Traveling other places recently has been amazing: Amsterdam, Budapest, and Spain. But here’s an update on my life in France. Just a couple things from each day, or nothing if the day wasn’t super eventful.
Feb 21 – Melissa’s host family invited us over for dinner! It was so sweet and amazing. First of all, I got off at the stop Champs Elysee Clemenceau, and then we walked across the Champs, looking towards the Arc de Triomphe and the ferris wheel and the Eiffel Tower… kill me, best view. And then we entered a very old apartment building, and their apartment is just so incredible. Not nouveau riche, decorated to the nines, amazing and incredibly, undeniably French. They are a cute old couple, and we talked about theatre and Shakespeare and literature, all my favorite topics. They had little snacks for us, then dinner which was a small full chicken, complete with head. It was such a lovely time and I’m so glad not only that they were generous enough to extend the invitation but also that Melissa invited me .
2/23 – Deanna and I went to the Tulieres stop and went to the Orangerie museum. We went through every other exhibit other than Monet, and then we found it. The rest was awesome, many works by Cezanne or Renoir. But then, oh then, w went into the two adjacent oval Monet rooms, white walled, filled with natural light from above, casting halos on the eight giant works encompassing the space. We sat and talked for 3 hours in front of one work. It was so peaceful and amazing to look at.
2/27 – Sacre Coeur with Zara and Caroline – it was a bit cloudy but pretty awesome. That view of Paris was incredible nonetheless, and all those steps to the top of Montmatre were totally worth it.
2/28-3/3 – Budapest!
Random February times:
Melissa and I went to Musee Carnavalet -the museum of the history of the city of Paris and several important people, such as Louis the 16th.
Random Tuesday – went to the Mosque with Caroline, saw the beautiful interior and then ate some delicious food there!
3/7 – Thursday afternoon I visited UNESCO with my Leading Across Cultures class. The tour was fun, and I loved the tour. It was funny when some random woman joined our tour without any rhyme or reason. The Japanese gardens were beautiful, and there was an interesting structure of mediation, as well as incredible art exhibits, and a huge wall mural by Picasso, who refused to sign it when UNESCO wouldn’t pay him – they have over 700 works of art, all donated to the cause.
3/8 – We had a field trip with our class: French Politics and Society. It was International Women’s Day, and we visited two photography exhibits honoring the day, both in the town halls of the 11th and the 18th arrondissments. Each town hall is grand and beautiful, and each arrondissment has a mayor. After the exhibits, most of our class had spotted the Chipotle by the first town hall and couldn’t get it out of their minds, so we went back there for lunch – NOM. Later that day, I joined Melissa, Alyn, and Jariatou at the Starbucks at La Muette – a prime place for shopping including the mall in which the Starbucks was located.
3/9 – Zara, Caroline, Melissa and I met at Starbucks in the morning to discuss airline ticket booking. Melissa and I went back to her stop, and sat outside in the park off the Champs, enjoying the sunshine and warm weather immensely. We talked for a long time and then we were semi-productive for about half an hour before we had to leave to get ready. Then Melissa and I met up at Noelle and Jennie’s house at Pont de Neuilly. They had generously invited us over for a fancy dinner party! They have a huge private entrance and an amazing two story house. Their kitchen is beautiful. Jennie is quite the chef, and we feasted on her exqusite French onion soup. It was literally divine.
3/12 – Noelle and I went to the “Magical” (lots of stuff) Monoprix by Montparnasse and I got chicken, salmon, potatoes, and a bunch of other exciting things, and then I went home and cooked a bunch! The only casualty was a burned dishtowel of my host family’s – I didn’t realize the stove was gas instead of electric. This was also the start of the out-of-season Mid-March snow blanket that was covering the city – odd when during previous weekends it had reached mid-50s. That night, I left my home to go meet Lindsey, and the view was amazing. It was quiet, almost no drivers braving the streets, ad no pedestrians risking the slippery sidewalks. Glittering, perfect, undisturbed, there was a calm, an inevitable beauty as the snow layered on every surface it could touch, growing and covering like Spanish moss, and the sky was the orangey-blue of early dawn.
3/13 - After class that day, Caroline and I wanted to do something but we weren’t sure what. So after much debate, we ended up going to Centre Pompidou. It was amazing. I loved the modern 3D art, and the view frm the escaltor/ the top floor was amazing. You could see the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, all of it. There were even some Kandiskys, not to mention the Dali exhibit going on.
Later that night, the Conclave was happening, and Benoit called me down to watch the news after the white smoke had appeared. We waited a long time, as the reporters were filling time with the candiates they anticipated might prevail, and interviewing one of the thousands of people gathered in Vatican City to witness the Habeus Papus, and the Papal address. It was Benoit and Marie, my host parents, Anne Laurine, my host sister, and one of her friends, all gathered in Benoit’s office around his computer, watching. They were all so excited and antsy, similar to a reaction I once had, elicited (sadly) by the announcement of the winner of American Idol. When he appeared on the balcony and did the sign of the cross and said a Hail mary, everyone in the room was crying on their knees, following the new leader of the Catholic Church. It was a moving sight to see, and I’m fortunate to have witnessed the impact this event had on the typical Catholic family in France.
3/14 – Caroline, Noelle, Zara and I went to a cafe, and Caroline and I wrote some postcards (which I have yet to deliver). Then I joined Melissa at the doctor, as she had come down with the same stomach virus I had had a month before. I knew how awful it was, and I got her to the pharmacist and on to the metro, la pauvre. After that, I packed for Spain!
3/18 – Zara, Caroline, and I met Caroline’s friend Ann after class at Gaite. We all went to Odeon and got crepes. I got close to the best crepe I’ve gotten here, with nutella and “cookie” – graham cracker crumbles – delish.
3/20 – There are many places very near our center, but few places are as cool as Corner Kitchen (free wifi, plushy chairs, AMAZING bagels, even better desserts, and the hilarious owner Jerome who calls me his best friend) where Natalie met up with me as we enjoyed our bagels. After class, Zara, Caroline and I met Ann outside Gaite, and she was freezing so we went to Maine Cafe across the street to warm up. They don’t have a TV at my house, so I have really missed watching it. The news of the day was that the Minister of Budgets had stepped down after the discovery of some accounts hidden in Switzerland – yikes. Also the news was telling about this week’s visit from the new Sec. of State John Kerry. Then we went to DIA to get some baguettes and of course – chocolate covered waffles. We enjoyed a little picnic underneath the EIffel Tower. That night I met Ann and Caroline at her metro stop, and we went to Denfert Rocheau – another metro stop a little farther away from our school (but walkable). We wandered around looking for a place to eat, and we were in the mood for some Asian, specifically Thai. We stumbled into an amazing place that had huge portions of perfect Pad Thai for 8 euros.
3/21 – In the evening, I met Ann and Caroline at St Paul and we went to Musee de photographie europeenne. Then we met Zara and her mom and Melissa at Odeon, and Zara’s mom took us out to dinner. She was a riot! She made us take a picture in front of the candy stall near the metro.
3/22 – This Friday was packed! Caroline was spending time with her mom who came in town that morning, and so Ann and I went to Notre Dame, the semi-fake lock bridge behind the church (the real one is called Pont Arts near Pont Neuf), and someone got engaged! It was crazy and so romantic.
Then we went to the Memorial of the Martyrs of the Deportation from WWII. The architect really put the feeling of claustrophobia and inescapability into the site, conveying the sacrifices these people made while trying to hide from the terrors of hate and war raging just beyond their windows that they couldn’t even look through.
Then we met Melissa for a picnic lunch at Jardin du Luxembourg. We got Brioche Doree, a 4 euro deal for a sandwich, drink, and dessert. It was pretty awesome. The weather was beautiful. Then we met Caroline and her mom at Angelina’s. Later on, we all met at Champs, and we ate some street food – hot dogs and crepes. Enjoying our food adjacent to the Seine gave us an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.
3/24 – Sunday was fun, I got to hang out with Melissa and her friends from home, and some of their friends from their study abroad programs. First, we went to Musee d’Orsay, which was amazing.
3/26 – That night, I met Caroline and her mom at Rue du Bac, and she treated me to dinner! I had the St Germain Burger and the chocolate mousse, delicious. The French/ Barcelona soccer match was going on in the background, so it was an exciting time
3/27 – Melissa and I did some homework in a cafe around 6, before we went home to sort out our lives. The rest led straight to Spring Break!
So there you have it, folks, what I’ve been up to in Paris for the last month or more . I have less than 30 days left in Paris and less than 40 days left until the end of the overall program (travel days). It’s been amazing so far, and I hope to make every minute count of my last month abroad.
P.S. ameliorer is my favorite French verb, it means “to get better”. My time here has only gotten (and will continue to get) better. <3
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Callie Summers, and I am a 20 year old junior studying Marketing and English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Taking photos, writing, discovering new music are all among my favorite activities, right next to spending the majority of my time with my amazing Gamma Phi sisters and friends. I have an affinity for Thai food, candy, and Shirley Temples, but I cannot wait to try different foods from Paris and the surrounding areas. Full of wanderlust, my goal is to travel the world and live abroad doing what I love. I would love to share my experiences in Paris with you! Check out my blog and feel free to leave comments or contact me!</span></p>