mercredi 5 septembre 2007

here's a really long post for you...

Hey all. I haven't had internet at my place since it's being fixed, but now it's fixed so here's what I've been journaling...Pardon!

1 sept.

I am speechless. I can't even talk right now, which is okay since there's no one to talk to anyway. I've moved in to my studio in the 5th arrondissement, and it is amazing. After showing me around the studio, Chris showed me around the neighborhood. He showed me where to do my laundry, where the supermarket is, the best boulangerie and Chinese food, the best patisserie, the best wine place, a little cinema (only up the street!) that has uncomfortable seats but great prices, everything. After all that, he treated me to a tarte suisse at the patisserie, and we talked to the owner who was really nice and sweet. We talked in French, and I'm still a little shy about my French skills, but she was really nice and told me that I'm going to have a great year here. I hope she's right.

Last night, Keisha, Lucia, and I went to a party that one of our classmates had. It was pretty cool. His girlfriend is French, and he's living in a big apartment that was once owned by her grandmother. We met her and her friend, and they were really nice. Almost everyone smokes here, which is not my thing, so Keisha, Lucia and I were hanging out near the window, haha.

Today, Keisha, Lucia, and I are going to get our textbooks at Gilbert Jeune. Yay! Then we have homework to do. Boo.

2 sept.

Gibert Jeune is the most AMAZING bookstore. They're located right outside the St. Michel metro, and they're all separated by school subjects. We went to the langues one to find francais pour l'etrangers.

Woke up today at 7 because the church bells across the street ring then. I guess I'm waking up at 7 every day. That's probably a good thing. I'm kind of sore from lugging my huge luggage through the metro and up and down many flights of stairs. Ouch. I'll feel better tomorrow.

Outside, there's a fresh fruit and vegetable market, almost every day, which is amazing. Chris told me that I should shop around, go up the street and find the best deals. But it's so nice knowing that fresh things are just outside my door. It's lovely. I feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and I just want to burst into song, that one song she sings when she's walking through her village. Here's a view from my window:

Today, I'm going to church with Lucia, and we're going to the one across my street. After, we're going to the Louvre! Finally, finally. Every first Sunday all the museums are free! Isn't that awesome? So I'm totally hitting up the museums on the first sunday of every month.

Already, more than a week of living here has helped me appreciate what I have in America. It's such a change to live here because everything in America is cheaper, and here it's the total opposite. Because of the high cost of things, I'm learning to simplify and rid myself of things that would usually weigh me down. Usually, back in the States, if I don't have something, the immediate reaction is to go out and buy it. Here, I have to think about if I really need it or if I can go for a time without it. It kind of sucks, but I've adjusted. I've made an excel spreadsheet on my spending as well.

Just got back from the Louvre with Lucia. It was wonderful!! Despite billions of tourists who were taking advantage of the free museum day. I went to church across the street, which was pretty awesome. It's really old, and the pews are just these chairs that have boards nailed to the backs of them so that they stay in rows. I understood some of the French that was being said. And when it was time to shake hands, I shook hands with these two hot French guys who went to church, by themselves, and it was pretty cool. I mean, seeing guys at church by themselves and not with their fams. They were dressed nicely too. The one that sat right in front of me looked like Bear Grylls but taller and skinnier. I almost melted when he turned around to shake my hand. Guh! I'll write a post on French guys later ; ).

Oh my gosh, but the most hilarious thing was this...I was in line for communion, and I saw people getting the host on the tongue. So I thought, “Okay, I'll just stick my tongue out since everyone's doing it.” When it got to me, I said, “Amen” and stuck my tongue out AND held my hands out to receive Communion. I looked like a freaking idiot. The priest was confused, wavering with the host between my hands and mouth, and he said, “Euh, pardon.” I finally closed my mouth and received the host in my hands. He wasn't mad or anything, probably more amused than ever 'cuz he kind of stifled a laugh, and I just wanted to leave straight after that, but I didn't. I stayed for the whole thing. I told Lucia the story at the Louvre, and she was laughing so hard she almost cried. She's Catholic too. Gosh, crazy stuff like that happens to me all the time, I swear.

Anyway, after church, I went up my street to look around, and all the guys were out selling veggies and fruits, and everyone's stocking up for the week. It was a nice sight. I bought a pashmina, one of those warm scarves, so I could look euro cool and be warm at the same time. Mine is silver/black, and it is super soft, and I feel so womenly wearing it! More on les parisiennes later...

Okay, so I arrived at the Louvre, and it's amazing because the metro line from my place goes straight to the Louvre—how amazing is that. I got there, and Lucia got off the wrong metro, but when she finally came we were both hungry, and we decided to treat ourselves. I also figured that one dinner out a month is agreeable and won't break the bank. She had a steak and frites, and I had steak au poivre, which is a pepper sauce, and frites, and it was SO YUMMY! It was cooked medium-rare, my fave. Oh my gosh, it was worth it. If I only have yogurt and cereal to eat for a month but get to have steak au poivre at the end, then it is definitely worth it. C'etait tres delicieux.

Then we went to the Louvre and saw so many amazing works of art. We went through one wing, Denon, where La Joconde, or the Mona Lisa, is located. It was just so unreal to see her; I couldn't believe it. There are moments when I think that being here is just a dream, and that I'll wake up in my bed at home or in my bed in San Francisco, and this never happened. But it's happening. It's happening. I also took a photo of this horrible pile of trash and empty bottles that was next to this column, and it looked like art. I'll post pics when my internet connection is better. And this old guy that saw me do it laughed, and I laughed too. It was a nice moment.

We walked around more in another wing, then left and walked along the Seine to Pont Neuf. We rested our tired feet for a while, then parted ways. I heard English being spoken a lot from toursits, which is nice, because I love my mother tongue and that makes it hard for me to learn French.

3 sept.

I love signs. Not like stop signs, but signs that things are going in the right place. Today, I saw, in two different places, film crews filming. The first one was after class, just two blocks away, a crew was filming at a cafe. Then when I went to go return my keys at Cite Universitaire, I saw these two trucks from far away, as I got closer, I saw a push cart holding billions of C-stands—for you non-film people, these stands hold lights. I said to myself, “Are you kidding me?” It was just too weird for me. Film is all around me. I am doing the right thing. I think and hope. I probably analyze too much.

4 September

Dang it, internet's not working so well. The France Telecom guy came and said the problem was not at my place, but at wherever the signal is being put out or something like that. I can barely understand French let alone French computer-speak.

It's so funny how much I depend on the internet right now. I can go a few days without internet at home, but here? In France, it's hardly possible. It's the only way I'm connected to the people I love besides the telephone. I've been phoning home when it's nighttime here because then it's morning there and talking to my parents. It's nice having a LAN line. It's funny because I used to hate talking on the phone in the states because it's so much easier (and nicer) to talk in person, but here it's not the case. I treasure these talks with my parents. They sound so close, but they're thousands of miles away.

Keeping these journals are fun, but I should study.


Okay, this is important. As crazy as our days have been here, they've really rendered us truly paranoid. Case in point: my friend Lucia lost her passport today. The poor girl's been really paranoid with it, making sure it's safe, but she lost it today somewhere between the MICEFA office and one of the universities where she'll be attending class. Neither MICEFA nor the university have seen it. We've been consoling her, letting her know that it's probably in her pants at home or in a bag under her bed. She'll find it, and she made copies of it, but not of her visa. So note it: people, if you're traveling, make sure you have copies of your passport in each piece of luggage you have. Keep your passport on you always, and if you're living abroad, like me, put it somewhere safe at your place, and still keep the copies. You never know.

But do you see what I'm getting at here? Living in a foreign country is hard and paranoia enducing, especially if you barely speak the language. This isn't L'Auberge Espagnole (I don't think that guy even learned Spanish!) or that one movie where that lady buys a house in Italy. There's rules and forms and limited internet access and people who hate your accent. This is nothing like the movies, and it's so hard to get that through this film-lover's head. As much as I love the cinematic, the beautiful, the edited, life isn't like that. Boo. I'm just lucky enough to enjoy sporadic moments of cinematicocity. Thank you God for indulging me.

But, let me just say this, people say “Bonjour” to each other all the time. I love it. It's like the freaking movies. I was just going downstairs, and this old lady I passed bonjoured me, and I don't even know her. And I pass this other guy on my way out, and he bonjours me. It's a nicety, and it's lovely. Man, if I helloed strangers in the States, I'd get such weird looks or people would think I'm crazy. Americans are such islands.

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