Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Not a ton went on these last few weeks. I finished my paper and sent it to people at work...
On the 15th I had my work Christmas party, which was so fun! First we had champagne in the lounge and exchanged grab bag gifts where were so funny. I got a guide to Paris restaurants and bistros which was perfect!
After everyone put on skits. Me & the 2 other americans put on a sketch making fun of how french people see Americans... very funny! The germans had a cool drinking game, since drinking songs are part of their culture. The french did a lot of funny ones about work...
after we went out to a traditional french restaurant in the Latin Quarter where there was unlimited drinking and eats. I had escargot and duck. Others had racclet (a cool thing where you melt cheese and eat it with different meats) and fondu (I didn't realize real fondu had no cheese involved! You get raw food and dip it in boiling oil and cook it yourself!) We were sooo full! apparently some of the other people went out after and were out til 3 or 4! I left at 12 b/c, unlike them, i had class at 9am :( Thres pics, but for "security reasons" I cant put them online! haha!!
On Sat I went with a bunch of friends to a creperie for dessert and after we went to a jazz bar near by! also fun... Coincidentally, Mary Beth (the girl from Grenoble who I knew in High school)'s flight got delayed til the next day so she stayed in paris for the night... unfortunatly, but the time we got everything together, we were no where near e/o and didnt see eachother :(
My friend Maddie left Friday, Connie left Monday, and Julian left Wed... It was really sad! Now the dorm is like a ghost town!!!
I'm so glad I left on Wed for England and got to be with a family. For those kids who stayed behind w/o family it was really weird and they didn't do anything...
ENGLAND WAS AMAZING!!! I met Gemma's whole family!!! And I really got to relax which was awesome, I really needed to just veg out...
If I described what I did in England, you would think it was boring, but it wasn't so I'll leave it to your imagination... Everyday there was some lunch or dinner with a different family member at Gemma's, and I think we watched 5 movies.
cool highlights: I went to a real butcher and saw real sheep. Went into Manchester for going out one night and shopping the next.
Gemma's family was so welcoming it was amazing!!! I even got a few presents on Christmas!: candy, socks, underwear (haha- very traditional), a scarf & shirt made by Gemma's sister Ellie who makes clothes and has her own store, a wallet with british things on it, a cool butterfly necklace, and cards from her grandparents! too sweet!
I got them wine, hand made dark chocolates, brie cheese, rochefort cheese (they asked lol), and french soaps... I think they really liked it!
Now back to the grind... I don't know what's up for New Years... I would rather just hang out in the dorm, but something tells me everyone else is going to want to go out and its going to be really lame haha

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ok, Ok... so I left off with Grenoble...
I saw the new Twilight movie in English... Definitely the worst movie in the history of movies. I got told by a French guy to stop laughing. I couldn't. It was just so bad.
I made some spinach & mushroom quiches, my mom’s recipe. Which means that I can now bake. I've never baked before. Finding stuff in the supermarket was hard too... How do you pie crust? Heavy Cream? By using a lot of hand gestures lol
So for Thursday (Thanksgiving) I brought one quiche in to work for lunch and me and my 2 American coworkers make some holiday stuff… My boss made pumpkin pie, which was amazing, and my coworker made stuffing. Epic.
Friday my teacher hosted a dinner for all the students. She made a turkey that was awesome, and I brought another quiche lol Everyone had to bring something. It was awesome. After we went out for one of the girls’ 21st bday, but I was wiped and had said I was going back early. Turns out it wasn’t really planned anyway, and half the group left with me- oops! She was pissed, and it doesn’t make me too excited to celebrate my bday here in the midst of finals… Not going to be fun…
Sat I worked on a paper all day. Lame. But I did go out to lunch with my friend Noelle to Paul (or Chez Paul) a very well known restaurant. I had a hamburger. Really expensive, and small, but definitely the best hamburger I’ve ever had.
Sunday I had girl scouts all day. It is so tiring, but this time we spent the whole day designing a play. I have no idea what the play is about, but it looks good- haha! I made a paper bouquet of roses (don’t ask me how, it was a moment of creativity, never to be repeated, I’m sure) and everyone was soooo impressed lol
Tuesday I discovered the library of Paris. Julian has a card so I and my friend Bridget took it and I got some books out from the library for my paper…
Wed. I went to the Christmas Markets and windows. So nice. The windows are like the Macy’s windows at Galarie Lafayette and Printemps, which are fancy, high-end stores.
Thurs I talked to one of my teachers about how hard it is to find jobs in tourism in France for the summer. He said he would help me out & gave me his card. But I got lost in translation. I don’t know if he said I should call him? Or talk to him after class? And now I don’t know how to bring it up, so I didn’t say anything about it after class today… Maybe I’ll send him an email…
After class I met with my friend Bridget, who has an uncle who owns surf shops in the south of France. She already has a job with him, and she said she's going to ask him at Christmas if he could help me and Julian get jobs too, which would be awesome…
Friday I had lunch with work. We had Italian. It was all pasta. Expensive pasta. I was so pissed to spend over 10$ on something I eat every night. Haha.
Saturday I went to Le Mont-Saint-Michel with Julian for the day. It was beautiful. It is this chateau on a hill in the middle of the water. Definitely worth googling. We got there at 10:30, and took at free tour at 11am of the church/castle on the top in English, which was cool. I learned that it took 1400 years to complete, it has the most drastic tides in Europe, it housed monks, the kings of France, knights, and prisoners, and it has withstood countless attacks. Amazing. The town is really cute but touristy. We struggled to find a good place to eat since most of them are closed for the offseason. Also, it was like an Asian invasion around noon. We were standing on the steps and they came from no where. Large groups of them all at once, snapping away on their cameras! So funny!
Right before we left, they lit the city with Christmas lights, which was beautiful. Such a cool experience.
Sunday I worked all day, and at around 6 I went to the Eiffel Tower. I got to see it lit up, it was gorgeous. It sparkles on certain times of the night too, so I got to see that too. We also saw a weird Asian wedding. There were like 5 brides. So weird.
On Monday I went with Bridget before work to different sites, such as St. Eustache, Notre Dame, and Hotel Dieu. We meant to go to some church that was supposed to be amazing, but she ended up having the wrong location, and it was in the middle of no where so we didn’t go. So I said, let go to rue Claire, I’ve herd it’s very nice (thanks to Rick Steves). Well I was so distracted by the 60 year old prostitutes and hooker bars that I totally forgot to look for rue Claire! Hahahah! Bridget did NOT think it was so funny. So we wandered down to St. Eustace, which is an old church by Les Halles that was gigantic. It was this huge gothic-renaissance church which enormously high vaulted ceilings. It needs a lot of restoration unfortunately. Then we moseyed to Notre Dame, but the line was so long, we didn’t want to wait so we just walked around the building. Then we stumbled on Hotel Dieu, across the street. It was est. in like the 700s as a public hospital by the church, and obviously has been destroyed by fires and things, so the current building was built in the 1800s (1871 I think?), and you can go inside. You wouldn’t believe it’s a hospital. It’s gorgeous. You would love to be sick here! It’s all marble, and there’s a beautiful courtyard and it’s gigantic. It just shows you how integrated into history the French life is…
Tuesday one of the interns came back for a visit before she returned home… We had Mexican, it was really cheap: 1 drink, appetizer, and meal for 10.50 euro (aka $15- yes, that’s cheap). I got the seafood lunch, so I had shrimp and a seafood burrito. AMAZING!!!
On Wednesday (yesterday) I went out to dinner in the Marais to this cool restaurant with a wood burning stove/grill thing right in front of us. It was a French steak house I suppose you’d call it. We had snails for appetizer and steak for the meal. Awesome. It had amazing atmosphere. I adored it!
Yay! So I’m caught up now!!! Hope everyone’s doing well back in the States!!! <3 xoxox

PS Here are some more links to pictures:

Le Mont-Saint-Michel:

Sightseeing with Julian & Bridget, mostly Petit Palais:

Christmas Markets and Windows:

Monday, November 30, 2009

just so you guys know, pictures from my moms visit can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44825015@N07/#photo4117933593

So after my mom left, I went to Bruges with my friend Julian which was GORGEOUS! The city was beautiful, I have to put up pics soon... It really is like an old city that never changed. So we walked around, not really any particular cites, just beautiful old buildings. There were also quaint canals with little tunnels and people on little tour boats... Conveniently, there was also the Belgian Beer Festival! haha- quite the nice surprise to stumble upon. We tried all kinds of Belgian beers for really cheap! Sour beer (which was really bizarre at first), red beer, poppy beer... and we met tons of beer connoisseurs... theres a pic of me on this guys beer blog (with a ton of other pics from the beer fest). im the last one. google says the caption says: "As always, I shall close with a beautiful lady wants to pose
my digitaalke.This time a young woman fresh from New Zealand" The pic is bad b/c i was so shocked/embarrassed but its soooo funny! (He thinks im from new Zealand b/c my friend was from Australia)... We were really sad to leave. I loved Bruges!
The next day I hung out with my Australian friend again (julian) and his flatmate Bridget (also Australian)...we went the the Petit Palais. We first tried to go into the Grand Palais to see a Renoir exhibit, but the line was over an hour long! So we walked across the street to the Petit Palais. The 2 Palais were made in the late 1800s, right before the 1900 worlds fair in Paris. They were meant to show off the greatness of paris... The Petit Palais is free (except for the special exhibition of F. Pelez) but the free part is huge. There was also an exhibit that was really temporary of dolls made by haute couture designers for UNICEF and they were going to be auctionned off the following day (it was only a 4 or 5 day exhibit)... there were also a lot of impressionist and post impressionist art- it was too big to see it all. there was also a beautiful garden to sit in... then we walked around for half an hour and had lunch in a cafe. Bridget when home b/c she was tired, so Julian and I went to a bar to watch some australian rugby match between Australia and Ireland... It was a tie- Julian was so depressed they did win! haha apparently its a big deal...
The next day was my first full day at work. Awful. But me and some co workers went out for lunch which was nice. We had sushi. I had to have it on the cheap, so I had like basic salmon rolls. pretty good. with miso soup. about 6 euro ($9)
I invited the other American intern to go out to beer and wings night that night at a Canadian Bar. Shes so cool. Of course that Friday would be her last day.
The next day I had a medical exam for my visa. Then I went to lunch at a diner called Breakfast in America and had a huge cheeseburger and milkshake... mhmmmm...
On Fridays I go out with work at 1 before I start, which is nice since it lets me practice my French and meet my coworkers... Its nice, but usually super awkward since everyone is in their late 20s-late 30s... Most people don't actually talk to me (its less of a novelty to them that I'm American unfortunately)...
Then that night I met Julian b/c he would show me where to get the amazing French macaroons that are famous to give to Mary Beth's host family (to be explained in a min)... I had a crepe on the go for dinner from this stand called "les meillures crepes a Paris" or something (lit: the best crepes in Paris)- it was amazing!
Then I left for Grenoble. it was a direct train and I got to sit in first class! I was in a single window seat facing an empty seat in an area that was glassed off from the other 1st class seats! I had soooo much space and it was sooo quiet! When I got there, Mary Beth, whom I've known since middle school and is studying in Grenoble, and her host father picked me up. It was so nice that they came and got me so late on a Friday! And they let me stay with them for free in Mary's room! They loved the macaroons and said that they knew the store where i got them from :) So mary and I chatted for a while then passed out. The next day we got up "early" (10am) and went hiking up this beautiful mountain! Grenoble is surrounded by the Alps- so beautiful! There was even snow on the tops! and I could see the highest mountain, mont blanc, in the distance! Such a fun and beautiful city! Then we had lunch at Mr. Taco's (lol) and went back to her place to shower. Then we met Marys friends for some kebabs (lol again) and met up with more of her friends at her friend's who lives in a dorm! it was sooo tiny but so fun! we ended up going to a bar, and of course Mary's host-brother was there- she was soooo embarrassed... apparently thats the bar the highschoolers go to- oops! It was still fun, and we got to speak French to his friends (the 2 girls that were in his group were really fun!) Then we went home after a good night :)
The next day we woke up at 9am to go with Mary's host- mom and host-mom's friend to go to the Sunday market... I go earrings and 2 hats (in the course of the trip i also got tan boots, tea for a friend, and a souvenir bottle opener! everything was so much cheaper there!). Then I had lunch with Mary's family! It was enormous and soooo tasty!!! I was shocked at how warm the family was so me, as if i was their own family! Then Me, Mary, her host-cousin, and her friends met up and went to the Salon du Chocolat... mmmmm... though smaller than the one in paris, it was a lot cheaper and still really fun! Then I went to mary's to chill b/c I had to start getting ready to leave :(... So we chatted with her host mom (btw, none of them speak English, so it was always in French)... When I had to say goodbye i was so sad I cried! I really loved them! They told me I could come back anytime, which was sooo sweet!!!
Gotta run! 1 more update and I’ll be all caught up!

Friday, November 27, 2009

omg can't believe how long its been... I feel like I JUST went to the Loire... so much to say…
ok so I left off with the Loire
On Monday I went to l'Orangerie... remember how I said I went to Monet's gardens? Well this is where Monet's Water lily paintings are! So I think I really got to doubly appreciate the paintings... Also downstairs there is a post-impressionist wing with a wide range of paintings including Renoir, Picasso, Gauguin, etc. So beautiful. When you're upstairs looking at the Water lilies, the museum seems small. But it's not at all once you get downstairs! Took me quite a long time to see it all! And there’s also some remains of the foundation of a fortress that used to be there from the Middle Ages which I thought was really neat... you see things like that everywhere! Metro at Bastille, Cluny Museum, and Louvre Museum... stuff left from building centuries old! Incredible!
Tuesday I met with Monique at her apartment for a French chat... that went on for 2 hours! It was really nice, we talked about French history and I learned a little more about her, like how she used to be an actress and now she sings in a chorus, and she invited me to her Christmas concert! I hope I can go and it's not when I’m in Manchester for Christmas...
On the 3th I had my first girl scouts meeting with the girls... didn’t realize it would be from 10:30am-5pm! You don’t realize how seriously long that is until about 3pm and you want to just die or take a nap! First, you go to church (nice way to distract the kids til 12)... then we had lunch (I went to a bakery down the road and had eggs and chicken- funny because I asked for ham and cheese, but never the less it was amazing!), we play games like tick tack boum which is the French version of hot potato but with more running (really fun- my fav!)... One girl played guitar, sang American songs, all the little kids thought I was so cool for knowing all the words, and one girl was so cute and followed me around the whole afternoon. But did I mention that there are 27 girls and only 3 or 4 of us and by “us” I mean teenagers… it’s so exhausting!
Then my mom and Martha came! So now this is Mon Nov 9th, and I met them at their hotel and took them to near where I have my classes. Gave them a cool little tour of the Latin Quarter area- Cluny Museum (roman ruins), then the actual Latin Quarter which its fun narrow streets and restaurants, the Saint Michel Fountain, up Boulevard Saint Michel to the Pantheon, St-Etienne-du-Mont (a church with the oldest rood screen (?) in Europe and the oldest organ in Paris, but we couldn’t go inside b/c it was Monday and it was closed on Mondays), the Sorbonne (tourists normally can’t get in- guards are often very strict), the Luxembourg Gardens, and finally to the building where I have one of my classes and at the top there is a really beautiful terrace where you can see the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, and just a really beautiful panorama of Paris. Then I had to go to work, but after work I met them and we went to see La Boehme at the Opera Garnier which I thought was really cool. We bought tickets from scalpers (which is hilarious/stressingly difficult). The play was beautiful- singing was amazing and stage was incredible!
The next day we went to the Rodin Museum which was so fun! It has a really nice museum inside and a cool outdoor garden. It was very beautiful and calming. Then I had to run to work again.
The Next day we went to Chantilly. Chantilly is an hour or 2 outside of Paris where there is a cool chateau. The guy who built the chateau (Duc d’Orleans maybe?) thought that after he died he would be reincarnated as a horse, so he built these amazing stables that are like penthouse living for horses! The chateau was also really cool with gorgeous gardens and hundreds of works of art- so much art it was overwhelming! When we walked back to the train station we got to walk through this beautiful park with the leaves falling and everything- gorgeous!
The next day was Chartres- a huge, ancient cathedral, one of the oldest in Europe! First we walked through the cute town, and then to the art museum that’s there. I liked the museum because it had these cool masks from the revolution with descriptions of punishments such as “condemned to die 6 times” and the masks were of people who were killed. There were also suits of armor which I thought were really neat. Then we went to the cathedral and met Malcolm Miller, a Brit who has lived and breathed Chartres for the last 50 years or so. He gives tours 2x a day, and he was so interesting and really knew a lot. After we ate lunch in a cozy family-run restaurant across the street from the cathedral.
When we got back from Chartres we had a drink at Tour Montparnasse, where at the top is a beautiful panorama of Paris. You can see the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triumph… it was incredible! Then I had to run, because it was my friend’s birthday and we were doing something special… We went to a restaurant called Dans le Noir where you eat completely in the dark! You can’t see a thing! At first I really hated it: they make you walk through this completely dark room and you can’t see where you’re going and they lead you to your table but it’s scary because you keep thinking you’re going to bump into something or someone! Your waiter is blind, and I think this is supposed to bring about deaf awareness. They give everyone the same meals, and at the end you get to guess what you ate. I don’t remember well, but I didn’t really love it. One part was stuffed fig, and there was a salmon (that was super good- I wolfed that down!) and I think the dessert was good, but I’ve blocked out of my mind all the bad stuff (I left still feeling hungry lol). It was interesting to talk to your friends in the dark, since you couldn’t see them, I tended to imagine them anyway. We had fun, though it is definitely not something I would do again.
The next day we wanted to see Sacre Coeur. We walked up to Sacre Coeur and went in (I’ve never been inside) - it was really neat. Sacre Coeur is interesting because it has an odd mix off Roman and Byzantine Catholic architecture. It also has an amazing view when you stand in front of it by the steps. It was really beautiful inside and we started listening to a mass. Then we left and walked to a small church called St. Pierre which has a colorful past and was neat to look at. Then we were at the cool square where all these artists and restaurants are and we sat and had a coffee. Then we walked down the hill towards the metro. We saw another church, more modern, but I cant remember what it was called. Then walked down to the Moulin Rouge. Then we walked down, down, down to Gallery Lafayette. Inside there were really beautiful Christmas tree decorations, and it was nice to look at the expensive clothes. After that we went to my place for lunch. We stopped at the super market and bought some cheese and things. My room was too messy to eat in (oops!) so we ate in the kitchen. We got to Skype with Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa, which was good. Then I packed all my things b/c I was going to sleep at their place b/c tomorrow they were leaving and I was going to Bruges with a friend. We from there went to Notre Dame, which was cool b/c there was a choir singing and then a mass or something. After, we went to the Louvre because it’s open late on Fridays. We went to Napoleon III’s apartments which were really neat, and I know my mom and Martha loved it! It was beautifully decorated, so amazing- bedrooms, dining room, ball room, etc. All tucked neatly away into the Louvre! Then we saw a Watteau painting that I had done a project on, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and, of course, the Mona Lisa. It was so nice to get to go since I haven’t had the chance to go yet! Completely wiped, we went and had pizza and pasta at an Italian restaurant near mom & Martha’s hotel. Then we finally crashed at the hotel… and that was just 12 days! I’m now only up to Nov 14th! I'm 15 days behind! But I have to start writing a paper for French… maybe later I’ll take a break and press onward!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

so I've fallen behind again, which is bad bad BAD b/c now i have to tell you about TWO weekends where i went away! haha poor me!
So the moliere play was awesome, and i was lucky that i sat next to someone who could understand, b/c i didnt understand much of the french since it was old french...
Then i went to Nice! The train ride was at 9am and took 6 hours... i slept for 3, and then when I woke up, I spoke to the girl next to me who lived in Nice (we spoke in French!). The train went along the coast and it was gorgeous!!! I got to see Avignon, Marseille, Toulon, St Raphael, and Cannes before finally arriving at Nice! It was sooo hot when I got there... I went to the tourist bureau and got a map, then went to my hostel to get my key and pay. Then I dropped my bags off and hit the beach, which was a 5 min walk and where my friends were. The water was sooo warm and crystal clear! (my first time in the mediterranean!) The beach was also really rocky... Then me and my friends had some snacks that I brought and walked along the boardwalk that lines the beach (Promenade Anglais). Then we went to the hostel got changed and went out for dinner. We all really wanted seafood b/c we heard it was really good there...I had pasta seafood... soo good. we ended up spending 3 hours there! then we wanted to go to a bar (for some reason, my friend was craving an irish pub) so we had a pint, but my friend had a few too many mussles and now she didnt feel well, so it was kinda hard, b/c the 2 other guys and I wanted to go out and have fun. It's also not a really busy city once the high season passes. I've herd its outrageous in the summer...
The next day I woke everyone up early... we had an omelette near by, and then walked to the matisse museum, which was sooo cool b/c the house was flat, but it had the trompe-l'oiels (trick of the eyes) that made it look like it had carvings in the ceilings and balconys on the walls... We also walked through a park that had these really cool olive trees, which i've never seen up close, and some Gallo-Roman ruins...
Then we walked down to the old town. passed the modern art museum, town hall, and a cool church... there were also these parking lots that i guess they didnt want to be a sight for sore eyes so they built parks on top of them which was cool... then we ate in the old town, went to the beach and then i climbed up to the top of where there are ruins of an old fortress and an amazing view where you can see all the way to the alps! it was aweesome! then we went to a free museum (i mean, everything was free so far) called Musee Massena... some rich guy donated his estate to the city, and its really really gorgeous...
then we had dinner at a kebab place, which was awesome... then to the train :( quite a whirl wind trip!
at the station (9pm) we met an austrailian, and after talking to him, found out that his seat was right next to my friends!!! so for the 11hour overnight train we had a pretty fun time (although very uncomfortable sleep)...
the next day, i slept until work. then work & class and then righ after class a big group of my friends met up and we went out for beer & wings in a candian bar... and guess who was there?! the ausrailian! haha my friend had facebooked him and invited him :) we had such a blast!
tues, wed, thurs were not so fun, though on thurs i met up w/ some people (the austrailian again too! ha!) Fri i had a presentation i nailed... fri night i went to a halloween costume party! so fun i was supposed to be "80s" but i really just wanted to wear this dress i bought, so i looked really ridiculous (the austrailian backpacker was there again lol- we clearly liked him a lot, he was super cool)...
Then me and my friends got up early the next day b/c we went with our class to see the loire valley!!! so I've written a lot, so let me make a quckie summary:
~Chambord: beautiful, going on bus there you could see the silouette in the distance as we drove up this rocky road lined by a forest on both sides. amazing.
~Blois: cool b/c you could see the different stages where it kept being added to by different kings- medieval, flamboyant (1498-1503), renaissance, and classicism. It was also beautiful and full of history- the duc de guise and catherine de medicis died here, and the medeival hall held the estates general in 1576 and 1588
~Chenonceau: so cool, over the water... very cool! there was a kitchen with all these cool cake shape things... we played games in the maze that was there too
~D'Azay le Rideau: this one was probably my fav. it looked very castle-y and had a really pretty garden that looked amazing with all the falling leaves
~Villandry: this was also amazing, had really cool catholic art in it. also a cool kids room, and a keep where you could have an amazing view of what my teachers believes to be "the best garden in france" it was awesome
sooo it was a really long, fast-paced 2 weekends!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Hmm... so its been a while... lets see
On thurs oct 15th I walked from chatelet les halles subway station (which doubles as a mall) and outside there was a nice promenade area to walk around... then i walked over to church st-eustache, scooted past the bourse de commerce (i think the french stock exchange?), to the palais royal, with its famous cour d'honneur, which of course was under construction so i couldn't really get to see it. but the garden behind the cour was beautiful, with fountains and benches and flowers and trees. I then made my way to the Louvre. the Louvre looks the coolest from behind the arc de triomphe du carrousel, which is this adorable "little" arche of pink marble built by napolean before the grand arc de triomphe. I then walked through the jardin du carrousel past beautiful ancient and modern statues and ponds and fountains and plants. At one pond, you could rent little sail boats to play with, and it was so picturesque to watch children with these little sail boats. Then the jardin becomes the famous jardin de tuileries. Again, more beautiful statues and ponds and trees... i passed the jeau de paume (once a tennis court, then an impressionist museum, and now a temporary gallery- right now they are playing a french film there) and the orangerie (built by napoleon III, it now has monets water lily paintings... ill have to go inside one of these days!) next i walked to the beautiful place de la concord where you can see on the one side the arc de triomphe, and on the other the louvre. so beautiful! and all in one day!!!
Friday's event was the salon du chocolate, which was cool, but a little pricey since it was 12euro to get in. I also hadnt had the chance to eat lunch before, so i felt a little nauseuous after all that chocolate! but there were so many free samples, and these cool clothes made of chocolate and chocolate statues and shows and demonstrations and things... i went with a few friends... something like that would be more fun to do alone i think...
Saturday was girl scouts. today was fundraising day. so we walked around with these adorable 8 year olds selling postcards and calanders. hilarious! (a little chilly and tiring though... but i got to practice my french!!!)
Sunday I went to Giverny (known for being where monets home and garden were). My friend emily and i went. you take the train to a town called vernon, and usually you take a shuttle, but we wanted to use the bathroom in a restaurant, so we got a coffee, and missed the bus. thank god. because that made us walk. and it was the most beautiful walk ever. 3miles. so nice. the town still had homes from the middle ages. a beautiful river and bridge. a castel from the 1600s to protect a brige which barely remained. all that remained was a house on 2 pillars. so cool. then there was just farmland and a nice path that was a little off the road for walkers and bikers. giverny was gorgeous as well. the plants were amazing in monets garden. we saw the famous lily pond. we also went inside his home, with really cool japanese art from the 1800s. we walked around the town, but now it was about 4 or 5. there a great museum of american impressionism at giverny, but we didnt have time. so we wandered the town and found a free museum of what i think were very old engines (something mechanical lol) and a free "museum" of sandsculpture that was really cool (not really a museum- just someones big frontyard with this cool stuff). We sat and split a bottle of red wine, on a hill overlooking the valley. amazing. then we walked back, arrived just in time for the sunset, had dinner and took the train hom. by far my best day here so far!
monday i started work. Not very glamorous
tues i foudn a free french tour guide so i went with my friend emily again. but her french is not so good, and shes not really a history buff like me, so she didnt really enjoy it. it was also freezing cold that day...
wed i went to see the play Julius ceasar. it had french subtitles, but was in english. i met up with a french girl who was also looking for the theater, and so i sat next to her and hung out with her and her class (she was there with her theater class) during intermission, and left with her (good thing- she knew there was a bus i didnt know about, and it took us to the bastille which was easier to get a train from. The play itself was really avant garde, and i dont know how i feel about it. it was also 3-4hours long, so it didnt get out til 12:30 (was supposed to start at 8:30, though i think it didnt start til 9). that's a little long for me. most of this girl's class left at intermission. im really glad i stayed though. it was a cool experience. after, stephanie and i took the bus to bastille and then hopped on the metro. I knew my friends had gone out that night to bastille, but i couldnt get in touch with them, so i figured theyd gone home. suddenly on the subway i hear someone go "kristen?!" it was all my friends who had gone out! what are the odds of not seeing e/o on the platform but still getting on the same car and the same train??!! so when i had to separate from stephanie, i got to keep my company, which was nice. i should have asked stephanie if she ever wanted to hang out again i guess, but i was too embarrassed b/c she didnt really ask me... so i was like "uhh... it was really nice meeting you and everything..." awkwardly waited, and when she didnt say anything i was like "byee!" haha so dumb...
i also had my first real lectures this week. I'm taking "modern myth and thought" and "geography of france" i really like them, and i understand, so thats good.
tonight im going to see the play l'avarice by Moliere and tomorrow i leave for nice and come back monday morning. it'll be quite a whirl wind trip!!! :D

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ok so last Friday I ended up going running with a friend in the Bois de Bologne, the largest woods in Paris. At first we didnt really like it b/c there weren't really trails like in Bethpage Park, it was more like paved ptahs. But finally, after running for an hour, we found the main attraction: the ponds that you can run along. Literally THE most beautiful thing I've ever seen. I can't wait 'til my camera gets here. Ugh.
That night me and my friends made fried rice with chicken and then me and my closest friend here got dressed up and went to see the ballet with most of my class at the Opera Garnier, which used to be an old palace, so you know it was GORGEOUS! I def. recommend googling pics of it, b/c it is just so fabulous! And the actual ballet was amazing. I saw Giselle. The ballerinas were amazingly talented. One fell once. So awkward. Someone in the audience gasped loudly. I could see she was trembling for the rest of the scene. Poor thing. Afterwards we met up with friends who didn't go to the play and went to my friend from Australia's appartment. Fun.
Sat. me and my friends went to Montmartre for the Fete des Vendeurs, which means celebreation or party of venders. So there were all these stands lined along the narrow streets of Monmartre selling wine and food from all around France, and also Canada and Spain. I tried escargot and oysters, fresh fruit, champagne, white wine and red wine! I even got a free champagne glass with one of my purchases! It was also the perfect day. I loved it.
Sunday I woke up early to go to church at St. Severine, a church in the Latin Quarter. It was really beautiful. Then I went to go meet a running club at Saint-Cloud (an area on the outside of Paris) but I went to the wrong station so I went to the Parc Saint-Cloud and ran myself. It was amazing! I had never even herd of it before! There were flowers, walkways lined with trees, fountains, statues, ponds, trails in wooded areas- the park was GIGANTIC! I ended up running for an hour and a half there b/c I loved it so much. But hopefully this Sunday I'll be able to meet with the group.
Tues, after class I went to see a friend from middle school. He brought me to a "very French sangria bar." Funny enough, my friends told me the same thing last night, and we ended up in the same place! What are the odds of having 2 different groups of friends taking you to the same place within the week!?
Wed, yesterday, I went to l'institute du monde arabe and for 6.50 euros got to see a beautiful exhibit on Islamic art and an exhibit on famous pearls from an island off the arabian peninsula. And I got a free poster! I went to the top of the building, and there was an amazing view. After, my friends and I went shoe shopping to feel better, b/c my friend was having trouble with her cell phone and the other had a rough interview and the needed to get their minds off things. Not gonna lie; bought white pumps for 15euro. They are wonderful. Walked around in them. so comfy AND cute! haha
And did I mention I got the internship!? I start working Monday. So soon I'm not going to be able to do fun touristy things all day long :(--- But dont worry mom, I got off for Nov 11, 12 and 13 :)

I miss home so much, but I also love it here!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh, wow! This week went super fast... It'll be hard to remember all the way back to Mon., since I feel like I do so much...
Monday I had a short orientation class the morning. I found out that I did really well on my exam, and that I am advanced. After, we had a lunch break, and then we met at the hotel de ville (trans: town hall) and had a private tour which I really liked.
Tuesday I picked up my text books for my grammar class and then dragged my friends to see Cimitiere de Pere Lachaise. In that cemetery we saw the grave of Jim Morrison (from the Doors), Edith Piaf, Baron de Haussman, and a lot of Nazi camp memorials. Then I went to an OxfamFrance meeting, which I got lost trying to get to lol. When I got there, they did a presentation on the mission of Oxfam or something... The girl giving it must have been nervous, b/c she was talking really fast and I pretty much understood nothing... I wish they had meetings everyday, b/c it was really good for my French!
Wed, I had class in the morning until 10:30... then I had a mock interview (to practice for the interview I was going to have on Friday for an internship) in the evening.
Thurs, I didn't have class until 7pm, so I randomly decided to go to Versailles. I went to the gardens b/c they are free. At the tourist info place, the guy was like well the gardens are really aweful right now, and I was like no flowers or shrubbery?? He was like, no. So I went with low expectations. I don't think he has ever set foot in the gardens, b/c they were BEAUTIFUL! I didn't realize how big!!! As big as central park! (well, probably not as big, but close). It was a nice break...
Today I had my interview, it went well. I'm not sure what to do now, all my friends are sleeping and most have class 2-4 and its not yet 12 but its also a crummy day... maybe ill try and hit up a free museum???

Sunday, October 4, 2009

This weekend I was very busy. A friend from Binghamton who is working in Versaille came to visit this weekend. 
On Friday, my class and I went around the Marais section of Paris looking at different styles of architecture which was really neat, but it was also very chilly. There are so many things tucked around Paris that you would never know to look at! St. Paul church on the outside looks dilapidated, but on the inside is gorgeous!!! There was also a fountain from the 1600s or so that was made by the water guild and you can still drink from it today. 
After that I had an interview with a headhunter about a possible internship. He has one in line where I would translate French websites into English. There's a chance the internship is paid, but that might mean full-time, and I really want to make sure I can take all of my classes. Ill find out not this week but the next if it will be a good fit for me.
Saturday my friends and I slept in and had pancakes and nutella and syrup (mmmmm)- which I brought from the US. Around 3 we went to luxembourg gardens for a picnic. There were 8 of us, so we got 4 baguettes, goat cheese, boursin cheese, an eclaire, and a tiny quishe lorraine (soooo good!). For dinner I went to the store and bought ravioli and made it myself. Then it was Nuit Blanche!
Nuit Blanche is when Paris is open all night and there are art exhibits open all around the city. For example there was a large disco ball in the Luxembourg garden which was meant to create stars that you usually can't see in an urban setting. Then we wandered around for a while, since everything was really crowded. We ended up going to Notre Dame, which was really unique. Inside was lit up by these plastic gemstones. They were like giant crystals and they were all different colors. I didn't really like the gem look, but the colors it put up on the wall were amazing!
Today I woke up at noon and wanted to have an American breakfast, since I havent really seen any bacon and eggs on a roll or anything, so me and my friend matt went to this place called Breakfast in America- but by the time we got there the wait was over an hour! Since nothing is really open on Sundays, we went to a creperie and got crepes. then we bumped into some of matts friends and went to the cluny museum which was beautiful- it had relics from the middle ages, and the building is partially made from the Roman baths remaining from the first settlement of Paris! Then I went to meet up with friends at the Arc du Triomphe, but they left before we got there. We saw an exhibit along the walk from the subway to the arch which was old covers of Vogue magazine. Arc was cool, but packed- will have to go back and go to the top on a nice clear week day. So now i'm exhausted!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wow, I really can't believe how fast the time is going... AND how much money I'm spending! I bought some sandwich meat the other day, and it cost .50 euros a slice! So I got like 2 4 packs for about 4 euros. Everything is such a blur, I barely remember what to say! I had an awesome crepe yesterday with eggs, cheese, and ham... soooo good! we also went to see a film on the history of paris which was really cheesy but cute and got me excited to see more monuments in paris. I walked around with a few kids, they seemed like they were looking for something, but I wasn't really paying attention, more like just checking out the scenery. we passed the opera de bastille, louvre, and tuileries garden. I also had the chance to go for a walk in the Luxembourg gardens on Monday, which was gorgeous!...
Monday we also had someone come in and talk about the possibility of an internship, which during the summer sounded too annoying and difficult, but now I'm starting to rethink it... I talked to the guy after class, and he said he could probably hook me up with an internship where I would translate french websites to english. i would get school credits and possibly a stipend. i would work 20hrs/week and take my classes at night. I'm really excited!
Today I took my placement test and on monday i can find out what classes i can take based on my level of french. i think i did ok... then me and 3 friends got a cafe au lait and walked around for 3 hours! we went food shopping (1 euro for a bottle of wine!) and I got a pastry for 3 euros- it was THE BEST strawberry shortcake i've ever had! tonight im going to eat in with some friends and were going to make quesadillas and other things for dinner :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yesterday, Saturday, I had class from 10am-4pm. It was pretty boring, but at the end of class we went to a cafe, and my friend Molly, who is here and had studied with the same program, joined us for coffee and crepes! There were a lot of us... and they messed up my order 3 times :(... but it was still really fun. I got a cell phone, but i still need things like cups, a sponge, dish soap, and possibly a fridge. The fridge thing sucks, since its hard to buy one and you cant rent on. theres a communal fridge in the basement. i think that's what i will do. But its really stuffed, and I worry about spending $ on colecuts, and having someone find it and steal it. Everything here is super expensive- I'm still on the hunt for cheap eats. Even grocery food is pricey.
Anyway, after the crepes, I went back to my dorm and hung out with my friends. then I got ready, and we went out without the aid of a guide. My friend Emily and I went and met 3 or 4 other kids in front of the opera de la bastille. We had dinner, and then bar hopping, trying to find the cheapest drinks. I then called my friend salome, who was celebrating a friends birthday. They were hanging out by the seine, and it was fun trying to speak french with them. One of the girls got upset about something unfortunately, so she wanted to leave. The men here are very rude, I think, because they are so forthcoming. I think that's why she got upset. So we went to some bar near by, and then we went home. Emily and I were very proud that we figured out how to get home even though the train we usually take was closed (i guess that train stops running earlier?).
Today I slept in, and had lunch with some friends. Then I tried to find out about refrigerators and making photocopies. After looking around, I got bored and tired, and decided I wanted to hang with my friends again. But I couldn't find them, which made it worse. So finally, I just jumped on the subway and got off at Notre Dame. I walked along the Seine, looking at the bouquinists. They have little stands that are built in along the river, and they have souvenirs and old books and old paintings and new paintings. So I got 12 postcards for 2 euro (very cheap!) and a book on Medeival French theater for 3 euro (in french :)). Suddenly I hear someone go, "Kristen???" and I turn around and there's my friend Noel and her 2 other friends whom I know! That was very lucky and cool. So I walked around with them in the Latin Quarter and they got food and things. Then we stopped in a bar called Mad Maker that had a cool pirate theme and the inside is like a pirate ship. It was cool, but we were the only people there, so it was cozy this time too. There were couches so we chilled and the other kids spoke in both french and english (they all were fluent in both). They were also great because they encouraged me to speak in french, even though I'm slow and usually they have no idea what im trying to say haha. I seem to be getting along with this girl Noel, shes really cool and is really encouraging when it comes to speaking in french. She gave me tips and we hung out in her room when we got back. She also invited me to breakfast with her tomorrow which made me excited!!
I'll let you know how tomorrow is!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

je suis ici!

i mlade it to france
key boards here are different/weird
flight was cramped but food was really fancy
dorm is decent but growing on me
yesterday a girl on my program whos already been here a month took us out with a french friend and we had a real french dinner. very expensive for most things. so i only got some soup called cannet or something?
camera isnt working
went on boat ride on seine today
gotta go!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Leaving soon!!!

I will be leaving for Paris this Wed. at 7pm and arriving early Thurs. morning!!
I still need to pack though! haha