samedi 29 mars 2008

a productive first day

Last night had the most awesomest impromptu dinner party with Cher, Char, Susie, Sarah, and Lily. The feast included the before mentioned roast chicken, potatoes, salad, bread (courtesy of Susie) and cheese, wine and sangria (courtesy of Lily and Sarah), and for dessert, my own concoction of crispy sugary pastry topped with vanilla ice cream with caramelised pecans and garnished with chocolate lady fingers (also courtesy of Lily and Sarah). I am Martha Stewart. Unfortunately, I only took before and after pictures.

Funny story. So, I shop at a different butcher now for chicken, the one that Lucia likes better and so do I because all the guys that work there are hot or were once hot maybe but are old now. They also cook an amazing chicken. They were closing up and cleaning, and hot butcher gives me my chicken and the receipt and I go pay inside. Then all my change in my wallet spills onto their floor, it sounded like Vegas. All the guys went, "OOOHHH!!! JACKPOT!!!" And they laughed in a goodhearted way, but I was so embarrassed. I had my money out in exact change, and I give it to the guy right after picking up my change, and he laughed and said, "Oh! C'est parfait!!" (It's perfect). I love paying in exact change. He told me to have a good night and see you soon. I left the lovely butcher men feeling the glow of schoolgirly happiness in my cheeks, a spring in my step.

Great dinner. We put the sangria outside on my windowsill to get cold. The girls asked Cher and Char what the weather was like back in so cal. After, we watched videos on YouTube, the feature of the night being Cher's breakdance battle with her boyfriend. It was too hilarious. We laughed so hard, me with tears in my eyes. We watched it again. Then we watched some dog videos that Susie liked and also Human Tetris videos. Good times.

Today, woke up pretty early. We walked up my street, to Notre Dame. We took funny pics, me and Cher, trying to hang from the bridge. Char wanted to stop because she saw people laughing at us. I didn't care, that made me happy. We walked inside as well. I took Char to Gibert Jeune and got her a fountain pen since I missed out on her birthday and Christmas.

Then walked to Jardin du Luxembourg. We sat in front of the fountain, soaking it all in. Took them to Crepes A Gogo for some galettes, a wheatier, healthier crepe that's filled with savory stuff rather than nutella. They loved it. Then treated them to cafe noisettes, which they also liked. Went to DuBois, an art shop, and I got Cher a quill and ink for her birthday/Christmas since I missed that as well. I love giving gifts that are inspired from my old-fashioned interests. I want to bring back the old ways as much as I can. Plus, they both really wanted these pens.
Went to the Pantheon and saw the tombs of Voltaire, Marie Curie, and others. Then we walked home. I took us in a giant circle so they didn't see things twice. I'm getting better at this host/tourist guide thing.

vendredi 28 mars 2008

I am mean.

Picked up my friends from the airport today. Cher emerged first, looking a bit worried and only holding a handbag. I ran to her and we hugged and asked what happened, and she said she couldn't find her luggage. They had been looking for an hour. I got into stressed mode sort of, took her to information and I asked what they should do. Then I said to her, since I couldn't go into the baggage claim area, "You go back in there and talk to US Airways and you be PERSISTENT! Don't come out without your luggage!"

How welcoming I am.

I never realized how mean I can be until after the fact. I blame it on living here. They're such sweet girls and I love them to death so I felt bad about forcing them to be super persistent. It's their first time abroad, and they don't know the ropes so well. But they will learn, by God they will learn. They finally came out, 5 minutes later, and with their luggage. I hugged them again like it was the first time I saw them.

Mom and Dad packed some things for me, mostly things I asked for like shorts and boardshorts. Like I'll be needing them soon, haha. It's raining right now. Dad also put a crapload of lens wipes for my eyeglasses. That was lovely. I know it was him because he always has those in his pockets or in his truck or sticking out of his backpack that he uses for work.

We sat in the airport for a bit so that they can rest, and I was presented with a gift: The Darjeeling Limited dvd. What amazing friends I have. I actually emailed Cher if she could get it for me, and then I said nevermind it's no big deal I'll get it when I go home, and then she surprised me with it anyway! God, I demand too much. Right when I sent out that email asking for it, I felt like such an ass because she's already bringing a crapload of my stuff here and back. God, these girls are amazing.

They're asleep right now--funny how I blog when most of my friends are asleep--but tonight I'm making a nice, roast chicken dinner courtesy of the butchers up the street who cook a mean chicken. Salad, potatoes, wine, bread, and ice cream for later. I'm salivating already.

jeudi 27 mars 2008

"Take a look at banner, Michael!" -- Gob, Arrested Development.

Here are some of my previous Paris For A Year blog banners. They were really fun to design for the blog. Some banners I saved and have the original titles and others are just the photos I used. From top to bottom they range from the most recent to the least recent. I'll keep adding as I create more. You can find this in the mediatheque section where I keep my photos and videos. Yay for memories!

food coma and the goodness of friends

What a week! I've never eaten so well before. Might have gained some pounds but I don't care, I feel so good. Stacy had a great time and was so nice to have around. She was really into the food and wanted to experience all kinds of ambiances. Ate at a brasserie in Montmartre, had hot chocolate at Angelina's, coffee near the Tour Eiffel, ice cream at Berthillon, and ate at a lovely, charming restaurant on Ile St. Louis. They had two cats that were licking the rain off our umbrellas. I had steak au poivre for the first time, and Stacy had a steak with roquefort sauce. We both had wine as well. Stacy was a considerate lodger and in exchange for letting her stay at my place, she bought most of my meals which I didn't want her to but she insisted. I'm so blessed to have considerate friends who are good people.

I also took her to Chinatown, but I don't think I took her to the right part or we didn't venture in far enough, but we went into a Chinese supermarket and bought baby coconut juice and taro chips. Yum. We ended up eating it while in line for the Eiffel Tower.

We went at night, and I was just going to wait down below while Stacy goes up, but Stacy offered to pay for me again! She also asked me to ask Susie to come because she really liked Susie and that she'd pay for Susie's ticket as well. Lovely girl. She said it's all because of the extra cash that she didn't use for shopping. We went up, and what a lovely sight. I didn't bring my camera, but oh well. I was planning to go up the Eiffel Tour some day near the end of my trip but by myself. That sounds kind of weird, but you already know how weird I am.

Afterwards, we went back to my place and had some cheese and bread and wine for Stacy's last night. Swung by Monoprix for the bread since it was late, and Susie also bought some chocolate to make a care package for her bf Andy. It's their anniversary soon. Stacy asked Susie if she wanted her to bring anything back for her bf and that she had room in her suitcase. Susie made a lovely care package and Stacy packed it as well as most of my books and winter stuffs.

Took Stacy to the airport today and helped her check in. We almost forgot her passport! I put it on my bookshelf for safe keeping. We're both at fault for not double checking. This was her first time out of the country, and she had been picketpocketed in Paris while sightseeing to. I felt kinda bad about it, but I did warn her to be careful. Thankfully, she didn't lose a whole lot of cash. These are the kind of experiences to learn from. She wants to backpack across Europe and is now realizing how much research and planning that goes into it.

I'm starting to realize how good and selfless my friends are. I'm really thankful to have such good people around me who do things without asking, who tell me how it is, who make me feel comfortable and loved, who make me laugh like no other, who are positive and have goodness in their hearts. It usually takes a while for me to develop friendships, and it's been like that all my life, and I think that's why I haven't made any friends here other than the acquaintances I've made in SF who became my friends here as well as the other Californians I met here. But I think that's better than nothing.

Tomorrow, I'm off the airport to pick up Cher and Char!! Another tour of Paris is about to begin again!

mardi 25 mars 2008

spring breakish

I feel like I'm on vacation. Two classes are canceled this week, and today's my first class of the week, and it's already Wednesday. Awesomeness.

On Monday, I took Stacy to the Champs to see the Arc de Triomphe. Then I got freaking lost trying to find line 2 in the labyrinth that is Charles de Gaulle Etoile station. I took a wrong turn and took us in a circle. Not one of my finest moments. We finally got to Montmartre, had late lunch, and Susie met up with us at Sacre Coeur. Then we got some coffee, took Stacy to Pigalle, and head home.

Yesterday, took Stacy shopping around rue de Rivoli. She wanted a new wardrobe and was willing to drop up to 500 euros. I think every girl that comes here believes Paris to be shopping mecca, but only if you've got the bucks. She got a dress and 3 cardigans at H&M, but didn't see anything else she fancied. I got a cardigan too and some tank tops for my upcoming spring break trip.

Took her to Angelina for the best hot chocolate in the world. We were looking at our purchases at the table, and one of the higher up guys (he was wearing a suit, and didn't look like a waiter) came by and said, "C'est superbe!" and smiled at us, and Stacy got a kick out of that. He kept smiling whenever he passed us and that was nice. He must be thinking, "Oh you girl tourists and your shopping". Stacy loved the chocolate and millefeuille as well as the decor of the place. This lovely American family sat across from us, and asked Stacy, "Do they take long here to order?" And Stacy said, "Ask this girl, she knows this place!" And I said no, it should be okay. And the Dad was funny, he saw my dessert when it came and my hot chocolate, and I noticed his jaw dropping a bit in awe, and when the waiter came he motioned to me and said, "I'll have what she's having." It was a nice moment and made me feel good.

Went back to my hood and went to this bar that I've never been to, and got pints of Hoeegarden with slices of lemon, so good. The bar guys were really nice, one of them cute in a dork way, so I might go there occasionally. This was a big deal for Stacy since she's 20. Then we got champagne and wine at the supermarket so we can get smashed at my place. I went in the morning to get groceries while Stacy was getting ready and bought a crapload of cheese and dry sausage and crackers. So we had a little French soiree with Susie and watched videos on Youtube and made fun of the film Across the Universe which Stacy hates with a passion.

My friend Edward Appleby mentioned Paris For A Year at his online home Rushmore Academy the other day. Thanks Edward!

lundi 24 mars 2008


Wow, have never done so much in two days! I am exhausted again. I need to start working out or something. It's hard to keep up with Stacy who is a rainbow/squirrel/ball of energy rolled into one.

She did crash the first day from jetlag which is why she didn't come to fondue. I met up with Jean and Emily at Montmartre at this fondue place that gives you wine and baby bottles. It was absolutely insane! We met up with these 2 American guys and girls who were visiting Paris, and they were really funny and cool. A great time. I had two baby bottles of wine, but only because the waiter and Emily made me do it!! Naw, he was really sweet because I spoke French for my friends and just got me one. By the end, the 7 of us were all stumbling, and in my drunkness I asked, "Do you guys have Facebook?" It was silent for a second, and I though, "Oh shit", and then they said, "YEAH!" A pen and paper was passed around and we got each other's names. So now I'm going to have acquaintances from Texas, West Virginia, and New York!

On Sunday, went to the Cinematheque since it was free. I wish I went to church for Easter, but it's hard to do the things you want to do when you have someone visiting you. God has not been replaced with Cinema, haha. Susie came too, but at the cutoff for the free entrance, so I felt bad.

After, met up with Sarah H. and I took Stacy to lunch nearby the Notre Dame. I found this decent cafe and always wanted to go there. Might go there for studying, the people are really nice, and it's comfier than the Saint Medard. I had a croque but with mozzarella and tomatoes.

We got tickets to Be Kind Rewind, then passed the time going down St. Germain. Like Catherine, Stacy likes to shop, so we ducked into a little boutique to look around. I helped Stacy get a dress and jacket. She has this thing when she knows an interesting person (like yours truly) she asks them to go with her on a shopping day where that person is her personal stylist. In exchange for my fashion advice, she buys the person the metro ticket for shopping and lunch. So, we spent one day at Union Square in SF buying her clothes.

I made her try on things she wouldn't usually wear like mini-skirts and tight jeans, because she has a cute body and should show it off. So I helped her pick dresses and jackets yesterday and told her what would go well with the jacket she bought. Being a fashion stylist is fun! I think I dress okay, not amazing, I just like looking unique and buying things that flatter my body and make me feel confident.

I also got myself a really cute skirt for spring. It's a gray prairie skirt, pleated and full, and there's a petticoat underneath with an eyelet border that peaks out under the skirt every so often when you walk with it on. It looks so coyboyish and American, I love it. I had my boots on and tights when I wore it, and that looked cute. It also had deep pockets that I could hide my hands in! I could not say no, I had to have it. Finding something cute and unique makes me happy, and it gave me great joy to wear it. It's weird how clothing can make you feel confident.

Saw the film, which was okay, I just liked the sweded parts and filmmaking parts. After, we chilled at my house since I was tired. Then, we headed to Les Caves Lechapelais for a "gothic soiree" because ladies before midnight were free. It was really cool and interesting, but I was so exhausted so I just watched all the gothic people dance. Susie made an interesting comment that she liked seeing all the "awkward" people here. It's no exaggeration that in all my time here I haven't seen a gothic looking kid, I really don't mean to generalize, but I can't find another way to say it. So does it make sense that after seeing all these cool and interesting people, I can breathe a sigh of relief that Paris isn't just Louis Vuitton and Longchamps bags and boots and skinny jeans on girls, and it's not all suits on guys or plain but nice clothing? Beneath that--in the caves (basement) for example--the awkward kids are there, dancing their hearts out to loud German music.

They had this sort of laser light thing, and it freaking looked like something out of Star Wars, it would actually shoot the light like a space gun that fires lasers or something, and I was scared out of my mind, but it was cool to watch Susie and Stacy dance to it. I was just cowering on the sidelines, trying not to get shot at last night.

Also am in touch with the web designer for Rushmore Academy (we became friends on Facebook!), and I'm going to write a report for him on Wes Anderson's masterclass at Fnac! Sweetness. I'd like to think that I'm a foreign correspondent for film in Paris. How cool would that be to live in Paris and just write in English? Kind of like what I'm doing right now.