And then you

realise that the Frenchies aint that bad at all!!

I left on Tuesday morning very early to catch my train to Brussels;of course it was late by 30 minutes and I was getting a little worried about missing all my connections.

A little worried

A little worried

Since I only had 35 minutes in Brussels to catch the train to Paris-Nord.  As it turned out my train in to Paris was delayed to, so when I went to the counter to change my ticket, the dude told me to run to the platform since the Thalys was still there!!  I really love traveling by train; but this was a whole new experience. I had wifi, a bar and a beautiful toilet!! From Paris-Nord I had to hop on the subway to Paris-Montparnasse and catch the train to Arcachon.  It took me a wee while to figure out how to work the little gates at the station but once I did getting to Montparnasse was easy. The Paris-subway is really gross by the way and stinking hot! From Montparnasse I had another 5 hr journey to Arcachon; this train was not as new as the Thalys and no wifi.

shoes came too

shoes came too

Instead I read French for Dummies and papers on neurogenesis. Aurelie and Jono came to pick me from the station and we went to Aurelie’s brother’s house where we ate and drank and finally slept! Wednesday was spent being a real tourist visiting Arcachon and this massive Sand-dune.  I went for a swim in the Plage and sat in the Sun.  We ate crepes/ galettes (savoury crepes) did some shopping and then had a hellish ride getting back to the house.. Since I had to leave at 6 AM the next morning we decided it would be best to drive to the station so we would be able to find it one go in the morning. Luckily Jono had a navigation system on his phone; or so we thought! The stupid thing kept trying to kill us by directing us into walls, railway tracks and houses. We were all rather tired and I really had to pee so everyone was getting a little pissy! Eventually I used my map on my phone and we managed to find our way back ( 1hr later); as it turns out the station is 5 min drive away!!!

Tristan

Tristan

Thursday morning was not very entertaining as I had only slept a few hours and was really tired! We made it to the station and I got on the train ( a really nice one) to Bordeaux; where the TGV would take me to Tours. I finally started using my crappy French since I was by myself and managed to find the ATM; order a coffee and get on the right train.

Catherine came to pick me up from the station and we signed the contract and had lunch in the old town; I have yet to take pictures but it is soo very pretty!!!!  I am staying at Catherine’s house while looking for an apartment. A lot harder than I thought it would be (not staying here, but apartment hunting) will post about that later.

The faculty is located in the Southern Part of Tours and the offices are in this wooden building that is in the middle of the woods! The labs are located in another very modern building opposite the wooden shack!  The people in the lab are all French; but all lovely! And slowly slowly I am getting a bit more confident in speaking French, since when you try the people are always more than happy to help you out! I do carry my little dictionary everywhere though.

Tours

Tours

OK am off to visit some more agencies in the hope to find something sooner rather than later!  Au revoir!!

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Goodbye’s Suck

I had my first REAL goodbye yesterday and it made me feel a little sad. Judith (pregnant friend) and Marcel will be leaving for their holiday just before I come back from Tours so I won’t be seeing them until December when I plan on catching the baby in the delivery room.   I hate saying goodbye and really prefer to pretend that I will seeing people in a week or so… Pretty LAME  I know but it helps me. So although my farewell tour has been a big success; Swiss was fantastic. I had a lovely dinner with an old high school friend and went to Utrecht with Joost and Femke from Maastricht uni. Yesterday was just a bit hard..Judith and I had a lovely dinner and reminisced about our very exciting partying years while we were still in high school. We were totally annoying at the time and only cared about ourselves and getting to the next party. And it was just weird that although this was like 15 yrs ago it sometimes feels like only yesterday and in only 15 yrs time her son or daughter might be the one going out all night.. I can get so nostalgic at times it is not even funny!!

Tonight I am going on a date, a friend of Conny whom I met when I was in Breda asked me out for dinner and of course I said yes; anything to not have to be at home in the evening!! And he is a really lovely and attractive guy not marriage material but a girl needs some fun now and then 🙂

I have yet to start my French for Dummies course; although when I see anything written in French I do try and translate it.

IMG_0025So after procrastinating for at least another hour, I will be start reading the first 2 chapters of my French book and of course listen to the CD.

Especially for Lauren

IMG_0017

Church in Lausanne

Some more pics from Swiss and random things.

Beer @ 2700 M

Beer @ 2700 M

Fleur

Fleur

Very Cool shoes

Very Cool shoes

Even cooler chair

Even cooler chair

Storm clouds on the farm

Storm clouds on the farm

Here you go Lozzie!

Have bought French for Dummies, printed out a billion papers on neurogenesis, looked up castles to live in and think I am almost ready to leave for France! I will be on the train for 8 hrs so figure that by the end of the trip I will be fluent in French and an expert on neurogenesis. Will of course take pics and write about my new French adventures.

Farewell tour

has started.  In two weeks time I will be going to Aracachon to see Aurelie and Jono for a few days, followed by a few days in Tours where I will be signing my contract and looking for a castle to live in.  So the next weeks I am visiting friends to say good bye once again!! On Monday I went to Scheveningen a rather famous beach in Holland; while the weather was not great, Kim and I did sit on the beach in our bikini’s until it started raining and we ran to a bar for some wine and heat.  Yesterday I took the train to Nijmegen to visit Linda for dinner and a brief sleepover. The last time I was there we ended up staying out all night but this time we were very civil and went to bed before midnight!

And now I have just returned from Switzerland where I visited Fleur and Henk-Jan and had a ball!!! The weather was great and we did heaps of fun things;  Via Ferrata; hiking; biking and swimming.

P8150580

It was time for me to get out of Holland. After telling Glasses man that he was not the man of my dreams I felt a little bad about the whole situation since I told him via email (oh so very brave!!).

I got my train tickets to France yesterday and really can not wait to get started!!  Still not sure what exactly my plan is going to be. Mum and Dad are both pretty keen to drive down with my stuff as soon as I find a place to live.  For now though, I need to finish a paper, have more dinner and drinks with friends and start packing up my stuff!!

I had

another lovely weekend.

Friday was my final day, and as it turned out my boss decided to close the office at 2 PM so it was actually only a half day of work. We had a nice lunch a few beers and then I went to Glasses man. We were going to Antwerp, Belgium for a night.  After checking in at the hotel we walked towards the restaurants and bars for dinner and drinks, to celebrate my survival of my 3 weeks of work! After dinner we went to a little bar where surprisingly you could smoke inside (as it turned out you can smoke in all bars in Antwerp) and had a beer.   We then went to this Jazz bar; Muze. It is located in an old building and has all these little stairs leading to little balconies of course loads of different beers and a live band.   We left the bar around 1 AM and went to another place for our last beer before heading back to the hotel. (Glasses man took this picture from our hotel room)

049On Saturday we walked around the city and I found the greatest shoes!!!  Shopping, like the food and beers in Antwerp is great and i can highly recommend spending a weekend there.

I am getting more and more excited about France, I am hoping to meet up with 2 Australian friends before going to Tours and then I will finally see where I will be spending the next year of my life! But before that I still have loads of things to do, finishing papers; reading up on neurogenesis and sorting out clothes to bring with me!

Final day of

my office career is arriving tomorrow!  And man am I excited!!! While the guys in the office are all very lovely the work SUCKED. When my boss asked me if I could stay another week I made it pretty clear that 3 weeks of this kinda of work was more than enough.

Everything has become really quiet because all the builders have holidays at the moment, so there are no phone calls to answer and I end up typing up reports all day long. Answering the phone was not my favourite thing to do since I don’t have the capability to pay attention to what people are saying and ALWAYS forget their names, but when suddenly there were no calls I actually started missing the stupid thing.   I have filled my days with alot of washing up, feeding the fish and training them to swim trough a hoop (no luck there, but I have one more day tomorrow) and browsing the web. Where at first I was too scared to even glance at my email, I have now become really good at pretending to be working while reading blogs and keeping up with the news.

Besides my work life, I have taken up my running career again and even went and bought some new runners. They lo0k pretty ugly but at this shop they actually had me run through the shop and made a video of my running style (Apparently I have developed  my own) they measured my feet and checked my arches and then I got to try one 3 different pairs of shoes to see which ones were the most comfortable.

Glasses man is still in the picture, although a little less than before.. Last weekend we were both busy so we did not see each other. I went to Conny to celebrate her new JOB, we went to dinner at  popocatepetl (http://www.popocatepetl.nl/) for mexican food and Frozen margarita’s. Followed by lots of beers, followed by dancing in the Dutch PALMS!! It was soo much fun! The gay clubs here are a little more mixed than in Sydney and I think it is actually nicer.  Sunday Judith came over for dinner and loads of catching up!

Yesterday I finally managed to meet up with a very old high school friend I had not seen or spoken to in about 8 yrs.  She came to Willemstad. We had a lovely dinner, too many wines and talked non-stop from 5 PM till midnight,when we were asked to leave the restaurant.  I am hoping we will manage to meet up before I leave for France, I have still not really prepared myself for another move but I think I will get myself organised next week!