Monthly Archives: April 2011

Provins: awesome and enlightened is the way to go.

Since coming to Paris in September, I have only left the city twice, both times the same day trip to a small town called Fontainebleau. So, when the boys decided we needed to do something for the long Easter weekend, and realized that any big trip would be a hassle because of Easter traffic, I was all for joining them. Today, we headed to the small medieval town of Provins. We kinda figured it out as we went, knowing how to get there by train and then asking for directions once we got there. Which turned out nice since we got to explore and take things at our own pace. I got a very good lunch of Goat cheese on warm toast salad, hamburger sans bun and fries, and apple tart for dessert. After that we headed to the Castle, which turned out not the be a castle at all. On top of a hill, there was a fortress that fit on about the same plot of land as my house, maybe smaller. From the outside it looked pretty, but not that impressive, however from the inside we discovered all sorts of nooks and crannies, endless stairs, and incredible views. After the castle, we went to a cute little museum which basically consisted of all the old objects the town has, from stone sculptures to jewelry to cooking utensils. Next was the town church, beautiful white stone inside, but unfortunately all the statues were covered for Saint Saturday. And last but not least, we went on a tour of the underground caves. It lasted 30 minutes, complete with tour guide.  Honestly, it was just nice to get out of the heat for half and hour. After that we explored the town a bit, headed back to Paris, and had some chinois for diner.

I had a great time, but mostly because we spent the whole time joking between friends. I’m glad I went, and would recommend Provins to anyone who’s studying or living in Paris. However, if you’re not here for long, stick to the big sites.

I’m pretty sure this post was incredibly simple and written in some broken English. This is because 1, I’m very tired and just don’t have the time to write a big post, but I had fun today and wanted to note it down, and 2, because I spent my day with two friends who speak English very well, but since English is not their native language, by the end of the day I started picking up their way of forming sentences and simplifying phrases.  So, here’s just a hint of how funny I’m going to sound when I get back to the states. 🙂

Bonne nuit and Happy Easter!

Oh la poste, tu es trop rigolo

In basically every book I have ever read about French culture, there is always a reference to horrible experiences at the post office. So, here I am to offer the funny side to it.

Today, I had to run an errand for my stage by going to the post office, sending out some letters and picking up a lot of stamps. So, I got in line, and prepared myself for numerous line cuts and obnoxious employers, as I’ve been warned about by many books. As I’m waiting, a man comes over, and tells me I need to use the machine instead. So, I explain to him that I’m not just here to by two stamps, I’m here to buy a bucket full and send some complicated letters. To which he says, well, your paying with a credit card, right? So it’s ok. But, I’m not paying with a fancy carte bleu, just plan old cash, so he agrees that I was right in the first place and lets me get back in line.

I thought that was the end of it, until, he starts talking to his colleague about me, and they pull out a calculator to find out just how many books of stamps I need, and how long that would really take if I just used the machine. After a bit, they realize that, yes, the machine would still take longer than a real live human being. But, apparently I’m too complicated for the poor lady at the desk, so, another lady heads in the back just to get my obnoxiously large order of stamps. When she comes out, she brings me over to another man, who opens up a booth just to take care of my stuff.  He turns out to be a very nice guy, even asked questions about the museum and how much it would cost for his daughter. He even doesn’t mind when I have to pay part in cash and part by credit card.

So, instead of having a stressful time à la poste, I got special treatment and to laugh at the…. for lack of a better word, dorks (in the best cutest silliest form of the word) that work there.

Voila, mon histoire pour le jour.

Update on my life: Pretty much everyone has left on vacation, so it’s pretty tranquille for me. Lots of watching TV with the cool kids who stayed in the foyer with me. Memoire is stressful, visits are getting better and better, and ya, that’s life.

Bonne soirée tout le monde!

p.s. Forget if I’ve said this, but I’m just so happy, I’m taking French, Spanish, and Arabic next semester! Finally! It’s gonna be awesome!!!!

Joyeux Anniversaire!!!

Why yes, today is my birthday. 😛

This weekend, I fully allowed myself to relax and enjoy my birthday. Friday night Zipeng made dinner, and we watched Glee since we were all too exhausted to go out dancing. Saturday we went on an epic shopping trip, in search for some much needed skirts. We started out at Basilique St-Denis, the go to place for cheap shopping aka amazing wedges for 14 euros. This also happens to be the least touristy part of Paris, which made it kind of a shock when we went straight from there to the Champs Elysée H&M. Thankfully I managed to find some lovely, and cheap, skirts, so now I can stop feeling like I’m going to pass out in my jeans on the stuffy metro.

That night, we all had dinner together, wonderfully put together by Johanna, Eliza, and Saphia while Philippe, Zipeng, and I sat back and watched the Simpsons. Then, at the end of the meal, Philippe bailed before doing his part of the dishes, I was all set to give him a hard time when he walked in with a birthday cake, trick candles and all. 😀 I seriously love my Foyer family, I just wanna stop time and live like this forever. After dinner, we realized we were once again exhausted and watched some more Glee.

Today, I brought double stuf oreos and peanut butter to work to share a very important tradition with the Frenchies: dunking oeros into peanut butter à la Lindsey Lohen in Parent Trap. Most were confused at the very idea and excited about the extra creme in the oreos. Surprisingly most people liked the combination, but were shocked when I told them that, yes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a normal part of a kids diet, and yes I do eat oreos often back home, and yes oreos come in all sorts of colors and types.  I got a wonderful surprise when the other interns started singing “Appy birthday to youuuu, appy birthday to youuu”, they all gave me wonderful hand-made cards. My stage just keeps giving me reasons to love it more. 🙂

After work, I headed over to IFE for my European Union class. As usual, I had a horrible time paying attention and kept spacing out, so I started doodling to keep from yawning and being rude. I keep doodling as one of my friends gets up and does her presentation. After she’s done the teacher says “good job, although it would be nice if people wouldn’t draw while one of their classmates is talking.” I felt embarrassed but at the same time, figured it was just something the teacher would have to deal with if he didn’t want me yawning all the time. Then, I look around and realize everyone’s been drawing, one of the other kids even explains to the teacher that he can’t help but start drawing if he has a pen in his hand, he’s never thought about it in class. So, I wonder if it’s just an american thing or what. Because honestly, I’d never really thought about it before.

So, this post may not have been very important in the scheme of things, I’m still behind on updating what I’ve actually been doing, but I just felt like recording my awesome birthday.

But here’s a quick update: Stage is awesome, doing more and more visits and feeling better at it. Friends are awesome, although more and more people are leaving and we have less and less time together. Final paper is coming along, but stressful as always.

Bonne soirée tout le monde!

Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun

I have been horrible at updating for a bit, but there’s a good explanation to go with it.

1st, I’ve been stressing out over my stage, trying to start doing visits with the kids and figuring out how that all works and the best way to do everything. So, while everything’s been good, I didn’t want to just blog about work frustrations because a) that’s not what this blogs about and b) this blog isn’t exactly private and I love my stage too much to risk creating conflict over the internet.

2nd, I’ve been dealing with some money issues. The short version is that while I was hanging out with friends in the common room, I left my purse on the chair and must have left the room for a sec but figured it was ok because friends we there, and somebody made copies of all my credit cards. Everything’s been blocked, all the money taken has been put back, and new cards are on the way. No worries, but for any future study abroaders or people in general, never ever leave your purse out in the open, even with friends around, you never know when people are going to be distracted and a stranger walks in and takes advantage. Like I said, everything’s fine now but I didn’t exactly have anything interesting to post throughout all that.

3rd, life is just crazy. I don’t think I’ll be posting a whole lot this semester. I’m having a hard time balancing stage, memoire, and friends. I’ve been moving too slow with my memoire, and working on the weekend never happens here, so I think I’m just going to stop having a life, go to the library after work, and shut myself out a bit until I know what I’m doing. Also, I’ve gotten into a kind of routine here in Paris, so it’s no longer useful to post what I do every day because it’s mostly the same. Even the weekend tends to be, woke up late, ate late, did nothing, ate late, stayed up late. Nothing too special.

But, here’s some fun updates.

I’ve started doing visits at my stage, and while it’s tricky, I learn something from every one, and feel more comfortable every time. Friday I had this huge group of kids that didn’t listen at all, and felt so annoyed during it, but now I know what to do next time and feel confident enough to do big groups.

Today, it’s 24 degrees C outside, aka in the 70s! So, we all went to Bois de Vincennes and sat in the park soaking up the sun. I just laid around and let the stress fall away, it was wonderful. We had ourselves a little picnic, so I brought PB&J for my contribution and I found a non-American who likes it! Go Philippe!

Hope everyone in the states is having a wonderful weekend, the sun will come your way soon!