30.07.2010 - 02.08.2010
Salut tous! I'm very happy to report that I'm in Paris, set up in my apartment and enjoying beautiful, sunny weather. Before we get to that, I have to tell you about my last few days with Morgane in Yerres...
Friday was rather uneventful, although I got caught in a rainstorm during my tour of the village, which I should know can happen anytime in France, and thus, I should carry my umbrella with me at all times. That evening, I made my famous "Bonnes Pates" for Miss Morgane, which I we hadn't been able to enjoy together for three years.
When we were in Dijon, France in 2007, the Good Pasta was a staple as it was cheap to make and was loaded with cheese and garlic...nothing wrong with that. We revisted our Miami Univerity in France days with fondness...
Saturday night was a tad more lively. Poor Morgane's job requires her to work on Saturdays, so our fun couldn't begin until the evening when we headed into Paris for a little party on the bank of the Seine that Morgane's friends were having. Ivan, our host, directed us to the Quai de Tournelle, behind and across the river from Notre Dame, which provided us with fantastic views of the sun setting behind the island.
I had a good time being l’américaine that everyone was interested in talking to. Thankfully, I received many compliments on my French and even had a lively political discussion with Francois (see below) about Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy.
The above picture is of me (of course) Medhi, Asya, and Francois.
I am always impressed in Paris with how everyone, tourists and Parisiens alike, use their public, outdoor space and how proud they are to show if off to non-natives like myself. Saturday night, I received several history and architecture lessons from various people at the party but mostly they just said to me, "Ahhh c'est trop belle cette ville, non?" ("Ahhhh, this city is just too beautiful, is it not?") I guess I'm not the only one in love with this city. Anyway, everyone and their brother came out Saturday night to enjoy the perfect weather and picnic on the Seine, and experience everyone should have at least once in their lives.
Sunday was a travel and move-in day for me, and I'm extremely happy to report that the apartment I rented for the month is working out splendedly. I will definitely take pictures and put them up with my next post; I am in the neighborhood of Bastille (11th arrondissement), on a quiet little street off of Rue de Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Within a block, there is everything I need: open air market, post office, bank, Metro stop, restaurants, grocery, and lots and lots of shopping. Even though I've been in France for a week, I had not yet had one of my favorite food items, a Croque Monsieur, so I had to remedy that.
Yes, I know that this is nothing fancy or haute cuisine, but there is nothing wrong with good bread, creamy sauce, ham, and cheese all melted together. It is something I've rarely seen recreated well in the US; our versions always end up ressembling Grilled Cheese with Ham. There's nothing wrong with Grilled Cheese, but it's not the same this as this yummy slab of cheesy goodness...
To celebrate our arrival, my colleague Diana and I, took our dinner to the Pont des Arts that night to enjoy the sights of the city. One phenomenon that I failed to tell you about my last visit to the bridge is the lovely tradition of lovers putting padlocks on the bridge to symbolize their hearts being locked together. Pont des Arts is the bridge of lovers, and as you walk along you'll notice thousands of locks on the bridge with names and intials carved in to them.
I wonder where this started...maybe wikipedia can tell me.
As is tradition for me in Paris, I broke a pair of shoes that I dearly loved. This happens to me EVERY TIME I'M HERE. I kid you not. In 2008, it was this adorable pair of silver sandals that I was just obsessed with. While walking near the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day, an inebriated gentleman stepped on the back of one of them and they ripped. I actually cried. This time, I have no idea how or when it happened, I just know that when I got up to leave he Pont des Arts on Sunday, they were broken.
Oh well, prend la vie comme elle vient (take life as it comes); I was able to fashion it back together with a hair tie so I could at least walk in them for a bit, albeit uncomfortably. I was going to say that maybe me breaking a shoe is a sign of good luck... I guess we'll see. Although, immediately after this incident, another inebriated gentlemen got a little too close to me for comfort (so close he grabbed me) and I, in perfectly unplanned French, told him off. The look on Diana's face was priceless as I yelled at the man. I don't think she realized that I was able to put together a string of well-chosen bad words that quickly (thank you Morgane for all the vocabulary lessons). The funniest part was, as I was yelling at the guy, an elderly french woman ran up to us and she also started screaming at the guy, "ne touches pas la mademoiselle!!!!!!!!" ("Do NOT touch this girl!") So maybe breaking my shoe means, "Watch out for drunk guys"...
Yesterday was a rainy mess for most of the afternoon. I spent most of the day at Galeries Lafayette and other stores on Boulevard Haussman...huge crowds and not much fun. Poor Diana got lost in Galeries Lafayette (understandable, it's massive) while trying to find the bathroom and I ended up spending an hour trying to locate her. I really thought I was going to have to report her MIA. But, she eventually showed up, a little worse for wear. However, the day ended spledidly, because my favorite French TV show, Secret Story, was on... I am a reality TV junky in the US, so of course I'm one in France as well. It also gives me the opportunity to learn new "colorful" words to use when accosted by overly eager males. Speaking of reality tv, way to go Ali on picking Roberto on the Bachelorette!
A plus! (Until later!)