Okay so this is my post Paris blog! A lot has gone on since my last blog, not so much school stuff, but a TON of AGE related functions, and even more traveling!
First off, after the stressful return from London with the lack of knowing where Eddie was for a while I needed a good nights rest so when Monday morning came around and the need for me to wake up for class, I just decided my first skipping might need to occur. I missed a presentation over the conflict in Georgia, but loved the sleeping in part. After my little sleep in I went into AGE for what I was planning on being just a couple of hours of making folders for the conferences later in the week, but my boss wasn't in to tell me what to do. Instead, I just ended up working on some projects I have ongoing throughout the semester and once she arrived getting some things ready for the meetings that were later in the week. On Tuesday the entire trip to Ireland was planned! It felt and still feels so good to have everything that needs to be booked and to know what we are doing, at the same of the Ireland planning Eddie and I were still undecided about what to do after Paris, but that will be talked about more later.
Wednesday I had my morning Art class, and then Kelsey and I went to go buy scarves before I had my first big AGE event of the week. Wednesday's event was a conference on seniors using equity from their mortgages to offset any funds they weren't getting from their pensions. Just the subject was over my head, but it was still an interesting conference. The best part of it was getting to meet so many different AGE members and to see inside the European Commission building, it was a very hi-tech building and very cool. Thursday and Friday were AGE Council of Administration meetings. This meant 40 of the members of AGE that have been elected to work on the more administrative issues at AGE and the staff issues of the Brussels headquarters would come to Brussels and discuss the issues. It was really neat because I was able to go to both days events and to meet so many of the members. The members are from all across the European Union and have so many interesting things to say. They were long days filled with a lot of information that was completely new to me, but it was interesting to see just a piece of some of the bigger work that AGE does. After these meetings I came back to the house to pack for Paris!
Throughout the week Eddie and I had been trying to make plans for after Paris, and pretty much decided to take a 13 hour bus to Geneve, but it wasn't able to be booked so we were hoping to buy the tickets in Paris and just go from there.
We left for Paris early Saturday morning and started the trip the trip immediately. We saw a ton of things from the Louvre, the Conciergerie, Versailles (where we rode bikes around the gardens), Notre Dame, Musee d'Orsay, Les Invalides, Tomb of Napoleon, a Monet museum, any many more things. It was so strange though that visiting sites like the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triumphe were not planned but instead were mentioned as possible options on our free nights. It was great though and seeing so many things with a professor that I swear could talk about any subject for two hours minimum. On our evenings off I was able to go see the Eiffel Tower and go to the stop, it was soooo pretty and just amazing to be at the top. We also went to the Arc de Triumphe, that was really cool too and it was neat to see the comparison between the height there compared to the Eiffel Tower.
After numerous hours spent trying to make plans and having continued issues with booking tickets or finding inexpensive options Eddie and I just decided to stay in Brussels for an extra night and then to take a bus back from Paris to Brussels. That plan worked out really well because we were able to see the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triumphe and then the French countryside on the bus ride back. The funny thing was that the bus driver actually got lost or something on the drive back because we kept going back to this one gas station, it was very bizarre.
We finally made it back into Brussels and since then have just been haning out. Our host family left tonight for a trip to the sea, and they invited us last night but both Eddie and myself have papers due in the next couple weeks so we need to work on them and will hopefully see a bit more of the city. Upcoming trips include Ireland and the WWI and WWII trip with the art class, other than that it is just hanging out and hopefully and experiencing any other things that I can.