Sunday, November 15, 2009
Max and Meg are in Normandy, Sam is in London, and although I definitely have other people I would like to see, I’m taking this opportunity to spend a solitary weekend with the lovely company of myself. I think I have really been needing this, and I have really enjoyed it. Friday night, I skyped with some people I’ve been longing to talk to, and that was really what I needed. I made a list of things I really wanted and needed to do for Saturday, and made a commitment to myself that I was going to do them. I woke up, went for a run in a beautiful park, and then explored an antique market that I had wanted to go to. I know I’ve said this before, but I have come to absolutely love walking around Paris. I am at a point in my stay here where I am content with where I am and what I’m doing, and this allows me to really appreciate what is around me. I did not always have these feelings; au contraire. The first month and a half that I was here, its not a stretch to say that I resented almost everything around me, from the French advertisements, to the foreign language everywhere, to the food that I wasn’t used to. However, I have become much more comfortable using French anywhere I go, have become accustomed to seeing the French language everywhere, and I have come to appreciate where I am for the time that I’m here. I also have a lot of things to look forward to in the coming weeks: December 12-14, Sam and I are going to Dublin, Dec 17-28 I will be in Denmark for the holidays, Dec 29-Jan 8 Mary and Maya are coming to visit, and then I plan on taking one more small trip with a friend before 2nd semester starts. How lucky I am to be able to go so many places for relatively little money! That is something to appreciate and take advantage of.
The weather this weekend has been magnificent, and that has made my walking around all the more delightful.
As much as I want to be outside more today, I really need to work. Work, as in not only do school work, but respond to email, write a few letters, (write these blog entries!), and basically catch up on things I have been neglecting. I also reorganized my room late last night, and I think the change is motivating me. Its good to do that every once in a while, I’ve found.
Basically, I am happy here for the time being. I miss home and school desperately, but I have realized that I am really lucky to have this opportunity, to have 2 internships to put on my resumé and to add to my life experience, to have the experience of learning French in France and to benefit from everything that being in this place has to offer me! I also can’t imagine what I would do if I were only here for a semester; I would be leaving in less than a month! That’s ridiculous. Now, having this experience, I would really say to anyone who wants to go abroad, especially to learn a language, that the full year is the way to go. I have just started to adjust to life here, and luckily and have another semester to enjoy that.
Oh my, its been a while! I think I just have to accept the fact that I am not good at keeping up any type of a journal, I don’t know why! But, after some haggling from a few people (coughSamcough), I decided that this beautiful Sunday autumn morning would be as good of a time as any to write a little bit.
What have I been doing since I last wrote? Hm, that’s a good question. I just have to mention it again because I simply can’t get over how quickly time is going. 2 weeks of November have already gone by? How is that possible? We only have 2 more weeks of classes, and then it’s December? It blows my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced time going by as quickly as it has here.
In my day to day life, things have just been rolling along nicely. Things at my internship are progressing, being that we are almost done creating our summer study abroad program, and currently I am translating course descriptions from French to English. I am also working with a company in the U.S. that makes canvas for museums and institutions because the INHA wants to have their own logo bags to give to researchers and people who come to discussions and seminars. I have written countless emails back and forth with “Mimi”, and write now we are discussing payment and design details. Thrilling, I know, but it’s just to give you an idea of what I do at work. To be honest though, even though I like my colleagues and I don’t mind going to work, I would much rather be working directly with art or art history research, instead of this more arts administration type of a field. But, fingers crossed, I’m supposed to have a meeting this week with Thomas (program director) and an atelier for painting restoration that I found to see if I would be able to have an internship with them. That would be awesome for me because, those of you who don’t know, I’m very interested in art conservation and restoration, and I would really like to know if it’s something that I want to further pursue. When Thomas contacted the atelier, he said that they seemed really interested, so…we’ll see!
In other news, Marta came to visit me this past weekend! (Marta is one of my good friends from Goucher). I picked her up at the train station Saturday evening (Nov 7), and after disposing of her bags back at my foyer, we metro’d-it over to Belleville area (the North) to listen to some jazz and drink some wine. Classy introduction to Paris, if I do say so myself. We met Max (Goucher), Meg (foyer), and John (Goucher), and although I was the one who was exhausted (not her, even though she had been traveling), we made it there and back and had a lovely night. Sunday was not such a pretty day, but that didn’t really matter all that much; at least it wasn’t raining. If it was one thing Marta and I did while she was here, it was WALK! We walked all over the city! One could even say I dragged her everywhere, but why not be positive, eh? We were going to go to the Louvre, but lo and behold, being the smart, prepared girl that I am, I forgot my student I.D. card that enables me to get in for free. Seeing as we had another day to see the museum, we decided to do other things and that we would return the next day. We went Notre Dame, which was lovely, and then we went on a mission for soup, because it was a cold day, and soup sounded delicious. Let me just take a minute to share a bit of wisdom with everyone while we are on the subject of Sunday: practically EVERYTHING is CLOSED on Sundays, so make Sunday your walking around the city day, and bring a sack lunch. Ok, I’m a little bit bitter, but only because I dragged the poor hungry girl to the other side of the city just to go to this soup place that Sam suggested, only to find it closed! Duh, how long have I been living here? We ended up just finding a sandwich, and unfortunately I wasn’t feeling too well, but I still wanted to show her one more thing! So, we walked from Hotel de Ville to the Eiffel tower which, you can see if you have your Paris maps in front of you, is quite a ways. But the weather got better and the walk was lovely. I have discovered that I love walking around Paris, I mean, who wouldn’t? We made it to the Eiffel Tower just in time to see in sparkle at night. It was really beautiful. Even though I see it everywhere I go in Paris, up close, its size really is shocking. We then returned back to the foyer, exhausted but happy after a full day.
I didn’t think I had to work on Monday, so we were planning to go to the Louvre together, but I was wrong, so I stayed at work and she explored the Louvre on her own. I met her for lunch, and we went to a bakery that I know, picked up sandwiches and took them to the Luxumbourg gardens, which are GORGEOUS at this time of year. We frolicked in the fall leaves and took lots of pictures. We then headed over to the Musée d’Orsay to find that…it was closed on Mondays. I almost wanted to cry, why didn’t I think about these things? Well, she decided she would go back the next day when I was at work and school, so we walked in the direction of my program headquarters where I had to go to a discussion later, and we sat in the Jardin des Plantes, which was really nice. So instead of giving her a tour of museums and such like I wanted, she saw a lot of Paris on foot, which I think we enjoyed just as much. She left the next day, and I think I can say that we had a lovely time, and I miss her already!
In other news, we’ve also had 2 atelier cuisines since my last blog entry. An atelier cuisine is when the kitchen is closed for dinner, and we have to sign up (there are only 12 spots) to cook a special themed dinner with a guest chef. We had a Halloween themed one with very fall type food – pumpkin, potatoes, soup, and…lamb (not very fall, but it worked). It was delicious. This past Wednesday, seeing that it was a ‘jour ferié’ (what I like to call a ‘fairy day’), Armistice day, and everything was closed, we had an American themed dinner: a Cajun salad, fried chicken and kind of friend sliced potatoes, and cheesecake. It was all delicious, but if you were expecting cheesecake (which I was) it was a little interesting. Good, nonetheless, and because the French don’t eat cheesecake, they all thought it was incredible! “Wow, I love cheesecake! I never knew!” (and you won’t until you taste real cheesecake, but why spoil their enjoyment?)
I’ll stop here, give everyone a breather, then return to this weekend.