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Monday, February 22, 2010

Some Pictures

Yo yo!

I know that it's way overdue that I write a blog post about school - since I actually am taking classes, but I have to get back to studying for my midterm (!!) and writing my 5 page paper that are both due later this week.

In the meantime, a few pictures, albeit mostly of Americans in Paris (and my room).  I promise we go out!

Stephanie and I:

Tina and Ardy at Le Petit Pont in the 5th, right next to Notre Dame: 

Casey, Steph, Tina and I:

Foggy day in Paris, view from Sacre Coeur:

The Lapin Agile, a salon once frequented by the Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Bruant:


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cliché Paris

Last weekend, I had one of my top "Parisian" experiences.  I was planning on doing some homework, which meant reading a French play, and catching up on emails (despite being STILL without a computer) when my host father, Olivier, proposed a trip to a museum.  We quickly decided on the Delacroix museum, which is part of the Louvre (if the Louvre is like the Smithsonian) but at a different location than the main building.  The Delacroix museum is located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the "chic et cher" (chic and expensive) quartier in Paris, which via metro requires at least 2 switches.  I wasn't paying too much attention until my host dad said that we were leaving toute de suite (right now), "en moto."

"En moto" my host mom repeated, "ca te va? en moto?" which means, "is that ok with you, en moto?"  "Oui, oui" I reassured her, breezily, and then I stated that I needed to go get my coat.  "Oh!" I realized... en moto means a motorcycle, not a car.  I was about to ride a motorcycle- a BMW to be specific!  I put on my leather boots and my windproof jacket and met my host dad down in the street, where he offered me a very heavy duty helmet.  I strapped it on and we were off.

The first few blocks were a little less than fun, as I realized that, like every other motorcycle driver in Paris, my host dad drives fast, and weaves through traffic (kind of similar to the way my real Dad -love you!- drives at home).  After getting used to that, and reminding myself that Olivier drives a motorcycle all the time and I wasn't going to fly off, and even if I did I was wearing a really heavy duty helmet, I tore my eyes away from the back of Olivier's helmet to look around, and good thing I did.  We drove by the Trocadéro and the Tour Eiffel, then along the banks of the Seine, past the Louvre and the Assemblée Nationale and the Musée d'Orsay, then took Boulevard Saint Michel and drove (a bit slower) through the tinier streets to the museum.  The entire trip, and the entire trip back, I had to keep reminding myself that this was real - I really was experiencing Paris as a true Parisian -although they are a great deal more nonchalant and probably not slackjaw and wide-eyed as they pass these historic monuments.  I'm working on it.

Much love,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Love and/in Paris

I love Paris!  And Paris, being the city of love, seems to love me back:

  • Paris is easy to navigate, and I'm getting the hang of the different metro lines (I take the 6 to class, which crosses the south of the city, but I can also take the 9, on the 1-direction La Defense is home, 1-direction Chateau de Vincennes takes me through the center along the Seine...)
  • As I alluded in my last post, Paris is a place where I eat well.  90 cents is usual for a croissant, and 1E10 for a "pain au chocolat" (chocolate croissant), but paying 1E10 for a big croissant can be worth it - when the butter literally melts in your mouth!
  • The Louvre generally costs 9E but it's free for me, since I'm an "EU" student!
  • The grass in le Jardin des Tuileries is green, and it's February...trop cool
  • I found a pair of gold sparkly heel/wedges for 12 Euros (I love les Soldes!)
I could keep going on, about what I love, but actually, I'm kind of upset.  I mean, yes, I'm in the city of love, and yes I love the city, and yes the city seems to love me, but what about the men?  I mean, it's already been three weeks, why don't I have an exotic French lover yet?  And Paris is determined to rub it in my face.  Everywhere I go, I see couples.  Couples my parents age making out, yes full-on making out, in the metro.  Couples my age straddling each other on the metro.  Couples my sisters ages making out in the street.  Seriously!!  And since Valentines Day is coming up, all of the lingerie stores (of which there are many) are going all out, in pink and red, and the chocolate stores (of which there are also many) are bringing out their heart shaped boxes....Oooh-whee!

No really, I'm kidding.  I've learned about how to deal with creepy French men (don't make eye contact, especially at night, don't call attention to yourself, walk with a purpose, etc. etc. etc.) and I am not trying to find a French lover on the subway.  I am however, looking forward to my French University classes (hello, La Sorbonne Nouvelle!) and getting to know some French people outside of my host family.  More updates to come!

xoxo, Samantha

Friday, February 12, 2010

My computer is broken!

I know that I've been MIA - classes at the Paris universities are starting, so I've been very busy and running around, finding classrooms, finding books, etc. etc. etc.... and now my computer is broken! So it's off to the Apple store for me, but I probably won't update or generally be in contact for at least a few more days!!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Food in France

Sunday, I spent all day doing something very French: eating!

After "une grasse matinée" (sleeping in), I met Ira and Marcia and their friend Peter for lunch in the fifth.  We arrived around 1230 and took our time.  We took our time ordering, took our time eating (entrée, plat, dessert, café), and took our time between each course.  Everything was, of course, delicious.  We finally left the restaurant at 4pm (the cook left the building before we did!)- and then I went to dinner at 730 and although it didn't take quite as long (only a bit over an hour), I still felt as though I had lived a very "French" day - eating, eating, eating!

French culture places a great deal of value on food: preparation, cooking, eating, drinking...  Food is not to be rushed and is a pleasure.  I love having the option to simply eat cheese and pain grillée (toast) after dinner each night!  And then ... dessert!  I'm learning that chocolate isn't the only option... yogurt nature (plain) with some jelly, or a piece of fruit.  Last night, my host Mother taught me how to cut an apple à la francaise - which includes peeling the skin with a butter knife!  I'm learning...

Along with French eating comes French table manners.  You must never leave your hand under the table (because who knows where it could be?), and cutting the lettuce in your salad is considered rude - better to fold it with your knife and fork.  I've also learned which napkin is mine (each family member has their own, with their own specific napkin holder, never to be confused...)  Whew!  Luckily, it's getting easier every day.

Bon appetit and gros bisoux (big kisses)!

P.S. You'll have to excuse all the French I threw in ... it's hard to talk about French food without the French vocabulary!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Miscellaneous Pictures!

Here's a taste of the past two weeks:

Margaret, Tina and I in a restaurant after dinner:

The other side of the table, Dave, Ally and Pat: 

World War II and Holocaust Memorial in Blois: 

Blois from across the Loire: 

View from my window at night: 

More to come!