Un appel à vote, Toulouse, et des îles de Frioul

Salut mes ami(e)s!

The past couple of weeks have been really crazy for me, with a trip to Toulouse, a week of midsems, and then a week of vacances de la Toussaint (fall break)! I just got home last night from a crazy trip to Prague, Budapest, Milan, and Paris and I will write about that soon, but I wanted to write a quick post about a couple of important things beforehand.

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First and foremost, I wanted to post this picture of my absentee ballot in honor of election day tomorrow, November 4. Even though it isn’t a presidential election, tomorrow’s election is still really important in both Wisconsin and Iowa (as well as in all of the other states where I don’t live). I want to encourage everyone to vote tomorrow if you haven’t already. I already voted for Mary Burke for governor, because I strongly believe she is the best choice for Wisconsin, but everyone, regardless of political affiliation, should vote tomorrow to express their beliefs and participate in our democratic system. If I can vote from France, you can definitely take time out of your day to do so (: Here are some handy links that provide information on the candidates and how to vote in Wisconsin and Iowa:
http://wisconsinvote.org/
http://gab.wi.gov/voters
http://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/

<3

I also recently paid a weekend visit to my very own sister, Marla, in St. Lys, where she is currently studying abroad for her first semester of her junior year of high school. You can also check out her blog about her experiences here: http://marlamoser.blogspot.fr/ Unfortunately, public transport was closed due to a strike just before I left Marseille, but thanks to some moped expertise on the part of my host dad, I was able to make my train to Toulouse. Her host family picked me up at the station and took me to their house in St. Lys, a small town about 35 minutes away. It was so incredibly wonderful to see Marla, meet her host family, and hear about her French life!! I found it very interesting to discover that we are having certain shared experiences in terms of interactions with France and the French people, but that our lives are also extremely different at the same time. One of the main reasons is because they live in a pretty rural area, especially compared to Marseille.

The beautiful view from their backyard!
The beautiful view from their backyard!

The Alauze family was so kind and welcoming to me, I am glad to know that my little sister is in good hands (: On Saturday, we visited St. Lys and then went into Toulouse for a visit to the city. Toulouse is much different than Marseille and was much closer to what I think of as “typical France.” It is a student city, with several public and private universities, and I found it to be very picturesque with the beautiful river/canal, cobblestones, and red brick buildings everywhere.

The fall leaves reminded me of the Midwest (:
The fall leaves reminded me of the Midwest (:

In addition, it is located in different region in France (Midi-Pyrenées) than Marseille (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur), which made a surprisingly large geographical difference. I was so happy to see fall colors and we spent a lovely day walking around in the autumn weather. Although I wasn’t there for too long, I was so happy to see Marla and I’m excited for her to come visit Marseille in a few weeks!

We powered through midsems two weeks ago, but still managed to do a few things around Marseille before we left for vacation. Right before exams started, a couple of us went to a soccer match, L’Olympique de Marseille vs. Toulouse FC, in the Stade Vélodrome. The stadium has recently been renovated and we were in the nosebleed seats, which actually enabled us to see the entire interior! It was my first live, professional sports experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it (: We were very far away from the field, but the atmosphere was quite exciting and we could still see the entire game. OM fans are known to be some of the most passionate in France, so I was really glad we won 2-0.

The view from the top of the newly renovated Stade Vélodrome
The view from the top of the newly renovated Stade Vélodrome
The view of the beach, before we went swimming (:
The view of the beach, before we went swimming (:

Last weekend, we went hiking for the day in the îles de Frioul, just before leaving for our first day of fall break. Frioul is a small archipelago located a twenty minute ferry ride away from Vieux Port, so we took an early morning boat to spend most of the day there. My two friends and I hiked all around the rocky islands and explored the paths, ruins, and water. IMG_4257At the top of one of the cliffs, we were treated to some pretty spectacular views of the Marseille cityscape and the surrounding sea. We stopped by a perfectly clear beach with that same turquoise water and Bridget and I ended up swimming in our leggings and sports bras for a little while. It was freezing at first, but once we numbed up, it was great and for a native Midwesterner, it was unbelievable to be swimming in the Mediterranean at the end of October. It was really lovely to spend some time in nature, especially in nature so easily accessible from the city, and an excellent way to start fall break!

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Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read this, miss you all as always ❤

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