Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So Much to Tell, So Little Time to Write!
Well gosh, the time has finally come when I don’t have oodles and oodles of extra time with which to write daily blog entries, but alas, that’s probably a good thing. I’ll start with this weekend, because it truly was a lovely weekend.
This past Friday night, I was exhausted after a long week of classes and getting up early, and I wasn’t really planning on doing much of anything. However, when I hear a good proposition of something spontaneous, sometimes, just sometimes, I like to take advantage of it. A bunch of the kids, French and otherwise, were going to a bar in the 20th (arrondissement) to listen to some gypsy jazz. That sounded pretty great to me, so we left at around 10:30, and we found ourselves at a quaint Moroccan looking bar with a cave-looking basement where the concert was. It was so great! The band consisted of a guitarist, a bassist (who also played the accordion), a clarinet player, and violin player (who also played the drums), and a very jubilant, bouncy lady who had a beautifully smoky gypsy voice. It was an intimate concert, and both the band and the crowd had loads of energy. I also tasted my first kir cassis, which is basically white wine with current flavored liquor = DELICIOUS. Did some schmoozing (sp?) afterwards, and it was an allover very enjoyable night.
Saturday morning, I slept in, and it was glorious. This past weekend happened to be the “journées de patrimoine”, which meant that basically everything that is run by “l’etat” (which to the French is THE WORLD, or just rather the very centralized French government), is free and open to the public. This includes all public museums as well as the presidents house, the “hotel de ville” (city hall) for the mayor of Paris, and a slew of other tours that are offered. John, Sam, Emily, Kat, Natalia and I took a tour of Bercy Village, which used to be a town, but is currently a park. To be honest, I wasn’t really listening very closely because I was too taken by the park itself. I didn’t even feel like I was in Paris – it didn’t have the extremely manicured feel that is so present in the Luxembourg Gardens, (although it is very well taken care of), and it also had a very modern appeal to it. You can see in the pictures, of which I have many more of (Sam and I couldn’t help ourselves but to have a photo shoot…). We spent most of the afternoon in the park, eating ice cream while watching Sam ride a carousel (surrounded by 4 and 5 year olds, mind you). That night, a few of us went to Monmartre to eat crepes and drink wine while watching the crowd of people get progressively drunker as the night went on. Oh, what a life.
Sunday morning, John had reserved two spots for us to take a walking tour of the neighborhood around the Musée de la Vie Romantique in the 9th (how romantic). We saw the ateliers of: Eugene Delacroix (famous romanticist painter), Georges Sand (writer), Fredric Chopin (composer), and Richard Wagner (composer). The lady giving the tour was fantastic (dad you probably would have really liked her, and mom you probably would have found the tour fascinating). I then picked up Sam, dropped off John, and the two of us girls made our way to the Bois de Vincennes (bois=forest/woods), just outside the city limits of Paris. Ahh, how wonderful to be in untamed (kind of) nature. There was also a huge, medieval chateau there, which we walked through. We then found the “parc floral”, charmed our way into paying 2.50 euro instead of 5 euro (and when I say charmed, I mean showed the guard our student cards and he gave us the discount price he gives every other student), and we meandered through gardens of seasonal flowers and dahlias=MY FAVORITE FLOWER EVER. There were rows and rows of them, it was amazing! After hours of walking through flowers and woods, we dragged our tired legs to the metro to return back to Sam’s foyer, and she, John and I cooked dinner. Like my use of charmed, I use “cook” here very loosely. We bought bag salad, to which we added dressing, we bought an already cooked rotisserie chicken, but we did cook the rice! Anyways, it was much cheaper than anything else, and delicious. I then went home to get some sleep before the (drum role….) first day of my internship!
The lowdown: I work at the INHA (Institut National de l’Histoire de l’Art). I have my own desk (score), my own computer (um, score), and a fellow stagiaire (intern) whom I haven’t met yet. Oh, and I already have my own project, which is pretty darn cool. Still unknown intern Florent (boy, who until I read this over again, I realized I was calling Flaubert) and I are supposed to work on creating a brochure that will propose different study abroad programs to universities in the U.S., Canada, and certain Asian countries. The INHA wants to attract different universities to hold classes, etc, at their site for a few months out of the summer. Florent and I will propose the idea in the brochure, tell a little about the organization, throw out a few ideas, but then it’s from the feedback and interest that we get from the schools that we use to create our programs. Pretty neat, eh? I have no idea how much work this will involve, or what else I’m going to be doing; all I know is that its way better than serving coffee and answering phones (in French).
This upcoming weekend, Sam, Emily and I are going on an excursion to see the Chateaux in the Loire Valley! The trip is organized by an international students club, and it was pretty cheap for travel, lodgment and tours. I’m pretty pumped.
Oh, I’m also making a lot of friends at the foyer and in class. Its really nice to chat with people at dinner, there are a few French girls who help me with my speaking whom I really like a lot, and a few Americans in my language classes that I also really like.
All in all, things are pretty good here. Sorry this was so long, but a lot has happened, and hopefully you were interested enough that you are currently reading this sentence! If not, its ok I understand, but then again, you wouldn’t know that because you didn’t get this far, so oh well.
Until next time, when I’ll probably have stories of provincial escapades and tons of pictures of castles,