SEPTEMBER 15, 2009 3:08 PM

Speaking in a foreign language leads to beaucoup de misunderstandings. and it doesn't help if I've formulated opinions too early... i'm grateful for people who ask for clarification before deducing that i'm naive and wrong.

Parisians are... well, they're a lot of things, but I guess they are just exceptionally french-- beautiful, fashionable, not slow necessarily--they just know how to enjoy life. Les parisians savent profiter de la vie!

I'm made for this kind of life--the kind where you can have espresso, good bread with cheese and jam, and fresh fruit juice for breakfast, sitting at a sidewalk cafe on the bank of the canal, watching beautiful people cruise around on rollerblades, bicycles, and smart cars.

Ways of living which I intend to bring home, well... if I come home (see below):

  • Gastronomically related
  • Bake bread
  • Incorporate breakfast into my routing
  • Learn how to make quiche and tartes
  • Admit that the aubergine has always been my favorite food and eat it more often
  • Espresso instead of coffee
  • Potatoes chips with goat cheese
  • Mousse au chocolat
  • Lifestyle related
  • Get a Frisbee, a tennis racquet, and dancing shoes (thanks to this book)
  • Set a schedule so I can take a decent lunch break

No worries! Ne vous inquiétez pas! I have a dentist appointment on October 13th, so I have to come home. I'm grateful to be here and grateful that I have things to return home to. I watched these videos of our center director speaking about the work we do and feel pretty passionate about it. Though Kellie says passions are transferable...

Some thoughts.

street, metro, and cafe musicians/performers
if you look or listen too long or take a picture, you're expected to hand over some coins. I want to give these people more than money. i want to give them my heart.

the no smiling thing
i kind of get and i kind of don't. greg's parisienne mother who has lived in the states for the last 25 years, and I discussed this and how smiles in the morning are an especially good way to start the say. here, smiles mean more than a casual friendly greeting, but this means they aren't given out for free. it's kind of like the warm fuzzy, cold prickly story except without cold pricklies. the french are nice and hospitable, you just have to make an attempt.

the best way to see the city
river boat tours are alight, but i've got that beat. i've had the pleasure of riding double on a bicycle through the streets of paris at night, and on the quai along the seine by day. Although this isn't the most comfortable way to cruise, it is a fabulous way to see the city.

Here are some pictures (for all the photos from my trip, go here)

View from the top of the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower View

my roommate, Jorden and I at the top of the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower View- Jorden and I

View from the top

View of the Sacre-Coeur

another beautiful place to spend a Sunday afternoon- Le Jardin des Plantes
Jardin du Plantes

le petite fer a cheval (horseshoe)- Thanks to Nick and Sally for the recommendation! This plat du jour (plate of the day) was fabulous- the fennel side was super tasty!
Fer a cheval Plat du Jour

Greg and I overindulged on magnificent pastries
over indulgence

goofing off at the Louvre

best friends in Paris
Jardin du Luxembourg

♥ stephanie
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SEPTEMBER 2, 2009 6:08 PM

... but I do have a two hour lunch break

A few observations about the pace of life in Paris

There are neither social rules nor sanctions for walking in metro tunnels, stairways, or sidewalks--no such thing as slow traffic on the right. It's as if the French ares saying, 'life is not in a hurry and you shouldn't be either'. I'm learning to be more than ok with this.

Service is slow to come, decent when it's present, and they never rush you. You have to ask for the bill if you want it.

Women wear heals all the time. It's kind of inspiring.

Paris knows how to make public space beautiful. Parisians know how to appreciate it. Despite how narrow the parks might be and how many trees might obstruct your badminton game, the space is incredibly adequate.

People don't smile freely. I've had to restrain to hold a straight face more than once a day. French men generally dress really well, wearing pants that fit, and this something to smile about.

On a more personal note...

*My French is improving gradually, with 6 hours/day in a classroom it should be. I'm in the most diverse classroom I've ever been in, with students from Turkey, Germany, Denmark, China, Taiwan, Iraq, Poland, US, and Thailand. Our common denominator is French which is a 2nd (3rd or 4th) language for all of us except the instructor (who is not allowed to speak English in the classroom). This is a fabulous way to learn.

* My host family living arrangement is great- great food, fun roommates (that graciously translate for me so I can understand our host mother), adorable space, and comfortable sleep.

* I love it here even when it rains (or maybe even more).

* I'm looking forward to exploring the music and art scene with recommendations from a local frenchie (thanks to Ross for the connection!), exploring the textile district for fabric and frills, studying french/ people watching in sidewalk cafes, finding a healthy balance between French food and walking long distances, and trying to be fully present in my paris life!

Here are some visual highlights

La vie dans Paris

rigatoni with cream and truffle

La vie dans Paris

BFF together in Paris

La vie dans Paris

Le Catho (Catholic Institute of Paris) where I'm studying French

La vie dans Paris

The Eiffel Tower of course

La vie dans Paris

The metro

La vie dans Paris


And much more to come!


♥ stephanie
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