Monthly Archives: August 2010

Viennoise au chocolat

Last night we decided to make omelettes for dinner, and save some money. It turned out to only cost 2 Euros per person.

Je sais pas pourquoi, mais the eggs here make huge omelettes. Last night I used three eggs for my omelette and it looked like I had used five.

After dinner I attempted to do my laundry. It feels so weird to pay for my laundry after Goucher, I know it’s normal but it will still take a while to remember to bring atleast 4 euros every time.

The dryer didn’t really work. When I went to take out my clothes, everything was still wet and the inside of the dryer was hot and humid. I think I’ll just buy a drying rack and save a euro.

It’s always impossible to tell the weather here. This morning, I walked out my door and I almost went back in for another layer. Then I turned a corner and had to take off a layer because it was too hot, then the next corner was cold again. I guess it’s just how the weather works in a city. But atleast you can always count on the wind being cold, it’s like winter never really leaves.

Stores are almost never open 24/7 here. They’re either closed for the weekend or monday, or even tuesday. I guess since it’s normal its not like they’re really losing money. But it does make shopping interesting. You can never go to every store like in the US, you have to do a little shopping each day, and almost none on the weekend.

My new favorite pastry is a Vinnoise au chocolat. It’s this fluffy, light bread with chocolate chips. I have to make myself eat the free breakfest every day instead of buying one.

Speaking of being cheap, I’m finding more and more ways to save money. Maybe it was my obsession with refashion blogs this summer, but I realized I could turn all the water bottles I’ve been using into storage. I cut the bottles in half, or whatever height I want and voila, a pencil holder.

Well, I don’t know if I’ve really written anything interesting, but I have to go to class. A plus tard!

Whoohoo

I’m finally caught up with my posts. It took me a while but I found the spot where wifi works in my foyer. It seems like it’s only at a specific chair at a specific table, but if it works it works.

Today we got to sleep in late since we didn’t have any activity until 2pm. Then we pretty much walked for three hours straight. There were lots of cool things to look at and all that, but I honestly mostly remember that jt ended at the  Bastille.

Tonight we’re gonna try to save some moolah and have omelettes pour diner.

A plus tard. I’m going to try and upload some photos now.

Sur la Seine, Written August 30th

8/30/2010 10:47 AM

Yesterday I was so wrapped up in my own little world, I forgot to write for my blog, so here it goes.

I woke up late again Sunday, and basically lazed about until Eliza called to see if I wanted lunch. We bought sandwiches and dessert au super-marché et puis ate them at un “espace vert”, basically a tiny park near our foyer with benches and an awesome playground for kids. For dessert we had tiramisu which came in a cup made of glass, so we saved and washed them and now I finally have an actual cup!

Then I did some shopping and bought things to clean the bathroom, a dustpan, laundry detergent, and the important things like that. Then we met up with Christina and Sophia at Pere Lachaise cemetery. We managed to find Edith Piaf, thanks to a tour group surrounding her grave, and then we went to a café for some chocolate chaud. The weather here is turning cold fast, it’s kinda sad. I like winter, but I was hoping for at least a week more of warmer weather.

I also bought a little rug for my room, it’s really small and really cheaply made, but it helps make my room feel like less of a hotel.

It turns out that the best place to buy supplies is not au super-marché ou à MonoPrix, mais at these little bazaars in our quartier. They’re filled to the brim with cheap random things. For example, at Monoprix it cost about a euro for one fork, at the bazaar it coast 1.50 euros for 6 forks. They’re not the best forks in the world, but since I have to buy almost all my supplies here, where with each purchase there is a 3% conversion rate, it doesn’t really matter how great the forks are.

After all our wandering yesterday, we chose to have a pique-nique dinner on the pont des arts. We bought all our supplies and it only ended up costing about 4 or 5 euros a person, which is cheaper than most formules. We ended up eating along the seine near the pont des arts, and it was magnificent. The food was good, the view was good, and we truly felt parisien when the tourists on the bateau-mouche started filming us. 😛

After dinner we went back to our foyers. Eliza and I watched some TV and socialized in the sale commun, and then went to bed.

I think I got everything, a plus tard.

Café, written august 28th

8/28/2010 2:33 AM

Today was very very long, so I probably won’t describe much, I just want to note what I did.

I woke up, went to IFE early so that we could use the internet there. Went to class, learned about the history of Paris, how certain quartiers are changing, how there’s not an intellectual quartier anymore, and the qualities and defaults of parisiens. It was a cool class because my prof made sure to ask questions that would get us talking and had us read things aloud and then go over them piece by piece. I thought I would have trouble staying awake, but with only four people in class and an interesting class it was pretty easy.

Then Christina, Sophia, et moi went to an algerienne restaurant for some couscous, at a very good price. We stopped by their foyer and I got to see just how very spoiled I am. Then we headed towards the Eiffel tower to explore a bit before our next activity, found out the activity had changed so we just switched the metro to the other direction. Walked around the Notre Dame area, saw le Sorbonne, some touristy spots that are nice because they’re open late, walked along the river. Then we decided it was far too cold so we stopped for some chocolate chaud and ended up talking for atleast two hours, so that it was ten pm before we realized we were starving and needed some dinner. Bought falafas, walked some more, headed home.

Eliza and I played cards with the other students again, although this time they also taught us some games.

And then we realized it was 2 am and the common area was closing, so now I’m in bed and very very tired.

A plus tard.

Egyptian Rat Screw, written august 27th

8/27/2010 12:15 AM

Lesson learned from today, well yesterday; never assume the day is done. I was all ready for bed, in my pjs and all, when Eliza came upstairs to see if I wanted some food. We got talking and decided to go downstairs and play cards. There we got talking to another IFEer, Pengpeng, and then met a group of guys who had just finished dinner and offered us some tea. We got talking and drinking tea and laughing over cultural differences, and before we knew it, it was midnight and the guard was telling us to be quiet.

It definitely helped my French, speaking and listening. I have a big problem with understanding different accents, but tonight I was able to pretty much understand French with a hint of Moroccan, Chinese, and well just plain French accents. It definitely helped that they were all guys because for some reason my ears don’t like to understand the deeper voices that most guys have, in any language. So, this definitely helped.

In the end it was just plain fun. It’s nice to be able to just talk to somebody and laugh and not have to worry if you’re using the correct verb tense.

Hopefully I’ll see the group again, but it seems like no matter who you talk to in the foyer, everyone is nice. It’s really cool to finally find a group of people who obviously like languages and French, since they’re here. In the US, a lot of people think it’s annoying to learn another language, and a lot more people think some aspect of French, the people or the language, is stupid. So, it’s refreshing to not have to worry about people disliking my passion.

I really need to sleep, but if I can’t stay awake in class tomorrow, it was definitely worth it J

Micro-onde. Written August 26th

8/26/2010 8:18 PM

Just a little note. I managed to find a good way to eat a really cheap dinner. It’s not the healthiest, but it tasted really good. Microwavable meals. I bought a Chicken, couscous, and veggie dinner for 2.09. It was a little small, but it filled me up just as well as the ham and butter sandwich I keep buying, and now I’ve had my veggies.

Also, I guess now is a pretty busy time because every time I went on the elevator, I was with somebody which never happens. One of the times this guy come in headed to my floor, which is the 7th (well 8th if you americatize it), so he does the whole Bonsoir deal and then asks if I’m new. Which must be really easy to tell, because it’s the second time I’ve been asked. I guess the lost little puppy look tips them off. He also asked if I was from England, which is soooo much better than being asked if you’re American. I may have barely been able to understand the guy’s thick accent, but at least he thought my accent wasn’t quite as bad as the Americans! Whoohoo! I think I’m going to go to bed uber early again tonight, because it seems to help me survive the day. And because the only thing I can think of doing tonight is to try the internet again, and I don’t feel like being disappointed. I did realize that none of the wifis around me are the paris mayor thingy, so I might ask at the front desk how to get internet in my room tomorrow.

One more thing, I am going to run out of hair conditioner pretty soon, and I don’t really like the one I brought, so I finally bought a French beauty supply. I was all proud of myself for remembering that Conditioner is called “after-shampooing” and for not buying the bright green garnier bottles like at home. Then I got back to my room, read all the little details in French, and realized it is Garnier brand, just frenchitized. O well, it sounds like it will work so that’s all that matters. Now I just need to find some French cleaning supplies before my bathroom gets grimy.

On that lovely note, bonne nuit!

Toujours marcher! Written August 26th

8/26/2010 6:29 PM

Today has been quite a day. We woke up and took the metro à Palais Royal/Musee Louvre. Then walked through some of the enclosed shopping centres and learned their history and lots of interesting things that I can’t quite remember because I wasn’t quite awake. Apparently, il faut que je commence à boire le green tea encore. So that I can be awake enough to listen to and process French. The walk was very interesting. We started à la Comedie Francaise, which I love because it has a history (which I have learned and forgotten L ) with Moliere, including the chair where he “died”. I looked at the schedule and there’s a Moliere show this September, so I need to research how much it would cost.

Apres ca, we went back to our foyers for lunch and a break. I bought a butter and ham sandwich with an éclair café (coffee éclair) pour dessert. C’etait parfait! Puis, I tried to use the WiFi, I got my code and managed to check Facebook v  e  r  y    s  l  o  w  l  y. Then the wifi stopped working because they shut it down every half hour or so because they don’t want people downloading anything. Then when I tried to use it again, it wouldn’t work, then it would barely load, then it wouldn’t work. All this happened very slowly, so I probably won’t be on the internet for a long time. I can either get the Wifi in my room recommended by the foyer, or the Mayor of Paris did this wifi thing around the city and I think I might be able to get it in my room because there a bunch of “Free Wifi” networks that appear in the list of available wifi’s but need a code to use. Another thing to research.

This afternoon, we walked around “Le nouveau quartier bibliotheque Francois Mitterand.” It was really cool because it’s a part of Paris which used to be countryside. Then they built this new sort of shopping district but used all the old buildings. So, there’s a Sephora in a building that use to (I believe) make wine. There are also lots of new buildings, so there’s a lot of modernity mixed with the old style. We also walked around a beautiful park with a rose garden and little ponds with ducks and fish. Jessica pointed out lots of cool places to go, like a boat that has concerts and dance parties on it.

After finishing that walk, we went back to our foyers. Right now I’m currently trying to rest a bit so that I don’t burn myself out. But I’m honestly not as tired as I thought I would be.

It’s getting a little easier to speak French because even when I leave the GPP activities, I speak French. It feels a little weird to write in English now, and I’m trying not to watch movies in English or read books in English during my downtime.

I can’t wait to get internet so that I can share the view from my window. It doesn’t have any grand monuments, but it’s very cute. There’s lots of little chimney stacks like in Mary Poppins.

J’ai faim, so I’m going to go find some diner. Au revoir!