Tag Archives: library

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!


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. 🙂



Got up and went to my internship, where after finishing my translations I basically just observed what everybody was doing for 2 hours, then ate lunch with them for 2 hours. I should have asked for something to do, but whenever the director isn’t there I know they don’t actually have any work for me to do. Which is something that frustrates me about my stage, I don’t often feel useful. But, I was actually kinda glad to just watch people work, because it’s incredible interesting to just watch them mixing colors and matching the painting completely. Back in high school I had trouble making the color for my painting of a light cover, here they know exactly which color combination to use and how much, I only saw the wrong color appear once, and she just added some more white or something like that and it was perfect. Everyday I see somebody eat lunch from this restaurant called “Parce Que”. Originally I’d try and find “Parce Que” as an excuse to explore the area. However, after many weeks it continues to escape my notice, so I finally decided to just ask somebody where it was. Turns out it was hiding on a corner right down the street, where I hadn’t explored because I thought there were only businesses. “Parce Que” is a little shop where they sell healthy salads, sandwiches, pastas, and soup. The food’s really good, but it’s a little pricey for my tastes. However, I might just have to treat myself every once and a while. Back at l’Atelier, for lunch I just sat there looking pretty and not really talking to anyone, but at least I got to eat lunch with them for once. Silly artists with their lack of schedule.

After my grammar class, I headed home and met up with John who had returned from Switzerland. We had dinner with some foyer friends and then watched The Big Bang Theory chez Zipeng. Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time watching movies or tv shows, but weirdly enough it’s through sitting around watching television that you can sometimes have the coolest conversations. Like after watching show, we got to have an actual conversation about what Zipeng wants to do with his life and all that, I miss actual conversations. After that, I had to be a lousy friend and work on my rapport du stage and call it a night.


Got up at walked with John to my stage, where I left him to use the MacDonalds wifi and wander around on his own before he left Paris after lunch to return to good ol Scotland. The students had finally returned from vacation, so I got to sit in on the Art History class again. I missed having the students at my stage sooo much. Not that I actually talk a lot with them, but they’re all really nice, the classes are really interesting, and there’s just so much more activity with them around. In class, we moved on to Italy, where we talked about art in the 14th and 15h centuries (pre-renaissance),with painters such as Trecento, Giotto, and Lorenzo Monaco. Don’t you just love those names? After class I grabbed some pasta from “Parce Que” with a strawberry something dessert. Turns out my pasta came with marinara sauce, which was heavenly since I have not eaten nearly enough Italian meals since coming here, and the dessert was basically the cool whip dip my mom makes with I believe some strawberry yogurt and jello, a very welcome reminder of home. I started eating with the students, but because the other class ran late, I had to move downstairs before their afternoon class started. I kinda awkwardly joined in with the actual workers. They all seem to be in a set group, so I just listened and enjoyed hearing french for an hour. In my grammar class, we learned how to use “Les pronouns neutres: le, y, en” which is basically another way to say “it”, one of the most important words in any language in my opinion. After class I headed to IFE for a make-up class with Marie since we didn’t have class on Monday. We learned about the differences between formal, normal, and informal ways of speaking. We got to watch this amazing comedian do a sketch making fun of teens today and how they pay too much attention to technology and use too many acronyms and all that. (Here’s a link of the first part of the sketch for any frenchies out there: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XekUOqjq-lE) I love any chance I get to find little tidbits of French culture, especially since it’s so often hidden by all the Americanisms. After class, Eliza and I ate some wonderful Kebab and then headed to the Halloween Spooky Story event at the foyer. We were a tad too tired to get the full spooky effect, but after our friend explained what was going on later, we were sufficiently creeped out.


Worked on translating the website for my stage. Staring at a computer for almost four hours straight wasn’t the smartest thing to do. But since I don’t need a smoke break, I didn’t really think about stopping to stretch my legs of anything like that. It’s one of those American habits that’s really hard to get rid of. I misjudged when everybody was going to eat lunch, and ended up just heading out on my own because… No Grammar class today! My prof had a meeting, so I got to start my weekend early, a much needed break. I decided to use my extra time to check out an apartment the family might be staying in for Christmas (turns out its on a normal side-street, nothing special but nothing sketch) and to get some homework done. Then I went for a walk with a friend (we were going to try out the Velibs, but then realized that my American Credit Card wouldn’t work with the machine), had dinner, and then went to bed at 8:30. That’s right, 8:30, I didn’t actually fall asleep until 10:30 but it was still marvelous, I love living here but boy is it tiring, it was so nice to just lay in bed and let my eyes relax.


I woke up later than I wanted, 9:30ish. I was still tired which just shows how much this city can take out of you, but I guess the same thing happens in college, no matter what I am really looking forward to next weekend. I tried to get myself motivated and working in my room, but new I couldn’t get anything really done unless I went to a library. So, Eliza and I decided to head to the 15th Arrondissement to scope out the only French public library open on Sunday! Turns out it’s beautiful, almost like Goucher’s library but probably not as green and possibly a little smaller. Of course all the tables were taken, so we somehow ended up sitting in the children’s section where it progressively got louder as the night went on. The library was a great place to get work done, only there are absolutely no plugs, so I was a little limited with how much time I could spend on my computer. I guess no plugs is the catch for freewifi. But, when my computer died I just took more notes, and when I couldn’t stand that anymore, I just went exploring and took out the French version of Spanish for Dummies. I’ve decided that while I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life, I want to speak multiple languages. I don’t have to be fluent but it’s gotta be more than French. And, since Goucher hasn’t been much help in that area, I need to take the initiative and start learning on my own. Hopefully I’ll find some local classes at a library or something for next semester, and maybe take some at a community college this summer back home, but either way I figure if I read the book at least the words will look more familiar to me. After the library, I had dinner with Emily, a Goucherite who’s currently during the program I’ll be doing next semester. We ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant by her foyer in the 15th Arrondissement, where I finally got to have some good Italian spaghetti, oh how I’ve missed you pasta. Emily lives in an all girls foyer, so I wasn’t able to see her room because they’re not allowed visitors, but I was able to see the common area and kitchen. It was huge and in good condition and all that, but everybody was in their own little group. At my foyer it’s hard to just hide in the corner, everybody hangs out together. I’m really glad I chose a co-ed foyer, I’ve met so many people just by hanging out in the common room and the whole foyer itself seems geared more towards meeting people. Emily said her foyer barely has events, and they don’t have a restaurant. My foyer has multiple events every week, and since most people eat in the restaurant, you always know there’s an easy way to meet people. After dinner, I headed back to my lovely foyer where I watched Man Vs Wild with the group. I never would have chosen to watch Bear Grylls trying to survive, doesn’t really sound that interesting, but I still had a fun time, and the episode was in Florida so we got to discuss how Eliza has alligators in her neighborhood and stuff. Important cultural knowledge.


I woke up later than I wanted, again. Got my laundry done, art some lunch, and headed to the library. I got there exactly when it opened, at 1 o’clock, was all ready to get working after lugging my laptop all over the metro when…. Guess what, library’s closed because of the strike! So, I trekked back to the foyer, and got to work in the common room. I’ve gotten a bit of work done, but I’m still really annoyed that I didn’t get to use the library. There’s something about a library atmosphere that actually makes me work. Here, well, I’m blogging aren’t I. Not exactly a productive environment. But, I’ll get all my work done, no worries.

Hope everybody had a wonderful weekend!

Bonne journée!

Never gonna survive unless you get a little crazy

Saturday night, I went to the train station and was able to find John no problem. So, we headed back to the dorm and had dinner. I know we did more that night, but I’m drawing a blank so I’ll have to update later.

Sunday, John and I headed over to Notre Dame for their organ concert. We got there far to early because I had forgotten to reset my clock for day lights savings time, so we wandered the area a bit. The concert was pretty cool, but I was really tired already so I might have closed my eyes for part of it, just maybe. For dinner we ended up buying pizza, 2 for 11 euros on rue de charonne, best deal I’ve gotten in Paris. Then we joined up with the crew for some Halloween partying. None of us had costumes, but we headed out dancing anyway. The French really don’t celebrate Halloween like we do, I think I say 3 decorations the whole night. Since it was a Sunday, and Halloween isn’t that big a deal, the clubs were pretty empty. But, we had a big group so we had fun just being the only ones on the dance floor. 🙂

Random fact: The French don’t say that Pirates say “Arrr!” because imagine saying “Arrr!” with a French accent, it just doesn’t work.

Yesterday, John headed out to explore the Eiffel tower while Eliza and I tired to find a library that was open. The first one we went to was locked and kinda looked like you needed an appointment for private consultation. Then we went to the library at the Centre Pompidou. Unfortunately there was a two hour wait just to make it into the library. So, we headed back home. But, our journey wasn’t a complete fail. It was a beautiful day, we made a homeless guy laugh in the metro, we recharged out Navigo passes, and I got my 55 euro for my OFII visit today. We tried to get some work done at the foyer, but it’s almost impossible. Whenever I work in my room, I end up on the internet, like now. So, we decided to work downstairs. The only problem there is everyone else is organized and has their work finished on the weekend. So, while we were trying to fill out paperwork, everyone else was watching Monsters Inc. Obviously I didn’t get much work done. Lesson, I will never, ever complain about the Athenaeum (Goucher’s library) again. Open 24/7, interlibrary loan, plenty of work space, open computers, and a quiet floor. I miss it soooo much.

For dinner, we cooked with Zipeng and Yoann. Then we watched some Big Bang Theory and called it a night.

Today, John headed to Switzerland for the day, so hopefully I’ll actually get some work done so I can hang with him tomorrow before he leaves Thursday morning.

Very busy and good week

I can’t believe how behind I’ve gotten with my blog posts. I’ll try and remember everything that happened, but as usual it’s never a good thing when I forget to update my blog.


I forget what I did during the day, but I spent the night watching Love Actually dubbed in French with the group. It’s amazing how many people you can fit into those tiny rooms. 🙂


Had my stage in the morning. It’s vacation week, or possibly two weeks I’m not sure, for the students. So, it was eerily quiet with only 4 or 5 of us there. I worked on translating titles of a book about restoration into French. Then I went to my grammar class, and then Marie’s class. We worked on vowels I think… The “ou” sound is still impossible for me to do, but thanks to Marie I did it correctly once, which means it’s possible, just very very hard. Oh, we also worked on the Nasal sounds and how to tell the difference between them. Then I headed back for some diner au foyer. Afterwords, Eliza and I tried to figure out what to do with our lives and ended up just getting completely sidetracked. I’ve reached the point where I can’t keep going through my education with no goal other than to speak French. It’s not enough. You can get away with that a bit in the US, but I want to work in France after school, and they know what they want to do in High School and generally stick to it. It’s not exactly professional of me to go around saying “I have no clue what I want to do” and the longer I take to figure it out, the longer it takes until I actually get to do what I want to do. Silly American education system…


Very very crazy day. Started out by getting up early, taking my sweet time getting ready, and then realizing that I had to make it not the 20 minute walk to IFE, but the 30-40 minute metro ride across town. My Paris-France-Paris class was out in one of the banlieus and I had completely forgotten. Luckily, we made it to the train station before our train left, and if we had made it early we would have just been sitting around waiting for it to leave. We spent the day walking around the Cité-Jardin of Suresnes. A cité-jardin is basically a village built to house workers. The unique thing about it is, for the first time they didn’t just build housing, but schools, a dance hall, retirement home, and parks as well. The buildings were considered very modern and luxurious at the time, but the rent was reasonable so that workers could live there. Unfortunately, the Cité-Jardin of Suresnes is now a wealthy neighborhood, and most workers have to live in the crowded banlieus. But the idea was revolutionary and worked until the housing turned private. If only things like that happened more often.

After walking around for three hours, we trekked back to Saint-Michel where I grabbed some chevre pizza and headed to my grammar class. My grammar class continues to bug me because nobody really respects the professor or the class, and a lot of the homework is basically busy work. But, we also do Dictées (professor dictates part of a text and we have to write it out using correct grammar, agreement, and spelling) and other stuff that a French geek like me considers fun. 🙂 After class, it was time to run to IFE for another Paris-France-Paris class. Because our professor was sick one day, we decided the best way to make it up was to have some night classes. Good idea, but 4 hours of the same professor in one day is kinda rough. Especially this Tuesday because at night we had our first test! And what was it on? Everything! It was essay format and we basically had to write out everything we could remember and then try and prove some kind of point with it. Luckily, we all finished the test on time, and I was all ready to make it back to the foyer in time for dinner and relax with friends when our professor decides to finally explain what we need to do for our presentations. Not only did this take another half hour, but it stressed me out even more because it turns out my presentation has to be the most complicated 15 minutes I have ever heard of. Once we finally escaped, Eliza and I took the bus back to the foyer, bought some chicken from the Muslim boucher down the street so we didn’t have to cook, scrounged up some salad from the supermarket to at least try and be healthy, got all our supplies into the common room, were about to sit down and eat, annddd the fire alarm goes off. Everyone in the building has to evacuate and walk down the street, leaving out meal sitting on the table untouched. Once we got the word that we could return to the foyer, we all headed back inside and were corralled into the common room, where we were given a speech about fire safety. Very informative and good stuff, they even smoked up one of the side rooms so we could see how quickly the danger spreads, however this was around 9:30, and I was very hungry. Once that ended Eliza and I were finally able to eat our dinner, which thankfully was very very good. 🙂 We got to end the day by talking to friends and relaxing, but it was still by far my longest day in Paris. I just couldn’t catch a break.


Had my stage in the morning, where I had a meeting with the director and the head of my program to discuss how my stage is going so far. Basically, all seems well except I of course don’t talk enough :-). One frustrating point, the head of my program, Thomas, always stresses how we should try and eat lunch with the workers at our stage. Which I’m all for, but it’s always very hard because everybody eats late and a random times. Thomas asked the director about lunch at my stage, and she said that I’m welcome to eat with them and they always eat around 1. I thought, sweet, I’ve finally figured it out, I can start eating with them and practice more French and it’ll be good. However, that day nobody at at 1, the majority of the group left around 12, 1230 mysteriously, not to go buy lunch, and didn’t return until after I left at 1:30. So, to future GPPers, if you get frustrated by your stage, we’ve all been though it. Stages aren’t always the perfect experience where you become besties with your boss and have a job lined up for the future. A lot of the time they’re confusing and random, but as long as you get something out of the experience, it’s all good. And remember, always talk to the IFE group if you have any problems, they really are incredibly nice and there to help you with any problems.

After my stage I headed to grammar class and the back to the foyer for dinner. I honestly can’t remember if anything interesting happened that night.. Gotta work on that memory of mine.


Went to my stage in the morning, where I translated a blurb about the Atlelier into English and a pamphlet about the Atelier into English. After that I headed to my Grammar class and then back to the foyer. For dinner, it was “Jazz night” with a New Orleans theme. Now, this doesn’t mean we had real Cajun food, but it does mean that we had a candlelight edible dinner with music. Very classy for the foyer. And it was the first time I cleaned my plate at a foyer dinner. My tummy was very happy. 🙂 After dinner, there was a live Jazz band in the common room. The music was good, but it felt a little off for us Americans since the french woman who was singing didn’t know how to move like most Jazz singers would. As much as she tried, she couldn’t get passed this all angles, barely moving French stereotype. But she had a very good voice. Then I had a wonderful skype session with the goucherites instead of doing my homework and went to bed. I still find it hard to balance keeping in touch with friends (which helps keep me sane), hanging out with foyer people (which keeps me happy), and all the things I have to do for my program (which keeps me graduating on time).


Another crazy day, but in a very good way. Started with my stage, which was incredibly empty since almost everybody is on vacation. I continued translating, but just spent most of the time being frustrated as I watched a very typical French workplace, they just sat and gossiped and smoked cigarettes until noon, while I actually did my work because I wanted to leave early. I know the concept behind how the French work, and it makes sense and everything, but it’s really hard to change my work habits and how I think. But, I got to leave early and run some errands, finally finding nuts in the grocery store, had to look next to the wine and party supplies, and buying stamps for all the birthday cards that are now a month behind. As I got in the metro to head to class, I could hear the cries of strikers heading to the manifestation and music from the guy who always plays bob marley songs in the metro, and it just hit me really hard that I’m really in France, I don’t know if that makes any sense, but it was just one of those moments. In my grammar class, we worked on using “en” to replace words with “de” and how to make the sentence flow instead of sounding incredibly awkward. After class I headed to a library to try and get some research done for my exposé. The french libraries are good and all, but they kinda remind me of the southington library before they renovated it. I checked out two books about Belleville and then headed home. There was a workshop going on to learn Japanese cooking, but I decided to head to an Italian restaurant with some friends instead. It turned out to be more a pizzaria than an Italian restaurant, but the food was still really good, and the company too. Afterwords, I chilled with some friends in the common room, and we somehow ended up watching The Patriot. I spent half the film trying to explain who the colonists were and why the british we attacking. Then I hung out with some Goucherites visiting Eliza and called it a night. All in all a very good night.


I can’t believe I finally caught up to today, but here it is. So far, I woke up, did laundry, researched what libraries I should go to, and wrote this. It’s very frustrating because the libraries I need are closed Sunday and Monday. So I either go today, or rush there after class during the week. At this point, I think I’ll choose the later because I’m really tired and should probably look through the books I have now before getting more.

Tonight, my Goucher friend John is coming to visit from Scotland. But
I don’t actually know what time he’ll get here because the strikes have completely screwed up transportation.

Anyway, hope everybody has a wonderful weekend and a happy Halloween!