Welcome To My Blog!

Hello Everyone! 
My name is Annie, and I am a junior studying the Psychology of Meditation at Oregon State University. I love to do yoga, meditate, and rock climb, and music is a huge part of my life. This summer, I will be studying abroad in Angers, France! I desire to independently research holistic health and wellness practices. On this blog, I will take pictures of my experiences abroad, discussing topics specifically related to comparative yoga and meditation in France. I will also be delving into my overall experience in Europe, and connecting my love and taste of music with my journey. On Annie Goes To France you'll find: cross-cultural differences in flow and practice, views about meditation and yoga in France, challenges that local practitioners face, different branches of yoga specific to the Angers region, and diverse perceptions of the medicinal values of yoga and meditation in France versus the United States. Further, I will delve deep into my entire study abroad exper…

Changes and Culture Shock

Today marks exactly one week that I've been in Angers, France. Words can truly not express how incredible this experience is for me. Although I find myself deeply challenged each day with the language barrier, completely immersing myself in the French language and culture has absolutely proved to be one of the most beautiful experiences of my entire life. I have been challenged to the limit each day with French, and even more so with living in another country. As an American, I sadly feel apologetic for my country's negative impact on the world, and especially how it affects minorities at this time. I also feel like a child with this new language, constantly stubbing my toes on words that I'm unfamiliar with, unable to ever fully express how I feel.
But, each day brings new light to my eyes. I am learning more and more about humanity, and not just the French. My classes are filled with Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Italian, Syrian, and Spanish foreign exchange student…

Puy de Fou, Mont-Saint-Michel, and Saint-Malo

Vendredi soir (Friday night), I went on the most amazing excursion with my school here in Angers. Puy de Fou is a very popular event in France (the second most visited tourist attraction-only less than Disneyland in all of France!) The bus ride from Angers was only an hour, and I found myself in an entirely different world upon arrival. My friends and I entered into this gigantic castle area, complete with a moat and little villages surrounding it. We were then taken back in time (in French, of course) through the history of France. As spectators, we witnessed French revolutions, wars (including the World War II bombings, cities with live horses and other animals, a man literally on fire, stunning fireworks, and over 300 volunteer actors. This event was so unbelievable, it is hard to describe. The setting was extravagant in itself, but the ability to witness the story of France with live actors inside an actual castle was one of the coolest things I've ever been able to see. I am …

Yoga in Paris!

Paris is...amazing. From the gorgeous Arc de Triomph to the lovely Louvre to the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower, this awe-inspiring city instantly stole my heart- and I don't think I'll be getting it back any time soon.  I began my adventures in Paris at Montmartre, the bohemian city on a mountain overlooking all of Paris. Vincent van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Picasso all lived in this charming artist community. The Sacré-Cœur, the ornate basilica translating to "the sacred heart of Paris"  towers over the entire city, and is one of the most stunning churches I have ever seen. I was truly overwhelmed with the meaningful silence that filled every guest's heart and soul upon entry.
The Salvador Dali museum, also in Montmartre, was one of my favorite collections of his surrealist masterpieces. His psychological manipulations on objects and canvas, using personification with inanimate objects, is a testament to Freudian psychology and the comple…

Barcelona and Finally Arriving in France!

For the past week, I have been staying in Barcelona, Spain! This city is completely gorgeous, lined by the Mediterranean Sea. I have spent the past few days exploring the metropolis, tanning under the warm sun, and practicing yoga by the beach. One of the most famous Spanish architects Antoni Gaudi, designed eccentric masterpieces there, and visiting his "Casa Batllo" was an enlightening experience. The way he took ergonomy into consideration while building a house representing the sea was masterful, especially for the time period. This Catalan Art Nouveau mansion in downtown Barcelona was magical (pictures attached!) Visiting the museum of Picasso was also a lovely experience. A majority of the paintings there are from his childhood and young adult life, and it was incredible to see his style evolve.
Although Barcelona was fantastical, I am ecstatic about starting my french immersion program! I landed in Paris today, and am spending four days here before I move on to my ne…

So wake me up when it's all over...

I have finally arrived! I am beginning my journey here in Amsterdam, and it is AMAZING. The city is absolutely gorgeous, with a beautiful waterway connecting the city to nature. As I walk along the Dutch canal, I see the exquisite houses from hundreds of years ago shaping the town. Every European city has its own charm, and Amsterdam is no exception. Today I went to the extensive Van Gogh museum, and saw hundreds of his paintings. Learning the history of his art and life was fascinating, and I loved seeing his famous Bedroom painting, along with many others. To finish off the day, I went to the "Heineken Experience". This elaborate tour of the original Heineken brewery, straight out of Amsterdam, was incredibly fun and informative. I am beginning my yoga project in doing poses at different spots around the city! It has been super fun to try this out in a different country. I am curious of what the perspective of meditation and yoga here is. Amsterdam is known to be a very l…

And I'm Off!

Tomorrow is THE DAY. I am heading to Europe to experience everything I have prepared myself for for months...Not to mention everything I have not prepared myself for. Today is the final day to get everything done: the final pack, the final purchases, and the last day I have to emotionally prepare myself for this trip!
My journey will begin in Amsterdam. I will be exploring for a few days there (how fitting after just watching The Fault in Our Stars). I suspect I will be listening to a lot of Ansel Elgort's music, specifically "Home Alone", as his acting in Baby Driver was phenomenal and I am just getting into his style of music. Other than that, I will be playing quite a bit of Logic and Kendrick Lamar to start off the trip. These artists along with Big Gigantic are my favorites for pump up music right now, and I cannot wait to see how my experiences will pair with my favorite tunes. Different adventures call for different genres, and the music I listen to will shape my …

Getting Ready To Go!

Today I finished my last final of junior year of college. I am officially a senior, and wow college has gone by fast. After attending the pre-departure study abroad meeting, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to pack, but boy is it daunting! In speaking to a friend about her study abroad experience, I learned that it is going to be quite hot during my time in France. ("J'ai chaud" will be a term I am sure I will use a lot). She advised me to bring dresses, cute tank tops and skirts, and that's about it! Considering I will be doing yoga practices abroad, I will definitely need to bring my favorite yoga pants, and a portable mat. I am beyond excited to go abroad. The next few weeks will just be pure preparation: cognitively, emotionally, and, of course, physically gathering everything that I need. I absolutely cannot wait to meet my host family that I will be living with for a month. Everyone who I've talked with about their study abroad experience told me it…