Home Sweet Home

A wise man said to me last year “Are you having fun? Because that’s all that matters… Soon it will all just be a distant memory”.

This quote has stuck with me ever since. While in many ways I am sad to say that my time in France is now a memory, I am also very happy to be on American soil with the ones I love. There really isn’t a way to fully describe my experience but just know, I had the time of my life!

I discovered this song on the radio while driving around yesterday. It’s perfect so I have to share. It’s amazing how many new songs you hear when you don’t listen to the radio for over 2 months!

 

4,286 miles from home

2,233 pictures taken

482 times someone spoke French to me and I felt absolutely stranded on how to communicate with them (ok, this is a made up number but seriously there is nothing that makes you feel more hopeless)

58 days spent abroad

55 pounds of luggage to bring back home

48 students in the Purpan summer program

21 years of life under my belt now

15 Boilermakers who participated in the program (largest number from one university)

8 Skype calls to America while gone

7 flights to get me to and from France

5 voicemails on my phone when I finally got to turn in off of airplane mode after 2 months

4 wonderful family members to greet me at the airport when I got home at 11pm

2 surprise visits upon my homecoming

Countless: The amount of fun I had during this experience abroad

Showing off our new free hats we got in Paris to our family!
Showing off our new free hats we got in Paris to our family!
It's never felt so good to see Indianapolis and of course my family
It’s never felt so good to see Indianapolis
There's no place like home
There’s no place like home

Some things I’ve learned.(aka I’m out of creative title ideas)

Americans are loud. Put us in a group larger than 4 and it can actually be kind of embarrassing how loud we are when we talk amongst each other around here.

Candy Crush is universal. I can’t lie, I played it regularly while abroad! 5 hour train/bus rides with nothing but music and candy crush that works on my phone… I’m bound to crush some candy. I’m not the only one though! Everywhere we went I saw someone playing it as well.

Nutella IS fantastic! I had tried it once before I left and didn’t think much of it. It became a staple in my diet abroad because I love it so much now. Nutella crepes are to die for!

There are no squirrels?! I did not see ONE!! I finally asked  a French friend and he told me there were in rural areas but in my time in the countryside I did not see one squirrel so I’m going to say there are none until I have proof.

The way French people say super is super. I can’t reenact it but is really is great.

Engineer doesn’t mean the same thing here. Being from Purdue I’m used to our meaning of engineer (AKA nerd… just kidding!). The best way I can describe it is that having an engineering degree (in whatever your major is) from a university in France is the equivalence of having a masters degree in America.

I’ve changed…… Don’t worry!! I’m still the same crazy Kelly I’ve always been but I am proud to say I can sleep with no blanket on AND I woke up to an alarm on my phone every morning for almost 60 days. If you know me and my sleeping habits you know this is a major change.

Foosball is called little foot. Just in case you ever need to know that for your everyday life.

If you study abroad you might want to consider investing in 2 converters. I’m not high maintenance but it would have been helpful to have two sometimes. You are so busy creating memories and running around that you hardly spend time in your room. When you are in your room, EVERYTHING needs charged and your hair needs done and someone needs to borrow your converter because theirs doesn’t work (it’s a vicious cycle). You’ve got to keep that camera ready for action! A shorter program like this you could get by with just one but if you are doing a semester I think that would be a solid investment.

Quote it

Most of these probably won’t make sense to you readers but this blog is my way to remember the things that happened while I was abroad. There has been some seriously good times and laughter the past couple of weeks that I definitely don’t want to forget. Sometimes we were slap-happy, exhausted, or just plain goofy but we definitely had a great time!

“You guys are a… special school.” –Jayce within about 5 hours of meeting Nicole, Nick, Laurissa, and myself. What can I say… Purdue has a good time!

Our motto: “When in Toulouse you’ve got nothing to lose”

“I just hope that someday someone looks at me the same way that Nick looks at his food….”

“THERE’S NO ATTRACTIVE WAY TO RUN WITH A BACKPACK!!!” –This was running to catch the tram before it left the station on our way to Marseille. It was interesting with all of our luggage but it had to be hilarious to watch. We made it!

“Up until 45 minutes ago, you thought we were here for a rugby match…” -Nicole to me

“My brother taught me how to talk to girls and my sister taught me how to keep them” – Jayce

“… beer, cheese, chocolate, and THEN boys.” This is the logic of a French friend of mine.

“My mom sent me a picture of her watermelon because she thinks I’m some sort of watermelon goddess.”

“I woke up and thought there was blood all over my pillow!…. It was chocolate” This is the result of a good Purparty

“Some say, hide yo kids, hide yo wife, we say, hide yo nutella, hide yo chocolate”  …. You would have had to understand the YouTube reference here but we definitely had to hide the Nutella and chocolat (that’s how it is spelled in French) from each other a couple of times

“It tastes like basement!” Cheese tasting day was interesting to say the least. Lots of strong cheeses that we weren’t used to.

“I’ll normally just take my Clydesdales but if I need a low rider, I’ll just ride my bear!” You know… there’s really nothing that can explain this one, you had to be there.

“MASSIVE HEAR ATTACK! That’s how I want to go… Aorta artery just BURST!!” –Nick: He has high goals for himself obviously.

“So much pollen, so little Claritin” -Nicole

“…and there was a baguette under my bed. ” –Nicole….huh?

“Your accent is delicious!” –French man about Laurissa trying to speak French

Truths about studying abroad that you probably know but need to be said again

You will spend more money than you thought you would. Euro to dollars conversions will get you but how can you resist those crepes? It happens and you have the rest of your life to make money. Sometimes memories cost money and this is okay.

You will miss home. Don’t even pretend you won’t. There really is no place like home, it’s just fun to explore the world around you every now and then.

Living in a 6 hour time difference from everyone stinks sometimes. There were many times I told friends goodnight as I was getting up for the day. Really it can just be kind of inconvenient

That high school language class? Yeah, take it seriously! It’ll come in handy.. There is no worse feeling than hopelessly trying to communicate with someone that you can’t understand a word they are saying.

You will have stories to tell that nobody can understand how amazing the experience felt, your pictures won’t do the views justice, and you will have the time of your life. Hands down, guaranteed.

Thanksgiving in July

While I was definitely already appreciative of the following things, participating in a program like this makes the appreciation even stronger. As I come home next week, these are a few of the things I am cherishing a little more than before (this list could actually be much more extensive but I’m going with my Top 5).

#1. Parents who raised me to be flexible and enjoy life no matter the situation. I’m human, so naturally I complain sometimes. Sometimes I am probably to flexible and it makes it frustrating for people to make decisions because I have trouble expressing my opinions. However when in a large group of people or a tough situation, being flexible helped me to have a more enjoyable time.

#2 Agriculture: I have had a passion for agriculture my entire life. I now have an even deeper appreciation for American agriculture and agriculture around the world. We don’t see eye to eye on many things and I don’t anticipate that we will come to an agreement anytime soon. However we all have a common goal, keeping our people fed. We can point fingers, look down upon each other, and fight about disagreements. In the end we all have flaws, we all make mistakes, and no country’s practices are perfect. That can be said about more things than just agriculture, in my opinion.

#3 Hugs: They are considered very “intimate” here and are not acceptable. Instead they do side kisses…. Makes sense? Not that I want to go hugging strangers by any means but some days having a big hug from certain people can make days a lot brighter and I look forward to returning home to those!

#4 Unlimited refills at restaurants: If I am eating at a restaurant, it means I’m on the move. When I’m on the move, naturally I get thirty. Even in McDonald’s here there is no such thing as a free refill. In some cases you can get water refilled but it never seems to be enough to quench us thirsty Americans. Also… I could really go for a Den Pop right now.

#5. Purdue University and the “Big Move Study Abroad” Scholarship: I love my university and I’ve been a Boilermaker from birth. The scholarships that they have made available for students who desire to study abroad are incredible. After talking with other participants of this summer program from around the United States it is clear, hands down (or should I say hammers down?), that Purdue has the most support. They have made a huge investment in our future by offering these scholarships and for that I am ever grateful, ever true.

Living the Dream

July has been a crazy month! I know I have been blogging but I ‘ve been pretty vague on what I am actually doing. My days are spent traveling to visit students on their internship. This is to check on them and make sure everything is going smoothly but also to take pictures of videos of them working. I have visited kiwi farms, vineyards, a horse farm, and more vineyards!! Djamel will also tell you that my second internship is for music. He quizzes me on all of the classic music and artists that play on the radio station named “Nostalgia” as we drive around. He will also tell you that I have failed this portion!  I guess I need to brush up on my Elton John and Madonna…

Students will be returning to Toulouse at the end of the week to give small presentations about their internships to the rest of the participants. Then Nick, Laurissa, Nicole, and myself are Indiana bound this next weekend! I have had the opportunity to see some beautiful little villages and towns this month. While this list doesn’t include the towns I have driven through along the way, below is a list where I have made some stops the last couple of weeks to visit other Purpan students.

Sarrecave

Cazères

Mayran

Albi

Rodez

Mazères

Haute-Garonne

Moncaup

Flaugnac

Puisseguin

Castelnau-d’Estrétefonds

Rabastens

Sauveterre de Guyenne

This little girl was such a treat! Giggles and smile have no language barrier :)
This little girl was such a treat! Giggles and smile have no language barrier :)
Meeting all the different dogs has easily become one of my favorite parts!
Meeting all the different dogs has easily become one of my favorite parts!
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." -Henry David Thoreau
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” -Henry David Thoreau
Doing work!
Doing work!
Vines on vines on vines
Vines on vines on vines
Which way do you want to go now?...
Which way do you want to go now?…
Our car. It is a Citroën
Our car. It is a Citroën

Let’s Tell the World!

 

Our three day weekend was filled with many laughs and memories we will never, ever forget. We drove the country side of France with country music and windows down, visited a couple of random towns, sat by the Garrone and chilled, Viri lost her sandal in the water (got it back), we visited Leah in her internship and finished our weekend with fireworks for Bastille Day. There really isn’t words that could describe just how much fun we had so I made a video really quick to show everyone through pictures and videos our great weekend!

The adventures of studying and working abroad

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