Sorry I haven’t updated this week – it’s been a little crazy. Much has happened though, in a week in Paris, so I shall attempt to update adequately.
As I mentioned last time, Shakespeare & Co. is my new favorite place on earth. Today it was my refuge of happiness, and it was particularly perfect because it was rainy, grey, and cold today. And I made friends with the girl at the cash register. But, what’s most important is that I bought books today. I had to. :-D Just two, and they’re not books I’ve planned to buy before, but the first one, which I started on the métro on the way home, is called True Pleasures and it’s this woman who basically came to Paris and did a ton of research and wrote a book where each chapter is about a different ‘famous/influential’ woman who lived
in Paris at a pivotal point in her life. All the sales clerks at Shakespeare & Co said it’s amazing, and, one chapter in, I agree.
It was funny, though, because on the métro ride home, it was rush hour, and I was just another local, leaning against the doors on the back (I had a long ride), reading my book, and I suddenly had a picture of myself in ten, fifteen years. Which is weird, because I’m not usually one of those people who can see themselves in the future. And I’m sure part of it was what she was talking about in the book, but I suddenly saw myself as one of those people who is consistently traveling and job-hopping and theoretically doing what makes them happy from one life segment to the next. And it somehow seemed far less glamourous than what I want. Something I’ll have to think on more.
But this is not what I’m writing to you all about.
So, this week. Sweet Briar classes or something every day. My methodology class was Littérature (of course), and it really was quite hard to keep focused. Methodology classes are a very French thing (my host family said so!), which basically tells you how to do things the French way. And today, we had an in-class essay on a Zola excerpt she gave us. Actually wasn’t too bad, I could just have used more time.
Real classes start for most people this coming week. Not me, though, or anyone else who’s in Paris IV (Sorbonne). We start October 2nd. My Art History class starts this Wednesday, though, since it’s through Sweet Briar, and I’m super excited for it. This is the amazing class where I get to go hang out at the Louvre with an expert every Wednesday afternoon. Yeah, tough life. ;-) Also, my photo class starts Friday! So excited! Clare and I went and signed up together, and the place is awesome, seriously. It’s an international photo school or whatever, so they have people from all over taking classes there, and they’re super chill and flexible (we can move our classes from week to week depending on our schedule). I’m really excited to be able to print my own pictures again.
Speaking of the Louvre, though, Nuritzi and Rachel were in town this week (yay!!!!) and Thursday morning, the three of us went and just hung out at the Louvre. And I got my student pass, which means I’m going to the Louvre for free all year! :-D It’s going to be amazing. I really am going to live there. I can’t wait to discover all the nooks and crannies no one goes to, all the obscure random art you’ll never see if you don’t look for it, all the cool rooms in that huge palace… If I were more artistic (or, artistic at all), I would be like a bunch of my friends and take an art class actually through the Louvre, but sadly, I am no good at drawing and painting.
Other highlights of this week included…
L’As du Falafel! If you are among the many people who have heard me rave about falafel in the Marais, then you know how exciting this is. Liz and I are two of the few people in the program to know of it, so the other day, we took a couple friends there for lunch. We’re going to be making weekly pilgrimages, too. We got our fabulous and huge falafels (only 4 euros!) and then walked over to Place des Vosges and just chilled and ate. Perfect. I love the Place so much; so pretty.
The Marais in general. I love the Marais. Though, every time I mention it to my host family, my host mom points out that it’s almost entirely populated by gay people. She doesn’t say this in a negative way, she just points it out. I find it rather hilarious. But anyway, I love that quartier. I love the streets and the architecture and the funky tea houses and the Jewish bakeries… I do find it bitterly ironic, though, that the place where my ancestors would have lived if I’d had French ancestors (which I don’t, considering the Irish were maybe Norman at best, and the Jews never lived in France, so far as we know), the place they probably would not have wanted to live, is now one of the places we’d all love to live, one of the most beautiful, coolest places in Paris.
Exploring our quartier and Montmartre! On Wednesday, Jake, Liz, Em and I decided to tackle this area. We walked up to the canal, and walked along it, and actually saw them open a lock, which was cool. We saw the place that was probably where they did that shot in Amélie, and, as Parisians know, it’s not in Montmartre, and it’s not half so pretty as Jean Pierre Jeunet makes it, but that’s okay. And there’s also an area we walked along that looked like the area from a scene in La Science des Rêves, so that was fun too. And then we went up to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur, and Jake was accosted by a guy trying to sell friendship bracelets, and we wandered around and bemoaned the fact that it’s all so touristy, because it’s one of the prettiest quartiers of Paris. And then we went over to a less-popular area of the 18th and got the cheapest Thai food ever, and it wasn’t half bad. :-)
Movies… I think it was Sunday that I saw Little Miss Sunshine, which was quite good and hilarious. And then tonight, we saw Water, the Indian film that was out in the US but I never saw, though I wanted to. Seriously, seriously amazing. Beautiful. Sad. There were so many times I wanted to cry, and then, I ended up seriously sobbing for the last ten minutes. It was embarrassing, but you guys know me, and I guess that’s just how it happens. Plus, I was overly emotional anyway. But it really is an amazing movie!
Either Tuesday or Wednesday night, Solène came out with us! Just a big group of us at a bar on Rue Mouffetard, and we spoke a mélange of English and French, since she’s an English major, or will be. Overall, a great time.
In fact, Solène gets her own point for this week. She’s amazing and so much fun, and I’m going to miss her so much when she leaves on Sunday. Tomorrow’s (well, today, now) her birthday, and all the extended family are coming over for lunch, so I’m a little nervous. But I got her a birthday present today – I Capture the Castle, at Shakespeare & Co, because I figured it would be nice if I got her one of my favorite books, in English, since she’s working on her English. She and I have hung out so much this week. We watch Friends regularly, we play cards after dinner (I taught her Gin, and she kicked my ass! haha), we hang out and help each other with the other’s language, and teach each other all the words and phrases you’ll never learn in a class. I really hope she comes home regularly from school. In the meantime, though, hopefully I’ll have more time to hang out with and get to know Virginie, because I adore her too.
Really, I just adore my host family. They’re wonderful, as I’ve said a bajillion times before. When Nuritzi and Rachel first got in Monday with no place to stay and I met them at Gare du Nord, my host mom said I could bring them back here if I wanted. And then when I asked for any recommendations for places they could stay, she helped, and then said if they couldn’t find anywhere, they could sleep on my floor. If I’d been here for longer than 4 days, I would have maybe taken her up on that, but at this point, I’m just so happy that she suggested it, that it’s not something I need to stress about. But don’t get your hopes up kids, I still can’t open up my room as a place to crash, sorry.
Also, Solène and Virginie were so cute the other evening, when we were having dinner, and Solène and I were telling Nini about some joked with my friends from the night before, and somehow I ended up explaining that I just refer to them as my sisters, if that’s okay with them, which they both loved and said of course that’s okay. So, way exciting. :-D
Sad thing I learned yesterday! So I was going to go to London next weekend to visit Jojo and Philippe, but because I’m a year visa person, I can’t leave the country until I have my carte de séjour. Really freaking annoying! I miss them so much!
Last night, it started raining, so not only did the heat finally break, but it meant I wore my rain boots today. I love my rain boots! (Thanks, Maddy!) And it was fun because Liz and I were going out and we got out of the métro at St-Michel and it was pouring, and everyone was under the awnings, and we just ran straight out into it with our tiny umbrella. And the lights were everywhere, and we ended up crossing the river and just chilling on the bridge for a while, appreciating the shiny pavement, and the lights, and the beauty of this city of light. It was perfect, and in retrospect, vaguely like Les Mis. ;-)
That’s good for now. Bonne nuit, tout le monde!