Tag Archives: art

Oh Jeudi

Today was exhausting, but not because I did all that much. I finally figured out when I need to leave for my stage, which means unless my hours change I can wake up later. Today was the first day I didn’t observe any visits, but instead helped with workshops, the parent workshop, translations, and busywork such as putting labels on the invitations for the opening.

The parent workshop was really interesting because I got to practice my French with real “adults” who see my experience from a much more mature angle. They we’re making little pastries, and luckily I got to eat whatever they didn’t use. I think I’ll try to help out with this workshop more often.

The busywork was actually interesting because I got to see the invitations for the new exhibit and I got to see everyone who’s invited. There’s a lot of invites who surely won’t come, but they’re sent out anyway just because. It felt fun putting Carla Bruni’s address on the envelope, and discovering that Nickelodeon has at least two offices in France.

After work I went to Centre Pompidou to see the Mondrian exhibit with some of the other interns. It was really cool to see how his work progressed throughout the years, but everyone agreed that two hours of basic colors and lines is a lot. But it gave us plenty of time to talk about N’importe quoi.

After that I took the metro home, stopped at my favorite Kebab place, and flopped into bed. Good night everyone.

Deuxieme jour

In general, I’d say my deuxieme jour du stage was a success. The morning was tiring because I was tired and I just couldn’t get French to come out well, which made people hesitant, which made things more tiring. But, my chinese leftovers at lunch woke me up and the afternoon was much more eventful.  (Also, everyone completely understood why I was tired and were still incredibly nice, score for the stagiaires!)

First, I was able to help with some translations. The new exhibition which will be built next week is based on an American artist, Keith Haring, and for the first time in the museum’s history there will be real original artwork in the exhibition. So, the museum is borrowing artwork from the U.S. Therefore every aspect involving the art work, from the loan agreements to the transportation, has to be translated into English, sent to the US and then translated back into French. The workers have a very good level of English, but I was still able to help out by making sure it sounded natural and making it more polite since translations tend to be very direct. It was amazing to see all the work involved, I only had to translate two emails and I still got lost between everything involved and all the communication necessary. I would love to pick the directors brain about all the work involved, a possible subject for my mémoire (final paper) too. (Sidenote: When I start leading tours it’s going to be a little tricky because I’ll have to decide between slightly confusing everyone by saying Keith Haring, or sounding French and saying Keissaring)

I also helped out with ateliers (art workshops) again. I started with the youngest group I’ve seen so far, the youngest being 2 and a half. A couple of them had trouble sitting still or leaving their moms, but it’s amazing to see what even young kids can do if you give them the chance. And they’re always so proud! Later I helped with the “big kid” ateliers, where we decorated the Mona Lisa in the style of Marcel Duchamp and the surrealists. It was really cool because the kids basically had free rein to decorate three Mona Lisas however they wanted, cut them up, color them, add little jewels or flowers.

I feel very comfortable at mon stage, but it’s still a little tricky, bien sur puisque c’est que le deuxieme jour. The language doesn’t pose any problem of comprehension, except when little kids start inventing stories. However, sometimes there are parents who talk extremely fast or people who talk really quiet, and it’s hard to explain to them that I don’t have trouble with the language but with how they talk. Also, sometimes I just don’t know how to respond to the kids questions, but luckily kids are smart and don’t notice too much. It also takes time to learn the vocab needed for naturally telling a kid not to do that, or the french form to compliment a very pretty painting. Even animal sounds, during a tour today there was a picture of Dali with his chicken, and the guide asked “what animal is this? it makes a sound like ‘cloc cloc cloc’ ” And I realized, all my little kid tricks have to be translated, dogs may not bark here, it just wouldn’t work with that French ‘r’.

I should be asleep now, but I got caught up talking to friends. Once again I find myself juggling between work and social time. And other simple things, like the fact that I now have to shop either Saturday with the rest of Paris, or after work with half of Paris. Waiting in line to buy socks today was not fun… But I’ll figure it all out, bonne soirée tout le monde!

Bye bye St Michel, I hope I never see you again :-)

That is perhaps the most negative title I have written, and karma will probably come and hit me one day by making me live above Gilbert Jeune or something like that. 🙂

Today was my last day involving my Sorbonne class. Thankfully, my oral exam wasn’t that difficult. Since September, we had read 10 texts in class, of those ten we had to chose eight to possibly talk about during our exam. Then, come exam time, you randomly select one of those texts along with a question to answer. My text was part of Les Memoires d’un jeune fille rangée par Simone de Beauvoir. So, I had read part of the texte aloud, summarize the texte and then answer a simple question about the sentiments evoqued by the author. I presented this to my professor and another, who was really nice, so it ended up feeling more like a conversation than a test. So, to any future students of the Sorbonne french as a second language classes, don’t worry, all the people at the Sorbonne are incredibly nice because they’re use to silly foreigners and all our mistakes. Even during exam time my professor was there for me, I mean yes she did have to grade my performance but she didn’t do it in a judging way if you get what I mean. So, Sorbonne exams finished, and now I can worry about other things!

Throughout this semester, my least favorite part of the day was taking the metro from my stage to my class, therefore having to pass through the chatelet metro station, take the line 4, and walk through St. Michel. Ask anybody in Paris and they will tell you that those are three of the busiest places around. After getting fed up with the grimy metro and fake deaf and mute kids bugging me everyday at St. Michel (no lie, they walk away singing anytime somebody actually signs their fake form), I started taking the bus to class. Note for future GPPers, Line 87 and 86 go straight from Bastille to Rue des Ecoles aka right next to St. Michel. For some bizarre reason it took me three months to figure that out, so today as I was leaving my test I realized that for the first time I went to and left class by bus without even seeing St. Michel. Silly me taking three months to figure it out, but at least I did eventually.

Fun fact from my stage: cotton is a horrible material for canvases, it moves and reacts to humidity and all sorts of bad stuff. Meanwhile, polyester is the perfect canvas and reacts to practically nothing except heat and accidents. Oh, the magic of science.

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.

Mains d’Œuvres

As part of my study abroad program, each of us is required to take classes at the Sorbonne and do a mini-internship (petit stage). Eliza’s internship is at this awesome cultural center called Mains d’œuvres. This weekend is les jours de patrimoine, so not only are all the monuments, museums, and various government buildings open, but random places throughout France also have open houses. So, today I went to the open house for Mains d’oeuvres.

I spent most of my morning procrastinating and trying to find someone to go with. However, everybody either had homework to do, or just wasn’t available. Eventually I decided, hey this is something I really want to do, and that I needed to go even if it was just by myself. I got into the elevator and decided to check Eliza’s room just to make sure she hadn’t gotten back yet and the open house was still going on. As the door opened to Eliza’s floor, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a frenchie! Turns out one of my friends was heading out for a walk. I invited him to join me and ended up having a great time just talking about all the differences between French and American culture. It also helped because when we got to the center he understood all the thick French accents.

The center was amazing. We started by walking through a modern art exposition. I haven’t read the explanation yet, but it seemed to be about America in some way. It was creepy, but in a good way. Like, there was a video of a mouth moving, and in the mouth there were various things that I forget, money, buildings, stuff like that. Then, BAM, Michael Jackson!

Then saw this exposition where I think they were describing how they make educational toys.

After that we ended up in a room for an automatic writing workshop, where you just write whatever you think of without reflecting. It was fun to do, except it wasn’t really automatic for me since I wanted to write in French and ya gotta think to write  in French. Then they had everybody read theirs and comment on it. I couldn’t understand a thing, and I really didn’t want to read mine. So I awkwardly said “je… ne… veux… pas… le… lire…? de..solée?” and then we shuffled out of there. I felt really awkward, but at the same time I really liked the exercise, so I might do it again just for the heck of it. Without worrying about the real poets sitting right next to me.

Mains d’oeuvres is really cool, and I’m kinda thinking of asking for an internship at a center like that next semester. First I want to see how my internship goes tomorrow though.

Note: I know I said I would never ever not in a billion-kajillion years use twitter, buuuuuttt I made an account. I’m using it because I don’t always have time or the need to write a full blog post. But sometimes there are just little phrases or things that I need to say. So, if you look to your right, there is a spot for my twitter posts on this blog. Such as the most recent one, which was on my friends t-shirt. Fumer tue, peter pue = smoking kills, farting smells. Very distinguished french eh?

New York City Squared

Today I went into the city for the second time in order to have my Visa put into my passport. Sounds simple, right? Not!

I was told to go between 9am and 10am with my passport and the receipt they gave me. When I arrived in front of the building at 8:40, 20 people were already standing outside. At first it appeared that they were all there to apply for a Visa, wrong again, the majority were waiting just like me, to get a sticker put in their passport. At 9am they finally open the door (remember this building only opens on the half hour because of “security reasons”), there was a bit of chaos as we all try and get in and the workers try and split the 1st timers from the others. Finally I get upstairs, hand my Passport and receipt in at one of the booths (a bit confusing since they kind of just shoved us all up the stairs), and stand in the little space behind the red line with the rest of the crowd. I ended up waiting for two hours, during which they called my name once (to find out exactly when I was leaving) and added more people to the already chaotic space every half hour. I was going a bit nuts as the people around my gossiped about how it was their third time due to missing forms. Finally, my name was called and I was handed my Visa. Simple as that. It seems it doesn’t get too crazy unless you don’t have all your forms the first time. Then you are given a list of the missing forms to bring the next time, and then they determine if you’re ready to get your visa or not. So, for this I thank Goucher. While I was annoyed copying and finding all the items on Goucher’s list of paperwork for the Visa, it came in very handy when I needed to be prepared for all the things not listed on the Visa website. Such as a copy of your driver’s license. It seems almost everybody needed a copy of their driver’s license, and unless a friend tipped them off, nobody had a clue and were forced to use the 50 cents per page copier in the office.

So, thank you Goucher OIS for being insanely prepared and helpful in my journey à Paris.

Random note: Eat before you go to the consulate. They can leave you stuck in there for hours on end, and if you leave you lose your appointment. I was quite hungry by the end of it today. Same applies to bathroom, there’s one in the building but who knows when they’ll call your name.

After getting my Visa (God, it feels so good to say that!), my mom and I went to the Guggenheim Museum for our annual art fix. I could rant about how confusing and silly the Guggenheim is, but that’s not the point of this blog now is it? My Frenchy museum experience was with the free audio tour they give you. I asked a worker how to switch the language into French, and decided to see how much I could understand. Turns out, my French hasn’t slipped all the much since school. I haven’t magically become fluent or anything, but I could basically understand the tour. This made me feel sooo much better about next week. I still need to figure out the Parisian accent, but it feels great to know I’m starting out in a good place. (And a little note to Madame, I was able to spot a Manet, Monet, Gauguin, and Van Gogh, although I did miss another Van Gogh. UCONN French taught me well. )

That’s all I have to say about NYC. Back on the home front I’m trying to catch up with old e-mails. I don’t know what it is this summer but I just hate responding to e-mails. Must have inherited it from living with Becca for so long. But, if you don’t respond to IFE it turns out they send you another e-mail with URGENT as the subject. I better hop to that.
I’ve been starting to pack. Turns out I can fit all my clothes in a huge suitcase using Space Bags. Also turns out this makes the bag exceed the 50 lb. weight limit. So, I’m working on it. I guess I didn’t really need my fuzzy PJs in France. 🙂