Il etait une fois…

I’m just going to stop apologizing for not writing more often, because I don’t think you can fault me for having so much fun, and being so busy. Besides, then I’d be apologizing every time I post.

The only problem with posting once a week or so is that everything accumulates. And I want to write about everything but I haven’t the time, and I doubt you want to read it all anyway. So I’ll try to keep this interesting.

Last time I posted was after we went to the awesome fondue place, I believe. Seriously awesome.

The next morning – last Sunday – my friends Jake, Selene, Maddy, and I went to one of the famous marchés aux pouces. I have to say, we were all a bit underwhelmed. There was some cool stuff in some areas, but most of it was boring, or all the same, and just cheap quality market stuff. But the real flea market stuff was fun to look at for a while. After a while of that, we headed back into the city for lunch around Saint-Michel and some time at, of course, Shakespeare & Co., where Jake and I met this very strange and interesting young woman who was born in Belarus (I believe), grew up outside Boston, went to UMass, has spent lots of time traveling around Europe and lived a very surreal kind of life, reads a lot of good books, is highly artistic and has beautiful journals, and speaks very little French despite the fact that she’s hanging out in Paris for a bit. Sweet.

I spent the first few days of this week just kind of taking advantage of being in Paris with no obligations. Monday, my friend Rachel and I explored the Marais and surrounding areas in great depth, ultimately going at our favorite tea place, and finishing with some amazing challah from a Jewish boulangerie. :-D Tuesday, my friends Selene, Sara, and I went to the Jewish museum in the Marais, basically exclusively for the purpose of seeing the Dreyfus Affair special exhibit. Apparently I spent the first few days of this week getting in touch with my Jewish-ness…?

Tuesday night, Rachel and I went to this tiny little theater – Théâtre de la Huchette – in Saint-Michel and saw two Ionesco plays, back to back. In French, of course, and they were particularly special because it was the 50th anniversary of the original production of one of them, in this same theater. Pretty awesome. And considering I’ve not only never actually read any Ionesco (I know, I know, stop giving me those looks), but also never read either of these plays, I understood them quite well. Very bizarre, but what else can you expect from Ionesco? If only the theater hadn’t been so hot. I’m in the midst, also, of planning excursions to see The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere’s Fan (yay Oscar Wilde!), both in French. Hopefully that’ll work out.

Wednesday… classes began. [cue ominous music.] Actually, it was only one class, and it was my awesome art history class, and it was only for an hour and a half in the classroom in the afternoon, and then… an hour and a half in the Louvre. Wait for it… at night. Wednesday nights, the Louvre is open until 9:30, and my section meets there from 8 until 9:30. It’s amazing, I am in love! I’ve always adored the Louvre, from the first time I came to Paris, but there is something even more amazing and beautiful and magical about it when you see it at night. You don’t even have to be inside! As I arrived and hurried through the lamp-lit corridor leading to the main plaza, two violinists started to play Pachelbel’s Canon, and I thought I was in heaven. Love!

Thursday, we were supposed to go with the group to sign up for history classes at the Sorbonne. Correction, we did go, at 9:15 am, but when we got there, we learned that the hours are still not ready. Oh joy of joys! The French system sucks, in just about all things bureaucratic.

Friday my photography class started. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am. We’re doing all black & white, we’re developing as well as printing, and because the three of us Sweet Briar kids are not full-time students, we get to do whatever we want and just show up and work in the lab whenever we want, and come to whatever class we want. The first thing I’m going to tackle is portraiture, because I’ve always been afraid of working with people, so I figure, what better way than to jump right in. Maddy’s going to help me, so it’ll be fun.

So, here’s some other fun stuff from my week, before I let you get back to your lives and away from my ramblings…

Tuesday night, after the plays, Rachel and I met up with our friends Alex and Nick on the steps of Sacre Coeur. We didn’t want to spend money, so we just ended up hanging out there. Turns out, that’s the place to be. There were all these people just hanging out there, and they were mostly all young people, of all different nationalities, and some people had brought their guitars and were playing music and everyone was singing along, and it just turned into this huge ‘let’s all make friends and chill’ fest. It gave me a really warm, fuzzy feeling. And there was this couple, a little bit older, and they were celebrating the woman’s birthday on the steps, with some wine and candles and presents. The man came over to the guys with guitars and asked if they could play Happy Birthday for her, so we all sang to this woman on the steps of Sacre Coeur, with a beautiful view of the lights of Paris. Talk about magical.

So, yesterday (Friday), I met my host brother Eric for the first time, since he’s been at school since before I got here. I’m pretty sure my host mom’s trying to set me up with him, which is kind of rather hilarious. But whatever, because he’s awesome, and here’s why…

I played soccer today! With French guys! Eric and his friends were playing at Invalides, and when Patricia mentioned today after lunch that I play, he invited me along. And you know me, I can’t pass up an opportunity to play soccer. So, despite the fact that I played horribly because I’m out of shape and haven’t played since July… they were all really impressed with me because apparently they’d never seen a girl play soccer before. Wow. The French need to get out more sometimes. ;-)

After, Eric and I hung out here and talked – in English and French, because he has to take this huge English test in a couple weeks – about movies and music and it was pretty awesome. It was kind of depressing because even though he says I have really good French, I ended up speaking mostly English because his English is so good that it was necessary in order for me to keep the pace of the conversation. He was actually going to come out with us tonight, to hang out and to work on his English, but he and Liz’s host bro, Louis, had a bday party to go to, and they were waiting for their friend, and they were going to call me when he got there, but Eric called and said he still wasn’t there and by the time he did get there, they’d have to go to the party, so it wouldn’t be worth it anyway. Ah well. Maybe another time.

Oh man, I have so many more things I could tell you guys, but I’ll stop here for now. Gros bisous!

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