Monthly Archives: October 2010

Weekend

I didn’t really do all the much this weekend. I’m just trying to find a weekend routine that doesn’t drive me crazy.

Friday night we all hung out but didn’t go out anywhere. Just played cards and listened to music.

Saturday night I watched the Lizzie Macguire Movie and some Big Bang Theory which was awesome as always.

Today, I tried to find some sleeping arrangements for Rebecca when she visits this week. I thought I had found a blow up bed to by, but it turned out to be to big. I did find some sheets, so at least I’ll have something to lay on an keep me warn. Hopefully I’ll have time to stop by Monoprix or Conforama, Monday, to find some sort of cushion. On my way to the Bazaar I stumbled upon a flea market. I was walking right down Rue de Charonne like I do everyday on the way to mon stage, I looked over at the girls school I pass, and right next door there was a flea market along the road. It was mostly little trinkets, silverware, dishes, postcards, chairs, but there were come clothes too. It was just really cool to think I walk by everyday, but I never new what happened Sunday.

Then I bought a very good Chocolate Croissant and headed home.

I’m very proud of myself, because for lunch I supplies to have a ham, butter, and salad sandwich with chips and dessert. Which is pretty darn basic, but much less basic than my original bread lunches, or my bread and ham lunch, or my nutella and jelly lunch. And it was much more filling.

Where I took a very very long nap, and am now persuading myself to do my homework. It’s hard to do homework here because there are no homework parties and there is no library. There’s libraries but it’s a trek and it’s not like at Goucher. When I’m in my room I want to just go on the internet or sleep, since normally that’s all I have time to do here. It’s not a very good working environment. But I’ll get use to it. 🙂

Now for some randomness.

Some Favorite Paris Moments:

  • Waking up thinking I was hearing horses for some bizarre reason, to find out there really were horses walking by my window. The mounted police just went by my window one day.
  • Stumbling upon random flea markets
  • Wondering what’s all that noise, only to discover that a horse and carriage with newlyweds was going by, and all the noise was the wedding party following in cars honking and cheering.

 

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Yesterday

Nothing too blog-worthy happened yesterday.

At mon stage I worked on translating part of a book again. I met a very nice lady who is observing the Atelier for the week to decide if she wants to be a restorer. I learned that you can say 13h45 ou 2h moins quarte, mais pas 14h moins quarte (I might have spelled some of that wrong).

In my grammar class we discussed an except of L’amant by Margurite Duras.

Was completely out of it during dinner because of my cold.

Got Lady and the Tramp in French from Julia, and watched it before bed.

Ya, nothing too interesting, but the film was really really good.

The spread of the silly bands! Run for your lives!

Bonsoir,

Today, Eliza and I decided to tackle the OFII form. OFII is basically something you have to do once you get in France for your VISA. If you’re not staying for long, it’s not as big a deal if you forget about it. However, if you’re like me and Eliza, and want to extend your visa without returning to the US, it’s very very important to complete OFII. So, once we finally got moving and made photocopies of our housing contract, we headed to the OFII office. We thought we had triple checked the list and remembered everything, turns out with forgot everything. So, for future GPPers, here’s the current list, but of course it may change.

  • OFII form (which they will want to change the address from IFE to your foyer)
  • Your actual passport
  • Photocopies of your passport (identity pages, visa, and stamp if you got one)
  • Photocopy of your foyer contract
  • Photo of yourself. Take it in the metro photo booth and use the size that works for passports
  • copy of your sorbonne student ID

I believe that’s all. Make sure you do OFII as soon as possible. The point of going to the OFII office is to get a doctors appointment. My appointment isn’t until November 2nd, which is cutting it close.

After OFII, Eliza and I had a wonderful falafal lunch in the park near my class. We spent most of the time talking in French and it was actually pretty easy. I feel like the only thing stopping me from becoming fluent is the amount of English surrounding me here. All the kids in my Sorbonne class speak English, and it’s very frustrating.

In my grammaire class we had a test on subjonctif/questions/opposition/concession. Then we talked about Newspapers and stuff like that.

After class I went shopping for some post cards to keep in touch with people back home. The cheapest postcards were along the seine, 12 for 1 euro. But they were also the most touristy and photoshopped. Then just walking back from Ledru-Rollin I stopped by three bookstores with postcards. It’s amazing, I never realized how many book stores I pass every day. And not one of them is a chain.

Once I got back to the foyer, I checked my mail and discovered my amazing family had sent me something. Sillybands! Before you freak out that I’m spreading silly bands throughout europe, I have to explain that it was not my idea. One of the guys saw my silly bands, which I only wear because they’re from my work friends and I miss them terribly. He asked if he could have one, and since they’re pretty cheap I said sure why not. So, at dinner I gave everyone a couple silly bands. The difference with silly bands back home and silly bands here is that back home everybody thinks they’re fashionable and actually wears them, here everybody thought “ooo! weapon!” and started having a rubber band fight. Half the silly bands broke, but it was loads of fun so it was worth it. So again, THANK YOU MOMMY for sending me dinosaur silly bands. Everybody loved them, and didn’t actually want to break them, it just happened.

So, that was my day. Bonne nuit!

Lundi est magnifique, au moins aujourd’hui

Looking back on it, today was pretty darn good. I woke up and had the good sense to drink some green tea. Which allowed me to be awake enough to thoroughly enjoy the Restoration class I sat in on at mon stage. The amount of notes the French take is amazing, I had 4 pages by the end of it, and I was missing a lot of what was said. Although, considering it’s basically two hours of the professor talking, I can see where all the notes come from. Basically la prof slowly read off her notes, interjecting tidbits so it wasn’t boring. Then at the end she showed photos illustrating what she was talking about. One weird thing, she took a break for tea at 11:30, which had me worried because I figured it meant half way through the class and I wouldn’t be able to stay for the end. Turns out after the break she only had 15 more minutes to go. Why not just wait for the end of class? I have no idea. I asked Marie about it later, and it seemed weird to her, so maybe it’s just that prof. Another thing, the notes seemed really really structured. For example, the prof would say “the title is such and such…… first point….. a)…..b)…etc”.

Then I head to my second to last phonetics class :-(. We worked on the R, took our last test, and then learned the difference between S and Z, which isn’t really that hard, I just have to stress the Z more because apparently us Americans say it enough.

In my grammar class we worked on opposition/concession, had another mini-debate, the difference between revenir/retourner/rentrer, and took a practice test that’s similar to the final. The practice test was really tricky because there was a section on Vocabulaire which is still my weak point. But, I have some time to figure it out.

Then I headed to IFE for Marie’s class where we practiced more phonetics. We worked on l’accent tonal and how the french don’t talk all singsongy like the Americans. It’s really tricky to keep my sentences more monotone, but I can do it if I focus. Also, while at IFE I talked to Thomas about some forms for the foyer and for OFII. He is incredibly nice, to all future GPP and IFEers, don’t forget that the IFE crew is always there to help, and are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

We had diner at the foyer with the normal crew. I love dinner au foyer because most of the time we end up just hanging out and talking even after we finish. It helps my French more than the Sorbonne classes. After dinner there was a Pot D’acceuil in the common room to welcome the new residents, basically a happy hour (yacht club style). So, I got to meet new people and just talk with everyone. I stayed way too long, and probably won’t get much sleep tonight. But, it’s worth it. France is teaching me to be a little social butterfly, who knows what will happen when I head home. 😛

To sum up my day, it’s the little things like a good day at my internship and talking with friends that make me want to stay here forever. If it wasn’t so darn expensive I’d be planning out how to stay another year. Silly Euro, go down.

Bonne nuit!

Aimer Les Différences

I had quite the day yesterday, which probably wasn’t the best idea since I’m getting sick, but hey, it’s France, you can’t just sit around and let the world pass you by.

I woke up and decided I was going to completely plan out my day, and actually get something done for once. I researched online where I was gonna go, figured out lunch, everything. Until I went downstairs and changed my plans to eat lunch with a friend. I ended up waiting around a bit playing Mario Party on the Wii, I didn’t even know the foyer had a Wii. Then Rabi and I headed to McDonald’s, yes, McDonald’s. Not one of my best choices, but I figured I should try it at some point. The menu is very confusing because they don’t list out every possible option and price like in the US. Also, there is no mighty kids meal, because the size of the mighty kids meal is the largest size they have. So, I paid 5ish euros for 6 nuggets, fries, and a drink.  To order, somebody comes up to you in line with a little electronic pad and takes your order, then gives you a piece of paper with your number (just like that time at Wendy’s mom, only organized).  Also, we accidentally spilled my nuggets, and they were kind enough to give us new ones for free, which doesn’t always happen back home. There’s no condiment stand, so you have to ask for everything. We ate upstairs, which is less surprising since it’s in a city, but it looked soo much better than in the US. I guess I’m use to the old Mcdonalds, and not the refurbished ones with TVs and all that, but it was still much more classy than back home. However, the food wasn’t good at all. It was typical mcdonalds, nothing special, just made me miss Wendy’s even more.

After that, we headed out and got to see another strike! It was basically right next to the Mcdonalds, a huge parade of people with whistles, music, and tons of stickers. There were also a lot of kids. I guess if you gotta find something for the kids to do during the weekend, why not strike?

I ended up following my original plans a little and went shopping at Tati. Tati is basically Kohl’s, maybe cheaper. It has cooking supplies, beauty products, shoes, clothes, stuff for the house, everything. I bought a little water heater, so I can have tea without going down 7 stories for the microwave, 4 long sleeve shirts for layering, and a pair of shoes for 7 euros that I’m still not sure about. Their kinda stylish converses, but I’m not sure if there actually stylish or just attempting to be. The store was really crowded, but normal for a giant department store during the weekend.

Then I headed home, bought some kebab,  and headed out to nuit blanche. Nuit Blanche is basically a night in Paris where most of the monuments and museums are open really late (5am) and are free. There’s also tons of art around the city. We didn’t really plan anything out, but instead started at Saint Michel and figured we’d see what we could find. The first thing we saw was this awesome mini-marching band at Fontaine Saint-Michel. Basically they spent the whole time getting the crowd involved and playing awesome songs like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. They we’re all dressed in some form of bright yellow, obviously found in some random friend’s closet. It was lots of fun, but we eventually had to move on and meet up with people. We headed to Hotel de Ville where an artist had put Neon signs saying “Love Differences” in different languages all over Hotel de Ville. The idea was pretty cool, but the Neon signs looked kinda tacky to me. I tried to find a picture of it online, but so far all I could find were the official pictures that don’t let you link to them. But, the website is http://live.nuitblanche.paris.fr/nbgallery/gallery then click Zone then Zone Centre. Scroll through until you find the neon signs and that’s Hotel de Ville for Nuit Blanche. Or, here’s a poor quality youtube video:

Next we headed to Centre Georges Pompidou where we met up with some more people and went into the museum. To get into the actual museum you have to go up a bunch of escalators and at the top there’s an amazing view of the city. We got up there and the Eiffel Tower started it’s on the hour sparkle show, and it happened to be Midnight, so it was truly magical. Then we headed into the actual museum, I could have stayed there all night, just enjoying the modern art, but it wasn’t anything special for Nuit Blanche so we headed out to find something else.

We walked back to Saint Michel to meet up with Rabi, Eliza, and Zipeng. Then we went to some bridge turned into a work of art. It was covered with these giant mesh cubes, and then using light and sounds they added movement to the cubes. That doesn’t make sense at all, but basically we got to walk through this really cool really big work of art. It felt amazing. Here’s a video which makes more sense:

Also at that point I looked up and saw the Pleiades. Any time I see stars in Paris it’s amazing because normally there’s too much light pollution to see anything.

At that time it was around 2:30-3am. So, we decided it was time to trek home. The metro and buses weren’t working because it was so late, so we walked back to the foyer. It didn’t actually take that long since by that point we had wandered near Bastille anyway, which is the same walk I do every day to my stage.

So, that was my Nuit Blanche. I may not have seen a ton of the great exhibits, but I got to spend a night surrounded by art and awesome people so I don’t care. 🙂 It was an incredible night all the same.

L’arnacoeur – Friday

At mon stage, I translated part of a English book into French so that it would be easier for the French students to quickly find what they were looking for.  It was tricky because while I had a multi-language dictionary for all the Restoration terms, I didn’t have a normal French/English dictionary. I could have sat in on a drawing class, but it was for advanced students and I didn’t really feel like getting roped into buying materials, and then draw really really bad compared to the others. Probably not a good reason, but I just wasn’t feeling it.

After my stage I headed to the metro to recharge my Navigo card for the month. It became a bit of an advanture, when I realized that the machine didn’t take 50 Euro bills, only 20 or less. I headed into some stores nearby, and lucky a gaming store was willing to “faire le money” with me. Only, he almost didn’t because apparently counterfit euros are a problem or something. He said my 50 didn’t have a bar so he couldn’t accept it, luckily i had another 50 that had the bar so it worked fine. I’m a little worried though since I get these annoying 50 euro bills from an ATM, which should check to see if it’s a good bill or not…. Once I got the money sorted out, I went to use the machine. Thank god there was a woman there to help me, because even though I chose the English directions, I still didn’t understand that you have to leave your Navigo on the thing the whole time.

In my phonetics class we started to work on the French R. Tricky little bugger, you have to keep your tongue in the same place the whole time, no movement like the American R.

In grammar class we went over the difference between Savoir and Connaitre, the two words for “to know”, and then debated some more.

Then I decided to go on a mission to find cheap clothes. I had an address, I found it, I found a jewelry shop not a clothing store. Then I headed back to Bastille and went into Gap, because I’m getting that desperate, but all the things I liked were ridiculously expensive. Then I went into Mim, which I’ve shopped at before and is cheap. I gathered all my clothes to try on, went to the dressing room, and discovered tap and a mannequin blocking my way. For some bizarre reason the dressing rooms were closed, so I didn’t buy a thing. So, my shopping mission was a bust, but it was still fun to explore Paris on my own. Maybe I’ll have more luck this weekend.

Had dinner at the foyer, it was Quiche, vegetables, and tater tots so I was actually able to eat everything, it was amazing. And since it was Friday the guy gave us extra desserts! Can’t get any better.

After dinner, most of the crew went out to a cafe, but Zipeng, Rabi, and I decided to be party poopers and watch a movie instead. We watched L’arnacoeur, which is a French chick flick with Romain Duris. It’s basically the opposite of Hitch, the guy breaks up unhappy couples so that the girls can go on with their lives. It wasn’t bad, but I don’t think the French completely understand the concept of chick flicks, because there were a lot of things that just didn’t work.

So that was my Friday. Today I’m going to probably try and do some shopping again, and then figure out what to do for nuit blanche. Bon Week-end!