture that I have framed and he took a picture of the picture. I don't know what Molly's thoughts are towards this picture, but it makes me smile so big all the time. I love it! The flowers in the head, my scarf on her head, hugging the world in our little apartment on Laramie street.  

Sophie always sets up the manger scene. :) The shelf needs a little help with some extra decorations, but I haven't decided what yet. Ideas? 

 Anne, don't you want to say "awwww" for this picture?? :)

Little side note -- when Anne came to visit me (a year ago), she, Sophie and I went to the little town where Sam grew up (there are really cool medieval castle ruins there) and we walked all around the city. Sam and Sophie weren't dating YET but pretty close! They were cuuuuuute.

Sam put the star up! 

After we finished putting up the tree, we celebrated by watching the latest Psych episode. Love that show. 

The whole time I was decorating, I kept thinking about how MY FAMILY is going to be seeing these decorations in person this year and not just through skype and blog pictures! And there are only two stockings hung up -- mine and Sophie's, of course! :)

A week from tomorrow Lindsay and Erika will be here! Wahooo! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

november / december craft

Gabrielle, Mallory and Julie -- 3 little staff girls came over for an afternoon of crafts a couple weeks ago. We actually did it in 2 parts, since we didn't have time to finish our projects on the first day.

I was inspired by pinterest for the yarn wreaths, and Meg for the the hand print snowmen balls. I love how these projects turned out! The girls did a great job!

Mallory brought over Santa hats for us to wear :) So cute! 

For part 2, Gabrielle couldn't come, but Julie's little sister Anna (and their mom!) joined us.

After we finished the Christmas ornaments, we did a Christmas tree painting with the two littlest girls.

Isn't she just adorable? :) Her Christmas tree turned out so well!

She calls me "may-ssa" -- it's so sweet!

Definitely love doing crafts with these girls once a month! The time always goes by so quickly! But it's so fun to do creative projects like this with them! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

the head picture thing

You know those paintings or signs that have pictures on them with holes for the heads? And you can go and take your picture in it?

Well, Tara had the genius idea to make one of those for our Christmas party last night. She was the brains behind the operation, and I helped her paint it. It was a lot of fun, and I think it was a big hit with the students as well.

In the end, it gave this...

I thought it was great! People had a lot of fun taking pictures in it. I'll put some more up later.

Lisa and I! :)