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