Monday, May 30, 2011

Rennes

I am now in Rennes; I have made it to destination number two safely. Pierrick drove me to a train station in some for Nicholas to pick me up. Nicholas is another Frenchman (22 yrs old) who is employed with a cattle genetics company and has helped me set up part two of my internship; I am going to work on his family's farm from time to time as well as work with the company. You will find out more in the future. It appears that I may be staying at Nicholas' apartment for most of my 15 day stay. His girlfriend has yet to arrive, but I can't wait to meet her! They also have a cat which was quite interested in my things - sniffing about. They do not have internet here; I will only have access when I visit Nicholas' office. Therefore, communication will be very limited and quite sporatic. Even more, I have to use the office's computer(for some reason the Wi-Fi isn't working) wherein the French keyboard is slighty different and so typing takes a longer time.

So far I can tell you that this Thursday the French have a holiday. As a result, if weather permits, I am going to the beach with Nicholas and his friends! Until next time!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Slight Change of Plans

Alright, so I lied. Well, not really lied ... things just changed.
It all started on Friday around 10:00am. That is, the dairy exposition/cow competition. Brieu showed the first cow and I showed the second. Problem was, the supposedly "nicest cow" was the absolute worst; she tossed and turned her head, did not want to listen to me, kept directing us toward the onlookers just outside the ring, and stepped on my toes TWICE(once for each foot). I honestly almost cried. Brieu had to actually come in and help me, while Pierrick was telling me to let up on the harness a bit. She, the cow, won third place(when she usually wins first). I was so embarrassed and disheartened. Though, on a slightly brighter side, I don't think the showing itself had too great of an effect on placement as did the cow's back and hock appearance. Nevertheless...
A bit later on, Celine and I walked around the Exposition to see all of the stands and other animals. Also, there were many field trips taking place yesterday; there were many children running around. We saw sheep, goats, cows, pigs, avians(birds), horses, bulls, and the more. They were even handing out free fresh milk wherein you could add a syrup of your choice: chocolate, hazelnut, caramel*, strawberry, raspberry, etc. If you could have any flavoring in your milk, what would you choose? We chose caramel and it was yummy; like a latte without the coffee. After the first showing and lunch, we prepared to show the cows a second time. (This was for the udder, the milk production, etc). When I showed the same cow(Usti) a second time, she was as happy as a clam. I didn't understand it. Turns out, she won first place! (Not sure in what, but still!). A few other cows won first place for some other things too; I showed a few more cows. The Friday showing ended at 5 and once the cows were milked and everyone was content, Pierrick, his father, and their friend were getting ready to leave. Turns out, I didn't have to stay and there was hardly any room in the tent anyway. Once we got home, I went for a prayer bike ride to help lift my spirits.
Veronique said that since today is Saturday, I had the day off. So I slept in ... until 9! (Very late for me). Great day! I get to sleep in, run, go for a bike ride, read, etc. Not exactly; it's overcast today, I have a slight stomach ache, and am not yet sure, but may be coming down with something. :( So I decided to rest in my room, under my blankets(all snug as a bug in a rug) while watching Tangled. I THINK I'm feeling better, but who knows?





Thursday, May 26, 2011

The next three days ...

So today we have been preparing for the concours des vaches(competition for the best cows). I may have forgot to mention that there is a "cow competition" for the next three days. The family is showing 5 cows tomorrow morning in Saint-Brieuc, France- about an hour away. However, we cannot leave until the competition ends(Sunday). Pierrick and Veronique will stay here while Celine, Brieu, myself, and a past intern will travel to show their cows. Of course Pierrick and Veronique are coming to watch, but they still have farm work to do- the pigs and cows don't feed themselves! Knowing that I am showing a cow for a potential trophy, I can only say thank you Chad (my Advisor) for recommending Penn State's Dairy Expo. Otherwise, I would have absolutely no idea what I am to do and would be an absolute basket case. You see, this farm has won many trophies in the past and they're definitely not about to stop. For those out of the loop, I trained and showed a cow this past April at Penn State. However, the showing here is different. The way it works here is that the cows are completely shaved and are judged on appearance and milk production. Based on the judge's decision, the cow that has the best milk production and "anatomy"- i.e. flat back, proper stance, etc- wins. (But be aware that there are many rounds for the many cows. Hence the three days.) We will be sleeping in a tent for the duration of the competition and have packed a crate of food. I will not be able to contact anyone until my return. Nevertheless, expect many pictures and quite possibly a long blog post!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Update

Hey all! Sorry for the delayed blog post - things have been quite busy here. Monday I had to clip two full grown cows, as well as help milk the cows. I also helped with the pigs. Tuesday I helped with AI for the sows(female pigs) and straightened the farm up too. Monday was quite dreadful because of the clipping and the wind; cow hair was irritating my skin all day(it sticks to your clothing) and the wind only helped with further irritation by allowing the hair to get in my eyes and somewhat mouth - yuck! It's also very difficult to get a 1500 lb cow to stand still and endure the clipping. Moreover, they love to kick you, hit you with their tail, squish you, and step on you.
 As for Tuesday, the the pig AI(Artificial Insemination) was very interesting. First, they perform AI on the pigs according to their estrus cycles (deals with their receptivity) and if the AI did not work, they use an actual boar(male pig) for the second try. Most of the day, I spent my time helping a sow with her first litter. The problem is, the sows are not accustomed to having little piglets and so they ... kill them. Not all of course!! Nevertheless, it takes maybe an hour or two for them to finally "come around" to their piglets so that when one happens to travel near the mother's mouth, the mother will not bite it. It was my first birthing experience for any animal and it was pretty cool! ... Tuesday night, Claire's(the eldest daughter) boyfriend was having a get together for his birthday so about 20 people showed up, including friends and family. It was really fun and quite funny as well. I must say, I felt as though I was a celebrity or something along those lines because I was "the American". Many people wanted to talk to me, borrow my dictionary, etc. Overall, it was a very fun experience.
 The little piglets (Les petits porcelets) nursing from their mother(top) and snuggling under the heat lamp(bottom). I would say they're about 1-2 days old<3
video Hopefully this video works!

Today, I milked the cows and did some work in the piggery as well. This included marking pigs and watching for more births. After lunch, I went with Veronique to pick Celine up from school and then do some grocery shopping. I wanted to buy everything in the store, but I refrained. :) Turns out they have a store that literally translates into "a random objects" store... how odd. (Veronique was getting some tools for the piggery). Once we returned home, I helped with the groceries and took a nap. Never have I taken so many naps in my life!(Not counting my infant/toddler days) Well, I think I deserve a bike ride so .. tout a l'heure!

Soon Enough.

I haven't the time right now to explain my past few days, but to those who are trying to reach me or wondering: yes, I am safe and alive - nothing has happened to me. I have simply been very very busy here - will explain later!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pictures!

The restaurant that we ate at Saturday night
 


 My galette with smoked salmon, creme fraiche, a shrimp, and mini salad -- yumyumyumyumyum!!!!


This is Celine!
A quite aromatic flower in the garden of the chateau  

 Our cafe!

 The Chateau - it was closed, so we we not permitted to enter.
 The pretty path that we ventured on


 My lovely boyfriend ;)
 The cathedral ... well, a part of it at least
The cathedral's organ

WARNING: Prepare for lots of reading and lots of pictures(next post)!


I broke my camera. It fell out of my hand onto the tiled floor. When I turned it on, it would act as if something was in the way of the shutter. So after praying and fidgeting around with it- i.e. taking the battery out, hitting the camera against the bed, etc- I/God fixed it! Before it retracted, I pulled on the camera-moving-part(for lack of a better word) and after a few tries, it was back to normal. *sigh of relief* Though, later on I was looking for my camera and remembered that I had placed it in my sweatshirt pocket- in the wash. Luckily, I took it out prior to washing my clothes. Camera = safe and working! I may have also damaged it when I was mowing the lawn. Yes, I learned how to mow a lawn with those mini tractors! I feel that I am becoming more competent day by day. Now I just need to learn how to be a carpenter, plumber, mechanic … I’m working on it.

So right before our 5pm café, Pierrick and Brieuc were trying to set up a tent. They had two black poles, one (fabricated) bent pole, the tent, and its cover. This was one of the funniest experiences I’ve had here so far. You see, Pierrick was under the tent COVER, trying to figure out how to set it up with the two black poles. He eventually got fed up with the thing and left, wherein his father tried instead. I finally stepped in and informed them that the poles probably go with the tent, not its cover. It took 6 people to set this thing up and I still think something was wrong; though, we were missing some poles. I couldn’t stop laughing – I wonder if they understood why. Overall, I’ve got to say … the 3 women(myself included) were in charge of the tent set-up. The men, ehh they followed. (But of course we all know that this is not always the case ;) )

… Last night I had the most amazing experience. It was about 8:30pm and I had just finished my run and taken a shower. Shortly after, I heard a knock on my door, guessing that dinner was ready. Quite the opposite: Veronique asked me if I wanted learn the preparation for les moules(mussels) and, being the food-lover that I am, I of course accepted. Turned out that they were for tomorrow(Sunday). She said something about a creperie, but I didn’t quite hear. All I knew was that everyone was freshening up for something and that we were going somewhere. It was only Veronique, Pierrick, and myself – their kids went out with friends. Any guesses where we went? Well, if you’ve been paying attention, we did go to a creperie(crepe restaurant). However, it was also a poissonerie(fish restaurant) as well as something else. And this was no ordinary restaurant; it was situated in the most picturesque area. Imagine a large hill/mountain and then place quaint houses in random spots, each with a brown roof, crème colored exterior, and personal touches. On the opposite of that hill you’ll find the ocean, with waves and sand, mini islands(designated for bird habitat), coastal rocks, and the sunset ablaze. The restaurant was situated in that town, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the ocean. Once we entered the restaurant, we situated ourselves at a table, with an ocean view. We ordered aperitifs/drinks(which I confused with amuse-bouche- aka a food to ready the stomach for a meal) and then our meal. Veronique and I had galettes(look like dark brown crepes) with smoked salmon, creamy crème fraiche,  a shrimp(which appeared as if it had just been plucked out of the ocean!), a lemon slice, and a salad on top.(See picure) It was such a delectable dish I could have ordered it again right then and there. However, my second course was a crepe; I would have been crazy not to order a crepe in France. It was a hot crepe filled with chocolate and bananas topped with chantilly(whipped cream). Again, delicious! Afterward, we went to a Casino on the boardwalk. However, Pierrick and I did not have our IDs and so were not permitted to enter(no loss on my part). So, we watched the ocean instead. I was entranced by the whole experience. Was this a dream? Am I truly in France? Are these foreign words really coming from my mouth? If none of this is real, then I choose to remain fast asleep … Zzzz…..

Seeing as it is the weekend, my workload has dropped enormously; hier, j’ai trait les vaches et tonde la tondeuse (yesterday I milked the cows and mowed the lawn), but today I had no work at all. Veronique said that since today Sunday, I do not have to work. So I slept in until 8:30 and at 10:50, Veronique and I left to go to church! We went to a cathedral that was just beautiful. This was my first service in a foreign language and, though I could not follow the whole service, I still understood what they were saying; when they said “le troisième jour…”, I knew that they were saying the Apostles’ Creed (“the third day…”). Veronique told me that this specific cathedral celebrated the Patron Yves and after touring the cathedral, I saw that the Patron’s skull was encased in a glass box.  Afterward, the whole family went over to Pierrick’s parents’ house for a little get-together. We had crackers, yummy cheese, round acorn-looking crackers filled with cheese, peanuts, mini cheetos, and champagne. Following, Pierrick left for le foot(soccer) and Veronique, Celine, Brieuc, and I returned home for lunch. Since all of my sweaters were drying(on the clothes line), I was really cold and so bundled under my blankets. An hour later I awoke, not realizing that I had fallen asleep as well as remembering the day. Once my brain woke up, I went into the kitchen and finally met the eldest daughter Claire.

Once Claire left, so did we(Veronique, Celine, and myself). We drove to un chateau(a castle)! It had several gardens and paths that overlooked the river. We walked a long scenic path in the forest – I wish I had known to bring sneakers and not sandals. Nevertheless, I loved it. When we finally emerged from the woods, we went to the mini patisserie to have our café(Veronique treated us J ). I had green tea and an apple tart, Vero had something alcoholic with a pastry, and Celine had a cola and ice-cream. What an adventure! We then left to meet Pierrick and enjoy the company of friends and family. I was actually having full-blown conversations with them! (I still have lots more to learn, but my listening and speaking skills have expanded greatly). And now, we are back. I am not certain, but I believe that Celine is going to teach me how to ride a horse!!!! And then, les moules for dinner. Quiz time! What are les moules again??


This just looked cool - made out of wood and found in the gardens.


One of the gardens - you'll see the purple Digitalis here
Our "cafe" at the chateau




Tout a l’heure! (Until later!)


Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Adventures

For those who are paying attention to the titles of each post, I must apologize for the last one. I was brainstorming and wrote my thoughts in the title space and completely forgot! I'll call it creative thinking, publicly displayed.

Yesterday, for lunch we had saucisson(sausage), crab sticks(looks like muenster cheese sticks), and tomatoes. We then had steak, potatoes, and vegetables. Any pork or beef products come from the farm's raised animals. The owners do not do the slaughtering or butchering here though; someone picks the animals up instead. After lunch, we had cheese with bread and then ice cream!! Veronique asked if I wanted glace(ice cream). Sometimes I ask that a sentence be repeated because I don't understand or hear. This time I asked for repetition three times to make sure I wasn't going crazy and that maybe she was talking about a mirror(also glace in french). We each had our own delicious bowl of vanilla and orange/strawberry ice cream.

After lunch, I was free to wander. So I set off for a bike ride, which lasted at least 40 minutes. I didn't get lost at all - I was amazed since I'm terrible with directions! All of the houses were beautiful; the countryside is beautiful - absolutely gorgeous. Upon my return, I laid out on the front yard, in a semi secluded spot to read. I then took a nap for about an hour... It was a great nap, however I woke up to quite an odd sun tan: my face was very very slightly tanner on one side, but my lower back has a 3 inch wide strip of tan skin and then nothing. Around 5, I had cafe with Veronique, Pierrick, Celine, and Brieuc(their son) and was then off to feed the pigs and scoop their poop as well as milk the cows. From my experiences thus far, I much prefer to work with cows than pigs - pigs are really smelly, lack beautiful hides, and act more brutal than the cows. The only set back is that cow poop is much much worse/messy than pig poop. (Okay, enough about the poop...)



 If you look hard enough, you can see a house on this mini island

Pierrick and Veronique!

Later on, I milked the cows and then drove around in the tractor with Brieuc to fertilize the fields. When dinner rolled around, we had the habitual, yet delicious, pumpkin and potato soup and then artichokes! The farmers grow wheat, peas, barley, and artichokes, enabling them to eat as may artichokes as desired. Since I have never eaten a whole artichoke nor cooked one, several others may say the same. All you must do is boil artichokes (in water) for an hour, allow them to cool, and then pick them apart and eat the bottom of the "leaves", dipped in a vinaigrette. Once all the leaves are gone, you eat the center, AFTER detaching the inedible parts. It was a very interesting and delicious experience. Finally, we left for the beach(~9:30pm). [By the way, the sun sets around 10pm here!] We visited 4 areas - 3 beaches and one boat harbor. Words cannot describe what I smelled, heard, or saw. La mer(the ocean) had been calling my name and I was finally able to respond. We came back around 11:00, went to bed, and woke up to milk the cows. Since it's the weekend, Veronique told me that they work less so here I am laying down, ready to take a nap. We may go to la Boulangerie(bakery), l'Epicerie(grocery story), and a friend's farm(with tomatoes and strawberries). Sorry for so many posts, but there is so much to say... I want to remember every bit of this experience<3

Friday, May 20, 2011

smurf(blue hands).. weather

I've heard that it has been raining cats and dogs over there. Over here in Bretagne(Brittany), we may have rain tomorrow night, but all else is sun. Jealous? Well, the farmers over here are jealous of you because their crops are parched. Nevertheless, I love the sun.
So I realized that several of you may not quite understand the milking process. We begin by retrieving the cows and placing them in the milking parlor, ready to be milked. We wash their teats with soap and a wet towel and then attach the four-cupped "milk machine"(I know not what it is called in English nor French!) to the cow. If she produces at least 10 kilos(?) and her udder is supple, then she's done. However, if her udder is still rigid or stiff, then she needs to be milked more; if they are not, they can become sick. Also, their milk production fluctuates if they are pregnant. Afterward, we coat the teats with this blue lubricant to keep them supple. Imagine working laboriously with your hands everyday and never moisturizing them - your hands would become calloused; the blue lubricant helps to avoid this. Though, my hands will look like those of a smurf by the time I return home! (ps - the parlor looks dirty because of the cows um "going to the bathroom" - it's very easy to get splattered with it, so one needs to look out :P)

This morning, after milking, I helped Veronique feed the cows, bulls, calves, pigs, and piglets. It was quite fun, especially due to the fact that I learned how to drive a tractor!!! It was very very fun, cool, and highly recommended. One last thing I forgot to mention: The coast/ocean is a 5 minute drive from the farm! I am planning to go there perhaps today with Pierrick and Veronique. As always, expect pictures!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pictures as Promised!!

 The house of Veronique and Pierrick. Pierrick's parents owned this house prior to V & P.

                                         Little piglets!!
      The Milking Parlor - this is one side wherein each side fits 5 cows.
             Nicholas washing the floor - near the main "milk collector"
                                                                    ME!!

So about this picture - I was able to borrow Veronique's daughter's/Claire's bike and started biking back to the farm. However, Claire's dogs began following me even after returning to their owner. Thus, someone came and picked them up with the car, causing the cows nearby to run and see what all the commotion was about.

Guess What?

So, I think I have a problem: I may have a boyfriend. He's very kind, loves to run with me, is very intelligent, is loyal, and very very furry - yes, he is a dog :). And his name is actually Borbinot. I started my run and, lo and behold, two dogs run right past me. I tried to get them to go back home, but Veronique said that they could come. The other dog was too slow and so left, but Borbinot "stayed with me". In other words, he ran ahead of me and almost got hit by 3 cars, 2 tractors, and a bike. The problem is, I only know "poussez", "non", and "doucement". ("push/bite", "no", and "gently") When I tried other commands, in both French and English, they did not work. Moreover, every time I said "ici" (here), he would jump in the grass/bushes/etc to possibly look for pigs or cows. Let's just say it was an interesting run. (Quite difficult too.)

So today, I helped move more pigs around for eating, birthing(in 1 week), and storing. More pigs escaped today, but we got them back to their designated area. As the daily regime, I helped milk the cows this morning and will do so again in about 10 minutes. I have mostly worked with Veronique and Nicholas. They both try to teach me French vocabulary, but Nicholas also tries to teach me about the procedures on the farm. For instance, he showed me papers of identification for the cows and what certain numbers mean. Also, he showed me what goes into a cow's diet: calcium, phosphorus, sodium, corn, hay, etc. Additionally, he introduced me to the French greeting: two kisses - one for each cheek. Must go milk the cows, but I promise to post pictures in about 4 hours or so. Until then.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The First Day of Work

Boy, what a day! I have done so much and it has only been one and a half days?? It feels as though I have been here for at least a week or two. My day started at 7:00 with breakfast: store-bought crepes, bread, butter, jam, and juice. Then, I was given a jumpsuit to avoid dirtying my clothes and was off to meet Pierrick to milk the cows. Veronique jumped in soon after due to Pierrick's meeting today and tomorrow. Afterward, we had our "cafe". Following that, I met Nicholas (a paid worker) and he, Veronique, and I went to see the pigs. Today: weaning day! (The 3 week old piglets were weaned from their mother). I had to have chased at least 300 piglets into their pens. We then moved their mothers into the adjacent building. (Later on, 3 escaped so there was a bit of pig chasing!) As a side note, Veronique's dog, called Bourbigot(sp?), is a Sheepdog who is very efficient at his job... Around 1:00, we ate grapefruit, then salmon and rice with a creamy sauce, and finally brie with bread and fruit. I had a little cup of rose wine to go with the fish - was good - and then two sips of red wine to go with the cheese (was way too dry for me/I will not be drinking that again!). After lunch, Veronique went to pick up her daughter (whose name is actually Celine - Claire is her eldest daughter) and I helped clean up the kitchen. Eventually, I went to my room and fell asleep for two hours! (Seems the jet-lag has not yet left) I woke up around 5:15, had cafe with the family, and then helped Nicholas milk the cows. I wanted to go for a run, but it was windy and misting outside ... hopefully tomorrow? We had pumpkin and potato soup with ham and cheesy pasta for dinner - again, I loved the soup. I have learned so much and yet my journey has hardly even started. I will try to post pictures tomorrow (it's 11pm and I am just too tired). A demain! (Until tomorrow)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Take Two - La France

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and life is beautiful. Yes, I am finally here :). Long story short, my plane and train rides went perfectly fine and I am a bit jet-lagged. I have my own "mini house" with two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a combined kitchen and dining room. Though, I will be eating with my host family and so will not really be using the kitchen area. Veronique(the wife of Pierrick, the farmer) picked me up from the train station at Guingamp, Brittanie, and drove me to their farm; I will be here for two weeks. They two daughters and a son. Their youngest still lives here(Claire, almost 15 years old) and Pierrick's mother lives here too. They have about 60 vaches(cows), several cochons(pigs), and one cheval(horse). It is simply B-E-A-U-tiful here. The family is extremely nice and speaks little English; I prefer that I be submerged in the French language and culture, where I must communicate mostly with French. It does seem that my French skills are a bit better than I thought! Of what I understand, it appears that I will be helping the family prepare some of their cattle for showing. So far I have learned that around 3 o'clock (15 heure), we have cafe, baguette, crepes, et beurre ou la confiture (we have coffee, bread, crepes, and butter or jam). Dinner is at 8. The rest has yet to be discovered.

Yesterday's post - where am I?


So, most of you are probably wondering if I made it safe to France and if I am now on the farm. Well now, you will just have to read and see.  Let me start off by saying that yesterday’s experience was one that you would expect to see in a movie.  It all started when my dad and I left at 12:30(with my plane departing at 5). Since I was rushing to leave(as the inescapable tardy Anderson gene goes), the thought of food was basically nonexistent. Thus, for those who know me, once we got an hour into the drive, I needed food. We stopped at a bagel and deli place, ordered to go, and were back on the road. Everything was fine with our time schedule until we reached the George Washington Bridge- accident #1.  As we all know, with an accident comes traffic, and this specific traffic was not even moving 10 mph. Detour time! We were able to avoid some of the GW traffic and then we hit Grand Central Parkway – accident#2. Both my dad’s blood pressure as well as my own were definitely higher than normal. We had 7.3 miles to go and it was 2:45 pm. Doesn’t sound too bad, but wait – it gets better. After finally getting through that terrible traffic, we finally got on Van Wyck Expressway to connect us to JFK airport-accident #3.  If there was a picture to describe the expressions of those in the car, you would see it. In the driver’s seat, there was a man with a somewhat calm facial expression. I will tell you, this was not the case within: blood pressure through the roof, bombs going off inside, and overall great nervous tension.   He may have lost a few clumps of hair too.  This was my dad.  Over in the passenger seat, you’d have seen a girl sitting back, sitting up, feet up, feed down, looking at her phone, closing her eyes to avoid stressing out anymore from the surrounding speedy drivers, but then opening them to be an extra pair of driving eyes, holding her cross necklace and praying, etc, etc, etc. Inside, my anxiety was through the roof so much that I think I aged a year.  After that episode, we finally made it to the airport at 3:50. Our supposed two hour trip turned into a 3½ hour trip.  Moreover, I accidentally directed us into terminal 7 rather than terminal 8, for check-in.  Here’s where stupidity comes in: you’re supposed to check-in at least an hour before departure.  How was I supposed to know something so simple? How could I have been aware of this task which was always done for me in the past? Well, once I was at terminal 8 and completed my check-in, I received a slip: “You have checked in too late, see an agent for assistance”. I had checked in 7 minutes too late. Let me say it again. I checked in 7, yes 7, minutes too late.  I couldn’t believe it. I called my dad up, he came back, and we waiting in line to see what they could do. The next flight was at 9pm and was booked. After that? Tomorrow at 5pm for a $250 charge. Oh, but I could have left yesterday for $3300(who would pay such a crazy amount?!) So after many tears, making several phone calls, and waiting, we were on our way home. And the car ride home was no less relaxing than the ride there. We were in an evil, merciless thunder and lightning storm with torrential rain, causing us to be yet again on the edge. What kind of a movie is this?? Isn’t there only supposed to be one climax and then everything regresses back down? No, we were the lucky ones to have two. Yay us. So, about mid-way through the ride, the storm calmed down a bit. Once we got to Milford, we decided to eat out, visit my brother/sister-in-law/nieces/nephew, and then go home.  My dad went to bed, my mom came over, and my friend Becky slept over.  Since I missed my plane, it was guaranteed that I would miss my train.  So I hopped on the internet and was fortunate to be able to exchange my train tickets, paying only about 15$ extra. However, I still have to file a claim to my travel insurance and see if they can refund the 250$ for my plane.  Lesson learned? Leave 12 hours in advance! That way, if we get lost, get hungry, hit 10 accidents, run into a tree, get attacked by rabid squirrels, or what have you, I can still make it to my plane.  This morning, we left at 7am so that my dad can run errands for his work. The rain still hates us. In the end, maybe I was not supposed to be on that plane/train. God works in mysterious ways, right? Well, here’s to hoping that everything goes according to plan the second time around.  (Ps I would like to thank my dad for helping with all of the crazy annoying driving and fees, etc. I could not have done this without you dad<3)

Donc, c’est la vie.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

After the "Before the Beginning" :)

So, some of you may have noticed that my first blog is missing - I have yet to discover exactly why that is. Furthermore, I am hoping that this second post will not disappear. On the count down ... less than twenty-four hours. *Deep breath* Yes, you could say that I am a bit nervous; nothing better than packing the night before. (Procrastination at its best). Well, here's to hoping that this post does not disappear.