Tag Archives: faire du shopping

Half way to somewhere

Today we kept on painting, here’s some photos from yesterday to show our progress. I don’t believe any photos were taken today, but every wall has a new color now, some with two layers.

Not my best look in the word, but you try being photo ready after painting all day!

Gotta get those high spots.

 

Work was tiring but good, I’m starting to figure out the French work habits and how to properly take a “pose”, tres important.

After work I wasted some time exploring the bibliotheques of les halles. The music library is amazing because it’s the only library I’ve ever been in with music playing in the background, perfect for my work habits. Unfortunately that area only has 4 chairs, I counted, not very useful for big projects. There is a work room, but it’s quiet and serious. There’s also a media room where you can listen to CDs (I recommend Yann Tiersan with his new album Dust Lane, not to buy but just for some new sounds), watch films, or do music related research. Unfortunately no facebook access in this library. After that I headed to the cinema library. There’s internet access if you sign up, which costs some. You can also watch DVDs, something I thing I’m going to take advantage of after work one day.

After that I headed down ligne 7 to meet up with Elaine for her birthday dinner. It was my  first time eating Chinese food in the Chinese district, and I have to say not bad. Although a tad more expensive than normal Chinese food, but still less expensive than normal restaurants.

Oh, I forgot to mention. I went into a little boutique near my stage today, where they had the most beautiful scarves. They were half price, but for 60 euros I had to pass. Tant pis… Maybe they’ll magically have a 75% off sale next week. 🙂

Advertisements

How I spent my day….

Now that they’ve packed up and taken away all the materials from the old expo, it was time to hide those silly surrealist walls and make way for the NY metro.

So, I spent my whole day painting, debating what color goes where and the best way to reach behind the pipes at the top of the wall, without falling off the ladder.

I had the most amazing lunch ever. We went to a sushi place down the street for take out, and I got the 11.50 euro menu, which included 8 california rolls, 4 big pieces of salmon sushi, crudités, miso soup, rice, and a petit dessert. I wasn’t even able to finish everything I felt so full. Which also immediately put me in a food coma, not a good idea at lunch time, luckily the frenchies just assumed I was tired from painting lol. So, if you’re looking for good sushi in Paris, check out Meiko (27 rue du bouloi, 75001 Paris).

After work, I headed to Les Halles to do some shopping because I’ve decided that after buying pretty much no clothes, except for crappy layers from Tati, all of last semester, I need to come back from Paris with some good clothes. Also, springtime fashion is out, and spring time is my time, so I figure I’m more likely to find stuff I actually like. With all that in mind, I headed first into “New Look”, a store from the U.K., and found a nice shirt. Success! I used some Christmas money for this shirt, so… Thank you Datzs! I’ll have to show you the shirt up in Maine. Amanda, I think you’ll approve.

Now, I’m just waiting for dinner so I can finish today, wake up, and paint everything all over again for the second coat. 🙂

20 days until spring! Happy thoughts!

Dancing through life

This morning I managed to connect to the Goucher Database and do some research for my exposé (presentation). I used the proxy method so I’m not sure how long it’ll work for or anything like that. My exposé is on Immigration to Belleville, Goucher sources didn’t have anything on Belleville specifically, but I think what I found will be very useful for the actual numbers of immigrants coming to France, and why they came.

After my fabulous nutella and jelly lunch, I headed to my OFII doctors appointment. I left an hour early because I knew that if all went well I could get there in an hour, but I can never risk anything when it comes to visa forms. Luckily, I found the place easily and a half hour early. So, I explored the area a bit, I found a French version of Hot Topic and a store with lots of cute little nick-knacks that will be perfect for Christmas presents. Also, apparently there a lots of expensive Indian restaurants near Bastille, I’m not sure why, but one day I might just have to spoil myself, or Suman can come here and cook for me, either way. Ten to two, I went into the OFII building to find that 10 minutes early made me one of the last people in line. But, there were chairs so I just sat down and worked on my exposé for the hour or so before they called me name. Then, I gave them my appointment sheet and stuck the 55 euro stamp to my paper, and waited a half hour. Then, they took an X-Ray of my lungs (note to anybody who has to do OFII, anybody else feel free to skip this, remember, this is France, they respect your privacy but they’re still French and doctors. There are no paper privacy t-shirts in France, get it?), checked my eye-sight, height and weight. Then I spoke with a doctor who showed me my X-Ray (and let me keep it to hang on my wall, they give it to everybody but he actual said I could put it on my wall, and I did. I was going to put in on my fridge but there isn’t enough room), explained that I was a perfectly healthy human being, asked some medical history, and asked if I had any questions. Then they stuck my OFII sticker in my passport and voila, fini. Going to the OFII office was honestly one of the easiest parts of my visa experience. At first I was freaked out because it reminded me a bit of waiting in NYC, but everybody turned out to be extremely nice. Everybody would speak to me in French, ask if I wanted English when I didn’t understand, then when I said I could speak French they would switch back no questions asked, completely polite. It’s pretty rare that people do that in France because normally they think they’re being polite by speaking jumbled English. Also, I completely screwed up at the end, and they laughed it off. They asked for my passport, and I said “but i gave it to you” and they said “I gave it back” and we went back and forth until finally the lady said, look in your bag. So, I did, and it was there. I felt like a complete jerk but they didn’t care, they just laughed and had that look of “Everybody does it, no worries.” From what I’ve heard, not all OFII experiences are as easy as this, but don’t go into the office assuming they’re gonna run all sorts of tests on you and make you wanna scream. Everybody I met was incredibly nice and understanding of the fact that we’re all foreigners and it’s a new experience for every person.

Since OFII ran so long, I missed my grammar class, so I took advantage of the time to look for a new pair of shoes. I went to Les Halles Chaussures (or something like that) near Bastille. It’s basically a big Payless but better quality and more expensive, maybe DSW or something like that. I didn’t find a pair of winter shoes or boots, but I did find a pair of tennis shoes on sale for 15 euros, which will give my feel a nice break from my converses and yet are insanely less American than my sneakers.

Then, I took the bus back to the foyer, got my meal tickets for the month, and attempted to get some work done before dinner.

For dinner we ate at the foyer restaurant where I had rice, carrots, and a sad attempt at pork. After spending most of the weekend speaking English, my French is horrible, so dinner was confusing mix of Franglais.

After dinner, I decided to work on my Rapport du Stage so that I could spend some time with John tomorrow. Only problem is, we’re not really sure what’s due Thursday. So, instead I went to Eliza’s to finish some translations for my stage. In the middle of trying to find translations for very formal French, we heard a knock on the door. Zipeng!

Basically, we ended up sidetracking into Yoann’s room where we got to play with his keyboard and listen to very pretty music. In the middle of listening to Yoann play the Forest Gump theme song while I danced with Eliza, I had one of those “Oh my god, I’m in Paris” moments. I’ve realized, it’s never when I’m next to Notre Dame, at the Sorbonne, or even up in the Eiffel Tower that I feel like I’m in Paris. My Paris is hanging out with my friends late at night, my Paris is listening to mamamia played by a pan flute in the metro, my Paris is watching the strikers go home after protesting all day. The monuments are there, but they’re not what I’ll remember twenty years from now, they’re not why I came. I came for the language, and I want to stay for the experiences and the life. I may not end up traveling at all while I’m here, but I’m learning just as much as any globetrotter you can find.

Promod et Pimkie :-)

Right now I’m sitting in my room staring out the window, watching the end of my first Parisien thunderstorm, from my 8th story window. It wasn’t the best storm I’ve ever seen, no where close those Fire Island winds. But watching the lightning shoot across the sky behind the rooftops with smoke billowing out of old fashion chimneys, it just feels pretty darn poetic.

Yesterday I worked on translating the titles of a book about different approaches to retouching paintings. It’s a lot easier than the last book I translated because it’s not some British guy trying to sound all intelligent. The authors are pretty to the point, and don’t add unneeded info to the titles. I worked late because I have an impossible time figuring out the lunch schedule at mon stage. Then I bought a salad and headed over to Saint Michel. I ate in the park, including a wonderful nutella crepe for dessert, finished my homework, and headed to Grammar class. We worked on plus-que-parfait and did a dictée. It’s weird but I love dictées, they’re like a puzzle that involves my favorite thing, French. I don’t know if that makes sense, it’s just my perfect kind of challenge.

After class I did some shopping with Lauren. We headed to Promod and Pimkie where I bought a sweater, a longsleeve shirt, and a pancho. So far my favorite cheap stores in Paris are Promod and Mim, although Pimkie is awesome too. Tati is pretty poor quality, you get what you pay for.

Then I headed back to the foyer for some dinner. Fun fact, apparently the French do science experiments in class just like we do, except they dissect cow’s hearts.

We tried to get a group together, but the foyer was pretty empty. The group ended up going to a café while I had second dinner with Eliza at the Kebab place. So, altogether not an uber exciting Friday night, but I had fun and that’s all that matters.

Today

Woke up a little later than I wanted. I needed to do some research for an exposé (presentation) I have to do on Immigration to Belleville, and the libraries in the area were all open 10-4 Saturday, closed Sunday, so I had planned to wake up early and use all of the little time available. I went to Bibliothèque Couronnes because it has a specialty of “Afrique noire et monde arabe” and it’s also in the Belleville area. I don’t think I actually taped into the specialty at all, because in the history-France-Paris section there were some books on Belleville. They actually had at least one book on every district, just something general, and then some more specialized books on Belleville.  I took a bunch of notes, but none of the books really gave me any reason to check them out. Which was annoying because I needed to check something out so I could show Theirry my library card come Tuesday. He’s always telling us to do stuff and then gets really sad when we don’t go to the museum or take the velib, so now finally I can show him I did something! It was really easy to get the library card. At first they were a little confused at my CT state drivers license, but once they got all my info they didn’t seem to care. I did have to explain that my name was “Jennifer” and now “Jennifer L” and that my birthday is the 11th of April and not the 4th of November.  So now I have access to all the Paris libraries, except certain specialized ones, and I think I can print some things out, but I have to read up on how that works. Also, I signed up for their mailing list so I’m excited to get so info on the local going-ons. After I finished up at the library, I bought some lunch at a local sandwich shop. It was a lot cheaper than even around me, it’s amazing how things change district to district. Also, the lady was really nice, which just my day that much more awesome. Later, I went with Julia to visit Eliza at her stage. The exposition was cool, but a bit too high modern art even for me. Some things just didn’t feel like real art, although others I just wanted to stare at for a while. After that Julia and I tried to do some shopping, but we were in a little too expensive of a district, so we headed home.

For dinner I went out with the group to a Chinese restaurant. I tried to get fried rice and failed, I’m not sure if it exists here because I even asked my Chinese friend to make sure I was ordering the right thing. But it was good anyway, although I miss being able to take food home, it would have made a good lunch for tomorrow. During dinner I got to fulfill a very bizarre lifelong (well, since survivor was around) dream of mine. I ate blood. Pigs blood I believe, processed like tofu into a little rectangle. Funny thing is, it kinda tasted like American cheese, no real taste but just a little something funky there.

After dinner we got back on the metro to go see the movie “The Social Network”. Along the way, I learned that we say masks very funny, and crisps as well, but nobody in the US actually says that. Mask-s. Once we got to the movie theater, I realized that I had no cash and my silly American credit card wouldn’t work with the machine. Basically anytime I have to stick my credit card into something instead of sliding it, it doesn’t work. Luckily Akrame saved me, so I was able to see the film.  The film had subtitles, which normally would bug me, but I don’t really care enough about a facebook movie to translate anything, so it was nice to hear English instead. It was an interesting story, but something you could wait to see. And yes, I agree with the general public, Justin Timberlake can act. After the film we headed home and that’s where I am now. 🙂

I think I just watered down a pretty awesome day. It was my first day where not only did I get multiple things done, but I ate 3 good meals and had dinner with people. Also, I didn’t speak any English at all, except maybe three words to Zipeng and of course repeating “masks”, “crisps”, and “nerd” for the frenchies. Je suis heurese. 😀

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.

 

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!

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.