Saturday, March 31, 2007

Modern Art

Although i have been on my death bed this week trying to recover from la grippe, i managed to go to the doctor to get my carte de sejour. This was quite an experience in itself, luckily a fellow french tracker, Jill, was there to help me through. First, I felt the need to vomit on the way to the prefecture doctor, so i stopped at the only place who will let you use their bathrooms, Mcdonalds. While i was in the bathroom, i hear outside my stall door, "OOOOH la la, oooh la la, je doit faire le pee-pee, oooooh la la." (translation, oh my oh my, i must make pee pee oh my). This was followed by urgent knocking on my door. Now, I don't know if the person in the other stall died or what, but they were in there before me, so i was a little annoyed (and nauseated) by the fact that someone was rushing my out of my precious stall. Finally, i was done and i let pee-pee lady go, only to find that the hand dryer did not work. This would have been fine, but the four people in line insisted on showing me how to work a hand dryer and of course, were extremely disappointed when, in fact, la seche-mains ne marche pas. Moving on, i showed up at the prefecture and was shown into a closet with two doors, where i was told in five languages to take off all my clothes for my lung xray. Then, much to my naked surprise, a man opened the other door and motioned me into the xray room where a woman shoved me against the machine, positioned my arms and told me to breathe in in french. After that, I had to go through the not so rigorous process of talking to the doctor, basically i just had to tell him i was not diseased, had never been sick, had surgery, been hospitalized and was of course up to date on my shots. Then, i waited for the prefecture people to get done with their crossword puzzle to tell me to come back in a week for my carte de sejour. The moral of the story is, I am almost legal and i have a sweet chest xray to treasure for ever.
my xray and I went to afternoon class, where Samantha informed me that she could see my breasts on my xray, I said no you can't and the xray got passed around and then she said yes you can and pointed them out, at which point my teacher held my xray up to my chest and said hmmmm. Well, i was more than a little embarassed. After class, we had our etiquette dinner. It was very yummy, but i was forced to try (out of politess) foie gras, sweet breads and two different kinds of blood sausage and the tummy was not happy. Then, our guest speaker launched into a discussion about how i should hang my chest xray on my wall as modern art. All in all it was an interesting 4 and a half hour dinner. But I did learn the history of the kir, so it was almost worth the blood sausage.
For those family members and friends who are concerned that all i do is drink and travel and party, I assure you that I do attend classes (although not too many this weak due to the illness). My french is coming along nicely, although it is still very elementary. I am taking grammar, conversation and business french right now for six hours a day, every day. I still have not gotten an internship, but there are five of us in the same boat and our south carolina advisor is coming next week to sort things out. So hopefully that will be fine. At this point, i would sweep the metro for free. My aspirations are soooo high. Anyways, love you all!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Votre Mama est troooop GROSSE....(aka your mama is sooo fat)

This past week has been pretty crazy in good and bad ways. The best thing was that my parents came to visit. I was so happy to see them, and I knew the trip was going to be interesting because the first thing they did upon arriving in france was lose their luggage and then try to pay the french taxi driver in dollars. Given the current exchange rate, you can understand why the taxi driver was more than a little distraught at the thought of getting paid this way. It was also very interesting that he suddenly became very fluent in english. I had a good laugh about that. After that, things went a little smoother. We ate some wonderful food, the best was a michelin starred restaurant that served us candied cherry tomatoes. Sounds gross, but it is actually really good. Plus, apparently french people will now think I am cool cause i got to eat at a restaurant "etoile," which means star, but sometimes i get it confused with "toilette" or toilet.

We spent a lot of time walking around the city and up and down the 8 flights of stairs between my house and my parents' hotel. It was wonderful. Unfortunately, I got sick this weekend and had to be nursed back to health by my mom ( so glad she was here to make me soup). She and my dad even cheered me up by launching into a random string of your mama jokes, which was unexpected and hilarious.

Besides me being sick, my poor parents missed their flight on sunday! The stars were not aligned and all the odds were against us. This is not a feel good story. I accompanied them on the train because my sister and her friends were scheduled to get in around the time that they were supposed to take off. First, I had to use the bathroom at the train station which would have been fine except apparently the bathroom attendant was feeling extra hornery at 5:30 in the morning and insisted on making me wait for her to clean the floors and then demanded 50 cents which (after trying politely to step around her and speak to her in french) i threw at her and screamed C'EST URGENT! I GOT TO GO! cause i don't know how to say that last part in french. Then, the direct train which would have gotten us to the airport on time broke down and we had to switch, after waiting for 15 minutes, to the slow train (to the airport, not to hell, although I can see how you'd get them confused). On the train we realized that all the clocks at the train stops were an hour ahead of our watches. That's when we discovered that France does daylight savings time and no one thought to tell us about it. whoops. So my parents lost that coveted one hour cushion in which they would have made their flight and after my mother nearly came to blows with the customer service people they got booked on a flight that left today. The good thing is that we got to have a nice day in paris as a family! More stories to come about my week with sydney and her friends. Four girls, one bathroom, one studio! hilarity to ensue.

Dad refuses to get in the loft to check his email.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Let's Get Jamtastic! aka Paris is Confitur-iffic!

So, I couldn't come up with just one title for this post. That's how excited I am about the Bon Maman jam store or "boutique de la confiture" for those of you who have been frenchified. Basically, Bon Maman has started a boutique decorated with jam art and jam jar furniture and they give out FOR FREE jam related foods such as jam and foods made with jam. It's about the best thing I've ever been a part of. The idea is that if you have a good (and free) experience with a product, then you will be hooked on it for life. I have definitely found this to be true. I feel like I'm reliving a jam version of that scene from Forest Gump where Bubba starts listing all the different things you can make with shrimp (jam with cheese, jam ribs, chicken with jam, jam vinaigrette on salad, jam in yogurt, etc...). I've never eaten so much jam in my life (don't call it jelly, zees ees NOT jelly, as the frenchies would say. Anyways, you haven't lived until you've had Bon Maman confiture. My parents are gracing me with their presence (and presents?) next week and you can bet that one of the first places we go is the jam place. It closes on wednesday, so I gotta get my fill of free jammy food.

In other news, when Maren was here, we were sooo excited to see a roboting barbie at the galleries lafayette. I don't know if I can explain it, but there's something very satisfying about seeing a real-life version of barbie roboting while people get their make-up done and pop music blares over the loud speakers. It's quite the shopping experience.

We also managed to wander over to Versailles for an afternoon. It was beautiful there, even though the gardens are still pretty dead. They rent golf carts out to tour around the grounds, and when Maren and I saw that we said, "screw golf carts, we can so walk to marie antoinette's house." That my friends, was a mistake. An hour later we found marie antoinette's house and it was not that exceptional besides seeing Louis the 15th's (I think, there were a lot of Louis's) baby carriage. Then we got lost and ended up in a field with some horses and a soccer team....then it started to rain. I took that as God's way of telling us to get the H out of Versailles. We finally got out and were able to realize our collective dream of buying the chatchiest (re: cheap and ugly and ridiculous) souvenirs ever. FYI, i have started a chatchy magnet collection to commemorate my time in Europe and it is going wonderfully. I already have a mannekin pis and a sagrada familia. Who knows what will be next. Anyways, it ended up being another great day in Paris.

In conclusion, it's almost spring and I can't wait. It's warmer, the people are out, and the Scots are invading Montmartre. No seriously, there's a bag piper playing outside my window as we speak. A bientot!

Saturday, March 3, 2007


This week, we had a break from school and my friend maren (who put up with me all through college and is amazingly still friends with me:) came to visit. Besides dealing with the airline losing all of her luggage which she still does not have 8 days later, we've been having a fantastic time. I've been showing her around Paris and then we hopped over to Barcelona so that she could show me around since she studied there for a little while.

Barcelona was absolutely amazing. It was warm and there were palm trees and Gaudi, so I was in love. I was fairly impressed with the hostel we stayed in which was right off of las ramblas the main road. We had to sleep on top of a blanket though, because the springs of our very spacious double bed were stabbing us.

Anyways, we checked out Gaudi's Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo and they were super cool, especially for an architecture nerd like me. Sagrada Familia is still not finished. They've been working on it for over a century, but I think it's supposed to be ready in about 20 more years or so. I scared the crap out of myself taking the elevator up to the top. It was way high. I made maren promise to walk in front of me, so that she could soften my fall. That's what friends are for after all.

We also went to a very cool bar called "El Bosc de les fades" (or fairy tale bar). It used to be a section of the wax museum, but now it is a place of drinking that is decorated with various fake foliage, nymphs and a fortune teller. I got to see a flamenco demonstration, too. There are no pictures though because their feet were moving way too fast. It was incredible, well the second dancer was incredible, the first one had what maren and I now refer to as "flamenco face" which is a cross between evil and ouch, flamenco really hurts. hard to describe, but basically not pretty. In true maren fashion, copious amounts of sangria were consumed.

On our last day, we wandered around the port for awhile and checked out the aquarium. It was gorgeous!