Tag Archives: language

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!

First morning, written August 25th

8/25/2010 9:44 AM

Aujord’hui, je me suis reveillé, I got dressed, and went downstairs to find breakfast. It really is just a baguette and a drink, which is what I normally eat so it’s good. J I attempted to speak French twice this morning, first this girl came up to me and asked  if I was new, but I couldn’t really hear her so that was interesting. Then, I wanted to make sure I had the right time, so I asked the lady at the front desk, in French, “Excuse me, what time is it?” and she responds with “What did you say? Oh, what time is breakfast? 7-9:30, go ask the lady if their still open, I don’t know ask the lady over there.” All very polite except for the fact that she didn’t really attempt to listen to me, or slow down when she thought I couldn’t understand. But it’s all good, I checked the time on the TV J.

I’ve decided that those little motor scooters, vespa thingys are the loudest thing in Paris, louder than the road work they’re doing across the street. I barely hear the cars and then BAM, Vespa!

Well, my computer is going to die and I need to meet with Eliza to walk to IFE, A bientot!

Paris, written august 24th

8/24/2010 8:49:34 PM

I’m in Paris! It’s almost nine and the sun is finally below the buildings. You can still see just fine though, it’s crazy.
I woke up at 4am Iceland time to catch my 7:40 flight. I felt sad leaving Iceland because everything is so pretty, but it’s so small and cold that I don’t think I could ever visit it for long. I tried to find an “I went to Iceland and all I got was this lousy tee-shirt” shirt at the gift shop, but they only had the little kid “Somebody who loves me very much went to Iceland” shirts. They also had one that said “Lost in Iceland” which seemed pretty appropriate, but I didn’t end up buying it. The flight left on time, I had a aisle seat in the front which was nice because I had more room to stretch. Flight took a little less than three hours, so I just read for most of it. Got to Paris, got my luggage, and met up with Jessica who works with IFE. We took a taxi to my dorm, had to wait a bit until the right person came in, so we went for a walk around the area. Signed all the forms, learned about the foyer, and got my room.
My room’s small, but not too small, about the size of Brian’s room if it was long instead of square. There’s lots of storage space but it’s all shelves and no drawers. The view out my window is pretty nice, if I look out I see the city, to the right I can see a tiny bit of the Pantheon and if I look down I see Las Vegas shoes. 
I met up with Emily after I got settled and we walked to Pere Lachaise cemetery to find my Moliere. He hide quite well, but we found him after some walking. His grave’s not all that special, it’s kind of sad. They also put him up really high and fenced him in, so it’s hard to see. Our feet we hurting so we decided to leave Edith Piaf and Jim Morrison for another day.
We also found toilet paper, I had to buy pink, I don’t know if I’ll ever get use to that, and a very nice patisserie. I have a feeling I’ll start eating pastries for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I’m not careful.
I’ve made a few trips to the various supermarkets down the street. I managed to get some supplies, but mostly learned that supermarkets are actually focused on food here and that I’m very bad with using Euros.
I don’t have WiFi in my room, but I’m going to get internet eventually. I could go down to the common area, but I think I need a password and I honestly can’t speak any more French tonight.
I figured out that I can understand pretty much everything people say, but my nervousness and shyness gets in the way of talking, so I’m pretty behind on that skill. But that’s why I’m here in Paris, so hopefully I’ll be better at speaking soon.
Well, I need to go get ready for bed so I can get going tomorrow. I’m pretty excited to actually start GPP and get a phone.
A plus tard!

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. 🙂