Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 1: Arriving, 1 & 2 February 2013, Friday & Saturday

    Sorry that my first post has taken so long, it's been a pretty crazy weekend. So here's what I wrote for Day 1.
   Day 1: Arriving, 1 & 2 February 2013, Friday & Saturday
   Everyone tries to prepare you for long lines in the international terminals and they tell you that security takes forever and customs takes even longer, but it was so not the case for me. I was through security in a matter of a few minutes with maybe 30 seconds actually standing in line. My first glimpse of the French countryside was from the plane and it was gorgeous. The sun had just painted the sky with bold pinks and fiery oranges when we began descending into the thick gray cloud layers. After what seemed like an eternity we finally broke through the cloud line and into the mystical and foreign world of France. A sea of green in all different hues stretched as far as the eye could see with tiny villages and ancient castles dotting the countryside. All too quickly the plane carried us further from the country and into the city of Paris. 
    We landed around 9:40am in Paris or 2:00am in Dallas. While everyone should have been exhausted we were all hyped and ready for the city and our village home for three months, but our enthusiasm was quickly depleted when we began our trek around CDG in an effort to meet up with our Abbey friends. I must say that CDG is one of the most confusing airports of all time and the people driving around the airport are the scariest of all time. When we finally reached everyone we found that we still had three hours to kill before the bus arrived and the exhaustion caught up quickly. Card games and talking were used to pass some time, but eventually I grabbed my neck pillow and jacket and snuggled up as best as I could on the cold tile floor. A few of the girls in my group followed suit and attempted a nap to no avail.
   Once again excitement and conversations filled the air when we loaded the bus. As we left the airport and drove further into Paris people swapped stories from there travels and homes and friendships were made. As I listened I looked at the window but it didn't feel like Paris. It felt like just another city. I suppose my expectations were so high about Paris being such a wonderful, ancient city that I overlooked that fact that it is a city and cities change with the times. It wasn't long before we hit traffic and it wasn't much longer after that the laughter and conversations died down as the sleepiness set in.
   I had just woken up from one of the best naps of my life when we pulled up to The Abbey in Pontlevoy, France. It was breathtaking. It amazed me to know that I would be living there and in such a beautiful village for three months. Over a thousand of years of history are in the chapel walls and hundreds in the surrounding buildings. If only these walls could talk they could tell me stories of the crusades, the French Revolution, and Napoleon. It's boggling to think about. Pontlevoy is known as "the bridge" because it's built on a plateau between the Cher and Loire Rivers. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

The Main Staircase

The French Garden

The view from my room

The Chapel

The Chapel 

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