Tag Archives: happy

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.

First day of Stage: Success!

I know I’ve typed that title in 3 different online networks now, but it’s the best way to sum up the day and I’m exhausted.

My stage really was great though. I probably shouldn’t write this post, or get to excited, because it’s impossible to tell how things are gonna go by the first day. However, it’s such a complete difference from my last stage, and so much more interactive, that I can’t help but jump up and down. I was introduced to everybody and got a tour of the building, two very simple things that were forgotten and completely through me off at my last stage. Also, everybody was incredibly nice, which is not generally required in France but will make my life ten times better if it stays that way. I spent my day observing and helping with the busy work, which is exactly what I should be doing as a stagiaire! Weirdly enough I’m happy I spent a chuck of my time cleaning crayons and cutting out little houses, because if that’s what they need done then I want to help. I hate sitting in the corner when there’s work to be done. Also, it was during these quotidienne jobs that I got talking with people. Today, I had an actual discussion about Obama in America and Sarko in France, and all in French! Being comfortable around so many kids will take some getting use to, I’m amazed at how the other stagiaires know exactly what to say with any situation, from the crying kid to the shy one. But I still had fun helping the kids with the activities, I have a feeling I’ll have a bunch of “kids say the darnest things” stories by the end of this year. It is really funny to watch the kids faces when I ask them to repeat what they said. “Whaaa? you not French? this has never happened before in my 4 years on earth! What is going on?”

I am having some trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I’m going to be waking up every morning, spending my whole day in one place. I haven’t done that since high school, and I haven’t stayed with one group all day since elementary school. Every since then I’ve been running around on the hour, whatever shall I do without some form of bells telling me where to go?

Off to bed to wake up and do the same exact thing, foreign concept. 🙂

Oh mon dieu

Just finished my last dissertation, so it’s safe to say the first part of IFE is officially over. After five weeks of waking up early, doing presentations, and writing papers, I am more than ready to start actually working at my stage. (10am Monday morning, sooooo excited!) Although, I am a little triste to leave some of the amazing teachers. For example, while in Travaux pratique I had the most homework and presentations, I also had a professor who works for Le Monde and seems to have the uncanny ability to memorize the encyclopedia with everything he knows. Besides learning so much we also just had a lot of laughs about culture differences and life. J’ai eu de la chance.

Also, after five months of being at IFE a lot, I’ll now only be there once a week or so and at the end of the day. I’ve gotten use to the quartier and explored quite a bit, so I’ll miss my lunches in the park, promenades on the promenade plantée, and explorations to hidden markets and random thrift stores. But, I’ll find a new favorite boulangerie near my stage, and as long as they sell moelleux and pain suisse the world will be ok. 🙂

One day, I’ll sit down and really describe all the amazing things I’ve learned and the places I’ve been these past weeks, but for now I’m going to spend my time figuring out my VISA, getting ready for my stage, and eating lots of kebab.

Bonne journée!

Monday Tuesday, Happy Day

Today was one of those days where everything just went wonderfully.

High points of today

  • Having a wonderful lunch with my foyer friends.
  • While watching the snow fall.
  • Not having my Sorbonne class afterwords.
  • Leaving my interview knowing that I’m going to be doing mon stage au musée en herbe next semester. 🙂
  • Going to dinner and finding out that one of my friends finally got a job and therefore will be staying in Paris. 😀
  • Celebrating said job by dancing to old disco music and watching a comedy with the group.
  • Going to bed with that warm fuzzy feeling inside. Paris, je t’aime.

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.

Lundi est magnifique, au moins aujourd’hui

Looking back on it, today was pretty darn good. I woke up and had the good sense to drink some green tea. Which allowed me to be awake enough to thoroughly enjoy the Restoration class I sat in on at mon stage. The amount of notes the French take is amazing, I had 4 pages by the end of it, and I was missing a lot of what was said. Although, considering it’s basically two hours of the professor talking, I can see where all the notes come from. Basically la prof slowly read off her notes, interjecting tidbits so it wasn’t boring. Then at the end she showed photos illustrating what she was talking about. One weird thing, she took a break for tea at 11:30, which had me worried because I figured it meant half way through the class and I wouldn’t be able to stay for the end. Turns out after the break she only had 15 more minutes to go. Why not just wait for the end of class? I have no idea. I asked Marie about it later, and it seemed weird to her, so maybe it’s just that prof. Another thing, the notes seemed really really structured. For example, the prof would say “the title is such and such…… first point….. a)…..b)…etc”.

Then I head to my second to last phonetics class :-(. We worked on the R, took our last test, and then learned the difference between S and Z, which isn’t really that hard, I just have to stress the Z more because apparently us Americans say it enough.

In my grammar class we worked on opposition/concession, had another mini-debate, the difference between revenir/retourner/rentrer, and took a practice test that’s similar to the final. The practice test was really tricky because there was a section on Vocabulaire which is still my weak point. But, I have some time to figure it out.

Then I headed to IFE for Marie’s class where we practiced more phonetics. We worked on l’accent tonal and how the french don’t talk all singsongy like the Americans. It’s really tricky to keep my sentences more monotone, but I can do it if I focus. Also, while at IFE I talked to Thomas about some forms for the foyer and for OFII. He is incredibly nice, to all future GPP and IFEers, don’t forget that the IFE crew is always there to help, and are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

We had diner at the foyer with the normal crew. I love dinner au foyer because most of the time we end up just hanging out and talking even after we finish. It helps my French more than the Sorbonne classes. After dinner there was a Pot D’acceuil in the common room to welcome the new residents, basically a happy hour (yacht club style). So, I got to meet new people and just talk with everyone. I stayed way too long, and probably won’t get much sleep tonight. But, it’s worth it. France is teaching me to be a little social butterfly, who knows what will happen when I head home. 😛

To sum up my day, it’s the little things like a good day at my internship and talking with friends that make me want to stay here forever. If it wasn’t so darn expensive I’d be planning out how to stay another year. Silly Euro, go down.

Bonne nuit!