Les jeudi des cathédrals (Cathedral Thursday!)

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Thanks for hanging in there with me. For the moment, I don’t have any classes on Thursdays (or Fridays for that matter). I decided to take advantage of this with my friend Mia by going on day trips each week. People said we were crazy, that we didn’t have enough time, that it was too expensive, and to them we said… maybe. But we bought a student train discount card and have been traveling easily and on the cheap.

But that didn’t matter. Our first trip, last week, was to a town called Chartres. Chartres is mostly known for its gigantic Cathedral Notre Dame de Chartres (Our Lady of Chartres… You’ll soon notice that the French are not that creative with cathedral names). We didn’t really know what to expect. How small was this town? What else is there to do for 8 hours? Why are we getting there at 9 in the morning?

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Les nuits longues, les journées plus longues (Long nights and longer days)

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Boy am I tired. Always.

My pedometer just died. I think I overworked it. On a daily average I was walking 15,000 steps. This is approximately 7 miles. That does not count the 6 floors of stairs. Each day, I leave my apartment around 9:00 AM and I return home at 8:00 PM for dinner and then I head back out for the night. It’s brutal. I’m tired just thinking about it.

You may or may not know that as my time here in Paris goes on, seasons will change, I’ll get new classes, and I will also start an internship. What I didn’t know was that I needed to submit a resumé by tomorrow morning. I have a lovely resumé that I’ve spent a lot of time on and I was just about to submit it when… oh. It’s not a resumé. It’s a Curriculum Vitae. It has to be in FRENCH!

You can see my finished curriculum vitae and sympathize for me, if you’d like.

Today was the second weekly Cathedral Thursday! What’s Cathedral Thursday you ask?

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Où est-ce que mon chargeur d’appareil photo va? (Where did my camera charger go?)

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I’d like to think I hold this blog to some (incredibly low) standards and this past week my camera charger has gone missing. In the hunt to compete with myself for the worst reasons ever not to have a new post, I decided I could not possibly post anything if there was no new pictures. I have given up this nobility and I’ll show you guys some old pictures of things that I did over a week ago.

Before I left for Paris I bought a guide book called “Paris: Free & Dirt Cheap.” The title should actually read “The Marais and Oberkampf: Free or Regularly Priced” but that’s a much more difficult book to sell. So with my guide to a couple arrondissements I set off to wander the Marais, Paris’ former Jewish and now Jewish and artsy district. I found 2 museums that cost me a combined total of 8,50 Euros! Good job book!
It’s been so long! New content awaits!>

LES SOLDES!!! (Sales!!!)

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Twice a year in France there comes a time so crazy that it is only ever displayed with exclamation points. This is Les Soldes!!!!! It’s a nationally mandated sales period where nearly every shop, department store, and boutique has nearly store-wide discounts of 30%-50%! Needless to say, the French people go bananas about this and flock to the stores. Even more needless to say, this is the only time us american students can even consider buying things from relatively expensive stores, so we’re there too.

Unknowingly, me and my friend Kelly went to Le Bon Marché. If you speak French, do not let the misnomer throw you off. The words bon marché mean good market and can sometimes be used to say you got a good price for something. But this was the most expensive department store I had ever been in – and that was after LES SOLDES!!!

Read More, I’ve got pictures!

Les Classes ont commencé; l’amusant a fini (Classes started, the fun ended)

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Hi World!

I’ve spent the better part of this week getting myself oriented, situated, and settled. We started classes yesterday and I’ve been doing orientation meetings all week as well. The orientation meetings have been less than thrilling, but the classes themselves aren’t that bad. Three of my classes are entirely in french, and the other, thankfully, is in english. In addition to a basic french class I’m taking:

  • Globalization and its Effect on France and the European Union
  • The Shape of Things to Come: the Evolution of Science and Society (the one in English)
  • The Artist’s World: The Workshop, Patronage and Public in 19th and 20th Century France

What’s cool about the last two is that there are LOTS of field trips. For the art history class, each week we go to a different museum and actually see the art that we are learning about. I’m very excited for that since seeing art is a whole different experience than looking at some ugly copy in a book.

And now for what everyone’s really been waiting for… PICTURES! I eat my breakfasts alone since the host mom is a teacher and the brothers go to school also. This means that I had some time to snoop around the house and take pictures without seeming like a stalker or something. As a warning: the words I’m going to use will sound like I’m a washed up real estate agent, but I mean these in their literal sense, since this is actually a REALLY large apartment for a VERY expensive area.

This is their tiny kitchen. That table is really just a breakfast table, and doesn’t get too much use. But otherwise, it acts like a kitchen. Nothing too weird.

 

Kitchen

And this is the dining room, where we eat dinner every night. Unlike America, its very important to the French for a family to sit down and eat together every night. When I tried to explain to them that some nights I didn’t eat with my whole family, they couldn’t even fathom why. Answers like, my sister is at the gym or I had work were unacceptable. So here we are. I usually sit in the middle facing the fireplace in case you were wondering.

Dining Room

 

This is probably the most, erm, French room in the house – the living room. It’s this kind of hodgepodge assortment of chairs and couches (that have considerable dents from where their dog, Cricket, sleeps). And get this: The chairs DON’T center around the television. When they watch the news every night before dinner, they swing the chairs around to face the TV. Things are clearly getting a little too foreign for me. In the second picture is the staircase in the room. It’s very rare for an apartment to have two floors here so it’s kind of cool. But as you can see, the staircase is minute and must be taken very slowly.

Living Room

I’m going to save a picture of my room for the moment, because I still have a couple of things to unpack, so I’ll show you a picture of their terrace (!!!!) for a finale. I haven’t had a chance to use it yet since it’s drizzled every day so far, so let’s hope for good weather!

And why not. Just something really French. Sunset from the Sacré Coeur. Au Revoir!

Je suis arrivé! (I arrived.)

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After 2 flights, 3 days, 3 cab rides, a youth hostel, lots of orientation meetings, and even more walking, I have finally made it to my homestay. My family’s apartment is in a phenomenal location. I am in the 8th Arrondisement, which is the Champs-Elysées District. If you don’t know what the Champs-Elysées is, then you might be culturally blind. But I’ll forgive you. It is the largest street in Paris and is filled with the most expensive shops, the trendiest clubs, and it is all capped off at the end by the Arc du Triomphe. This world famous street is a mere 3 minute walk from my apartment. Don’t believe me?

The bad news about the apartment? It’s on the fourth floor. And there’s no elevator. And in french the ground floor is floor 0, so I’m actually on the fifth floor. Carrying up my luggage was one of the least fun activities I’ve done in a while. I’ve only been at the apartment for a few hours and I just finished unpacking and I’m exhausted. I’m having my first dinner with the family tonight and to be honest, I need to nap before then. I hope this exciting news ties people over until I do a little bit of sightseeing and preparing for school tomorrow!

 

 

Here We Go Again!

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So my blog is back up and in action! Why you ask? Well, you probably already know that I’m going abroad to Paris for the next quarter… and the quarter after that… and through the summer. That’s about 8 months that you probably won’t see me.

So while I’m away in Paris, let’s come up with a small list of things you can do in my absence that will take 8 months.