Saturday, February 4, 2017

Roll Along Second Semester

Roll Along Second Semester
muito obrigada / muchas gracias to these two lovelies who have made adjusting to second semester
without all of our friends so much easier on me 

I’ve been here (in Europe) for 161 days. It sounds insignificant when I say it like that… I fly home to Ohio in 86 days. It sounds fleeting when I say it like that… 

So if you’re better at fractions than Kelsey, you’ll do the quick math and notice I’ve been here for almost 2/3rds of my stay.


(I've been behind on the blog, but bear with me as I'm trying to adjust to a whole new life again) 

Recent highlights from January included

1. My soccer team advanced to the semifinals in the Coupe de France

I still don't really understand "EM Buscade" or "Ol'empians", but they cheer us on religiously
& I like stealing their photos, so I can share evidence of our 2 - 0 win over ESSEC Business School
Somehow our motley crew has become a respectable team, and we've advanced to the next round of the Coupe de France. By my understanding (more than partially drawn from Google Translate), this is the tournament where we compete to be the best women's soccer team out of all of the French business schools. 

Now we'll continue practicing twice a week, and working hard to prepare for our next match. If we do well enough, we have the potential to play in the finals in the end of April... I'm not sure what our odds of advancing look like, but I'll do my best to guard the net and we'll see. Finishing out my time abroad by playing in a finals soccer tournament would be quite an experience... I definitely have no regrets that I've joined this team, and I really do feel embraced and supported by my teammates although I still can't speak their language. 

2. Classes starting back into full swing

My classes this semester are going well. It's another semester of too many group projects and too little time, but the good thing is that we're all used to it by now. We do our best to get together, but when we can't groups are good about allocating work and communicating over group chats. Over the holidays I hadn't missed three hour long lectures, but these blocked lectures are what enable such a free travel schedule; I shouldn't complain too much. 

This semester I'm also taking Change Management (MGMT 4980) online from BGSU. I didn't know it would be possible to take courses online from BGSU while studying abroad, but I talked to a friend here who told me it was possible. By studying abroad in the dual degree program here, we are limited in the number of classes that transfer back because we also have to fill EM Strasbourg's requirements, so this is a good way for me to lighten my workload senior year. 

Classes, soccer, and travel keep me busy, but the extra online class from home fits into my schedule just fine.  This semester I'm enjoying a slightly slower social life, also, which makes these time commitments extremely manageable. 

 3. More friends from home came to visit

Chels, Rob, and I exploring Petite France in the rain
I have a few friends studying at Audencia Business School in Nantes, France this semester, so two of them came to visit me in Strasbourg before their semester starts (this week!). Rob came in a week early, and we took a long weekend trip to Switzerland. Chelsie, a best friend and future housemate, was only here for a couple days, but it gave me just enough time to show them both Strasbourg. I'm the closest mutual friend to Chelsie and Rob, and as they will be studying together and living next door to each other, it was a nice opportunity for us to all kick it and have some fun before they take on life on the other side of France. (Chels has already flooded her bathroom and blown the electricity for her entire floor of her apartment, so it sounds like it's going super well over there.)
Rob and me on the stairs up the cathedral
While they were here, I helped them set up their new phone plans with Free Mobile, and work out the kinks when Chelsie's phone didn't automatically work with the new SIM card. We also explored Petite France in the rain, and had amazing food at a couple places downtown. Even though the day was overcast so we had limited views, we walked to the top of the cathedral and took in what we could see of the city from the tippy top. 

Chels and I after lunch at my fave spaetzle restaurant, La Corde a Linge

My favorite part of having the pals in Strasbourg was definitely going to Au Brasseur and Jimmy's on a Tuesday night. My exchange friends and I love these places, and my BG friends and I definitely made the most of them. Jimmy's was predictably deserted, but I think that just encouraged us to try even harder to have a good time... and so we did. 
Here's a picture of Chels and I from Au Brasseur...
all other photographic evidence of this night is being forever withheld.

Except this picture of Rob behind the bar at Jimmy's... 

4. Weekend in Switzerland 

From the top of Mount Pilatus
The first weekend Rob was here, we decided to hit up Switzerland. We took on Zurich, Lucerne, and Geneva, and I can't say enough about the amazing weekend we had.


 The first time I took a run at Zurich, the friend I was meeting was having a terrible day (food poisoning type sick, lost passport, etc.), so it was a low key disappointment. This time Rob and I enjoyed a great walking tour of Old Town, and he's determined to come back with Chelsie for the Sechseläuten celebration our tour guide told us about.  


I think we both agreed our day in Lucerne was the most exciting, although it was really more of a day in/on Mount Pilatus than Lucerne itself. We took the cable car to the top of the mountain, and went sledding down. It was an amazing experience, although I definitely underestimated the intensity of the sled ride down. We accidentally followed some locals, so the sled run ended up including a total of 3000ft of altitude by accident. Despite some bruising and the need to completely thaw at the hostel for a couple hours afterward, this was one of the coolest days of my life. Anyone who knows me well probably knows that the two hour nap in the middle of the afternoon only made me like this day even more. 

Mt. Pilatus Adventure

The whole time I was up there, I just couldn't stop thinking of how blessed I am to have these opportunities
 to see how amazing and beautiful these corners of the world can be.
College of Business water bottle keeping us hydrated at the top of the mountain.

Old Town Exploration (it was clearly amazing even in the dark)


We spent our last day in Geneva, and again it was just another perfect day. We stayed at City Hostel Geneva, which provided us free transportation passes, so we rode all of the public transit boats across Lake Geneva just because that seemed really fun. And it was. We went on another free walking tour, this time of International Geneva. Again, we found this tour very interesting and informative. In the evening we went on a quick walk of Old Town, and I tried to recall what I could of the detailed history Kelsey's great uncle JR had recited to the girls and I when he showed us around about a month ago. 
United Nations Office in Geneva
Broken Chair Memorial outside the United Nations
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Headquarters

Rob and I enjoyed this weekend immensely, although we both wish the trains, hostels, and restaurants in Switzerland resembled more closely the prices my friends spent last weekend in Bulgaria. I just keep reminding myself that this is my once in a lifetime chance to see these places... Although I'll need to try to forget how beautiful Lucerne was if I think I have a chance at staying away forever.

I hope you've enjoyed the pictures and the updates. I still don't go a day without missing my friends from last semester, but I do feel settled in to my new routine. Keep your eyes peeled for my next posts about my next adventures...  

  1. spring break trip to Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Oslo (February 17-26)
  2. reunion of last semester bests in Strasbourg (March 3-5 if schedules allow)
  3. St. Patrick's Day/ Ireland trip with BG friends (March 15-19)
  4. Tentative (Quick trip to Venice on an unexpected week off (March 26-29))
Love, Jules "Wander with wonder and the whole world becomes home." -Tyler Knott Gregson
took less than a day for accidentally matching... thank goodness we'll live together next year,
so we will likely be able to change before we leave the house in the same outfit.

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