Thursday, May 31, 2012

Auntie Judy & Uncle Rick's Visit!

It was a whirlwind few days and we did and ate a lot! Here are the highlights:

Lunch on Rue Mouffetard, mmm, too much food. 

Us at the Rodin Museum, with the Gates of Hell

Uncle Rick likes to take a lot of pictures. 

La Dame Aux Camelias! We couldn't find it at first, but the lady nearby who was feeding the cemetery cats came and helped us out. 

Lots of pastries. 

Auntie Judy! In the Tuileries. 

I ate a lot of salad (they all had a lot of stuff, in them, and this one had the best goat cheese EVER).

Opera Garnier. 

Victor Hugo's apartment in the Marais. 


Basically, I'm never eating again. We also walked a lot, which was good (Auntie Judy has a pedometer application on her iPhone, so I'm not exaggerating when I say a lot). I just wished it hadn't been so hot during their visit, but I think it's safe to say that we had a good time! :) 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Too Full

I just got back from dinner with Aunie Judy & Uncle Rick on the Ile-St-Louis, and I'm definitely toooo full to think clearly enough to update for real. Stay tuned tomorrow for photos of what we all did together!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Busy Busy

I keep forgetting to blog because I haven't been home much on account of Auntie Judy and Uncle Rick visiting! We've been very busy.

On Sunday when we got here we went to the Pantheon and the Rodin Musee, and on Monday (another holiday, so I didn't work and spent the whole day with them) we went to Cemetery Montmartre and ate a LOT of pastries. Today we went to the Opera Garnier (ho hum) and Victor Hugo's house (BORING, just kidding).

Pictures soon!! :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ice Cream on the Ile-St-Louis

Today was great. First, Sarah and Rachael and I had breakfast in Montmartre (coffee in bowls!), and then we met Mariene on the Ile-St-Louis for Berthillion ice cream (mine: cassis and rhubarb). Sarah and I came to the joint conclusion that cassis (i.e. currant) is the Best Flavor For Everything (or at least for Berthillion ice cream and macarons, which is all we eat pretty much). Seriously, I highly recommend you start eating currant-flavored things if you don't already.

It was hot out, and the four of us dangled our legs over the side of the island as we ate our ice cream. It was perfect, and entirely too pleasant.

Except that it's still too hot here. Paris, stop it!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

49 Day Mark

We're at the 49 day mark, which is both a lot and a little time. I've got a lot coming up to fill up the days, including Auntie Judy & Uncle Rick, who will be here on Sunday. I can't wait (hello if you're reading this!!).

Yeah, so, apparently France is northern enough where now it's still totally light out at 9PM. And by 10, while I don't think it's fair to describe the nights as light, they definitely can't be described as dark either. It's very strange and I'm not used to so much sunshine. Speaking of, it was way too hot today.

Today, Mariene and Rachael and I went to Sugarplum for the first time in forever, and then discovered a cute little street in between Denfert-Rochereau and Montparnasse called Rue Daguerre. We were there to go to the Oxfam bookstore, which ended up being a HUGE success for all of us, especially me, because Lise has been really into the Spice Girls lately thanks to moi (gotta leave an impression somehow!), and sitting right there in the 1 euro bin was their first album. Yessss.

This week has been weird in that it's been a normal length -- due to the intense number of days where French people don't have to go to work in the month of May (VE Day, Ascension, Pentecost), this past week has been the only complete week of the month. And the people around me are extra tired because of it, you can actually tell the difference, which I think is pretty funny, and which speaks to France's intense passion for vacation time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Talent

Lise was THRILLED to discover that she could burp on command much so that she made me sit across from her for a good 20 minutes while she practiced, and while I graded each attempt out of 20 (French school grading is on a 1-20 scale).

I'm hoping she forgets about her new talent by tomorrow, mostly because she's pretty good at it and I don't want to listen to it for the next 50 days.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I'm still really really exhausted! Last night I set my alarm to 4am so that I could be on a sorority conference call, but I wasn't conscious until 4:30. And even though I reset my alarm to 7:50AM, I wasn't awake until 8:10 (i.e. when I'm usually already upstairs). That almost never happens to me! Today I didn't want to leave the house after work in the morning, but I had a longstanding haircut appointment, so I did that and came right back and slept.

It's like Finals Week for school, where you just have to push through being so tired and you're rewarded with either Winter/Spring/Summer vacation. Except that I have two more months of France and I'm assuming that my summer "vacation" won't be entirely relaxing because of all the stuff I want to do that I haven't done in 10 months, ahhhhh!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pouring Rain

Literally, cats & dogs today! My umbrella is totally shot...but I'm still holding onto it, because if I didn't bring its mangled self back home with me from the city today, I wasn't going to have anything to cover myself with the next time I go out! It's definitely a health risk. Anyone in a 5 foot radius of me is likely to lose an eye.

Today was a good day though. I met with with Maarja and her friend who is also in from Estonia and we had lunch in the Latin Quarter. When I got home and picked Lise up from school, Lise was suddenly very interested in the snails in the neighborhood, so she picked up four of them to be her pets. She was about 10 seconds ahead of me into the house because I was behind her closing the gate, etc, and when I walked into the kitchen, Lise was no where in sight, but her four new snails were mysteriously crawling around on the kitchen counter, hmmmm (apparently she didn't get the memo about putting them in tupperware).

Tonight we made cupcakes, and we all ate too many, mmmm.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday & Sunday

It's been a good but exhausting weekend. I slept until NOON this morning, which I have never done in my entire life, which made me feel justified for feeling so tired all day yesterday.

During the day, I picked up Maarja from Gare de Lyon. She's my Estonian friend from Nice, and she had never been to Paris before so it was fun to show her around a little (we went straight to falafels and vintage shopping in the Marais).

Saturday night was the European Night of Museums, where museums all over the continent are free and open until 12 or 1AM with special events going on. Jackie and I met up with my friend Linn Marie and some other friends and went to the Musee Jean Moulin, and the afterwards I met up with Lewis at Invalides.

New friend.

We went to a concert of Napoleonic era music. 

Afterwards, we walked all the way up to Trocadero. I'd never been on that route before after dark, and it didn't feel like Paris. It was deserted, and I might have well as been in a nice part of Los Angeles. We walked over the river and ended up at the Pont d'Alma, which is where the replica of the Statue of Liberty's flame is (lots of people think it's a memorial for Diana because her car crashed in the tunnel underneath, though it isn't. However, the concrete nearby is filled with graffiti in honor of her).

And this morning Sarah and I had breakfast (lunch? It was 3PM afterall) at Pain Quotidien in St. Germain. Yay for more cafe in bowls!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday Night

Last night was really fun. The two UCSD AEPhis that I know go to Chabad's Shabbat on the Champs Elysees sometimes, so yesterday Andrea and I decided to go with them, and I had an amazing time (we skipped the services). I've been to a lot of shabbats over the past few years and I never really enjoyed them, but this one was great because a lot of the people present were traveling from out of town, so there were people from Dallas and Sydney and Colombia and Israel. Everyone was really nice, and we got to speak a lot of French too (though the default language of the night was English). One of the Israeli women sitting across from me interrupted me at one point while I was talking to a French woman, and went, "Wait -- you're American? When I heard your French I thought you were French!" which isn't saying much because she herself didn't speak a work of French, but it was a compliment nonetheless. And the best part of last night was that we met two girls from American University in DC, who both know one of my friends from UCI (they met in Israel, go figure), and one of whom was also an AEPhi, how cool!

The food was amazing too. I forgot how good salmon can be. And for dessert, they served non-dairy eclairs and religieuses (welcome to Jewish France!). Also, at one point the rabbi walked around and personally gave every one a shot glass full of vodka. Don't ask.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Off

Neither Sarah nor I had work today, so we ended up getting Chinese food for lunch, because last week I had walked by a Chinese buffet that was cheap and the food in the window actually looked good for a change (there's a lot of Chinese food here but it's different than Chinese food at home). It ended up being really satisfying and it tasted good, but as we piled our first plates FULL of food, we realized that everything was definitely cold. Then Sarah realized that THAT'S what the microwaves nearby were for. It was still delicious, but I knew there had to be some catch!

Afterwards, we went to the Swedish Cultural Center in the Marais to have coffee at the cafe there. 2 euros for really strong, refillable coffee! (the cafe itself was white and airy and open, and everyone who worked there was blonde).

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Today was Ascension, so lots of things were closed and I didn't need to work! Sarah and Jackie and I picnicked on the Champ de Mars again and then had chai tea in the Marais.

Today was supposed to be the bright spot in an otherwise rainy weekend, and it didn't rain but it was still unsunny and windy. I think we've reverted back to December weather.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sleepy Wedneday

As Lise and I walked to her basketball class today, she suddenly got a sharp pain in her stomach. She seemed TOTALLY fine otherwise, but was apparently in too much pain to play basketball. I said we could go home, but that she had to get straight into bed, no TV, etc. And she did, and even though it's the middle of the day, she's been sleeping for TWO AND A HALF HOURS! Yesss. That means that I got to sleep, a-w-e-s-o-m-e (which is what I was doing on Juliette's bed right underneath Lise's top bunk while she probably thought I was reading).

She only has school two days this week (Monday and Tuesday), because Wednesday she never has school, and Thursday is Ascension, so nothing public is open. All the way back in December, the kids had one extra day of school (a Wednesday) so that this Friday they could faire le pont, i.e. make a "bridge" between their day off on Thursday and the weekend, by taking Friday off and getting a four-day weekend. Which sounds great to me (I don't need to work) and I assumed any kid would be excited by that, but every time the subject comes up, they tell me, "Well, it's only because of that extra day in December". So apparently they're still bitter about that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Today was a Better Day (OBVIOUSLY)

After the negative events of yesterday afternoon, the rest of the day and today were rather pleasant. Here are the highlights:

*Going ladybug hunting in the backyard with Lise and her neighbor, who is 7 and is also named Lise (henceforth known as Lise 2). We weren't able to see high enough into the pushes, so I had Lise on my shoulders as we looked (Lise spends a lot of time on my shoulders or on my back, like a koala), and it was nice outside. We ended up finding a lot of them, but because our makeshift cage wasn't very good, we only ever had two of them in our possession at a time. I even found a black one with red spots!

*Lise 2 singing Lana Del Rey's song Video Games. Except that Lise 2 doesn't speak any English, so she was just making up sounds and substituting them for words without realizing it. So cute.

*Helping Juliette studying for her Latin test which was this morning. I end up doing this a lot, because she normally doesn't start studying until the night before which means she needs a lot of help. I now know way more French to Latin translations than I will probably ever need. Ever.

*Coffee in Montmartre this morning.  Rachael and I wanted to celebrate our upcoming 8-month anniversary of arriving in France, so we found a cafe near Abbesses that ended up being perfect. They served our coffee in absolutely ridiculously sized bowls! When we left, it started pourrrrring rain, but it was too windy to take out my umbrella and we were close to the metro anyway, so we walked down a cute little street while my St. Cristin pastry got soaked, but I still ate it anyway and it was delicious.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sometimes You Just Get Mugged

I'm totallyyyy fine, but it was just completely unexpected because I live in a really safe suburb. Basically, I was coming home from Paris in the early afternoon, I decided to take the bus from the train station to a street near my house because I was extra tired (I don't usually take the bus, go figure).

It's less than a 10 minute walk from the bus stop to our house, and it was bright and sunny and I was enjoying the walk because my I had remembered to charge my iPod for once and I was really enjoying listening to Rufus Wainwright. I was about 5 houses away from mine (pretty far down the block at this point), when I felt someone come up behind me and grab happened really fast so it's hard to remember,  and I knew right away that it was bad but I didn't really know what he was trying to do, because we were in broad daylight and there weren't any cars nearby that he could push me into or anything.

But it's a strange sensation being grabbed like that, and as I tried to fight him off me we ended up traveling from the sidewalk and onto the street. I heard somewhere that's it better to throw your belongings far away from you, because your attacker is more likely to want those things than he wants to hurt you, so I threw my coat (which was ripped by this point in our struggle) and my purse about 10 feet away and started SCREAMING. He went to the trouble of reaching into my coat pocket which was then on the ground to grab my iPod, and miraculously, even though my purse was right there, he didn't even try to take it. At this point, a guy who was during work on a nearby house heard my screams and started running after him but the first guy was too fast.

I think the whole thing probably lasted 45 seconds, even though it felt like longer. It was really just unfortunate luck. I almost never listen to music when I walk home at night, and I always constantly look around me, but somehow I managed not to see him today. Also, it was noon exactly when this happened, nowhere near nighttime.

This is the funny thing: For the past FOUR WEEKS, Lise has been OBSESSED with hearing me recount information I learned in the 2 self-defense workshops I took last year at sorority events, and  common attacker scenarios and ways to stop an attacker are literally her favorite subjects right now. Even though all of the info was already in my brain, I think repeating it over and over again to Lise over the past month made my reflexes pretty fast today, which I'm obviously really happy about (although, when I told Lise what happened, after she got over the initial shock, she told me, "What? You didn't even try to poke him in the eyes, even though you said that I would have to do that?? What kind of an example are you?!") :)

After it happened, their grandmother Annick took me to the police station (fun fact: police stations in Parisian suburbs are closed from 12 to 2PM, duh). Since they were closed she took me to coffee and we walked around for a while, and I like talking to her so that was nice. We were first on the list at 2 and weren't seen until 3, which shouldn't be surprising. The police officer taking the report (deposition in French) was really nice, and kept asking me for the English translations of words she was curious about. The best part of this whole ordeal was that I successfully was able to use the imparfait and passe compose verb tenses TOGETHER to correctly denote the order of the things that happened, which is usually hard for me to put into practice, so yay! The police officer even told me that my French was good, yesss.

All in all, while a scary thing, it was the best of all possible mugging situations. I literally didn't get a scratch. I'm sad about my coat, because it's my most precious belonging at present, but I'm definitely going to have my mom sew up the awful tear, which I will proudly wear as a battle scar of sorts. Of everything on me today, my iPod was the least important to me, since it's literally 8 years old, doesn't hold battery and has water damage that makes it impossible to know if it's even charged or not, so joke's on him. Plus, I'm sure he's going to *love* all of the Gilbert & Sullivan and Civil War-era music I have on there :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunny Sunday

Today Sarah and I picnicked on the Champ de Mars, with the Eiffel Tower looming over us. There are worse ways to spend a Sunday!

I officially have two months left in Paris. Very surreal. Over the last 8 months I haven't felt any sense of urgency to get stuff done, but now I probably plan out when I'm seeing everything else that I have left to see.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sorority Meet Up

Running into Andrea and Charlotte by chance a few weeks ago inspired us to look for other AEPhis in Paris, and with some help from the National office and a few other people, we ended up finding a bunch of us who who are studying abroad here or working elsewhere in France. Today we ended up all meeting up, and it was really fun to spend time with other AEPhis from Stanford, UCSD and Minnesota.

At one point we ended up talking about horrible things our parents did to us when we were younger, and Charlotte probably had the best story. Apparently during one family vacation in Switzerland, her dad put her and her older sister on a train and told them he would be right back, because he was just going to leave for a second and help their mom with some luggage. But of course the train doors closed and started to chug along before their parents got back, leaving 8-year-old Charlotte and her 11-year-old sister alone and on their way to some other city in Switzerland, with their dad's passport, but without their dad. Turns out that he had put them on the wrong train, which left just two minutes before the right one. So their parents had to get on the right train, except that theirs was direct and Charlotte's had a few stops on the way to where they were going (they ended up all reuniting at the correct stop, an hour later). Andrea's was about how sometimes her parents would go see a movie at the movie theater, while Andrea and her sister saw a kids' movie that played at the same time. But one time she and her sister were waiting for hours for their parents after their movie had finished, because apparently their parents had completely forgotten that the girls were also at the movies, and had just gone home. I didn't really have anything that interesting to share, except for the one time that my dad starting driving away while I was only half-way in the car (Hi Dad! I know you're reading this!). But that wasn't nearly as traumatizing as I imagine accidentally taking the wrong train alone in Switzerland as an 8-year-old would have been :)

Also, I discovered the ice creams of ice creams today (the Parisian version, anyway). Nutella ice cream, surrounded by Speculoos ice cream. Shaped like a flower. OH MY GOD. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Part 2

...and then I have a lively Friday night dinner with my entire host family where we eat pizza and make fun of Eric's accent and I remember that I actually like France a lot.


Wow, I realized that my rant in the last post was longer than most of my non-rant posts...I guess that's what a mojito at a humid pirate/jungle-themed bar followed by more alcohol on the steps of the Opera Bastille will do to a lightweight American drinker. Good to know.

On the subject of ranting, I'd like to continue by discussion how RIDICULOUS I think it is that some cultures have a formal "you" and a not formal "you". In high school French, they scared us into believing that if we used the informal "tu or toi" with an adult, that would be the Complete End of the World, and thankfully that's not true (on my second day of using "vous" with Joana in Bordeaux, she told me that we pretty much knew each other well enough where that wouldn't be necessary). It's such a pain to figure out which one to use, that I've pretty much started using "toi" with strangers, because by the time the word leaves my mouth it's quite obvious that I'm not French anyway, so why try and put on the act of caring? No one's gotten mad at me yet, so I probably shouldn't actually be complaining in the first place. But Mariene told me that she was talking to her mom on the phone (with whom she speaks French) in a store, and when she hung up, the lady working at the store actually told her that she should be using the formal you.  So clearly some people still care, but I find it incredibly annoying, and I feel like this type of social etiquette exists solely for the purpose of allowing people something to get mad about if it's used incorrectly (maybe French people would seem happier in general if they had less cultural rules to cause them distress??).

Also, on another topic, I'm debating between being proud or worried that Lise actually offered me cuddling in exchange for buying her a Fanta from a vending machine yesterday. But I'm leaning towards proud because her offer worked (I do like cuddling).

Pizza with the host family tonight!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Summer Is On Its Way

It was suddenly really miserably hot today. At first it was really nice, and the air reminded me of being on the East Coast over the summer -- which was a pleasant feeling because being on the East Coast over the summer usually means I'm doing fun things. But then I was like, "Wait a minute. It shouldn't be this hot at NINE THIRTY IN THE MORNING", and apparently I was right to be upset because as the day went on it just got more miserable. I got home from going out with my friends at midnight dripping in sweat from the metro ride, and a shower was definitely necessary. 84 degrees, I do not like you. On Sunday it's supposed to be back in the 50s, oy.

On another subject, sometimes I spend my metro rides thinking more than others, and today's thinking, in addition to a long discussion with Nathalie as we rode the metro home tonight, solidified my opinion that there are some things that I really don't like about France. I used to be a little less honest in my opinions, because overall it's a nice country, but I feel like living here for almost 8 months now means that I don't really have to keep some opinions to myself. This all comes back to the customer service issue that I wrote about in a previous blog. It's not that I think the actual customer service is the important thing, but I think it says something about an overall attitude of entitlement. Today's thinking was brought on by me daydreaming about all of the things I wish I could say in bad customer service situations -- but that I can't say in reality because 1. My French isn't good enough to really get my point across and 2. It wouldn't matter anyway. Things like : "Well, I know it's not your fault, but I checked online this morning and that's what the official company website said the price was" or "But NONE of the signs around the store list a minimum price to get the promotion", or "I came by earlier today and you were closed, even though the sign said you should be open. Is there any rhyme or reason to your actual opening hours?" to name a few. In America (also, I realized that I say the more patriotic America in my head rather than United States, which I think France has unconsciously caused me to do), me saying either one of these things would at least get a sympathetic response and mayyybe a discount, but here they don't care because they don't have to.

That's something else I've been wondering about...France is big about revolutions. And they strike about little things all the time. So why haven't the masses stepped up to demand a change in how they're treated on a daily basis?

Nathalie and I were also talking about how there's specific societal rules about when you're supposed to say Bonjour, and she told me that people have given her a hard time when she didn't say it soon enough. I also hate that it's the culture that you're supposed to say it to the person working (followed by a Monsieur or Madame, which is a apparently a necessity) when you enter a small shop. Obviously, I am all for politeness, and in America (there I go again!) it's my default to say hi to the people working when I enter a store. But you know what? I don't have to. And whether we say hello or not here shouldn't make a difference about how we're treated as customers. THAT'S what I don't understand about France's weird that the people who are SPENDING the money are the ones who have to follow these cultural rules. When really it's more logical that the people who work in the stores (and who are trying to gain this money) should be the nice ones, right? Confession: I semi-unconsconsciously decided a while back that while I usually WILL say Bonjour when I enter a store, I really couldn't care less about saying Madame or Monsieur afterwords, so I usually don't, because, at the risk of showing my Americanness, I think it's uneccesary and old-fashioned, and I don't really care what the people working in stores think anymore. I really don't think it's as necessary as people say it is to follow a country's cultural rules if you don't want to.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday Nights

Wednesday nights are hard because Lise and I have been already been together for 10 hours by this point, and it's hard to keep my energy up when she does things, like, run from the bathroom (where I have finally gotten her to be for bath time) to her bedroom because she's suddenly decided that she will NOT be taking a show OR washing her hair. Sigh.

But I think tonight was successful because I convinced her that she was GOING to wash her hair (which she did), and I think she was impressed by the stuffed animal bunk beds I made after that by using the hardcover books on her shelves. Go me. ALSO, I finally got her to sit down and watch The Wizard of Oz (in English!), which she later told her mother was "trop bien" (or did she say "trop bon"??? AHHHH), and that, I feel, is a huge accomplishment because she really didn't want to watch it in the first place. Yessss.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I got back from my great trip to Lyon late last night, and I finally have the energy to post about it! It was really good to see my friend Jordan from UCI. We both studied in France at the same time, but getting to Lyon from Bordeaux by train is a pain, so this was my first time visiting her in her natural habitat. This time was also more fun than when she came to see me in Paris in February, since we accidentally planned her trip here on the coldest weekend of my life when I also happened to be really sick (note to self: don't get that sick again when it's the coldest weekend of your life).

I ate a lot of really good things (Lyonaise and otherwise, mmmmm, Naan with cheese inside, drool). I also drank a bunch of champagne, which we had as we watched the French presidential election results on May 8th. Jordan and her husband Joris don't have a TV, so we watched the coverage at their friend's apartment. The French results are reported so differently than ours are at home, it's kind of funny. Instead of all-day coverage as each county's votes come in like ours, the French results are announced all at once. At 8PM exactly, the news stops showing footage of reporters and people at rallies, and you see a computer-generated red carpet unfold through what I'm guessing is a computer generated version of France's White House. Then, as the red carpet unrolls completely, they show you a photograph of the new president. So simple!

I really liked being in Lyon. It has two big hills, two rivers, and two Roman amphitheaters. Also, there was clock and (especially) marionette imagery everywhere!

The unnecessarily huge cinnamon/speculoos hot chocolate which I accidentally ordered (and then refused to leave without finishing all of).

Pretty Lyon!

The opera house. 


One of Lyon's two Roman amphitheaters. 

Nice cemetery. 

Charlamagne-era monastery on an island.

Adorable Russian blue playing with Jordan (right before it bit me).

Tandoori chicken in cheese-filled naan, nbd. 

Really nice stained glass at St. Bonventura. Look at the little planet!

Anyway, it's a nice city. Also, some other highlights of this week:

1. I learned a new word recently: cephalaphore, or, someone depicted carrying their own head. Usually, for obvious reasons, this person tends to be a saint, like St. Denis, patron saint of Paris. The best part about learning this word is that I now know it because it was a Word of the Month in one of the kid's kid magazine. Oh, France.

2. I have a really strong desire to learn how to play the accordion. I'm perfectly serious about this, so if anyone stumbles upon an accordion at a garage sale and knows someone who likes to give out free accordion lessons, please send them my way. Once I learn, I'm going to buy a monkey and supplement my income by teaching it to dance as I play.

3. My goal for the summer is to see if I can get around Burbank without my car, by walking everywhere. I'm actually really looking forward to that. We walk so much around Paris on a daily basis (today: from above the Pantheon, to the Notre Dame area, to the Marais, then back to the Pantheon area, then to Montparnasse), that there's no reason why I need to drive so much at home. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Lyon is nice! Jordan and I walked around all day. It's on and off raining, so Jordan and I ducked into a cafe and I accidentally ordered THE biggest hot cholate EVER. It came with two solid inches of whipped cream with speculoos crumbs.

I like big cities, but everytime I leave Paris to visit a medium city like Bordeaux or Lyon, I have to acknowledge that I really prefer these. They're so much calmer and so much cheaper. And cuter, too.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lyon today!

Yesterday when I picked Lise up from school, she told me that actually, Hollande wants to add THREE weeks onto the school year. I told her that there are probably more important things that grown ups care about for the election, and she told me, "Three weeks of more school, sports, and not being able to invite friends over??! That's the worst!!!!".

Also, I'm taking a train to Lyon this morning to visit my American friend Jordan, so I might not be blogging as much. Pictures upon my return! :)


As of today, Lise is officially interested in politics. From the moment I saw her this morning, she started talking about the upcoming French presidential election, and it continued until the moment I said goodbye to her at school. She informed me that she hopes Hollande loses -- which was strange to hear, because Eric talks of nothing but how much he can't stand Sarkozy.

I was surprised to hear anything other than a greeting involving the cats or Disney Channel come out of her mouth this morning, but any hopes I had for some newfound interest were quickly dashed when I realized that this sudden interest in France's President revolved around something that Hollande said involving wanted to make summer vacation a whole week shorter. Lise is completely disgusted, and apparently her best friend Clara is too. Which is why it's a good thing that France doesn't let 8-year-olds vote in presidential elections, I guess.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

April Weather

We've been having strange weather lately, to the extent that it's hard to say that it's officially "nice" out yet. The way things have been going lately, the days have been alternating between dark/gloomy/pouring rain and bright and sunny. As in, I have to say to myself when I get dressed in the morning, "Well, yesterday it was raining cats and dogs, so therefore today I don't have to wear that much and I can go lounge in a park all day". It's strange.

Also, France is kind of in the North, so doesn't get dark until around 9:30PM anymore. And at around 7 or 8PM, it's so bright that it might as well be 11AM. It's kind of hard to get used to, considering it wasn't that long ago that it would be pitch black by 6M here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Strange Things I Find In My Host Family's Possession

Seriously? I'm pretty sure Target doesn't even have the Archer Farms brand anymore. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Busy Week!

I've been trying to store up as much Jackie time as possible before she dives head first into her PhD research at the National Archives, so we've done a lot together over the past few days. On Monday during the day we went to the Louvre because she had never been, and it was fine for me because we visited Napoleon III's apartments, which I had never seen before, plus a bunch of tapestries and other medieval objects. That's what I love about the Louvre...the collection is so extensive that you visit multiple times while having a completely different experience each time.

Medieval jewelry holders?

Empress Eugenie's tiara!

I could throw a pretty awesome party in some of those apartments...

And today was May 1, a holiday where all of the H&Ms are closed, and I didn't have work either. We started out at a picnic at Park Monceau with Rachael, and then got coffee on Rue Mouffetarde
followed by Berthillon on Isle St. Louis. Then, as we left the island, we saw THE biggest macarons EVER in a window, so of course we had to get one. No joke, it was the size of a small hamburger.


On another note, people keep asking me if I'm homesick, but I'm not. I'm just really excited to be home in 2.5 months! I do miss my sorority friends terribly, however. Basically, I just want to be less than 9 hours apart from everyone.

But some things distract me from missing them. Like yesterday, when I came home from the Louvre, and Juliette and her other 12-yer-old friends were making crepes from scratch while reciting lines from The Imaginary Invalid. I can't make this stuff up! And Juliette's mini preformance of her scene is due tomorrow, so tonight I helped her practice tonight while she was wearing a white flowy shirt with a black vest and a floppy black hat (all over her striped pajamas. They were stripes even to bed here). Things like this remind me that I am having fun.