Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sugar daddy

The main brand of sugar here is called "Daddy"... I realized the other day the humor in that...

Random little happy things!

So I haven't posted in a while, which is completely contrary to my goal when I created this blog.  However, I have been compiling little funny/happy/interesting things that I come across day to day, with the intent of posting them. ve go!

In french, the word for paperclip is trombone...and paperclips look like trombones!!! This makes me chuckle every time I remember that.

I taught my host father the verb 'to bro out', and the usage of it. He then invited me to watch a rugby game that weekend at the house with some of his friends, and said we would 'bro out'.  Success.  Also, I taught him the word 'darty' and the phrase 'sorry for partying'.  He seemed genuinely interested. Love that man.

I made Thanksgiving dinner (sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie), as well as thanksgiving cards for everyone in the program, with Chrissy.  We drew little 'hand turkeys' on the back of cardstock and decorated them for each person.  On the other side we wrote notes to them, thanking them for what they each individually bring to the program.

I also made a pumpkin pie for my host family, and they loved it!  I made them the delicious potato/onion/cheese/sour cream/garlic soup that I made with Amelia, and they all seemed to agree that it was delicious!

At church, I saw in the hymnal that they have the 'other' tune for O Little Town of Bethlehem.  That is to say, they have the tune that most people in England recognize as the 'traditional' tune.  Its called "Forest Green" and is a folktune.  It's pretty, but I prefer the tune that I'm used to- I like the key it's in better.

First 'major' snow, where it actually stuck a bit! 

Snow/the house I tutor at (at the end of the road)

Looks like Christmas lights are universal! This is a display outside an apartment complex in Suresnes, the town I babysit in. 

I made some snowflakes for my window, to bring some winter/Christmas cheer!

In the past week or so, I've been listening to practically non-stop Christmas music (thankyou thankyou WROR for broadcasting online).  It has been so awesome to hear all the familiar songs, it makes me feel a little bit closer to home.  That and the fact that today was the second Sunday of Advent, and just like last Sunday, I went to church at the American Church of Paris, which was soooo awesome.  We sang familiar hymns, the sermon was really interesting, and everyone spoke in English!!! I might join the choir if I have time next semester, or at least try and join the Young Adult group to meet people and make friends.
I made a little Christmas tree for myself today while Chrissy and I watched The Sound of Music and made more decorations for the Tufts-in-Paris office.  It's hard to see in this picture, but it's a 3D tree...

Things are going wonderfully with the babysitting/tutoring- yesterday I had a 'breakthrough' with one of the boys I tutor! Usually, he is the least motivated student I have ever seen...truthfully.  He just doesn't seem to be interested at all in learning English. However, this time, I decided to give him a 'head start' and start the lesson that he was going to be learning next week in school.  It was about prepositional phrases like 'on the bed', 'in the closet', 'on the floor', etc...he suggested that we play a game where we'd pick objects in the room and guess them based on those phrases (and colors, I spy!). It was so much fun, and not before long we were laughing and having a great time!  We played for an entire half-hour, and his mom even commented that she was happy we found a way to make English more 'animated'.  I was really proud of him for coming up with the idea, and of myself for helping to bring him to that point where he could get excited about English.  I also tutored the older sister (my guess is she's the age of a high school freshman/sophomore ) and she was a fantastic student.  She asked questions whenever she didn't understand something, and tried really hard to make sure that she completely understood the concepts behind grammar rules, etc.  We even exchanged bbm (Blackberry messenger, like instant messager for blackberry owners) PINs so that she could ask me questions about english whenever she needed/wanted to (and vise versa-I'm still learning French!)

The snow has definitely helped pull me out of the mopey mood I had been in lately, and listening to Christmas music has contributed to that, as well.  I'm so looking forward to going home still...I wouldn't say I'm homesick necessarily, but I had been feeling very lonely here and I'm really really excited to see my best friends and my family.  My cousin (who I only see once every 1 or 2 years) is coming up to visit the weekend I get home!!! It's great cause we don't even talk that much, but we're practically best friends whenever we see each other; it's like no time has passed at all.  

Happy second Sunday of Advent, everyone!  Take the time today to do something nice for someone, even if that someone is yourself!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So overwhelmed.

So today has so far been a horrible day.
I got an essay back that I had worked super hard on, even had my host-dad help me proof read, only for the teacher to say, quite literally, that despite the fact that the writing was better, she was 'surprised' it was so bad...I really thought I had done well on that essay and it bothered me to do so poorly.

This teacher really doesn't like me.  I don't disrupt class at all, I contribute to discussions without talking too much, and I always do my homework. But she literally shuts down everything I say.  We were talking about the differences between the French and American university systems, and I commented on how even though American universities cost more, some of the more 'prestigious' schools have amazing financial aid (like going to Harvard or Brown or any of the other Ivies for free if your parents make under 60k/year), and she said 'no that's not really true, you can still only go if you're rich'.  It just bothers me because sometimes it feels like she just decided she wasn't going to like me from day 1, and that there's nothing I can do to get on her good side.  It also seems like I'm the only person she does this to consistently, and while I know that could be my own point of view, it's frustrating to feel.

And then I was planning on getting home as fast as possible so that I could take a nap and eat lunch, and I took the metro in the wrong direction and didn't realize it until 6 stops later.

And now I have to commute 45mins-1 hour to my babysitting job, in the rain, get back just in time for dinner, and then do homework for 3 hours, go to bed, and start the whole process over again.

I wish I had a break from work for winter break, but I don't. I have a 10 page essay due 2 days after I get back, a 2 page essay due the same day, and many other assignments that are just as long due in the weeks following.  I just want a break!

Monday, November 22, 2010


       I never quite realized how much I'd miss Thanksgiving!  The only other time I missed it, when I was at Bearwood in 2006, I don't think it bothered me as much.  Maybe that's because living in a boarding house, I was surrounded by people all the time and had less alone time to contemplate the fact that I was missing my favorite holiday.
      Yes, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  That's because Thanksgiving has a bit of a buildup, and then AS SOON AS Thanksgiving is over, it's the Christmas season!  So it's like a holiday that lasts an entire month!  I love how family-centric Thanksgiving is.  I love when my family used to go up to our cottage in New Hampshire and cook tasty food and eat it with my aunts and (sometimes) cousins.  I loved how more often than not, it would snow at least once during those New Hampshire trips.  I loved driving home through Boston two days later, listening to Christmas music and looking at all the lights of the city.

      This year, I'm stuck in a country where cranberries don't even exist (they aren't even imported here).  Don't get me wrong, I'm so happy to be abroad and to have this opportunity, but I hate hate hate that I'm missing Thanksgiving.  I just want to go to New Hampshire and have a snowball fight and take a walk down to the lake and watch Harry Potter DVDs.

      Tufts is taking us (plus two invitees each) out to 'Thanksgiving dinner' at some random restaurant on Thursday, but from what previous Tufts-in-Paris people have told me, it's the French take on turkey and potatoes...not a 'true' Thanksgiving meal.  I want cornbread!  Green bean casserole! Cranberry sauce! Pumpkin pie!
     I've decided to bake a pumpkin pie for my host family, so that they can taste the wonder.  I love pumpkin pie so much, instead of having cake on my birthday, I ask my mom to cook pumpkin pie (it's not too out of season- my birthday is December 21).
     A girl in our program is having a Thanksgiving dinner this coming Saturday, but I do not know if there will be turkey.  I hope so, but as long as there's cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie I'll be (relatively) satisfied.

It'll be hard trying to cram in all the Traditions that I don't want to miss out on, into the two weeks that I'm home. I want to go to New Hampshire when it's cold, go sledding (I hope it snows!!!), go into Boston at night (maybe for First Night), see my best friends, eat pie, drink legally (turning 21 yayy), go to New York City before Christmas, see the Christmas pageant at church, and have quality family time.

That on top of all the essays I'll be working on at that time...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 12, 2010

So much to do, so little time!

Life is crazy!  My main dilemma right now is how to balance
1. keeping up with friends from home
2. keeping up with my family
3. having a semblance of a social life here
4. earning money

My two best friends...I guess I wasn't prepared for how much I'd notice the absence of their presence in my life this semester.

It's hard to condense a weeks worth of activity into a 10 minute phone call with the Boy...I miss getting breakfast/lunch at Dewick and having all the time in the world (or until our next class) to talk about our days/weeks/lives.  I miss grilling!  And how he brings me back down to earth when I get all worked up about something.  Phone calls/skype just can't replicate in-person face time.  I'm so glad I'll get to see him when I come home for Christmas, but then after that it's 5 more months until I'll see him in person and I'm not a fan of that.  I miss you!

And skyping with Best Friend....I miss our monday night just can't replace cooking with your best friend.  Or snuggle time at 3pm watching Law and Order/Fringe.  Or just walking around the Cambridgeside Galleria and getting chocolate-fruit kebabs.  Or 'studying' in Tisch or Eaton aka ordering food and listening to music...or going to Eaton at 4am to sing a 'carol' to the Boy and his study partner "Twinkle twinkle you're doing homework, while we were out getting hammered. It is such an unfair world, that you're stuck here without a girl, Twinkle twinkle you're doing homework, while we were out getting hammered"
I miss you!

So here's a look at why I haven't been keeping up my posting:
6-7 page essay due Tuesday DONE
6-7 page essay due Thursday DONE
8-10 page essay due Nov 24 DONE
2-3 page essay due Nov 24 DONE
Midterm Nov 25 DONE
Midterm Nov 30 DONE
Presentation Dec 2 DONE
6-8 page essay due Dec 9 DONE
Debate due Dec 9 DONE
Revised essay due Dec 9 DONE
8-10 page essay due Jan 5 DONE
2-3 page essay due Jan 5 DONE
6-8 page essay due Jan 11 DONE
4 2-page essays due Jan 11 DONE
Oral exam (language) Jan 13 DONE
Final exam (litterature) Jan 13 DONE
2 7-page essays due Jan 20 DONE


I shouldn't even be posting now, I should be working! And that is what I'll do!

A tout!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Samhuinn post-finally!

I can't believe it has already been a week since I was in Edinburgh, it doesn't feel like it!


       SO we saw this amazing procession/performance/celebration in a square right off of the Royal Mile (a mile of street that starts at the castle and descends down the hill into the city).  Samhuinn is an ancient Celtic holiday that celebrates the changing of seasons from summer to winter.  There was the Winter King and his court who would soon defeat the Summer King and his court.  Here's some backstory about the festival.
      The performers were all in costume, naturally, but the style of costume is what mattered to me.  Amongst all the face paint, all of the masks, all of the fabric, nothing looked modern.  There wasn't a piece of plastic or polyester in sight. As I stood there, watching the Red Men dance or the Beasties play their drums, I couldn't help but imagine that had I been transported back in time hundreds of years, I would be witnessing the exact same procession.  The primal beat of the drums and the screeching and yelping of the people dressed as wolves (part of the Winter King's court) called to me somehow...I think it really drove home the point that this is a land of my ancestors, and that hundreds of years ago, my ancestors were probably celebrating in the same manner.
        I think, as a generic white American, it's hard to think of myself as having 'ancestors' of a specific culture, but  I'm only third-generation, and they had to come from somewhere!  My mother's mom was born in Scotland, her paternal grandparents were Jews from Eastern Europe (Belarus perhaps, all we know is that they immigrated from Minsk), my dad's maternal grandparents were from Sweden and his paternal grandparents were from Ireland (so he's lucky enough to be eligible for Irish citizenship).  Back to the point, I think that watching this festival (and spending the day searching for MacGregor paraphernalia) made me realize 'yes, Amy, you do have ancestors and they weren't just nameless/faceless/culture-less white people.  They were Celts, Vikings, and Hebrews who for hundreds of years were involved in their own culture and who's descendants decided to move to a country where the culture was just beginning to become established. But they had their own set of festivals, religion, dress, etc...

Back to Samhuinn:  This shit was unbelievable.  And there's one in the spring, called Bealltainn that I hope to go to as well.  Here are some photos: video trailer for Bealltainn , photosmore photos .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

They'll Know We Are Christians By Our Love

Found the lyrics to the hymn that basically defines Christianity for me.  Thought I'd post it.

Taken from the website:
"This hymn is over 30 years old, but it could have been written this morning. I love what it says: we'll be recognized as Christians -- true disciples of Jesus -- not by our rhetoric or our politics or even the soundness of our theology, but by our love.

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that all unity may one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we'll guard each one's dignity and save each one's pride
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
We will walk with each other, we will walk hand in hand
And together we'll spread the news that God is in our land
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
They will know we are Christians by our love

This basically sums up what it means to me to be a Christian.  One can clearly see that the basis of Christianity is "Christ", meaning Jesus (the religious-and historical- figure).  The main point the sets Christianity apart from Judaism and Islam is the belief that Jesus was Christ, or the Messiah.  
But it isn't enough to just hold that as a belief.  The point, in my mind, of Christianity, is to live as much like Christ as possible.  This means reaching out to those on the fringes of society - the lepers, the prostitutes, the samaritans, the tax collectors, etc.- and to show kindness to all whom you encounter.  Jesus never turned anyone away, and that is the point of Christianity.  

I don't care if others follow my religion, I don't want to convert anyone; you'll never see me spouting religious dogma, to anyone.  I want people to know I'm a Christian not by a cross around my neck or a bible in my bookshelf or by my church attendance, but by my love.  

Best Weekend EVER (aka Edinburgh 2010)

       This past weekend I visited my super awesome friend Amelia, who is studying at the University of Edinburgh for the fall semester.  I had some trouble getting there (my flight was cancelled due to the French strikes and so I had to buy a new flight the following day), but from the minute I arrived I was in heaven.

Edinburgh is one of the most awesome cities I've ever been to.  It has much more green space than Paris, wider streets, darker stone buildings (they're all beige/light grey here), and HILLS!  How I missed having a vertically interesting landscape to look at!  Also, Edinburgh is much more casual (and less pretentious, in my opinion) than Paris.  People wear sweatpants/work-out clothes/t-shirts on the street and no-one gives them a second glance.  In that regard, I think it's much more like Boston/Davis Sq/Harvard Sq/a giant college town.

Arthur's Seat:
View of Arthur's Seat from Edinburgh Castle

One of the things that I really wanted to do in Edinburgh was climb Arthur's Seat.  It's this giant hill-type thing, which sounded to me like it'd be a nice little hike to the top.  We took the short/hard way up, which basically consisted of a steep stairway made of rock that wound and zig-zagged it's way up the hill.  The last 1/4th of the hike you had to scramble up the rocks as the staircase was no more, and it was all craggly rocks, mud, and pebbles.

View from 1/3rd of the way up

Same level, different view

The top was small, windy, and rocky.  There were two little 'markers' at the highest points, where people were taking pictures and writing their names/messages on the stones.  The climb up was hard for me (even though I have to climb 6 flights of stairs every day to get to my room, I'm out of shape), so I was super happy to reach the top, and I felt really accomplished.  Climbing Arthur's seat was the one thing that I thought I'd really regret leaving Edinburgh without doing, and I did it!  It was one of my favorite experiences this semester.  

     Amelia and I cooked SO much tasty food!  Friday night she had already prepared a delicious stuffed squash with beans, onions, garlic, almonds, and cheese (and who knows what else), which was actually the first time that I ever had squash (aside from summer squash).  
        Saturday for lunch we went to an amazing fish and chips place at the Newington Traditional Fish Bar, and I'm pretty sure the chips (fries) were the best I've ever had.  They were just crispy enough on the outside, soft on the inside, greasy, salty, and vinigar-y.  Saturday night we cooked a spinach/onion/cheese quiche with a rice crust, which we gobbled down in a matter of minutes.
       Sunday for lunch Amelia made potato-onion soup, with cheddar cheese and sour cream added in.  It was comfort incarnate.  Warm and just thick enough, packed with flavor and love.  For dinner, we cooked past and vegetables, and made pumpkin pie for dessert (wanted to show her flatmates what all the fuss was about).
       For breakfast every morning I had scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, which hopefully will enable me to go without until I come home in December.  

          I had written up a huge long section about Samhuinn and then for some reason it didn't get saved. So I'll stop here for now and write the Samhuinn post later today. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

2010-2011 Bucket List

So I'm almost at the halfway point for this semester (which is the shorter of my two semesters here), and lately I've been thinking about some things that I really want to do before l'année scolaire, the school year,  is over.  

  • Go to the Musée D'Orsay and see lots of impressionist paintings, especially Renoir who is my absolute favorite.
  • Visit Brussels, as it's only 1h30 mins from Paris by train.
  • Visit Amsterdam, as it's only 4h from Paris by train.
  • Go to a legit club (not one of the Erasmus nights) and stay out until the first AM metro
  • Visit Normandy and see where my grandfather fought during World War II
  • Learn to cook at least 3 of the delicious meals my host mother has made for me
  • Become a 'regular' at my local boulangerie and have the clerk lady actually recognize me. 
  • Sit through an entire class where I understand everything the teacher says
  • Try escargot (did it in Bourgogne, which will be the next post)
  • Go to the Opera. 
I think that many of these items will have to be completed in the second semester, once I've actually earned some money from babysitting and have more time to plan. Can you believe there's less than two months until I go home for Christmas?  Time is flyyyying by. 

This weekend I'm going to Edinburgh to visit my awesome friend Amelia, who's spending a semester at Uni Edinburgh.  Hopefully my flight isn't cancelled (there's supposed to be a big grève (strike) the day of my flight), but I bought travel insurance just in case, so that if it is cancelled I won't lose my money and I can visit her another time.  I'm waiting for my sneakers to arrive (my mom mailed them to me), so that Amelia and I can go hiking and climb Arthur's Seat, which from her pictures, looks really cool!  Hopefully they arrive by Thursday....

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I'm quite nearly devastated that I'm missing out on McIntosh season...I wait all year to eat in-season McIntosh apples.  With peanut butter.  McIntosh apples (along with all their relatives) are impossible to find in France.  They just don't bother importing/growing them here (probably cause they thrive in climates like New England and Canada).

le sigh

Sunday, October 10, 2010


           So I had been trying to figure out if there were any Protestant churches in Paris that share similar philosophy with the UCC, of which my church back home is a member.  I emailed the Wider Church Ministries, and was told that the UCC has a partnership with l'Église Reformée de France (reformed church of France), and that there is one right near my house!

           I decided to go to service this morning, and it was one of the best decisions I have made here.  I had been there not 5 minutes when an elderly woman named Genevieve introduced herself to me, found out it was my first time there, and took it upon herself to introduce me to the people nearby, and tell me how the services work, etc, and sat next to me for the service.  She was such a lovely, funny, kind woman; I really do feel I was blessed to have met her.  While I didn't understand all that was said in the sermon, I got a feeling that I had come upon a tight-knit community, one similar to my church in Marshfield.  Everyone was light-hearted, the service wasn't overly somber or long (just one hour).

          Towards the end of the service, I found myself overcome with emotion, and even as I write now I am feeling the same way.  I just honestly think that God wanted me to find this church, this community.  I have always considered myself to be more spiritual than religious, I view church as a community that houses people of various spiritual journeys but similar philosophy and personality.  I also believe that for me at least, community is an important part of faith, and that while I don't believe one needs to go to church to be Christian or to believe in God, I do believe that having a church community can be an enriching experience, and I always regretted not going to the UCC church that was a few blocks from Tufts during the year.

           I found my eyes tearing up a bit, and felt a lump in my throat that I recognized not as homesickness, but happiness. I at once felt accepted, welcomed even, in a community of people that I had never even met, and as weird as it may sound to my atheist friends who are reading this, I really felt God's presence, this divine happiness and loving feeling that I can't find the words to explain.  Haha, I guess one would just call it a 'religious experience'.

          I miss my church community back home; I miss the quirkiness of our congregation, the joviality, the warmth of Reverend Pam, the friendship and love that you can almost taste when you walk in on Sunday morning.  But I'm happy to have found community here, and that this is a new adventure to embark on.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bolshoi Ballet


Tonight I saw the most incredible dance performance I have ever seen in my entire life.  It was the Bolshoi Ballet's Creation 2010- "And Then, One Thousand Years of Peace".  Here are a couple reviews:

Review 1
Numero 2
     Excerpt: A fertile source of interpretation, the very word Apocalypse (from the Greekapo: "to lift" and calypsis: "veil") evokes the idea of revealing, unveiling, or highlighting elements that could be present in our world but are hidden from our eyes.  It should thus evoke what is nestled in the innermost recesses of our existence, rather than prophesizing about compulsive waves of catastrophe, irreparable destruction, or the imminent end of the world. 

When dance, the art of the indescribable par excellence, assumes the role of the developer (in the photographic sense), is it not most able to realize this delicate function of exposing our fears, anxieties, and hopes? Dance relentlessly highlights the entropy of molecules programmed in the memory of our flesh that heralds the Apocalypse of bodies. It stigmatises our rituals and reveals the incongruity of our positions, be they of a social, religious or pagan nature. 

And then, one thousand years of peace wishes to graze these bodies that drift along blindly, tossed about by ideals and beliefs, somewhat lost between the lines of the Apocalypse.

In any case, the dancers were incredible.  Flexibility, strength, and complete bodily control just radiated from every single dancer.  The piece was not classical, but modern (however you could clearly see how it was ballet and not just 'modern dance'...I guess that means it had lots of technicality?).  

The opening segment had the dancers in nude booty shorts and bandeau bras for the women, and the men wore tan/nude/yellow suits.  It involved plastic sheeting and I can only imagine it was to represent primordial ooze? Who knows...

Then came the animals

And the humans

And then some humans with books

And then homoerotic men with books and loinclothy shorts


The flag orgy had dancers with flags wrapped around their heads (veiling their faces) and entwined around their bodies.  Each time they froze, they were in an orgy.  I mean, it could've been some hardcore porn, the positions they froze in. This part was definitely NOT interpretive, but explicitly sexual. 

Then some war (men in green dancing with chains (bombs?) falling from the ceiling and gun sound techno playing. 

So much more happened.  

Then at the end the flags were 'washed' in sinks and layed out on the floor, and two dancers in flowy white tunics came out holding lambs, placed them on the stage, nuzzled and watched them for about a minute, and then it was over. 



Sunday, October 3, 2010

More nights out!

       So this past weekend I went out a few times, and discovered some awesome bars!  The first is called Chez Georges, and it has an upper level and a lower level (a cave).  It's old looking with stone walls and quaint, and the music and dancing in the cave brings you right back to the 1940's; you almost expect to see some American soldiers on leave walk through the door!  They play jazz, oldish songs (Those Were the Days, New York New York, etc), random russian/hebrew/some language I don't understand music, and everyone just dances and has fun!

Also there are a bunch of fun places on Rue Princesse, namely: The Frog and Princess, Eden Park (yay rugby themed places!), The Little Temple Bar, and another one next to Frog/Princess that I forget the name of.

I also realized recently that France doesn't have an embargo against Cuban goods, so I bought a little Montecristo cigar earlier in the day (forgot to get clippers), got a bartender to cut the tip off, and smoked it as we went from bar to bar.  I must say, I really enjoy the taste of cigars, and while obviously they're not good for you, as you don't inhale the smoke (or I don't, at least), I don't have as many reservations about smoking a cigar here and there, for special occasions.

It's really fun hanging out outside the bars. The street itself is a place to be!  People are all standing around in clumps and smoking, or wandering's a great way to meet new people and join a crowd headed to the next fun spot.

And at 3 euros per shot, they're about the same price as Powderhouse!

Les courses

Bonjour mes lectures!

Pour cette poste, je vais vous décrire les courses que je suis.
This semester I am taking 4 courses: two 'in-house' courses, or courses that are through the Tufts program, and two 'external' courses, or courses in the French university system.

French 31/191: Littérature Francaise- La femme et la passion amoureuse dans la société (Moyen-Âge-XVIIIème siècle)  [The female and the 'passion of love' in society (middle ages-18th century)]
        In this class we'll be doing readings from the Lays of Marie de France, Lettres d'une Péruvienne (Madame de Graffigny), L'ingénu (Voltaire), Bérénice (Racine), and L'École des femmes (Molière).

French 121: Langue francaise, niveau avancé [advanced french language]
        For this class we will read lots of random articles and stuff, as well as Le Roi se Meurt, by Ionesco.

Université de Paris III (Sorbonne-Nouvelle)
Le diable et le mal au XIXe siècle [the devil and evil in 19th century lit]
      This class is all about diabolical ideas (not just books that have 'the devil' in them), diabolical women (think Scarlet Letter), and stuff like that.  Some of the books we'll be reading include Faust (Goethe), Le fin de satan (Victor Hugo), La Morte amoureuse (Gautier), etc...

Finally, because I couldn't fit any of the linguistics classes that I wanted into my schedule (and the religion class I wanted wasn't enough hours per week, I'm taking

L'Institut Catholique de Paris (catholic institut of paris)
Art contemporain et expérience chrétienne (1950-2010) [contemporary art and the christian experience]
       This class is about tons of different types of contemporary art (paintings, sculptures, photography, videos, etc), which relate to the 'Christian experience'  (or that's my understanding of it from the course description, I have my first class this Thursday).

So, voici mes cours!

A bientôt!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Photo post!

Filet of Féra, lemon, parmesan risotto, tomato, mushrooms, and snow peas. Nom.
Montmartre...decided this house on the corner is where I am going to live.
Just some ancient busts in the Louvre metro big deal
The Seine on our way back from the concert at Sainte-Chappelle
The view from my hotel room in Talloires
Les vitraux at Sainte-Chappelle

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Food et les repas

So my host mother cooks amazing food.  Nothing super exotic or complicated, but SO DELICIOUS.

My favorites so far have been:

Quiche with egg and cheese and ham
Baked salmon with some other kind of fish, a delicious creamy/buttery/I have no idea what sauce, and rice
Spaghetti Carbonara
Stuffed tomatoes
Salad made of avocado, tomatoes, and cucumber
Roasted Chicken with green beens and potatoes
Fromage blanc (like plain yoghurt only thicker and less sweet) with lots of sugar!

I can't even remember all the other dishes because It's all been so tasty!

Some of the delicious things I've eaten at restaurants have been:
Onion soup with cheese and bread in it
Filet of Féra (a fish that lives in lake Annecy) with butter, lemon, and parmesan risotto
Steak with a basil sauce and string fries (sounds simple but it was top-notch)
Fondue (I have no idea which cheeses they used but it was SUPER tasty)

Some of the foods that I miss more than life itself:
scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese
just plain cheddar cheese
toast with butter
drinking ice-cold skim milk
apples and peanut butter
Berryline frozen yogurt (original flavor)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Catch-up Post

Haven't written much lately, probably because everything has been super super crazy!  I've only been home usually between the hours of 8pm and 9am, and most of that is eating/sleeping.  But I'll recap the past few days with some highlights:

Montmartre:  We took a little morning trip to Montmartre, and it was beautiful. We wandered around back streets with very very very few people on them (which made me very happy) and visited Saint-Denis and Sacre Coeur.  I learned that Sacre Coeur has a program in which people sign up to pray there at different shifts, to ensure that prayer is happening there 24/7.  Its a very spiritual concept, I think, and it reminded me that Sacre Coeur is still a place of pilgrimage and very much still an important church in the Catholic faith.  I lit a candle there for my uncle Tony, who has Parkinsons, and it's nice to know that someone will be praying for him throughout the day and night.

Bach at Sainte-Chappelle: We saw a Bach concert at Sainte-Chappelle, made up of a string octet.  They played some pieces I've never heard before, and a couple that I recognized...What struck me the most was how amazing the acoustics of the building were.  When I closed my eyes it sounded as if I was listening to a classical music album- the musicians were so in tune with each other both rhythmically and tonally.  The enormous blue/purple/green stained-glass windows, or les vitraux, were only icing on the gateau.

Mouffetard: rue Mouffetard is like a mini Davis Square. It's quaint, has some fun bars/pubs, a few restaurants/markets and clothing stores.  Plus, it's full of students because it's so close to la Sorbonne.  We had a walking tour in that area and then went to 'l'happy' (aka happy hour, pronounced [lappy]) at a nearby pub.  I'm making a concerted effort to develop a taste for beer, as a pint is cheap and can last a long time.  I think sometimes all you really want is to have something to hold.  Like, something to sip and to occupy you, and maybe give you a little buzz.  That's why lately I've preferred having a pint to having a cocktail.

After Mouffetard, we decided to rendez-vous later for the Erasmus party at Mix Club.  It's basically a party for international students in that in between 11 and midnight, you don't have to pay a cover if you have an international student ID card.  My friend and I got some wine beforehand and moseyed over to the club, where we met up with friends, made new friends, and danced until 5:30am.  We took the first morning metro back, and it was the best/worst decision ever.  Definitely a one-time thing, but it was fun nonetheless to walk out of the metro station at 6am in heels, makeup, and chic party clothes (don't worry, mom...I mean jeans and a tank top...the french dress more conservatively when they go to clubs)

This brings us to TALLOIRES, aka the most beautiful place in the entire world.
It rained. It was beautiful.  It was sunny. It was beautiful. The mountains were green and lush and the air was crisp and the lake was clear and blue and beautiful and I couldn't handle how gorgeous it all was.  I think I'm going to have to make a whole new post about the food I ate there.  We didn't really do anything special but the food and the drinking definitely deserves its own post.

Currently, I'm bro-ing out french-style. Watching soccer and drinking beer with my host father, brother, a priest, and a Scotsman.  And there's a fire in the fireplace.  Maybe I haven't moved on to the 'confrontation' stage of culture shock after all...

a demain!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sortir, and Versailles

This post will cover two subjects: going out to bars at night, and a trip to Versailles.

         A couple of nights ago we (a few friends and I) went out to find a fun bar/club (boite de nuit).  We went to Saint Germain-de-Près, and followed directions to Rue Princesse, which apparently was a very happening place. We were right, for as soon as we turned on to the street we could see it was teeming with young (18-25ish) people, spilling out of the bars.  We went to a bar called The Frog and the Princess first.  It was super crowded, but fortunately was closing at 2 and as it was 12:45 when we arrived, the crowd started to thin out as the night wore on.  The 5 of us split a pitcher of beer and got a round of shots, and then we just watched people and conversed amongst ourselves.  Every once in a while a couple guys would approach us and talk to us, which was fun speaking in French (sometimes English).

         Then, once the bar closed, out on the street, we met a group of Canadian (?) men, and spoke a mixture of French and English with them. We were all being rather rowdy, and it was one of the Canadian's birthday's so we all cheered and clapped and laughed.  It was semi-flirtatious but so much fun!  A great way to practice French.

         THEN Saturday night was my host sister's soirée rallye and it was amazing! I brought along one of my friends in the program, and we danced up a storm!  There were so many people dancing, eating hors d'oeuvres, drinking champagne, but they were all younger than us (ages 14-18).  One of my host brother's friends kept trying to dance with us but we felt kinda sketchy doing so and thus maintained an appropriate distance between us and him (we didn't want to be cougars, haha).

        Today was a trip to Versailles, which I can honestly say I was not looking forward to.  Having visited the inside of Versailles twice, I find it incredibly boring.  Like Plymouth Plantation without the actors and more crowded and less interesting.  It's just rooms made to look fancy, with plaques in each room, and tourists jostling each other to look at all the fancy rooms.  Not my cup of tea.
        Fortunately, though, we never even went inside today!  We spent all day in the gardens, my favorite of which was the Jardin d'Anglais.  Anne-Sophie explained to me that the difference between les jardins français et les jardins d'anglais, is that the french gardens are more geometric and planned out with straight paths and perfectly manicured trees and hedges and flowers.  the English gardens are more 'organic' with trees planted hap-hazardly amongst winding paths and stony grottos.  I MUCH preferred the latter.  It just was more relaxing, like taking a stroll through the countryside in England as opposed to walking through a museum-garden.

       Tonight was my other host sister's 14th birthday, and I got her a gift card to a nice shoe store, because she is very interested in fashion and clothing, etc...She seemed to really like it, so I'm happy!  I also had an AMAZING dinner.  Baked salmon and some other fish, with an amazing amazing sauce. I have no idea what was in the sauce but it tasted like butter, cream, lemon, salt, and delicious. And rice on the side.  I don't think I've been that into a food dish in a while. It was just so tasty!

Ok I need to catch up on my sleep!

bonne nuit!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Les premiers jours

Alors.  It's been really busy these first few days, and I know I said I'd post pictures of Paris, but I haven't taken any yet...So here are pictures of my room!

My room viewed from the window.
I have a shower and sink en-suite!
My room viewed from my door.
 (Note: looks messy, but its not actually)

I like my room a lot (I like my room, alot...roarrrrr).  It's small but cozy, and I have a sink, shower, mini-fridge, and microwave.  Also it's high up (6th floor) so I can leave my window open and not worry about break-ins.  

Today we explored the Latin Quarter and Left Bank.  It was nice, but I don't remember much of the navigation...just some cool places we saw (i.e really old buildings/streets, etc..).  Some of the walls are so thick in the old buildings, and the (mini) streets SO narrow; our guide told us that it's basically what it was like au moyen-âge - in the middle ages.  

I also finally joined the blackberry club, as that is what my french phone is.  Too bad Sprint doesn't use SIM cards otherwise I could bring my phone home and use it in the States as well.  

These past few days, boy it's been a sensory-overload! A lot of it is just walking/exploring in between orientation sessions and French classes.  I still need to buy some things but haven't had the time yet.  At least Saturday is a free day so I can get some stuff done.  

It's late; so time for bed.  

Bonne nuit!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bonjour Paris!

I am finally (somewhat) settled in!  I have unpacked, figured out what I forgot (2 dresses, a skirt, and my sneakers), and interacted with my family.  I love them!  There are two daughters (14 and 16) and son, who will be 19 in November.  The parents gave me a tour of the neigbhorhood yesterday, which I thought was very nice of them to do.

My room is small-ish but delightfully cozy; I have a little shower/sink in my room, as well as a mini-fridge and a microwave!  Quelle chance!  I'll post pictures and write more later, but now I have to leave for my first orientation session.


Un grand post écrit on the airplane.

          I’m sitting here on the airplane, at least 4 hours into the flight, and I look up and the monitor says there is 4:54 remaining until we arrive...WHAT?!?! This is only supposed to be a 6h20 minute flight!!!  So I silently freak for a few minutes (more like 10 seconds) before I realize, wait a minute, thats the same amount of time left that there was two airline-tv shows ago!  So I turn on my computer, and it’s actually 11:30 pm, which means it’s 5:30am Paris time, and therefore I only have 2.5 hours left in this airplane...whew. That’s two Boston Legals and then descent!!  
         I also decided to turn this into a blog post because I have nothing better to do...the airline TV is crap and my seat is very uncomfortable.  The airline lady said that my seat (9E on a boeing 757 version 1) was ‘the best seat on the plane...window seat in an exit row’  but it turns out not only is there no window at all in this row, but the seat is a good 1.5 feet from the wall, so I can’t lean up against it.  Also as there are no seats in front of me, we have to store our carry-ons overhead, like 5 rows back.  Oh well, at least I have extra leg room!   Next time I fly this model of a plane, I’ll know to choose seats 10A or 10E.  That way I get leg room, AND a wall to lean against when I try to sleep.  
         Soul Sister and her partner came to see me off at the airport, it was so nice.  I gave her a present and also a present for her to give to Best Friend and a card for The Boy that he isn’t supposed to open until mid-semester cause it’s all time-specific and cool like that (‘by now it’s midterms, halloween just happened’, etc..).  Hopefully he waits cause it’s no fun to read those kinds of letters early.  Totally spoils the fun. If you’re reading this post, DON’T READ THE CARD UNTIL NOVEMBER 1ST OR ELSE! 
         I have no idea what my host mother/father/sisters look like, only my host brother cause we’re facebook friends (yup I creeped mega).  I wonder if he did the same thing I did, showed his parents ‘look mom and dad, it’s my host sibling!!’  ...I wonder if they know what I look like!  
         Saying goodbye to my family was really hard, I cried a little bit. Especially when saying goodbye to Sibling.  I got her a present as well, it’s one of the Willow Tree figurines (these beautifully carved figures that are each assigned an emotion/virtue/relationship and are very expressive despite having no face!), the one called “miss you”. It’s a small child holding a wire balloon that says ‘miss you’ in the middle and has a tilted head, one hand up to where it’s heart would be.  It’s sad but cute, exactly the body language you’d imagine.
        I got Best Friend a pair of the figurines, “sisters at heart” and they face each other and are posed as if they’re playing a clapping game.  Très mignonne!  
        Ugh I just want to fall asleep or get off this airplane.  But when I arrive in Paris I will have a whole day ahead of me!  No rest for the wicked, eh?  
         ALSO my a cappella group just got three new members!  Ryan, Angus, and Morgan.  I won’t get to meet them until next Fall, but I’m so happy that we have babies!  To be honest, some of the (used to be) seniors really needed to leave in order for rehearsals to run more smoothly, etc.  It was kind of funny/sad, it seemed like some of the used-to-be-seniors were dismayed when they realized that life in the group had gone on fine without them, that we still got along and had fun, that we didn’t fall apart when they left.  Talk about narcissism. But that’s ok, I know I have my own faults and in a group of 17/18 type-A performers, narcissism is the least of your worries.
         I miss many of my friends already, especially the experiences I have with them.  Going to Mr. Crepe with the Best Friend, long, drawn-out Dewick dinners with Soul Sister, watching Party Down with The Boy and cuddling, conspiring with Best Friend’s boyfriend to team up against her when we play quarters,  laughing at the Elderly Insane with Sibling...
         WAIT...the Elderly Insane, you say?  I don’t believe I have used this terminology before.  Let me explain, dearest readers.  The Elderly Insane are, quite simply, my parents.  My 61-year old mother works as an instructional aide in our local high school; my 66-year old father is a retired teacher who now works as a store clerk in our local general store.  They are elderly, and insane, but lovely people in actuality. 
Ok turbulance is minimal so I’m going to use this opportunity to pee.  

à bientôt, mes readers!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Last night at home.

It's sad.  Tomorrow night I will be on a plane and then in France.  This is crazy. What am I doing?  Was this a bad idea?  I know it's not but's superscary nonetheless.  If you're religious, please say a prayer for me.  If not, send some positive energy into the universe?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Un peu moins overwhelmed

          I have most of my stuff packed (and the rest of it sitting on my bed waiting to be put in a suitcase), so I'm feeling a wee bit less overwhelmed.  Also, I went up to Tufts last night to go to ZBT (a frat on campus that most of my guy friends are in) with my best friend for some Thursday-night Panama.  It was really awesome, seeing all my 'bros' (Ben, Greg, David, Craig, Dalton, Jessie, Evan, Jose, etc...) and having a return to the general Panama night silliness that I enjoyed every Thursday since my second semester of freshman year.

I need to create titles for people in my life to preserve anonymity.
So far we have Best Friend, who I met my first day of school, and is basically my partner-in-crime/sister-from-another-mister.  She and I really 'get' each other and have basically the same sense of humor, taste in food, likes/dislikes.
Then we have The Boy, who I met through rugby the beginning of freshman year, and gradually became my best friend/confidante/person-I-can-act-five-years-old-around.  He's creative, driven, (attractive), and I just love his company.
Finally there is Soul Sister, a girl who I sing a cappella with, and who I connect with very spiritually.  It's nice to have someone to talk to who is also very spiritual/religious (I'm Christian- United Church of Christ, and she's Muslim).  I always know if I'm facing a difficulty I can ask her to pray for me and she won't think I'm a weirdo, haha.
Sibling is my little sister, who is 4.5 years younger than me but we're always on the same page. Sometimes we fight (just because we know exactly how to push each other's buttons) but mostly we do that annoying sister thing where we communicate without words and just kind of know what each other is thinking by looking at each other.

So there's a bit of background, now you have an idea of who I'm talking about when I use those terms.

au revoir for now, mes amis!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Je n'aime pas this feeling

I'm starting to feel really overwhelmed and scared about the fact that I'm leaving so soon. And the worst part is that I can't even cry because my chest wall is so bruised that crying is super painful. Merde.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Packez votre stuff!

My sister turned me on to a site called packwhiz that generates packing lists for different types of trips, and it's customized.  You just fill out a checklist with criteria like 'international' 'hot weather' 'rural' 'bus travel' and it then creates a packing list tailored to your trip!  You can then personalize it further by adding or deleting items as you see fit, but it's definitely useful because it had items that I never would've thought to add, like 'a copy of your packing list lest you leave something behind on your return trip'.

bonne packing, mes amis!

Three jours before je départe!

Bonjour, readers!

Vous êtes compris des amis (friends) et famille (family), et peut être des randos!  I created this blog to chronicle my year in Paris, through the Tufts-in-Paris program.  Not much to write about so far, mostly preparations.

Today I said goodbye to lots of my friends.  It was tough, thinking that some of these people (friends who are seniors now) I might never see again, but reassuring to know that others (i.e my best friend who will join me in Paris for the Spring) will only be absent from my day-to-day life for a few months.

I've been fairly irritable today, or rather, my crying threshold is lowered, and to cope I've been anti-social, in the hopes that keeping interaction to a minimum will prevent my family from saying something that accidentally sets off the waterworks.  That and I keep repeating random things in my head whenever I do feel tears coming....watermelons, screwdrivers, pickles, ponies...watermelons, screwdrivers, pickles, ponies...

The next two days will be devoted to packing; if I have all my stuff packed by Thursday night I am going to go up to Tufts for one last night, hang out at Panama with my ZBT friends and the best friend, and also see the boy.