France, and Dublin

I am really busy, I love it.

This blog is going to be scattered, my apologies.

Let’s start with the most recent. I put up my notice at work. I will be done September 30th. I feel like I have met my goals of getting overseas experience, and now I am lingering. I have an interview to be a chalet host in the French Alps for the winter, I need more mountains in my life 🙂

I wrote an email to a few relatives basically saying that after much persuasion from my supervisor to tell my parents I was leaving the country. Jenny knew, to be fair. But yeah, wrote the email, guns blazing, waiting for the response I was expecting, then, everyone was on my team and I just looked silly venting to my roomate. Haha

Today at work, while cleaning one of the operating theaters, I attached a hobble to the hoist, sat in it, and moved myself inside and outside of the rooms while being at least 15 ft off the ground. Like Mary Poppins, but in scrubs. Then I looked for parasites under a microscope, all negative,fun. Then sat in the tea room for two hours making suture needles ( I thread small string through a needle, recap the needle, put in a bag. Used to suture IV catheters to horses, and we always run out).

Lets talk about FRANCE!

Just amazing. I took the night bus (normal bus, but at night…no bed) from London Victoria to Paris. We all had to get on the ferry at Dover, and I was the last one to get back on any bus because I didn’t bother to remember where it was parked. After sleeping a few more hours with my head tilted at  90 degree angle, we arrived! 11:30pm-9:00 am . Never again. Got on the metro, dropped my bag at the hostel, but couldn’t take a nap because check in was at two pm. So I got back on the metro and stopped at the Eiffel Tower, walked along past the museums, through the little lanes with shops and cafes, then got back to the hostel. I napped for an hour, then sat talking with other people. I think I went to sleep at three am. I can’t sleep in anymore, so I was up at seven thirty to take advantage of the free breakfast.  Loaded up on croissants, baguettes, coffee, cereal, orange juice, and I guess some water 🙂 Then walked all day. Had a small baguette for dinner with cheese. Only 2 euros, and the bread was always still warm. This basically happened the whole time I was in Paris. Except day two, I ran up a long flight of stairs five times, did some bench workouts, then got lost trying to get back to the hostel. My last night in paris, I went and saw the Eiffel tower at night with an aussie from the hostel. He bought me ice cream and 1/2 a dozen of roses.  t was a fake date, because we were all sitting in the hostel complaining about how romantic it could be, so we just pretended. It was actually really fun, and funny. The last morning, I had breakfast, of course, and went to a cafe with a girl that was really special to her because she went there ten years ago with her dad. I paid four euros for an espresso, shame. I took the train to Caen, and stopped into where I booked three nights through airbnb ( a website that you can rent rooms/apartments/yachts/treehouses/ a couch) since there wasn’t a hostel. My plan was to take the shuttle down to where I was supposed to be everyday, but when I checked in at the main volunteer center they said that was a terrible idea. So they randomly found me a host down in the Sartilly area. So I got my uniform, looked at the castle ect, and went back to the house. The host fed me cake as I was explaining what was happening. So I paid for three nights, but got free accommodation somewhere else. Fair enough. I took the shuttle down the next day to the endurance site. Glad I didnt have to do the 1.5 hour bus ride multiple times. The event was pretty disorganized, but it all worked out. I randomly walked in, with all my uniform and everything ready to go, and the rest of the group had been there since a full day yesterday, done nothing, and dint have a uniform. I looked really on top of things. There was free espresso, and candy, and Evian, all day. With lunch and Dinner. The pre vetting started, I saw a few people from the US team that I know, and was stuck with the Brazilian vet that kept proposing marriage to me. I told him he didn’t make enough money. Haha. The UAE team had there own tent/mansion set up, with fire pits, security, bar, lounge, everything. The whole team came by an enormous boat that was parked somewhere on the coast, and was a temporary tourist attraction. I left that night with Claudine, my new host, who was a volunteer of pointing people in the right direction. She took me around Granville, bought me a delicious dinner with wine and dessert right on the coast, and drove around more. We got back to her house in the dark and I went straight to sleep. She had her neighbor take me to the ride site the next morning since we both had to be in separate places early. His name is Claud, and he didn’t speak a lot of english, so it was a quiet drive there, until I started pronouncing road signs, he thought it was hilarious. Claudine spoke really good english, as she was a teacher her whole life. She was very very sweet. Anyway, I went and got my free breakfast, and watched the start of the race. I really don;t know why so many people were here to watch, as it’s a pretty bad spectator sport. There was a big screen by the tent I hung out at all day, where the helicopters were following people, and it had good shots of the riders with Mont St. Michel in the background. I ate candy and espresso and evain all day, and I felt bad, because Claudine wanted to cook me dinner, but I just coudln’t do it. She would feed me in the morning with Brioche, baguette, espresso, and Camembert cheese. It was yummy! The ride was a 21% completion….not so great. The horses all started getting tired pretty early in the ride. All the top riders at one point through the day came through my vet tent, my favorite horse was from the Netherlands. Anyway, the UAE team won, go figure, and there was quite a ruckus at the tent. They were all kissing the rider on his shoulder and dancing. He would not leave his horse though. Not just a victory and walk away, you could tell he actually cared, which really changed my opinion of how that team works. I decided that I didn’t want to stick around till late, so I left, since horses were coming in one at a time, they didn’t need me. The next morning, Claud, Claudine, and myself had our bread and cheese and jam breakfast, looked around their beautiful gardens, and drove through all the beautiful backroads of Normandy. Then we looked out at the Mont St. Michel from the “most beautiful kilometer in France” Then she took me back to the endurance ride where they were doing the BC judging, I said my goodbyes, and took the shuttle back to Caen. They were such nice people, I have been sending her a few emails here and there just to stay in touch. She is divorced, and I think she has a cute litttle romance with Claud. You can tell they are in love. She told me that she was so glad I came to stay with her. Her daughter has  been going through chemotherapy, awaiting a bone marrrow transplant ( I was able to translate that!) and she hasn’t really had time to go out, or have dinner, or a different conversation with someone. I wish them the best luck with everything.


Got back to Caen, got the bag, dropped the house keys in the mail slot, and walked to the train back into Paris. Then the fast train that tilts into Lyon. I arrived in Lyon around midnight, and asked a nearby security guard where I find the hostel (pointing at an address in my tourist book) he did a lot of movements with his hands ( zero english) and I must have looked really confused because he smiled, picked up my massice bag, and started walking, I followed him back into the station where we got into the furnicular to head up the steep hill. I was joined by another security guard, so I had one of each side of me. in the car. Then we walked out, took a few turns, and made it to the hostel. He dropped my bag at the front door, said voila, and they both headed back. That was handy! I paid for one night, and passed out. Got my free breakfast in the AM. It wasn’t the best hostel, but the view was amazing.

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Just sitting on the patio drinking espresso, looking out onto the city. I showered, checked out, and hit the streets! In a nutshell, I went everywhere. Then I came back, got my bag, and got the train to Annecy. I didn’t reserve a room for this hostel, and it’s the only one in the town. People I met in paris told me it was really good though. It was a bit of a mess finding it, and when I got there, I found out they were full…..but they set up a tent for me on the lawn! They do that when it’s full apparently. They were also having a huge BBQ party in the yard, and we were all up till about three in the morning. The tent was great. No sweaty muggy hostel room, just a clear, fresh morning to wake up to. I rented a bike, and rode it around the whole lake. I hadn’t seen it yet, and I somehow did a loop back to the hostel on accident because of my navigation skills. I finally went the right way, and it was just spectacularP1020790.

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I started in a second loop of the lake, sat and had coffee and a panini right on the lake,then headed back to the hostel. I went for a hike after that through the pretty mountains, and caught a great view. Then sat in the little city, and drank coffee. The next morning, I had some cereal from the “free food” area since they didn’t do breakfast. I had enough time to sit in the park bu the lake and just soak up the scenery before I moved on to Chamonix. The trip there I was tapping my feet on the train in excitement. Not to mention all the train journeys are just so beautiful. I changed trains to get up into Chamonix, and the view. Just wow. I did another airbnb for where I was staying, dropped my stuff, picked up a baguette, and hit the mountains. I took the Gondola up halfway to Mt Brevent, then hiked the rest of the way. There were so many hikers and climbers, just hanging off the side of cliffs, as you do. I made my way back down, had a coffee in one of the mountain chalets looking out at Mont Blanc. Then I went back to the house. I hung out at a bar just down the road, and met some really nice french and spanish people.. I was out really late!! The next morning, I had to peel myself away from the bakery, and I hit the mountains! I started my hike at 9, and got back at three. the trail was perfect, and had ladders and ropes to get down! I ended up at a train station and rolled back into Chamonix where I took a nap on a grassy lawn by the river. Then I got showered and went out. I bumped into a man that owns a chalet business that I shared a gondola with the day before coming down the mountain. Hes english, and  does ultra running. Everyone there basically made me feel lazy and chubby. Oh well!! He bought me a drink, then I went to bed because I was super tired!! I woke up early AGAIN so that I could take the gondola up to Auguile Du Midi, to get the best view of Mont Blanc. Its also the biggest elevation gaining gondola in…Europe? Basically, it was so so so so cool. Breathtaking. Literally, I was out of breath walking up stairs. All the climbers were getting ready, there were people getting filmed. Then me. Not climbing/hiking. My to-do list just got bigger. It was also a huge accomplishment for me not to do any shopping at all the millions of outdoor gear shops.. Pat on the back, I sat and had coffee in the cafe at the top of the mountain, and saw my train was leaving in a hour, so I made my way back down.

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Took the train to Avignon, Provence. Talked to a guy on the tilt train while sitting on my bag in between two cars ( You have to reserve a seat on fast trains, 18 Euro, no thanks.) I am getting really good at speaking simple sentences, it comes easy, since I don’t know any big words anyway!  Got into Provence, and I had accidently rented my own loft for four nights!! It was a bit boring since it was just me. I was seconds away from Les Halles, a famous food market. Yeah, I bought some salmon and veg, but I hit the bakeries too. Too much. It was all so yummy! I also treated myself to a french restaurant where I had duck and such. My food budget kindof got  a bit messed up….I also bought some spices 🙂 I walked around the town a lot. sat in the sun, I also did a day trip to Pont Du Guard, and a day trip to Marseille ( which was crap. I just wanted to see the sea). Avignon was nice, I should have stayed longer in the mountains, but of well.

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Sunday Morning, I woke up, and had to find out how I was going to get home, since I was back at work the next day…So I used my last day on my Train pass to get to Nimes to go to the airport…I got off the train, and couldnt figure out what bus goes to the airport, so I was lucky enough to get to go talk to the world’s most handsome police officer, who spoke no english. I finally sorted out where the shuttle stops ect. and him and his fellow police friend would come out, say a few words, we would laugh, then they would disappear. The cleaner man at the station (also no english) would come out and hide behind a pillar and yell “HELLOOOO” then pop out and smile at me. The shuttle finally showed up, and I waved goodbye to the officers and cleaner person. hahaha.

Then I spent 230 Euro on a last minute RyanAir flight. It was like the big pinch after a nice dream. Yuck.

Flew into Luton, bus to train, train into St. Pancras, then back up to Potters bar. Sleep.

The week went by alright. I was on call thursday, ended up going to sleep at 2 am on the residents couch. Then was in at seven, did my 8-4 shift, rode my bike home, moved stuff out of my France bag, into my backpack, took a shower, and went with Lisa and Sophie to Kate’s house for Pre dublin movie night. Lisa had moved out of the house while I was in France ( now living with her boyfriend and working at Newmarket Equine hospital)  and we had all planned an Irlenad trip ages ago. Sophie wasn’t going, just wanted to watch a movie. Kate and verena worked with Lisa at RVC on a research project. Verena was already in Dublin. We all stayed at kates house because we had to be up at three AM to get to Luton to make our plane. We arrived in Dublin at seven, and the three of us had coffee and scones ( I had a croissant because I’m still in France mode) at a cafe that I went to when I first came to Dublin!! we met up with Verena at the hostel, dropped our bags. I bought a new shirt from The north face store that we were staying next to. I just had to, it was right there… I somehow was the navigator, but it was so exciting to bring people through all the places I had been too and they were all really happy. We stopped at a mexican burrito bar (per my request) and they had a paleo box on the menu!! So I just had to get it, because I had enough bread. We sat in a park and ate, then napped. Then walked, then got ready to go out.

Then I drank alot. I managed to take my shoes off.

Next morning, we got our FREE BREAKFAST and hit the streets to go to the botanical garden. I told them to load up so we dont have to buy food, but by 12 sharp we had a couple complaints. Its about a 45 min walk to the garden, so they stopped at a McDonalds, and I bought a tub of greek yogurt from tesco and put blueberries in it. Finally made it to the garden, went through all the greenhouses, took a nap by a river, and headed back into the city. Then we sat at a cafe and watched homeless women get in a fight….did some more walking, then went to a mongolian BBQ for dinner before leaving. I love mongolian bbqs! I hadn;t been to one since I moved out of Reno. Basically you get a bowl, and you fill it with raw meat ( choose pork, chicken , prawns, steak, or all of it. ) then add veg ( like pak choy, spinach, peppers, onions, leeks, bean sprouts) add noodles, spices, and marinades, then bring it to the guy at the grill and he woks all of it!! It was all you can eat too. I made one that was almost all meat, then spinach, one that was like a surf and turf but way too spicy ( i drank a whole jug of water) Then the last one was meat and veg with a boat load of garlic  veg, spices, peanuts, shredded coconut, amazingness. I think I enjoyed it the most because I have a basic understanding of woking things and what works with what. Then we took the shuttle to the airport, left Dublin at 10, landed at 11:05, drove back to the house by 12:15 Woke up, ate cupcakes, worked took a nap on my desk, almost fell off my bike, got home. and here I am. I am going to bed now.