On the Cusp of Winter in Rennes

How the time flies! In just under a month, my first semester abroad will come to a close. I can’t believe that it has been three months already.

We have reached the point in the year where the honeymoon is over and the grind has all but just began. The past week was a constant mélange of rain, shivering temperatures, a surprising temporary lull in the workload and many, many cups of tea (so glad to have received a tumbler in my care package). This very wintry week (freak mini hail storm and all) was bookended by two more exciting events: my first visit to the famous Marché des Lices, and the school trip to Mont St. Michel.

Early Saturday morning, green tea in hand, I met my friends at Place des Lices for Rennes’ iconic weekend flower and produce market. I had been meaning to go to the marché since I first got here but host family trips to Dinard, standardized testing and less than ideal rainy weather had kept me from exploring it until now. Despite being a tad nippy, the marché was simply fabulous. Stalls on stalls of food vendors extended literally as far as I could see. There were separate sections devoted to a plethora of seafood, fruit/vegetable, and galette vendors. My favorite stalls however, had to be those selling large bottles of French orange and apple juice, the hot beverage push cart, the wild honey stand, the jam tasting area and the dried fruit vendor. One of my friends bought some delicious creamy “springtime” honey that we straight up ate out of the jar as we wandered in search of picnic lunch ingredients, soaking up all the interesting and delicious food surrounding us. In the end, I ended up with a hazelnut mocha shot, a cheese galette and a bag of dried “fruits” (ginger, coconut, strawberry, mango, fig and kiwi). France has underlined my love for all things cheese, chocolate and carbohydrate (the three “c”‘s) as well as brought out a previously dormant love for tea, jam and dried fruit. Is this what people meant when they said study abroad changes you? 😛

Kouingaman and then so more kouingaman #sobreton

Kouign amann and then some more kouign amann  #sobreton

The Marché Honey

The Marché Honey

Jam Tasting

Jam Tasting

Juice!

Juice!

Spread of dried fruit

Spread of dried fruit

How cute is the coffee shot?

How cute is this coffee shot?

After starting out the week on such a high note, I ended it on an equally exciting note with our school trip to Mont St. Michel the following Saturday. Having crossed its baie almost a month ago (seems like just yesterday…) this time, we actually entered the abbey. Armed with multiple insulating layers, including hand warmers (is it obvious I’m from the south?), and with a whole week and a half’s worth of background knowledge on the history of the abbey and its architecture, we swarmed Mont St. Michel at the unearthly hour of 9ish (made unearthly because we had to wake up earlier than some school days). After walking with the columns in the cloître, following the light in the réfectoire, hugging the fat pillars and becoming frenemies with some hungry yet adorable little birds, I would proclaim our visit to Mont St. Michel an overall success.

Of course the rain lets up as we start walking way (@Mont St. Michel)

Of course the rain lets up as we start walking way (@Mont St. Michel)

Revisiting Mont St. Michel almost a month after our first “visit” really hit home the fact how long we’ve really been in France. Sometimes, caught up in what has become routine, I forget that time has kept on ticking and that life keeps on going back home [which I was doubly reminded of as it was my sister’s birthday earlier this week, the first one of hers I’ve ever missed 😦 ]..

Next week is sure to further shake me from my frozen in time reverie as I have already at least four assessments scheduled. As my peers back home are devouring Ben Franklin’s choice for the American national bird, I will, most probably, be discussing the French educational system. As the French would say, c’est la vie (that’s life). Come what may, I wouldn’t change this amazing opportunity to experience life in France for the world.

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