Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Starbucks Calamity.

Let me just start this of by saying the French don’t believe in iced coffee, this has been a source of serious devastation in my life. I thought for the first couple of days that, hey I can get by with sipping on a shot of espresso in a Barbie sized coffee cup everyday, nuh uh!!

So I have had to resort to extreme and unspeakable measures. Before I admit to this, I just want everyone to know that desperate times cause for desperate measures... Starbucks. When I really need a fix, Rachie and I have been known to walk up and down the streets of Paris searching for one, and when not found it has caused some serious short term tension between the two of us.

Although, let me just make one thing clear, I do not love Starbucks – I am only using it for its ice.

Vingt Septembre:
Rachie and I went to mass at Notre Dame with the Arch Bishop of Paris. It was a bit hard to follow the French, but luckily my homestay parents gave me a French missal so I could try to follow along and respond! Thankfully there was an extremely loud Frenchman sitting behind me so if I messed up no one could hear! Notre Dame is breathtaking.

Vinght-cinq Septembre:
Shoe exhibit with runway on the Champs-Elysees. Got to see a very cool display of old/new designer shoes! My friend Ryan and I worked the hot pink catwalk.

ingt-Six Septembre:
Daytime: La Fete De Jardin. Rachie, Ryan and I went to Parc Belleview, the highest park in all of Paris. At this park we admired the AMAZING view, listened to live jazz, watched two hippie girls dancing, and borderline stocked a boy who was hackie sacking. Oh and Shannon I took really cool abstract pictures of urban graffiti/art that you’ll really like. All together a great day.
Night time: (Don’t worry dad, although I am of legal age to drink in this country I am not yet 21, and therefore strictly steer clear of bars ;-) ). But hypothetically speaking, if I had gone to a bar on this Friday night it would have been called Footsie. This bar was Stock market themed, so the prices went up or down based on supply and demand! Every 300 seconds the price would change, and next to the prices there would be either a red arrow pointing down or a green arrow pointing up. Ex. if more people bought win then the price would go up, if people didn’t by Heineken the price for that would go down. If only Santa Clara taught Econ classes like this.

Trente Septembre:
Bridget buys her first Paris Vogue… After politely asking (in French non the less) for the Octobre Issue of Vogue. I was feeling very French and tres chic when I tucked it under my arm and hopped on the Metro. This feeling abruptly stopped when I realized I was wearing two old navy sale tops, black target stretchy pants, and was listening to Taylor Swift. Fail.
Douze Septembre:
Traveling to Verdun (half way between Strasbourg and Paris). We got there at night and went straight to our hotels. The hotel was a little odd.
*Fun Fact: In France the showers are in separate rooms then the toilet ... haven’t really figured out why that is but...
needless to say the shower in our room didn’t have a curtain or door - soo while lounging on your bed you could not only, casually flip through the French television channels, you could also watch your roommate lather up ... hmm, we opted out of that and left the room.
The next morning we went to the Verdun battle field which had an amazing view. But it was also really cool because although the battle took place during World War I, there were still indentions in the terrain from where the bombs had exploded nearly 100 years ago!
We also got to go down into the bunkers. (Kelly: the bunkers would have been a place to film Blair witch project part deux, a sequel to our first filming in Ireland.) Anyways it was kind of eerie but very interesting how many rooms and passages there was under ground, I think they said there were about 2000 soldiers who lived down there during the war!

Seize Septembre
My first day of real classes!!
My schedule: Monday/Weds - History of Paris in Art and Architecture, Global Marketing, and Comparative European Political systems. Tuesday/Thurs - Intermediate French I

Dix-sept Septembre:
Bridget gets moved down to beginners French ... best day of my life. I thank god every day this.

Dix-Huit Septembre:
Rachie and I spend three hours performing an intensive search for Ranch Dressing. We located a small American grocery store and quickly infiltrate, confiscating the first bottle of ranch we saw!! Victory.
We then accompany our long awaited treasure (Ranch) with a salami pizza (the French version of pepperoni) and sat under the Eiffel tower and consume! …correction this was the best day of my life.

neuf Septembre:
Techno Parade aka: epic disaster. It started out great, it was basically a cross between love fest and bay to breakers. For those of you who don't understand, it was a parade of hundreds of thousands of people in the streets of Paris dancing to Techno music that blasted from truck-floats. Me being the smart American exchange student decided that she would carry nothing of value on her, except for a small silver digital camera. We danced, we paraded, we even tried to get on one of the floats... when that failed, we didn’t want to give up so we settled for getting/climbing onto a near by phone booth. The view was fantastic but short lived because we were asked maybe 20 minutes later to get down.
... All was well with the day up until I decided innocently to take a picture of all of the people parading when all of the sudden my friends and I were surrounded by 15 guys who snatched my camera and violently ran away with it. I am still bitter. We spent the next two hours trying to converse with the French police.
On the bright side my friend Brittany and I took ourselves out for a juicy/slightly overpriced cheese burger ... not going to lie that cheese burger almost made everything worth it.

Recap, The Month of September.

Bonjour Amis!!
J'aime boucoup Francais, Il y a tres belle!

Un Septembre:
J'arrive a Paris!! <> Immediately after my arrival i went straight to bed for about 5 hours, woke up for 3 (basically just to eat), then I went back to bed for another 10 until I got up the next day for my first day of orientation at IES!

Quatre Septembre:
Boat cruise on the Seine river, and my first glimpse of the Eiffel tower
* Fun Fact: The Eiffel tower was actually built for the worlds fair in 1889. France wanted to show everyone how advanced they were in Architecture/Technology - Everyone who lived in Paris thought
it was hideous and it was supposed to be torn down after 20 years ... never the less it is now one of the 7 world wonders!

Cinq Septembre:
Trip To Versailles. Where we saw the Chateau (Castle of) de Versailles and its beautiful jardin (garden)!
* Fun Fact: (Michaela you’ll love this) Back in the old days they didn't have bathrooms so they would they would just poop behind doors and the servants would clean it up (I now have a little more respect for my dog.) ... on a more serious note we got to see the world famous hall of mirrors, and we got to see where the king slept and dressed (and actually if I remember right, it was a huge privilege to be able to watch the king wake up

- there would be like fifteen people watching him and getting him ready/they would dress and bathe him... awkward.) oh and people back then didn’t shower but maybe twice in there life, they would just cake on baby powder and perfume!
There were beautiful paintings that covered the walls and ceilings of the castle... mom you would have died, don’t worry I took wayyy too many pictures!

Dix Septembre:
Trip to S
trasbourg and Verdun. We took a 6 hour bus ride to Strasbourg. Every meal we ate there included like 25 courses and a bottle of wine at every table, I’m pretty sure i gained 10 pounds just within those three days. In Strasbourg we got to see the European Union (Kelly I thought of you the whole time and yes I took beaucoup photos for you too!) our first tour guide was sooo excited ab

out the tour he repeated everything he said several times in his funny French accent, it was nearly impossible to keep a straight face. We got to sit in/tour the room where all of the important representatives meet and make decision, there is probably a more formal and obvious name for this room but it is slipping my mind right now. I am actually taking a class about Comparative European Politics so it makes having seen the EU that much more meaningful.

We also got to go to the Chamber of Commerce where we saw a PowerPoint about different facts and statistics about the region. Unfortunately this was after a huge lunch soo everyone was tres creve (translation: very tired), and then they offered us plus de vin (more win), I’m fairly certain Europeans are alcoholics.

We also got to see a very beautiful gothic cathedral... the thing

about churches and France/Paris is that you will be walking down the street with worn down 20th century buildings, graffiti, litter, etc and then all of the sudden BAM

a perfectly pristine 18th century cathedral/church, I always take like 20 pictures of them too as if it were first one I had ever seen in Paris.