Sunday, July 29, 2012


I thought Bordeaux was beautiful and then out comes Beaujolais! Absolutely breathtaking, maybe the prettiest place I have ever seen in my life.

It has been a great few days with some truly kind and compassionate people, I think of them sort of like an aunt and uncle. Francois is always telling me awesome history facts about the area and Marie-Therese really tries to figure out places to take me for my project (they don't speak ANY English). Though the language barrier has been tough, I've learned a lot and I really love Beaujolais.

It will be sad to leave tomorrow morning but nice to settle in Valence for about a week with someone who wants to practice their English!

I've seen art fairs, food markets, artisan markets, and little festivals. I think I met all of their family members and continued to eat more food than I could ever imagine! Gosh the French eat A LOT for lunch, but barely nothing for strange!
Cute Village Street...No cars=AWESOME

I think I'll have a bread and cheese addiction by the time I leave!
 Lyon from up high
 Lyon from down low

 Seriosuly...Emma and Riley, I've been waiting for you for hours!!!

 Couldn't ask for a better view from my window
 I think I'll start making a blog of just handstands in really scenic places!

Things were getting too normal for me....

Instead of cheers, here we say "Sante"(with an accent) which means "To Your Health"

So for all readers, I toast everyone's good health and Happiness


Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Comeback of the Radio Star

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, somebody understood me yesterday!

They asked me back to speak on the radio this morning, and I couldn't dare say no to all of my new fans here in Nimes. Gosh, pushing through all of the paparazzi on my way in was almost impossible.

Theme of the day: Sardines

After spending the night practicing how to talk about the collapse of the sardine fishery in California in 1982 as a plausible reason why many people don't eat sardines in America. Which would then be a lead-in to a rehearsed speech about biodiversity and over-fishing and how we need to be good stewards of Earth. Which would then be a lead in to the many people in America who do care about our food system and the regions that are fighting for a more durable food system.

Well folks, this is what came out instead. All French people now think....

-Eating Sardines is a sexist activity: only men eat sardines in America, women do not dare touch them.

-We're a bunch of fat pigs rolling around in too much meat and french fries. Restaurants don't serve vegetables

-No American cares about food quality, only quantity

-Americans have never seen farmers markets

-Somehow we all still manage to keep up little gardens in our backyard

Talk about twisting my words! Or me perhaps not being able to get them out right. I apologize for personally contributing to the negative reputation of Americans. Though there are truths to much of what I said, its a little blown out of proportion, its complicated enough to explain in English!

But hey, I'm still a radio star ;)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Good Afternoon or Good Morning...Depending on where you are in this world!

I have made it Safely to Nimes, a city on the south coast of France near Avignon and Montpellier.  I'm staying with a couple who is opening an organic restaurant on no other day then AUGUST 8th (my birthday)!. But, I won't be here for that, this is actually just a quick trip and I head out early Friday morning for Beaujolais!

The couple here has taken me as one of their own and they keep offering me ice cream and coffee, etc. I think this is the most well fed I will ever be and ever need to be.

Nimes Roman Arena

For lunch today we started with a pate, bread, and a light tomato quinoa appetizer. Then the chef brought out chicken and a potato au gratin type thing. By now I was stuffed and being polite by eating everything. Then there was a zucchini salad, after that cheese, and then grapes, and melon, and wine. Phew, I started getting really sleepy from all of the food and quick French speakers that I could not understand, so I excused myself and accidentally fell asleep for a little bit. Naps are nice :)

Last night I celebrated the couple's 30th Anniversary with them and their daughter at a seaside town on the Mediterranean. It reminded me a little bit of the Jersey Shore: boats, rides, little stores, restaurants heckling for you to eat with them. Plus, I got to touch the Mediterranean and it reminded me of how much I miss swimming. I don't think I'll have a chance to visit it again here, but c'est la vie.

There was this STRANGE shop that gave fish pedicures. You stick your feet in a pool of little fish and they eat of your dead skin or something- it was so strange yet equally mesmerizing.

This morning I woke up to a breakfast fit for a princess- as I said, I'm living above an organic restaurant so they definitely feed me well. How can you politely only eat a quarter of what they serve though...haha, it will only be until Friday morning so I shouldn't worry!

Funny story....I'm a new celebrity here in Nimes (not really). I went with Yves (chef/owner of restaurant) to see him speak on the radio about organic food, just to watch. However, when I got there....they decided to interview me too! I spoke for quite a long time, they kept asking me questions, I think I answered some of them completely wrong, and I'm also pretty sure I sounded like a confused 6 year old. Yet, they asked for me to come back and say a line in English like " All you English peeps out there, Eat Organic!" I don't know, my French is definitely improving by force, but its hard to be surrounded by native French speakers, really exhausting to try to keep up!

I sort of disappeared from lunch with a nap, so I'm going to go investigate what is going on downstairs. Hope everyone is happy and healthy!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Au Revoir Chateau Brandeau


Tonight was my last night at Chateau Brandeau and now I bid it adieu. It commenced with a great young Scottish family arriving for the next two week. They've know Andrea and Fearn for almost 20 years now... In fact, the couple met here during their time at Brandeau when they were even younger than me! The story gets a bit more complicated and juicy than that, so I'll share it another time. They brought their two adorable well-behaved young kids, both with great Scottish accents. I felt like I really was at the Beriont Bash running around with all of the small cousins!

Aside from long work hours and learning more about owning a vineyard, these last few days were filled with fun adventures.

Watching Fearn play Sax at his concert. Never thought I'd see someone so uncomfortable in a church. Church is basically the same as in America, same order, etc. BUT, France has more singing and is definitely in a different language. They were a little off key and off beat because most of them were slightly deaf, but BRAVO for the effort!

A New Orleans Jazz Band, singing "O When the Saints Come Marching In" in English! They led the procession of "Brotherhoods". Yup, just as culty and strange as it sounds, most brotherhoods were tied to some food or hobby. my favorite was the Chestnut Brotherhood of Libourne. Though the micrology mushroom brotherhood was equally amusing. They all dressed in Medieval garb and marched the streets for a bit. I walked by them later in the festival when they were all singing songs drunkenly and happily. Though, there is something to say about the power of groups in the food world, new ideas!

No No, they all took this quite seriously, I dare say!

My first self-timed handstand on its first try.

Well, what would a Lauren Beriont trip be like without a scenic picture of me doing a handstand. Turns out self-timers work much better than I presumed! Right before this photo was taken, I happened upon a great big white leather sofa sitting next to a "pond", or what I might call a large puddle. It was really comfortable and peaceful, so I sat for a while reading. I felt a little bit like I was in a Beatles music video or something. It felt so off surrounded by the vineyard but then so right and fitting at the same time.

I head off to Nimes for a few days, then Beaujolais, then Valence. I'm not sure what my internet situation will be over the next few days, so I will post when I can! Enjoy your days!! Stay Safe!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Yabbying, Lorries and Other New Words Added to my Vocabulary

Greetings Blog Readers, wherever you may be!

We've been busy doing quite a bit of work, and early mornings these past few days, but hooray its Saturday! We get the weekend off, and its nice to relax and enjoy the area of Brandeau. I'm quite tired too, so catching up on sleep will be nice for a change :)

The levage and re-levage is complete! Phew, who knew when that would happen. After work yesterday, Nadja and I ventured off to Fearn's mother's house to catch crawfish, or Yabbies as my Australian friend calls them. "Yabbying" is quite like crabbing in America, plus a few janky nets minus the large clean water, plus a dirty looking pond. Its quite a lot of work, for some delicious but not high volume shellfish. It was nice to taste a bit of home though and talk with Fox. Apparently, her granparents grew up in New Jersey...right in the Highlands. It is crazy the connections you can find even out here in France.

Fearn showed us this song by Elvis Presley. Imagine me singing it while yabbying, o yes, just as out of pitch as this...

This morning I got to head out to a wonderful market in a nearby town. It was quite large, quite diverse, and a perfect spot for research. I even got in a few interviews and talked at lengths with Fearn about the wine industry and being a small organic vineyard. Gosh, its a tough job. Not just physically, but financially, and particularly risky in this economy. It is one of the reasons I'm learning about food here.

I guess one thing is becoming clear here on the research side and that is the government's role in food systems and artisan products hinders more than helps both the consumer and the producer. Something else to sort out.

The cheese here has been great, the rumors don't lie about that! On the way back from the market, Andrea and I stopped at her friend's dairy farm/cheese shop and it was really great to hear the cows mooing in the background as you're being rung up.
 Market at Sainte Foy La Grande

The Beriont Bash is this weekend, tomorrow in fact, and I'll be missing you all lots. I'm sorry I am missing this for the second year in a row :( Thinking of it, lobster, family drinking too much, skits, t-shirts and drama makes me miss it all very much. I really need to make an effort not to head out somewhere far this weekend next year. I guess I'm also expected to have a really, really good skit to make up for two years lost time...Hmmmm

Nadja is gone now so its just me Fearn, and Andrea for the next few days. I have tomorrow off again, then one more day of work in the fields. I head to Nimes early Tuesday morning and arrive in the late afternoon. Unfortunately, traveling my train is not always the most convenient. I'll miss Brandeau, the people, the wine, the vines, the view, the native English speakers. I think it was a great first place to jumpstart my trip, but I am genuinely excited to see more of France, try new things, meet new people, and learn more for my project.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


The fascination with the Beriont calves has officially gone global. Since I've begun this trip I've been stopped five times, mind you I've only been to three places. Each time, I'm asked the exact same thing, in a very curious and surprisingly uncreepy way: "Where did you get those calves???"

Well all you attentive readers, listen up...the government gave them to me. Clearly I was given such large calves by the government in case we ever faced an enemy with well-endowed calves. Though the details of what my calves would be used for is unknown, I've narrowed it down. They will be used either as a super sexy distraction, so that I can blend in as one of them and spy for the USA, or they're a weapon of mass destruction. Simple as that, isn't that where everyone else got them from?

I find it a strange way to word the question, since I'm 99% sure I got the calves from my parents. I was told that is how it worked, though my parents also told me that geese stole wallets from your pockets, so maybe I should be skeptical. I think a better question would be, "How did your calves get so unusually large?" Well folks, I've boiled that down to one part hyperactive child, one part active adult, two parts genetics. Though, I guess its good that nobody asks this question since everyone knows how sensitive calves are and you don't want them to believe large = fat.

The group of organic winegrowers I took a picture of yesterday had an entire conversation about them when I left, my host asked me the first day, I was even asked twice in Paris. Though my favorite time someone brought it up was after a random survey with in elderly man in the streets of Detroit.

Sorry, but you're not here to read about calves are you. you probably expected to hear about wine and grapes, and my adventures in France.

I've learned quite a lot about wine since I've been here, particularly the growing part. This experience will really force me to savor my next bottle of wine since I now know how many pain-staking hours goes into just a single glass. Its getting increasingly difficult to stay afloat as a small vineyard or an artisan business in general. But, you and me as consumers all enjoy artisan products more...don't we?? They're legitimate, made with fair ingredients, wonderful tasting, its an art we kind-of buy into. So what do you think we can do to support them? Send me your ideas, I'd be interested in hearing them.

For all of you who have never seen it before, here is a teaser of my calf ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chateau Bordeaux


The last two days we've been up at 5:30 am :/ and its still dark! The one bonus is seeing the sunrise over the vines, but boy is it cold at that time in the morning. As soon as the sun comes up though, it get squelching out.  Its the same type of work I described earlier, and as much as its almost therapeutic in its repetitiveness...I'll be ready to try something else on the vines or learn a new trade. I do love wines and vineyards but I don't see my exact role as the gardener in the fields.
 The vines at sunrise

Since we wake up way before dawn, we actually get off quite early- around lunch time- which leaves the rest of the day to wander and explore. Yesterday I happened upon a very very creepy pigeon hunting camp and later learned how the French in Bordeaux hunt pigeons, its worth it to look this up!
 Me, Sara, Nadja, and Andrea in front of the vines

Today we all hopped on bikes and rode through the narrow windy and HILLY roads of Bordeaux to a small local lake that was recommended. After evading an entrance fee and breaking in, we took a quick dip in some very refreshing yet slightly unnervingly discolored lake. There were tons of people there with their children and it was almost like a local lake back at home. Everyone kept slowing down and stared at us when they realized we weren't speaking French.
 Me, Nadja, Sara in front of the lake

On the way there and back we had to ride through a charming village called VilleFranche, at the top of a great big hill. It had this very charming medieval feel to it. Its really cool that there are so many small and seemingly random villages throughout the French countryside.

I'm quite exhausted, but I should shower up then head to dinner soon. I'm excited to get to rest and ready to start a new day at work. I get the weekend off too, so it should be nice to get a break from work.

I hope everyone is healthy and happy


Other Highlights
-Taking photographs of all the Organic French Vineyards of the Bordeaux area
-Learning that they use American root vines here and graft European vines
-A change of room much closer to the bathroom
-Long conversations on just about every topic to pass the time
- the end look of the vineyard after a hard day of work

Email me to update me with your lives!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bastille Day, Bordeaux, and Brits

I'm a little overdue on my posts. I've got a lot of updating, but I'm afraid I probably will miss some details by accident. Here is my view right now...
 I really cannot complain about this view

Let's Rewind a few days to Saturday...

Saturday was Bastille Day in Paris, I've discussed this briefly in my last post but you can just think of it as the 4th of July of France. I had quite spectacular expectations as I was in the capital of the country on that day, but apparently everyone leaves Paris and the tourists all flood in. Nonetheless, it ended up being a perfect day.

I got to finish up quite a bit of exploring and I think I've truly seen ALL major landmarks in Paris, minus this famous cemetery and the sewer caves. I ended up in the Toulleries during a thunderstorm, but none of the French seemed phased. It was strange that this little carnival was still allowing children on rides during pouring rain and lightning?? Oh, the French. I was pretty exhausted actually, so I ended up taking a nap for a little. The night ended great though, Sidonie, Siobhan and I all hung around the apartment until we started seeing fireworks out of the window- yes the apartment location is that good. Since we were so close to the Eiffel Tower we decided to RUN as fast as we all could to catch the end of the fireworks. Little did we know they went on for close to an hour, though it was amusing running with the crowds of French people on their National Holiday. We actually ended up standing next to two guys my age who were both from New Jersey (grew up together) and were backpacking through Europe...Small World!!

The adventure started the next day on my leave from Paris bright and early in the morning and after not nearly enough sleep! I was ready to head out of the city though and start some real french immersion and manual labor. Though I showed up over an hour early to the train station, I only got on the train about two minutes before it left because my RailPass was being so frustrating and people weren't all that helpful. Thank goodness for the lady at the ticket office who was extremely friendly and great at English. The train ride to Bordeaux took about 3 hours, not too bad for going across the country. I'd like to say it was an amazingly beautiful ride, but I pretty much slept the entire trip!

Bordeaux is a beautiful city, far surpassing my expectations. It has the old architecture look of Paris but on a much smaller scale and slightly more charming. I spent a total of 6 hours in Bordeaux, about two in total at the train station. I would've wandered more if I didn't have to lug around my two backpacks and purse! Regardless, I probably ended up walking about 5 miles throughout the town. I found a cute little cafe recommended by Hannah called "L'Autre Petite Bois". I just casually sipped on some tea, ate some great food, and watched people traverse a great little square with a few other cafes. Thanks for the recommendation!! I felt so trendy and Beyonce was playing the entire time so it had to be good, ehh??

I walked through the town and down to the river expecting a large park, but in its place was the Championship BMX competition of France. Actually pretty entertaining to watch, but very abstract to me. They had a great course with bank turns and bumps built up right in the park and it was packed!! I ended up heading back to the train station early afraid I was going to lose the motivation to walk back before my train left.

Now that train ride was beautiful! I got to see the transition from city to countryside almost immediately, and this country side is all vines :) Fearn, a great older British man who owns the vineyard with Andrea, picked me up at the station and we winded on some roads until we came to Chateau Brandeau, quite a gorgeous little escape. I was welcomed with a glass of wine and friendly English-speaking people who'd all been at the vineyard for over a week. There are three young women with me, one Danish, one British girl, and one Australian. Wait till you hear my accent (if I get one), when I get back!

I've actually started thinking in a British accent and I quite like it, so do read this post with such a voice in mind. Perhaps when I return I'll be a bit more sophisticated sounding like all of these Brits. Though truthfully, I always think in a British accent when writing letters and documenting trips like this :)

The food here has been wonderful, we had a nice outside dinner with homemade organic local products. Could I ask for anything better? But, I won't make this all about the meals, I'd just say I've encountered some great chefs :)

We woke up bright and early when it was still a bit chilly, but that kind of refreshing chilly you welcome in the summer. Not a cloud in the sky all day! The day went like this and I believe it will probably stay similar to this routine while I'm here, except this weekend when I'm off.

7am: breakfast and tea/coffee
7:30: hit the vines

    I learned levage and another word I can't spell. Together it basically means we go to each vine and make sure they're standing vertical so their fruit can grow well. I've got some great and patient teachers here. We then cut off the tops and useless other parts so the plant can focus its energy on growing the grapes. I also learned, interestingly enough, that its best to stress the grapevine by not watering it often, because under stress a plant focuses its energy on reproduction. Well the reproductive part of grapevines, is the fruit itself. Plus, too much water=mildew and mildew=rotten grapes. They've had a big problem with mildew here since its rained so often this month. Yet, today was a gorgeous day, it never went much above 80 degrees (they all talk in celcius here so they said it was about 25 and i responded with a way jose, this scenario may not have actually happened but they do all speak in celcius).

9:30: Tea/Coffee with the neighbor who just bought a summer house here and is fixing it up...its beautiful
10: Back to the vines
12:30 Lunch (the ended with coffee of course)
2:00pm Back to the vines
4:00pm: Head back
4:30: tea/ Coffee
Relax until dinner. Dinner time unknown right now

I've learned a lot about the struggles of a small vineyard and artisan production and just farming in general since the weather sometimes destroys all crops. I've also learned a bit about life in England, Denmark, Australia, and prospective winemakers. It will be great to sit down with Andrea and Fearn and really pick their brain about this sort of life. I'm so far enjoying my stay here and I'll keep you posted on interesting things that happen, though probably not as long and detailed as this one. I'm here until next Tuesday then I head off to Nimes.

Thanks for reading, I miss you all. Here's a picture of the plums I just grabbed from a tree in the yard, incredible delicious...I'm considering planting one at my future house! Oh and to all my sheep lovers here, there are about 30 sheep and their lambs wandering the property, I've only seen them from a difference but I think I've got to go say Hi sometime.

Well, I best enjoy the view and get away from all of this technology. I'm a bit to plugged in right now.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Paris pt. 1

I've been in Paris now for two whole days and I've got to seems more like London to me. It hasn't stopped raining since I got here :( and its been in the sixties. I think it feels more like a Michigan April than a French July. Such is life and it looks like my weather will vastly improve when I head south.

Today is Bastille Day!! The French Independence Day, like our July 4th. Except on the "first" Bastille Day, they were only able to free EIGHT prisoners and democracy wasn't realized until decades later, so I think the date choice was a little premature. However, who doesn't want a chance to watch military parades and fireworks!! Especially when it looks like it might be sunny on and off today.

Unfortunately I already missed the military parade. Slept right past it, but woke up to the sound of the guns from miles away. Its a strange but amusing ritual to still see a military parade...very World War II. I'm not sure what I'll end up doing today, my last day in Paris, but I'll make sure to fill you in!

Over the past two days, I fully embraced the term tourist by setting out with my camera and exploring the endless array of beautiful buildings, churches, gardens, and monuments. On Thursday I walked around for 5 hours. I started at the Eiffel Tower, which is beautiful and breathtaking but oddly industrial and factory-like. The line to go to the top was about 1 mile long, no exaggeration. I'm a little spoiled because you can see the Eiffel Tower from the apartment I'm staying at. It was a pretty unique experience to get off the Metro morning number 1 and BAM Eiffel Tower.

The architecture of the city is incredible. I heard yesterday that the typical French style apartment so reveled around the world was actually all designed and built in one decade. A politician named Haussman- he's got to be big and burly, right?- decided that the Medieval Buildings of Paris were ugly and unfortunate reminders of the Dark Ages so he tore them all down and built new ones. I've got mixed feelings about this one for sure, but now we've got the Paris everyone knows and loves. Perhaps it was more about the fire threat with wooden buildings than purely vanity.

 A random street with beautiful buildings

In my first day I also stumbled upon L'Ecole Militaire, Luxembourg Gardens, St. Sulpice, Montparnasse, another little church, Pantheon, Sorbonne, Notre Dame, L'Hotel de Ville, La Seine, and the Latin Quarter/District...all by foot. It was great though, I had a map and some places that would be cool to find so I just walked until I found them. Though, I must say, Paris streets are confusing because they all seem to go diagonally in the wrong directions! For those who know me best, I ended up in two large stores- Galleries Lafayette and La Grand Epicerie. The first one is a giant mall I happened to be near when it started pouring and I was only wearing a sweater (learned quickly) that carries the likes of Louis Vutton and other famous designers I'm not really interested. The second was a HUGE gourmet food store- perfect place to begin my research! I won't bother you with the details of my research until the end, but I must say, the relationship between French and their food is much different than the USA.
At Luxembourg Gardens (get used to these strange timed pictures of me alone!)

Yesterday, Sidonie, the girl I'm lucky enough to be staying with and I started our morning off at a "small" (maybe twice the size of Ann Arbor's market) marche down the street! It was beautiful, expansive, diverse, and everyone was so friendly. It helped that Sidonie is a fluent French and English speaker. We tried fresh figs- MUST TRY IF YOU HAVEN'T- and Crepes with Nutella and Banana. I wanted to buy everything and cook a feast, but I'm a nomad these days and I'll have to wait until the Fall for that.

I'd like to make a shout-out to Siobhan for hanging out with me in Paris and embracing tourism! Its been nice to have the company of another American to see all of the sights. Yesterday I visited the Pont des Arts- a bridge where couples go to "lock their love" with literal locks and then throw away the keys. Its romantic and strange all at once but if I was on my honeymoon here, I'd definitely go for it. There are THOUSANDS of locks and the bridge overlooks Pont Neuf and Ille de la cite, its a beautiful location. I then proceeded to drag Siobhan by foot (its a theme these days) past the Louve, the Toulleries, down Le Champs Elysee, to the Arc de Triomphe. It was SO crowded, I guess because today is July 14th and probably the least charming Paris in my mind. Too many large overcrowded expensive stores for me. ALTHOUGH, there are these ridiculous sales going on right now mandated by the French government, so EVERYTHING (no joke) is 70% off. Too bad I can't send a wardrobe home for me/ I don't actually want to go shopping for it haha.

 Emma- strange how you're in love with your sister?! :)

I ended the day with dinner in Montmarte and a walk up to the Sacre Coeur to see Paris from its highest point. Being able to overlook such a large city always seems to put things in perspective. I think that area is my favorite part of Paris. I think its a combination of the tight winding roads, hills, creperies, and painters that just sums up what Paris is to me. I recognized the area immediately too, from my last trip to Paris 10 years ago. Even back then the Sacre Coeur was my favorite landmark.

Last night I was lucky enough to be in the company of some study abroad students in Paris, it was nice to make some English-speaking comrades and talk to people my age. They were all very friendly and welcoming and we got along great.

Tomorrow morning, very very early, I say goodbye to Paris until the end of my trip. Though its been beautiful and there are probably even more sights to see, I'm content with leaving and starting my trip throughout the country. Cities are a little too large for me and nobody is really looking to stop and have a conversation. By this time tomorrow, I'll be in Bordeaux and I get the chance to explore the city until the evening when I head to a vineyard for 10 days. I'm excited to dive into my research and take a close look at the wine industry. I'm not sure my email situation, but I look forward to filling you in when I get there.

I apologize for my very long and detailed update, I just want to pretend like you're here with me. I miss all of you and hope you're all having a wonderful summer.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Bienvenue a Paris

Landed safely in Paris....

And thanks to the help of strangers, some good old luck and paying attention, I found my destination without any real hitch. My time in NY and my very very brief time in Paris so far has taught me that people move around too fast for me in cities! I'm excited to get out to the countryside and relax a little, or maybe relax a little after a long day of work!

My time is all upside-down, but I changed all of my clocks to French time (six hours ahead of NY time folks). Its not too bad, minus the I just pulled an all nighter part. I think I'm going to take a quick nap and rest up while I have the chance. That way I can brave Paris with some enthusiasm and energy.

I followed the light all of the way to the City of Lights. It never actually got dark on my entire trip because I went that far North :) It was beautiful to watch the sun sorta set and sorta rise at the same time.

The apartment I'm staying at is very nice and everyone I've met so far is also very nice. I guess I'm bound to run into some cranky Parisians soon.

I'll keep you updated...thanks for reading!

Welcome to Iceland!

Welcome to Iceland!

Landed safely in Iceland and WOW let me tell you, what an approach. It is a shame I’ll only be here for one hour because it looks beautiful. It is near midnight local time and the sun is JUST setting…can you believe that. I took a look out of my window seat as we were landing and all I could see was the vast beautiful water and these gigantic mountains as the silhouette to the sunset. I’m not sure it will ever get dark here. I plan to come back sometime in the future and take a step out of the airport to climb those amazing mountains that seem to randomly jut out of an endless ocean. I’ll make sure I come in the summer though, I couldn’t bear entire days of darkness.

The people here look really friendly and outdoorsy, but America and Iceland have two things in common: Short-tempered customs agents. I guess I’ll have to start getting used to people frustrated when I misunderstand them. I’m surrounded  by French speaking people now and the only thing I can tell you is that they speak FAST! Now I get why all of my friends and family tell me to speak slower in English. I’ve just got to accept that I am an American tourist who really doesn’t know much about the country yet and try not to get caught up in my pride, it’s a good lesson.

Everything is closed at the airport, which is expected since it is just about midnight now. Funny how the sun is setting at home right now too, even with the four hour time difference!! Strangely though, everyone is eating food…where did they get it from?! It’s dinner time for me! Looks like that cliff bar I snuck in my bag will be put to some use. This probably won’t be posted until I get to France, especially because I don’t have internet access right now. So, when you read this I will already be safe in Paris at some internet cafĂ© or those apartment I’m staying at. I’ll also probably be napping because it will be 6am their time, midnight “my” time.

Here is to 7 weeks adventuring alone throughout France and trying to understand the French food system. It will take a large stomach, a chin-up (not the exercise kind, but maybe that in the long run for the farming), intuition, making friends, and lots of conversation. It sounds crazy now that it is just beginning, but I think it will be great.

Ps. There are scooters here you can ride around…what?! Coolest airport ever!

Pps. An i-phone with 3G would’ve come in handy right now, it says the wifi costs 750 IS, which means nothing to me but the number scares me!