Saturday, July 14, 2012


Hello! After a brief absence from the internet, I'm back home in Burbank :)

My flight was really good -- really, who on earth would ever want to fly with a layover when the option of a direct flight is available? I told my dad that I'm never flying American Airlines again, now that I know how great Air Tahiti Nui is (direct flights from Paris to Los Angeles? DUH). It was a 12-hour flight, which is probably the longest flight I've ever been on, but it wasn't so bad. The flight attendants passed around tropical flowers that smelled good and everyone was wearing them in their hair, and some of the walls of the airplane without TVs had Gaugin paintings -- always a nice touch! Also, all of the food had shrimp in it, delicious. I watched Hunger Games, which I really liked and it was long too, so that distracted me for about a 6th of the trip. And obviously I slept a lot too, even though it was during my day time.

It's funny being back in Burbank because I almost feel like I never left (except that I didn't remember how to turn on the stove yesterday). Also, a big advantage that Burbank has over Paris: EB & Marisa! They came over last night to eat the Hugo & Victor macarons that I brought back with me.

It's 6:10AM and I've been awake for a while, but it's all good because I made coffee and I'm sitting here in a kimono and with a striped cat next to me (I forgot how much I like patterned cats), and I'll be seeing my grandparents today for lunch. This is my last blog post here (sniff), but when I get unpacked and readjusted to everything, I will definitely start updating Sometimes, I Eat Cake for Lunch.

Thank you for reading, and see you all soon! :)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A la Prochain!

It's 6:15AM here, and I'm drinking coffee and putting some last minute things in my suitcase before Anne brings me to CDG for my 11:30 flight (another reason why I have the best host family ever...none of my other friends' host parents brought them and their many suitcases to the airport!).

I met up with Emma last night near St. Sulpice and we took the metro to the Latin Quarter so that I could have one last crepe before I left (Nutella Banane). It's mid-July, so I never thought that I would have to unpack my trenchcoat and scarves for my last day in Paris! It was cold and windy and rainy NON-STOP all night. Oh well, the weather kind of came full circle I guess. Emma suggested that Paris was upset that I was leaving.

After my crepe, we decided to brave the rain and walk from St. Michel along to the quai of the Seine to the Musee D'Orsay to get to the line 12 to go home. It was the perfect walk and the perfect last view of Paris before I go home.

My flight should arrive around 2:30PM PST, eek! See you all from the Pacific :)

Last Day in Paris

Hi all! I can't believe that it's time to say goodbye to this city. Today's been a nice last day though, so far. I met up with Lewis at the Hotel de Ville and we walked around for a while and found the Tour Jean Sans Peur, which is a medieval tower I had been wanting to see for a while. Then we said our goodbyes (for now) and I met up with Mariene and our friends Emma (American & an AEPhi) and Lili (German) and we had a picnic in the Cemetery Montparnasse until the guard told us that it "wasn't possible" --sometimes translations are so funny. I wanted to say that actually YES, it is possibly since you can see that our picnic is currently happening as we speak, but she was trying to be nice about kicking us off the grass and even gave us a map of the cemetery, so it was fine. Mariene and I got to ride the metro together for a little but eventually we had to say our goodbyes too, which was sad, but I'm already planning the itinerary for her first tour of America in the coming future, so it will be fine.

Then I headed over to Hugo & Victor to buy some macarons to take home -- Laduree has prettier boxes but a Hugo & Victor box is more worth it to me because Sarah and I used to go after class sometimes and I LOVE their cassis macarons.

Now I'm home and doing every last bit of packing (and a little cleaning too, but not that much!). I'm planning on meeting Emma later for a last crepe and a last walk through the city, and then tomorrow I fly out!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Things I'll Miss Part II, & Things I'm Looking Forward To

*Living in a city with a lot of people, because some of them are bound to be interesting. Today, for example, I was walking down Rue Daguerre (a cute street near Montparnasse) and there was an older man sitting outside a cafe with a pigeon in a cage on his table. And it wasn't even a normal, plastic animal carrier, it was a nice cage with a wicker bottom and a wire top. It made him look kind of crazy, having a pet pigeon, but it least it was a clean looking one. I came out of a bookstore 15 minutes later, and now the man (and his pigeon) were sitting at another cafe closer to me. I wanted a photo of them, but I don't like getting up close to people and taking a picture when it's obvious that I'm taking a picture of them without asking, so I thought about actually asking him if I could take a photo "because it was a jolie pigeon", but then I decided he might thing I was being condescending. So I just didn't take a picture at all, but it's a good memory of an interesting person, nonetheless.

*ESPRESSO EVERYWHERE. Some of you might know that last time I was in France I didn't like espresso and thought the French were behind the times for drinking it and not filtered coffee (I definitely introduced myself on the first day of my language class here as someone who didn't like it), but I've come to appreciate it. When it's coldish and rainy (as it was today on & off) nothing smells better than the espresso brewing inside of EVERY establishment in Paris. Mmmm. Must drink more when I get home.

*Monacos! They're like Shirley Temples, only better because in addition to the grenadine and Sprite, they also have beer. Apparently they are popular with French teenagers (and, I've found, with people who don't like beer).

And on the other hand, there are lots of things I'm really looking forward to when I get home, like:

*Real half & half, WOO HOO. There is nothing fun about waking up in the morning and having to mix your own.

*Target: What? A store that sells everything? WHAT A CONCEPT, FRANCE.

*My closet: For the past while, I haven't been able to sit still because I've been SO EXCITED to get home and A) Give away probably everything that's currently hanging there, B) Wear the pieces that I left behind that I didn't think about for 10 months but am now super excited about now that I remember they exist, and C) Hang up my new French wardrobe, yesss!

*CATS. One of whom won't wait until I'm wearing dark clothes to come over and sit on me while leaving white hair everywhere (the other one, however, will, but it's going to happen half as much at home as it did here, which will be nice).


Some things I will miss about France:

*The older couple who always says hello when we run into each other in Clamart. They always smile with such conviction that it's as if we know each other, when it reality we've never exchanged one word and don't even know each other. Plus, the man has a sea captain's beard. All he's missing is the uniform.

*The fact that as almost-perfect as their English is, the kids still hold onto some things that are really grammatically incorrect just because they feel like it. For instance, the three of them were using the word "style" wrong when I arrived, and no matter how many times I tell them they're mis-using it, they've just decided they like their way more. With some things, Lise will try and then point out proudly when she's finally used it right, but no such luck with this word, and I heard them using it wrong just last week. As in, "Thomas, remember how cool it was when we took the train to Nice? The tables on the train were so style!". But it's kind of endearing that they don't understand that all they need to do is add the suffix "-ish" to make it correct, because I like to pretend that they mean it literally, as in "Those tables that came down from the back of each seat were the definition of style!".

*Apparently there's a big Police & Firemen ball that's going on in Paris sometime soon, because for about a month there have been uniformed firefighters EVERYWHERE stopping people (probably mostly women, I'm guessing) on the street to see if they want to buy tickets. And I've seen a million of them and they're all in their 20s to 30s and each one is better looking than the last. A friend and I were joking the other day that they probably aren't firemen at all, probably just models hired to sell tickets, but either way, I approve.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Today was great, because I finally got to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs (why did I wait so long??). It's in one of the wings of the Louvre but is a separate museum. I was kind of shaking as I visited, because it was just too perfect. It is definitely in my Top 3 Museums of Paris due to it's interesting exhibits and wide variety of objects in its permanent collection.

The first part I visited was the Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs exhibit, which was amazing. I couldn't take that many pictures because I wasn't supposed to take any in the first place. It started out with Louis Vuitton's early suitcases and then launched into the Marc Jacobs era of the brand (did you know that the famous "LV" and rose pattern was developed in the 1890s?). I left the exhibit with a newfound appreciation of the brand and its history, so I think the best thing to do now is to buy one of his handbags!!

There was also an exhibit about the brand Ricard (an anise-flavored liqueur), and about how the brand advertised itself in accordance with laws about advertising alcohol in the 1950s (I think).

And the rest of the museum has about a million artifacts from different eras of history, including a lot of religious medieval stuff and then furniture and dinnerware from later decades.

A school group working on a tapestry-themed project. There was a group of 7-year-old boys and girls on a tour of the Louis Vuitton exhibit too. ONLY IN FRANCE. 


Really nice Art Nouveau piano!

And then I finished off the day by meeting up with Amanda and Dina, two of the AEPhis from my chapter who just arrived in Paris to study for month. It was nice to see some familiar faces from back home :)

Anyway, go to the Musee des Arts Decoratifs! You won't regret it! 

Monday, July 9, 2012


Today was a nice day. I woke up early to meet my French friend Eve for breakfast kind of near the Denfert-Rochereau area before she had to go to work. This is actually only the second time we've hung out even though we talk a lot over Facebook and texts. We know each other because she did the same volunteer program with the Israeli army last summer that my friends Courtney and Daniel did, so when I got to France, Courtney made sure that her two friends now living near Paris met up. It was nice seeing finally seeing Eve, since it's been hard to get together during the year because of our schedules, and I'm also glad that I got to fit in another opportunity to speak some more French before I left.

I went back home after, and then a few hours later I went out again to meet Mariene and see her new apartment for next year! It's great, neat the La Motte-Piquet Grenelle area, with an amazing location next to a bunch of Metro lines, low rent, and a LOT of space. I'm super jealous. Hopefully I'll get to come back and visit while she's still living there!

Then I had some time to kill so I took the metro a few stops with her and then got out and walked for a bit to Invalides, and from there I took my normal walk from Rue du Babylone in St. Germain all the way to the part of St. Germain with the church St. Germain, and then to the Latin Quarter to meet Lewis via the incredibly adorable Rue du Buci. It's one of my favorite walks in Paris not necessarily because it has the nicest views, but because it takes you through two of my favorite areas. Lewis and I hung out for a little, and I got the BEST SANDWICH OF MY LIFE. It's good that I didn't discover this little sandwich stand earlier, or else I would definitely be a few pounds heavier. It's just a normal baguette sandwich, but with tomatoes, huge chunks of feta, olive oil AND DOLMA. What could be better??? Grape leaves IN a sandwich? Ridiculous!!