Saturday, March 22, 2008

In Case You Forgot Where I Live Part 2

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

Since I've been in Paris I really haven't had a chance to explore the Montmarte are. To be honest I really had no desire to because it left little effect on me when I visited the first time I was in Paris several years ago. However, being the good tour guide that I am I took my friends on a little walking tour of Amelie's Paris and I was completely blown away this time by how quaint that part of Paris is. Montmarte is like a city within a city and I didn't feel like I was in Paris at all.

Artist Painting in His Studio


Thursday, March 20, 2008

L'Étrangère Americaine vs. La Fonctionnaire

Before moving to Paris I read all of these books and internet blog posts about how one should never accept no as an answer from a French fonctionnaire. The posts all mentioned that if you insisted long enough the fonctionnaire will eventually cave and you will get your way.

Well ladies and gentlemen such was the case last Tuesday when I went to the Musée D'Orsay. After standing outside for a good 20 minutes in chilly weather waiting to get in our turn had finally arrived. I went to the vestiaire to check my bag and coat and the woman behind the desk asked me "is that a camera bag?" and I responded with a resounding yes. As soon as the words came out of my mouth I quickly realized that it probably would have been best to lie in this case. I was promptly told me that they do not accept camera bags in the vestiaire. Mind you, my camera bag looks exactly like a back pack and my cameras were visibly dangling from my neck. I insisted that even though it was a camera bag that there was nothing of value inside aside from 2 apples, 2 bananas, and a bottle of water. As they continued to check in the articles of the other museum guests I stood there refusing to leave insisting that my sac a dos was exactly the same as the others that they were so willingly accepting. At one point one of the women behind the desk said that if I really wanted to check my camera bag that I would have to sign a waiver not holding the museum responsible for any lost or damaged property. When the older more bitter fonctionnaire caught wind of this she insisted that such actions were strictly forbidden.

I stood my ground and refused to move. The younger, less bitter fonctionnaire either felt bad for me or simply wanted to get on with her day and eventually let me sign a waiver that wold allow me to leave my "backpack" with at the vestiaire. Even though the ordeal took quite a bit of time after the whole thing I felt proud and accomplished. And what makes it even better is that a majority of the dialog took place in French.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Laundry & Cupcakes

Because I'm enjoying my life here in Paris so much there are few things that I miss about my life/lifestyle in NYC. As I sit here contemplating doing two loads of laundry it just dawned on me how much I really miss my wash & fold laundry service from my days in NYC. I would throw my dirty laundry in a bag, someone would pick it up, and voila like magic my laundry bag would reappear with my clothes all clean and neatly folded. What made wash & fold in New York so special was that it really wasn't that much of a luxury service. When I did the math I only ended up spending a few dollars extra by not doing my laundry myself. I do realize that no amount of nostalgia is going to get my laundry done so I should motivate myself to face the mundane task.

One other thing that I really miss are cupcakes. I love French pastries as much as the next person but I have a deep fondness for cupcakes. Living in NYC I had access to some of the best cupcakes available Crumbs, Magnolia Bakery and my neighborhood favorite Yura & Company and now I have access to none. Woe is me!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

S.O.S

When I lived in the US I knew exactly how to find a doctor. I would consult the big ole directory given to me from my insurance company and I would basically pick a doctor out of the book. My criteria usually being location, board certified, school and name. If I didn't use the hard copy directory I would use the online directory. And voila I would call the selected doctor and make an appointment. Being here in Paris I have absolutely no idea how to go about finding a doctor and I have no idea how to go about getting my allergy medicine refilled. Now that spring is in the air I know it's just a matter of days before I wake up unable to breathe through my nose. So dear readers, if any of you know how to go about seeing a doctor in this country with excellent socialized health care please hook a sista up. Also, if you know whether or not I actually need a prescription for my allergy medication that would be helpful as well.

And while we're on the topic of trained medical professionals I think my days are crunching on crispy baguettes have caught up with me. As I was enjoying my lunch today I sensed a weird sensation in my mouth. Turns out that a piece of the bonding on my permanent retainer has chipped off and now I have a rough spot on the back of my teeth. It's not an orthodontic emergency at the moment but it does have the potential to worsen and it would be nice to know where to turn prior to things getting completely out of hand.

So consider this post my S.O.S. If you have any valuable information to share please leave it in the comments. My nose and my tongue thank you. Seriously.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

And It's Back to Work for Me

After a lovely two week hiatus I head back to work tomorrow for my last six weeks. I cannot believe that my assistantship is coming to an end in six weeks. It seems like yesterday I was fretting over getting accepted to the program and then fretting over all of the administrative stuff. Knowing that I only have six weeks left is really leaving me stress filled and uncertain about my future.

On top of that I have a string of back to back to back visitors starting next Friday. Between now and the end of April there will only be one weekend which I will have sans visitors. As much as I am looking forward to seeing my friends and family members that plan to visit I am also stressing about it. Some visits will overlap and I'll have a lot of juggling to do. Additionally, having visitors usually entails doing touristy things and doing touristy things involves spending money. Oh and I'm just starting to roll up my sleeves and get into a good study routine and I know it will be disrupted with a constant influx of visitors.

Ah, what's a girl to do? I know that in the short term I need to come up with some lesson plans for tomorrow's classes or else I'm screwed.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Chartres: A Day Trip

Today I took a little day trip to Chartres with my friend Chi. My first thought upon seeing the cathedral was: "Wow that thing looks old." My second thought was: "Wow that thing is massive." And lastly, my final thought was: "It could surely use a cleaning." ;)


After exploring the cathedral for a while we decided to have some lunch at a little café across the street. Chi and I both ate onion soup and then shared a chicken sandwich.

Interesting "Wallpaper" in Restaurant

After eating we walked around the quaint medieval town taking in the sites and enjoying the treats. I ate the best macaroons (vanilla and lavender flavors) that I have ever eaten in France and I also had the worst maracroon (violet flavor) that I have ever eaten in France.

Old

Interesting

Quaint

Yummy

We visited the Stained Glass Museum and while it was an interesting site it definitely wasn't worth the 3€ they charged me. That's not to say that the works weren't interesting but they could have hooked a sista up with some more pieces to stimulate her senses.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Big Sister Blabber Mouth Spilled The Beans

So my big sister whom will henceforth be referred to as Blabbermouth has spilled the beans to my Maternal Unit that I'm considering staying in Paris for an undetermined amount of time after my contract expires. The thing is, subconsciously I knew that by telling Blabbermouth the news would eventually make it way to the Maternal Unit because that's just how things work out in my family. Now that I think about it I told my sister because I wanted her to do my dirty work for me.

So, now that I have decided that I want to stay in Paris it's going to be an uphill battle trying to figure out a way to do so and to earn a living. Last month, I was actually offered a job as Project Manager for a small consulting firm here in Paris but I turned it down. I'm kind of kicking myself now for turning it down but I had my reasons and at the end of the day I'm sure it was the right decision for me at the time. One of the reasons why I turned the job down is because I'm currently focused on getting all of my ducks in a row to go back to school. Finding the self discipline to study and fill out applications.

So there you have it universe my intentions in writing for the world to read and to hold me accountable to.

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