I am Marielle Foster. After living in Minneapolis for 18 long winters, I decided that before spending another four years in the barrage of Minnesota winter, I ought to try weather a little milder. And food a little less bland. These are two of my main motivators in life. Weather and food.


Introduce = Gap Year


A gap is a space in between two things, and a year is twelve gregorian months. Unfortunately, I'm only gone for ten months, but as I don't know the word for this amount of time, it's a gap year.


Currently I live in the oceanic mildness of Nantes. 


Nantes, France, that is. I'm attending the IRFFLE program for a semester (it's even harder to say in French than in English) to ameliorate my french speaking/writing/listening skills.
A small introduction to Nantes: Nantes is much like Portland. It rains a lot, it doesn't get too cold, there is lots of good music, people bike a lot and the average age is 26.
30,000 students, of which approximately 5,000 are foreigners. I've never actually been to Portland, but I'm told they are similar. Things I typically do in Nantes include but are not limited to...
1) Continue my search in vain for a café with a comfy couch. The coffee is to die for, the hot chocolate heavenly, and keep those pastries away from me. But why is there nowhere to curl up and watch the rain fall?
2) I practice my french mindset.
The French Mindset: Speak primarily with the front of the mouth/lips (english is a language you speak much more in your throat). Raise eyebrows and look confused a lot. Say "Voila" "Bah ouais" "Donc" and "D'Accord."
3) Ride the tramway. It's beautiful, it runs from 4:30 am till 12:30 am most days, which is enough to fuel the life of a student. 
4) Rehearse the extra fancy ways of asking for things in stores, to the effect that store clerks are astonished by the hyper-formality of my exaggerated french accent. Mais voila, what can I say?