Tuesday, January 31, 2012


It's been a good week for eating over here.

On Sunday, Sarah and Nathalie and her friend Finn (sp?) and I went to lunch at a wonderful place called Breakfast in America.

Me and Sarah. Lots of stripes. 

But before you scoff at me for eating American food whilst in Paris, you should know that both times I've been, there's been a loong line out the door full on French people, so I don't feel bad. And after eating dainty French breakfast food for so many months, sometimes a breakfast burrito is necessary. OMG, mmmm.

Then that night, my family busted out their raclette machine and we had raclette! It's like fondue, but different.

You have little trays that you melt your preferred cheese in, and then when they're all melted you pour it over your ham and potatoes (and cornichons, as Juliette does). DELICIOUS.

And last night, we made brownies! Also DELICIOUS. MMMMMMM. The tin is half empty already, whoops.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Today, I impressed Lise with my ability to use ESP to tell her what her favorite animal is, using a lot of "Ohms" and making sure that our foreheads touched a lot so that my brain could hear hers. It also helped that if my brain "guessed" wrong about the traits of this animal, she would tell me, so that by the end I realized that my brain could just ask (out loud, through my mouth of course) what it looked like. BAM, turns out her favorite animal is a wolf. Oh wait, I already knew that because we play the game where she's my pet baby wolf at least every few weeks.

Then, my brain magically continued on its winning streak by being able to tell her that her favorite drink was Sprite. But it helped that she was sitting there rocking back and forth with her eyes close whispering the word "Sprite!" as my brain tried to connect with her brain waves.

Anyway, it was an AWESOME way to kill 20 minutes on my babysitting night!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crazy Museum Week

I managed to make it to four different museums this week!

On Monday, Rachael and I went to the Museum of Medical History.

It's a small private museum in St. Germain. You aren't supposed to take photos, so I was only able to sneak this one! It wasn't as gory as I had hoped it would be (no body parts) but it still managed to be disturbing enough (thank you, 19th Century medical tools). And it even had surgical tools from Herculaneum (shudder), so that was cool.

Then yesterday, Rachael and I went to the Petit Palais and the Grand Palais. I thought the Petit Palais was great, and because it's so relatively small (and free) compared to certain other art museums in Paris, it's something fun to do if you have a limited amount of time. 

Even though it's small, there's still a lot to see...a lot of ancient Greek stuff, a lot of 19th Century art, a bunch of medieval stuff, etc. 

Then we walked across the street to meet Lewis at the Grand Palais, which was having an exhibit involving relief maps and models of different areas of France.

It was interesting enough but I didn't really understand the hype. Plus, they didn't have one of Bordeaux or anywhere in Aquitaine, so really, what's the point? Also, when you walk into the exhibit you're greeted with a large map of France, and people seem to have been obsessed with locating where they were from, etc (I mean, Rachael and I did the same thing too, so it's really not that silly). Which I found funny because duhh, everyone instinctively knows where their hometown is, and probably no one really cares to look for it when they pass any of the millions of maps and pictures of their country through the year...but I guess it's just more fun to look for your hometown when you're standing on a large map, right? 

Then after the Grand Palais, Lewis and I wanted to take a quick tour of the D'Orsay, but the line was crazy so instead we went to the Legion of Honor museum which is part of the same square.

 It has about a milllllion military medals from about a million countries, and some cool uniforms and stuff!

Paintings within a painting! Something about Charles X.

So it was a busy week. So far since arriving here, in addition to the Medical History Museum, the Petit Palais, the Grand Palais, and the Museum of the Legion of Honor, I've been to the Louvre, the D'Orsay, the Musee Carnavelet (twice), the Cluny Museum (three times), The Holocaust Memorial and Museum, Invalides and the Military Museum, the Concergerie (which is essentially the French Revolution memorabilia museum), the Musee Maillol, the Natural History Museum, the Paleontologie Museum, and there might even be one or two that I'm missing. Mariene and I are sad because the fashion museum is closed until 2013. But I'm going to make up for it by getting to the Musee Jean Moulin, AND to the Vampire museum (I hope!) which apparently exists in the outskirts of Paris, yessss.


Friday, January 27, 2012

St. Germain

I think I've said before that if I were ever to permanently live anywhere in Paris, it would be in The Marais, just over the river, with it's Jews, falafels, vintage stores, occasional klezmer music and nice cafes. But my second choice would definitely be St. Germain-des-Pres, in the 6th Arrondissement.

I don't know why I'm so obsessed with St. Germain, but I am. Overall, it's simply very nice without being super touristy. However, with it's niceness comes the fact that it's also the area where it's difficult to stumble upon your typical neighborhood bakery, but there are still a lot of other good things about it, even though they tend to be on a larger (and less personal) scale than other areas of Paris.

Charming alleyway near Odeon.

Statue in the courtyard at the church.

Really beautiful artwork facing the church's courtyard. 


Nice architecture!


This area gets its name from one of the churches in it (also called St. Germain-des-Pres) which is the oldest church in Paris. There are also a bunch of nice smaller museums, like the Delacroix museum (which is housed in Delacroix's former studio!) and the Museum of Medical history. My favorite thing to do when I want exercise in the city is to make sure that I'm at least as far out as the St. Michel area, then walk home to Montparnasse, which takes me through St. Germain.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


So, anyone who's spent a chunk of time living with me over the past few years (i.e. best friend forever Talia Hassid, who lived in the same room with me for a year & a half in Newport during our last two years at UCI), knows that my normal sleep schedule was thus:

8:30PM: Get home from work/sorority event (eat dinner if necessary).
9:30PM-10PM: Yawn obnoxiously, complain that I can't keep my eyes open any longer and say goodnight to my roommates, who are still hard at work studying for psych in the living room. Leave and go to sleep.
8AM: Wake up, having slept soundly through the night without so much interruption as even remembering a dream.


So it's been upsetting that for the past few months, I can't fall asleep until after midnight and then I still wake up multiple times during the night. Occasionally this might have happened when I was stressed about stuff, but since I have no real like responsibilities here, it's puzzling.

SO I've been trying to wake up at 7AM instead of 8AM this week to see if that extra hour will make me more tired at night. It's been working so far, so we'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Lise on dating: "If I ask a boy if he's in love with me, and he says no, then I know that he is in love with me".

Lise on how her parents met: "My dad saw my mom, and he asked her if she wanted to go drink some water with him".

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kid Stuff

Sometimes, the girls are really high mantenaince ("Oh my God, you seriously don't own any Abercrombie & Fitch, Amelia??"), and other times they really aren't. Like how lately the two of them have been super excited about a concept they came up with called "Fruit Party", in which we watch movies on Monday nights and...eat fruit.

Also, even though they think I'm pretty uncool sometimes, I must be doing something right, because Nathalie's 7-year-old told her the other day that she loved me and that I was the "most beautiful au pair in Paris". So that's good, but I think it's probably a grass-is-greener type situation.

ALSO, I had already left the elementary school after this exchange happened between Mariene and her kids, but I thought it was too priceless not to post here. I guess her ten-year-old asked Mariene if she had a boyfriend, and then Mariene's 6-year-old cut in, telling Mariene that her "ex boyfriend had 6 girlfriends at one time and he bought 2 of them at the supermarket". Which is even funnier when I imagine it was said in the less-than-perfect English her 6-year-old speaks, making it sound even sillier than it already was. 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Scotland The Brave

I got back this morning from a great short weekend in Edinburgh, where I was visiting my Burbank friend Maddie who's getting her Master's at the University of Edinburgh. I went last year with Kayla and had an amazing time (even if I did get stranded for an extra day), and I'm happy to say that my second trip to this city didn't disappoint, even though it was really cold and exceptionally windy.

I arrived on Friday too late to do much sightseeing, but I did have a really good time at the movie night (Gone with the Wind!) organized by Maddie's friend. It was a very international affair, with me and Maddie, her friend from Santa Clarita, an Irish friend, a Scottish friend, and a Swedish/Colombian friend. And too much chocolate.

On Saturday, Maddie and I walked down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace, which is the official residence of the Queen when she's in Scotland during the summer, and which used to be a residence of Mary Queen of Scots. I couldn't take any pictures inside, but it was really great and I recommend visiting!

Me and Maddie outside in the courtyard.

There's also an old ruined abbey attached to the palace which obviously was also really cool. 

After that, we went to the Museum of Scotland for a little, which was also really great, and is one of those museums where you simply can't visit everything. Maddie also took me to the poetry library, which is a public library dedicated entirely to poetry, which I thought was really cool. They even have a nice comfy children's room, filled with nothing but poetry books for kids. 

Me in the cemetery where Adam Smith is buried. 

At the Greyfriars Bobby statue! So cute. 

I really really like Edinburgh. For a lot of reasons (London's quirkier cousin?), but also because of the comfy cafe culture. I mean, Paris obviously has a million cafes, but Edinburgh has comfier ones (i.e. the kind I prefer). I had a LOT of coffee over the weekend, and in Edinburgh you get really good coffee drinks at a much better value than in Paris. And they're delicious and fancier. Maddie took me to one where the coffee was excellent, AND after 3PM all of the desserts are HALF OFF. That totally wouldn't happen in Paris.

We and I also ate a lot of soup...it was really nice having warm hearty food. Edinburgh is also much more affordable than Paris when it comes to eating, but I guess that's no surprise.

Chili baked potato and veggie haggis samosa at the Baked Potato Shoppe. 

 Delicious delicious cookie! I'm still thinking about it. 


Ever since I settled into Paris, I've acknowledged to myself that this stint abroad will be enough for me, and I'll be able to return home having satisfied my Europe craving. But after going to Edinburgh again this weekend, I'm pretty sure that I won't officially feel satisfied until I've gotten to live there at some point too. Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Burbankian Visitors

Today I met up with my friend Serena, who's in town with her sister for her sister's high school graduation present.

It was so nice to see a friend from home! I was thinking a lot before I met up with her though...Paris is probably going to be the only place I live where I have visits from people who have never ever set foot in this country before. That's a lot of pressure! The obvious sights are so obvious (and I'm tired of them/saving them), and I knew that I might have only one day to hang out with Serena, which is a strange circumstance to be in when you live in a city that has tooo much to do. So we ended up going to St. Chappelle, falafels in the Marais (duh), and took a walk to St. Germain where we got macarons at Laduree. Serena's visit definitely put things into perspective for me...for these ten months, I'm living in an alternate reality where occasionally people I know make cameos, and try as I might, I will never effectively be able to show off the city because Paris is more of a way of life than a place you can simply visit. So much pressure. 

Also, I tried an Amandine for the first time. Delicious!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I realized why I've been feeling so "Eh" this whole week...it's because I haven't done anything new. I've been doing a bunch of stuff, but everything (from coffee, to museums, to walks) are all things I've done before. That's how amazing Paris is....you get so used to seeing amazing and interesting new things so often, that when you stop seeing things you haven't seen before, you get depressed! This is probably my first week here in four months (Happy 4 month Franciversary to me!) that I haven't really experienced anything new, so while that's definitely saying something about what an active tourist I've been, I am promising myself that next week is going to be filled with new sights. It's definitely better for my mood.

My Burbank friend Serena is in town this week, and I'm really excited to see her tomorrow (we'll probably be doing no new things for me, but they'll all be new for her, and it will be fun to bring her to my favorite places at least!), and on Friday I'm going to Edinburgh until eeearly Sunday morning to visit my Burbank friend Maddie who's in grad school there. I am SO excited to go to Edinburgh, I can't even explain. No volcanos in Iceland this time, please.

It's getting colder here :/

Monday, January 16, 2012


Lise has this thing where if she says something, she will hold firmly onto her 7-year-old opinion of whatever it is, no matter what. It happened a few times yesterday:

*Lise and Amelia Start Watching the Disney Movie Bolt (It's About a Dog, Go Figure)*

Amelia: I wonder why there are two different audio tracks in French.
Lise: Duh, one of them is people telling you what's going on (i.e. the audio commentary).
Amelia: That seems strange to me though, because the filmmakers are American so usually the commentary would only be in English.
Lise: Bolt isn't an American movie.
Amelia: Yes it is...it's from Disney.
Lise: (looking horrified that I would even suggest such a thing) No it's not (as the big "Walt Disney Pictures Presents" flashes across the screen in front of us).

*At Dinner With the Family*

Amelia: I'm reading a book about Paris, and I just started a chapter about Philipe Auguste (a medieval king of France).
Lise: I don't care.
Eric: Lise, he was French!
Lise: Yeah, right.

Sometimes, it's really cute. And other times...it's not.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This is Another Post About Cats.

Upon the publishing of my last research on the subject of the differences between American and French house cats, entitled This is A Post About Cats, I was shocked and dismayed at the amount of criticism I received on my logic (i.e. Boule Boule and Tun Tun don't sleep in neat little balls in order to take up as much space as possible, therefore representing the activities of all French felines) from an aunt in New York who shall remain nameless.

Therefore, I have chosen to dispel any doubt as to my scientific method by publishing this new set of research on the same topic. In case you too may share this aunt's feelings, please be advised of the following: In order to collect as true evidence as possible, I sequestered myself with these French cats for an entire week during the family's Christmas vacation. With only me in the house as an observer, I feel I was able to gain insight into their actions in as natural a habitat as possible (i.e. without 7-year-old French girls dictating their daily activities). Furthermore, I would like to point out that in conducting this research, I chose to compare the French cats' actions to the exact same number of American cats', thereby making my results as unbiased as possible. In addition, in order to exclude as many variables as possible, I was sure to compare only two-cat households, both in suburbs of major cities for accuracy.

Here are my findings from the week in question:

Boule Boule on the table between the living room and the kitchen. 

Boule Boule watching The Wire, Season 5.

Boule Boule watcing The Wire, Season 5 while showing me his vampire teeth. 

After showing me his vampire teeth, Boule Boule got up from the couch and walked ten feet towards the kitchen, stopping on his way to take a nap.

Toundra as I found him, relaxing in Thomas' room. 

Toundra among the laundry. Almost ball-shaped, but not quite. 

A pre-vacation photo, with both cats attempting to fill up all of the non-occupied space on the table.

So there you have it. Unfortunately, I was not able to produce any photos of the American ball-shaped cats because my Southern California field reporter is apparently too busy playing Skyrim to answer my facebook requests for photos, but you can take that up with him.