220 entries from srah blah blah tagged with 'travel':


I dreamt last night that I was on some sort of tour (might have been a study abroad site visit, or just a group tour) in Abu Dhabi with my dad. We went to this museum where there was a big mural on the wall of Gerald Ford, so my dad was talking excitedly to the curator, who was a big fan of President Ford's and also a chronicler of local unsolved mysteries and supernatural phenomena. I don't know where my dad went, but there was a section of the dream where I was in the employee-only area of some...

srah - Wednesday, 17 December 2008 - 12:03 PM
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I dreamt last night that my family and I were driving north across the Mackinac Bridge (for the uninformed, this is the bridge that connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan) and then next thing I knew, we were taking a ferry into Sydney Harbor in Australia (but I couldn't find the Opera House anywhere because there were too many amusement park rides on the shore). We got off the boat and then we were in Turkey, and we were mad because the airline had lost our bags. Then I realized I had no idea how long this trip...

srah - Wednesday, 10 December 2008 - 6:55 AM
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You can see I'm in no shape for driving/ Anyway I've got no place to go

It's a good thing I went to China in September, or I would have nothing to blog about in November. Once upon a time, I came back to Shanghai from the excursion to Nanjing I'd attended with one of the programs I visited. I arrived back in Shanghai around 4pm, then had to catch a taxi to get back to my hotel during rush hour (I probably should have just taken the subway, but - to my great shame - I never learned the subway system in the whole time I was there) . I stood there with my suitcases,...

srah - Friday, 14 November 2008 - 6:37 PM
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And if I dig a hole to China/ I'll catch the first junk to Soho

It occurs to me that a) I have nothing to write for NaBloPoMo today and b) I have not yet finished writing up all the little notes that I took in China of things to blog about. Now keep in mind that I got back from China over a month ago, so I may be a little fuzzy on what my notes meant... shoes - Um, apparently I wanted to tell you something about shoes, but I have forgotten what. Chinese people wear 'em, if you're curious!"what watch?" - After several days of communicating in broken English, I got the...

srah - Wednesday, 5 November 2008 - 11:43 PM
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Hey, get outta there! You gonna make people sick!

Yes, I am definitely getting a cold. I am exhausted and am going to bed at 8:30 tonight. Whereas all the water in my body had been going into sweat production earlier this week, now most of it is going into snot production now. But don't worry! It's still hot and sweaty out! I am probably going to pass out from dehydration if I stop drinking water for five minutes.I'm going to Nanjing tomorrow. I may not update this weekend.But I have some notes and I will blog them when I can.Zaijian!...

srah - Thursday, 25 September 2008 - 8:25 AM
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Y'all way past the beauty sleep thing, trust me.

Today's China update: I saw my first squat toilet in China! Fortunately, I checked the next stall over and that had the other kind of toilet, so I was spared from having to use it. Bringing tissues and hand sanitizer was handy, though, as there was no TP or soap.I've refined my answer to "is there anything you don't eat" to "anything with the eyes still on it" and "anything that's still alive". Still haven't been confronted with these yet, but that's because I tell people up front. The little kid next to me at lunch was eating a crispy...

srah - Wednesday, 24 September 2008 - 7:51 PM
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What do you mean you're not lucky? You lied to me? And what are you, a sheep?

More notes from China: I am kicking myself for getting my hair cut before leaving for China because a) it's got some weird bits that don't look right and b) it's not long enough to put in a ponytail anymore. I am collecting a lot of sweat on the back of my neck. I am gross.I sat in on a class where we learned to sing the birthday song in Chinese. ♫ Zhu ni sheng ri kuai le... ♫That semester of Mandarin I took in college keeps coming back to me in little pieces. Unfortunately, it is all mixed up...

srah - Tuesday, 23 September 2008 - 6:52 PM
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Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow...

Fun facts, observations and gross generalizations that I have made/learned so far (mostly gleaned from reading Lonely Planet China or from sitting in on a class at one of the study abroad programs I visited today) In Chinese, every syllable ends in n, ng, r or a vowel.The Chinese sayings: "entice the tiger away from the mountain" and "a dragon on the beach can be teased by shrimp" both mean that things are weaker outside of their usual environment, like "a fish out of water".Lonely Planet China has a section titled "Visiting the Han, Solo" which I'm pretty sure they...

srah - Monday, 22 September 2008 - 6:53 AM
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Highlight of my trip so far

I'm in the Dayton airport and Jerome the Laptop is plugged into the bottom plug of an outlet shared with one of those cell phone battery boosters that they have in airports. While I do not consider myself particularly strong at estimation, I don't think it would be exaggerating to guess that about 50% of the people who walk past actually remark out loud, "Look, cell phone recharging." The number is pretty impressive, considering how many of the other 50% are travelling alone and are therefore probably only remarking it inside their head, instead of to their travel partners. This...

srah - Saturday, 20 September 2008 - 5:20 AM
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Nimen hao! Wo bu shi zai tushuguan!

Oh, by the way, I'm going to China tomorrow. I'm going to Shanghai for work for the next ten days. I probably would have blogged this earlier, except that I've been insanely busy with a) work, then b) having no power/internet at home, then c) running around like a chicken with my head cut off, preparing for this trip. And d) more work. But here we go, finally! I leave at 6am tomorrow. The flight is 18 hours long, and actually requires me to fly east (Atlanta) before flying west (Shanghai) in order to ultimately get to The East¹. I...

srah - Friday, 19 September 2008 - 10:04 PM
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I went to Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend to visit friends. We had a gang of seven and did a lot of fun things like live karaoke and wine tasting, but what sticks out most for me about this weekend is that I ate The Most Delicious Sandwich Known to Man. This sandwich was perfect in every way. The bread was warm and fresh and delicious. The fillings were delectable and varied. The taste of the mayonnaise perfectly complemented the salmon. The textures all worked beautifully together and there was neither too little nor too much mayonnaise, salmon or onion. The...

srah - Wednesday, 30 April 2008 - 10:27 PM
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In which I call shenanigans on United Airlines

Tuesday, March 25 - Wednesday, March 26 When I woke up on Tuesday morning, I checked my flight status and discovered that my flight from San Francisco to Chicago was delayed something ridiculous like 4.5 hours. So I called United and asked them to change this in some way, even if it involved putting me on a different airline. "Okie doke," the operator replied (although perhaps not in those words), and she booked me on a US Airways flight leaving slightly earlier that would take me through Charlotte instead. However, she told me, I would have to stop by the...

srah - Saturday, 19 April 2008 - 12:52 PM
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She's my daughter! She's my sister!

Oh yeah, I'm not done with this, am I? Monday, March 24 On Monday, Cari took the day off work and we went to Chinatown. We went on a tour where the group was made up of us, a mother-daughter pair, and a half a billion German high school students and teachers. So there was this weird Chinese-American-German amalgamation as the Germans translated things for each other. The tour took us around Chinatown and taught us a bit about the history of Chinatown and the people there, especially focusing on our guide's own family and experiences growing up in Chinatown....

srah - Saturday, 19 April 2008 - 11:32 AM
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No family and too much money makes Mrs Winchester something something.

Sunday, March 23 Looking back at the pictures, I can believe we packed so much stuff into one day! It seems like this had to have been spread over several days! Cari and I got up bright and early Sunday morning to go to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. We thought we were going to be the only people out being touristy on Easter Sunday but there turned out to be a sizable tour group. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip, I think, just because it was something I knew nothing about before going...

srah - Tuesday, 8 April 2008 - 8:22 PM
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Feel my cocoa beats. Je m'appelle Joe le Lait.

Saturday, March 22 On Saturday, Cari, Matt and I went to Berkeley to go on a tour/tasting at the Scharffen Berger factory. Unlike the last time I went to a chocolate tasting, I was actually able to appreciate the quality chocolate and the different flavors therein. The key is not to use your teeth at all. You break the chocolate into little pieces, then let each individual morsel melt in your mouth, releasing all the fruity undertones that come from the fermentation process applied to the cocoa beans. IT WAS AWESOME. I tasted all kinds of flavors that I don't...

srah - Friday, 4 April 2008 - 5:34 PM
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When I grow up to be a man...

Friday, March 21 Cari and I got up bright and early on Friday morning. Actually, only I got up bright and early, because - even though I was exhausted from my travel - I was still pretty much on Eastern time. That gave me some time to get myself organized before Cari and I left for our morning drive to Año Nuevo State Natural Reserve, where we went on a tour and learned about the elephant seals that come there every year to lay their eggs have their babies. Then the mothers go back out to sea to feed, and...

srah - Thursday, 3 April 2008 - 6:49 PM
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'I've taken this boat many places. Miami. Tokyo. Denver.'

I had a whole lot of stuff to write about my wonderful trip to San Francisco (a bajillion years ago) and the not-so-wonderful travel in order to get there, but there's just too much to say and not enough time to write it all. I will try to do it bit by bit rather than writing it all in one go, and return to the land of the blogging. Jday, you win! Thursday, March 20 I set off for the airport several hours early, with the idea that as long as I was going for a long drive to the...

srah - Thursday, 3 April 2008 - 5:30 PM
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A thousand words?

I'm back from San Francisco and my blog is all empty. Here, look at these until I get around to blogging again. My pictures: Cari's pictures: (If you are a Flickr friend of one or both of us, you might want to look at the sets on Flickr instead so you can see the friends-only pictures with people in them!)...

srah - Thursday, 27 March 2008 - 7:55 PM
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A state that's untouchable like Elliot Ness

I am going to California in March! Finally I will officially be able to say that I've been to California! I sort of was in California this summer, but I'm kind of embarassed to check it off the list, since the entirety of my time there was landing in San Diego, then taking a cab to the port and getting on a ship. And I could still see the airport from the ship, so I didn't even travel that far within San Diego. This time I will actually spend multiple days in the state and see things and take pictures...

srah - Wednesday, 30 January 2008 - 8:07 PM
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Yes, it came direct from Paris, France

Paris, je t'aime is a ridonkulously huge collection of famous directors (Joel and Ethan Coen, Gurinder Chadha, Wes Craven, Alfonso Cuarón, Sylvain Chomet) and actors (Steve Buscemi, Other People Who Aren't Steve Buscemi) in a series of short films about Paris. I actually wasn't expecting much, just because I find short-format films pretty hit-or-miss, but it was a cool mix of subjects and directing styles. It's hard to say which one was my favorite because there were so many good ones. The last film is about a lonely American mail carrier who's studied French for two years in preparation for...

srah - Thursday, 29 November 2007 - 7:35 PM
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Where's the beef?

I went to Chicago last weekend! I am very slow at writing these travel-weekend writeups, and even moreso when I spend the week trying to catch up on sleep. Fortunately, the weekend is almost here, so I can clean, claim I'm going to clean and then not clean, and - most importantly - sleep. I drove up to Chicago for Lewis's birthday celebrations Saturday afternoon/evening. It takes about 5 hours to get to Chicago, although it took me a little longer because - no matter how good my directions are - I always second-guess them and get lost when I...

srah - Friday, 12 October 2007 - 12:06 PM
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Monkeys' brains, while popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found... in Washington D.C.!

As you may know, I went to Maryland/DC a few weekends ago to visit Katie and Cheryl and use some of the vacation time I've been building up. Photos are here! Friday I flew to Baltimore, which makes me think of Hairspray. Katie and I had dinner and bubble tea and... I can't remember what else we did. We must have just sat around talking until midnight! Saturday On Saturday Katie and had a nice late morning (which was good for recovering from a long Friday at work and sitting near teenagers while waiting for my flight) then set off...

srah - Thursday, 16 August 2007 - 6:17 PM
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Good Morning Internet!

Or rather, good evening. But I've been so lazy today it might as well be the morning for all that I've gotten done. Anyway, I'm back in the USSR. Photos from my voyage can be found here and videos of fascinating things like whales spouting and cliff divers cliff-diving can be found here. Now I must go and prepare for Language Week! All this time in Mexico and in on-ship Spanish classes has inspired me not to devote the entire week to Arabic. Soy hispanohablante, yo! Por el momento. Hasta que yo olvido todo mi español¹. Ha! What I love...

srah - Sunday, 24 June 2007 - 5:51 PM
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We're sailing with a cargo full of love and devotion

Hi! I have had about 8 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours! That actually sounds like a lot more than it feels. I have been really stressing out about this trip: packing, making my connections, adjusting to life on the ship, worrying about seasickness, etc... all while dealing with a lot of other stuff like finding a new apartment (done!) and keeping up with students while I'm out of the office and while the university changes email systems during my absence. So with all the things to worry about (and I love to worry!) I haven't been sleeping...

srah - Thursday, 14 June 2007 - 2:45 AM
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You say oyster and I say erster¹

I was surprised, as we started our descent into Houston, to see lots and lots of forests of green trees. Everything I know about Texas I learned from the movies, so I expected it to be all brown and sandy with little scrubby bushes, rather than huge forests of green trees. I expected it to be more like the Australian Outback, which I am also very familiar with from my vast experience of... watching The Thorn Birds miniseries once. Also, I didn't see Rock Hudson or James Dean or even Sal Mineo. All of my lifetime experience with Texas (2.5...

srah - Wednesday, 13 June 2007 - 11:30 PM
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You are a bread/ I am love you

I'm flying off on Wednesday to do another site visit for work. This would be just fine, except that now whenever I get on a plane, I think of this White Ninja comic. I am going to lick everyone on the plane, just to be safe....

srah - Monday, 11 June 2007 - 6:34 PM
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Who can turn the world on with her smile?

I am happy to say that on my last day in Minneapolis, I got to meet up with my two favorite Minneapolitans: Erica and Bronze Statue of Mary Tyler Moore And which of those is my #1 favorite? The one who bought me breakfast! Thank you, Bronze Statue of Mary Tyler Moore! The waffle was delicious....

srah - Monday, 4 June 2007 - 12:56 PM
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Let us all take our pennyfarthing bicycles to the aero-port!

I am equidistant from the Cincinnati and Dayton airports, but I usually prefer flying out of Dayton. Dayton Airport: ProsCincinnati Airport: Prosflights are always cheaper than Cincinnatiyou can walk from the parking lot to the airport rather than waiting for a shuttleit's too small to get lost inyou can get some steps in walking from one end of the airport to anothershorter security/airline waits (usually)smaller and cuterfree wireless internetcheaper parkingmore frequent flightsmore airlinesmore to do and see in the airportmore to do and see on the way to the airportbigger and fancier (note: this is only true of the Delta...

srah - Monday, 4 June 2007 - 12:39 PM
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She's baaa-aaack!

I have 3066 new items in Bloglines. Why doesn't the Internet just shut down when I go out of town? It would be a lot more convenient for me. More to come when I'm more awake!...

srah - Saturday, 2 June 2007 - 10:26 PM


I am going to Michigan today. On Sunday I am driving back down to Ohio. On Tuesday I am driving to Dayton in order to fly to Detroit and on to Minneapolis for a conference. On Saturday I return to Dayton via Detroit and drive home. I ab hobing that sobewhere in all of by travels I will find a place that I ab not quite as allergic to as Srahtown. I am drowning here. I cannot breathe! And that is with all the Claritin! Since I never had any serious problems¹ with allergies before moving here, I'm wondering if...

srah - Friday, 25 May 2007 - 4:29 PM
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Nyoo Yuck!

So I went out East this weekend and sadly enough, I did not see Baby-Sitters, Dunder-Mifflinites or celebrities. What I did see was lots of worksy-meetings, The Pirate Queen, the Circle Line boat tour and Times Square. Photos are here and shaky video of noisy, crowded Times Square (taken from a traffic island) is here:...

srah - Monday, 30 April 2007 - 6:34 PM
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Time to get out the ol' Famous Cities skirt!

Frightening realization: My new haircut makes me look less like Rachael Leigh Cook in She's All That and more like Rachael Leigh Cook as Mary Anne Spier in The Baby-Sitters Club. I am totally going to fit in in Stamford this weekend! Maybe I will pick up some baby-sitting gigs or solve a mystery while I am there. Or maybe I need to find a new hairstyle inspiration that is closer to my own age. (Speaking of the BSC, this is unspeakably awesome. So I will speak of it no more for the next five minutes, at least.)...

srah - Wednesday, 25 April 2007 - 5:51 PM
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Finding Jesus

When my out-of-town guests and I were planning out this weekend, I had a few ideas of things to do, but the only thing they were firm on was seeing Big Butter Jesus: I have lived here for a year and a half and while I've read about the giant 60-foot Big Butter Jesus/Drowning Jesus/Touchdown Jesus in Monroe that scares drivers along I-75, I hadn't actually had a reason to drive through that area and see it for myself. So we all discovered it for the first time together this morning. There's no time like Sunday morning for finding Jesus!...

srah - Sunday, 22 April 2007 - 9:35 PM
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So nice they named it twice! The other name is Manhattan.

At the end of April, I will spend a weekend visiting one of our study abroad providers in Stamford, Connecticut. Yes, that Stamford, would-be home of Dunder-Mifflin Northeast and the next major town to Stoneybrook. Wow. I am so awesome. Why don't I have any friends around here, again? In addition to visiting super-dibble Stamford, there will also be a "social outing" to New York City. It will be so special I might even call it... Super Special! Then I will glue glitter and feathers on my Kid-Kit and-- wait, what was I talking about? New York intimidates me more...

srah - Thursday, 29 March 2007 - 7:15 PM
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Srah: Le Retour

I'm back! So far, except for the marginally warmer weather, I wish I were back in Seattle. And I need a nap. You can see my pictures here and watch these videos I took at the Woodland Park Zoo:...

srah - Tuesday, 20 March 2007 - 12:46 PM
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'Dammit, Johnny, you know I love my Big Beef 'n Cheddar!'

I will be flying from Dayton to Atlanta from about 3-4:30 today, then from Atlanta to Seattle from about 7 (EDT) to 9:30 (PDT). In all my 9 or so hours of transit, I understand that I will receive complimentary beverage service and maybe up to three snack items for the journey. I'm leaving town at 11am in order to drive to the airport, which means that I will have two meals to cover on the road. I brought myself a cheese sandwich to tide myself over, but I imagine that by the time I arrive in Atlanta, I will...

srah - Thursday, 15 March 2007 - 10:55 AM
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Traveling, but not off the couch

As long as I am sitting on my butt on the couch instead of getting up and walking around, I suppose I should tackle one or two of the blog posts I've been planning since last week, but which exist so far only in note-form. Who wants to hear my thoughts about the Oscars? Huh? Who? Note to self: blog this stuff a lot earlier. Each topic deserves its own post, so in this pointless explanatory post, I will just throw in these two little tidbits of travel information that I keep meaning to mention but which aren't involved enough...

srah - Monday, 5 March 2007 - 7:52 PM
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I'm so excited! I'm so excited! I'm so... sleepy!

I'm home! I'm jetlagged! It's 5:30 and I'm wearing pyjamas! I went to bed at 9 last night and woke up at 5 this morning! I am confused! I didn't check my email or read blogs while I was gone! It is going to take me forever to catch up! But for now I think I will take a nap! Here is some wildlife I saw in London! He wants a hug!...

srah - Wednesday, 18 October 2006 - 5:32 PM
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Travel blogging... ish

All I seem to blog about these days is TV. That and walking, and occasionally the odd dream or two. That's not unusual, because I don't do much more than work, watch TV, walk and sleep. Occasionally I do laundry. I know, it's really exciting. Well, I'm off for a site visit to three universities in England and Ireland tomorrow. I don't know what kind of adventures and scrapes I'll get into, but I'm sure that it will be more interesting than my life here. In fact, I will probably be so busy that I won't have time to blog...

srah - Friday, 6 October 2006 - 10:22 PM
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Blub blup plop ploop blup

It has come to my attention that I took several short videos on our trip out west and have not bothered to do anything with them. So I have uploaded them to YouTube, where the viewers will doubtless find them much more fascinating than pirated TV and music videos or fat kids lip-synching. Behold the varied and exciting geothermalism of Yellowstone National Park! You can almost smell the sulfur!...

srah - Tuesday, 22 August 2006 - 9:50 PM
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Waiter, there's a DELICIOUS in my soup

It is lunchtime and all I can think of is the Gorgonzola Ale Soup at the Firehouse Brewing Co. in Rapid City, South Dakota. I don't like beer and I don't like cheese soup, so I don't know why I ordered it. I suppose I was intrigued and I had a headache and didn't want anything more complicated than soup. And it was DELICIOUS. And it is SO FAR AWAY. And it is IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. And I will probably NEVER RETURN. And I didn't even think to TAKE A PICTURE, which I very strangely did with a...

srah - Friday, 11 August 2006 - 12:11 PM
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Get these m*f*ing drinks off my m*f*ing plane!

All this hullabaloo about liquids on planes is making me even more paranoid than I usually am. I spend more time than I should during flights thinking about ways that, if I were a terrorist, I could kill people or hijack a plane using things I carried-on or things that were already on the plane when I got there. They'll confiscate your nail clippers, but I once got an in-flight meal that came with a plastic fork and spoon and a metal knife. Nice, airline. It was pretty rounded and dull, but I bet I could get a file on...

srah - Thursday, 10 August 2006 - 9:27 PM
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Halfway there!

create your own visited states map Thanks to our little road trip, I've added five new states to my map and am now at 25. Which, I guess, isn't really halfway there because they seem to be counting Washington, D.C. as a state. So only 26 more to go! More on the trip later, I suppose....

srah - Thursday, 10 August 2006 - 1:44 PM
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I am on vacation from work AND, it would seem, from blogging. You can follow our photographical progress here or here, or read apete's accounts here. I'll be back here next week!...

srah - Thursday, 3 August 2006 - 11:50 AM
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Projets de voyage (et de travail)

En mars je suis allée en Israël pour visiter les universités là-bas qui acceuillent les étudiants étrangers. En mai c'était Montréal, où je suis allée assister à une conférence sur l'éducation internationale. Ce mois je vais voyager à travers le ouest des États-Unis, vers Seattle. J'irai en Angleterre et en Irlande en Octobre pour une autre visite aux centres d'études étrangers. On a parlé un peu d'un voyage en Inde en décembre pour assister au mariage de Sylvie (mais avec mes finances ça ne va peut-être pas être possible... on verra...). Il va peut-être y avoir une autre visite au...

srah - Monday, 24 July 2006 - 3:24 PM
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Foul, fetid, fuming, foggy Philadelphia (airport)

To my great surprise, I went to Philadelphia last week. I'd known for weeks that I was going to Pennsylvania, but I hadn't realized that the town I was going to is basically a suburb of Philadelphia and that my hotel was even within the city limits. So I apologize to all of you Brotherly Love Citizens that I did not warn you of my impending arrival. I thought I was going to some town a ways out from Teh Big City. And who knew that cities on the east coast had trains and things like public transportation? It somehow...

srah - Monday, 24 July 2006 - 12:01 PM
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Adventures in francophonie

Montreal is awesome. I am doing better than expected with speaking French - instead of avoiding French altogether I string together these mangled franglais thoughts in my mind and occasionally spew them out to whoever my victim is. Example: Shuttle driver with French-Canadian accent: Which hotel are you going to? Me: Le Fairmont Reine Elizabeth¹. SDWFCA: Fairmont Reine Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth? Me: Oui. Yes. SDWFCA: Vous parlez français? You speak English? Me: (stammers) Oui. Yes. Les deux. Both. Je parle... I speak, yeah. So yeah, that was clear. And efficient. Let's speak both languages at once! And translate for ourselves!...

srah - Wednesday, 24 May 2006 - 6:31 PM
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'I'm your main target/ Come and help me ignite'

The second-worst song to have in your head on the way to the airport: "Janie's Got a Gun." And it's in mine. I suppose it could be worse if my name were Janie. Remind me not to sing that out loud as I'm going through security. Oh well, at least it's not #1......

srah - Tuesday, 23 May 2006 - 6:45 AM
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Parlez-vous quebecois?

No, not so much. I am off to the Great White North on Tuesday for a conference followed by some Staying Around and Sightseeing. Youpi! So far I have made all of my Montreal hotel reservations in English. I am a-feared of the Quebecois French. I'm afraid of all their funny ways of saying things and their different accent and their reputation for looking down on French-from-France and for speaking perfect accentless English to people who try to speak French to them. I was telling someone at dinner that I might just chicken out and try to pass myself off...

srah - Saturday, 20 May 2006 - 12:24 PM
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Attention-seeking much?

It turns out that Sharon Stone, who followed us around Israel and stayed in two of the same hotels we did, was not doing so in order to stalk study abroad advisors, but because she wants to make out with everybody in the Middle East, and especially more women if ya got 'em. Dammit! I thought it was us. In other Sharon Stone-related news: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!...

srah - Wednesday, 29 March 2006 - 8:17 AM
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I've met Israel reports, and this is no Israel report

Okay, too much happened in Israel to give you a report. Suffice it to say, it was great and you should all go and you should all hire our tour guide. The rest will come out in trickles, but the prospect of trying to blog the whole trip was frightening....

srah - Tuesday, 21 March 2006 - 12:20 PM

How do you say Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz in Hebrew?

I'm here. I'm tired. I can't go to sleep or I'll get the jet lags. I had a shower. It was good. I feel much better now, but it's raining and my roommate's sleeping so I'm not all about going exploring. We went on a tour of a nature reserve. I have a lot to say about airport security, but that can wait until I'm awake some time. Here are pictures....

srah - Wednesday, 8 March 2006 - 9:40 AM

One of these things is not like the other

States that I thought I would be going to/through today, as of going to bed last night: OhioKentuckyNew Jersey States that Delta Airlines thought I would be going to/through today, as of some time before 4:59am, which is when they called me and woke me up to tell me my Cincinnati-Newark flight had been cancelled but they had everso kindly rescheduled me on another, ultra-convenient flight: OhioKentuckyGeorgiaNew Jersey States that I will now be going to/through today, after having said "Hells naw, biatch!" to the airline: OhioKentuckyNew YorkNew Jersey The most frustrating thing is that all of the Delta employees...

srah - Tuesday, 7 March 2006 - 10:17 AM
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Eye spy with my little eye a place beginning with eye

Or rather... I will in a week. Well, technically, a week from tomorrow at some obscene hour of the morning. But where am I going? Will it be potatoes and Mormons¹, or corn and wrestlers, or car racing and basketball, or whatever Illinois is famous for? Will it be all leprechauns and shamrocks? Geysers and Björk? Religious fundamentalism and... um, reading Lolita? Roadside bombings and potential civil war? Curry and outsourced call centers? Marinara sauce and gondolas? Gamelans and... whatever else they have in Indonesia? Such mystery! Just you wait and see! ––––– ¹ No. Sorry!...

srah - Tuesday, 28 February 2006 - 6:05 PM
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I dreamt last night that I went to Paris with my dad and got lost a lot by getting on the wrong buses and metro lines. We found some fountain that apparently I'd seen in the movie Sabrina and a lot of other stuff that I'd never seen on previous trips to Paris. Later the whole family was on this bus full of tourists and we went to some market where I was having a good old time speaking French to a saleslady and some other American tourist. We ran into Robin's mom, who had missed her bus, so we...

srah - Saturday, 4 February 2006 - 8:50 AM
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Oona otruh peenuh cohladuh pore fayvor!

[...] "It's like, 'the sun's out, let's go,' and we're still here," said Lynn Wickum, of San Francisco as she drank a beer at one of the few open Cancun bars. "We feel the frustration building. You wouldn't want to make a scene, but at the same time, you're ready to go home." Many of Cancun's own 500,000 residents have lost nearly everything in flooded or destroyed homes. [...] - Haggard Tourists Battle to Leave Cancun OMGTHEREAREONLYAFEWBARSOPENGETMEHOMETOMYFLATSCREENTV! Having an economy based on tourism just grosses me out. I'm really disturbed that the safety of tourists is so high on Vincente...

srah - Tuesday, 25 October 2005 - 6:56 PM

My airplane friends

When I was flying to North Carolina on Sunday, I thought that one of the male flight attendants looked kind of scruffy, with facial hair in strange patterns on his face. Then I realized he's growing mutton chops! Sweet! On the way back I got to sit across the aisle from this woman I couldn't take my eyes off of. I didn't want to stare, but at the same time I wanted to take her all in and didn't want to forget a detail. In fact, what I really wanted to do was take a picture of her so I...

srah - Thursday, 29 September 2005 - 9:08 AM

Thoughts from the drive to Unidentified Town in Pennsylvania

Alas, I was not able to write down my thoughts as I went along for this portion of the trip. This is why I like public transportation! But here are my thoughts as I remember them: Right, let's take a look at this here TripTik. First step: Turn northeast onto... wait, northeast? Which way's northeast? I don't have a freaking northeast turn signal, thank you, AAA. I am not a Boy Scout. I am not that kid in my 6th grade class who always carried a compass in school.AAAAAAAAAAAAH! Rental car! Rental car! Must not smash! Must not drive too...

srah - Tuesday, 2 August 2005 - 8:47 PM

Thoughts from the flight from Detroit to Somewhere In Pennsylvania

It's a tiny, mini, baby plane! It's a freaking biplane! I think Charles Lindbergh flew this very plane! THIS PLANE HAS PROPELLERS! I prefer the mystery of the big planes with those whirly enginey things that people are always getting sucked into in movies. I don't know how those work or what they are exactly. I know how a propeller works, and that scares me!The flight attendant has just informed us that we are in a Saab 340. This Saab is only slightly bigger than the ones on the road. I wonder how it handles on ice."... In the emergency,...

srah - Tuesday, 2 August 2005 - 1:50 PM

Thoughts from Detroit Metro Airport

The guy at the check-in desk asked if I was over 18. Sigh. I asked him if my bag was small enough to carry on and he looked at it for a while and judged that I should check it. I shouldn't have asked - it probably would have passed.In my rush to get out of the house this morning, I skipped brushing my teeth, justifying it by telling myself that it would give me something to do while I waited for my flight. Now my toothbrush has been checked and I am The Great Untoothbrushed. Waaaaaah!I am also The...

srah - Tuesday, 2 August 2005 - 1:27 PM
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That toddling town...

Here it is Thursday and I'm finally getting around to blogging about this weekend. I think I have some kind of block - I keep sitting down in front of the computer and thinking I should write, but not really wanting to. Sigh. Anyway, I went off to a wedding in Chicago this weekend with Apete. As I've put off the blogging this time, it will have to be a series of sentence fragments strung together because I really can't bring myself to write something cohesive. What the hell is wrong with me? Saturday Ate waffles. Got in the car....

srah - Thursday, 2 June 2005 - 8:08 AM
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Self-obsessed travel plans! W00t!

Upon the discovery of yet another blogging srah, I did some Googling and came up with a new fantasy destination. Alright, here is my new Ultimate Travel Goal: A trip that encompasses both this place and this one....

srah - Thursday, 24 March 2005 - 8:31 PM

And their little dog, too!

I am, as Dana Carvey playing Mickey Rooney would say, "a star, kid..." *does weird hand/mouth gesture* "... A STAR!" Or at least I will be, as soon as I am discovered by Hollywood! When I read about Bob's trip to the Museum of Science and Industry, I decided I wanted to do the same thing. The exhibit about movies sounded quite fun and interesting and you got to appear in your own stupid little film! So I convinced Jez that this was the best museum to start with, which turned out to be a good thing because admission was...

srah - Wednesday, 20 October 2004 - 1:42 AM

Compendium Chicagodus

Unchronological, disorganized thoughts from my weekend in Chicago with Jez: My hair and I can never live together in Chicago. If I were to be employed in Chicago, we would have to be parted. (My hair is normally parted, but in this case, it would have to be parted from me.) The Windy City is, indeed, quite windy. My poor head. We went to The Melting Pot for fondue on Sunday night. Mummmmmnummmyummmy. Bread, apples and vegetables in cheese. Seafood and vegetables boiled in oil. Evurrrrrrthing dipped in chocolate. 'Twere wonderful. You know what's funny? Museum space exhibits that list...

srah - Monday, 18 October 2004 - 10:13 PM
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Adieu Little America

Ding dong, the internship's dead! Jez and I left P-------- this morning. The darling limey dragged my awful, bulging overpacked rolling suitcase all over Paris to my hotel, then we went for a lunchtime blogmeet with Stuart. Jezzles and I passed through the Cimitière de Montparnasse and passered le bonjour à Serge Gainsbourg then had to hurry back to the Métro so that Jez could get to the airport in time for his flight. I went and blubbered a little, then had to wipe up my sniffles and wander around Paris by myself for the afternoon. That's mostly all I...

srah - Tuesday, 24 August 2004 - 3:55 PM
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My weekend, in the style of Jez, age 7

I went to England and I took a plane their and it was very nice and then I went to North Yorkshire and I saw sheep and bunnies too but not any ducks and I ate dinner as well and I watched videos too and I went to Tesco's as well and it was different from home because things were called different things like potato chips were called crisps but I didn't get them confused because I knew and we went to some castles that where there as well. (I have a bit of work to do and will do...

srah - Tuesday, 17 August 2004 - 5:20 AM

Off to England

Passport? Check. Myself? Check. Right. Guess that's all I need. I'm off now to Montrichard to St Pierre des Corps to Tours to London to North Yorkshire. I'll have a lovely time visiting Jez and JOE and being spoilt rotten with the Super Secret Surprises that Jezzles has planned. And perhaps someday, if you're very very lucky, I'll come back. That is if Jez doesn't murder me with an axe, as online friends are wont to do when you meet up with them in person. If you don't hear from me next week, that's because Jez murdered me with an...

srah - Thursday, 12 August 2004 - 8:35 AM

'Je préfère les chevaux bruns... ça ne se salit pas autant que les blancs.'

Spent a lovely weekend in Grenoble, visiting the host-fam (minus Denis, who is spending the summer hols wandering around in Egypt). I got to take a shower every morning and spent a lot of time being pénible and making terrible puns, which I will not burden you with because I've forgotten most of them* and they're all in French anyway and wouldn't translate. The trip there was frought with Americans. In the train from Onzain to Paris I avoided talking to the one in my compartment, but the one sitting across from me Paris-Grenoble addressed me first, asking if I...

srah - Sunday, 25 July 2004 - 1:12 PM
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'That shorrre would be swell, maaa'aaam...'

Apparently there was a huge storm during the night with thunder and pouring rain and lightning that lit up the sky. Apparently this storm happened right after we went to bed. Who knew? My reputation for sleeping through just about anything on earth remains intact! After the big storm, the rest of the day's weather was sort of questionable, but I'd thought the same thing the day before and had left my sunglasses at the house. So this time I brought them along, but warned Jez that bringing them along would only make it rain. We set off for the...

srah - Sunday, 18 July 2004 - 6:37 PM

'This is a castle. And we have many tapestries. But if you are a Scottish lord, then I am Mickey Mouse!'

I think I slept in this morning. We hadn't set a waking-up time, but Jez was ready before I was. We had breakfast (a whole pot of tea for me!) and set off for Loches. Loches is the next sizeable town to St Cyran, so Jez was familiar with the Château de Loches, which is not a big, well-known tourist destination. We walked through the Saturday market and up into the walls of the old part of the city. When we bought our tickets, the ticket-seller saw my magnetic-strip credit card (as opposed to the chip that lots of European...

srah - Saturday, 17 July 2004 - 9:34 PM
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'Have you fed the fish today?'

The weather was unusually warm and sunny all weekend. I've been layering jackets over sweaters over long-sleeved shirts for weeks now, but we had a brief respite this weekend where it was warm - maybe even hot - for hours at a time. It was a very nice atmosphere for a weekend of castling with Jez, who came down to visit and invited me to stay with his family. Jez called me when he left his parents' house, so I got my stuff together and took advantage of the sunshine to sit in front of the abbey and read my...

srah - Friday, 16 July 2004 - 5:37 PM
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'I AM the baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells!'

"That Jez is crap at driving!" Hey, look! Two birds! A stone! Poor birds. :( (More "What I did over my Weekend Hols" is coming soon, if by "soon" you mean tomorrow, after I have slept.)...

srah - Friday, 16 July 2004 - 2:30 PM

'Can it be true? That I hold here in my mortal hand a nugget of purest green?'

On our last night in France last year, at the end of the assistantship, Renata, Jenny and I went out for Indian food. We found a restaurant just by wandering around and I happened to look up and see that it was in the Rue Nicholas Flamel. At the time, I only knew Flamel as the "only known maker of the Philosopher's [or Sorcerer's] Stone" from the Harry Potter books, but it turns out that he really existed. Flamel was a fourteenth-century French alchemist and that he really was rumoured to possess the Philosopher's Stone, which is supposed to create...

srah - Thursday, 15 July 2004 - 5:58 AM
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Le douceur angevin? Ca fait plutot froid.

I managed to sleep until noon today, so I missed the entire morning and went straight into lunch rather than eating breakfast pastries. Sorry, Rachel. I got up, got showered and dressed, then we went to Le May's bar, where Antoine's brother works, to pick up Julien and his girlfriend, Lolotte and bring them with us for lunch. They brought along their cat, who spent all of lunch chasing and being chased by Antoine and Fanny's cat, Kira (full name: Chat-Kira). They really seemed to enjoy the bottle of Menetou-Salon blanc that I brought along, which was lucky because I...

srah - Sunday, 11 July 2004 - 5:38 PM

Angers management?

I woke up at 7:30 this morning. "Fat chance," I grumbled, considering that F&A and I had decided on a 10am wake-up time. I rolled back over and slept until 10:30. Then I got up, got showered and dressed and went around the corner to F&A's for breakfast. We had pastries from his parents' shop for breakfast - some lovely thing with a thin custardy layer and chocolate chips. After everyone was showered and dressed, we left for Angers. We picked up a few friends of Antoine's and went out window-shopping. We didn't buy any windows, nor did we buy...

srah - Saturday, 10 July 2004 - 9:48 PM

"Tu es mexicaine? J'adooooooore les fajitas!'

The trip to Angers was long. It was only about 1.5 hours of train travelling time, but a 1.5 hour wait at St Pierre des Corps had to be figured in, too. Blechhhhh! In case you wondered, here is what is around the train station in St Pierre des Corps: Nothing. I arrived in Cholet and Antoine picked me up at the station. They were out with some colleagues of Fanny's from work, so we went back to the restaurant and hung out with them for a while. They were language teachers from all over the place, but the wacky...

srah - Friday, 9 July 2004 - 6:42 PM

Haiku regarding the picture at left

See how I'm dressed in November 2002? I want a scarf now. This cold weather is inappropriate - July should be stifling!...

srah - Friday, 9 July 2004 - 9:21 AM
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Syllables counted/ Poems being created/ Haiku explosion!

A few years ago I went to Le May sur Evr' Haiku all the way. Return of haiku! Return of Srah to Le May! Return to pastry? I was to go to Angers tonight, but so is The darned Tour de France! There's too much traffic. Darned sports! Instead, I must take the train to Cholet. See friends, eat pastries Sight-see... most importantly: Escape the abbey!...

srah - Friday, 9 July 2004 - 6:25 AM
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Müber good deals!

We got up at 7am today to head off to Paris at 8. Luckily, unlike the last time I travelled, I actually packed more than 10 minutes before departure time. Eirlys, Becky, Anca and I crammed into the van with the other people, who were only going to Paris for the day. Two of the seats had been removed from the van, so Anca remarked that, crammed in and sitting on the floor, we looked like a van full of illegal immigrants. This was completely ridiculous, of course, because only some of us are illegal immigrants. The train ride was...

srah - Saturday, 3 July 2004 - 10:04 PM

'On me mettra dans un grand trou...'

Going to Paris this weekend to take more advantage of the soldes and see some sights. Want to recommend anywhere to buy cheap-yet-lovely clothing or cheap-yet-lovely English books? Hopefully I'll finally visit Serge on this trip, as I've meant to do for years!...

srah - Friday, 2 July 2004 - 6:36 AM

Disco inferno!

We set the alarm for 9am, but didn't manage to get going until a while later. We ate breakfast and took turns showering. While Nico was having his turn, the TV was on and there was this Belgian documentary on the Saturday morning kid's programming, all about blogs. If the sound had been on, I'm sure it would have been even more amusing! In the morning, Becky and I went shopping together while Nico busied himself with less girly pursuits. Well, I imagine. I don't actually know what he was doing, so he could have been getting his legs waxed...

srah - Saturday, 26 June 2004 - 7:14 PM
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Brushing my teeth should not require this much concentration!

Becky and I have come to Bourges for a weekend of shopping, sightseeing and - most importantly - boss-avoiding. So after work, we did some last minute (over-)packing and took the hour and a half trip to the southeast. We are staying with Becky's ex-boyfriend, Nicolas, who works here although he's a native Pontlevien. He picked us up from the train station in his convertible, we squashed our excessive luggage and ourselves in and set off. We had to do something for dinner, so it came down to pizza, Chinese or making something at home, so that we could work...

srah - Friday, 25 June 2004 - 6:21 PM

Does Baby want some attention-wention?

I have not yet sortied Isidore from his pochette. I am terrified of draining his batteries and I keep hoping that sleep will be an alternative option. So much for Sims All The Way To France!...

srah - Monday, 7 June 2004 - 4:22 AM
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Also thinking in the train from Paris to St Pierre des Corps

What the hell kind of name is St Pierre des Corps? Saint Peter of the Bodies? And why do I have to wait an hour and a half for a train I will be on for 20 minutes? And where are all of these Americans coming from? I haven't really spent long stretches of time in France during the summer, but is this normal? Is it because of the D-Day anniversary? Is it because this is the Loire Valley? It's frightening!...

srah - Monday, 7 June 2004 - 4:20 AM

Back to the Future

For the benefit of I Don't Know How The Hell To Change It And I Don't Really Care, the next two and a half months will be brought to you in glorious Eastern Daylight Time. If you care to, you may add six hours to posted times in your mind and understand that I do not, in fact, blog at 3am. Or that if I do, it will say 9am and you will think it's perfectly normal. It's so ker-aaaaaaaaaaazy in The Future!...

srah - Monday, 7 June 2004 - 3:16 AM

What I'm thinking in the train from Paris to St Pierre des Corps

Headache. So tired. Have no cash. Have a plug converter (finally). Should have bought more damned postcards in Paris. Darnit. What am I going to eat for dinner tonight? Do I have email? They should have free wireless access in TGVs, for no reason other than 'I said so.' Headache. So tired....

srah - Monday, 7 June 2004 - 3:13 AM

I'm not scared of planes but I can be made afraid...

This was one of the last blog posts I read before I left today....

srah - Sunday, 6 June 2004 - 2:56 PM


Yar, bugger it. I've forgotten to blog before leaving. So much last-minute packing, so little last-minute sleeping. And now at least ten hours of travel time before I collapse onto my newly-ordered bed at the Abbey (or at the patch of floor where the bed would be, if it hasn't been delivered yet). Whump!...

srah - Sunday, 6 June 2004 - 1:34 PM

Proposed revision: Home of taxation and representation

The license plates in Washington, DC say Washington, D.C. across the top, and like many states, have a little motto or quotation along the bottom to represent the place it's from. Michigan, for example, has license plates that say "Great Lakes," less attractive ones that say "Great Lakes Splendor" and unspeakably ugly ones that say "World's Motor Capital." Except that in the US capital, the motto appears to be "Taxation without representation." I understand that this phrase has great importance in American history, in that it was one of the reasons we fought for indepedence and created this new nation...

srah - Sunday, 29 February 2004 - 5:20 PM

Y usted, Eugene? Why's your face turning green?

People keep warning me not to drink the water here, that it tastes terrible and is not fit for drinking. I'm from Ann Arbor, folks! I think I can deal with a little chlorine. Of course, maybe they have some terrible parasites in addition to the chlorine. Washington, DC is not south of the border - unless you mean the Canadian one or the Mason-Dixon line - but I guess I'll stick to bottled water nonetheless....

srah - Tuesday, 24 February 2004 - 5:04 PM

'He's just visiting!'

I think I saw the White House from afar yesterday when I went for a walk. It was very disappointingly small and the view was pretty lame. I hope it was just some other white building with a fountain in front but I fear that it's not. It's so stupid, getting excited about something and being let down....

srah - Tuesday, 24 February 2004 - 10:38 AM

Good riddance!

Well, I'm off to Our Nation's Capital. Well, unless you're not an American. In which case, what are you doing reading this, you heathenly infidel? So, I'm off to My Nation's Capital. Eight hours in a car with her and him and her housemate, followed by a week of working glee! Please offer me a summer internship, O Place of Employment! I imagine there will be blogging and lots of it, as my time in DC will undoubtedly be frought with adventure and I will hopefully have Internet access at work. To celebrate my absence, you may participate in this...

srah - Saturday, 21 February 2004 - 7:54 AM


Why does Lebanon sound so fascinating and alluring and exotic and romantic and Beirut just sound scary? Someone just came in asking about study abroad opportunities in Lebanon. I want to go to Lebanon. I want to go to Iceland. I want to go to Cambodia. I want to go to South Africa. I want to go to Ireland. I want to go to Peru. I want to go to Bulgaria. I want to go to Japan. Why am I here? Why am I not trotting the globe?...

srah - Monday, 17 November 2003 - 3:06 PM

Deobfuscating the blog game

It is time for the answers to be revealed. At last you will know the truth! And the lie! You won't care, but you will know! And knowing is half the battle. Shut up, srah, and just tell them the answers already. Most people recognized that story #2 (College Jeopardy) was true. That's because this story sucked. I do appreciate that you were so willing to believe that I couldn't come up with anything interesting to say about myself, though. I'm going to go cry in a corner, even though it is true. The other 'story' I came up with...

srah - Monday, 25 August 2003 - 7:01 AM
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Obfuscation: The Blog Game

Here are my three stories. Two are true and one is false. I will warn you that I have a reputation for being quite good at this sort of thing, although when I've done it as an icebreaker it's usually a factoid rather than a story. You may pick which you think is the true FALSE (oops - forgot to change that when I changed from 2F/1T to 2T/1F) story, leaving your guess in the comments. If you'd like, I'd also be interested to know why you think one or the other is true or false. On Monday I'll post...

srah - Friday, 22 August 2003 - 10:08 AM
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185 or so to go

On one of the temporary dividing walls, the Reference staff have been making lists of the countries they've been to. My list, paltry in comparison to almost everyone else's, is: USA England Canada France Belgium Switzerland Scotland Chile (and if you count airports) The Netherlands Germany I tried to say that I'd been to the Kingdom of Fife (I can't remember if I actually have, now - where is that in relation to Edinburgh?) and Auvergne (Ici finit la France; ici commence l'Auvergne), but my mummy says that's cheating. In an attempt to bolster my list, I've decided that I...

srah - Wednesday, 20 August 2003 - 2:00 PM

Ik wil naar België gaan...

Is there anything stopping me from dropping everything and running away to Belgium? Other than grad school, boyfriend, lack of money, lack of Belgian employment, and lack of Belgian work visa, of course. But other than that, it's a great idea! [thank you, Dictionary.com - Babelfish doesn't have Dutch!]...

srah - Monday, 30 June 2003 - 3:36 PM

Even más fotos

Vulcania Vichy Brioude Brugge/Bruges Various trips in southern Auvergne NYC trip Shenandoah Valley...

srah - Saturday, 31 May 2003 - 10:49 PM
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That famous movie, Mr Neil Diamond goes to the Decoy Museum

Our return trip was rather uneventful, marked by some creative and dirty Mad Libs (the title of this post is one of the cleaner things that came out of it) and a profound lack of visits to llama farms. We did go through the Skyline Drive and see some lovely scenery, reminiscent of the Auvergne to those of us who had been there....

srah - Monday, 19 May 2003 - 11:55 PM
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Travels in Fauquier County

On the way back from New York, Bob, Cheryl, Robin and I went wine-tasting in Virginia. First, we went to Chrysalis Vineyards, where we had a little dribble of eight wines, including the rather delicious Viognier. I skipped and smiled and sang and danced and twirled and giggled to the car, and we drove to Piedmont Vineyards, passing an ostrich farm on the way. At Piedmont, we tried another six or so wines, and by the end it became evident that 100-pound Sarah had not eaten lunch. Luckily Robin was just as pompette joyeuse as I was, so we whispered-very-loudly...

srah - Sunday, 18 May 2003 - 10:50 PM
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'Young, black and restless, with money in my anus'

We're staying with Robin's aunt and uncle in Irvington, New York, home of Mme. C.J. Walker, the first Black woman millionaire, according to Robin. Aunt Sue made us a big breakfast, then we took off for New York City by train. We met up with Cheryl's old roommate, Julie, at Grand Central Station and took off for our first stop, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is cool because you can pay as much as you want to get in, and the roof has a nice view of the city. We saw a lot of nice...

srah - Saturday, 17 May 2003 - 8:59 PM
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...And an outbreak of the French disease

John Adams: Wake up, Franklin, you're going to New Brunswick! Benjamin Franklin: (Half asleep) Like hell I am. What for? Stephen Hopkins: The whoring and the drinking! (Franklin gets up and walks off) I felt I had to share with you the bit of dialogue that started running through my head as soon as I realized that Harini now lives and studies in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and that New Brunswick is that New Brunswick. Robin, Cheryl and I drove down to Fairfax, Virginia last night and spent the night at Bob's, then the four of us set off this...

srah - Friday, 16 May 2003 - 11:01 PM
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Cars on the New Jersey turnpike: more than nine

It's hard to count when they keep moving and I can't tell who I've already counted. Yes, we have set off to look for America. And despite the fact that we were there yesterday, Michigan seems like a dream to us now....

srah - Friday, 16 May 2003 - 12:56 PM
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Blogging from the Big Apple

I will be bringing my blog-log notebook along with me this weekend, as I go on a Road Trip (it has to be capitalized, doesn't it? I wouldn't know - I've never been on one) with Cheryl and Robin to Virginia and New York City. I, at the age of almost 22.75, have never been to NYC, much to the chagrin of many of my students, who couldn't care less about Michigan and wanted to hear stories about some place they'd heard of. I'm sure I will come back full of stories of culture shock and interesting things seen. If...

srah - Thursday, 15 May 2003 - 12:18 PM
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Far be it for me to comment on others' foreign language skills

"I hope you enjoyed this flight due to the inconveniences we had at the beginning." - our captain...

srah - Monday, 5 May 2003 - 6:02 PM

Du calme, s'il vous plaît

I wish I'd gotten more sleep last night. At this point, I feel like if my fellow passengers don't stop chattering at each other in German and giggling with the flight attendants, who are blocking the way to the toilet with their duty-free carts, I will go insane and start screaming. It's a good thing I don't have a nail file or some other dangerous weapon....

srah - Monday, 5 May 2003 - 1:21 PM

No hablo inglés

I'm going to continue saying "pardon" when I bump into people. I'm just going to say it for the rest of my life and you can't stop me. We are somewhere over Iceland and I don't know what time to write for this post. Is it 1:12pm? Is it 7:12pm? Is it whatever it would be in Iceland time?...

srah - Monday, 5 May 2003 - 1:12 PM
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Free German food is better than no free food at all...?

It suddenly occurs to me that while I took advanced math classes until 8th grade, repeated Algebra instead of taking Geometry at the high school, and began the slippery slope to math-hatred, I could have done the same with French. In 9th gradem I had the choice between French 2 and French 2AC (accelerated). Having no self-confidence, I signed up for French 2 and got bored and frustrated with the French level of my classmates. Thankfully I had friends in 2AC who persuaded me to move up. If I had stayed in French 2, I imagine I would have gotten...

srah - Monday, 5 May 2003 - 9:20 AM
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Delicate mental state

I was going to cry before we left Paris, but I decided I was too bored to cry. Now, after crossing the Frankfurt airport, which is full of Germans who didn't understand when I spoke French to them, I think it's time for the blubbering to commence....

srah - Monday, 5 May 2003 - 6:59 AM
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Travel woes

How on Earth am I going to get all the way home? Why on Earth do I have so much luggage? At least Renata, Jennifer and I are all leaving from Paris on Monday so we're making the impossible voyage together....

srah - Sunday, 4 May 2003 - 8:20 AM
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srah: star of stage and screen!

... well, except for the stage part... and the star part... The point is, if you are watching Belgian or French movies or TV shows or news programs any time in the near future, keep an eye out for a stunning brunette walking by in the background. Because standing behind her is a wacky, goofy-looking girl in pigtails, trying not to stare directly into the camera as she walks back and forth, hoping to make it into the background of whatever they're filming without looking like she's trying to make it into the background. I found myself in front of...

srah - Tuesday, 29 April 2003 - 8:43 AM

I now pronounce you Belgium

Christianna packed me a little snack for the train, which included both a bar of chocolate and a chocolate-covered waffle. I am so going to marry this country....

srah - Tuesday, 29 April 2003 - 4:25 AM
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If it pleases you

The French-speaking Belgians say s'il vous plaît for everything. I'm not sure if it means "please", "thank you", "you're welcome", "here you go", or all four. People keep saying it to me as they hand me my change....

srah - Tuesday, 29 April 2003 - 4:06 AM
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Olé encore!

Belgian thee met melk report: level three. The milk was forgotten by the server, and there were lemon slices on my saucer. This merits a ranking about equal to that of the United States. Of course I am basing it on one experience and I don't know if the results would be any different in Bruxelles or Wallonie. Did you notice that "tea with milk" is one of the few Dutch words/phrases I've picked up? Dank u wel for noticing; yes, I am an addict....

srah - Monday, 28 April 2003 - 7:09 PM
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A bicyclette

Apparently the mode of transportation in Belgium is by bicycle. The streets are full of bicyclists and bicycles are chained up everywhere in Antwerp. I passively participated in this preferred pastime this evening. Christianna and Robbie only have two bikes, but I got to ride on the back of Robbie's. It was much less harrowing for me than when Sophie and I rented a tandem on Mackinac Island, as Robbie's feet touched the ground when he stopped and he was strong enough to keep the bike upright even with me still on it....

srah - Monday, 28 April 2003 - 7:03 PM
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The mad American strikes again

I feel like I have to make my return to Vichy with some kind of flamboyant Belgiocity, in the way that people come back from Mexico with enormous sombreros, from Scotland with kilts, from Jamaica with dreadlock wigs, or from Easter Island with huge foam-rubber Moai heads. I don't know if the huge foam-rubber Moai heads exist, but if they don't they should, and maybe if I write "huge foam-rubber Moai heads" here often enough I can become the number-one search request for "huge foam-rubber Moai heads", which would really be quite an honor. Back to the subject at hand....

srah - Monday, 28 April 2003 - 10:19 AM
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Jan van Eyck was not on Diagnosis: Murder

I hope the shopkeepers of Bruges won't be comparing notes on That Girl With the Pigtails because I claimed to be an anglophone or a francophone in alternating shops. I considered switching to Spanish, but then I realized I don't speak Spanish. Thankfully, Bruges is touristy enough to be able to handle me. Brugge/Bruges (everything has a French and a Flemish name here) looks, to me, more like Oxford, England than Oxford does. That is to say it looks more like my mental image of Oxford than Oxford does and if I knew - even after having been to Oxford...

srah - Monday, 28 April 2003 - 9:50 AM

The guilt of the anglophone

I feel a bit confused and vulnerable and guilty speaking English to everyone here; I could pretend to be a francophone, but in most cases I assume English would be their second language and French only third. The most frustrating thing to me is that I don't know how to say "I'm sorry", something I want to say to everyone to apologize for my raging anglophony....

srah - Monday, 28 April 2003 - 6:03 AM
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Four-twenties Walloons baked in a pie

Damn. According to the tourist guide Christianna lent me, Walloons have changed the numbers for 70 and 90, but not 80....

srah - Monday, 28 April 2003 - 3:36 AM
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I'm so Belgium

We went out for a beer tonight after I arrived. Thankfully Christianna knows what I like and ordered for me, because I am in The Land of Beer, and I am a stranger in the aforementioned land. The place we went had a selection of one hundred different beers. I will abstain, however, from commenting on their musical atmosphere, as the songs over the course of the evening included "Love Cats". We went out with Christianna's friends, all of whom speak impeccable English. Damned polyglot Belgians. When they weren't speaking English, they would throw in phrases of Flemish, the Belgian...

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 6:53 PM
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Mad American

I made an ass of myself by asking the Information Man at the train station a completely ridiculous and random question that turned out to have a completely obvious and stupid answer. I was waiting for Christianna and Robbie, who were running late. I had already bothered the Information Man once to page them, then he saw that I was still there but I explained that I'd had her on the phone and that she was just running late. I had been trying to figure out the Belgian name for the number 80. Whereas the French call 70 soixante-dix, 80...

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 6:38 PM
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"I can't believe I ate the whole gopher"

In Belgium, you can buy waffles from a vending machine. Is this a great country or what? I am also quite content to be in a country where I can say nonante for 90 instead of quatre-vingts-dix. I don't know where this desire to say nonante comes from, as I've never spent any significant time in Belgium or Switzerland, but it makes so much more sense than the ridiculous compound "four twenties and ten" numbers the French use....

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 3:04 PM
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Linguist lost

As you may know, I have yet to travel to a country where I don't speak the language. Hearing train announcements in Dutch panics me a bit because I don't understand anything. Not the same I don't understand anything I felt in Chile, where I could at least pick out words and general meanings of sentences, but a complete lack of comprehension. And here I am, going to visit the Flemish Christianna and her nederlandophone friends. What am I getting myself into?...

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 1:07 PM
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Haiku Fever epidemic

Am bored out of my mind in the train; will torture myself with haiku. I am afflicted, when I visit assistants, with Haiku Fever. I don't know what langue to speak with Christianna. English? French? Flemish? Why I like Belgium: Multilingualism and pommes frites and waffles. I am sad to leave Grenoble but it's Sophie's turn to visit now. Sometimes I wish that I lived in an area more geared t'words tourists. Then people would be sure to stop and visit when they came to the States. Other passengers wonder why I keep counting up to seventeen. Haiku is too...

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 10:55 AM
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A consommer avec moderation

Children are fine in moderation. But a multitude of children, running all over, chattering, (accidentally?) kicking me, using talkie-walkies in a no-cell-phone area, watching my favorite movie and blocking my view of the screen, and stinking up my train compartment with tuna fish sandwiches when I am stressed about the continuation of my voyage simply will not do. I am going to eat them, I've decided. The children, that is. Not the stinky sandwiches....

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 9:52 AM
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Travel panic

Ces connards at the Grenoble train station sold me a ticket for the 25th when I asked for the 27th. For the TGV, it doesn't create any graves problèmes, but for the Thalys to Bruxelles, my billet n'est plus valable. What unbelievable assholerie. I am an idiot myself for not checking the date on the ticket, but I've never had this happen to me before and it never even occurred to me. If they make me pay for a new ticket, I will bite someone....

srah - Sunday, 27 April 2003 - 8:44 AM
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De retour à Grenoble

I am spending the weekend in Grenoble with my host family. Sophie slept in, so I snuck out to run errands and take advantage of the Big City. Everything is pretty much as it was, the mountains are still lovely, I got to do a bit of shopping, and I even had 54 minutes left on my cybercafé account. I find that my disdain for Americans In France extends to my fellow CUEF students now and that even when one of them was talking about Michigan, I couldn't bring myself to associate with them....

srah - Friday, 25 April 2003 - 7:30 AM
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Whirlwind ending

I'm off to Grenoble tomorrow, then to Belgium from there, then I'll return around the 29th to close my bank account, and I may be off again on the 30th or 1st to Aurillac, if I'm all packed and ready to go. Don't worry if I'm not posting - I'm sure I'll be writing anyway and you'll get a big glut of posts whenever I get a chance to type!...

srah - Wednesday, 23 April 2003 - 4:06 AM
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Briouding in the rain

Everyone left this morning, and only the Americans remain. We took a trip to Brioude today, to see Eleonora, yet another assistante colombienne. It's a small town, but it has a XIth century basilica and several assistants and is very nice. We had a walk around town, a drink in a café, and pastries chez Eleonora, then tripped off towards the gare in the rain before regaling our fellow train passengers by singing delightful songs that they really appreciated. Almost as much as they appreciated the smell of Renata's feet. We came back to Vichy, made Whatever We Have Sitting...

srah - Saturday, 19 April 2003 - 5:52 PM
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Renata's money can buy knives

Renata, Jennifer and I made a trip to Thiers this afternoon, to revisit the site of one of our first voyages ensemble, and so that Renata could buy some knives. We had a walk by the river and up and down the hills of the town, enjoying the delapidated romance of the lovely city. We returned to the same pâtisserie we'd loitered in the last time and I had a thiernoise, the local delicacy: layers of meringue and praline cream covered in a chocolate shell. Jehosephat, it was tasty. We returned to Vichy and - much to the delight of...

srah - Wednesday, 16 April 2003 - 5:57 PM
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Have you been snuffled by a mammoth today?

Andrés, Claude, Renata, and my drugged-up self went on a car trip this afternoon to Vulcania, a museum/learning experience in the middle of the chaîne des puys. It is an enormous place and required more than the three hours we had for it. The subject is volcanoes and it focuses a bit on the puys, but it also touches on other seismic activity and volcanoes all over the world. It reminded me somewhat of Dynamic Earth, minus the lovely narration by John Hannah. There were many interesting video presentations, including one in 3-D (complete with groovy glasses) showing different eras...

srah - Saturday, 5 April 2003 - 4:34 PM
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Ca y est!

Ticket is changed. I'm coming home eight days earlier than planned, which will save me from missing my parents' 25th anniversary, my mom's birthday, and Mothers' Day, but should allow me enough time to tie up loose ends here and say goodbye to my wee friends....

srah - Friday, 28 March 2003 - 5:24 AM
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February Vacation pictures

Here they come: Vichy Grenoble Paris Meldreth Stonehenge Andover London...

srah - Friday, 21 March 2003 - 6:11 AM
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Out, damnèd spot!

Many of my photos this time around feature lovely lens-spots from rain and/or snow. Sorry 'bout that. Anyway, try to enjoy them despite it! Christmas Break Vichy in the snow Yet more Valéry Larbaud Dîner des assistants Super-Besse Puy de Pariou Au châlet I shall take a break here and bring you February vacation photos in another post. G'day....

srah - Thursday, 13 March 2003 - 11:38 AM
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I've seen my parents and grandma off to the airport and have a day to kill in London before taking the train back home tomorrow, so I have taken the opportunity to check in online while I'm here. I am drowning in a sea of email (over 500 and mostly spam) qnd I cqn4t type on stupid English keyboqrds qny;ore...

srah - Friday, 7 March 2003 - 6:16 AM

Arsenic and Old Jokes

We went to see Arsenic and Old Lace at the Strand Theatre last night. Kramer from Seinfeld was Jonathan and there were a few other familiar faces in the cast. Everyone in The Fam seemed to enjoy it, but I didn't think much of it. It was not incredibly funny to start with, the comic timing seemed to be off, the accents were often forced, and Michael Richards was more Kramer than Jonathan, I found. Whatever. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't my favorite theatre experience ever....

srah - Thursday, 6 March 2003 - 3:33 PM

Beware the Greg

If you take a Big Bus tour in London, pay attention when your tour guide introduces himself. If his name is Greg, GET OFF THE BUS IMMEDIATELY. We were cursed with the stuttering, misinforming Greg twice on our trip. The Fam says he's probably new, but I am still annoyed by all of the misinformation he was feeding us, and after a while, I didn't trust anything he said. Booooooo, Greg. This is not to say that all of the Big Bus tour company's guides are like Greg - Alistair and the Floppy-Haired Guy were very good. So go ahead...

srah - Wednesday, 5 March 2003 - 2:29 PM
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Getting tanked

To get to Stonehenge from Andover, you have to take a bus that goes through the military base housing area. We saw helicopters and such all around, then while waiting at Amesbury for the bus to Stonehenge, we saw tanks driving down the street in one direction, and trucks carrying tanks in the other. It reminded Mummy of the canoe livery in Ann Arbor - you can rent a canoe, paddle from one stop to the other, then they drive them back upriver. So we assumed, naturally, that we were witnessing tank rental. I thought it would be a good...

srah - Monday, 3 March 2003 - 2:14 PM
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We went to Stonehenge today. I didn't tell anyone, but I was a bit disappointed. It was neither as mystical nor as touristy as I had expected. There was no wide-open Salisbury Plain to marvel at and to frame the site - it was full of sheep. At the same time, I expected it to be either mystical or tacky and it wasn't really either. It's a mystery, how and why the stones got there... but it didn't really pique my curiosity. It pretty much made me go "Huh. Lookit that."...

srah - Monday, 3 March 2003 - 9:33 AM

Dod save our dracious tween

Here we are in Royston, Hertsfordshire. Or maybe it's Cambridgeshire. I never know where I am around here. Uncle Reg lives in a small village in one county but his address is in the other. Tonight we went to a quiz night sponsored by the Royston Photographic Society. I had a lot of fun and two glasses of wine, as Yiz ordered me a new one even before I'd finished the first. The quiz was good and challenging, especially for Americans with no idea who Huey Green is, let alone what his connection is to the musical clue. And for...

srah - Saturday, 1 March 2003 - 5:47 PM
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This is not a Magritte exhibit

Mummy and I went to the Magritte exhibit at the Jeu de Paume today. Magritte is my favorite artist, but it's very difficult to see so much of his work in one place. If there's only one or two, you can stand in front of them for hours, trying to understand (and usually failing). With hundreds of paintings, sculptures and photographs, you only get a chance to cast puzzled glances or make surface observations. I'm not sure if a Magritte exhibit is a good idea, but it was nice to see things that are normally in private collections....

srah - Thursday, 27 February 2003 - 3:17 PM
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The town is full of Scotsmen...

... some of whom are wearing skirts. There's a series of France-Scotland rugby matches going on in Paris at the moment, and between the games the Scots go out sightseeing in their kilts. We even saw an ugly little dog in a kilt. I find myself walking up the Metro steps behind a 60+ Scotsman, willing myself not to look up for fear of what I might see....

srah - Tuesday, 25 February 2003 - 4:23 PM

Euro pudding

It is always an adventure to bring together a bunch of people with varied language skills. We went to lunch at my host family's house in Grenoble today and brought together during the course of the afternoon my parents and grandmother, who speak no French, Jean-Pierre and his mother, who speak no English, and varying levels of biligualism from Bon Papa, Gaëlle, Denis, Françoise, Sophie and me. Bon Papa - to my surprise - knows enough English to as where my family was from and to sortir d'autres phrases throughout the day as needed. Gaëlle prefers Spanish to English. Denis...

srah - Saturday, 22 February 2003 - 1:31 PM
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Alpine longing

I don't miss things when they're gone. I miss them in advance and I miss them retroactively when I see them again. To some extent, it's the same with people. Every time I come back to Grenoble, I find myself missing the Alps again. One of these times, I'm going to steal them in the dead of the night and take them with me....

srah - Saturday, 22 February 2003 - 10:53 AM
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Wo bu chi fromage

We went out to se taper une fondue tonight in Grenoble, and have something typically regional and alpine. We went to the Restaurant des Montagnes and ordered our first course before a group of eight Chinese peple came and were seated at the table next to ours. It was evident rather quickly that none of them spoke French, so my mom encouraged me to help them out, as they did speak English. My mom, like Alex, is someone who helps people in trouble. I admire it, but I'm not like them. I'm more likely to just watch, knowing that I...

srah - Friday, 21 February 2003 - 4:25 PM
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Une srah, ça bouge!

The main difference between this trip and our trip a year and a half ago seems to be the pace of it. Instead of Daddy, Becky and I trekking along and Mommy trying to keep up, it is Grandma and Mommy walking at their bad-kneed pace and Daddy and me suddenly turning around to discover we've left them in our dust....

srah - Friday, 21 February 2003 - 9:14 AM

So little time...

So much to do before Mummy, Daddums, and Grandmummy arrive. They get into Charles de Gaulle (the airport, not the dead former president) tomorrow at 1pm. We will take the train back to Vichy, they will eat and sleep, then Thursday I shall show them All There Is To See In Vichy. After those 15 minutes are over, they shall have Lunch In The Gastronomical Restaurant, a Tour Of The School, and Dinner Chez Agnès. I hope I will take blog-notes while I'm travelling, but we shall see....

srah - Tuesday, 18 February 2003 - 3:49 AM

No llevé pantalones

It seems like I can't go on a trip without leaving something behind. Do you feel the same way? I get where I'm going and discover that I didn't bring a pen to write my journal with, a toothbrush, or deodorant. This weekend it was pyjamas. I will be happy tonight not to sleep in the smoke-infused hoodie I've been wearing all weekend....

srah - Sunday, 16 February 2003 - 3:48 PM

Más fotos

<-- Click on the various links to photos taken here for older photos. Les Sables d'Olonne Más Valéry Larbaud Party @ Presles Clermont-Ferrand Trip to the Cantal Fête des S2OL [so embarassing to those photographed that they are available only upon request] Christmas Break with the Boyfriend...

srah - Friday, 24 January 2003 - 3:28 PM
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srah's fantabulous tower of babble

One of the things I love about Europe is that it's so polyglottal polyglottic polyglotty polyglottious. Anyway, there are a buttload of languages here. Because the countries have so much inter-European trade, packaging is usually in at least three languages. Usually it's enough for me to read one of the languages, but sometimes I find myself perusing several for my own amusement, and I begin wondering if someone's out to get me. It's always interesting to find that the Spanish and French packaging includes a direction or safety warning that is missing from the English translation. I found the same...

srah - Wednesday, 15 January 2003 - 3:40 AM
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Papillotes are so clever

Another quote from a candy wrapper: "Le touriste est un voyageur qui fait des centaines de kilomètres pour se faire photographier devant un car." - Jean Delacour...

srah - Saturday, 11 January 2003 - 4:27 AM
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Christmas vacation

We did manage to visit all of our destinations and a mostly good time was had by all. A few adventures and some sad news along the way, and now we're back to Vichy. I might go into more detail if I get around to it after Pato's departure....

srah - Sunday, 5 January 2003 - 4:37 PM

Who am I? What day is it?

I hate the anxiety that comes with rushed, early-morning departures. Did I do this? Did I do that? Did I leave the light/gas on? Well, here I am, off to Paris to retrieve my beloved. Merry Christmas Eve!...

srah - Tuesday, 24 December 2002 - 12:00 AM

'I came into this country illegally. My back is wet.'

My carte de séjour receipt expires on the 25th and they can't renew it until it expires, at which point I will no longer be in Vichy. I am going to England on the 2nd and coming back on the 5th, at which time I will hope no one looks at my passport too closely. I'm not terribly concerned because I usually wander off the plane/train into France and no one cares, but it is rather exciting to know that I could potentially be stopped and questioned....

srah - Monday, 23 December 2002 - 9:07 AM
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If you care, the Srah-Alex Christmas Vacation Itinerary is as follows (subject to change if transportation is difficult or funds run low): December 24 - December 25/26 : Gap, in the Alpine part of Provence... or the Provençal part of the Alps, if you prefer. Home of my host mom's brother and his wife, and location of this year's family fête. Jokes about us going to The Gap for Christmas are not acceptable, but any mention of Minding The Gap may receive a little giggle. December 25/26 - December 30 : Grenoble. Hopefully this will include a trip to a...

srah - Sunday, 22 December 2002 - 2:54 PM

The shutterbug strikes again

More Vichy and the environs Thiers Trip to the Puy-de-Dôme Les Sables d'Olonne...

srah - Monday, 16 December 2002 - 4:57 AM
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The Partridge Family en Auvergne

I spent the weekend travelling in the Cantal department of southern Auvergne with a group consisting of three Americans, two Colombians, and Stefan, the partridge in our pear tree. We picked up Nelson, a Colombian friend of Andrés' and Stefan's and a non-stop dragueur, in Clermont, and continued south in Stefan's famous Orange Van, a VW camper with a moose on the side. We stopped for lunch at Super Lioran, a cross-country/downhill ski station with a great view. We hopped up and down in the cold while Stefan worked his magic, converting the Orange Van into a kitchen/dining room. He...

srah - Sunday, 15 December 2002 - 5:47 PM
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That will bring us back to 'do'

The day we went to the Puy de Dôme, I imagined the mountain as having a flat green top where I could spin around like Fraulein Maria (always Fraulein Maria and never just Maria, thanks to Robin) in The Sound of Music. Unfortunately when we got there, there didn't seem to be a flat green top and if there was, we couldn't see it for the fog. I must have been remembering the picture of another puy. So if anyone has suggestions of good locations for Fraulein-Maria-twirling, let me know, because I know one or two English assistants who would...

srah - Saturday, 23 November 2002 - 3:29 AM
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I like free stuff

Especially free food. Even when the food is a "Remember, it isn't our fault, so don't try to get your money back, but here is a box of airplane-style comestibles" non-apology consolation prize. I find it amusing, however, when my roll has stuck to it a little white silica packet like the ones that come in boxes of new tennis shoes. A little roll, wearing a sign that says, "Do not eat."...

srah - Sunday, 17 November 2002 - 10:00 AM

A disturbingly insensitive and graphic post

If you want to end it all and piss everyone off while you're at it, an excellent way of going about it would be to throw yourself under a train at the place where the Angers-Nantes and Angers-Cholet lines meet. That way people who arrive at the Angers train station at 10:30 for an 11:00 train will not be able to take this train, because it had to stop after it squished you. In addition to that, they won't be able to take any other train, because no trains can get to Angers. "Indeterminable delay" will flash up on the...

srah - Sunday, 17 November 2002 - 6:48 AM

Wouldn't you like to be beside the seaside?

Antoine, his sister Lucie, and I went on a day-trip today to Les Sables d'Olonne, a seaside town two hours from Le May. It was especially nice because it was a nice day in the off-season. We had lovely weather, but we didn't have the masses of tourists and sunbathers that Les Sables gets in the summer. We saw Le Puits de l'Enfer first, or Hell's Well. I'm going to start exclaiming that, because it sounds just as ridiculous as "hell's bells". It's an area with steep rocks and crevasses where the waves crash violently and fall with big splashes...

srah - Saturday, 16 November 2002 - 12:00 PM
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Hi, not dead here

... but the Internet is, at the lycée Valéry Larbaud anyway. There was a blackout and when the power came back, the Internet didn't. I'm blogging away on paper and in Notepad while waiting for it to come back, but they say it might be a week. Then I will pre-date my blog posts and this one will be lost in the middle somewhere and you will all be confused and hate me forever. Meanwhile, this weekend I am in Le May sur Evre (between Angers and Nantes), visiting Antoine, our former French assistant from Albion, who has kindly allowed...

srah - Friday, 15 November 2002 - 5:51 AM

As if I don't freak out enough

I was stressing out as the train got closer and closer to Angers. Every time I'd called Antoine's cell phone, it had gone directly to the voice mail, which suggested to me that it was not on. I had left him a voice mail to tell him what day/time I was arriving and I had visions of arriving at the station and trying to find a patisserie in Le May sur Evre in a taxi. I had left his landline number at home so that wasn't an option unless I could find a phone book when I arrived. So I...

srah - Thursday, 14 November 2002 - 3:29 PM

Everything is lonely for you, you whiner

What is the likelihood of running into someone else from Ann Arbor, Albion, Grenoble or Vichy/Cusset in a train from St-Germain des Fossées to Nantes? Not very good. So why am I still staring at everyone I see, looking for a familiar face? Train travel is lonely....

srah - Thursday, 14 November 2002 - 12:54 PM
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Trouble ahead...

Oh for heaven's sake! Weekend plans not bad enough in song? Try haiku! To Angers I go to see Antoine, our former assistant français. I don't know what there is to see in Angers but I guess I'll see it. The Loire Valley is full of castles but I don't think he lives in one. He lost my number and called Alex but Nasko answered as usual. Poor Nasko, Pato's receptionist. At least he speaks to France often... Antoine and srah will commiserate, both having cheris far away. Between le Mexique and le Chili, he and I should practice Spanish!...

srah - Tuesday, 12 November 2002 - 3:51 PM
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Weekend plans

Apologies to Messrs Gilbert and Sullivan. For I'm going to visit Antoine (Antoine) I'm going away and I'll go to Angers and we'll eat a whole lot of avoine (avoine) It's hard to find rhymes for that name! I'm going to visit his coin (coin coin) I hope that it isn't trop loin (trop loin) And we will see what there's to see in the départements de la Loire. And we will see what there's to see in the départements de la Loire....

srah - Tuesday, 12 November 2002 - 3:16 PM
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And yet more pictures

This should be the last of the bunch for a while... this roll got held up a while with processing problems, but it's number 3 of 5 and therefore fits in somewhere in between the last two installments: More Clermont-Ferrand More Vichy Mon appartement Views from a 25km hike...

srah - Friday, 8 November 2002 - 11:15 AM
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Pickshers continued

The Allier river The Spas Le Parc des Sources Seeing Becky in Grenoble...

srah - Monday, 4 November 2002 - 11:35 AM
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My, what a frigid vacation spot

Srah's latest Insane Travel Dream is to visit the French Departement d'Outre Mer (DOM) province of St-Pierre et Miquelon, just off the coast of the Canadian province of Newfoundland. When one thinks of the DOMs, one often thinks of Guadeloupe, Martinique, and La Réunion, but no one ever talks about poor St-Pierre et Miquelon - probably because no one in their right mind would vacation there. I want to take pity on it and visit it, and perhaps poor French Guyana as well, the lonely little enclave of francophonie in South America. Anyone up for some Wacky Travels With Srah?...

srah - Sunday, 3 November 2002 - 3:03 PM

'If I took enough crack, I bet I could walk on these clouds'

Yesterday Renata, Jennifer, Rachel (the English assistant) and I rented a car to see The Bits of Auvergne You Can't See By Train. Our destination was the Puy-de-Dôme, one of Auvergne's inactive volcanoes, but we took the scenic route and stopped at many other out-of-the-way places while we were at it. Our first brief stop was at St-Nectaire, home of the cheese of the same name, which is one of the cheeses of Auvergne (along with Cantal and Bleu d'Auvergne) and is Stefan's personal favorite. St-Nectaire is another spa town which, despite being hors saison, was quite touristy-looking. We pushed...

srah - Friday, 1 November 2002 - 5:46 AM
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Pictures, continued

Mouse over for captions, if you please. Sophie's braids, as done in Mali (and as undone in Grenoble) Y a quoi à Vichy? (to be continued...) School sweet school Trip to la Grande Chartreuse Assistants' Meeting in Clermont-Ferrand...

srah - Wednesday, 30 October 2002 - 10:16 AM
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Restauration rapide

Once again, we have managed to commit a deportation-worthy offense: that of squatting in a restaurant. We went to a chocolaterie/patisserie/restauration rapide for lunch in Thiers and sat there for an hour and a half, nursing various foods and drinks and chatting and giggling, while waiting for the rain to let up. Thankfully the lady was very nice about it, but we still felt guilty afterwards. And here's a message for one of my favorite pastries, in case it's out there reading: I love you, flan....

srah - Sunday, 27 October 2002 - 7:53 PM
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1ère ville electrifiée

Just in case you were wondering, Magnet was the first town in France with electricity. I know this because my train passed a sign announcing it. I wonder if that generates a lot of tourism....

srah - Friday, 18 October 2002 - 7:15 AM


At lunch yesterday, Agnès told a story about how when she worked in California, there was a new employee from Germany. Everyone wanted the two of them to meet because they figured they'd hit it off, both being from Europe and all. Then someone asked me where I'd traveled and I said I'd been to Chile this summer and to various places in Europe while I was studying in Grenoble. I didn't even realize that I was making the same generalizations about Europe as the people in California had - just lumping together France, Belgium, Switzerland, England and Scotland -...

srah - Friday, 18 October 2002 - 6:45 AM
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As my train arrived in Lyon, I remembered that it's the home of Rebeca, whose blog I read from time to time. In this, the second-largest city in France, I found myself imagining that I would run into her at the Lyon Part-Dieu train station and I would have my first accidental Blogmeet. I don't care how ridiculous it is - I'm going to cling to my pathetic, lonely fantasy... and now I've decided that she's going to Grenoble, too....

srah - Thursday, 17 October 2002 - 1:05 PM

Voyage du jour

I'm in Grenoble for the weekend, staying with my host family and picking up my suitcase. Françoise wanted to do something to entertain me this afternoon (which is very nice, considering I'm not their American anymore), so she and Jean-Pierre and I went to the Monastère de la Grande Chartreuse, a monastery nearby where the Carthusian order was started and where they make the liqueur. It was a nice museum tour and we walked around the grounds a bit, which are completely lovely. It's a very wild, natural area, surrounded by mountains and greenness and forest animals. A very agreeable...

srah - Sunday, 29 September 2002 - 3:18 PM

... and Pat the Bunny (23.9.02)

I amuse myself in airports and train stations by playing Spot the American. It seems to me, however, that I am not as good at the game as I used to be. This may be a temporary thing that will pass once I settle in and stop thinking everyone I see is American, in the hopes that it's one of my fellow assistants. Sometimes I'm allowed to think I've won, but thanks to cell phones, one of my Americans always rings and answers in perfectly accented French. Drat....

srah - Thursday, 26 September 2002 - 12:40 PM

Travellin' man girl

I don't like travelling. It's not that I don't like to travel, but that I don't like travelling. Being in transit makes me nervous, especially with all of this luggage. How am I ever going to get to Grenoble?...

srah - Friday, 20 September 2002 - 8:19 AM

At Frankfurt airport

Money-exchange man, looking at my birthdate in my passport: "You look smaller than you are. This will be good thing later."...

srah - Friday, 20 September 2002 - 8:17 AM

Thoughts from Detroit-Frankfurt flight

You may call me the Pied Piper, for I seem to be attracting children. Crying - or just screaming for the fun of it - children who want to sit next to me and play with toys that make noises like planes falling towards the earth. Lovely....

srah - Friday, 20 September 2002 - 8:14 AM

Overheard at Detroit Metro

Woman on cell phone: "Get your dog pregnant so you can get some money and come with us."...

srah - Friday, 20 September 2002 - 8:12 AM

Goodbye suckhole

"Welcome, travellers, to Detroit Metropolitan Airport, which is not as much of a suckhole as it used to be!" If that isn't written above the doors, it should be. Lufthansa has recently moved into the newly-built McNamara terminal, the home of Detroit's Northwest flights. It is clean and shiny and spacious. It has shops and a little tramway to take you from one end to the other. In other words, it is everything that the rest of Detroit Metro isn't. Detroit Metro used to be the suckiest airport I've ever been to. The only thing I liked about it was...

srah - Friday, 20 September 2002 - 8:09 AM

Passenger Manifesto

For the first time, I had to fill out a Passenger Manifest form, which the Department of Transportation has supposedly made mandatory for US citizens. Harini and her family have done it every time they've flown since September 11, but I didn't have to do it when I went to Chile and Robin hasn't when she's visited Bob in Virginia. What it is, is they have you fill out a card with the name and phone number of a person to contact if you are blown to smithereens. The word "manifest" makes me think of manifesto, which makes me think...

srah - Friday, 20 September 2002 - 7:59 AM

Suzy Traveller and Joe Badlypacked

My dad helped me out by dragging my enormous suitcase through the airport while I pulled my carry-on and carried my purse. For a moment, I caught a glimpse of my reflection with my sensible bag and high-heeled boots and thought, There is a business professional, travelling off somewhere with her sensible luggage. I looked back at my dad, lugging a monster of a bag through the airport and thought, There's someone who packed waaaaaaaaaay too much stuff. The horrible thing is that I was the bad packer, with the savvy traveller on top. Boo packing. If I get to...

srah - Friday, 20 September 2002 - 7:51 AM
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Will I stay or will I go?

Last week when I bought my ticket to France, I asked the travel agent if I could have an e-ticket. I've never had one before, so I thought it would be cool and harder to lose. Unfortunately, they told me that Lufthansa doesn't do e-tickets, and I would have to pick up my paper ticket on Friday. I forgot on Friday, so I came in on Monday to pick up my ticket. They looked it up in the computer and said apparently I had an e-ticket. All of the other travel agents gathered around and said that they had never...

srah - Wednesday, 7 August 2002 - 11:08 AM
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Miss me?

Ardent fans have bemoaned my absence, but never fear - I have returned. We just got back from an incredibly boring conference in the Upper Peninsula that my mother organized. We spent a lot of time learning about MINES. I never want to hear anything about MINES again as long as I live. So please fill the blahblahs with stories about MINES. Heh. Anyway, I'll try to rejoin the land of the blogging bientôt and get my rear in gear on finishing the Chile-trip. Whew!...

srah - Sunday, 14 July 2002 - 12:41 PM

Day 19: 28 June 2002 - "Mousey Tongue, Prince of Tuna"

We went to Alex's aunt and uncle's house today. It is Alex's father's oldest sister and he is 5th of 13, so there is quite a large age gap between the cousins in the family. I met tía Tina's oldest daughter, Alex's cousin, who was showing us pictures of her grandchildren. On the other end, Alex also has first cousins that are around five! Alex goes to his aunt and uncle's house every Saturday to talk about Big Important Issues and How They Will Change The World. It's a very lofty ambition and I quite enjoyed it, because the language...

srah - Friday, 28 June 2002 - 8:40 AM
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Day 18: 27 June 2002 - "What if it were ours?" "What if it were ours?" "What if it were ours?" "The TV." "You're always watching Japanese animation."

Just before lunchtime, we had a small tremor that shook some of the furniture. Later in the day there was a rather bigger one and I, stupid Michigander that I am, thought everyone was going to the door to see if the garden wall was going to fall down. I know I'd heard something about standing in doorways during earthquakes, but I hadn't considered the possibility of the ceiling collapsing, so I thought an interior doorway would do just as well. Anyway, the tremors didn't get any worse, the garden wall didn't fall down, and everyone was fine. At lunchtime,...

srah - Thursday, 27 June 2002 - 1:23 PM
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Day 17: 26 June 2002 - "I think Waldo is claustrophobic and drowning."

We had planned to visit Pato's aunt and uncle, but he couldn't find his wallet so we couldn't go anywhere. Finally, we discovered that it had been left in the car we'd borrowed on Monday, but it was too late to go anywhere. Instead I typed my blog and we watched TV and played video games. I played a truly bad game of Super Mario 64, where during Every Single Level, I would throw the controller at Pato and let him take over after I gave myself two tries not to walk off the edge of a cliff. For tea,...

srah - Wednesday, 26 June 2002 - 9:47 PM
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Day 16: 25 June 2002 - "The greatest love story ever told... between Jean-Claude Van Damme and his Uzi X32 machine gun."

We had soup for lunch, which was very nice for me, with my little cold. The best part was taking some ají, a spicy mixture of diced tomatoes and onions, on my spoon and mixing it with the broth. I had a lot of sinus pressure and the best cure for that is something spicy that makes your nose run. Ew. Probably more information than you needed. Anyway, I love soup. It ranks up there with french fries and empanadas. Soup helped to clear me up, but I wanted to kill the cold for once and for all, so we...

srah - Tuesday, 25 June 2002 - 9:46 PM
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Day 15: 24 June 2002 - "You have to visit all my b**ches."

After going to sleep late, we slept in. I woke up around 8am with my sore throat worse, went back to sleep, and it was much better by the time I reawoke and ate Chocapic. Today was the day for a big driving trip. We borrowed a car from a friend of the family, picked up Pato's maternal grandmother, and took her with us on our adventure. The trip from our house to Pato's grandma's was the most exciting leg, because it was Pato's first driving experience in 9 months. That's always exciting... lots of engine revving and sudden bursts...

srah - Monday, 24 June 2002 - 9:46 PM
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Day 14: 23 June 2002 - "Everybody's a winner. It's just like Chuck E. Cheese's."

We arrived at La Serena between one and two in the morning. I could hear the ocean, but I couldn't see it. We took a taxi to where we were staying, a place with vacation cabins (which were not very much in demand during the winter!) where the family always stays in La Serena. To get in, you had to go up the stairs, onto the deck (which was on stilts above the ground) and in through the second floor. Pato remarked that he hoped we didn't have an earthquake that knocked the deck down. We dropped our stuff off,...

srah - Sunday, 23 June 2002 - 9:46 PM
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Day 13: 22 June 2002 - "That mountain was looking at me funny. Could your dog eat that mountain?"

Pato was thirsty and grumpy because they didn't give us anything to drink in the bus, whereas going to Copiapó we had been given pop with dinner and tea with breakfast. Booo. I myself was having problems with ear pressure, which I figured had something to do with the bus. I hoped it would go away... When we arrived at the bus station in Santiago, we went to the public restroom. Tía Amada paid the attendant and he gave us three tokens. We had to put the tokens into turnstiles to get into the restroom. This wasn't at all strange...

srah - Saturday, 22 June 2002 - 9:45 PM
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Day 12: 21 June 2002 - "What says the voices in the sky?"

We started off the day with heaping bowls of Chocapic, just the way a day should begin. Mine were plain, in cold milk, like a normal Unitedstatesian. Pato's were in warm milk with sugar poured over the top, like Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes. Gotta find that cartoon... Pato, tía Amada and I would be going south that evening, to pick up the car. Apparently it was a problem with the clutch and not the brakes, as I had previously believed. Anyway, the car was in Rancagua and it was time to go pick it up. The idea was that...

srah - Friday, 21 June 2002 - 10:43 PM
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Day 11: 20 June 2002 - "I want to be a beautiful man or woman."

We did nothing all day. We were flojos, lazy. Heh heh, good for us. I did get some blog-typing in, which is always productive, because we have to keep the folks back home apprised of our situation. We are talking like Queen Victoria now, which always worries our boyfriend. Ha ha. We also watched The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc which confused me because I wasn't sure what I was supposed to think of Joan or what I did think of her by the end. I've always thought she was supposed to be a hero or at least...

srah - Thursday, 20 June 2002 - 10:13 PM
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Day 10: 19 June 2002 - "Captain Booger"

Chileans eat a lot of beef. I can't remember now exactly what caused me to write it down in my wee notebook. I carry the notebook around to jot down notes about experiences and things I see in Chile so that I can remember to blog about them, and I have written down "lots of beef". Which is true. For a while, it seemed like we were eating beef at every single meal. Now it's not quite so much, but it's certainly more than I've been used to in the US or France. Must be the bad Argentinian economy -...

srah - Wednesday, 19 June 2002 - 10:11 PM
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Day 9: 18 June 2002 - "Overspecialization leads to death."

So says the main character in Ghost in the Shell. I like to think that that's what Liberal Arts is all about. End rant. I woke up a little before ten in the morning and lazed around for a bit. After a while, I realized a soft vibration and couldn't figure out why the bed was jiggling. Then I heard something else rattling in the house. Voices called from the other end of the house. "Do you feel that?" Pato asked. Then I realized that it was one of the seismic tremors Pato had told me about. They happen quite...

srah - Tuesday, 18 June 2002 - 10:11 PM
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Day 8: 17 June 2002 - "Better than Double-Soup Tuesday"

We woke up and met Pato's nanny, Rubet, who made us breakfast. We took showers, got dressed, and left the house. Pato hailed a collectivo which is an interesting system of taxis. They're more like a bus, in that they have a fixed rate for all rides (about 35 cents) and a route to follow. But you can hail them as they drive by, like you would a taxi, and they are just regular cars with a sign on top showing which line they belong to. We took the collectivo downtown where we tried to find Pato's friend Rodrigo. It...

srah - Monday, 17 June 2002 - 8:50 PM
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Day 7: 16 June 2002 - "Shower make srah happy."

Some time during the night, I woke up and had to go to the bathroom. I crawled over the sleeping Pato and made my way to the back of the bus. I couldn't get the door open and assumed someone was in there, so I came back to my seat and woke Pato up in the process. I told him and he came back with me and opened the door easily. Brat. It was rather scary and I had to go get a pack of tissues because there was no toilet paper. But... I've seen worse. I went back to...

srah - Sunday, 16 June 2002 - 8:49 PM
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Day 6: 15 June 2002 - "Read to me Naked."

Having been up until 4am the night before, we naturally spent the morning lazing around in bed again. When we finally got up, there wasn't really time for showers, because we had to get our things together for the trip to Copiapó. Apparently the brake problem couldn't be fixed in time, so we would be going north by salon cama bus. Pato very kindly remarked, at some point, that with my dirty, smoke-filled, scraggly hair, I looked like el Rey León, the Lion King. I scraped my hair up into a ponytail and continued with the day. Pato had his...

srah - Saturday, 15 June 2002 - 8:46 PM
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Day 5: 14 June 2002 - "Worshipping the estufa"

I shared a bed with Pato and Tamara that night and when we woke up in the morning, we huddled together, refusing to leave the bed. Most Chilean houses, at least those north of Region X, don't have central heating. Instead they have a collection of estufas (space heaters), which they move around the house wherever the family goes. The lack of central heating may be the reason that most Chileans have televisions in the bedrooms rather than in a communal family room. This way, they can spend their cold winter evenings curled up in bed, watching TV. Rancagua, although...

srah - Friday, 14 June 2002 - 8:43 PM
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Day 4: 13 June 2002 - "Spongebob Squarepants is a bisexual."

Thursday morning, Pato and I got up and lazed around a bit. We had breakfast and listened to CDs, including Jillian's, so "Stain of Blue" was stuck in our head for much of the morning. Then we went out driving through Santiago and took Myriam and Ismael's daughter, María Eliana, on some errands at the Universidad de Santiago. A couple of things that struck me while we were driving around were a bus driving by with a Confederate flag in the window (sorry, no, a bus didn't literally strike me - sorry for any confusion) and the street vendors. Pato...

srah - Thursday, 13 June 2002 - 11:40 PM
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Day 3: 12 June 2002 - "Santiago Lluvioso!"

It was originally "(val)Paraiso lluvioso" but I haven't been to Valparaiso, so we have to make do, don't we? As we prepared to land in Santiago, the crew (who this time, thankfully, did bilingual announcements) said something about turning off "aparatos electrónicos" (electronic devices), which I heard as "zapatos electrónicos" (electronic shoes). The idea of Chileans having electronic shoes amused me no end. We landed, I paid my American Tax and handed in all of the little customs/immigration forms I'd filled out on the plane, we found our luggage (which, as it turned out, had gone to Santiago rather than...

srah - Wednesday, 12 June 2002 - 11:39 PM
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Day 2: 11 June 2002 - "I am not a possessed Ewok."

Somehow we got onto the subject of the Simpsons episode where Bart calls Australia to see if the toilets drain the opposite way in the southern hemisphere than in the northern. "Darn," I said, "I meant to check that before I left home." Alex very cleverly pointed out that the toilets drain the same way in Chicago as they do in Michigan. Hmph. Well, if things had gone according to schedule, we would have been in Santiago by then and it would have been too late. But, for the record, North American toilets seem to flush counter-clockwise. We'll test South...

srah - Tuesday, 11 June 2002 - 8:17 PM
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Day 1: 10 June 2002 - "I think it was called... 'The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down'."

After Becky's graduation party the day before, I finally had space to myself for packing. I require an insane amount of space for packing, because everything has to be set down and sorted out in piles before it can actually go into the suitcase. But Alex helped me and I managed to get most of my stuff packed before the day of our departure. My family took me to the airport and I insisted on carrying all of my bags myself, because I had packed all of that stuff and I was going to be strong and put up with...

srah - Monday, 10 June 2002 - 8:10 PM
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Hello Goodbye

Hopefully I'll have the chance to stop in a few times while I'm in Chile, but I guess this is probably my last post before I leave. Have fun without me and I'm sure I'll be full of stories when I get back... full of me accidentally saying really stupid things in Spanish and getting lost. Bye bye for now......

srah - Monday, 10 June 2002 - 12:07 PM
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Winter is on its way

The "low" today in Santiago is 38 degrees fahrenheit. Brrrrrrr....

srah - Wednesday, 5 June 2002 - 12:15 PM
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Oh my god

One week to Chile. One week to Chile. I have to go shopping. I hate shopping. I have to pack. Oh my god....

srah - Monday, 3 June 2002 - 1:34 PM
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How do you say "Down Under" in Spanish?

The question you're all asking yourselves: How many days is it now until srah goes to Chile? The answer is: 26, I believe. And I know you'll be disappointed, but you're not getting a countdown. I don't have any memories yet. Heh. It will be my first time in the southern hemisphere. It will be the beginning of winter down there. I'm trying to remember, but I can't quite get my mind around it. I will meet lots of people and try to speak Spanish to them and convince them that I am not a total moron and that I...

srah - Wednesday, 15 May 2002 - 12:04 PM
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Graduation countdown: 4 days

4 days. When I went from Grenoble to visit my roommate in Aberdeen last year, we had quite an adventure. We had a train to catch at 6am. I was up and ready at 6am, but I hadn't considered the thought that the first bus goes by around 6:03. For some reason I couldn't get the phone to work properly and couldn't call a cab to the train station, so I went to the nearby phone box, and I couldn't get my phone card to work. What was I going to do? I was going to let Cheryl down and...

srah - Wednesday, 1 May 2002 - 9:35 AM
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Ma petite soeur française aux États-Unis

Sophie is coming in July! We are going to make cookies and pancakes and watch musicals and speak English and go see the Mackinac Bridge. Woo hoo!...

srah - Friday, 26 April 2002 - 11:13 AM
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Graduation countdown: 20 days

20 days. The best thing about traveling in France and England with my family this summer was relaxation. I'm usually so committed to a schedule and to being where we're supposed to be when we're supposed to be there. But with my family, everything was an adventure. We were going to go to Verdun, but we were all tired so we stayed in Nancy and walked around there instead. We got lost in Paris and just walked around for a while and ended up seeing the Canadian embassy and the George V, which is not some backpacker's hovel, in case...

srah - Sunday, 14 April 2002 - 11:16 AM
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Graduation countdown: 22 days

22 days. Over my February vacation last year, I was reading some French book and sitting by the bus stop to get the bus back to Nîmes and various people began to join me. Quite a few of them spoke English, but I was lost in my book and don't normally talk to strangers, anyway. I got onto the bus and sat behind two Americans. They were talking amongst themselves and I wasn't really paying attention, but I caught words here and there. Then one of them turned around and said, "Mademoiselle, vous habitez ici?" ("Miss, do you live here?")...

srah - Friday, 12 April 2002 - 4:16 AM
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Graduation countdown: 39 days

39 days till you can sing this to me. When she visited Grenoble in October of last year, Dr Guenin-Lelle gave us a few things to give to Pénélope, our former Native Speaker, when we saw her. Well, it took a few months, but I finally managed to pay Penny a visit in March. I stayed with her in her parents' home in Aix-les-Bains and she took me to spend the day in Annecy, drive around the lakes of the region and also on a side trip to Chambéry. Pénélope's family was extremely kind and hospitable to me. Their house...

srah - Tuesday, 26 March 2002 - 12:09 AM
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Graduation countdown: 48 days

48 days. Over Thanksgiving weekend last year, Jillian, Erin and their friend Stephanie came from Venice to visit me in Grenoble and go up to Paris. The whole Grenoble-finding-a-place-to-stay-during-a-Socialist-convention story is one for another time. But when we went to Paris, we stayed in a hostel. The desk clerk's name was Frédéric. Actually, it wasn't. It could have been, but we never asked. We just made it up. The guy ahead of us in line was very annoying and didn't pay any attention to what Frédéric was saying. We smiled knowingly at him and waited patiently. Then he serviced served...

srah - Sunday, 17 March 2002 - 9:52 AM
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Graduation Countdown: 53 days

53 days. Junior year, I had nowhere to go for my Spring Break. I didn't have any friends who were close enough to travel with. Most of my friends were the European students on a shoestring budget who could travel Europe whenever they wanted, rather than the Americans who were travelling all over the place while they had the opportunity and occasionally coming to class. So I thought I was going to spend Spring Break alone and friendless, but my host family invited me along on their Spring Break trip and it ended up being an amazing experience. We spent...

srah - Tuesday, 12 March 2002 - 9:02 AM
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You can dress up like a guinea pig in your Peruvian hat

Alex's host mom, Nancy, went on a trip to Peru and Ecuador. She brought me back a hat. Isn't that great? Where does the V come from in "Peruvian"? Isn't it funny how we just pull letters out of the air at random? I know "Peruian" would sound funny, but why V? Nancy had a lot of great stories to tell about the trip, like washed-out train tracks, sea-lions that weren't at all shy of humans and sharks and whales swimming around the boat they were in. One guy on the trip had guinea pig, which is apparently a Peruvian...

srah - Wednesday, 6 March 2002 - 12:28 PM
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Happy Mardi Gras!

I spent Mardi Gras 2000 in Louisiana - visiting various Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Lafayette, and some crappy podunk town I hated because their parade consisted of the paraders getting really drunk and then trying to ride their horses into the crowd and their costumes were suspiciously similar to KKK robes. Louisiana is not my favorite state. I think it's mostly because I didn't like the weather and I didn't like Mardi Gras. And the fact that I had to ride around in a van with Carlos, the Spanish Native Speaker who didn't like to bathe. And the...

srah - Tuesday, 12 February 2002 - 5:54 PM
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Laura has been...

Laura has been to a lot of places. I'm rather jealous. Where have you been that will impress me?...

srah - Sunday, 27 January 2002 - 9:06 PM

Planning an airplane flight

Planning an airplane flight in the near future? Better practice not being strange. Now, here's a funny pile o' cartoons. And for more articles and things along these lines, go to god bless humanity....

srah - Saturday, 17 November 2001 - 11:10 AM
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