2010 in review

3 01 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 37 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 137 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 238mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 3rd with 93 views. The most popular post that day was St-Malo.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mail.live.com, en.search.wordpress.com, blog.laurentian.ca, and connect.facebook.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for izabeautrottier.wordpress.com, german girl, german chick, manga sex, and laurentian university classroom building.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


St-Malo September 2010


Grapes September 2010


Live, Love, Leave December 2010


City of Love, part 1 September 2010


My first post….Ever August 2010
4 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

Reverse Culture-Shock

27 12 2010

Good morning everyone from Canada and good afternoon everyone reading this blog from Europe. It’s morning for me, I still wake up early (it’s about 8am) and last night I went to bed early (around 10) but I consider that to be pretty normal. Today is the last day that I can get away with saying that I am jet-lagged, my aunt Carole said I get one day per time zone and seeing as France is 6 hours ahead of us, I get 6 days, I landed on the 22nd and now it’s the 27th = 6days. Jet lag was a lot harder this time around; when I first got to France, my Jet lag actually permitted me to do MORE, I could go to bed really really late because for me it was still early (6am France is only 12am Canada) put then I could sleep in very late because school hadn’t started yet. But now, jet-lag is restricting me, I feel sleepy and exhausted at 6pm because that’s midnight France time so I am not able to fully enjoy whatever is going on at 6pm that day. On top of that, I wake up at 5-6 am everyday and I am not able to sleep in any later…….that sucks!

I am writing this blog for other international students going abroad to know what they are getting into so I feel that it is important for me to include how I am dealing with ”reverse culture shock”. Reverse culture-shock is when you go abroad, live in a different environment for a long time, get used to the new culture and then come home to your old environment and feel shocked or uneasy. It’s kind of like you are a tourist in your own home. I have to admit, I am starting to feel the effects of this, in the first few days, I didn’t, I was just really happy to be home along with the excitement of Christmas. But as we approach the week milestone, things are getting back to normal and I’m starting to feel the effects. I feel that things have changed around here or that I have changed and I have to re-learn to be me. I ma not used to being at home anymore and I have to adapt to a new surrounding. I also miss my France friends and not seeing them everyday really sucks. This is not to say that I’m not relieved to be home, because I am, this is just another important thing about being an international student…….gotta deal with it.

”Best way to deal with it is mentally telling yourself Canada is not home yet, just another travel place. You need to adapt with the environment and culture just like any other country.” – AztMayInc (Thorn Tree Travel Forum – Lonely Planet)




23 12 2010

5:31- Gate 29 Reykjavik Airport
So thankfully, I have been told that I should be home tonight around 10:44. Earlier today, when I went to check in my luggage, I was turned away and told that I had to go talk to the sales office, freaking out, I walked in. I was told that nobody from our original flight was actually confirmed and that we were all on ‘‘stand-by’’ until further notice. This is when I started to shake and my voice became hoarse, on the brink of tears, I ask how good are my chances to get on the NY flight. The lady said that they were severely over-booked and that she didn’t know. But then, as some miracle, she told me that bizarrely, I was accepted onto the Boston flight. Taking advantage of this, she immediately confirmed my ticket on an AirCanada flight from Boston to Toronto. So yes! I am going to make it! Everything will be ok and I will be home for Christmas! YAY!!!! But I have to say that I am still stressed out, judging from the past 30 hours, I understand that nothing is certain, that I could still be delayed or cancelled. I really hope that this does not happen but again, it is important to remain strong and realize that it’s not sooooo bad, everything will be ok.

Thursday the 23rd
So I’m finally home! I am sitting at the kitchen table eating a bowl of Lucky Charms cereal! That night, I did make it home at 10:44 with no delays, I got incredibly lucky! My parents greeted me right at the exit, we were all very emotional and incredibly happy to see each-other. That night, we stayed in a hotel and drove up to Sudbury yesterday the 22nd. Yes, I was 24hrs late to come home but I consider myself incredibly fortunate that I got home because I understand that only 40% of the flights are making it out of Paris and that most London flights are delayed till after Christmas.

Now that I am home, I feel like this whole exchange was a dream, I feel like I never left….. besides the jet lag. I am very Jet lagged, yesterday, at the hotel, I woke up at 5am not being able sleep anymore because 5am here, is 1pm in Rennes. So I got up took a shower and went back to bed, trying to make myself get used to the time change. Last night, I was ready for bed at 6pm, but, I made myself stay up till 8, we even went to kick-boxing and I totally died! I feel that it is important to proactively get used to the time change so that I am ready for christmas and I don’t spend all of it jet lagged and sick, so this morning, when I woke up at 5am, I stayed in bed with my eyes closed till 8, that means that I slept 12hours. Oh well, it’s good for me🙂 .

”When you’re safe at home you wish you were having an adventure; when you’re having an adventure you wish you were safe at home” – Thornton Wilder

”Nor need we power or splendor, wide hall or lordly dome; the good, the true, the tender, these form the wealth of home.” – Sarah J. Hale



P.S. – These are the pictures of my mom and dad this morning = Home

My Icelandic Stay

21 12 2010

So now sitting here at the Charles De Gaulles airport, terminal 1, loading Gate 54 and my oh my! It looks like the sun just might come up! There is still hope! Well not really, the truth is that I might not get home today, the flight from Paris to Reykjavik is severely delayed (it was supposed to take off at 13h20) and there are no flights to the US from Reykjavik tonight. I say the US because I’m having a lay over in NY and then Toronto. All this because of the weather, but in my opinion, I cannot believe that the FRENCH would allow a flight to go out in this ‘‘weather’’ if the ICElanders won’t, doesn’t that seem a little fishy to anyone else but myself? So even though it is a bit lonely right now sitting here in this airport and I understand that spending a night in a foreign airport will be worse, I am still remaining strong. I know that I am not the first to go through this and I definitely won’t be the last. I consider this to be kind of like my initiation to the world of traveling, one has to understand that things don’t always run smoothly, especially in winter, right before Christmas! Really, what was I expecting? That it would be all rainbows and sunshine? In mid December? HA! One thing that IS making me happy is that I have finally been able to talk to my parents on Skype, the Wifi here is not great but it works…..on and off. We were able to comfort each-other, yes, my Mom nearly made me cry in public but that’s ok. They were right on their way out, they are driving to Toronto today to ‘‘pick me up’’. HA! Today lol But one thing that I do feel good about is promising that I WILL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS! Sorry Kelsey, this means that we will have to ‘‘delay’’ our date till after you come back from Hawaii!

So as for my thoughts right now, I have resigned myself to this last international experience for a while. I accept that I will be spending the night somewhere not in the company of my parents and that yes, it is character building. I am currently on the plane between Paris and Reykjavik and my feet are cold. I have to say that my experience is a  million times better than the one I had on the way to Paris in September. I’m sitting beside two other students and they do not smell! Yay! Neither is snoring and I happen to not have a drink in hand this time around. But for now, the plane is landing so I would be better to put my laptop away and put my tray in its upright position.

12:30 – Noon the next day
I am now sitting in the lobby of a Hilton Hotel in Reykjavik. Last night, I found out that the next plane for NY is today at 5pm Reykjavik time. Fortunately, Icelandair is a good airline and they are responsible for our well-being, therefore, they have put us all up in this hotel for the night and have included supper last night, breakfast this morning and lunch today. I think this is really great! I got a double room complete with BATHTUB all to myself! So last night, I took a nice long bath while reading the book ”L’Ombre du vent” by the author Carlos Ruiz Zafon (I believe he is Portuguese). I had a pretty enjoyable evening considering I wasn’t home. I hope to be home no later than tonight🙂. I guess I got REALLY lucky for my last International experience for while, I had it easy, no airport bench for this girl!



Leaving Rennes Behind

21 12 2010

Waiting in the Rennes Gares for the train to go home, I am reflecting on my stay here and hoping that I get home and safely and on time. It is currently 6:13 in the morning and issues have already risen. My original train, one going directly to Charles de Gaules  Airport in Paris was supposed to leave at 6:10 am but unfortunately, this train was CANCELLED! I do not know to what this is due but I have my doubts that it has something to do with the weather and the fact that it’s final destination is, what else, Lille Europe. I mention this because yesterday, on my way back from Morgane’s, I took a train from Lille Europe to Rennes and this train was set back 2,5 hours when a Thalys train broke down in front of us. I say, Lille Europe trains are just jinxed! So now, fortunately, i’m on my way to Paris but it took a lot of stressing out in the past 30 mins to be able to make it……and I almost lost Lopy! Lopy is my stuffed elephant, my mom sent him to me through the mail earlier this semester, he is homemade and knitted with love and he has come to represent home for me in my 6-year-old heart, so it is understandable that when I thought I had dropped him out of my purse before boarding the train, I had a minor freak-out attack! Thankfully I did drop him, but inside the train, somewhere I found him shortly after putting an end to my ‘’freak-out-edness’’. Something else that helped me calm down was the fact that the line to get into second class was really long and everyone was bustling about and pushing and shoving to get on, so I simply walked to the front of the train (first class) where I found it quiet and nearly deserted, I wonder if this is some type of human instinct to simply fight for second class instead of running to the first, maybe has something to do with one’s childhood……hmmmmm, could be interesting but not right now.

OK so now the next development in this story sees me finally on the right train towards CDG airport in Paris but because of ‘‘Meteorological reasons’’ we must go backwards on the rails and take a different route. This is putting us another good hour behind and I’m really starting to worry about if I am going to be catching my plane back to Canada. I am  s*?&#ing bricks! More like ice blocks! I hope that all this will fix itself and that I don’t miss my flight, that would really really suck big time! On the positive side, I think that the cute boys (well men) sitting beside me are also going to America and might be in the same situation as me but they have each other to rely on while I am alone, I am really feeling nauseated. Oh wait, I didn’t quite point out what the positive side of this situation really is, it’s that if I ask really really nicely they might help me out and together we could ensure that we all get on the right flight, they sound french, I could help them with english or something, actually I don’t know how useful I really am to them, but maybe i’m selling myself short. Oh well. When I look outside, sure it is really white out there and really snowy but I don’t think it should be causing all these problems, I will take a picture and you guys and judge for yourselves, it might be that it is Canadian-ness and an intense need for Home that is making me see it as less than it really is……maybe i’m crazy!

”Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as we pass through them they prove to be many coloured lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows us only what lies in its own focus” – Ralph Waldo Emerson



I will miss…..to all my new friends!

13 12 2010

Hey Everyone, I’m sitting here in the library of Rennes 1 University apparently trying to study. Well actually I am studying but I need a tiny break. Tomorrow is the last day of school here in Rennes, I have three exams and then I am done! Really looking forward to this and also looking forward to being able to live my last few days here in Rennes to the fullest. I don’t really have anything to talk about that I haven’t mentioned before but I felt like writing a post….I hope you don’t mind. I guess I could take time to actually talk about different things I will miss about the CITY of Rennes.

The city of Rennes, according to me is really beautiful, but according to all the Europeans, it is normal. I think it is beautiful because of the style of the old buildings , the cobblestone streets, the canal running through the middle with countless bridges passing over it, the huge number of flowers still found all around the city and adorning every possible public surface, the blue sky, the (still) green lawns, la rue de la soif, all the rabbits frolicking about, parc de Gayeulle where I do my running, la rue de Bastard lined with all manners of the best shopping ever (we even have an Hermès!), the metro system and the REALLY good bus system (le Star de Nuit runs all night- every 15mins on Thursday, Friday, Saturday! Awesome eh!), musicians in the street, the slow, restful lifestyle, having coffee a gazillion times a day because we are ”working to hard”, the #4 and the #1, Batiment A (oh and Celine and Joke in Bat B – loners!), having wine with almost every supper, having coffee and desert after every meal, taking two hours to eat……Every time, having men care as much as women about fashion, going out till 7am (rarely – NO WORRIES! lol) and then having McDo (Wieteke’s and Vera’s meatless BigMacs), getting pizza from the guy in the van every Sunday night, comparing European and North-American customs, accidentally being spoken too in a foreign language, the speaker forgetting that I don’t also speak it (oh German…Secret Language!! -Joke), Vera’s come-backs (”Izzie! Why do you even have a phone?”, ”Don’t you check facebook?”, ”No! YOUR stupid/ugly/ridiculous/smelly/etc!!”), Wieteke’s come-backs (”You don’t think I know that?”), running with Tini, debating random shit with Chris (Evolution as a religion, the existence of love, etc), Lunch at RU l’étoile, Macarons, the InterMarché, power failures which lead to candle-lit hang-out sessions, the French complaining about the ”cold”, the French thinking they speak better English than I do french – as soon as the hear me say anything in french, they assume I am a moron and start trying to piece together ever shred of English they possess in order to ”help” me understand them (at the beginning I was nice but now I quickly point out the flaw in there logic – I AM FRANCOPHONE!), ERASMUS parties, studying in the public library (I don’t think I will actually miss this but I though I would mention it after ERASMUS parties :-P……..also , the public library is beautiful!), French fashion, and many many other things that I can’t think of right now. Wow, that is the longuest run-on sentence ever! haha

But I shall talk some more later, I am know going to Lunch with Vera and co.

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I’ll miss you
Until we meet again!
~Author Unknown

xoxox Izzie


Live, Love, Leave

10 12 2010

Hi! We are now in the home stretch of this whole exchange business, fortunately and unfortunately.  This is similar to the time when I first started working on this blog and telling you all how my body it going nuts and about how afraid I am. But this time, it’s not so scary because I know what awaits me in Canada, it’s more bittersweet. I don’t have adventure on the mind but home-coming and a return to tranquility (well as much as is possible with me around) and normality (dido). I am really looking forward to seeing my parents, my sister, my family, my friends and my Mandy (cat) again but I don’t want to leave my new friends. When I left Canada, I knew that I would see everyone again soon and that it would only be a matter of time till everything was the same again. But, leaving Rennes, I know for a fact that things will never be the same again and I am very likely to never see most of these people ever again. Next time I see the important people, we will be in a different stage of life, might even be different people and we will only have memories to bind us together, this really scares me.

I have been communicating a lot with Laurentian International lately, especially with Audrey Man. who has been telling me that yes, it is tough to leave and that she might have ”created a monster” in me. Meaning that now that I’ve had a taste of travelling, I might never want to stop and that I might be addicted. It’s true that I feel that way right now but I think that as soon as I get settled back down at home I will be happy to be back. It’s really strange actually because last week, there is nothing I wanted more than to just be back home, I even packed all my suitcase and then unpacked it all again with the excuse that ”I have to check if it all fits!”, it took me 4 hours! Ridiculous, I know! So no worries, I am coming back!

But something I did offer to do when I get back is volunteer at Laurentian International and help new incoming internationals settle down in Sudbury. I think that this is a really good way to keep going with my international experience, keep meeting new people, have more exciting international experiences and live vicariously through them, I might even re-discover my own country in the eyes of a newbie (the way I discovered France). Knowing what it’s like to be in their shoes might make me a good helper🙂.

But before I am able to live my last week here in Rennes to the fullest, I must complete my exams. Fortunately and unfortunately, I have all my pre-Christmas exams on the same day; Tuesday the 14th. Fortunately because that way I don’t have to spend days and days writing exams, it will all be over in one day, kind of like ripping a band-aid. Unfortunately because that way I don’t have much time in between to relax and get ready for the next one, this might hurt me, but I will persevere and succeed! My last exam is after Christmas unfortunately, that means I have to study during the Christmas break….eewww. But the silver lining is that at least it’s not on the 14th! Well I’ve got to get back to my studies, Chat later gators.

”Human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home.”  – Bill Cosby
xoxo Izzie