Wednesday, January 26, 2011

plus belle, la vie.

there is something comforting in the thought that lazy days are great all over the world. it doesn’t matter if you’re in your bedroom at home, dorm room at school, or shoebox overseas.. there is nothing like waking up late, staying in bed all day writing and doing homework, and then sitting in the kitchen talking to people – it’s just great no matter where you live.
that pretty much sums up my sunday. i was exhausted after the day trip to saumur on saturday, so once i made it to bed around 2am, i was down for the count. i think i woke up somewhere in the ballpark of noon on sunday (rare for me, but i was seriously tired). i then proceeded to grab my laptop and write the previous blog entry about friday and saturday. but not only did i blog. oh, no. i wrote TWO of my assignments for the third year writing class i’m taking online through belmont. and i did half my writing self-assessment survey! it was an extremely productive lazy day.. if that makes sense. i did a little bit of cleaning and decorating once i decided i needed to leave my bed, so my room looks a bit prettier now (i know i need to post pictures of it, i will soon!).
the highlight of my sunday was DEFINITELY tuning in to the live feed of the 11am service at rolling hills community church. i’ve always noticed the camera guy at church, mostly because he is the reason pastor jeff is rockin’ the double big screen. i knew that the services were online, but i’d never needed to watch from home, considering how close i live to rolling hills. this week was different. around 5:45, i pulled up the page, hoping that my internet connection would be fast enough to support the feed. right at 6, the familiar sounds of the worship band came ringing through the airwaves.. out of the amps and across the ocean, right to my speakers. i swear, i could have cried. and to be quite honest, i stood up and sang like i was in the sanctuary with the rest of my college ministry. the connection was a little rocky, so it did pause a few times.. but it was SO GREAT to have that small piece of home. and they played two of my favourite songs! “and if our God is with us, then who could ever stop us? and if our God is for us, then what could stand against?” love it. i even got to keep up with the “momentum” series! pastor jeff’s sermon was fantastic, and very applicable (as usual). it’s more important than ever for me to keep my momentum going – these are trying times. and there are certainly things standing in the way of my walk with God here! (not the least of which being the lack of a church..) but i can’t complain. i just praise the Lord for the internet!! the best part of the whole service, though, was a part of it that i usually dismissed as unimportant. this week though.. it was amazing. at the end of the service, as a means of dismissal, pastor jeff says “let us stand together and i’ll pray a blessing over all of us.” typically, that just means “get up, it’s time to leave” for me. but this week, when i stood up, i knew that 4,000 miles away, there was a whole congregation standing with me. and that the blessing wasn’t just prayed over the people in that room, but over me too. because i am part of a community. one that cares enough about its congregation to extend a sense of belonging and welcoming all the way around the world. words cannot express what that truly meant to me.
that evening, i cooked dinner in the kitchen on my floor as usual. this week has illuminated a pattern that i’ve come to love. the usual dinner crew is a lovely mix of irish, canadian, and american students. we all get along famously. and after dinner, we usually just sit around the countertops and talk about random stuff for a couple hours. they’ve really made this place feel like a home. i hate to say it, but i think i like the dorm life here more than i do at home.. (sorry TK). the ability to gather in a kitchen is something you just can’t beat (even with a sweet theme song).
monday morning rolled around much, much too early. and by that i mean, i had a class at 10:30. i woke up around 9:30 (painful, considering how late i was up) and got ready for an epic battle of a class. on paper, it doesn’t seem so bad. “histoire de l’art” – art history. except it’s a level two course. and, oh yeah, it’s taught in french. i think the only thing that saved me was that i had studied art history in high school, so i had a little bit of a boost. the professor is so awesome! he’s this little, middle-aged french man with a moustache and large round glasses. he wears a long coat and scarf while he lectures. and he totally calls people out in class. it’s great, because it makes the 30 person “amphi” class seem very engaged. we talked about the renaissance artist rafael and some of his works. it seems like that class will mostly be memorization. which might be all i can handle, considering i have to catch every bit of the lecture, take notes, make sure what i’m writing is actually what the professor said, and THEN memorize it. yeesh. there are a few other foreign students in there, though, so we have a small support group.
the rest of monday was spent running errands, eating at the RU (“restaurant universitaire” – cafeteria), and – yet again – making dinner with the usual group. we were going to watching a movie, but ended up talking –again! – until it was way past our bedtimes. definitely sensing a trend here. it’s just so hard to tear myself away from great conversations though! and since we’re all new to each other, there’s always so much to talk about and learn from each other. maybe by the end of the semester, we’ll have normal bedtimes. :)
today was also pretty relaxing. my schedule is working out so that i don’t have classes on tuesdays or fridays, which is great! i got up this morning and showered before heading to the RU for lunch with djamel and his friend wecim. i ate the french version of a pig in a blanket, which is pretty much a regulation-sized hot dog inside a croissant. not bad at all. the rest of the afternoon was more errands – it takes a lot to get settled in a new country!! i picked up my debit card from the bank, got my foreign insurance situation figured out, and ate a tarte aux framboise (essential to the errands, i promise). i was going to go get my library card at the english speaking library, but i’d left the always necessary ID photos in my room.. merde. back to campus i went, without a single book. ah well. same story with dinner, except today i had BRINNER! cereal, banana with peanut butter/nutella, yogurt.. the works. it was delicious. around 9:30, we went to a bar called “l’abbeye” for a friend’s birthday. we ended up staying until midnight, just talking and having a good time. i’d say about 85% of the conversation i had was in french – win! and even more of a win, they were playing a rerun of the blackpool/man united match! and the tv they had was AWESOME. it was a giant projected screen, inside this super ornate and pretty gilded frame. it was wonderful. midnight rolled around, and we took the bus back to campus. nights like tonight make me so happy to be abroad – good people, good conversation, good atmosphere.. “ici, la vie est belle.” life is beautiful here.

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