Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Fromage du Jour: The Parmesan that I put on my pasta tonight. I don't think that the form of Parmesan we usually put on pizza or pasta tastes like much, but as unnecessary as I feel it is it's just something you do to make your meal complete. Today I put a lot of unnecessary fluffy stuff in my envelope to Campus France and in the fax to the district court office...

I have finally been accepted to the Universite de Caen. I knew I would be, but I needed that slip of paper in my hand in order to send in my Campus France stuff (which I did today after obsessively checking and rechecking the envelope in which I sent it to make sure everything needed was in there), and also to get out of jury duty. I was summoned this week-- fourth time since March, baby! That's gotta be a record.

Dominic, my adviser, faxed the county clerk's office an excuse that will hopefully keep them from summoning me until August 2009. I also sent them a fax with the excuse they sent me in June, the letter they sent me yesterday, and my acceptance letter, along with a note telling them when I would be leaving for Kansas (July 31).

July 31! This means...
2 more Sundays at my church
11 more days of work. . . until June.
About two months and a day until I begin classes at Caen
15 days until I see my family, Kansas friends, and my dog, Taffy

I feel sad about the first two items. I will miss everyone in Kentucky very much.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lacking-Proficiency Test

Fromage du Jour: Cream cheese, because I am indulging in a cream cheese chocolate brownie at the amazing little Good Foods Cafe. Cream cheese is the slightly more sophisticated cheese of indulgence; the unsophisticated cheese being, of course, American, as I discussed in the last post. I will miss Good Foods, with its quirky people and biodegradable straws.

I took my French Proficiency test online. Or it may have been Greek. It was certainly Greek to me (click here and press the red button)! No, it wasn't actually that bad, but I did terribly. Just terribly. I'm not sure what score I received, but if I even scored an A1 (the levels are A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2) I'll be happy. It was that bad. I hope that they were telling the truth when they said that they'll do other things to determine our level. I think the listening part really shot me-- I can't listen to spoken French worth anything, and I certainly don't know all of the vocabulary terms surrounding the subject of global warming. Although, I must say, I should, because many of my French essays have involved polar bears. Les ours blanches vont a la Floride pour leurs vacances parce que il est trop froid dans le nord!

I am thinking of buying a pair of knee-high Rieker boots. I've been told that everyone wears black leather boots in France, and a friend told me that she bought some that were waterproof for a European vacation. They were very comfortable to walk in and served her well. They are definitely out of my usual price range, but I find it easier to buy things when I tell myself that they'll be useful in France.

My friend, Dean, advised me to bring a couple of DVD's of favorite TV shows and movies with me for when I get homesick, especially since websites like are blocked outside of the USA. Hmm. I'm thinking that I'll bring the five hour BBC Pride and Prejudice, but I am not sure what else. I suppose this is the classic "If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one movie, what would it be?" question. So, if you were me, what would you take? If you just had a couple of movies to watch all year, what would they be?

Visa Anxiety

Fromage du Jour: American. When you are stressed out about visas, or really, anything, like I am today, then you eat American cheese. . . on a whole-beef patty, with special sauce, on a sesame seed bun. Or however the song goes. It's unhealthy, it's processed, it's cheap, it's American.

Hannah Stone, a study abroad veteran, empathized with me when I told her yesterday about how anxious I am about getting my visa. Right now I am just waiting to hear back from my school, and hoping and praying that they get back to me sometime before I am supposed to arrive. I think that my adviser faxed them all of my papers, and while I am astounded by and grateful for the circa 1980's technology that allows a piece of paper to travel across the world by phone in less than a minute, I really feel like things should be moving along more quickly than they are. It will take a considerable amount of time for my Campus France papers to go through, and I can't begin that process until I have everything I need from school.

Hannah said that when you visit the consulate, you drop off your papers, and then it takes a few hours to process. It's near some of the best shopping, restaurants, and parks in Chicago, as well as the Sears Tower, so finding something to do shouldn't be a problem! Although, you know they charge about $10.00 for an elevator ride to the top of the Sears Tower? Crazy! It's worth doing once, though. I learned how to waltz on the top of the Sears Tower.

I also need those papers because I have been summoned for jury duty three times since March. Twice in the past three weeks, in fact. I've been excused each time, and the moment my excuse is up, they summon me once more. I finally told the nice people at the County Clerk's office (and they really are nice, I'm not joking!) that not only did I begin a new job at a law office the day they wanted me (last Monday), but I will be out of town the entire month of August, and out of the country until May after that, then out of state until August after that, and after all of this I will have classes at UK, so. . . don't waste the postage on this girl! They told me to send them the letter of acceptance from the Universite de Caen, so hopefully after that they will stop bothering me. I'm actually interested in serving on a jury, but they just send me those letters at the most inopportune times!

As I was typing this I received an e-mail from Caen giving me the link to a proficiency test. It is about two hours long. There goes my crazy Wednesday evening! Maybe I'll reward myself with a Good Foods lemonade if I score above a B1. . .