19.08.2010 - 21.08.2010
The best thing that could have happened has happened. Any guesses as to what event has rocked my little French world over here? I found Days of Our Lives on YOU TUBE. Of course it is on YouTube! Everything is on YouTube...I can't believe that I could've been watching this every night and talking about it with mom (it is getting REALLY good) or at least on those cold, rainy days when I didn't feel like getting out of the apartment. I've watched up until 8/10/2010, so I'm catching up! Yes, it might seem a little odd that admist all this amazing culture, my craving for American daytime tv is taking the top honors as the most exciting discovery of the week...but I am, and always will be an American girl and proud of it. Studying French and being in France has changed me and made me sort of a hybrid Nationality in a way. I love French literature, but also reality tv; French wine (of course), but also Diet Coke; Creme Brulee, but also Funnel Cakes...
My hybrid structure also helps me in identifying where our two nations cross paths in language and in society. I'm not just talking about the thousands of billboards for McDonalds (which, in France, are currently featuring the killer in the mask from the Scream movies, maybe in anticipation of the release of Scream 4 this next year!) or the fact that 9 in 10 shows on French tv is Friends, New York Police Judiciaire (Law and Order), Les Experts (CSI), or Les Desperètes (Desperate Housewives) all dubbed into French, no less. And let me digress for just a second in order to tell you all that the jokes (especially from Friends) that we are all so fond of and that, well, made the show successful for ten years are not translated all that well here in the French reruns. A family favorite episode in my house was an episode from season 5 involving Chandler and Monica in a bathtub with champagne, still trying to hide their relationship, when Joey barges in and Mon has to duck under the water and bubbles. Joey won't stop asking about chicken... if you know the episode then you know what's coming; if not- WATCH it. Anyway, in France the classic line of "Ah! Ah! Ah! Diet Coke." becomes "Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Without Sugar." NOT funny. It's any wonder that French people find any humor in it at all.
Anyway, after spending so much time here and especially around Morgane, who is thankfully a wealth of cultural material wrapped up in one cute little package, I've noticed how much of American English is altering spoken French much to the dismay of the Academie Francaise, I'm sure. Spending so much time around people speaking actual, everyday French (and not that snooty academic French we have to produce at Northwestern) has made me very aware of these changes. Thankfully, I have a great example of this around me at least a few days a week. Mlle Morgane happened to extend me an invitation to a slumber party Thursday night at her place out in Parisian suburbia. Inevitably after dinner we ended up watching television (while drinking some kind of cocktail Morgane created using only vodka and a blended up melon...it was, um...the consistency of applesauce. Enough said). Anyway, a "French" show came on called l'Inside (pronounce it like eeeeeeensiiiiiiiiide) that bore a striking ressemblance to Inside Edition. The first words out of the host's mouth was, "Oh My God! Nous avons le Big Scoop ce soir. Le super-sexy-cool Angelina Jolie est à Paris et nous sommes excités!" ("Oh My God! We have the Big Scoop tonight. The super-sexy-cool Angelina Jolie is in Paris and we are excited!") Ok, so the non-obvious problem with this sentence for non-speakers of French: back in the day, when I was learning French... excité did not mean excited[/]...well, it did or does still, I guess, but excited in a very (cough, cough) [i]sexual way. You had to be very cautious and you "I am enthousiastic about..." or "I am happy about..." so as not to give the wrong impression when someone asked you if you wanted to go grab a coffee. Otherwise people might just think you REALLY like that coffee. Now, I suppose that with the overusage in American English of the word, it has filtered over the Atlantic Ocean and modified spoken French. I've heard it other places as well: in the street, in stores, at restaurants...and I know it's France, but I have a hard time believing that there are that many people in Paris um, "excited" about everyday objects. At least I hope not... And don't even get me started about "super-sexy-cool" and "le Big Scoop". Those need no explanation.
Spending Thursday evening at Morgane's place bled into an all-day Morgane fest on Friday because she (Yay!) had the day off of work. We went to a Parc de Loisirs near her village to enjoy the extremely sunny and sweltering Parisian weather. It really is all about extremes in Paris right now- Friday I was sweating to death in a tank top. Today, I'm wearing a sweater. Anyway, this park had it all; it would've been so fun to be a little kid there. There was a lake with paddle boats and canoes, blow-up bouncy things, a train, tons of rides, ponies, the works! Morgane and I did the grown up thing and took a stroll around the lake and then just layed in the sunshine.
I had the brilliant idea that Morgane should come back with me to Paris to continue to enjoy the sunshine for an evening picnic, so that's just what we did. But first, we stopped off at the pastry shop next to Morgane's place for what I swear is the best macaron I've ever had IN MY LIFE.
Pistachio macaron filled with cream and raspberries. Oh My God. Ok, maybe I could be excitée about this...
Our usual picnic spot was a little crowded since it was Friday night and beautiful weather, so we ended up having our picnic on the quai next to the Pont des Arts.
This is the life; there is nothing better than sitting on the side of the Seine just absorbing Paris (and absorbing some cheap wine) and having a great conversation with one of your best friends. Man, I'm sure going to miss Momo...I hope it's not another 3 years before I see her again.
However, we have decided to plan a romantic weekend get-away to Champagne this coming Saturday, so that should be fun
Saturday night, Diana and I headed to the Latin Quarter for some traditional French cuisine. There is a plethora of "traditional" French bistrots up and down every side street behind Place Saint-Michel, so finding one that is better than decent is often a challenge. Also, if you're looking for Indian, Greek, "Mexican", or Thai food, they're also all over the place too. The good news is, they are usually dirt-cheap and you can get 3 courses for between 12-20 euros. We settled on Bistrot 30, which was ok; the 3 courses I had were hit and miss. I started out with my favorite, escargots, which were much better than the last time I had them up in Montmartre. I give them a A-.
Then came the Boeuf Bourgignon- not bad. The meat was good, not fatty, tender; but there were not enough vegetables. I had one piece of cooked carrot (and I hate cooked carrots); no mushrooms, no onions, nada. I'll give it a B-. Finally, dessert! Creme Brulée! It was neither cream nor very brulée-ed. It had the consitency of flan. It was edible, but that's about it. C for effort.
After dinner, a nice little walk was in order. I also found some souvenirs for people who are still left on my list.
All in all, a nice weekend in the City of Lights. I'll continue to try and catch up with my days on my blog and my Days on YouTube.
One last shout out to my amazing boyfriend Joey- Happy 3-year Anniversary (yesterday) and Thankyou Thankyou for holding down the fort in my absence. Love you!