Monday, February 19, 2007

Emily vs. France part deux

For those of you who are not up to date with my France Telecom/France Electric saga, let me fill you in. First, you may remember from a previous blog that I have a french bank account that I cannot put money into or take money out of. I had to HAD TO use this bank account to set up the electric and my phone line, but I ( and by I, I mean nanda) specifically told them that the account could not be debited for the bills and that I would pay in cash. Well, sure enough, both companies tried to debit money from my account and when I went to pay in cash, they said, sorry, but you've already paid. No, I did not. But possibly, BNP paribas did and now I will get kicked out of the country for overdrafting on an account that I am not officially allowed to use.

Anyways, the moral of the story is that today was take two for trying to pay en especes (that's cold hard cash). Samantha accompanied me for moral support and also to buy stamps, since you have to pay your bills at the post office for whatever crazy french reason. I was literally half hysterical and sweating bullets trying to figure out how i was going to explain the above saga en francais. The guy was really nice, although I'm pretty sure I heard him swear under his breath about halfway through my story. But then he just took the bill form from me and filled the rest of it out and took my money (which they wouldn't even do last time). SO, hooray. score one for emily. Hopefully, I won't get kicked out of the country, now. That would be good.

In other news, I'm pretty sure one of my french teachers thinks I'm a weirdo. Today, one of the guys in class tried to say he was hungry, but instead of saying, "J'ai faim" He said, " Je suis femme" or I am a woman. We had a good giggle about this and then he said in english, "well, sorry, i'm not a woman, I guess I left my breasts at home today." And the teacher said en francais, en francais and no one could remember the word for breasts, like the nice way to say it. I could only remember a very vulgar term for breasts which i stumbled across in the dictionary and taught to jason one of the spanish trackers and now cannot seem to forget. Anyways, i really tried not to say it, and i apologized in advance, but no one else could remember the word. So, then out of my mouth it came. Luckily, she laughed and corrected us on the nice way to say it. Just another day in the life of me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happiness in Paris is...

Happiness in Paris is:
1) Finding beer pong that was already set up and organized in a Paris bar.
I have to tell you that it's hilarious how excited the french trackers were on saturday night when we stumbled upon beer pong at a bar in the Mouffetard. It only got better when an Austalian guy made Pfaff his partner against these two obnoxious american girls and beat them. Then the next game I talked Sara into playing for the first time, and it's always funny when southern ladies who wear pearls and shun beer start dominating at beer pong. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. I was also excited that it was a Chicago white sox beer pong table. I'm not a sox fan, but anything chicago makes me a little nostalgic. Apparently the owner of the bar is a big fan.
2) We made FRENCH friends on saturday night.
yeah, real ones. I'm pumped. Basically what happened is we were at the bar post beer pong and Nanda and I sent Samantha off to find friends. Not sure why. We just said, "Samantha, go find friends, and then she disappeared for an hour." Around that time, Nanda and I said to each other, ummmm where's Samantha, since we kinda had expected her back in about T minus 30 seconds. But no, I think her new thigh high argyle socks made her brave because she was downstairs with a bunch of frenchies making nice. So Nanda and I headed down there too and were introduced to Celine, two guys names guillaume, thomas and jerome. We spent the rest of the night talking to them, until we got kicked out at 4am. They were extremely nice and tolerated whatever french nonsense was spilling out of my mouth that night. At the end of the night, we got double kissed! (It's ok, mom, you can keep reading it was just on the cheek). That just means that we're real french friends. The plan is to hang out more this weekend and help them on their english and me on my french(since nanda doesn't really need help).
3) I got mistaken for another nationality
On monday, I went to make my parents' hotel reservation for their trip here in March. On a whim, i decided to just do the whole thing in French. It was crazy. I actually understood what the hotel manager was saying and then words just came out of my mouth correctly. Anyways, at the end of our little transaction, she says to me, oh are you originally from London? and I say no, no, no, I'm american. And she says, "Oh, that's not possible, you're french is way to good, you must at least be british." HAAAAAAA, I'll certainly never pass for french, but I've acheived a british level of crappy french. Good work team france! I almost jumped out of my pants I was so excited.
Anyways, that's all for now, and remember when you leave me comments, i feel loved.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

As Sydney would say, It's not all fun and games in Paris...

This past week and a half has been a mix of good and bad.

The bad:
Last friday we had a career fair, at which we were supposed to get internships. Nanda and I had an ingenious plan (thought up by Nanda of course) where instead of running away from the French career fair like I wanted to do, she just introduced us and impressed the recruiters from the get go. Then we split up to explain our specific internship needs (marketing for me, finance for her), I would stumble through the conversation in half English/half French and force my resume upon them. Excellent plan. However, the recruiters caught on to my scam and I was told very nicely that while I was very impressive in English, I was in fact in France and they speak French here. Oh yeah, I forgot. Anyways, the moral of the story is don't go to a French career fair 3 weeks into your French learning extravaganza. The good news is I can now order my dinner and shop en Francais, so I mean I've got my basic needs taken care of.

Okay, now for the good:
Sara had a birthday last sunday and we went to Notre Dame were I was approached by a creepy, middle aged French guy who wanted to teach me French conversation to which I said ha ha, NO and then I ran away. But we got some great pictures of Notre Dame! It's absolutely gorgeous in and out. My favorite sculpture is on the outside. It's of St. Denis. He told all the French pagans about Jesus and then they cut off his head. But, he didn't die. He just picked his head up and walked 3 miles to Montmartre (hill of martyrs, where I live). Then, all the Frenchies became catholic. amen.

The French trackers, plus this kid we don't like, Antonia and Taekun took on the Parliament of the European Union in Brussels on Tuesday. The EU parliament was very cool. We got a personal guided tour and got to see where they make all the big decisions, like how the euro is going to continue to beat the dollar into a pulp. Poor Brussels, it was all grey and gross. Not very impressive, except for the beer, waffles, chocolate and the mannekin pis. Rick used to live in Belgium, so he showed us to the grand place and the mannekin pis. Then, just like we knew he would, Rick took us to all the good bars. The first one used to be a very cool marionette bar back in Rick's day, but has recently been turned into a tiki bar. Rick was very sad and needed to drown his sorrows at the delirium cafe. I helped him out by ordering cherry beer. IT WAS AWESOME. I could drink that stuff all day...but of course i did not because I am a responsible student and because i had to get a famous gauffre (belgian waffle) in me before our train left. After a day of diplomats, waffles and beer, I was quite content.

Yesterday, was very fun. Josh, Kristen and I went to the Louvre and I saw some really great stuff. I was not that impressed by the mona lisa, but there were tons of beautiful paintings to fall in love with. I also am now totally enamored with a sculpture of Psyche and Cupid where Cupid is giving Psyche the kiss of love to bring her back to life after she has an unfortunate incident with some poisoned perfume. It's absolutely amazing. It looks like at any moment, the sculpture will come to life and start moving. Below, Josh and I pretend to be pyramids and you see part of the Louvre through IM Pei's Pyramid.
Then, we had a great dinner and went to a bar by my house to listen to live jazz and drink some wine. It was truly a great day.