A Travellerspoint blog

Smells Like Lemon

rain 40 °F
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Yes, I am still sick. It has been a few days now and it seems to get better during the day but then at night it is pretty bad. I wake up about every 2-3 hours. The mornings are the worst. This morning being [i]the[i] worst, with Sunday coming in at a close second.

But, once I got out of bed (at 1pm), opened my window and got some fresh air, I felt much better. I then continued to clean all of my dirty dishes, which led me to cleaning my entire room, which then led me to sanitize everything in sight. I took a nice hot shower and washed my sheets. My room is germ free now and smells lemony fresh.

While I was laying in bed earlier, I was admiring my collection of euro coins in my coin cup. They have 1 and 2 euro coins here, so some of the coins are very valuable. I began counting the coins and it turns out I have amassed a 45 euro collection. This is equal to about 70-75 us dollars in coins. Needless to say, I need to begin spending these coins.

It has been very cold and rainy here. So, not a bad day to spend in bed. I hope to be much better tomorrow.

Posted by harcegnt 18:31 Archived in France Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (1)

With The Weather On Top Of Me

sunny 52 °F
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Yes, I am under the weather. These past few days have been miserable.

It all began with a little cough on Thursday. I didn't think much of it at the time. On Friday morning it was a little bit worse but still bearable. I really should not have gone out with friends Friday evening but I did and Saturday when I woke up my cough was now accompanied by congestion and a piercing headache. I took some Advil to soothe the headache and all seemed to be getting better. I caught up on lost sleep and spent the day recovering.

Then my facebook seemed to explode with messages from everyone. They were all planning the nights festivities and I told them I would not be joining them as I wasn't feeling well. Ultimately, I gave into the peer pressure and headed out Saturday night. Big Mistake!

Sunday has been the worst day of my time in Paris. I only left my bed twice all day. I had the worst muscle aches and I could feel my throat throbbing from soreness. I had some hot soup and bread, but the comfort only lasted so long.

I slept all day. I would wake up every few hours from the coughing. At around 2am this morning I woke up in so much pain. I just laid in bed and cried myself back to sleep.

I woke up at noon today and took a hot shower and managed to eat some yogurt. A few of my friends from school came to check on me and brought me some medicine. I am very thankful for the medicine as I really was not up for going out to the pharmacy to try and buy medicine in French.

The medicine seems to be helping but I will have to see how the day progresses. If no improvement, I will have to call a Doctor. They make house calls here so at least I wont have to go out.

We only had one class today, which I clearly am not going to make it to. For some reason we don't have classes scheduled tomorrow, so I will also have that day to rest. Hopefully by Wednesday I will be well enough to go to school.

Posted by harcegnt 13:58 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

I hope that was lost in translation...

semi-overcast 50 °F
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That was all I could understand from the quick french that was spoken over the loudspeaker of the broken metro train I was sitting on. I was hoping that it was simply lost in translation and that "bomb" in fact would mean something entirely different in french.

It doesn't.

The morning had started off so nicely. I had no morning class so I go to sleep in until 10:30. I had a meeting with my academic adviser at IES at 11:30. My cellphone had died this morning so I figured I would leave it at charging in my apartment while I went to the meeting and retrieve it when I returned, along with my backpack and wallet, before quickly rushing off to class at NEGOCIA. I left my apartment this morning with only my metro pass and 10 euros in my pocket. Bad mistake.

It was a particularly cold morning. I was now even more thankful for the new jacket I bought a few weeks ago. I boarded line 3 and headed off to IES, switching over to line 13 about half way through the trip. Nothing out of the ordinary.

My meeting at IES was typical of the meetings I have been having every week since I got here. The academic portion lasted 15 minutes and then I had a meeting scheduled with the housing coordinator. This meeting ended up lasting longer than expected so I knew I was going to be in a rush to get home before making it to school on time. I knew that with no metro delays, I could make it.

Now, I should tell you that it is common for the metro to have problems. The problems rarely last longer than a few minutes though and service resumes as scheduled. I boarded line 13 and got off at Saint-Lazare (A very big station) to switch onto the 3. When I got to the platform there was a train there, which was convenient. Remember I told you I was in a hurry. I got on the train. We waited. And waited. waited some more. An announcement was made, some people got off. I stayed on and waited. I knew I was late now. I figured I would bypass going home first and just head straight for school, which is one metro stop past my house on the same line. After 15 minutes of waiting, the train finally started moving. We made it two stops and then the announcement. The announcement that sent panic through the station and ruined my entire afternoon.

What it said, I am still not quite sure. All I got out of it was BOMB......

In france, if someone leaves a bag unattended. It is considered to be a bomb. They halt the line. Take care of the problem and resume service. I knew this was different though because people were running. Most people were walking very fast, but many were running at a full sprint out the exits. It was mass chaos. People were getting trampled and groups were being separated. Police were trying to control the situation but I don't think they had much luck. Every one just wanted out.

At this point, I didn't care what exit I went out. I just wanted to get outside.

When I made it outside I had absolutely no idea where I was. My class was just starting and I was lost with no cell phone, no map, no credit cards and 10 euros in my pocket.

I tried locating a bus stop but I couldn't find one. Finally after about 20 minutes I managed to find one. At this point I didn't care where it took me. I just wanted to get on the bus and ride it until I got somewhere I recognized. The bus stop was filled with people because all metros had been shut down and all taxis were taken.

After waiting for two buses, I finally managed to squeeze onto a bus. There was a girl looking at a map next to me and I asked her in my broken french what stop I needed to switch at to catch the bus to Porte de Champert. After looking at the map, I figured out my route and thought I was in the clear. But that is just what I thought...

At one of the bus stops, everyone climbed aboard, and the bus didn't leave. Turns out that the doors on the bus would not close. Yes, the doors would not close.

Lets recap: The metro I was riding on was shut down because of a bomb. I battle the swarms of people and make it outside and furiously search for a bus. After finding said bus and managing to determine the route I need to take in order to reach school, the bus breaks.

Normally, we would just get off and wait for the next bus. But, you have to remember that this bus was crammed full of people and all the metros are stopped. Every bus that came could fit only two or three people. We had to wait 45 minutes for an empty bus to be sent out to us. Why so long? Well, because not only did the metro shut down and my bus break, but now all the stop lights in the area have malfunctioned. Just when I thought the worst was behind me, the stoplights break...

It took 30 minutes on the bus until we made it to the stop I needed to get off at. From the time I left IES to the time I got to NEGOCIA was almost three hours. I was now almost one and half hours late for class and I didn't make it home so I don't have my laptop or any paper and pens.

In all my frantic panic it didn't really click in my head that all the other students would also be experiencing the same problem. So, when I walked into class I was initially shocked to see half the class missing. Most people slowly trickled in within the next half hour or so.

It turns out that someone had called into the police station and said they had placed some bombs in the Opera metro station, which is a big station near my house. This is why everyone was more frantic than when someone simply leaves a bag and the police come to investigate the "bomb"

No bombs ever went off but I did hear from one of the other students that the police had located two bombs within the station.

Overall, I must say the day was eventful. I had never ridden on the bus here so I got a crash course on the bus system and managed to see some parts of Paris I hadn't seen before.

Posted by harcegnt 00:20 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Welcome To My Fake Life

rain 50 °F
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Ok seriously. When will the work ever go away? Is this going to get easier?

Yes, I know this is a master’s program but still. If it wasn’t 2am I would scream so loud right now!

The Class: Luxury Marketing
The Project: La Grande Dame Champagne
The Task: develop a unique advertising campaign and marketing strategy
The Budget: 15 million Euros for three years
The Deadline: Tomorrow: 1pm.

We have 12 hours left and about 15 hours of work. How will we ever accomplish this? I am sure Red Bull will be making an appearance very soon.

My group and I have literally spent the past two days, with very little sleep, working on this project. Creating a fake Agency with a fake story and portfolio. Even to the extent of making an introduction video on the company. Yes, a video about a fake company with fake statistics and fake client endorsements.

I don't think many would be surprised to hear that I tend to be the group leader in pretty much any project. I enjoy the position, but normally I tended to give others meaningless work to do and ended up doing everything else myself. It is not that I really enjoyed doing all of the work; rather I felt I could do it better. (I learned in Intercultural Management that this is a typical American viewpoint) These past few weeks have really been a crash course in delegation. The projects are too vast and there is simply too much work for me to handle myself. This project has so much work I had to delegate an assistant because I couldn't oversee everything. It was impossible.

This project is made difficult because it has many different layers. Apart from creating a fake company with a fake story, we have to organize fake events throughout the UK, France, and Germany. We have to hire fake artists to design our limited edition packaging. We have to create mock ups of our fake advertisements, to appear in our fake magazines. We have to deal with somewhat fake regulatory issues in regards to an alcohol manufacturer sponsoring sporting events and producing advertising. The teacher even provided us with 12 pages of fake customer survey results and field studies!

Am I going to be getting a fake grade on this project?

I can't wait to get back to my real life. Although.... this fake life is kind of nice. I am the President of a huge marketing firm that has a portfolio spanning the globe. I have an assistant and access to private jets and VIP events.

Maybe I will hang out here for a little bit longer... I wonder what my fake salary is?

Posted by harcegnt 01:42 Archived in France Tagged educational Comments (1)

The Eiffel Tower Out My Window

overcast 65 °F
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Last week I resumed French classes again, after a two week stint of none. I had taken the intensive session of French at the IES Center but now that I am at NEGOCIA, it was necessary to enroll in French here. My new French class is great. There are only two other students, who are also in my other classes, and we are all at pretty much at the same level. Such a small group gives us the opportunity to really have individualized attention and we are able to practice everything we learn in class with the teacher, since she only has to listen to three of us. I have learned so much in French class over the past week and a half.

We have 8 hours of French class a week and today during our three hour session; I looked out the wall of windows in front of me, only to see the Eiffel Tower off in the distance. I get so caught up in the daily grind of writing essays and finalizing presentations that it really took a sight like that to remind me where I am and how lucky I am to be here. How wonderful it is to learn French, in France, with the Eiffel Tower right outside my window.

Posted by harcegnt 17:59 Archived in France Tagged educational Comments (1)

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