Tag Archives: foyer

Just around the corner.

This morning, I went rock climbing with the foyer. The closest gym was actually right outside of Paris, in Villejuif which is on the border in south Paris. The gym was really nice, with plenty of options for boldering as well as a belay area, but no automatic ropes.

After that, I went back home and decided go to the library and search for a new metro book. It turns out there is a very good library 15 minutes from my foyer, maybe less, or I can take the bus straight to it. All this time, I’ve been going far away for the library because the local one isn’t that good, and it turns out there’s a great modern one right down the street.

Today was actually a very full day, but I’m so exhausted and there were so many little things and fun conversations, that it’s hard to sum up. But those were the two big events. Bon weekend tout le monde!

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Wed-nes-day

Today was a really good but really sad day at the same time.

On one side, I feel almost completely and utterly comfortable and at ease at my stage. Today we had pretty much nothing to do, and so we just got really silly. Also, we went to the mayor’s office for the 1st arrondissement to do an atelier for some kids to celebrate Woman’s day. We were put in the Salle de Marriage, which is this Beautiful room with 3 fresques (which I’m pretty sure depict despair, peace, and work, so I’m wondering at what point in history they were painted), a decorated ceiling, conference area complete with Sarko’s picture, and a beautiful view of the Louvre. It was one of those “oh my god, is this my life? This is so freaking cool!” moments. I was doing arts in crafts with kids in this fancy shmancy room right across from the Louvre!

I don’t mean to brag, I’m just so amazed by today. Thank you IFE for giving me such an amazing stage in such an awesome arrondissment! (This is also a good lesson for why you always have to go with the flow and try out new things in Paris. I didn’t sign up to do this at first, because I wasn’t really sure what it was, but then I figured it out and asked my director if I could still go. Imagine what I would have missed if I had stayed at the museum!)

The atelier was also really cool because I got a tiny peek at some kids who live in central Paris. Aka, even if the Mayor picked the poorest kids in the area, they’re still pretty well of and go to some really good schools. One kid drew this amazing picture of the world, and he knew where all the countries go. He also put a little icon to represent the major ones, like the great wall of China and the Eiffel tower, and some things I’d never heard of for places I don’t even know.

After dinner, we all decided to hang out chez un ami because tonight was one of my morrocan friend’s last night. It was great to hang out and just be silly, but it just reminds me how much I’m gonna miss him, and how it’s never going to be the same again. People are constantly coming and going here. And, even say he moves to France in a year and I finish college and move to France too, we’re never going to be in the same foyer with the same people staying up late going Salsa dancing. At least facebook exists.

Anyway, that was a very quick summary of an awesome/triste day that had many more aspects and little notes to it, but I need to sleep. I should be getting some pictures of the Mayors office from a friend tomorrow, so I’ll be sure to post them. 🙂 Bonne nuit.

Dance like no ones watching

Written yesterday, posted today.

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No painting today! Whoohoo!

Instead I spent my day cleaning floors. Still not that exciting, but much better for my poor feet.

I’m still having trouble getting use to long lunches and breaks at work. The long lunches just make me want to take a nap, and the poses just leave me sitting around feeling awkward. But, I am learning about of work, well, works during the lunches. It really is there that everything is discussed. And the breaks may feel weird, but my head and back thank me later, and I found out that I love Earl Grey tea.

After dinner tonight, there was a pot d’acceuil at the foyer. Pot d’acceuils are basically pot lucks/hor d’oeuvres with a random theme as an excuse to meet the new people at the foyer. Today was special because there was a DJ and everybody was suppose to come in “traditional garb” from their country. I wore my Gap pants and sneakers, gotta represent! As soon as we got there, my American friends and I started dancing. We were having tons of fun, but realized that nobody else would dance unless forced and that everybody was looking at us. I don’t really care if people watch because I know I dance like a crazy person and I don’t care, but it just showed another cultural difference. Americans are so much more open, if we wanna dance, we dance, no worries about how we look, we dance to have a good time. Eventually other people started dancing, but it took some time, some good songs, and the fact that we really never stopped dancing.

During the party, one of my friends was taking pictures of people, which turned out to be part of a “women’s day” project or something like that. Basically they take a picture of a women and an object that she considers important. So, I went up to my room to find something important, something that I liked and that represented me. I thought of the blow up Minion my brother sent me, pictures of my family, peanut butter, a bag I made, a pillow case I’ve had since I was a kid, but none of those seemed to work. Then I realized the one thing I refuse to travel without, duct tape. My purple duct tape, which I always make sure to have a supply of since I started college. Incredibly useful and fun colored, I can’t imagine going without it. And it’s purple, the best color in the world. And weirdly enough I have a lot of memories with it, setting up my dorm room, fixing my friends glasses, making purple duct tape stars. So, when it comes down to it, purple duct tape is the most important item I brought to France. Thank you Walmart. My friend took some pretty awesome pictures, so hopefully I’ll have them on facebook for family and friends to see.

Which reminds me, WordPress allows its users to track how readers are finding the blog and how many people read each day. I’ve never had that many, just family and friends, and then recently I’ve been getting a bunch of spam. Which annoyed the hell out of me. However, that spam must have done the trick because when you google “Bonjour Escargot” I’m now at the bottom of the first page, out of like ten pages or something, big stuff lol. So, to any new google readers, first off it’s amazing that you googled bonjour escargot, you sound like an awesome person. Also, I’m use to having people I know read the blog, so if you actually start reading let me know and I’ll be sure to explain things more thoroughly instead of just saying “Well, mom, you know what I mean!”

Well, it’s officially Friday here and I have a big day coming up: stage, diner, homework, salsa dancing. 🙂
Bonne nuit tout le monde, have a great Friday!

Encore, la patinoir!

Just came back from almost two hours of ice skating. It was marvelous, skating with all my foyer friends right outside of hotel de ville. But, man, am I tired now. It took a bit to get going, I’m always nervous on the ice at first, but thankfully there are plenty wonderful ice skaters at the foyer, so I just held on to them! We had quite the mixture with some kids doing crazy jumps and twists, and others on the ice for the first time (who were extremely brave and kept going even after falling). 🙂

Yesterday, I went to BHV for the first time. It’s this huge department store outside Hotel de Ville. We went to get my friend a new phone and ended up just wandering around looking at all the toys (hardly enough Lego products, but I think they were just all sold out) and other funky stuff. My whole time here I hadn’t gone to BHV because it looked like it would be really expensive. While it’s not at all cheap, it’s nowhere near as bad as Printemps or Galleries Lafayette.

Other than that I’ve mostly been bumming around, watching movies and hanging out with friends. Not the best of plans, but I’ve managed to do something interesting almost every day and I will have to wake up at 7:30 every morning once classes start. So, I don’t feel too bad about relaxing now.

Hope all the New Englanders are enjoying the snow that facebook told me you’re having. 🙂 I sure am enjoying the warm weather here.

Bonne nuit!

Turkey Day Frenchified

I have been a horrible horrible blogger recently. Ever time I go to work on my blog, my internet dies, my computer turns to mush, or I get attacked by frenchies. Now, even though internet has recently decided to be my friend again, although on a limited basis, trial period you know, I still don’t have enough time to really update the two weeks or so I missed. It’s crunch time for my program, on three weeks or so before were done and in that time I have my rapport du stage to write, grammar test, oral test, an exposé, letters to write, and interview with my next potential stage. So, come January when I should theoretically have lots of free time, I’ll try and make up for the last two weeks. Until then I’m just going to try and find time to keep up with the important stuff. For example, our fantabulous turkey sans turkey dinner we cooked this weekend!

While I am not Thanksgivings biggest fan, I still wanted to share the holiday with the foyer friends since it’s a pretty hard holiday to understand. (Try explaining the story about how Indians just gave food to Pilgrims, even though the Pilgrims were killing the Indians off with disease and stealing their land and you’ll see what I mean. 🙂 ) Eliza wanted to do Thanksgiving dinner as well, so we decided to give it a go.

We started preparing weeks before because we knew certain supplies could not be found easily in Paris. For example, brown sugar and evaporated milk do not exist in France. Thankfully, there are a bajillion Americans in Paris and thus there are several stores to serve our double stuffed oreo and peanut butter needs. We went to Thanksgiving, an American grocery store on Rue Saint Paul.  They had all the stereotypical American food and supplies for cooking your perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Also, if you are rich, they will even cook your turkey for you and make you pies. However, for any poor starving students, I would suggest looking at all the other alternatives first because imported goods in a specialized store are expensive. While evaporated milk and brown sugar can’t be found in normal grocery stores, maple syrup can, although it’s still not the cheapest. Also, Bazaars come in handy once again for buying supplies. I found 4 tin pans for 2 euros at a Bazaar just by chance, which came in handy when making the stuffing and the sweet potatoes. Also, you can buy pie crust in any grocery store, you even have options.

Saturday morning we headed to the outdoor market up by Alexandre Dumas so buy our veggies and such. We had to stop by Franprix first for some supplies and wound up with free apples as part of a promotion. (Thank you Franprix for magically knowing that starving students like apple pie!!!!! ) Vegetables are actually really cheap in France compared to the US. I bought a giant bag of carrots for 1 euro, and it was similar pricing for the potatoes and green beans. However, they were incredibly confused that we just wanted one lemon.

After shopping, we got to work preparing all the food. Secret ingredient to cooking a cheap Thanksgiving dinner, friends with cooking supplies! Thanks to a mixture of Zipeng, Pengpeng, Eliza, and my cooking supplies I only had to buy a measuring cup. Although, it was a little tricky cutting up sweet potatoes with a dull knife, but we got creative and it all worked out.

My foyer does have a kitchen, but it only has one oven, 2 stovetops, and a microwave. So, we had to balance out when we cooked stuff while also sharing the oven with everyone who wanted to cook lunch.

Besides being a little stressed out, things actually went pretty smoothly. We ate an hour later than planned, but it was mostly because nobody showed up on time, but that’s just life. Our meal included 4 rotisserie chickens bought from the boucherie down the street, green beans made by Pengpeng, stuffing made by Myles, Sweet potatoes and carrots made by me with the help Younes, Rabi, Pengpeng, and Julia, potatoes au gratin made by Eliza, two pumpkin and one apple pie made by Eliza, and wine from Yoann.

We properly stuffed ourselves and had a marvelous night, Thanksgiving success.

Oh lundi, tu ne change jamais.

This morning I got everything all set at the foyer for Rebecca R to come visit. Now the security guard will let her in an everything :-). Then I headed to mon stage where I sat in on the first year restauration course and we learned the history or art restauration. It’s pretty cool to hear about how much it’s changed. At first artists would just copy old damaged paintings and then threw away the original when they were done with it. Now there’s entire associations devoted to sharing information so that art is respected and the best techniques available are used.

After my stage I used some of my extra time to find a blanket for Rebecca since I can’t seem any air mattressish object, atleast we can make a semi-pile of blankets now. Then I had a wonderful lunch of Chevre and tomatoes on toast with strawberries for dessert.

In my grammaire class today we worked on agreement with the past tense. Pretty simple concept but annoying to remember, but apparently most Frenchies don’t get it so it’s all good. 🙂

Then I got on the metro, went to Bastille, ate a very bad crepe (don’t but the crepes at Bastille, their cheap but you can taste it), and headed to class with Marie. Today we had to turn in our Premier Chapitre for our Rapport du Stage. We had some technical difficulties, my chart got deleted somewhere in the downloading process and Eliza’s paper wouldn’t download since it was in Mac format, but it all worked out. Then we discussed punctuation and liaison words.

Then I headed back for dinner au foyer, watched a little magic for a foyer event, and headed upstairs to try and finish some VISA stuff.

All in all a pretty normal day.

Tomorrow Rebecca R comes! YAYYY!!!!

 

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!