Thursday, January 10, 2013

İnatçı, Têtue, Stubborn

I have a lot of catching up to do. Life has been rather stressful as of late but more on that later.

Soooooo where was I?

Ah yes, Christmas with Yoan and his family was spectacular. The food was to die for and there were a thousand courses. Everyone was extremely warm and welcoming to me, and everyone talked and ate with merriment. Julie, you can appreciate the fact that Yoan's cousins and I talked about Jeff Dunham for the better portion of the night. 
Yoan's spanish grandmother cooked a mountain of paella, in the largest frying pan I have ever seen, for the main course. She's absolutely adorable, a head and a half shorter than me, speaks french with a strong spanish accent, and her main worry is that you haven't eaten enough. The meal also lasted until about 1 or 2 in the morning afterwhich I rolled my fatty girth into bed and hybernated for a couple of days. 

A few days later Yoan, Mikael, Virginie (Mikael's friend), and I did what four mature adults  do....we went to Disneyland Paris

 The castle all light up at night. During the closing ceremony they had a cool light show on the castle and some fireworks. We were there from about 9:30am to 10pm. Disneyland marathon!

Virginie and I got some Cotton Candy!!!! aka barbe à papa (Grandpa's beard)

The faces of four adults reverted to children for a day. Oh ya, and it was bloody fricken cold! But we still had a blast anyways.

Then for new years Yoan, Mikael, my friend from studying abroad in Paris, Robert, and I all skipped down via car to Aix-en-Provence to visit a mutual friend Aymeric, well, we were about a half an hour away from Aix. It was an eight hour drive and the two europeans were forced to drive for the entirety of it due to the handicapped americans being unable to drive a stick....ya, need to learn how to do that one day. 
Gorgeous southern france

Our first day we all went hiking at Cales caves in Lamanon where there were lots of ancient homes carved into the sandstone rock and wonderful places to do some bouldering/rock climbing. I once again released my inner child and let her romp free all over the rocks. She thouroughly enjoyed it though I'm sure I revealed my non-standard manerisms to Aymeric and Mikael. How I act might not always make sense to others, but it's ok, it makes sense in my head.

The second day we went out hiking again but this time we did some bush-wacking. Aymeric forged the way which proved challenging for the rest of us to follow. A path made by a guy who's ~6'6 (2m) doesn't work all that well for people of a more standard height such as 5'5/5'4 (~1.65/1.63m) me. That aside, after a decent hike up a sizable hill through rather prickly bushes (not sure of the name though, there was some rosemary in the mix) we make it up into an old quarry. There were huge vaulted ceilings, graffitti, and carvings dating back to 1909. It was so sick!
Me! If you look closely you can see a huge tear in my jeans near my left knee, another will be created during the descent. Took me bloody forever to repair them. I refuse to throw them out yet, we have a history together. They were one of my first pair of jeans that my mom bought for me right before I worked on my first farm in Washington state when I was 17. *Sniffle* *Sniffle* I'm not ready to part with them yet.

Aymeric, posing stoically

In order to place our mark in time, Aymeric scratched our names into the rock. Here he is at work.

The boys    

For those of whom aren't familiar with the french/european way of writing the date, the day goes first then the month then the year.
A pic of the surrounding area, lots of olive trees!
The rest of our stay in the Aix region was just as wonderful, Aymeric being an excellent host, and we had a great new years roaming the streets. Then we took on the eight hour drive back to the Paris region.
Theme song of our stay:

Back in Ile de France to meet the new year. January is a magical time in france, it is the time of the galette des rois. A galette des rois is a patissery from the gods, filled with gooey frongipan lovingly coddled by flaky puff pastry. I, of course, had to eat at least one while I'm here in France. Hit count of galette consumption is now up to 2.

 Inside the galette hides a little fève, a small figuring, and whoever finds it in their slice of galette gets to wear the crown and is king or queen for the rest of the day.
 Whether it was due to luck, chance, or female comradery between Yoan's mom, who was serving the slices, and I we will never know, the important part is that my slice held the tiny fève. So, the crown was mine! and I proudly sported it for the entirity of the day, litterally, I begrudgingly removed it right before my head hit the pillow.
 The tyrant queen! Yes mom, that's the shirt you sent me, I'm quite fond of it.
 The little fève king is now a member of my traveling party. He accompanied Yoan and I on a 7 hour hike, fiercly leading the way.

Now to explain the title of this post and my stressful situation. I was suppose to go to England with my friend because she wanted to visit a farm she had worked on five years ago. Due to her lower level in english, I would come along and act as translator. I was waiting for her to buy her ticket so I could do my planning...and I waited. I will skip details and just get to the part where she kept telling me "ya I'll do it tonight" and in the end after multiple calls from my part she told me she couldn't go. By the time we got to the "I'm not going part" it was already january 5th and I didn't have a plan B.

Cue stress mode!

After a good while of freaking out, I finally made the plan to fly home. I was tired and I missed family and I was ready to start focusing my attention fully on searching for a job. Yay! plan made, I was going home. Now how much would it cost to change my ticket?...... $2000 to $3000, buy a new ticket at least $1000.... How about plan C! Plan C: fly straight to Cork, Ireland, stay with my mom's friend there, and then wwoof in ireland until my flight early feburary. A flawless plan! I though, and so I bought a ticket to Cork for the 12 of january.
Yet, mom couldn't get in contact with her friend. No problem, I'll just go straight to a farm.
Warning to anyone trying to wwoof in ireland, it is a stupidly popular destination even in winter. I sent out a total of 60 requests to host farms and after 5 days, 18 reponses of 'we already have wwoofers' or 'we dont need anyone now', 40 no responses, plenty of posts stating 'Already booked for the rest of 2013!', I finally got two positive responses, the 45th and 49th farms I contacted. Yay! not going to be a homeless person in Cork, though my friends have cracked jokes that I already have the appearance of a homeless person with my backpack and manner of dress...they're just jealous.

Anyhoo! So, I'm off to Ireland! I'm just excited at this point to be going to a place where everyone know's how to pronounce my last name correctly. Wooooo!!!

Ah yes, the title. For those of you who know me, saying "Lauren is stubborn" is a redundant statement. Since I was born my father has been telling me that I'm 'as stubborn as a mule', in the alpes I was called 'tetue' (stubborn), and in Turkey I was called 'keçi' (goat)....hey, at least I'm consistent right? Well, it's moments like this when my stubborness and persistance comes in handy. Had I given up after contacting only 40 farms, I wouldn't have sent a message to the the 45th and 49th farms. Persitance people, persistance....and a touch of stubbornness

Hopefully the farm in Ireland works out. Only a month left of my voyage, but a month is plenty of time for plenty of adventures! Now off to the land of my peoples!