A Travellerspoint blog

Somebody is Getting Inked!

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I have been saving this announcement until it was absolutely, concrete, set in stone.

Well, that time came a few days ago and it is now official. Posts on this blog will continue for longer than originally planned as I will be spending my Spring Semester in Shanghai, China! The opportunity presented itself two weeks ago and after much debate (Okay, not that much) I decided to seize it.

I will leave for Shanghai the last week of February and Return in early July. I will be studying International Supply Chain Management as well as Chinese Language, of which I speak none. I will also have an Internship.

I am really looking forward to learning Business in such an emerging country, and continent for that matter. It is certainly a wonderful opportunity and will be a great experience.

By the end of this school year, my passport is going to have more Ink than a Harley Davidson couple at a Sturgis Rally.

对很快您的谈话

Posted by harcegnt 14:30 Archived in China Tagged preparation Comments (1)

Win A Green Card

We're Practically Giving Them Away!

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One of the disadvantages to living abroad is that when you connect to the internet it is through a foreign IP address, which causes many problems. I often have trouble logging into my bank accounts, checking my school email, and you can forget streaming any current American TV or Music.

One of the advantages is that I get French pop up ads. Yes, it is great. I find many of them so amusing. I am so enthralled by them I even stop and print screen the page when I get a good one, which brings me to this current post...

I just have one question. Why on earth do we have such a huge illegal immigration problem if it is so easy to get a green card?

I mean come'on, can people not identify the current president?

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And, even if one couldn't properly identify the current US President; you can win a green card. Look I won an entire year!

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And on the rare chance you didn't win a green card and you can't identify the president, the US Government is sponsoring an official program to help you! It is so official they have there own pop up ads and it was in the Morning News!

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Why do people even bother sneaking in to the country? All they need to do is click on a pop up ad and they have got the green light for entry.

Posted by harcegnt 19:27 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Do You Like See Food?

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My apologies for the excessive lack of posting over the past two weeks. Trust me, if you could possibly imagine the workload I have had, you would forgive me.

Since being in Paris I have tried so many different foods and eaten things I normally turned down back home. The relationship between my taste buds and I has been a little rocky ever since I introduced them to guinea pig in Peru, but I think we are finally making amends. I think they may be enjoying the time abroad just as much as I am.

As I have previously mentioned, my class at NEGOCIA represent over 14 different nationalities. One of the French students, Naomie, has an Indian background and wanted to share that culture with us. She organized Friday evening for us all to go to an Indian Restaurant in Paris. I had never had Indian cuisine before but I was excited for the night.

By the end of the evening the group consisted of about 25 people, which made for a really fun night with everyone.

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Naomie and Me

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I would like to point out that in the above picture there are 6 different countries visible. You have France, USA, Spain, Italy, Venezuela, and Mexico. How often is it that one can share a meal with such a vast array of cultures. It really is something special.

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The other end of the table represented even more countries including Canada and the UK.

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France, USA, Spain, Italy

We spent close to 5 hours at the restaurant and dined on various courses. I enjoyed bread with cheese inside, chicken with Indian Spices, pasta with chicken, and some Indian Cake. In typical NEGOCIA MIB 1 (Masters in International Business, 1st year) style, beer and wine flowed heavily throughout the meal.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind my Grandfather that I am in fact not an alcoholic. With that said, I did enjoy some Indian Beer and Wine.

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In my mouth I have some of the cheese bread and on the plate in front of me is the Spiced Chicken

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Veronica was not very happy with her food. Her dish looked like Prison food. This is me handing the prisoner her food. Welcome to Prison Vero.

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This is Jerome, also known as our resident trash can. The portions at the restaurant were very heavy and Jerome had no problem finishing what everyone could not eat. He is currently enjoying my leftover chicken pasta which can be seen in the oval bowl on the metal tray. Also, please note the napkin bib and 4 other portions of food waiting to be consumed. He had two before this.

Being the sole American in the group, the foreign students come to me with this fascination of learning new things about American Culture. Of course I have taken it upon myself to teach them everything I know. Including:

"Do You Like See-Food?" To which of course they all said yes, so naturally I let them see the food in my mouth...

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I guess Ornella really does not like See Food.

I also taught them the old "what is this on your shirt trick" and then pull your finger up and hit them in the face. Classic... Unfortunately there are no pictures of that.

Also, they are always making me sing them American Songs and on this night they wanted to learn Christmas carols. We started with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer... Yes, there are videos. For my sake, you will never see them.

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Posted by harcegnt 21:02 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

In My Back Pocket

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Two weeks ago something funny happened. I had my wallet out to scan my navigo pass to get onto the metro and after I had scanned it, I slipped my wallet into my back pocket. It may not seem strange to you at first, but it is. It means something.

When I first arrived to Paris I wore a money belt under my shirt. In this belt I carried cash, as well as my passport and a credit card. After the first day I no longer wore the money belt, but I would keep money and credit cards on different parts of my body. I would keep some in my backpack, some in my pants pocket, some in my jacket pocket, and at one point I was even putting bills in my shoes. In the rare chance that my super ninja skills failed me and I was mugged, I would have some money stashed away in my shoe to call for help.

Little did I know then that I could have just used my actual shoe to call for help.

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But its probably better that you don't ask...

I also used to carry my backpack with me everywhere. It was good for stashing some cash but I also would keep a copy of my passport in there. We had been warned that French Police can stop you at any time and ask to see your credentials, not providing them warrants a trip to the slammer; not exactly where I had intended to spend my time abroad.

Just like the money belt, in time these things began to fade. Without even thinking about it, I stopped carrying my backpack, unless I was going to school. With the exception of going to large events or bars, I even stopped placing money in different places on me.

All of this meant that I was becoming more comfortable in my environment, but I never stopped putting my wallet in my front pocket. That was until two weeks ago. Again, without even thinking about it, I just slipped it right back there. It's not that I am any less cautious or that I have a false sense of security. It's just that after almost two months, this is starting to become home.

And let me tell you, Paris is not a bad place to call home.

Posted by harcegnt 01:17 Archived in France Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Nothing Like The United States

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I had heard all the horror stories of these French Doctors. "They are creepy" "They take your temperature the old fashioned way". But, I didn't care; I couldn't care. I had reached the end of the rope. I couldn't take it anymore. I had to go to the Doctor.

I woke up right before noon. I had to make the decision between class at 1pm or Doctor. I ultimately chose Doctor because if I didn't go today I wouldn't be able to go until Monday. I would have had to call a Doctor for a Home Visit or go to the Hospital. Neither of which I really wanted to do. So, I went today.

I called Peggy at IES this morning and said I would like to go to the Doctor. She told me to ride the Metro over to the IES center and she would tell me how to get to the doctor. I did that and when I got there she had a map printed out for me and instructions as to what to do when I got there. It is times like this that I am thankful for IES. Wofford really stressed that I go abroad through IES but with their price tag being significantly higher, I debated it. Most other companies just make all the arrangements and leave you, with no on site support during your stay. It is nice having IES a metro ride away with all of their resources and information. They are worth every penny.

So map and instructions in hand, I ventured out to find the Doctor. It seems as though the doctor takes a three hour lunch break, so I had to wait until three. Peggy suggested arriving at 2:30pm though as to get in the front of the line. A good suggestion as by the time three rolled around there was 2 people ahead of me and 6 people behind me.

It was not hard to find the building but finding the office proved to be quite difficult. The instructions read "1st floor door on the left"... simple right? Well, today, not for me. I walked in and there were no doors. I stood there for a few minutes hoping that someone would come in and I could ask for help. Nobody came. I went outside and looked at the building again to make sure I was in the right place. It wasn't until about 5 minutes later that my brain turned on and reminded me that in France the second floor is the 1st floor and the main floor is floor zero. Well, I went up the stairs and there it was the door on the left.

I pushed the button for the doctor and the door was unlocked. I went in and took a seat in the very simple waiting room. There was no receptionist and no forms to fill out. You simply wait and about every 20-30 minutes the doctor opens up his door and the next person goes in. I was seen about 4pm. By the time I was seen the entire waiting room, of about 15 chairs, was filled. I am glad Peggy advised me to come early!

To my relief the doctor spoke pretty good English. I had a seat in his office, with his desk and all his paperwork. He asked me what was wrong and I told him. He listened to my breathing and said "looks to be the French virus" which to me means absolutely nothing. He asked me if I was allergic to any medicine. I said "No" and he wrote me two prescriptions. One is an asthma inhaler for the cough and the other is a higher grade of cough syrup. Since he has no secretary, he also answers all phone calls. He had three while I was in there. There was no real exam, no tests, and no temperature taking (to my relief!)

In between phone calls he managed to fill out a bill for me. I have health insurance coverage in France but I must first pay the bill and then submit it for reimbursement. So I had to pay for a doctor visit as if I had no insurance coverage. The bill for 15 minutes.... 25 euros. In the United States that would probably have just been the copay. The entire visit would have likely been in excess of $150. I guess that is why he has no secretary or receptionist, he can't afford it.

I handed him 30 euros. He opened up his wallet and took out a 5 euro bill and handed me my change. That made me laugh.

I then went down the street to the pharmacy to have my prescriptions filled. This is where the problems began. I consider myself to be decent in French at this point. I can spend my day not speaking any English if I choose to, but being sick my brain was in no state to process speaking French. I handed the pharmacist my prescription and she began entering it into the computer. She couldn't read my name so I wrote it in big letter on a piece of paper. Then she started asking me all of these questions, none of which I understood. She would just repeat the same thing over and over, as if that was supposed to help. At one point she said "United States" I said "yes" and she said "okay" and that was that. Remember, technically I am buying this medicine without insurance. The price of an Asthma inhaler and cough syrup without insurance 34 euros. Again, probably would have covered the copay in the United States. I handed her my credit card and off I went. I stopped by IES to submit my receipts for reimbursement. There was some paperwork to fill out and fax to the insurance company and that was it.

I have taken the medicine and took a nap. It seems to be helping a little bit. Hopefully in the morning I will feel much better. My instructions were to get sleep and drink a lot of liquids.

I hope to better by Saturday as my friends and I had been planning to do go to an event that I have been looking forward to. It would really make great blog material. I hope to make it there.

Posted by harcegnt 21:44 Archived in France Tagged health_and_medicine Comments (0)

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