Tuesday, December 21, 2010


My last weekend in Europe was spent with a quick trip to Paris with Allie, another exchange student from SDSU. We have each had our own friends and experiences while here. Sharing stories, lessons learned and memories from the semester was a nice way to end our exchange semester. I will also be flying home with her Thursday. 

The weather wasn’t the most ideal but Paris is just that beautiful it didn’t seem to even matter. We opted to save money and not buy a metro pass so everything we saw of Paris was by foot. This made for some tiring and cold days, but ultimately glad we chose to do it this way. Don’t regret seeing this now favorite city in winter. It was less touristy and pretty darn magical with the fresh snow.

Had planned to make Paris the trip to enjoy the food and desert. And taking breaks from walking and the cold to enjoy just that in caf├ęs and restaurants was memorable. Luckily, Allie was on the same page. Enjoyed observing the French and listening to them speak, especially while in these cafes. It seemed we were often the only tourists in some places, I think because of the time of year. This French city doesn’t cater to the English speakers, which I can understand and appreciate. It offered some nice and interesting challenges throughout the weekend. For the most part the French were patient and kind with us. Our first night out to eat had NO idea what I ordered. But was treated well by the waiter and even given a lesson in speaking French. Enjoyed trying to use some of the phrases the rest of the weekend.

One highlight was the 4 hours we spent at The Louvre: a great, massive, maze-of a-museum. Similar to time spent at other museums and galleries these past months, it was a treat to see some of the many famous and important artifacts/sculptures/painting I have studied in art history courses.

Paris is such a beautiful place and no wonder it has been an inspiration and home to many artists and creatives. Look forward to returning one day. Feel blessed to have seen this charming city with fresh snow and hopefully will again when the weather is warmer and spirit of this place is completely different.

The snow however did pose some problems for many others and us on Monday. As some of you may know, because of national news, Europe is experiencing some problems with transportation because of the weather.

Our day started at 3 am. Traveled to the CDG airport (this place is massive) by shuttle and were greeted by many people sleeping under neon blankets provided by the airport. Some travelers have been trying two days to get to their destinations. The day was long for us so can’t image how wretched it was for others. We were told after getting in line to board for out 7:45 flight that the airport was now going to be closed until 12 due to snow. But then maybe 15 minutes later heard over the intercom that Manchester passengers needed to go to the boarding gate as soon as possible. After being shuttled to the plane and waiting for a few hours were off the ground. We were so blessed to get out of there when we did. Talking to friends back in Manchester, who knew of others experiencing problems was told that no flights were going to or from Paris or London Heathrow.

It seems that all of the friends that have left so far have either experienced delays or cancelations. England has broke a 100-year-old record this weekend for cold and snow for this time of year. But believe it is nothing compared to weather back home, they just don’t have the equipment needed to handle it. Those of us that are left here are just anxious now to be home safe. Have been checking the weather frequently and think Thursday looks hopeful. Trying to enjoy these last days here despite being anxious to safely step foot on the Sioux Falls airport and hug family. 

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