I'm here! I've had a pretty lovely time so far. I've been struggling with procrastination on this post. I think it's because a tiny part of the back of my brain feels like this kind of student abroad blogging is dumb, but IT'S NOT. It's cool to have the memory for myself when I look back and it's also awesome to share the details of my awesome trip / life with friends and family and strangers on the internet. So here I go!
I took Air New Zealand into London (and then transferred) and the entire flight was Hobbit themed. The safety video was told by elves and hobbits and warlocks and it was hilarious.
I got here Saturday afternoon and my parents picked me up at the airport. I was pretty tired and not feeling very well after getting sick on the plane, but the drive into the city was gorgeous. It was so much fun to see all the French signs and try to figure out what most of them meant. I was pretty jet-laggy the rest of the day and I just chilled in bed with Parenthood until I passed out.
Le canard. The toast on the left has figs and apples.
Une belle église.
La Galette et La Reine!
Sunday was the most Parisian day. I had lunch at this fancy restaurant that the 20's artists used to hang out at with my grandparents and I had duck and drank red wine. We dropped my grandfather at home to rest and we walked through le Parc Monceau by my house. I stayed to read a bit and got hit on and followed around a little bit by a Spanish man and then had a chamomile at a little outdoor cafe and read my book, next to this group of French teens who were smoking and drinking coffee and all SO hot. At night, we had une Galette des Rois. I'm not sure what the holiday is called in English, Epiphany? It's the one that celebrates the Three Kings and in France, we have a fun tradition. There's a delicious cake--flaky pastry with yummy almond paste. They cut the cake and the youngest person closes their eyes and pick who gets which piece and then you eat. There's a little ceramic toy in one of the pieces and whoever finds it is Le Roi ou La Reine. I found it and I was La Reine! As befitting a Princess Leah... :)
L'Arche de Triomphe
We had a relaxed morning and then Baba took me to the Champs Elysees. I saw "La Vie Revée de Walter Mitty" and I absolutely loved it. It was spectacularly gorgeous. The visuals and special effects were just breathtaking and I loved the message. Kristen's part was a little flat. I mean, she was great in it, but I just want more for her career! She's so talented. And Ben Stiller is kinda weird and gives me the creeps a little but I enjoyed him in this film. Except when he got cool and "hot" at the end. It was a little off-putting, but dealable. I just kind of have a problem when people cast themselves as the star in their own projects, even if it's good. I don't know, I mean good for them, it's just a little weird to me.
I went with my grandmother to her Aqua-Velo class, which is like Spinning, but in a pool. It was pretty cool. Apparently it's really common here, but no Americans I know have heard of it. So that was fun and we came back here to rest a little. We ate lunch at home, and after, my grandmother dropped me off aux Champs Elysees to see "Le Loup de Wall Street". I liked it, but I'm kind of neutral to it. Most people I know either ADORED it or ABHORRED it. I mean it was a little over the top and obviously those people are pretty disgusting, but I thought the pacing was great and the movie was interesting. Leo was really good! Although he's always great and I don't know if THIS is the role that he should suddenly get all the awards and praise for, but c'est la vie. I mean he definitely deserves it at this point in general. I walked around on my own after and went to the Paris Disney store. It was so cute. I always love the Disney store. We went out for dinner at a fancy place and I had veal. My grandfather had a big platter of oysters and I tried them. Not quite my thing but not horrible. We had profiteroles for dessert and they were SO good.
There she is.
First time on the métro. Love the coloring.
I went out by myself to walk around Parc Monceau un peu. I had my first Nutella crêpe and it was DELISH. The park is really lovely and I got to see the whole thing this time. I came back for lunch at home. We had fish quenelles with shrimp which I had never had before. It was really interesting. I liked it. My great-aunt Anny came over after for a quick visit. I like her a lot. After she left with my grandmother, I went out on my own. I just wanted to get out and explore a little. I didn't have any specific plan but I knew I wanted to take the métro. I picked the first thing I could think of. La Tour Eiffel! I'm not usually one for the obvious sight-seeing locations. I prefer to wander down streets and find little magic. Like, the architecture of "regular, boring" buildings in old cities is just as exciting to me as The Empire State Building or whatever. But I got to tell you, the Eiffel Tower is exciting! It's just such a magnificent structure. It's baffling that it was only built to be a temporary gate for the 1889 World's Fair. I mean, 1889!!! Engineers and architects are so cool! That hunk of metal doesn't seem to be going anywhere. I had a gaufre au sucre (waffle with powdered sugar) and walked along La Seine for a bit.
After I came home, my grandparents took me to see La Belle et La Bête, the French translation of the Disney musical. It was so interesting to see it in French cause I know the script/music sooooo well. I just finished working on it for five months. I stage managed the full version with the big kids and crewed many of the little kid shows. So I got this story down. It was really interesting to see the little things they change to make it rhyme and keep the big picture the same. Like, Be Our Guest is C'est La Fete (It's the Party!) and Babette is named Plumette and Mrs. Potts is Madame Samovar and Chip is Zip and Cogsworth is Big Ben. On the one hand it was cool to see the story play out in the "right" language, but on the other it's kind of a let down for them in some ways. Like, Lumiere and Lefou are still named that so basically their names are Light and Fool. Which is kind of weird. And they like, use those words when they talk, like Lefou says Maurice is fou! and it's weird. But it was cool. Also it's so weird how singing is different in different languages because of different vowel sounds and stuff. It seems harder. (Nowhere near as hard as German though!) I always find it really interesting to listen to musicals in the language where the story takes place. Like I have the Les Miserables soundtrack in French and the Spring Awakening in German. That kind of goes along with that new revival version of West Side Story that was bilingual with Spanish, as it should be. It feels more pure in a way.
Pretty rough day. I got my period was feeling shitty all day. Lots of cramps and I wasn't up for dealing with my grandparents. Watched a lot of Parenthood. Read a lot of Clash of Kings.
I'm just gonna go ahead and post this. Better to put something out there than keep fretting and editing, right? It's just a blog post. I'd really like to push myself to write more and more. Get over myself just a tad.