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The Boy Visits Paris, take two…

Posted on May 22, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Yesterday it finally hit me that I’ve only got a week here left, which is shocking and a bit terrifying and sad. My line to people about missing Paris has so far been, yeah it’s gonna be tough and I think I would be a lot more sad if I didn’t have the excitement of moving in with S waiting for me back home. Yesterday though, I was riding home on a bus after wandering through the Jardin du Luxembourg and it really truely hit me that I would be gone soon and this wonderful, amazing, sometimes frustrating experience would be over. I will never again be 21 and living Paris. And that’s something I’ve been mourning a bit, even in the excitement of preparing a new life. This city will always be something special to me. I can’t wait to come back here and explore with my children and show them all my favorite places. But still, I’m sad to be leaving what I have here and now, a life surrounded by wonderful, amazing friends, filled with crazy evenings spent meeting people in metro stations and going in search of a host-family free apartment to get together and party in. So, I’m trying to make this last week or so really count, because, damn, I miss these ladies already.

And now onto the promised recounting of S’s visit to Paris during his spring break in March, because despite the sadness to be leaving, I’m completely and awesomely psyched to be moving in with S and sharing a life with him. And here are some reasons why:

In case you didn’t know, we both LOVE to cook. I’m back at Pearls and Cupcakes in about a week and so much food blogging will be had. Very psyched. The second night he was here, after crashing for a bit, we picked out a recipe for marscapone, spinach, lemon and hazelnut pasta, that was, quite frankly, awesome. What was not so awesome, was S forgetting his credit card in the Boston airport, but we figured out how to transfer money between our accounts and so all was good.

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Dublin, the boy in Paris, Christmas at home, 21st Birthday, and Chinese New Years, oh my!

Posted on May 20, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

So the post a day didn’t exactly happen, because of finals and a nasty cold that I can’t quite quit, but I’m pushing through to try and document as much as possible of what happened during my long absence, before getting to the good stuff of my amazing spring break trip of awesome (pictures are already up on my flickr if you are curious and want a sneak peek.) Anyways, I’ve decided that the best ways to get you all caught up is via a short picture diary of the major events of December 2008 to January 2009.

First stop, Dublin: December 5th to December 7th

Travel Companions: Jamie and Alix

Where we stayed: Charles Stuart Guesthouse in a huge triple room. Very friendly people plus tasty traditional Irish breakfast every morning.

Favorite thing eaten: Sausages and Grand Marnier hot chocolate at the Temble Bar Food Market.

What we did: Saw Malahide Castle, went on the Guinness Factory Tour, walked around St. Stephen’s Green, and window shopped on Grafton Street.

Favorite memory: Going to a club where Jamie and I went to grab drinks and turned around to ask Alix what she wanted only to find her making out with the HOTTEST guy I’ve ever seen. Like epically hot. So sad I don’t have a picture.

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A belated Happy Mother’s Day…

Posted on May 15, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

With 16 days left in France, I believe I am at what would be considered the final countdown stage of my year here. And in this final countdown mentality, in addition to driving myself a bit mad trying to get in all of my favorite Paris things as well as study for finals, I feel oddly compelled to make sure I document every little thing so that I don’t forget, even though I’m already starting to. Thus I bring you the week of a post a day until I finally catch up to where I am now, and where I’m about to be.

I had originally intended to post about my mom’s trip to Paris in February on Mother’s Day, but I unfortunately have been without a computer for the last two weeks, which, no, wasn’t stressful at all, thanks for asking. Advice to anyone living abroad used to the wonderful, wonderful, live-saving, worship-deserving US Mac store people, don’t ever try to get your  computer fixed abroad and expect the same level of service. It doesn’t exist, and that makes me very sad.

Anyways, back to the momma’s trip to Paris. She officially came in as my big 21st birthday present, because I decided there was just no way I could live in Paris for a year without her coming to visit me. The first night, a Monday, we stayed in Hotel Residence Henri IV in the 5th, which I would highly recommend. Very nice rooms and in a wonderful location for not so very much. We pretty much just hung around in that area, since my mom was so jetlagged. The next morning, we moved into my wonderful host family’s apartment, as my host sister was out of town for the week on a school trip and my host mom decided to take advantage of the free time and spend the week in Barcelona.

After getting settled in, we picked up Champagne, whose host family was also gone for the week, and headed off to the Musée d’Orsay, which continues to be my favorite museum in Paris, if not the world. My mom was equally impressed. After grabbing a quick lunch at the amazing museum restaurantm we went over to Notre Dame, which was as neat as always.

On Wendsday, we decided to follow (against my attempts to fit in and at least not look like a total tourist) Rick Steves *shudder* walk around Montmartre, which I actually hadn’t made it up to yet. I think Sacre Coeur may be one of my favorite places in Paris, but the area in general was a bit too touristy for my taste. It was weird to be in Paris, but hear more English than French.

I really enjoyed walking around the neighborhood and imagining what it must have been like in the days of the impressionists, back before it became a mass producing tourist mecca. Also seeing where Van Gogh lived was pretty cool.

Thursday was Champagne’s 21st birthday, so we decided to make it into a giant joint birthday extravaganza. After picking up pastries at Ladurée the day before, we headed over to my favorite little lunch place a block away from my house and got several tasty sandwiches. A bottle of champagne from Champagne’s voice teacher completed our picnic and we headed out to Versailles for a day filled with pastries and champagne. And here’s the birthday girl!:

It was more dark and rainy than our previous bright and glorious experience, but pretty darn cool nonetheless. I mean, how many people celebrate their 21st birthday with a view like this?

Although we missed out on the fountains because of the time of year, we did indulge in something Champagne and I hadn’t the first time around: RENTING GOLF CARTS!!! Or more properly, just one, to take ourselves down to Petit and Grand Trianon, the smaller private royal residences nearby. They were both much more liveable than the behemoth that is Versaills, so that was pretty cool. That evening we had dinner at the AMAZING Le Restaurant in St. Germain, where we all shared a 4 course tasting menu of scallops, some sort of asparagus soup, a white fish and several wonderful small desserts. SO GOOD!

Thursday, I decided to get myself some mom-time, so we headed over to the Louvre and pitifully attempted to see EVERYTHING! We made it to everything I wanted to see, but unfortunately spent a bit too much time wandering around the Louvre and didn’t make it to le Musée de l’Orangerie in Jardin des Tuileries. We did however have a nice walk around the gardens, and I got to take some pretty cool pictures of the Champs-Elysées.

After a very long day, we took a bus down the Champs Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe and then headed home for some delivery food Indian (I would sell my soul for some nan au fromage right about now). Mom’s last day was spent wandering around the Marais, going to Beaubourg, and then heading off to see the Eiffel Tower. All in all a wonderful trip…

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Joyeux anniversaire, mon coeur…

Posted on April 30, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

I’m officially back in Paris and, as soon as I get this giant paper deadline I have looming over me done with, I promise I’ll post all about my adventures gallivanting about Europe.

However, today is a very special day, because today is the day a certain someone in my life is hitting a very important milestone.

As of midnight, April 30, 2009, the Boy will have officially reached the most important age in any college student’s life: 21.

Happy birthday, love. I couldn’t imagine a more wonderful person to be sharing my life with.

Love,

S

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On the road (or rather the rail)…

Posted on April 17, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I don’t have time for a long post, but I just wanted to drop in and let all of you out there know that Champagne and I are out and about and I will have many tales to tell when I return to Paris. We’re currently in Marseilles, having just finished a speedy tour of Barcelona, which was gorgeous, Madrid, which was boring but full of good art,  and Sevilla, which was crazy. See you on the flipside next weekend after Nice, Florence and Rome!

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St. Paddy’s Day, Paris style…

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

My oh my, two posts in one day. Whatever are you all going to do? Or more properly, what are y’all gonna do?

As it is the great Irish drinking holiday today, also known as St. Patrick’s Day, C and I decided, after getting out of class at 8, that something had to be done. I got home to find my host brothers, Simon and Josua, as well as two of Simon’s friends in our kitchen preparing to (aka drinking before) head over to my university in Paris, where there was a general meeting for students active their universities’ strikes.

By the way, the strikes have continued and spread. Several days ago, students took over the Sorbonne and barred the doorways. Today, the Sorbonne occupation spread to Sciences Po, the university I took classes at last semester. My older host brother, Simon, is a bit of a hippie and quite active in the grève at his fac. The more I learn about the movement, the more I support their aims. Plus, it’s been pretty fun to be in a country where it is perfectly acceptable to be a socialist and where strikes and protests are a part of everyday life.

Anyways, so C and I hopped on over to our local Monoprix (a supermarket chain that is absolutely partout in France) and joined the many students buying copious amounts of alcohol. We picked up some Bailey’s and some hot chocolate mix and ran back home to make some Bailey’s hot chocolate to throw in a thermos before heading back to the fac to meet up with Simon. Once we got there, we hung out for a bit enjoying some live ska (please come back ska, I miss you so) until the music stopped and crowds started to get a bit rowdy.

We finally found Simon and his friends, just as people were starting to get riled up about the possibility of a march. We hung back a bit, seeing what was going to happen, before deciding to join up with the march, which involved a run that ended up being way longer than I expected, but we managed nonetheless. The manif itself was amazing. C and I walked from our house, near Bibliothéque Mitterrand, down through the Quartier Chinois and Place d’Italie all the way to Cardinal Lemoine. The students originally intended to march all the way to the Assemblée Nationale, but as we were leaving we heard several say that they would instead be stopping at the Sorbonne.

It was a relatively small manif, maybe 200 or 300 students, but it was still amazing to see how politically active French students are in comparison to their American counterparts. While there were a few students who got a bit violent, stealing trashcans and throwing beer bottles at windows, the group was relatively peaceful. All along the way, we saw people hanging out of their apartment windows and shouting along with us, as if recalling the days when they too took to the streets at midnight. My favorite was probably this white-haired man in his late 60s, waiting at a bus stop, just watching everything and smiling. I even took part in the chanting, whenever I managed to understand what was being said. Mostly though, I just sat back and watched and tried to keep an eye on Simon.

There is going to be a grève generale on Thursday, which will be significantly more widespread than this relatively small protest. It will be interesting to compare tonight’s student movement with the workers’ movements going on on Thursday. Seeing the French traditions of grève and manifestation has certainly been an interesting experience. There are times when it seems like everything in society is affected, from the metro to my thirteen year old host sister, who occasionally chants at the dinner table “collégiens en grève,” which basically means “middleschoolers on strike.”

And there you have the omniprescence of the strike and the political protest in France, so common that even the middleschoolers participate, if only for a day off of school.

(Pic comes from a trip to the Guinness factory in Dublin that I visited in December, more about that trip another time.)

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Posts in progress…

Posted on March 17, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Red Panda

I promise promise promise that several posts are in the works. I’ve even started writing a draft about food in Paris, as well as several about recent visits from the boy and my mom. Until then, I thought you would appreciate some cute animal pictures, which are further proof that S’s back up career should be wildlife photographer.

Baby Leopard

(Both are animals we saw in the Jardin des Plantes menagerie. Anyone know what they both are? Come on out and comment people!)

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Still Alive!

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

I figured I should check in so that you all know I’m still alive and haven’t totally forgotten about my website. Clearly my New Year’s Resolution to blog once a week has fallen through (ugh has it really been a month). I’ve also been crappy about writing in my journal. I have however lost some weight thanks to getting back together with SparkPeople, so that’s good. I wish I could give you some amazing excuse about why I haven’t gotten my shit together and finished either of the 3 drafts I’ve been working on, like how I’d been traveling like crazy or had sooo much work, but I don’t. I’ve been pretty much at home and, though internship applications have consumed a large portion of my free time, I really haven’t had that much school work. In fact, my university is on strike.

That’s right, Americans, almost all of the professors and, more recently, many of the students are on strike. The reasons are somewhat complicated having to do with the privatization of the university system (which is currently all public) and the position of professor/researchers and their intellectual freedom. My friend Abby wrote a really great post on the exact details of it on her blog here and here. Basically, universities are going to become way more expensive and way more competitive, and professors are going to have little intellectual freedom and only be forced to teach when they can’t quite write enough papers in a year. So the French are doing what we would do if we were all of a sudden told that university would be 10 times more expensive, comparatively crazy difficult to get into (currently you just have to pass your end of high school exam to be admitted to any public university), and full of crappy teachers teaching just because they weren’t good enough to research. Oh wait, that’s how it is already in the US.

Or rather, the French are doing what we would do if we were French. Which means, instead of threatening massive class action lawsuits, they’re going on grève (again see Abby’s post for intense sociological analysis of the history of grèves and their importance in France. I’m tired and going to bed. My mom’s in town and we’ve got another fully crazy day of sightseeing tomorrow, which means hopefully you will get a great interesting post about Paris landmarks on Sunday after she leaves. Or, you know, in three months when I finally get the energy to write it.

P.S. That horrid picture was taken by my lovely boy when he last visited me. He’s coming again in just over a week, so there should be more pictures of me on this site in coming weeks.

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Only three months too late…

Posted on January 20, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

So, I know, I was bad and didn’t post last week. You must think I’m pretty shitty at resolutions. I have however been writing in my journal, despite being dead tired thanks to finals madness. So I’m working on the whole blogging thing. And so, in honor of the wonderful inauguration that is going on this afternoon, I’ve decided to finally tell you the story of election night in Paris.

It started out well planned enough. Some friends and I had RSVP-ed to a party at Porte Maillot, since my mom told me way too late that she was willing to buy my tickets to the Embassy bash (not that I’m bitter or anything, but what ever). So Champagne and I head over to Porte Maillot (which is way the fuck away from where I live) to meet up with Alix, Jamie and several other Smithies.

And then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Until around 2 am when the organizers of the party asked that everyone (all 1000 of us) get in line in alphabetical order and people started getting mad.

So, being the smart girls that we are, we left. After several night bus misadventures (always check the direction your bus is going in), including running into another group of American girls on the bus and copious amounts of pre-gaming, we found our way to a Canadian bar that was going to be open until 5 am.

So we drank.

And we danced.

And we celebrated as results came in, state by state.

Until, at 5 am, we finally got the results.

The bar went wild and I have some great videos I’m going to post later, but I’m in class right now, so I can’t pick which ones I want. After that, we hung around the bar until they literally kicked us out and we ran around trying to find a place with CNN so that we could watch Obama’s acceptance speech.

Finally, I decided to head to a talk Sciences Po was hosting to watch the speech, while Champagne and the rest went home. We were even on the French news! I also have some videos from that I’m planning on posting at a later date.


From there, the night kind of wound down into morning. I saw Obama’s amazing acceptance speech at Sciences Po, got coffee at a café around the corner, met up with Champagne (who had been accidentally locked out of her house) and pretty much hung out until it was time to meet up with my presentation group for my class on women and politics. I gave my presentation at around 10 am, got home at 1:00 and was asleep by 1:05. All in all, it was a pretty wonderful night and one that will probably stick with me for the rest of my life.

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New year, new post…

Posted on January 7, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

So I’ve been back in Paris for the last couple days and am slowly getting un-jetlagged and un-crazy busy. I had a wonderful time in Austin, ate more Mexican food than I could have ever imagined eating (oh, enchiladas, I miss you already) and had a wonderful time enjoying the obscene amounts of eating and present giving/getting that is the holidays with my family. I have some pics to put up later, so you might actually get two posts this week.

Oh, and I did the whole celebrating the anniversary thing with the boy, which officially puts us at SIX YEARS. I’m really proud of who we’ve become both as individuals and as a couple and I frankly think he’s one of the coolest people on the planet. So, S, I love you and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next six years, but I’m sure it’s going to be a blast.

I don’t want to do the whole list the presents thing, but I do have a few faves: the 3 GORGEOUS necklaces the boy bought me, each one different, but somehow totally me, a gorgeous new purple wallet with a gold latch (love!), a new backpacking backpack for my spring break trip, camel cashmere shawl-neck J. Crew sweater that is taking some serious effort to not wear everyday, Andy Warhol plates for S and I’s apartment (see below), some rad books that I’ve been wanting for a really long time (everyone, go out and read The Handmaid’s Tale and World War Z, right now!) and two of the hottest pairs of shoes I’ve ever owned.

I promise that the title has nothing to do with my intended frequency of posting this year, which in fact brings me to the real topic of this post, my New Year’s resolutions.

  1. Write a blog post at least once a week. – I’ll be trying to catch up on what happened between the elections and now in the next couple of weeks, because one of the things that has been making me so hesitant to post is the size of that post. So you’ll be getting that story in the coming weeks. I promise not to try my very best not to be too overwhelmed by finals to keep going.
  2. Write in my journal everyday. – Ok, so not exactly any of your concern, but I figure that if I put it out here, I should actually do it. Plus there’s so much stuff about Paris that I don’t really feel comfortable putting out on the internets, but that I want to remember.
  3. Make a serious effort to eat sustainably and healthily and to exercise regularly this summer. – I suppose a bit explanation is required for this one.  S and I are moving in together this summer (OMG so excited!!!) and I’m going to have a major, if not majority (I can already see the spats), say in what I’m eating on a daily basis for really the first time in my life. So I’m trying to put my money where my mouth is on my whole sustainability/healthy eating/semi-vegetarianism/locavore stuff I’ve been spewing at all of you for so long. In more qualifiable terms: I’m going to make an effort to have the majority of my meals be vegetable and grain based, rather than meat based, I’m going to source all my fruits and vegetables (and meat when possible) locally, I’m limiting myself to fairly round meals I cook myself, and I’m moving my butt at least 4 times a week. I’m also going to try and document this on my other blog, which I will be returning to at the end of May. If you don’t have the address for it and want it, shoot me an email.
  4. Some relationship stuff that needs to stay off the internet, but that’s good. – Also putting this up so I can hold myself to it.

And with those resolutions, I have one for you guys out there. I know someone is reading, because I do have stats on how often someone not me looks at my blog (I’m not a creeper, I promise, it’s on the page when I sign in). In return for my promise to update at least once a week, I want at least one of you to comment or Facebook me or Skype me or AIM me or Twitter me (oooo, fancy new Twitter, everyone should get one!). It makes it a lot more fun to write this stuff if I know that someone’s out there reading it AND I miss you all a bunch and like to hear from you when I’m feeling homesick.

And on that note, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and I wish you peace and love and happiness in 2009!

S

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