Monday, February 24, 2014

....Still here!

First off my most sincere apologies to any readers out there who long ago gave up on me, don't despair I have returned!!! And I am going to do my absolute best to not be gone for so long ever again.

Life has been insanity in recent times let me tell you: there was Gokul's birthday party, the discovery of Lille's greatest vintage shop in existence (and more), the theft of a most beloved bike in Roubaix, the head-to-head rivalry between a Canadian and her French history teacher, the time I went to school Saturday morning running on 3 hours of sleep and a giant bowl of coffee, hitting the 6 month mark of "Siobhan abroad," stressful university applications, stressful French school projects and presentations, a professional photoshoot, a non professional photoshoot, and everything else in between from keeping up my running to getting better and better at French to hating on chest infections.  Oh and by the way now I'm in Ireland. Surprise!

So I mean after reading all that you guys can cut me a little slack right?

So Gokul's birthday.  That was so much fun and quite hilarious.  It was fairly small, made up of mostly exchange students and members of Gokul's host family.  It was a great night of eating party dishes and chatting with friends, and soon turned into show-off-dancing-or-singing-from-your-country night.  As far as dancing goes.. India is the supreme winner.  We cut the casual party tunes and found some solid Bollywood dance tracks, and the minute Maria heard the music she bolted out to the middle of the floor and started doing her thing in front of everyone like it was as normal as anything.  So that was awesome because I felt like I was sitting front row watching the "Jai Ho" dance number from Slumdog Millionaire live.  And then it got ten times better because Gokul joined in, then we all joined in, and then there were 12 foreigners awkwardly dancing Bollywood around Gokul's host family's living room while they stood around catching it all on camera and probably wondering what they had gotten themselves into by inviting over a bunch of crazy foreigners.

photo was stolen from Liz!

Liz photo!

Liz's photo again!!

A Wednesday or two ago, in my free time, Veronica and Elise showed Liz and I to some SWEET vintage places in Vieux Lille, also bringing me farther into the heart of Vieux Lille than I'd ever been and making me realize that I should've spent more time exploring it way earlier on in exchange.  Being vintage and thrift store lovers like me, they'd gotten frustrated not knowing where they could quench their shopping desires and came up with the idea none of us had been smart enough to think of before and just googled vintage stores in Lille.. DUH.  It's such a sweet area full of trendy shops, bookstores, bars and cafes; there's even this hilarious American-themed diner that makes milkshakes of every flavour (yep Nutella's there) and has the classic greasy burger and fries dish (almost impossible to find in France outside of McDonald's).  These new discoveries mean great things for my free time adventures in the next four months... but horrible things for my suffering wallet.

Friday February 14, 2014: the day I decided my history teacher and me cannot ever be friends, the day it poured rain, the day my bike (which is really my host mom's bike) got stolen outside of art class, the day the bus came 20 minutes late, and the day I really really really didn't like Roubaix (using the word "really" thrice as opposed to writing "hate" because that just feels a little harsh to throw out there on the internet).  Not my best day of exchange... probably the worst.  First off my history teacher gave me a hard time.  He's been on my back since the beginning of exchange to work hard and participate and yada yada.  For the first two months I just couldn't understand a thing... for the next two months I was just lazy... but in recent times I have begun making an effort in his class! The problem is, he gave me this big assignment during my lazy period that was to be done and then presented (in French) in front of the class, and I conveniently forgot about it when I started actually doing some work in history.  About two weeks ago he cracked down and said that if I didn't get it done I was going to be banned from coming into his class, but would still have to make up for the lost time by spending 2-3 hours Wednesday afternoons sitting alone, bored to death, in one of St. Remi's working rooms.  He said it to me in a condescending kind of way, throwing in the odd comment about laziness too which I didn't love.  Although tempted to be a brat and deal with it out of spite, I knew my troubles would be over if I just did his huge project for him.  That started operation Siobhan-Over-Stressed because unfortunately he decided to get serious with his threats around the same time I was preparing for my Ireland trip, and starting to feel panicky about my university application deadlines.  AHH.  So that was early afternoon.  Then the rain started as Sixtine and I headed to art, the last class of the day, and I told myself all I had to do was make it home on the bike in the horrible weather and I'd be there in front of the hot fire with my tea and things would be lovely.  I walked out of the building after class to find that the lamp post which I'd locked my bike to was looking rather naked and BIKE-LESS, and my last hope of the day ending on a positive note came crashing down as I tried to restrain myself from a full out tantrum of despair and bad language.  Some of my despair may have slipped out (apologies for Sixtine who was a trooper and stood by my side during this time being a good friend, finding my rage funny and telling me it was okay to really really really not like Roubaix at that moment in time).  Then the bus came 20 minutes late.  20 minutes in which I would have already been home, made tea, and in front of the fire if I still had my (my host mom's) bike.  Not my brightest hour.. or 12 hours.

In other news, yesterday marked the 6 month mark of shenanigans.  The day before marked 4 months before heading home.  WHAAAAT.

Ty's host mom gave him a photo shoot coupon as a present for Christmas for him and his friends, so a week or so ago Veronica, David, Liz and I all went with him to this giant studio where we got our makeup done and then did our thang as models.  It was funny because it was clearly one of the studios people go to for family photos with cheesy smiles and candid "we love eachother effortlessly but this is definitely posed" kind of shots, and we went in saying we were gonna get the funniest photos we possibly could.  The poor photographer would tell us to do a pose and we'd often do the complete opposite, or not even hear her, I don't think she was used to a group like us.  We ended up choosing 5 photos that were hilarious and probably nothing like what the studio had ever produced for anyone, but we had fun and I think we gave them a laugh or two and that's all that matters.  I'll get those photos up here when I can get them from Ty.

iPod photo preview of the photo shoot shenanigans
One Thursday we didn't have afternoon classes because none of the teachers showed up, so the girls and I went to Ana's after school for a makeshift photo shoot and a lot of n'importe quoi.  That was fun.


S I X T I N E 

A N A 

C O P I N E S 
Like mentioned above, the past 2ish weeks have been insaaaaanity.  I have a huge application for a university next year that's due on March 1st and it's been a side project I've been trying to put time into for the past month.  The problem is that it's probably one of the most important commitments in my life right now, but it couldn't take first priority because of things like threatening history teachers and other aspects of my French life that had to come first simply because that is my life right now.  On top of history, I've had 2 other projects and 1 presentation to be done recently (since I've decided to put in an effort I've actually done them and gotten them in ON TIME which deserves a pat on the back) for lyceé.  I also decided to cancel my Euro tour with the exchange students in April in order to go on vacation to Île de Ré on the west coast of France with my current host family the Dervilles (it was a long process deciding what I wanted to do and weighing the pros and cons of each, but I'm happy with my decision in the end) and that involved a lot of emailing, phone calls, and paperwork.  Then there was preparation for my Ireland trip (began 2 days ago) that also involved a lot of emails and paperwork.  Planning for my mum and sis to visit in March (more paperwork and emails you guessed it!).  Then I'm also just trying my best not to slide off the social face of the planet.  I don't want this to sound like a petty "oh my god I'm too popular" complaint... but I've begun to find that there are not enough hours in a day to see and talk to all of my friends.  Balancing time with all my friends from all the different circles and aspects of my exchange is HARD and I've been feeling guilty recently because of the amount of times I hear "so.. where have you been recently..?" I have friends I haven't seen in weeks and didn't even get to say bye to before leaving France for 2 weeks! Anyway... I can summarize this paragraph in about one word: STRESS

For those of you still reading at this point.. CONGRATS!

My stress led to headaches which led to a sore throat which led to a chest infection.  All in my last week before taking the flight to Dublin on Friday.  Not.  Cool.  To be honest it's not even the physical discomfort that's annoying, it's mostly just frustrating because it's keeping me from running.


I have been stressed, yes. I have been busy, yes.  But I have stayed positive and kept up happiness (except for that one dreaded Friday) and now I am in Ireland which is AWESOME.  Stay tuned for a blog post about that.  Coming soooooon!

Bisous from Siobhan in Ireland :)

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