Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Round Two: Ready Set Go!

Hello Everyone!! I am back again!

I had such an amazing time being home for the holidays!!  Getting there seemed to take forever though.  First, I flew from Bordeaux to Madrid.  Then I sat in the airport over night for 11 hours before getting on my second flight, which went to London Heathrow.  I already knew that Heathrow is the second busiest airport in the world (behind Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta), and I only had an hour to get on my connecting flight to Chicago O'Hare, so I was very nervous! I got to my gate right as they were boarding the plane!  I was so relieved and happy!  London Heathrow is a monster of an airport, it is huge!!  I finally got to relax and enjoy my flight back to America then.  I was seated next to a very nice gentleman who was from Wisconsin and graduated from UW-Madison two years ago (such a small world.)  He now works in Dubai.  We had some very nice conversations on the way back to our homes.

By the time I finally reached my house, I was running on about 50 hours of little to no sleep at all.  I had the darkest circles under my glossy eyes.  It was a weird feeling, I was so incredibly happy and on an adrenaline kick for the first night, but my body was done and had absolutely no energy.  I felt like a zombie!  The first night at my home was just how I knew it would be: loud, obnoxious, busy, loving, and hilarious as always.  The last night at my home was just how I knew it would be: sitting around a table with my family and best friends, playing Black Jack until 3 in the morning, and just having an amazing time!   

During the break, I was busy the whole time.  It was the longest two weeks of my life, while simultaneously being the shortest two weeks of my life.  During this time, I allowed myself to acknowledge just how much I missed my home.  I missed spending time with my family, I missed Chicken Mondays and Wing Thursdays with my cousins, I missed seeing all of my friends whenever I wanted, I missed my small town.  I missed hugging my parents and then going into my brother's room while he was gaming, and I would steal his microphone for his group Skype call and say goodnight to all of my brothers at the same time, and then hearing their cheerful "Night Krys, love you!"  I went to our dentist in Mayville for a check up, and while I was there, an assistant came in to the waiting area to announce the birth of a baby to a family we all knew.  As I drove down the road, I could name the people in 9 out of every 10 passing vehicles.  Being back made me realize just how much I love my home, and the safety, security, and comfort that come with it.  When I am in France, I can't just run to my neighbors to get some sugar, or say "Hi" to Sally as I take a walk, or call someone when something goes wrong or I break a leg.  There is no truer form of "being on your own" than when you move to a foreign country by yourself, and honestly, it is extremely scary.  No worrying though, I seem to be doing just fine!

Also, I just want to thank everyone again for all of their love and support!! I couldn't do any of this without my amazing family and friends! Love you all!!

Getting back to France was a lot smoother than the first time!  I flew from Chicago to Dublin.  While I was sitting in the airport, there was a crazy rainstorm that was followed by a very beautiful rainbow!  Then I flew to Paris, and hopped on a train back to Bordeaux.  I got to my apartment just before midnight, took a hot shower, and then crashed for the night!

Starting my second semester was very similar to starting my first semester here.  A lot of my friends have gone back home, and now there is a whole new group of international students.  Over the last few days, I have met so many more people from all over the world!  Also, we now go to school in our brand new building!!!  In fact, it is so new they are still putting the finishing touches on our school.  Already twice in the past few days, my class has had to move rooms because people are hanging from ropes outside our windows and drilling things into the walls.  It was loud and a little bit distracting.  

Here is a story that I found quite funny: The school apparently thought it was cute to paint all of the railings in the stairwells...while we were in class...not tell anyone...and then put a little itty bitty sign where no one would see it, and only in people like me wouldn't know what is was anyways.  So there goes Krysta, having a good day, walking up the stairs and I grab the railing.  I froze, knowing perfectly well what had just happened, but giving myself time to be shocked and say "I cannot believe that just happened."  I looked down at my hand which was now covered in very dark gray paint.  This, of course, was no ordinary paint.  No, it was the thickest tar-like paint I have ever encountered.  I panicked and headed off towards the bathroom to clean it off.  In the hallway, I saw my friend from Nashville, and I held up my hand and said "Hey, railings are still wet!"  She laughed really hard and held up her dark gray hand and said "Don't worry, me too! And good luck, mine isn't coming off!"  So I washed as much as I could off and then went to class.  As I sat down, another friend leaned over to me and said "So...the railings are still wet."  I laughed really hard, held up my hand and said "Me too."  For the rest of the day, the majority of students walked around with dark gray hands.  A week later you can still see people cautiously checking the railings before grabbing them! hahaha

The other day, I went to a brunch that was held for the international students to meet one another.  While there, I had another "I feel kind of like a celebrity" type of moment!  A girl came up to me and asked where I was from, I told her Wisconsin (I recognized her American accent) and she responded with Minnesota.  Then she stopped and said "Wait!  You are that girl, that girl from Wisconsin.  Oh!  You are Krysta from Wisconsin!  I have heard about you!"  I just looked at her as my other friends turned in our direction, intrigued as to how she would have possibly heard about me.  I finally answered with "Good things I hope!"  She laughed and said "There is another student from my school and his uncle or something works for your mom, so I have known about you for months!"  I didn't get to say anything else to her as we were being moved, but I am still looking for this guy from Minnesota so I can figure out how he knows me!  That is my second crazy connection with people here in France, it is such a small world!!  I told my mom about it, but we couldn't figure out who it would be. 

This sequence I am in Fundamentals of Investing.  It is the hardest class I have had yet, but I like it so far.  We had a guest professor from North Carolina, so naturally I like him a lot!  He has talked and worked with Warren Buffet on several occasions, and when I heard that, I was almost a little star struck just because of that!  I find Warren Buffet, who is arguably the greatest investor of all time, a fascinating person!  I once watched an hour long Youtube video of his life.  I did this voluntarily and because this is one of my versions of fun.  Wow, I am cool.  In all honesty though, it would be such an honor to meet him!!

It has been hectic starting life in Bordeaux again, but exciting as ever.  Tomorrow one of my best friends from home, Sara, is coming to visit me for 10 days!!  This weekend we are going to take a train and explore the Mediterranean coast.  We will be going to Nice, Cannes, and the little country of Monaco!!  I am super excited!

Thank you all for reading, and welcome to this half of my adventure!


"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose site of the shore."
-Christopher Columbus

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
-Anais Nin

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