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Archive for April, 2012

Well, it’s official – tomorrow I will be fighting the time stream home. This was clearly the only explanation as to why it takes longer to fly home than it did to get here. Maybe we can try warp speed to get us there faster =)

One more side nerdy note: I can’t wait until I am Dr. Stock because it sounds so close to Dr. Spock that I will be completely okay with people calling me that =)

Moving on. Guess what I finished?

Rose’s socks are all done just in time for me to take them home. I even tucked the ends in!

And …

Mom’s Traveling Socks are also officially completely and made a little trip around Ambialet yesterday. Everything is so green here now given the high amount of rain we have been having. On top of that, the river is muddy because the rain was so crazy and at one point, I looked outside and it was legitimately hailing. But the weather is being quite beautiful for our last couple of days here.

Have a rich and wonderful day! =)

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Today has been an extremely relaxing day. After our one class this morning, I decided I really wanted to work on my sister’s socks.

That was only a cuff and heel flap when I started today. But when you pick a two hour movie, you really can get quite a bit done! The movie we picked for the day was the first Sherlock Holmes movie. And can I please tell you that I received a huge reality check when watching this? In the movie, they are constructing the Tower Bridge.

And you know what was so cool?! I was able to think “I was there!”

And Big Ben was in the movie, which I also saw, and I feel like this is going to be the first of many instances where I can say that and really appreciate my time here and the experiences that I have incurred.

And do you know what else is odd? I realized I never posted a Mom’s Traveling Sock from London! So I got the picture off of Carly and I look like I’m deep in thought but I am knitting on Mom’s Sock!

We were just hanging out in a park reading and knitting. It was quite the nice experience =)

Have a rich and wonderful day =)

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Even coming up with a title for this blog was thought provoking because Switzerland was over the top, amazing, and ten kinds of wonderful.

Jen and I headed off on our adventures on Thursday. We kind of had an idea of where we were staying and had definitive modes of transportation in and out of Switzerland but other than that, we were flying by the seat of our pants. I did not bring my Kindle along, no books, and no knitting because EasyJet does not allow knitting needles (this is a travesty), so Jen and I brought along a deck of cards. That saved us the entire trip because we played cards everytime we had free time. One of the most memorable moments was when we were playing a game where you hit the cards and yell ‘Spit!’ except we changed the word; so yes, I did yell ‘Ostrich!’ rather loudly in the Toulouse airport =)

We flew into Basel Airport and then took a train to Zurich. It was really early in the morning so we took an extremely early train because we wanted to be warm and comfortable.

Unfortunately, the train was neither warm or comfortable. There was a wicked draft coming in through that window! Then our plan was to stay in the train station that night only to find out right after getting off the train that the station was closing until four in the morning. Yikes! Thank God for the McDonald’s across the street that was open until 4 am. What a lucky break! We went back over to the train station around 4 and caught a train at 5:55 to our hostel. We walked to our hostel after we got off the train and arrived around 6:30 am and had a lovely breakfast. However, Jen left at one point, and I put my head on my hand and instantly fell asleep and fell off my hand. We clearly needed some sleep. So we grabbed a 45 minute nap on hidden couches so the receptionist couldn’t yell at us. Then we decided that on 3 hours of sleep, a hike in the Alps would clearly be the best idea possible!

This is where we went hiking and it was just such a break taking experience.

I just could not get over the views!

Just being able to see these views was all that I could have hoped for in Switzerland. But you know, Switzerland wouldn’t have been complete without some yodeling so Jen and I found an awesome little clearing and we yodeled away!

After our lovely hike, Jen and I just hung around the area near our hostel. We walked and found the lake, and found an awesome swing set which I am sure we could have fell asleep on. We decided to call it an early night, and both of us were in bed by 630 and went to sleep between 830 and 9.

Sleeping a solid 10 hours will do wonderful things so the next morning we were ready to go! Our plan was to spend the entire day just touring around Zurich. I loved Zurich for the fact that it did not feel like a tourist city. The architecture did not make it feel particularly old like some of the places I have visited and was quite appealing to me. We walked down the main shopping street of Bahnhofstrasse. Everything was so expensive on that street that I was afraid to breathe on it but it had some great window shopping. Jen and I found this awesome toy store and spent a ton of time in there.

Then we headed over to Linderhof which was this awesome park with some great views over Zurich. It was such a wonderful place to sit and ponder life and just enjoy what was in front of you without feeling rushed whatsoever.

Next we spent some time over by the lake and guess what?

Mom’s traveling socks made it to Switzerland! No way were they going to go everywhere else that I visited and not Switzerland! And here they are looking over lake Zurisee which had such lovely views.

We also found another green space and took pictures there under a really lovely tree.

We just had such an incredible day just walking around and stumbling upon cool little things and enjoying each others’ company and constantly reminding ourselves that we were in Switzerland! We appreciated Switzerland the entire time we were there and never really got over the fact that we were there!

Jen and I have a notorious sweet tooth between the two of us and so, of course, we splurged on Swiss chocolates!

And they were just as delicious as they look! We capped off the night by hanging out with friends and that just made Switzerland end on such a high and happy note =)

And here we are after over 24 hours of being awake:

And not looking too shabby either!

I can’t believe we actually made it to Switzerland and more than that, I can’t believe how much I fell in love with it. It’s right up there with Dublin for me on favorite places I visited which means it made the number one spot with Dublin. The whole trip was so laid back and we did such a wonderful job of enjoying ourselves seeing as we had practicially no plans whatsoever! Thinking about this weekend still puts a smile on my face =)

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Good Morning!

Good morning! Have a simply lovely day =)

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Awestruck in Lourdes

Now, I have been in a lot of churches and holy places since being in France, but Lourdes took the cake.

Jen, Eric, and I decided that we all just really wanted to go to Lourdes while being in France and we are only three hours away so we made plans for Easter Monday. We drove to Toulouse to catch our train, and right after we paid the toll to go into Toulouse Eric goes, ‘I have never actually driven to the train station in Toulouse before.’ But it worked out and we grabbed the metro to the train station. The ride was really nice. We had quite the nice conversation and it was hard not to smile in such good company. We completely looked like Americans with our . . . peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (but they were on French bread)!

Lourdes was quite lovely when we got there.

We headed over to the Grotto and we went through the Rosary Basilica. This was so cool. There were three sections, each with five mosaics in them and they represented the Glories, Joyful, and Sorrowful mysteries. We were able to make connections all over the place and pull so much from these. My personal favorite was that at the top of the mosaics they would have scenes from the Old Testament which correlated with the New Testament scenes on the bottom. We even pulled in information from our art class this semester!

Once we finished going through the church, we took the path that we thought was going to the Grotto but it actually led us to life sized Stations of the Cross. Talk about being blown away. It made it seems so much more real because of their size and how they were located and displayed.

We sat here and just contemplated and prayed for a while. There was no need to rush and it was a good place to center what was going on in your mind.

We eventually did find the Grotto!

We walked through the Grotto and were able to touch the rocks and they are worn smooth from all the people who have done the exact same thing. To stand there and realize that a miracle occurred this made this, without a doubt, the most powerful experience I have had yet. It was especially meaningful because I choose my confirmation name after Saint Bernadette because of what took place in Lourdes.

For the rest of the day, we visited an underground church, walked to a mountain, rode the train back, and rocked out in the car. What a perfectly lovely day =)

(If you are looking for a bit of history on Lourdes, head in this direction!)

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I hope everyone had a perfectly lovely Easter!

Easter here in France definitely falls under the category of days I will never forget in the best possible way =)

The day started out with mass at 10 which was awesome. I didn’t think we were going to need to read but Jen and I ended up reading the first reading and the Gospel in English. It was really meaningful to be able to participate in Easter mass like that. After mass, five trumpeters played and it just sounded so incredible in that church. Truly the right was to start Easter off.

Then it was time for brunch!

Everyone was so excited about brunch because we all have wanted a real breakfast for a while so this was super exciting. Granted it was served closer to 12 but it will worked =)

Then after brunch it was time to get serious because it was time to play cricket with the British. Not your typical Easter fun but it completely worked! There are two British couples living in the town and one couple had extended family come in to visit and they challenged the Americans to a game of cricket.

I think they played the easy verison with us but it was quite fun. I took my shoot at batting and when I got out, I had to quack like a duck because whatever happened was called a duck. There is a chance I was being messed with but I’ll play along =) Playing was intermixed with breaks for drinks, cucumber sandwiches, and scones (does it get much more British than that?!)

Then it got to be time for fielding. I’m not sure how many of you know this but I am not athletic but I like to think I am a good sport. So keeping this in mind, I found myself what I assumed to be a dead spot. It was to the left of the batter, out in a field of longish grass. No way is anyone going to hit balls to me. I swear to God every one in three balls was headed towards me! It was insane! I think the most memorable part of it was when I was standing there going, ‘I can’t find it!’ and someone runs over and goes, ‘It’s right behind your foot!’ If I had stepped backwards I would have stepped on it and yes, this happened more than once.

But it was just such a cool experience and so fun! Each team was heckling each other in the best sense of fun. At one point, someone on the other team made some kind of comment about knitting to me to which I replied ‘I have it right here with me!’ He just started to laugh when I pulled my knitting out and said he definitely wasn’t expecting that!

And I’m excited because I can finally get to starting the second sock because I wanted to make sure I had knitting to take to Switzerland on Thursday and I didn’t want to start it too early!

After cricket, we had a short break before an early dinner.

We were 38 for dinner and it was fantastic. I think the most noteworthy food to mention was the fact that we had two cheese platters with 11 different types of cheese on them a piece! This was quite tasty! But there was good food, great company, delectable wine, toasting, and a warm and welcoming spirit that truly made this a wonderful Easter =)

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The other morning I was musing (sounds like the beginning of a poem) and I realized that there are no light switches here. There are motion activated lights and beveled light switches but there are not actual light switches. Which led me to think that I have not actually flipped a light switched in some time and caused me to be mildly concerned about this. But it was too early in the morning after too little sleep really causing me to think that perhaps I should sleep more and I wouldn’t have these kinds of musing . . .

On another note, things have been off and on busy here. Thursday we went to the Toulouse-Lautrec museum. I was highly confused because I thought we were going to go to Toulouse given the name of the museum but as it turns out – no, we just went to Albi. The museum was really interesting and our tour guide was quite good!

I was planning on posting about the sock I just finished but . . . it’s in my room and I haven’t taken any pictures yet so I will show you tomorrow.

Friday was really laid back as well so I just tried to do homework and had an easy day.

Yesterday, I realized I really hadn’t been doing too much so I got myself together and went on a two hour hike in the cloudy weather. It was actually a really nice and laid back hike. When we finished, it was just starting to sprinkle, but Carly asked if anyone would mind stopping down by the Tarn river. So Eric pulled the car over and we walked down to the river. This involved walking down a skinny little ledge past all of these thorns but I made it! We get to the river and I looked at Eric and said ‘Do you want to swim across?’ because this is something I have wanted to do for a while. So he agreed so the next thing I know, we are in the river!

My thought was to only wade until my waist because I had rolled up my jeans but they got wet almost immediately. But all the sudden I was almost falling over and the bottom part of my shirt was wet so why stop there? Across the river we swam and I haven’t had quite that much fun in a while. It was cold and there was a bit of a current and I literally could not have been happier =) Although I did really appreciate that shower when we got back!

Today’s Easter’s activities should prove to be wonderful but I’ll wait to tell you about that after they happen =)

Happy Easter Everyone! =)

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