Sunday, January 30, 2011

Paris: My first week!

Hi All!

I have officially been in Paris for one whole week. And it has been amazing. Lets see, I've already gone to the Notre Dame, the Arc de Triumph, Versaille, Sainte-Chapelle, the Monet museum, gone shopping and eaten crepes off the street. Paris is totally a magical city.
this super cute little old lady named Nadine who is 82 years old that plays Upon arriving in Paris, the program gave everyone what's called a NaviGo pass. It lets me use the Metro in the city and the RER trains that take me back home to the suburbs. I am totally in love with the metro. My roommate and I have already gone on several spur of the moment adventures thanks to the metro and our handy Navigo passes. One weird thing about the metro and really any public place, it's really quite. Everyone whispers and there is no awkward conversation between the people that are uncomfortably close to each other. It is very different from the States to say the least. Also when you walk into a store you are practically required to say bonjour when you enter and merci/ au revoir when you leave.

I don't actually live in the city. Which is kind of cool because I get to live in a house instead of an apartment. I live in in Le VĂ©sinet which is just northwest of Paris. I live with Bridge everyday. She also plays tennis and does gymnastics. I have no idea how she does it, but she certainly is an active lady. The house I live in has a definite cottage feel, and is pretty big. There are two other girls that live here, one named Teresa, she is a teacher in Paris, and the other Louise, she works with children with autism. I haven't met Louise yet, but Teresa is really nice and super cute. She is from Ireland and speaks fluent French with an Irish accent. I'm roommates with a girl named Madeline. She is also very nice and a very fun outgoing person. We eat dinner with Nadine and Teresa three times a week where we get to practice our French. Madeline is pretty proficient, but I am still struggling to remember all the things I used to know.

Church, school and institute are all in this old mansion that is in the center of Paris. It's right next to the Pompidou Center, which is a rather famous museum of modern art. It has all of the duct work and plumbing on the outside of the building, so it looks super industrial. The ward is actually really big. You couldn't even tell that there was an extra 12 people there. It was really cool to get to hear everything in French. I feel like I'm starting to be able to understand people a little bit better, so hopefully I catch on quick!

On Friday Madeline and I went on a little walking tour that took us to the Notre Dame. It is impressive on the outside and beautiful on the inside. Mass was going on when we went in, so we sat and watched a little of that since neither one of us had gone to Mass before. There was a ton of stained glass, relics and chanting. It was amazing to see it in real life.

On the same walk we also when to a place call the Concegerie, which used to be a prison. Marie-Antoinette was held there and a bunch of other famous people. Pretty much it was going to require a lot of reading to Madeline and I breezed through it and called it a day. Then we went in search of food, which of course lead us to crepes. We had delicious chicken and mozzarella filled crepes and a nuttela filled crepe. There were so many birds around that I am sure the FDA would very much frown upon this establishment, but that's France for you. What does not kill you only makes you stronger, take the black plague for example. Then we went to Sainte-Chapelle, which we were not very jazzed about because we had to wait in line and then the ground floor was super lame. The cool part is upstairs and is what you go for, which we almost missed out on because we almost left without going up the tiny winding stair case. If you thought the Notre Dame had stained glass, Sainte-Chapelle but it to shame. So that was pretty cool. Then we went ice skating, which was pretty magical being in Paris and all...

On Thursday we went to Versaille. It was freezing cold so for the most part the crowds were way down. Also, another incredibly beautiful place. The hall of mirrors is huge! Every room was so ornately decorated, especially the bedrooms. It's a wonder anyone could sleep, the walls and ceilings were covered in gold and molding and paintings. So ridiculous. But very education and well worth the trip.

Madeline and I also took a small little detour trip on our way home from school to the Arc de Triumph. It is way bigger than you think it is and it too is also heavily decorated with statues and stone work. Yesterday, we went on another little walk that took us quite close to the Eiffel Tower, and also got to go to the Monet Museum which has the largest collection of Monets. They have a big exhibit for all of his garden and waterlilly paintings. All of the paintings look so different up close and then when you step back you can actually see what he was painting, amazing!

So, that was my week! Thanks for reading! I miss all of you soo much. I'm glad I have Paris to distract me from my heartache, ha ha

Lots of Love,