Friday, December 30, 2005

Cara's future *mystical music plays in the background*

I think everyone one is curious about what I am doing after Lyon so here's the plan man! My last exam is my French exam (Oh la la!) on January 15th and then I hope to go work for Shaggy (Patrick my step Dad has a best freind named Franco, whose daughter Simone lives in Italy and knows Shaggy) who owns both a resturant/wine bar and a discotheque/club. The job is to work between the two venues over the period of the 2006 Winter Olympics (official dates are 10 - 26 February 2006) held in Turin, Italy this year. While Turin (Turino in Italian) is the official city I dont think hardly any events will be hjeld there as it is a city and not so good for skiing right? Most events will be held about a hour out by train in the Sestriere/Cesana region and other surrounding areas. The venues are in Sestriere and have been chosen as the official hang out spot for the American Winter Olympic team. Cool huh?

I am currently waiting to hear from Shaggy about what happens next! Here is the last thing I have heard on Friday, 16 December 2005 8:41:42 PM

To : 'Cara Bradley'
Subject : C.V

Hi Cara

Thanks for your C.V, i only received it yesterday, Italian Post is very slow.

My partner and me are very interested in you working for us from mid January, I am just trying to sort more staff accommodation out at the moment. As soon as that is sorted I will get back to you with further details, in the mean time if you have any questions please feel free to email me. Regards, Shaggy

I asked about the duration of the position, uniforms (I need to know what to bring with me from Lyon) and acouple of other things that I can't remember! So there you have it....fingers crossed!
Okay, so I am in here in Corinthia staying with Anna's Dads best friend's (Christine) family. They are all really really nice and it has been a relaxing few days. I arrived in Tues afternoon and will leave tomorrow (Friday afternoon). Southern Austria is colder then northern Austria (where Vienna is) wacko is that! We have had a meter of snow at least since I have been here. I got to shovel snow too this evening! With a real shovel! I talked with Judith (Chritine's brothers wife) who said that they have not had this much snow since Christophe (her son) was a toddler. He is my age so this is the most snow since the mid 80's! The temperature is usually warmer when it snows...u know traps in the heat and all that jazz!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Hi ho Hi ho it's off to South Austria I go!

I have to rush off as I am leaving for South Austria tomorrow at 8am! Opportunity came a knocking and I and running with it. Anna's Dad Joe is from the South of Austria and his son will travel there tomorrow...meeee too! Joe has called a close friend there and it is all set that I will stay with her family! We are going to go see a glaciure (spelling!) and then I rendez vous with Anna's family (minus Anna who will still be in Vienna) en rote for their snow trip. We will ahve lunch together and then then Joe's son and I will head back to Vienna. I have decided to stay here for New Years! I am happy to have made a decision...any decision but I am not ready to leave Vienna yet...not before New Years. I may count down with Anna's friend Muriel in the city where there are concerts and things and then meet up and party with Anna after!

I promise I will post Chrissie photos dosen't help that I don't have my own camera to quickly chuck some on the net but I will work on it and will buy a camera before leaving Vienna! hummm....must book that transport!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Cara's current dilemas

I am currently sitting at Anna's parents house (Anna lives in an appartment in 'shouting distance' as her mother says). It got dark here at about 4:15pm! So early! Jonathan (Anna's little brother) is watching 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' or 'Harry Potter und die Kammer des Schreckens' in the backgound in German...I wish I understood more.

I am a bit lost and wondering what to do about things today....Christmas cheer gone so soon hey? I am looking for flights and modes of transport on the internet to get to who knows where for New Years. Anna is working until midnight on New Years (something she didn't know until a few days ago) and her parents are heading off to the snow on the morning of New Years eve for their annual snow trip. So unless I want to be by myself until after midnight I need to go somewhere. But where?

The options seem to be Barcelona with Ben (housemate) or London to visit and party with Dhivya. I would have accmodation in both places (Barcelona is a bit more complicated in that respect) but the problem seems to be transport. It is all very expensive and I am not sure about either destination. I could return to Lyon and celebrate there (I think the majority of people are still travelling and all European students ahve gone home for both Xmas and New Years). I would like to stay in Austria with Anna but being alone for the count down dosen't sound very fun. I have to find transport back to Lyon regardless and I am tired of searching endless websites for flights and prices and trying millions of variables of planes and trains. Vienna to London, too expensive (as is Vienna to Barcelona) ...try another combination. Vienna to Milan then Milan to London? Not good. Budapest to London? Cheaper. Except how do I get to Budapest? Trains to Budapest are not on my French sncf site so by the time I get there it may cost the same expensive prices as the easier options. Maybe don't even fly out of Vienna. Train it to another Austrian city first? More options! Oh the joys of0 travelling (YAY) in many options (wonderful) so complicated (not so wonderful).

And meanwhile I need to be studying for my Fine Arts subject, Contemporary Art Subject and French Grammer....something which I find very very hard and just can't seem to grasp. As my French teacher said 'You speak well but you do so badly in tests. Why is that?'

Fete des Lumieres

Thursday night was the "Fete des Lumieres" – the annual light festivalin centre-ville at Lyon.

The main squares and buildings (cathedrals, opera building, fountains) were all lit up with light shows and 'light art' really. Just about all of Lyon waltzed out onto the streets drinking vin chaud (hot, spiced wine) to celebrate. The fete was originally a religious festival to thank the Virgin Mary for saving Lyon from the plague. The Fourviere/cathedral on the hill overlooking Lyon with its golden statue of Mary was lit up in blue and red and white. Viva La France.

Silly quizzes

Cara's random movie quote:
Cara's Random Movie Quote:

'I'm sure in 1985, plutonium is available at every corner drugstore, but in 1955 it's a little hard to come by.'

- Dr. Emmett Brown, Back to the Future

Cara's Lucky Charm:
Cara's secret lucky charm is:!

"A pair of rusty binoculars"

Cara's time travel:
Cara 's Reason for Travelling Back in Time:

To see if aliens really did co-ordinate the building of the pyramids
Time Machine!

Cara's excuses:
Cara's best excuse:!

"I’m hot. I don’t need an excuse."

Celebrity match hey?

Your celebrity match is Johnny Depp. You like your men funny and smart.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Austria thus far

So I got here at a bit past 8:30 in the morning (the train was late) and was greeted by big smiles from Anna and her mother. We went to the new local shopping centre so Anna could pick out some Chistmas presents. I ate breakfast at a bakery in the shopping centre/mall. When I was sitting there with my hot chocolate and spinach pastry and people watching I immediately noticed differences...'We are not in France anymore Toto'. I think thing here are a little cheaper then France but not by much. Fresh produce is more expensive. I looked around the supermarket and noticed the lack of puddings and other things that the French are obsessed with. A nice change....but J'adore la France.

the little things

There are daily reminders, little things that remind you that you are somewhere else. Not the obvious stuff-the language, the beautiful buildings but things that hint at deeper Anna's mum buys 'Dunajky' which is a pack of 5 sandwich like wafers. The waffers are thin, round and and as big as your hand filled with sugar. They are from Slovakia and are well known. It highlights how close Austria is to Slovakia. The wonders of Europe.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Cara is in Austria!

Cara is in Austria! YAY YAY YAY and more amounts of YAY! Anna and her Mother were waiting for me at the station at 8.30 this morning when my train arrived at Westbhanhof, the main station in Vienna! It is so good to be here! It is not too cold today but there a little snow on the ground. Anna and I looked at photos of when she was on exchange in Australia. We look so much younger, she more then I. I gave updates on some of our old friends- Emily, Kris, Julia etc... I asked Anna if she ever thought I would come to visit and she said that everyone always says they will but you know. When I said I would come and visit I meant it and it was only a matter of time for me. And it will only be a matter of time before I come back to visit! Anna and I are already talking about rendez vous-ing somewhere else in Europe after Xmas, my exams and my ski job in Sestiere! More soon and photos soon!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Up late!

Had dinner at Beryl's (Canada) tonight. It was kind of a mix of events. I planned Japanese dinner with Alisa (Canadian ut with Japanese parents) and then we moved it to Beryl's qnd lots of people turned up and there were like 10 people for dinner in the end. Alisa and I planned and made tempura and sushi! Yum and vegetarian!

Ate random asian dishes tonight with random freinds. Ate too much chocolate! Found moulding and worm eaten food in Beryl's host family's cuboards. No there were actually live little worms in there! She was scared and I laughed so hard I cried! Going to Austria for Christmas. 18hrs in the train seems to be the best option! How is that possible. My english spelling is getting bad with all this French! Currently listening to M..French music. Night!=)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

S'up Cara?

Had a great Brithday (photos to go up soon). Party was good. Would had been even better if some people had turned up earlier (made me nervous that no one was going to come) and oh yeah...if someone had NOT stolen my camera....impossible since I knew everyone there and there are no suspetcs but yeah...

Went to Switzerland randomly on Sunday To Geneva. The word COLD once again springs to mind. It is now cold again Lyon...for a while it wasnt too bad! Sorry no photos since I was WITHOUT A CAMERA! Did a police repot in French when I got back to Lyon for Insurance.

Currently working on Van Gogh essay for Contemporary Art History, Essay on Portugal to hand in, really need to stuy French Grammer as I can take some practise tests this week, finding cheap flights to get to Austria and trying to figure out where I am going to be for New Years! Must ask Alisa to cut my hair (don't trust the French hair dressers), burn Claire's french CD's and mop the floors after e not so clean party! Go shopping for new camera too (oh joy, oh expensive). Niki and I are meeting tomorrow for lunch and are making veggie curry. I hope to study for my other Art subject and FRENCH. Thursday is studying Art Plastique/Fine Art with Becky (UK) during the day and hot chocolate/Harry Potter in english hopefully in the evening with Kathryn (Canada-met her through her Mum in Annecy). Friday is a Christmas dinner with some of the girls (exchange students). Need to make Chrissie cards and decorated cup cakes as presnts I have decided....but when? And boo hoo no camera to document it all.....=(

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Start of 24 hours of Birthday Celebrations!

Ben took me to dinner on Wednesday night for pre-birthday celebrations! We ate at this REALLY REALLY cute little cafe on the presqu'ile (almost island) which is the middle of the city! He is SO nice! What a nice thing to do!

Here is one of the cutest resturants in the world!

Me with my first piece of birthay cake!

Here are the presents that arrived the day before my birthday! Luckily was Ben was home to collect them (if they won't fit in your letter box you have to go to the post office and collect them) and they were waiting on my bed when we got home from dinner!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's beginning got look a lot like Christmas!

It has begun to look like Christmas for a while here. The Christmas market is at Perrache and has all sorts of yummy things to eat along with toys and gifts and all that jazz. Shops have their window decorations up and there are Chrissie tress up in front of stores...and someone has decorated a tree at uni in the court yard.

I guess it is even more Christmasie because le Fete des lumieres/ the party or festival of lights is this week (Dec 7th- 11th). The whole town will be lit up with lights of different colours. There will be candles on December 8th (I hear you crying 'That's you birthday! Hooray!') because that is the day that the plauge stopped at Lyon and didn’t kill everybody...and also cos it's my birthday! To celebrate, people place candles on their window sills. So people have been getting ready for that for a week or so at least. There have been trucks and crates with lighting equipment everywhere. And slowly I have seen the changes- there are now blue lights on the bridge to Vieux Lyon, Green globes have been installed at Bellcour, purple and red along the river and the two most notable things- a giant Ferris wheel decked out in lights at Bellcour and the church on the hill the Fouvriere is bright purple with some serious spotlights! So the shops have put up their lights too which will be for Christmas and le fete des lumieres! Everything is pretty cheery in town!

P.S. I am inviting people to my Birthday party on Saturday. My theme is 'un touche de rouge'... I wanted to 'go jungle' but its a bit hard when no one has any costuming resources so a colour that works for both guys and girls was the end result! Going to look for balloons and streamers balloons and streamers!!!'s now stuck in my head!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go;
Take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas,
Toys in every store,
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door.

A pair of hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben;
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen;
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go;
There's a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well,
The sturdy kind that doesn't mind the snow.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas;
Soon the bells will start,
And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Speeeeeeeeechs...oh long speeches!

Okay, now I am sitting in my class waiting to give my speech on 'Portugal and the European Union'. 'Waiting' really isn't the word for it now anymore...more like sitting and thinking and...going on the internet! No, I am paying attention too. I held out for 3 hours…yeah that’s right, the speeches started at 3pm so now we are in our 4th hour!!! My brain is feeling a little numb.

Currently Denmark is up but we have done France, Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, Romania, Turkey.…very interesting but I am skeptical of how much I am absorbing now. I know Romania is big on sunflowers (lavender too) and grows these things for money rather the using their land for food. Historically people bribed other people to get into government so today the word for bribe is derived from that and Romania is still figuring out how to govern without bribing people. France is Euroskeptic and has always been power hungry. They started the European Union in conjunction with Germany (France wanted to fix it’s agriculture and Germany wanted to it’s coal and steel industry) and if they can’t control it they aren’t so happy. Finland has been neutral in politics as to not involve themselves in power struggles and the Soviet Union stole 10% of Finish territory a while back. Most Finish politics and now way of politics are because the Soviet Union was a big threat. The Czech republic liked to throw people of windows (called 'fenestration') and everyone in their history had names like ‘Fredrick the bad’ and ‘John the terrible’. Inflation has dropped in Turkey from 106% to 12% and has a corrupt tax system.

On another note I received an email from Anna yesterday! I sent her a postcard, email and tried to call her to get a confirmation about Christmas. She replied last week asking when I was coming! That’s was a big hooray but I needed to know when I was welcome and also what Anna is doing for New Years…when do I book a return ticket? Yesterday’s email asked among other things ‘If there was anything I didn’t eat because her Mum wanted to know’ Hooray! So I called Anna last night. She wasn’t there but her Mum was very happy to hear that I was coming for Christmas! She said she and her husband liked having a ‘big party’ for Christmas and said that they will invite some Japanese students as well (I assume Anna’s Japanese friends as she was just on exchange in Japan). She said that someone could pick me up form the airport or train and was really nice! Hooray. Success! I am excited!

After calling, I went for a jog along the river yesterday evening. It was really nice, partly because the weather wasn’t freezing but also because I got to see another side of Lyon. At night all the buildings are all lit up and it was very pretty. I enjoyed it even more as I have not jogged for so long. I went once a couple of weeks ago at the Parc de la tete d’or but I had to ride to get there and then just kind of jogged aimlessly. Last night I jogged up and back and maybe I need a structure/routine to feel like I have accomplished something. There aren’t any ovals/football fields that I have seen here. I am going to try and do it again tonight and a lot more often (I won’t make gross claims like ‘every night I want to jog’ but we’ll see).

And after all that....we have run out of time and I won't be doing my speech today! Next week 2 hour exam and then my speech along with 2 others!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Portugal anyone?

Right now I am at McDonald's trying to figure out the Portugese parlimentary system! What fun! Hope you're all doing something equally exciting! What are y'all doing?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Okay.....long and funny maybe?

Okay, just got to macdo (McDonalds). I have a headache, popped 2 aspirin, freaked out when a cute little girl asked me for money (never happened before) because my friend Corey (ballet dancer form NY) said some cute little boy stole his phone as maccas a while ago! Ahhhh! Alert! Grab your bag and zip it frantically and check that this urchin hasn’t stolen your phone already! I think I am eating off yogurt...a little to bitter for me today. The weather is gray and rainy but surprisingly not freezing...there is a strange lack of crisp ice on the wind. It doesn't feel like the wind had just blown off of a glacier. I spent this morning hanging my clothes out the windows because I went to Ayers Rock last night at Place de Terreaux. Go the Aussies! This in fact the reason why the French like Australians! It was my first time visiting the Aussie pub, a favourite in Lyon that everyone keeps telling me I have to go to. Basically at'Airers' (as the French say ) Tuesday nights are good, Thursdays, Weekends…oh every night! I danced....a lot! Haven't danced that much in ages! Ran into Kate (US) and Rita (Aust) too although not surprising as they are definetly regulars- they know the names of the barmen, bouncers and other patrons. My clothes stank so severely when I got home it was actually slightly concerning! (I thought of incinerating them but then came to my senses and remembered if I had an incinerator it wouldnt be freezing in my house!) When the French smoke they do so with dedication! And what’s worse/more amazing is that I went with a group from the Franco-American soiree (some I knew from uni) and after arriving my friend David decided it probably wasn’t a good idea to check his bag, complete with 15 passports in it so back we went to mine (everyone had just walked from mine- after the soiree the local bars were full and went to mine for champagne and chocolate-yum!), dropped it off, I changed my shirt to something cooler (felt like Australian summer) and admittedly skimpier. And the first shirt I wore into the bar for literally 2 mins (we walked in walked out!) still stinks today!

The after going to bed at approx 3:30 I got up at 8am (Ben didn't wake me as I asked...he wrote a note but I didn't understand the reason behind not waking me...something about fear? lol, I swear I am not a vicious animal in the mornings…I hardly ever see him in the mornings with our different schedules). I rode to uni surprised at how un-cold it is and felt compelled to remove my gloves. I went to Internat. Office and hoped for a fax or email from my uni (I asked them to send me the letter that I wrote when I applied to come on exchange). Instead they sent nothing, slack buggers and when I called the other day the woman who works there had the nerve to ask me in a tone with far too much exasperation ‘Why I was not happy? Hadn’t I gotten approvals for my subject in France and if not what are the approvals you have been forwarding me'. I wanted to tell her I wasn’t happy because she had no idea how to do her job but thought better of it in the end. Her comments only prove my theory that she has no idea what is going on here! She lost that attitude when I told her that I had NO approval at a specific year level (therefore no approval) and she was supposed to be following that up! Remember? So anyway, no fax this morning (guess she thought she’d do it on Monday or maybe she was putting in some time and effort figuring out how to do her job!) means I have to write a whole new letter for my French friend Alexandra who is applying for Melbourne University for July 2006. Melb Uni are snobs and they won't take her unless her letter is 'kick ass' good. That happens to be the expression I used upon reading the letter I spent 2 hours writing for her this morning....I quite liked it, both the expression and the letter! I should have been studying for my FLE test (doesn’t count by anyway) instead of letter writing but I agreed to do it and also if it tok me 2 hours how long ould it have taken her! And even more time for us to correct it together! Also, I have this big dream/fantasy of driving to Melbourne Airport to pick up Alexandra and her boyfriend Nathan in June/July! YAY! I cannot think of anything I'd rather do!

So yeah, I spend the morning sneaking around uni with my computer trying to find unoccupied rooms. I was late for my FLE class...only by an hour…eeek! because I was letter writing and then had to do a test on the 'condition'. Who knows what that is and hence me thinks I won’t be doing very well! Then I photocopied the corrections I missed (how studious!) in class at the international office. I often take advantage of their mass disorganisation in this way. Because they have no idea what is going on they can’t possibly tell that things are being photocopying!

So right now I am going to go do research on Portugal and the European Union because I have a presentation on Monday and have to hand in a dissertation (I don't know if that word is French or brain is often confused in this way)! I am trying to pick a night next week for a soiree Japonaise/ Japanese evening with my Japanese friends. I need to write a CV and send it to Italy for the winter job in Italy that I applying for at the Irish Igloo (I already sent an email with heaps of info but the man wants more! And since I have so much time/desperately want the job I said ‘Sure, I’d love to write you another…just like that…sugary sweet!). I need to pick a date and theme and make and give out invitations for my birthday party (Dec 10th-Eevryone is invited). Still need to send notes to Marton in England and Claire’s family in province thanking them for their hospitality. I got back from the post office yesterday (it took the time of 1 song to walk there and another 5 waiting in line! I swear they employ the dead, deceased or dying only) very happy to cross that off my list of things to do (which by the way just keeps growing) to have Ben give me a new slip and say ‘guess you’ll be going back then’ (said in such classic Ben style!) Oh, la poste! Try tomorrow! I bought a ‘pass de culture’ which allows me go see 7 events in Lyon….haven’t even touched it yet and have to go book things for it. I also need to be transport to Austria ASAP before it is full and/or expensive. (If you have actually read this far please incorperate the words “pink elephants” in your comment…’cos you will of course comment!) I need to summarise my French classes and get on top of them because there is quite a lot to remember and unfortunately I love languages but do not have a natural affinity for learning them. Maybe accents are not so bad for me to try and mimic because mine changes on a regular basis. I need to study for my European Integration exam next week. I also have to start thinking about advertising my things (bike, computer, apartment) so I don’t get stuck with them before I leave! I must change my flights sometime and decide how long I am staying in Thailand (I am going Mum...sorry...but if it makes you feel better keep suggesting alternatives)…and all I did the whole day yesterday was fix the flat tyre on my bike!

Have you ever changed a bike tyre? I know I certainly haven’t and had no clue…however hence fourth and forver I shall be known as ‘Cara bike tyre changing expert’. Please address me in this manner! It shall now be my formal title. Someone send me a change of name form quickly...before I come to my senses! (You need a spoon for all those crying out 'How did she do it?' and I cannot take all the credit for the fab tyre changing). However, the question did come to mind ‘How many exchange students does it take to change a bicycle tyre’ as I was going to inlist the 4th exchange student, Carston (USA) on my bicycle tyre chaning mission. I needed him to figure out how to work his own ‘modern’ style bike pump (modern is another word for needlessly complicated and probably cheaply made both in plastic and in China) while Andy and Sebastian (UK) wrestled with the upside down bike in the laundry of their building! The problem is that is you gave Carston a can of corn and said ‘Carston, you’re life depends on it, make corn’ he might die! Even with a can opener! But he probably would manage to form a sentence including the conjunction y'all. So then comes the question ‘How many exchange students does it take to use a bike pump and it must be more then four or that was my response anyway as my bike and I strolled to the gas/petrol station to use the ‘air up there’! Okay well I am going to go eat my off or not yogurt (it is 12 little pots for 1 Euro hence I eat that almost non stop!). And at this point, bringing my own cheap yogurt lunch and eating it in McDonalds whilst using their internet is the least of my worries! =)