Monthly Archives: December 2010

Joyeux Noel!

Hello everybody!

Hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! I spent my christmas time by having a wonderful kebab lunch complete with dessert and tea, reading Frankenstein while waiting for my parents in the airport Christmas Eve, finding them and eating sandwiches for dinner, and then today everyone got to see my room, and help me carry supplies back from it, had a fabulous Christmas dinner, and we waited for my mom’s missing luggage to appear. A very unconventional Christmas, but a good one all the same. Glad to have the family here and ready to start exploring with them a bit tomorrow. Hopefully my mom’s luggage will be delivered so she doesn’t have to buy a new Monoprix wardrobe. 🙂

Joyeux Noel everyone! I’ll give a more detailed Christmas in France update when I’m not thoroughly enjoying being a bum on Christmas day. 😀

Students Guide to Theatre in Paris

One of my favorite advantages of Paris is the number of theaters and the -26 years reduced prices. In Paris there’s a theater around every corner, and, except for the big shows, you can almost always get a ticket for 10 euros or less.

With that in mind, Eliza and I headed to a local theater called La Loge to see the play “Première”. It was a one man show, except for a prop man, where basically the entire plot was that the show couldn’t start because they had forgotten the keys to the stage. However, this one little fact spread off into the most random scenes. Which, you’d think would be distracting, but suddenly I’d be completely immersed in the new scene without having any clue how I got there. It worked very well and was very entertaining.

Because it was a very rainy Wednesday night, there ended up being only three other people in the theatre, who were friends with the actor. So, for ten euros we got our own private show in a local theater right down the street. Not too shabby…

For those theater lovers out there, you’re most important tool in Paris is the Pariscope, a 40 centime guide found at any newspaper stand. A new one comes out every Wednesday, same day that all new shows and movies come out in France. It is the most up to date listing of all shows in Paris, their times, and prices. It also lists descriptions of new shows and all the same information for movies.

Another great way to find out about new shows is to look at the little advertisements in libraries, foyers and the such.

By using the “less than 26 years old” discount, I’ve never paid more than 10 euros for a play. I’ve even paid only 4 euros once, although I could only see half the stage, but it was still an amazing experience.

So, my advice is to find the cheapest play, that grabs your attention for some reason, any reason, and check it out. The plays I’ve seen have never been great famous works, but they were still entertaining. Plays are a great way to explore Paris, try new things, and of course pratiquer le français. 😉

You know you’ve lived in Paris for too long when….

  1. You get confused when the bathroom light switch is inside the bathroom.
  2. You can walk through certain metro stations without looking at any signs.
  3. You are no longer impressed by Notre Dame.
  4. You have long conversations about where the best and cheapest Kebab is.
  5. You are a regular at the Kebab place.
  6. And the boulangerie
  7. And on your way to becoming a regular at the pizza place.
  8. When you start speaking English by using English verbs in the French way. (I arrive, I arrive!)
  9. While typing, you constantly mix up ‘A’ qnd ‘q’… I mean ‘q’ and ‘a’…..
  10. You’re happiest when the weather is wet, slightly cold, and gray.
  11. You can blast your headphones and still know when the crazy parisien drivers are coming up behind you.
  12. You get sick when the new Americans come because you’re no longer immune to american viruses.

This is all I can come up with for now, but I’ll keep the list going. 🙂 Feel free to add any suggestions.

Paris, je t’aime.

I figured that was an appropriately cheesy title for my end of the semester post. 🙂

Last Thursday I officially finished the Goucher Paris Program, completing a major requirement for my major. It feels amazing to have finished, but a little scary because it makes me think about the future even more. I know what I want to do, but no clue how to go about doing it, but I’ll figure it out. Anyway, here’s a little recap of my last week.

Last weekend I spent most of my time working on my internship report (rapport du stage), presentation (exposé) about Paris and the cinema, and procrastinating. Last Monday I had my last day at my stage, unfortunately there was a quiz so I didn’t get to have one last restauration class, but I  did get to help correct some work done by the second years, talk with some new interns, and just enjoy l’atelier for one last time. That night I handed in my rapport du stage and had my last class with Marie. We learned about different French accents, ate some chocolate, and just talked about the last couple of months.  Tuesday, we went to la Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand for an exposition of Raymond Depardon, a photographer who spent years taking pictures of small town France. The work was amazing, and I highly recommend everybody googling him for a look at his work. 😛 We spent some time in a café so that Eliza and I could do our exposés. Everything went well, so that by Tuesday afternoon I was completely free from homework and major obligations. So free, that I slept until 4pm on Wednesday. I guess three and a half months of running around, always having something to worry about, finally caught up to me. Thursday I had my last Paris-France-Paris class in the morning. We had our last lesson and then discussed what we liked and disliked about the class. Looking back, it was a very interesting class, I learned a lot about Paris, French culture, and just history in general. After class we had a little get together at IFE for our GPP group. We ate some good cheese and bread, and just relaxed after finally finishing everything. I had to leave half way through to head to my stage for their Christmas party. It was really nice to talk to everybody outside of my internship and classes, I ended up staying longer than I thought I would. I’m definitely going to try and visit l’atelier next semester and keep in touch with some people there.

Thursday night was the Foyer’s Christmas dinner. So, we all were served a candlelight dinner of couscous and chicken while listening to Moroccan music. After dinner there was a concert with Moroccan music, and we all ended up dancing and having a great time. Most unique Christmas dinner I have ever had, but it was wonderful. After the concert, we headed to a friends room for Pengpeng’s going away party. As the year ends, more and more people are heading home or away to do other programs. It one of the sad aspects of living in a foyer and studying abroad. It’s also why I’m really glad that I’m staying another semester, at least I don’t have to be the one saying goodbye for a while. And thankfully Pengpeng’s studying in England next semester, so she won’t be that far from us.

Friday night I went to La Bellevilloise with a friend to see a concert. It’s an amazing building, with multiple performance spaces and a restaurant. I also now feel I can safely say I’ve seen what Bobo (bourgeoise bohème) looks like (bobo is the french equivalent to hipster).

Saturday I spent the day at the Louvre with the group looking for mummies and some star trek reference. A good way to take advantage of the -26ans free tickets.  That night we went to Mains d’oeuvres, a cultural center on the edge of Paris where Eliza did her stage. Mains d’oeuvres was celebrating it’s 10 birthday, so there was a huge party with lots of music. We thought we were all special because Eliza got us on a list to get in for free, little did we know that every person slightly involved with the center added their 10 closest friends to the list as well. So, when we got there we had to wait in this mass of people, worse than the metro at rush hour during a strike, I literally had no control where I was going. Luckily we all made it into the building with little trouble. We listened to some good music, danced a little, and headed out before the metro closed for the night.

Looking back at these past couple months, it doesn’t necessarily feel like four months in Paris. It feels like four months in an amazing city, with great friends, and new experiences around every corner, but its not necessarily Paris City of Lights, City of Lovers, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and the Seine. I guess I view Paris in two ways. My days spent at museums, the Eiffel tower, Bateau Mouches and all that touristy stuff, and my days spent staying out late dancing and walking home after the metro closes, watching the Big Bang Theory with friends crammed on a tiny foyer bed, staying up late during Ramadan and becoming addicted to mint tea, walking to my stage every morning and learning all the short cuts.

I’m not sure if I could pick a favorite moment or event from this semester, but here’s some highlights.

  • Our first couple weeks here, staying up late with friends and learning how to become comfortable with French.
  • Every time we played Assassin, including the time when we had to use our Navigo cards.
  • Hearing Abba being played on the pan flute in the metro.
  • Dancing until the early morning in a boat on the Seine.
  • Just hanging out in the foyer waiting to prank Rabi for his birthday.

I could list a million more things, any time I hung out with friends, any new experience, but those ones were particularly important for me.

I thought I was gonna get all philosophical with this post and dissect my time here, but I think it’s better to just leave it as is. I am so glad I chose to study abroad and that I chose to stay in a foyer. My classes and stage improved my French and taught me things I could have never learned back in the US. My time home, here at the foyer, hanging out with friends, well my French has definitely improved, I’ve had the most incredible experiences, and thank goodness for skype or else I would never dream of leaving these people in May. I can’t wait to see what the next semester brings.

Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll try and keep updating during the break as I hopefully use the time to really explore Paris and maybe France a bit. We’ll see where the New Year brings us. 🙂

La Bellevilloise

Friday night I was lucky enough to tag along with a friend over to La Bellevilloise, an amazing concert/performance space in Belleville.  I got to see a little bit of everything, here’s the list of what was playing.

Nuit Zébrée – Live Radio Nova – SOIREE
le 17.12 – 19:00
Robin Leduc
Yael Naim
Stand High Patrol
La Caravane Passe
Danton Eeprom
L’Oiseau Bleu
Juliette Dragon et les Filles de Joie
Heretik “We had a dream”
Les Vraoums (musique de filles old et hot

Mon dernier exposé

While working on my last presentation, I found this cute film. Enjoy.

Lions and tigers and shakira

Last night, I went to the Pinder Circus by Porte Dorée in Paris. One of my friends found tickets for only 9 euros, but didn’t really tell us what sort of circus it was. So, it was a complete surprise when we got there and found ourselves inside a huge circus tent looking at lions and tigers. It was a sterotypical circus in every way, except for a couple things. For instance, i started with the lion tamer pretend fighting the lion, and then it moved on to llamas jumping over camels. They had chinese trapeze artists, as well as “scottish” men in kilts and shiny pants doing tricks on swings. Then, it ended with Santa coming out with sexy girls dancing around him, with chinese dragons running around the stage, the entire cast dancing along, oh and did I forget to mention, this is all while Waka Waka by Shakira was playing the background. Truly a diverse show.

And now I’ve got a buy one get one free coupon for the show, so if anyone wants to see clowns in shiny patriotic costumes, let me know.