Thursday, October 23, 2008

New things...

In the past week I have seen three new things happen in the streets of Paris: a little boy pee on the side of a street (hitting a car) with the direction of his mother, a man throwing up on the street, and two dogs having sex on the sidewalk. Also, a couple weeks ago I saw a typical drunk on the metro. He had a beer that he was hiding in his jacket and kept sneaking out to drink. The only odd part about this story is that it was eight AM.

Random: I'm sick of eating raw meat. We've had raw bacon and ham a couple times the past couple weeks. However, I'm starting to enjoy pate... And I do not like sauerkraut (spelling?). Sorry Bethany. Also, I love this drink called Blood Orange juice and I've searched four stores for it and haven't seen it, but Michelle found a store with it! YAY! I'm going tomorrow to get some.

After being incredibly jealous of Ally and how she can cook, I now get the chance! My host-parents just told me that they won't be here all of next week and I finally got up the nerve to ask if I could cook there! So that means I'm definitely having a couple people over sometime to cook (I asked). If I can find zuccini flowers, I'm definitely making them.

Also, updates on life at home. I have an apartment for the spring semester! I'm living with Ally and we're living in the Avalon. It's a really nice place with one AND A HALF bathrooms. That way when people come over they aren't invading our personal bathroom space. It's also the closest apartment complex to AU. We're renting furniture (only $100 a month) so it won't look completely like a poor college student's apartment. I'm excited!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No crepes? Ridiculous..

Last week was the first week I went without a crepe. How odd...

I voted for the first time last week! It was a great feeling. I was really excited (more so than I thought) when I found my ballot in the mail. It's nice to know that in a state like MO I have the ability to make a difference and make my voice heard. I voted for Obama and encourage you to do so as well.

My host brother was kind of a jerk tonight. He asked me if I've noticed my French improving since I've been in France. I didn't understand because I haven't learned past tense or the word for noticed and asked him to clarify. He told me in English and then said 'obviously not.' Later on his dad and I were speaking and he told his dad not to speak in French to me because I wouldn't understand (when I was), so I spoke up and said so. I have definitely improved since coming to France and I'm seriously learning new things every day. It hurt my feelings and confidence to be judged off of one sentence I haven't even learned yet.

I went to Rome to visit Ally again. I had a great time even though we didn't do much. We did go to a real Roman market and met with Ally's vender. You have to know someone in Italy. He even gave us free grapes! Then we made an excellent dinner with her friends. We made fried zucchini flowers, brochette, and minestrone soup. It was all delicious and I had a great time.

I'm going to be home in almost a month. That seems really weird to me because I've been out of the country for three months! It's been really crazy and I'm actually really excited to go home. I've enjoyed my journeys but I'm ready to be home among friends and family.

I finally went to the grocery store! I now have enough food for 8 lunches and three or four dinners. I bought bread, nutella, oatmeal, cereal bars, French crackers, cereal, jam, cookies, and juice. I wish I could find a place that sells peanut butter! It'd be amazing to have nutella/peanut butter sandwiches.

Some people in my program are really lucky. Bridget has a few friends from home living in Paris so she can see them and meet REAL French people. Tracy just moved in with a very wealthy family who will give her three meals a day and took her to their home in the country side last weekend. They also introduced her to French kids my age. And Amanda has a fellow student living with her who she's best friends with. I'm jealous!

In other news I did well on my Islam midterm (85%). I have another midterm on Thursday for Paris culture but I think that will be alright. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Châteaux, boat rides, and midterms - Oh my!

This weekend started on Friday with a midterm in my French class! It was 100 points instead of the few 20 point quizzes we've normally had and a bit scary. Hopefully I did well (I studied). Afterwards, Michelle and I picked a random metro stop to explore so we picked Miromesnil. Apparently it's part of the business section of Paris, so there wasn't much to see. We did find an excellent Chinese restaurant though. I've been combing restaurants in Paris for two things: tofu and sesame seed balls. I have yet the find either.

Saturday was eventful. We had our second (and last) day trip to Fontainbleau and Vaux le Vicomte. Both are gorgeous châteaux right outside of Paris. Fontainbleau was probably my favorite. Vaux le Vicomte was the château that inspired Versailles. A guy named Fouquet owned it and threw the biggest and best party ever so the king (Louis 14th) threw him in jail. He threw him in jail either because he was jealous or because Fouquet was wasting money. However, considering that he then went on to build a bigger and better château, I'm likely to say the former.

After seeing the châteaux, Michelle, Kirsten, and I went on a boat tour of Paris. Our program gave us tickets so we decided to use them. It was the warmest weather we would get for the rest of the semester, but it was still a little chilly. We were able to see the mini Statue of Liberty and really great shots of the Eiffel Tower.

Today, Sunday, I've done nothing. People are holed up studying for midterms, so I'm left to my own devices. I have studied some (I'm writing a brief on everything we've had to read for Islam in France), rented the Scorpion King 2 (still downloading), scoured CNN, and have perused the internet. Hopefully I'll end up doing something for dinner.

What would you do if you won a 50 million dollar jackpot? And how much would you donate? I asked Ally and she shook her finger at me for saying I'd donate only half of it. She claims she'd give away all but four million. I guess that makes sense, but I think I'd share a little with you people too. : )

I bought a couple books as presents on September 17th, but they have yet to get to me. They were supposed to reach me by the 20th. I looked them up and apparently they're in a random post office just outside of Paris. Now what?

Random things I've been craving: Hershey's Chocolate Cake, my dad's chocolate sauce, my mom's coffee brownies, sesame seed balls, chips, English books, friends and family, a couch, FREE things (yes, including refills), prime rib (my mouth is watering right now), and reeses peanut butter cups.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And the award goes to...

Well, I had a record of four comments for my last post (encouraging). Therefore I find it in me to write another post. Something exciting, my mom and sisters are going to visit me in November! I arranged for really cheap flights and a very good hotel for a decent price and their trip is going to be cost effective, but the time of their lives.

Phonetiques is over so now I'm left with even MORE spare time on my hands. I don't have anything to do until 5 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Therefore I'm going to try and get out of my house more and see the city. I think we may hit up the pere lachaise cemetery tomorrow. I know my dad would love to visit that (in case you didn't know he loves taking pictures of graves and posting them online for people to research their ancestors and see where they're buried, very thoughtful hobby).

I've booked another trip, this time to Barcelona! Unfortunately it seems that people aren't very active in their wish to go to Istanbul or Budapest, so I don't think I'm going to be able to go. That's really too bad.

On Saturday we have another day trip to Fontainebleau and Vaux-le-Vicomte. I'll let you know how they go!

Daily concerns

1. Money. I've never lived off a budget before and I started for the Europe trip and this semester. It's really hard! However, it's definitely good for me. I just bought the plane ticket to Barcelona (and I need to book lodging) and pretty much all I have left in my account is for food. I've already booked my plane tickets to Rome and Vienna, so I will have a little extra in November to go shopping! It seems so trivial, but I would really love classy and cute clothing from Paris to take home and last me a while. I bought a really great coat in Rome in addition to two cheap shirts, a pair of jeans, and fake converse (I didn't bring shoes because they would be too heavy on my trip). Once I get money I'm going to buy cute shoes, boots, and a nice sweater. Any good clothing suggestions?

2. My group of friends. There's a bit of a rift in my school group between a couple girls and it's causing problems on the whole. Unfortunately this means that I can't hang out with them both at the same time and I also am stuck to answer 'why' questions, etc. I'm trying not to let this affect my time here in Paris though. And I do honestly like everyone.

3. Food. I've lost weight in Paris. I'm actually hitting the 5th beltloop on one of my belts (I've never hit it before... even during Freshman year of college when I lost 15 pounds). Of course that's my only way of telling though. I feel like I eat enough because I have four course dinners four nights a week, but I can see why I'm losing weight. Europeans don't snack. They also don't have big dinners. I also don't have big luches because I don't like spending money. Therefore I have two slices of toast for breakfast, a sandwich/cookie/can of soda for lunch, and then either a four course meal or something random. That's it. At home I snack constantly though. It's definitely an odd change...

4. French! I have to take French when I get back and I was worried that I wouldn't know enough to do well in that class, but since speaking with a couple girls who take it and compairing what I'll learn here, I think I'll be ready. I've learned so much already and I think I need to study it every night for it to sink in, although I haven't been doing that every night. I took another test on Friday and I got a better grade though, so that's promising.

Until next time, Emily