Wow. How has it been three weeks since I’ve written?! I apologize for my procrastination, but the internet connection at the foyer has gotten worse, meaning that there are now only 4, sometimes 5 working connections, and if I have the time to use the internet, I don’t always have the option if people are already occupying those connections. Alright, that’s enough of my excuses.
Life has been busy here, quite busy. It’s a strange feeling; I feel like the weeks are flying by, but what I did 2 weeks ago feels like at least a month. Let’s start with 3 weekends ago: My trip to the Loire Valley.
The weather was perfect! We couldn’t have asked for a better 2 days. I went with Sam and Emily, and along the way we met this German girl named Melanie, so it was really the four of us that spent the weekend exploring castles. We had to be at the meeting place for the bus at 6 am, so needless to say we got an early start on our adventure. Our first stop was Chiverny, about 2 hours outside of Paris. As castles go, it was relatively small, but very charming. It actually seemed modest and livable. The crowning jewel of Chiverny, for me at least, was the gardens and surrounding forest. I want to live there!
Time out. I just realized that if I spend this much detail describing each thing I’ve done for the past three weeks, you’re going to be reading for an hour. So from now on, I will try to tighten up and summarize, and I will also try to write a bit more frequently so this won’t happen!
During our weekend, we went to four castles: Chiverny, Blois, Chenonceau, and Amboise. Chenonceau was by far my favorite (but I will include pictures of all). It was also a really good weekend for me to get out of the city and into small towns and nature. I really was needing that. I will also include a picture of the amazing meal we had Saturday night in Blois. I couldn’t eat like that every night. Moreover, I couldn’t spend like that every night, but oh well, I was on vacation. Vacation from Paris. Ha. It’s a hard life I live, I have to say.
On the bus ride back, we spoiled children were whining about how we didn’t want to go back to Paris, and we had to laugh at ourselves. All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, which is evident in the approximate 300 pictures I took. As much as I resist the notion, I guess in some ways, I am my father’s daughter.
The following week was nothing too exciting: internship in the morning, classes in the afternoon, and on Wednesdays our night class. As usual, the week flew by, and before I knew it, it was Friday afternoon. I have found that, come Friday evening, I am exhausted, so Fridays have become my day of rest. I don’t care if it’s Friday night and I’m in bed by 11 pm; a girl needs to rest sometime!
Saturday was a wonderful day, again spent out of Paris (I do like Paris, I swear!). We have family friends who live about 30 minutes outside of Paris in the banlieu (suburb) of St. Germain en Laye, where Louis XIV was born. I went out there in the morning and Barbara (our family friend), gave me a historic tour of the town. It was so lovely! There’s a huge castle that looks over all of Paris and the surrounding areas, and gardens and a forest that goes on for miles and miles. We then went to Jean-Claude’s house (Barbara’s, boyfriend? manfriend?), which was a few towns over. I am so in love with his house! A beautiful 19th or 18th century (I can’t remember) farm house with a beautifully detailed interior that he redid himself. We had a lovely lunch: kir cassis before lunch (cocktail 1), followed by cheese-stuffed tomatoes, small chicken (it has a proper name, but I can’t remember), peas, followed by 5 type cheese plate and rustic bread, wine (cocktail 2), followed by the best apple tart I’ve ever had, and dessert wine (cocktail 3). (Note: It has to be said that I, who am known for being a lightweight, had good-sized glasses of wine and did not feel a thing! I don’t even drink that much here! Maybe its something in the water…). It was amazzinnggg. Six hours of French speaking later, I was exhausted but very happy, but it does not end there! I had to get back to Paris to participate in Nuit Blanche (literally, white night, but basically meaning all-nighter, a night where the city doesn’t sleep). It was a city-wide event where hundreds of artists set up different installations all around the city, be they music events, visual art pieces, or movies, and all of Paris wonders around all night (some much drunker than others, myself not included). I knew I wasn’t going to make it all night (is anyone surprised?), but I did make it until 3:30 am. By far, my favorite thing was a music installation that was set up in the medieval church St. Sévérin. The artists set up speakers in a circle in the middle of the church, each speaker projecting a different voice, and for 15 minutes at 2 am we were surrounded by an eerily realistic 50 piece medieval church choir. It was incredible, definitely something I have wanted to experience in my life.
I don’t think I did much on Sunday, or did I? Hopefully it wasn’t anything worth noting, because I can’t remember.
Last Tuesday was the last day of phonetics, so now I have my internship from 9:30 to 2, and French grammar remains from 3-5 pm. Again, the week passed incredibly quickly, and I find myself finishing class at 5 on a Friday evening and wondering where the hell the week just went. Friday was uneventful because, again, I needed to recuperate from the week. Saturday: I saw Rachel Robinson! It was so incredibly wonderful. She is currently studying abroad in Spain, and she has a few friends in Paris this semester, so she came and spent a long weekend here. So I along with Rachel and Adina criss-crossed Paris on Saturday seeing and experiencing: the Tour Eiffel (which I hadn’t gone to yet this trip), take out pasta in a box, which we ate for lunch in the Luxembourg gardens (1. take out pasta in a box IS the next big thing, I am brining it the States and become very rich, 2. the weather was GORGEOUS), did a little shopping for Rachel (what? Rachel shopping?), tried to go to the Musée d’Orsay but sadly it was closed, so we sat in the Tuilerie Gardens instead, and then we cooked a nice, hearty stir-fry. It was a wonderful day, but it wasn’t long enough! Oh well, until New Years, I guess…
Yesterday, Sunday (am I actually almost caught up?), Sam and I went to the Bois de Bologne, which is a huge forest in the west of Paris. Surprising fact I learned yesterday: the Bois, which up until now I thought was a nice, upper class park for families and rich people, is actually also a well-known spot for picking up prostitutes and transvestites during the evening hours. Funny, huh? A French friend told me that yesterday, and I was convinced he was taking advantage of my foreigner status and pulling my leg. But nope, it’s a common known fact. So that’s why I saw a condom wrapper on the ground during our nice afternoon stroll! (Don’t worry family members, its very respectable and safe in the daytime, but I was advised that it wouldn’t be the best of ideas to go wondering around there alone at night. Noted.)
It is currently 6:30 on a Monday evening, and I am about to go to dinner. Um, Monday’s almost over? Dad is coming on Thursday! I’m pretty excited.
Hopefully all of you have blinked in the time you took to read this, because otherwise you’re eyes would be watery and you would have a headache, and it would be my fault. Feel free to yell at me because this post was way too long, but I hope all of you cared enough to read all of it!
Hopefully, I will write sooner, so my posts will be shorter.
Bisous bisous, et a bientot,