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Hello Everyone. For those who celebrate it, I hope you had an enjoyable thanksgiving.

I got a new macbook last week and have decided to use their software to write my blog posts. That being said, my new blog is located at www.nharceg.com

You will still receive emails when I update my blog but this is more of a website with a photo album and some other things I can add. This switch will also make updates easier once I get to china.

There is already a new blog post waiting for you there so go to www.nharceg.com and click the "travel blog" button!

-Nathan

Posted by harcegnt 06:14 Comments (0)

Elbows ON the table, Mabel

57 °F
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I hope that you enjoyed the pictures of the living room and foyer. Now, I will delight you with pictures of the Dining room. Like before, because of the shape and size of the rooms it is hard to get pictures of the whole room but I have pictures of different portions.

Here is the Dining room table. I eat dinner here every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday with Wade, Davis, Helen and Madame. A few times, Madame's family has come over and we have managed to squeeze 10 around the table.

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This bookshelf is in the Dining room and Madame recently moved it from another wall to this wall. How she did it, I still have no idea. The shelf holds lots of old books, family pictures, and some of her extensive silver collection.

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This is a picture of the corner of the dining room with the fireplace. Next to it on the right is the doors to go out onto the balcony.

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The De Sars family has a Chateau in the French Country side and that is where Mr. De Sars lives. From what I have been told, they got married very young and do not really get a long. Because of their family status and traditional values, it would look bad if they got a divorce so instead Madame lives in Paris and Mr. De Sars lives in the country side. There are pictures of the country house hanging in the Dining Room. This is the best I could get

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This is a picture looking out from the Dining Room into the Living Room

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Now that I am on the topic of Dining, I will take this opportunity to share with you a few quirks about eating in France.

First off, French people do not like when they can not see both of your hands when eating. It is rude to not have both hands present and they will wonder what you are doing with your other hand of it is not visible. It seems a little strange because what do you with the other hand? Well, you put your elbows on the table and your other hand is either resting on the table or holding a piece of bread.

As far as bread goes, it belongs on the table. The entire baguette, present at every meal, sits on the table. The French do not feel that it belongs on the plate. It is said that this goes back to the times when the bread was the actual plate. So, the bread belongs on the table, never on the plate.

Most meals are multiple courses and everything is not on the table at once. You eat one thing, it is cleared and another course comes. Dinner is always followed by dessert and often times Breakfast and Lunch also have something sweet following them.

French really isn't all that different when it comes to eating rituals but those are a few things I have noticed, not everything.

I am leaving for London tonight so look forward to some exciting posts next week and also pictures of the Kitchen and Bathroom. As requested, I also have pictures of the supermarket I shop at.

Au revoir.

Posted by harcegnt 12:39 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Mon Maison

rain 41 °F
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So it has been almost three months and while I have provided you with pictures of my bedroom, I never did show you what the main house is like. Simmer down though, because today is going to be your lucky day. I managed to remember to bring my camera downstairs with me and snap a few pictures. Naturally, a few pictures, turned into over 40 so in an attempt to maximize your reading pleasure, I have decided to spread them over the next few days.

Today, I will delight you with pictures of the entry and living room. I was not in the mood to go to the main lobby of the building so you will just have to make do with beginning at the front door to the house. Maybe, if you are nice, later this week I will snap a few photos of the lobby, which in my opinion is quite stunning.

The main house is located on the 6th floor, which is really the 7th (Remember, the 1st floor is 0 in France). So, you can either choose to take the (tiny) elevator up or climb the stairs. The stairs are an excellent choice in their ability to provide training and conditioning for your upcoming climb up Mt. Everest. They are beautiful though with their marble base, red carpet, and wrought iron railings.

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Mine is the only apartment on the top floor. This a picture of the front door. Unfortunately the image did not capture the mail sitting on the doormat. While my encounters with the French Post have not been so pleasant, they are nice enough to provide delivery service to your doorstep.

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Once entering into the apartment you will be in the foyer. To your left would be Madame's desk and computer and to the right would be the hallway leading to the bathroom and main bedrooms. Unfortunately due to the size of the room it is hard to get decent pictures.

Here is a picture looking into the foyer from the living room

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And here is a picture looking down the hallway that is to your right when you enter the apartment.

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Looking past the foyer, you will be presented with the Living Room. It is the center of the house.

This is the view looking straight in from the foyer.

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If you walked straight into the room towards those window/doors this would be on your right

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And you would see this out the window.

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After looking out at the view if you turned around and looked back towards the foyer, this is what you would see

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She just bought that new TV about two weeks ago to replace a rather outdated one. She is obsessed with CSI Miami, Bones, and any James Bond Movie.

Here is a better photo of the fireplace in the living room. Notice all of the intricate details on the walls and trim. The apartment is over 150 years old and these details are all hand carved. You can see them in other photos as well.

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On the walls, there are a drawn portraits of her kids as children and there are also two pictures of older men. I am sure I told you that her husband has royal lineage. I do not remember which is which, but these are pictures of her husbands great grandfather and great great grandfather, one hangs over the TV and one hangs over the sofa.

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That is about it for the foyer and living room.

In the next post I will show you pictures of the Dining room and use that time to discuss with you French eating habits and table manners.

Posted by harcegnt 23:28 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

That Squiggly Line

overcast 45 °F
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Isn't it sad that I am in one of the food capitals of the world and all I can dream about is American food?

Even before we arrived in Paris, the IES team had been preparing us for the roller coaster of emotions we would feel before, during, and after our time abroad. IES has been organizing study abroad groups for over 60 years, so they really are the experts on this.

For the first two weeks in Paris they kept pushing this chart in our faces. It seemed like I was constantly looking at this piece of paper with a line squiggled across it, intended to resemble a roller coaster, with its rises and falls. On said chart there was a certain point where the novelty begins to wear off.

I think I have ultimately reached that point.

Not that I have been looking forward to it, but I knew it was inevitably coming. Its just like I woke up one day and the excitement of living in a foreign country and meeting new people, didn't seem so exciting any more.

Don't get me wrong, I love Paris and I am truly having the time of my life, but that's just it, its life now. I am no longer on some new adventure and I don't see new things every day.

At this point in the game, my Parisian life is really just routine.

It hasn't been until this point, with the quickly approaching holiday, that I have begun to miss home. Not being home for Thanksgiving has had me missing other things about American life as well. Of course I miss my family and friends but I also miss the fall weather of Charlotte, driving my car down with the sunroof open and radio up. I miss the taste of a big greasy piece of pizza. I miss being able to get whatever I want at any time of the day, oh how I miss Wal-Mart. I miss my bed and my shower, and I really miss my blackberry.

I love my life in Paris and I wouldn't trade a minute of the experience but yes, I would say I have reached the point they had warned us would come.

On Friday evening, I am taking the last train bound for London. I would say that is as close as one can get to America, in Europe. I am determined to eat a giant Burger King burger and hunt down some Reese's while I am there.

Posted by harcegnt 07:30 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Thank You For Lying

storm 130 °F
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Anyone remotely close to me knows how much I love my car. I mean hell, how could I not love the car I spent 90,000 miles driving over the past two years. While I may not pay the payment or the insurance on the car I pay for every repair on that car. She has an oil change and tire rotation the minute that little light comes on. I have taken extreme care of that car, to the point that some of my friends considered me obsessive. I drive it so carefully I got over 92,000 miles out of all 4 original tires.

Understandably I had some reservation leaving the car in the hands of my newly (as in that month) licensed sister as I jetted off to Paris for four months. And I guess I had reason to be...

These are the pictures that I just discovered. The pictures that my family has been hiding from me because they contain evidence of a lie they have been telling me. I can't even count the times I have asked my parents how my car is doing since I have been gone. They always respond "good" "nothing is wrong" and "She barely even drives it" You are all liars. Even my own grandma lied to me!

You weren't doing me any favors by hiding this from me. You only made it worse, I promise.

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I am very disappointed in every single person who knew about this and didn't tell me. I am even more disappointed in those who lied to me when I asked though.

Posted by harcegnt 21:23 Archived in USA Tagged women Comments (0)

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