Tag Archives: life

Oh la poste, tu es trop rigolo

In basically every book I have ever read about French culture, there is always a reference to horrible experiences at the post office. So, here I am to offer the funny side to it.

Today, I had to run an errand for my stage by going to the post office, sending out some letters and picking up a lot of stamps. So, I got in line, and prepared myself for numerous line cuts and obnoxious employers, as I’ve been warned about by many books. As I’m waiting, a man comes over, and tells me I need to use the machine instead. So, I explain to him that I’m not just here to by two stamps, I’m here to buy a bucket full and send some complicated letters. To which he says, well, your paying with a credit card, right? So it’s ok. But, I’m not paying with a fancy carte bleu, just plan old cash, so he agrees that I was right in the first place and lets me get back in line.

I thought that was the end of it, until, he starts talking to his colleague about me, and they pull out a calculator to find out just how many books of stamps I need, and how long that would really take if I just used the machine. After a bit, they realize that, yes, the machine would still take longer than a real live human being. But, apparently I’m too complicated for the poor lady at the desk, so, another lady heads in the back just to get my obnoxiously large order of stamps. When she comes out, she brings me over to another man, who opens up a booth just to take care of my stuff.  He turns out to be a very nice guy, even asked questions about the museum and how much it would cost for his daughter. He even doesn’t mind when I have to pay part in cash and part by credit card.

So, instead of having a stressful time à la poste, I got special treatment and to laugh at the…. for lack of a better word, dorks (in the best cutest silliest form of the word) that work there.

Voila, mon histoire pour le jour.

Update on my life: Pretty much everyone has left on vacation, so it’s pretty tranquille for me. Lots of watching TV with the cool kids who stayed in the foyer with me. Memoire is stressful, visits are getting better and better, and ya, that’s life.

Bonne soirée tout le monde!

p.s. Forget if I’ve said this, but I’m just so happy, I’m taking French, Spanish, and Arabic next semester! Finally! It’s gonna be awesome!!!!

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Joyeux Anniversaire!!!

Why yes, today is my birthday. 😛

This weekend, I fully allowed myself to relax and enjoy my birthday. Friday night Zipeng made dinner, and we watched Glee since we were all too exhausted to go out dancing. Saturday we went on an epic shopping trip, in search for some much needed skirts. We started out at Basilique St-Denis, the go to place for cheap shopping aka amazing wedges for 14 euros. This also happens to be the least touristy part of Paris, which made it kind of a shock when we went straight from there to the Champs Elysée H&M. Thankfully I managed to find some lovely, and cheap, skirts, so now I can stop feeling like I’m going to pass out in my jeans on the stuffy metro.

That night, we all had dinner together, wonderfully put together by Johanna, Eliza, and Saphia while Philippe, Zipeng, and I sat back and watched the Simpsons. Then, at the end of the meal, Philippe bailed before doing his part of the dishes, I was all set to give him a hard time when he walked in with a birthday cake, trick candles and all. 😀 I seriously love my Foyer family, I just wanna stop time and live like this forever. After dinner, we realized we were once again exhausted and watched some more Glee.

Today, I brought double stuf oreos and peanut butter to work to share a very important tradition with the Frenchies: dunking oeros into peanut butter à la Lindsey Lohen in Parent Trap. Most were confused at the very idea and excited about the extra creme in the oreos. Surprisingly most people liked the combination, but were shocked when I told them that, yes, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a normal part of a kids diet, and yes I do eat oreos often back home, and yes oreos come in all sorts of colors and types.  I got a wonderful surprise when the other interns started singing “Appy birthday to youuuu, appy birthday to youuu”, they all gave me wonderful hand-made cards. My stage just keeps giving me reasons to love it more. 🙂

After work, I headed over to IFE for my European Union class. As usual, I had a horrible time paying attention and kept spacing out, so I started doodling to keep from yawning and being rude. I keep doodling as one of my friends gets up and does her presentation. After she’s done the teacher says “good job, although it would be nice if people wouldn’t draw while one of their classmates is talking.” I felt embarrassed but at the same time, figured it was just something the teacher would have to deal with if he didn’t want me yawning all the time. Then, I look around and realize everyone’s been drawing, one of the other kids even explains to the teacher that he can’t help but start drawing if he has a pen in his hand, he’s never thought about it in class. So, I wonder if it’s just an american thing or what. Because honestly, I’d never really thought about it before.

So, this post may not have been very important in the scheme of things, I’m still behind on updating what I’ve actually been doing, but I just felt like recording my awesome birthday.

But here’s a quick update: Stage is awesome, doing more and more visits and feeling better at it. Friends are awesome, although more and more people are leaving and we have less and less time together. Final paper is coming along, but stressful as always.

Bonne soirée tout le monde!

Mes pauvres pieds

In Paris, there’s no choice but to walk everywhere: you’ve got to walk to get food, walk to class, walk to work, walk to say hi to a friend, there’s no other way. So, when you’ve been running around town all week, walking to the metro and then work and then standing all day at work, you’re feet aren’t exactly the happiest they’ve ever been. And going dancing last night probably wasn’t the best idea after all that. My feet are officially at the point where no shoe makes them happy, they want to lie in bed for a weekend, maybe more, with fuzzy socks and Advil. Unfortunately, I’m in a bit of a pickle because I still have to eat and do my homework, which includes walking, and if I want to buy new comfy shoes and make my feet happy, that implies lots and lots of walking. So, if anybody knows some magical foot remedies, please let me know, until then, excuse my limping.

On another note, yesterday was good. At mon stage, we just prepared for the workshops that are happening this weekend, lots of cutting and counting. Then we had a meeting about the workshops and the new exhibition. It was really cool to see everything that’s going on, but also showed me that even though I’m there just as long as the others, I still don’t completely know what’s going on. Not sure if it’s the language barrier or just me missing things though.

After work, I ran over to Oberkampf to hand in my birth certificate to get it translated. The company was kind enough to let me in even though it was way past office hours. So far I have a feeling I’m going to want to give them a huge recommendation by the end of all this. I waited until the last-minute to get this done, but they’ve been nothing but helpful so far.

Last night, we decided to go all out, do our makeup, dress up, the whole nine yards. So, facebookers, keep your eye out for some pretty awesome photos soon. We went to an Irish Bar at Bastille, which was free and has great music, I ended up paying only 2 euros for the vestiaire.

Sorry if my writing is getting worse, whenever I’m tired I can see my tiny bit of writing ability go right out the window. But anyway, bonne journée!

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.

Sunday

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. 🙂

Monday

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…

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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.

Thursday

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).

Friday

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.

Saturday

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!