Numbers Tuesday, Jun 15 2010 

While I sat in my bare little dorm room in Caen, I came to realize that almost my entire existence while overseas was dominated by numbers. Now that the experience is over, I thought I would share them with you so you can enjoy them too.

7,000- Number of grams of Nutella Hazelnut Spread purchased and consumed
5- Number of countries visited
240- Number of hours spent in a classroom
4- Number of times my financial skin was saved by a dispersion of money by the University
1- Number of scholarships received
18- Number of masses attended in Eglise St. Pierre
21- Number of days I thought I’d die of pneumonia
1- Number of beer types deemed remotely ingestible
5- Number of loads of laundry done over a span of 4 1/2 months
6,000- Number of  times I deeply desired a Swiffer
4- Number of care packages from Mom and Daddy
17- Number of cards from the USA
11- Number of awkward shirtless, gown-less chest x-rays taken (a group total)
10- Number of scarves added to wardrobe
2- Number of visible melt-downs in a classroom
100- Number of baguettes purchased
5- Number of blush-causing faux-pas
2- Number of visitors from the USA
4- Number of 8 € phone cards purchased to call home
16,000- Number of grams of pasta purchased from Carrefour
Infinity- When I’ll be hungry for pasta again
7- Number of minutes between trams
4- Number of teachers
1- Number of times caught pass-less on tram
2- Number of times the “stupid American” card was voluntarily put into play
70- Number of trips to a patisserie expressly for gluttonous purposes
55- Number of practice DELF tests
36- Number of seeds planted in hopes of flowers
0- Number of survivors
1- Number of WWII 550 KG bombs found on campus
40- Number of trains taken
5- Number of minutes it takes to get to class in a dead sprint
7- Number of pretend boyfriends accumulated
200- Number of tram rides
50- Number of times voltage converter was dropped and did not break
250- Number of handouts in class
1- Number of 50 € stamps purchased for taxation purposes
1,200- Number of pictures taken
40.5- Number of pairs of seins in Nice at the topless beaches
2- Number of trains taken in the wrong direction
22- Number of flavors of gelato tasted within a 24 hour window of opportunity
10- Number of times I was the recipient of random acts of a French stranger’s kindness
83- Number of blog posts
0- Number of regrets
Innumerable- Number of individual people to whom I owe thanks

[Please stick around for the finale post and link to my new blog coming very soon!]

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The Funny Things We Say Monday, May 3 2010 

The Quote Book of this oddessy has grown! When you factor in jet lag, culture shock, late nights, early mornings, French men, hunger and lack thereof, you will find that we said some pretty funny things. Enjoy!

At the Minneapolis Airport, predeparture: “So you don’t have any livestock? Small farm animals? Nothing like that? No? Good. You look like a Chicken Smuggler. That’s why I asked.”–TSA agent to Kelli

Upon arriving in France, at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris: “We’re going to have to ask you to remain in your seats as we switch ports. It looks as though we’re parked in the wrong spot.”–Our pilot

“Don’t your intestines have enough length to, like, wrap around the earth, like, four times?”–Kelsey Baumann

“My left boob was just compromised by a deaf Frenchman!!!”–You know who you are

Upon being critical of the French cultural kisses: “Lingering bises tend to be sort of like Magellan circumnavigating the globe.”–Thomas Carlson

On finding shoes that will fit big feet in a country where big feet don’t appear to exist: “GERMANS. Now THOSE are some big women!”–Kelsey Baumann

On warding off bride gifts from other foreigners: “At least you haven’t gotten a goat yet.”–Danielle Beyer, to Kelli

On the topic of the goodness of Kebab meat: “It’s meat with garlic shoved in it. How could that NOT be good?”–Kelli Bren

On the potency of a certain kind of beer named Elephant: “Elephants. They’ll get ya every time.”–Kelsey Baumann

Upon realizing she’d begun a collection of pet-named creepers: “Now I gotta watch out for KFC AND Goats?!”–Kelli

When we realized we were getting sick of eating the same thing over and over: “EAT THE ______ RAVIOLI!!!”–You know who you are

On the taste of French milk: “Whoo, boy! This milk…. man! It’s like sucking on a cow’s nipple!”–Kelsey Baumann

In reference to the pet name we coined for pining French men: “Shoot that chien!”–Kelli

In honor of Thomas’ Magellan quote and after a series of cultural kisses: “You just got Magellan’d!”–Molly DesRoches to Kelli

While walking into the Trouville casino: “I feel like I’m walking into hell…”–Kelli

Franglais (French-English) fun with Desperate, pining French men: “Roti that Pigeon!” and “Pose that Lapin!” (Literally translated, “Rotisserie-bake the pigeon, “Stand him up!”)

In Lisieux at the childhood home of Saint Therese: “C’est le cheveux de St. Therese! C’est le vrai cheveux de St. Therese!”–Wrinkly Little Nun

On being ill: “My throat feels like I swallowed a cat.”–Danielle Beyer

On our dress-up day in Oral Communication Class: “Well! This will be the second time I’ve cross-dressed…”–Preston Leslie

While at the D-Day Beaches: “Okay, so what were the 4 countries that helped liberate France in World War II? USA, Great Britain, Canada and…?”–Danielle Beyer
“The Germans? No, wait, that’s not right.”–Laura Fugelburg

“I’m so hungry I could eat my own hand… but I don’t know where it’s been.”–Danielle Beyer

On an inappropriately short skirt on a woman in a bookstore: “And we’re back! On a ladder! Man, that’s so awkward. Do people not look in the mirror? They’re called full-length mirrors. Use them.”–Kelli

“There is a giant head statue in Paris. So clearly, I had to pick its nose.”–Danielle Beyer

In Salzburg, Austria, on board our tour bus: “You look like a grown up Gretel [from The Sound of Music]!”–Peter, our tour guide to Kelli

On the French strikes that cause so many problems with travel: “SNCF, wrecking lives one train ride at a time.”–Molly DesRoches

“Let me reflechier on that for a second.”–Molly DesRoches, Franglais Fluent

“I oublied that.”–Molly DesRoches

“My milkshake bringeth more menfolk to the yard. Verily, ’tis better than thine.”–Molly DesRoches

“That makes my heart happy!”–Kelli

“I don’t need sweets because I’m with you!”–You know who you are

On calling home at Easter, my cousin’s big news: “Grandma told me I’d make a good stripper.”

“Everything on you sparkles!”–Thomas Carlson

On not understanding anything in class: “Comprende.”–Anne

“I just got kamakazi kissed!! The nerve!”–Kelli

[rancorous laughter] “It’s my personal joke: You said ‘Merci Beau Cul’ when you meant merci beaucoup.”–Nordahl’s Father to Kelli at Chateau des Ravalet (Depending on how you pronounce “beaucoup,” it could sound like you’re saying “Thanks, nice tush!”)

Better Than Fitting Rooms Friday, Mar 19 2010 

When you’re in a new culture, it’s inevitable that you’ll make a fool of yourself on more than one occasion. My best faux pas to date was early on in my career in Caen when I was introduced to my friend Francois and mistook his name for his nationality. I still blush when I think of it. Today, the faux pas was done to me.

The French are thin. They walk everywhere, they cook healthfully and they exercise too. When I go shopping, I keep in mind that none of the pants will fit me mainly because the sizes don’t get to “American” and the other reason being that I don’t do skinny jeans in the United States, save France.

Now, before you start patting me on the back, telling me I’m not fat, etc, let me just say that I have a relatively healthy self-esteem and am in all respects perfectly average. However, other peoples’ perceptions based on cultural and association tend to skew even my levelheadedness. Now on to the faux pas.

Seong-Yul is Korean. In case you’ve never noticed, Asian women tend to be about the size (relatively) of toothpicks. So, in class, as we described each other’s physical characteristics, hair color (I’m the only blonde) and lack or presence of eyeglasses, Seong-Yul, God bless him, said that I was “rond.”

Rond in French means “portly,” or a derivation thereof. In any case, it certainly doesn’t mean thin and my professor freaked out after realizing what Seong-Yul had said. Poor Seong-Yul didn’t know what to do. He tried to backpedal and reassure me in some sort of Franglaean (French-English-Korean) that I wasn’t fat, that wasn’t what he meant and I could do nothing but laugh.

I tell you what, there IS a better motivation than a dressing room to dieting. It’s a sneaky tactic called “Adjectives Lesson in French.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go exercise.

Why yes, yes I do like sugar. Why do you ask?