Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I AMsterdam

Oh I have so many stories about Amsterdam, you just gear up! But I only have 2 minutes on this expensive hostel internet, so they'll have to wait.

But let's just say that Amsterdam couldn't be any cooler if it tried. And it doesn't.

Friday, February 20, 2009

C'est ce qu'elle a dit...

a.k.a. "That's what she said"

So guess who's really behind on the updates? Oh. You already knew? Well, gee willikers! I'm sorry! But hey, no laptop + short library hours = little time for da Net.

Okay, here's how things have been going down in La France:

Last week I didn't accomplish a whole lot, but for the first time I actually enjoyed myself at a bar! My friends and I went to "Le Petit Barcelone" to celebrate officially deciding to go to Spain and to watch a match de foot, which was only interesting in that many of the French and Argentinian soccer players could also be Abercrombie models. It cost 4 euros to get in (some students were saving up to bring school supplies to needy kids), but we got a free drink, so I tried a little bit of "punch sangria" (side note- en français, punch is pronounced poonsh- ha!), and it was foul like most of the alcohol I've ever tasted. Luckily, Laura and I entertained each other for the rest of the night with "that's what she said" jokes and trying to get the attention of surprisingly beautiful men (we failed miserably...but one of the dudes took off his coat to reveal a ridiculously tacky sweater, so he lost a lot of appeal then, and his desire for a smoke every two minutes demolished the little bit of attraction he had left...). Anyway, at one point, our friend, David, had to explain to Arnaud in French what a "that's what she said" joke was and that was the highlight of my life.

Well, it was until we went to a little restaurant/bar called Hendrix (yes, dedicated to the one and only Jimi Hendrix!)... David was trying to make Laura recall a place they had both been and at one point he said, "The place with the cheese hat! The Cody cheese hat!" Like- Cody from "Step by Step". OH MAN! And that little bit sparked a serenade of American TV show theme songs by David and Arnaud (our only French buddies that night) and I don't think I've laughed so hard in a long time. They asked if we had heard of A-Team!!! But I think my favorite part was when Arnaud was explaining how awful the show, "Dallas" is (although I have met someone at a tram stop who feels differently...) and he acted out how a character in "Dallas" whips their head around dramatically - it was hysterical! I guess you kind of had to be there for that one...

But the point is- bars can be fun without alcohol, so long as you have enough room to breathe, enough material for a "c'est ce qu'elle a dit" joke and enough sit-com minstrels to keep the atmosphere lively.


I also played my first drinking game last week. And this was also amusant...But I did not get drunk because that's not my style, yo.

The game: Waterfalls. The beverages of choice: vin rose and mimosa. Sooo, the game involves cards (obviously) where each card means something different. Seven, for example, is heaven and the last person to raise their hands when the seven is drawn takes a drink. Another card is called "The Rule" and each time a person draws that card, he/she creates a new rule that, if broken, will force the offender to take a drink (a rule could be, for example, "No one shall use the word, 'I'", so you see how this could become troublesome). Another fun card is called "Questions": each person goes around in the circle trying to make the person to their left laugh, and thus drink, with a silly question. These usually end up involving family members-- "What was your Mom doing in my room last night?" -- but they can be anything, really --"Why are all these monkeys in my garage?" Anyway, the game gets it's name from the Ace(?) which is Waterfalls and the one who draws this card starts a round of drinking that cannot terminate until the person next to you has stopped drinking. During these rounds, however, I only took sips because...well we all know the point of that card...

I didn't drink very much at all because I didn't plan on getting drunk (and in fact, I didn't know we were going to play at all that night until I got to my friend's room...) and I don't really want to do that in general. But I did have a few small glasses of wine and I tasted mimosa (which was actually quite delicious!), so hooray for new experiences?

Afterwards we went to a dance party in the basement of the Polytech building (there are parties there basically every Thursday night- I've been to three or four already!) and they had the most delicious Domino's pizza I've ever tasted!!! French Domino's trumps American Domino's by far. How, you ask? With a bazillion types of cheeses, that's how! Anyway, at some point they played the Cotton-Eyed Joe and I went crazy! I felt bad for poor Laura, though. She wore her Jay-Z shirt but couldn't get the lame French student DJ to play any of his songs. "Noooo, we only play mellow techno around here! If you want to do more than light swaying with a side of bumping into strangers, you'll have to go to Spain..." All right Frenchies! If we must! (Seriously, though, the French do NOT know how to choose their dance music.)

I think I saw "Les Noces Rebelles" (Revolutionary Road) last week too...That was an intense experience...I have so much respect for Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, but oh! They break my life! Love? And I don't know if the very end was supposed to be funny, but I found it completely tragic.

On Sunday I went to La Cimitière du Père Lachaise with Julia to celebrate our birthdays!!! And yes, I do think we're pretty much the shiz for doing so. We looked all over for Edith Piaf's, Oscar Wilde's and Jim Morrison's graves (but I'm almost glad that we never found Jim's after my host brother told me something particularly disgusting about what goes on at that site...), but we had plenty to entertain during the search. And we did find Chopin's grave! It was satisfactorily unobtrusive unlike most of the elaborate and ostentatious mausoleums there. Not to say that everything wasn't beautiful, but seriously- you're dead. What is the point of spending three-years worth of sustenance on a sculpture of your bearded-moustachioed face? I just hope that whenever I die, I don't leave a burden of debts upon my family.

Sorry, I was getting on a tangent... Here are some pictures to make up!


God was watching over us at the cemetary. (Yes! It is a real cloud!)


I just love the way this painter is sitting- teehee...

This stump was growing out of the grave! I want a tree on top of my grave!

And some random photos...

Snow day! This is the lake that runs through campus.

All the Americans at my birthday party!

After the cemetary, Julia and I got a snack at a patisserie and I bought cheesy bread- the most delicious cheesy bread in the universe!!! Vive le fromage!!!! And we tried to meet up with Joanna at the Opéra Garnier, and we succeeded, if only for a few minutes. I'll talk more about the beautiful opera when I've actually been inside.

This week was my birthday, blah blah, my friends are awesome and I threw a party, but to recount all that right now would be exhausting.

I promise to update more once I have my laptop!!!

Last message: to my dear family- I miss you all terribly! Even though I don't get to talk to you much, I wanted to let you know that I think about you everyday and I love you infiniti squared infiniti times! :D

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Just your average Vacances de Février (Feb. 21 - Mar. 8)

4 nights in Amsterdam + 4 nights in Barcelona + 4 nights in Madrid


Hells yeah?

Yes yes, I do think it is a good plan!

By the way,

I turn 21 in 6 days.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My my you busted me! Like a robocop...


(mine is posted below if you wanted to know)

So, first I would like to share with you all the brilliance that is Of Montreal. The header of this entry is from one of my favorite songs of theirs. This weekend, I saw them in concert and now I feel that my life is complete.

The opening band, Casio Kids, was really really cute and I totally would have gone nuts dancing in the pit if all the lame French dudes next to me weren't stiff as a board (light as a feather! hahahaha) because they're apparently too cool to prove they have rhythm. Seriously, how do you not dance to a band (that is a mix between Ratatat and some really good 80s band that I can't think of), especially when you're in the friggin pit???? But I danced as much as possible and it was super awesome, especially watching Dude in Green Shirt on the keyboards, now aptly renamed Future Husband. He was just soo adorable with his goofy smile the entire time and he had these really fun gradiose gestures with his hands that got the audience going.

Anyway, after Casio Kids, Of Montreal's tiger man came on the stage to make us all growl, I guess? And they played She's a Rejecter (the aforementioned song) first and it was phenomenal!!!! They have these outrageous costumes (especially lead singer Kevin Barnes who changed into a more wild outfit about every 3 songs) and interpretive dancers/actors who are very bizarre and usually masked with animal heads or stretchy fabric (sometimes ninja-style!). The dancers(?) were really entertaining when I could see them over the super tall, annoying guys who kept elbowing me in the face during this one song. But when I couldn't see them, I could usually see Kevin Barnes who is insanely attractive for some odd reason (I guess I have a thing for guys with travestite-ish tendencies...) and whose voice is amazing! Just like the CDs! They played most of my favorites and a bunch of other brilliant songs I didn't know and for the encore they played Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" which made me almost pee my pants with excitement.

Too bad I couldn't because while everyone was jumping during the song, I lost my old black jacket. I don't think it dropped...I think someone ripped it out from my purse over which it was hanging. I looked on the floor while people were going (pardon my French...haha) ape-shit in the finale, but alas, I couldn't find it. Probably because it was stolen. Julia stayed with me a long time after looking for it, but no such luck. But man oh man does Julia have my bizzack. She looked through some girls' stuff by the stage (making them glare at her angrily) and asked some guy who had a black coat tied around his waist if he was wearing my coat. And she lent me her surprisingly very helpful scarf/shawl to wear on the very cold way home.

Really though it was my own fault. I had told Julia earlier that day how literally stinky my old black jacket was and how I wished I could wear my red one more (I don't because the French don't believe in color, so it seems). I think God is trying to tell me something. But the lesson I got out of it was...time to buy a pretty new black jacket?

Other things I did with my birthday buddy this weekend in Paris:

We went to the Musée d'Orsay and saw this fantastic Picasso/Manet exhibition - Le déjeuner sur l'herbe - which had a ton of amazing Picasso variations on Manet's original painting titled the same thing. Then Julia, her friend Michael and I took on the rest of the museum (or as much as we could) seeing some really cool Renoirs, Van Goghs, Monets, etc. From all this I found out that processing too much art makes my brain hurt, my art history background is severely lacking, my new favorite neo-impressionist is Henri-Edmond Cross and I want to take a drawing class.

Here are some pictures of the Musée d'Orsay:

Anyway, the visit was very pensive, but fun and after that we went to meet up with Julia's friend, Maryse, who lives in the red light district of Paris, before eating delicious pizza and going to the concert. On our way to Maryse's, I saw the very lame exterior of the Moulin Rouge and tons of sex shops/places? that all had English titles like, "Sex O!" and "The Sexodrome". We decided they were named in English to make it look like the French were merely catering to tourists and weren't really that pervy themselves. Yeah. Right.

On Sunday, Julia and I went to the Notre Dame for mass. They called it an "international mass" but it was still mostly in French with a few of the main prayers in Latin and one reading in English. But it was beautiful. I only wish that I could understand more (still couldn't get a French mass book...) and that I could have explored more of the cathedral.

But afterwards we went ice skating at the Hotel de Ville where I found out that I suck at ice skating in two countries. Thank goodness for Michael, though, who held my heavy travel bag that I took with me so I could go home right after (they didn't have any place to put purses and such). If it hadn't been for him, I think I would have just watched the little kids push each other around in mini-sleighs on the kiddie rink the whole time, instead of trying miserably to make a few circles around the main ice rink. It was still pretty fun though and I treated myself to a honey crepe after!

Here's my attempt to take a photo with Julia, Maryse and Michael at the Hotel de Ville.

Why aren't there crepe vendors on the streets at home? That is my question for the week.