What...? I have a... blog?

Hello, my public.

First of all, I owe you all a huge apology for the three (four) months that have passed since my last post. It is out of control, I know. I don’t have much of an excuse except for that, well, evidently I’ve been busy. Doing what, I don’t know. Lots of French things I guess. Also I actually temporarily forgot that I had a blog, then awhile ago I remembered, and ever since then I can never find the time to write a blog post, seeing as I can hardly find the time to keep in a reasonable amount of contact with family and friends back in the old U.S. of A.
But here I am, I’m back, I am alive, oh so alive. And I am hear to tell you all about my *incredibly* interesting life.

It is springtime in Brittany, full throttle. There are blossoms on the trees, the skies are blue, the daylight stays until well after dinner, the air is warm, the wind is warm (which feels so nice after four months of wet, cold wind that blows right through you). The French countryside is sublime in these conditions, needless to say. The sun shines through the grass in the evenings in this way that is just indescribable. There is a park right next to my high school, and as soon as we have a period of study hall that is where we are. Several of my friends have birthdays in March and April, so lots of picnics have been had. And they usually end in food fights.

In other news, besides luxuriating in the nice weather, I’ve been doing some pretty interesting things:
-I went to the Alps with my host family and some family friends back in the beginning of March. We stayed in a beautiful little chalet in the Valley of Chamonix, which is at the base of the Mont Blanc for those of you who have heard of it (I think it’s kind of famous). We had the most beautiful week there. The days were spent downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, or sitting on the balcony of the chalet staring at the Alps. At night we played board games and ate insanely delicious food- the family friends that we went with are farmers, they raise cows for beef, and they supplied all of the meat for the week- delicious grassfed beef, patés, etc. The weather was perfect, if not a little too warm, which made skiing conditions kind of rough. I had downhill skied once in my life before this trip, and the hills of Minnesota and the Alps are not the same thing... The first couple days were rough, afterwards I sort of got the hang of it, but still fell a whole lot.
Overall, the time I spent in the Alps was one of the most beautiful vacations I have ever been on, and the greatest part was looking around and realizing I was in the ALPS (and that realization was usually followed by bursting out into any given song from The Sound Of Music).

-The week before the Alps, way back at the end of February, I went to Rennes (the nearest city), for three days to go to a film festival with the film class at my school. It was a great experience, basically three days spent wandering around the city and seeing tons of films. Sometimes I slept during parts of the movies, I will be honest, simply because I was exhausted and days filled with reading French subtitles (the movies were all in Spanish) sometimes make you feel like taking a break and dozing off in the cinema. In any case, it was a great chance to discover lots of movies and filmmakers, and also familiarize myself with Rennes.

-The week BEFORE the week when we went to Rennes, way back in the middle of February, I did an international week with my exchange program, AFS, at a high school in St. Brieuc, a city on the northern Brittany coast. In France there are a ton of professional high schools, which are like all of the art high schools that we have in the U.S., only for actual professions (because being an artist is not a job, everyone knows that...), like industrial jobs, etc. So we spent a week at a professional high school for students who want to go into commerce: advertising, salesmanship, etc. A teacher at the school wanted to host some foreign students for an international week, she heard about AFS and called them up to ask to borrow some students. So all of the ten students who are in Brittany for the year-long program went. We stayed in dorms at the school and went to classes and hung out with students and did activities and presentations for sharing our cultures. We also visited St. Brieuc and the ocean and also another professional high school for people learning to be fisherman (which really made me think seriously about going into the fishing industry, it was so interesting). The other foreign students were really great and interesting and we all became really close. There were two Chinese boys, two Brazilian girls, an Equadorian girl, a Latvian girl, a Thai girl, an Argentinian girl, and another American boy (who just happens to be from Minnetonka, of all places). I loved making friends with such an international group of people, they all spoke really good English and it was great sharing our different experiences in France, talking to people who are in the middle of the same experience as me. My favorite thing was seeing how much we all have in common even though we all come from such completely different backgrounds. I learned a lot about all of their different countries, and I love knowing that now I have connections with people all over the world.

So these three things were the principle reasons why blogging fell by the wayside. And then I let another month pass before I really started worrying about catching up. And then it took a good two weeks to actually get caught up....

But I actually have more to share! Infinitely more to share.

I am going to split that into a second blog post, though, because this one is already long enough to discourage a lot of people from reading.

So for all of you out there who are reading this, please know that I’m not dead despite what it may seem, and I am living the most incredible year of my life here in France. In Bretagne. Seven months have passed, seven and a half really, which of course is incomprehensible. It is hard for me to express what I am experiencing, I think one of the reasons why I got so terrible at blogging is that I didn’t know how to share everything. This is a thing that scares me, the fact that there is no one back in Minneapolis who is seeing, living, knowing, what I am doing this year. Maybe that is why I take so many photos, I’m frantically trying to make you guys SEE it. Maybe that’s why I don’t write as many emails or letters as I should; I don’t know how.

In any case...

Voilà. Consider yourselves a bit more informed on this whole “Nora Epp To France Project.”

Another blog post, part two, is in the works!

A bientôt,

Vinora Nora Vee-vee Vino-no Vinny EPP