Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Le temps a passe.....

I haven't written here in a really long time and I fear it's beginning to lose it's purpose. Oh well. I have about six weeks left here so I will try to be more faithful. Right now, I have a few things to say:

1. Some weeks ago I decided to supplement my breakfasts with a little thing of yogurt every morning. Usually in grocery stores here they have an immense yogurt selection with a wide variety of flavors. I have just been buying whatever looks good, but when I brought my yogurt home I would notice the brand names and read their uses....one to keep me regular! One to keep me thin! One great for low sugar intake! Each time I realized this, I was already way into finishing my box, wondering with each bite why my yogurt tasted a little funny. Also, I like to think that my host mother sees each purchase and wonders why I am so obsessive about weight loss, because for some reason that seems funny to me.

2. Most universities (not mine) and working people have off this week and next week for an array of holidays. My host mom was explaining this to me yesterday and then said "Charlotte (the previously mentioned cat) has gone to her vacation house in the south of France with her big garden!", which was maybe the cutest thing I ever heard.

3. I went to Barcelona two weekends ago and it was really, really fun despite raining the whole time. I ate black rice (rice mixed with squid ink) paella and a plate of what appeared to be fried guppies. We also had giant mugs of sangria that no one but me finished (not a point of pride, really). Then last weekend I saw Vicky Christina Barcelona again and could recognize the scenery....not too necessary to the plot, but whatev.

4. My host mom has had two parties in the past few weeks and I have been to both. They were extremely interesting and gave me both practice with my French (and in some cases Russian!) and also the realization that I have a LONG WAY to go. Sigh. But it was nice to have an apertif with her family and friends and gain some cultural perspective.

5. Bryan soon! He arrives when I return from Amsterdam and I've been trying to create a perfect schedule so that I can show my favorite person my favorite city.

I'm really excited for what the future holds, but I really wish I could be in France longer. I keep having these intense reflections when I walk home late at night alongside the park and slip on wet leaves. I love Paris. I love French. When I left the last time I knew exactly when I would be back, but leaving this time will be much harder. Sigh.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yesterday when I was in the kitchen drinking coffee from my bowl and reading my Paris autobiography, I heard a huge amount of almost torturous sounding meowing. It turned out Charlotte, the cat from next door, had wandered in the open terrace door. I was none too phased by this, as it had happened two times earlier in the week. I sat on my stool ignoring the ruckus, and suddenly I heard from the other room, "Bonjour Charlotte, ca va?", which prompted more meowing. After she finished meowing, my host mom replies (in French, of course) with "What does this mean, Charlotte?". This exchange went on about three more times until I heard them go out on the terrace together. It was pretty much the sweetest thing.

Yesterday, I also heard a not so sweet thing. After the meowing exchange ended, I heard an extremely violent fight occurring over my head, on the ninth floor. It was so bad that I thought someone was actually dying. I asked my host mom about it, and she told me that it is a couple in the middle of a divorce and that they have fought like that for three years. Apparently it is an African woman married to a Frenchman, who is trying to process their divorce in an African court, so that he gets everything. I read an article in the Economist about this some time before I left....they're trying to pass a law that forbids it, but I'm not so sure how it's progressing.

Today I walked past my host mom watching TV in the living room and went into the kitchen to make coffee and toast. A few minutes later she walked in and said (I thought) "I'm living with a little party". I got embarrassed and assumed it was a reference to my coming in at 2am last night. She started at me and said "You know what this means? (nodded my head) You walked passed me and I didn't even hear you". At this point I realized she said "I'm living with a little mouse" (souris) , rather than party (soiree). Ha.

This past week hasn't been too too exciting. I found some awesome vintage shoes for five euro. When the RER workers went on strike and I had to find an alternative way to school, the heels of my shoes sunk in the mud. I ate a lot of figs and sneaked some couscous into a bar for dinner. I saw some people act ridiculous. I was tired, all the time, as usual.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Gummy Crocodiles.

I'll be immediately honest. This particular post is only being made as an effort to procrastinate. I have to finishing writing my Russian essay for my abroad application, but oh well. It's driving me crazy. Moving into week three, nothing too exciting has happened. I think I need to do something to improve what's bothering me, but I'm here for such a short time that the pros may outweigh the cons.

Again, probably the most interesting thing to discuss here are further conversations with my host mother. I really didn't think we would ever spend an evening discussing hermaphrodite fish or Jane Fonda's ups and downs. Her life was really very interesting, and I'm content just to listen. She asked me if I could understand all she said and when I replied yes, she told me "don't worry, it's all there. One day you'll speak just fine". Yes. I hope so.

This weekend I go to Giverny (Monet's house, one of my favorite places in France) and Rouen. Hopefully a group tour doesn't kill me. I'm so sick of them. Next week I go to a ballet and will force my new heels on everyone. Visiting friends soon, too. Good news soon? I hope!

I worry my disease of constantly thinking forward and wishing to try out different perspectives prevents me from really living my current situation. I keep thinking about the next year and a half of my life and all I need and want to accomplish. I keep wondering if different options would have been better. By the end of my undergraduate career, I will have attended eight different universities in three different countries. Ridiculous.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Today marks the first sunny day I've had in Paris and the end of my first week here. It's been the longest week ever, full of start up costs, paralysis, nostalgia, finding my footing once more, schisms, and late nights out. It's so liberating to have already seen all of the huge tourists sections of Paris, leaving me with time to wander, guilt-free.

So far, my homestay situation has been most educational. It's very interesting to not just visit a French apartment, but be forced to adapt to living there. So far their have been issues over my forgetting to close the door to the W.C., not locking the door correctly with the key that strangely resembles a fork, and not cranking my garage door-esque blinds over my giant bedroom window at the appropriate time. I live with just one retired woman who is fascinating. She grew up in Tunsia, so her cooking reflects that of a colonizer, whose native French cuisine is infected with an exotic flare. She does not speak English, so that's extremely helpful. She also seen everything in Louvre, after having spent five hours of every day for a whole month viewing the paintings.

Today I had my first full day at the Sorbonne, and my class was most interesting. The topic was "why is the French language SO DIFFICULT to pronounce?'. We spent an hour dissecting words by syllables, discussing why certain vowels were omitted in pronunciation. It cleared up many of my age-old issues. Tomorrow I have my culture class, which I am extremely excited about!

So you know, until next time....