Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 4, 2010

Sorry about my slightly incoherent update last time! I was trying to get ready for Loire valley and then I was really tired as well. On Monday, our guest lecturer who was a composer was Leilei Tianm and you should look up her music. It is interesting. I imagine most of you won't really like it all that well. This is also a link to a review on the ballet I just went to: . It helped me understand the ballet a little better, and maybe you'll understand why I was a little weirded out by it.

Ok, on Tuesday, we had Religion, and the religion final. Studying for it was ok, but everyone was really uptight for some reason. It's ok, we all made it through. On our midterm, Brother Euvard gave us all As so we weren't too worried about this final! I knew my stuff pretty well, anyways. That night, we had dinner. I really don't remember anything from it. I don't think the food was that odd, either. Or maybe it was... let me think on that.

Wednesday was just class, as usual. For art history, we went to Musee D'Orsey! It was really neat. I actually really enjoyed it! The only sucky dumb thing was we couldn't take pictures inside! How silly is that! They had just made that change like a few months ago, too. :( It's ok, I prob don't need MORE pictures of art... Especially since i'm busy uploading tons of boring pictures of Castles. Sorry for the boringness... It's ok. The trip is almost over, then you won't have to look at boring pictures anymore for me. Wow, I got a little off track. I was talking about Musee D'orsey. We mostly focused on Courbet who's paintings showed the transition from romantic to impressionism. I liked his paintings all right. There was one painting of his that everyone found really awkward, though. That painting is called “the origin of the world” if you DARE look it up. Basically it is just a painting of a view right between the legs of a woman. I wasn't too embarrassed by it, and I had been bombarded by plenty of male genitalia in art class, so it was just payback for the men to see female. Valerie mentioned that it isn't very erotic because it isn't implying anything. It's just an image without a subject. She explained a painting of two clothed women embarrassing and a broken necklace in the foreground and more erotic because it suggests more. I suppose it makes sense. She also said that only men wrote theses about the painting, so she decided to dd her female voice to the mix, and I really appreciate that she did. She was very lively when talking about it, which was neat. She also showed us x-rays of Courbet's paintings which were REALLY interesting because it showed paintings he painted over and changes he made. It was cool.

Early thursday morning, our whole group headed out by bus to Loire valley! I was very excited but I didn't get any work done the whole trip. The first day, our very first castle was Chateau de Langeais which was my favorite castle the whole trip. It seemed the oldest and it had some amazing old objects in it. I liked the way it was guided too. In each room there was a laminated paper with information on it. ...UGH I just took forever doing pictures and now i'm sooo tired. I'll finish this tomorrow. :) NIGHT!

Morning everyone! And happy easter! I just had a big breakfast that included a bowl of cereal, jus d'orange, and toast. I'm all alone and wishing I could be at katie's house eating her delicious brown sugar bacon and sleeping on her nice furniture. I also wish I could do an egg hunt with everyone! Easter is my favorite holiday mainly for the egg hunt and coloring. :( oh well... be maybe next year? Maybe a late on at the cabin like we've done in years past? Ok, good. I'm currently trying to figure out how to watch conference from my computer. We'll see how it goes. What a sad and lonely Easter... It's also my day to catch up on homework. Joy. Mr. Julienne did come down to get some wine but I wasn't quite awake yet (don't worry, mom, it was like 8:30) so he went back upstairs and told me to go get him. I went up there when I was decent (threw on a pair of pants and a sweater) I went up to get him while he was playing guitar. He couldn't hear me, but Mme. Julienne came down and was all surprised to see me. I tried to explain the situation to her... and I think the point got across. It was slightly awkward. Well, he eventually came down and grabbed the biggest honking bottle of wine. “a grand celebration for the resurrection of Christ, no?” and I was just like “yeah, big big celebration..”

Anyways, back to Chateau de Langeais... It was my favorite castle the whole trip. I was saying each room had a laminated piece of paper on it with information that you could read as carefully as you wanted. I learned a lot about the pieces of furniture and it was just really cool. It felt like it was the oldest because it was all rickety and cool. It was in this awesome mideaval town, too. Chelsea and I stuck together because we were the only two taking our time in the castle and reading about everything. It was nice to have someone there who was going my same pace. We did that throughout most of the castles, meaning that I didn't actually spend much time with Ariel and Shaina this trip. The back of the castle was really neat. It had some of the old keep still up, and you could climb these wooden ramparts up to it. Even farther back, there's this awesome playground with old-school teeter-totters, little ride-a-horsies and a balance beam. There was also an amazing tree house, like the most legit tree house i've ever been up. Even further back, there was a more modern playground. I was just so happy. I felt totally revived. I was skipping and running and having a grand old time. Ricks wanted to leave early which still bums me out a little.

The next castle we were able to go to that day was … oh crap. General conference has frozen my net. It's not even working. Stupid. Anyhow, the next castle was Azay-le-Rideau Chateau. I raced the boys the whole way up to the castle and I came back to get them and jack made me run with him again. It actually felt really good to be active again. Jack and I were the winners. We got audio guides for that castle, but they were absolutely useless. We had to try to figure out what audio guide number to use by using this crappy little map. I never figured it out, I basically had to ask everyone around me. When I got it right, it was pretty useless. “notice the fireplace. See the salamander? Now look at the pool table, see how ornate it is?” etc. Not informative at all... I really don't remember anything about the history of that castle... the interior was ok... I guess. It just wasn't my favorite castle. Outside of it was really cool, though! Not as cool as the last castle, but there were gardens and lots of grass to play around in. I was showing the kids some break dance moves that I know. The boys weren't strong enough to do my pull-myself-up-by-my-collar move. I was pretty proud of that. We also had some of those put-you-head-in-circle picture and we were all just having a grand old time. A french group asked me to take their picture infront of the castle and I was able to help them out in french! --lunch bell just rung. I half hope they invite me but half don't because i'm still in my sweater and thrown on pants and i'm not wearing makeup...-- It was nice to be outside all that time

After that, we headed out to (gosh dang it, I guess i'm not watching conference this time :( computer crash) Tours to spend the night. People were heading out for dinner but I already had a sandwich so I stayed in to do homework. I ended up sleeping instead. Ariel and Courtney were in my room. Ariel and I were laughing and having fun pretty much the whole night.

The next day, we headed to Ch√Ęteau de Chenonceau which was a pretty neat castle. The pamphlet for this castle was a tour basically, with all the information written in it for each room. This castle was cool because it was built over the river like a bridge. This castle was cool because it belonged to a bunch of women. At first, it was Diane de Poitiers, Henry II's mistress. After his death, she traded it with Catherine de medici's, his wife, castle. Catherine was regent over the country for her young son and ruled the country from this castle. This castle was also used by the resistance to get people from the occupied part of France to the unoccupied because it was a bridge over the boundary. The kitchen was huge, too, and one of the coolest kitchens we saw the whole trip. I found that there were way too many rooms for me to look at and I lost interest towards the end. I would have liked to play around outside more, but it was raining and it was about time to go back to the buss anyways. We went through the maze, but it was pretty dang easy. Oh! And Mary queen of Scots had stayed in that castle for a bit, too.

Amboise was next. That castle used to cover a huge amount of land, but unfortunately, most of it was taken down to sell the rocks. We had a tour guide here. She had the funniest speaking pattern. She always went “eh?” and was just really entertaining. I would have loved to hear her speak all day. From her, I learned about the salamander that I had been seeing the whole trip. It was Francois little symbol because it was believed that they could walk through fire without getting burned. I also learned about Anne of Brittany again, and her marriage to Charles VIII (the guy who whacked his head and died in this very castle) and later his cousin, Louis XIII. We learned a little more about Louis-Philippe, the last king of france. Apparently he spent a lot of time in the states. I suppose he also lived in this castle, as did his descendants until the 70s. For some reason, I was kind of a loner in that garden. It was ok, I just sort of wondered around and had a pretty good time.

We then headed to Leonardo Da Vinci's house, Chateau du Clos Luce. We couldn't take pictures in there, sadly, but I spent a lot of time reading the little pamphlet that had information in it. Da Vinci was a pretty amazing guy. He designed the first gun-looking things and was obviously way ahead of his times. One wonders what would have changed in this world had people actually built the things he designed. It was also interesting to learn of his close relationship with Francois I. A bunch of his inventions were recreated in the yard and Chelsea and I were the only ones who braved the pouring rain to play around with them. It's too bad the weather was so bad because I would have loved to spend more time in the gardens with all that stuff. There was also a little museum in his back yard full of copies of work... so not super cool. I realize how creepy the background of the Mona Lisa is, and how cool it is. I need to have a better look in the Louvre sometime.

We then headed to Blois to stay for the second night. I headed out by myself to get a sandwich in the town. I was actually a little unnerved to be wandering around. That was interesting because if I was in the same situation in Paris, I would have felt comfortable, and Paris is obviously much more dangerous. I guess it was just because that place was unfamiliar and I didn't want to get lost. I came back and hung out with Richard and Garret who were using the free internet in the breakfast room. That was fun. After that, Chelsea, Ariel, Courtney, shaina and I hung out in our room and watched “how to look good naked” which is this show hosted by one of the guys from “queer eye for the straight guy” and he basically just tries to make women love their bodies. It was funny, and I laughed a bunch. A note came in from under our door and it said in three different languages “hi, we're the boys in 210. we have a guitar and we think you should come make noise with us.” The languages were English, French, and Portuguese. Mike speaks Portuguese and plays guitar so we figured it was Mike and Richard. We decided to write a note back, just for fun, saying “who are you? Give us five good reasons why we should go over.” We really thought it was Mike and richard, and I was up for a little more fun that night. We then got paranoid that they had played a little april fools joke and that 210 was actually Rick's room. We eventually got a note back saying “En: we are Gio, Greg and Vinny! We come from Brazil, ok, we think that there are 3 goods reasons already!! (plus the guitar) We and you need to know each others!! (maybe) this is the last and only opportunity!!! And we must enjoy the life bcz it is short!!! AND... WHO ARE YOU???” We had a good laugh. Don't worry, we didn't write back or go over or anything. We still wondered if it was a joke from mike and Richard but on the back of the paper was the printed reservation for the hotel for that day made by Gregorio. The next morning, though, there was another note saying that we needed to keep in touch and it had his email on it. Good times.

We went to Blois castle. It was kind of neat. It was interesting how each side of the castle was made in a different style. There was Gothic, flamboyant, Renaissance, and neoclassical. While we were taking pictures of one of the stair cases, the Welsh Rugby team started posing for us. It was really funny. Welsh, and rugby players... MMM. Ariel got pictures, so i'll have to get them from her somehow. It was pretty grand. Our tour guide there was American, but had lived in France since he was 21 or so. He had such funny body language. I wish I could explain it. His legs were straight together with his toes pointing out. Every once and a while he would click his heels together. His head always seemed to be pulled in like a turtle, especially when he asked us questions. His arms were always straight at his sides and in fists. It was pretty entertaining. We only toured the Renaissance part and the old gothic hall, which was the coolest part. The neat thing about his castle was that it was redone as close to what it would have looked like back in the day as they could, using illuminated manuscripts. It all very colorful. Our guide said that everything was colorful and painted, including the wooden furniture. It was neat to see a castle as it would have looked like back in the day.

Next was Chambord, this huge hunting lodge. It looked incredible. It had a stair case in the middle that was a double helix stair case. That was interesting. I wonder what the point was, but I guess it was just for looks. It was pretty inhabitable because it was so huge and impossible to heat. While there, I learned a lot about the duc de bordeaux, omte de chambord, who was charles X's grandson. He could have been a king in a third monarchy but he didn't because he was unwilling to change flags. It is interesting to think of how different france must have been if there was yet another king. Parliament was all for it, and this was directly after the second empire. I had no idea. It's def interesting to think about. It was led by audio guides that were informative but also pretty exhaustive. Each one lasted like 4 min and there were about two for every room. Sheesh. The top of the castle was pretty amazing. It reminded chelsea and me of the climax in Beauty and the Beast where the Beast fights Gaston. It looked like its own little city up there. I showed Ariel and Chelsea how soft the stones were that it was made from and we were just rubbing it when a security guard came and took us to our professor. He was about to kick us out, but decided not to because he realized that we weren't actually marking the wall. It was about time to leave anyways. It was kind of funny. I've got to be kicked out of SOMETHING while i'm here, right? It's tradition.

After that, we headed home and I slept the whole way. Yesterday, I uploaded pics, which took forever. Now it's easter. It's more like noon, now. I have dinner at the Ricks' place at 5. that's about it! What a sad little easter/conference day. I gotta figure out how to watch conference somehow... :(

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