Monday, February 23, 2009


This weekend was an extended one for I left for Belfast on Saturday morning and just got home (Monday night). 

Thursday some of my roommates, their visiting friends, and I went to a restaurant in Montmartre called Les Refuge des Fondues...its TINY....pretty touristy...and is a fondue restaurant that serves you wine in big baby bottles. It was a lot of fun.....and very loud....crammed.....and hot. The man that owns the place pretends to be mean....but is actually very sweet. We ate about 100lbs of food. Good times. 

Saturday I went to Belfast to visit Lauren Dumm (fellow Chi O...but alumna) and her fiance Eamonn who is from Belfast. Northern Ireland (I guess Ireland in general) has such a sad, sad history....and knowing very little--I got about 800 years of history crammed into 3 days. It was pretty interesting. I'll spare this blog the details...but basically after my visit I am pretty familiar with the issues concerning "The Troubles" and the Catholic/Protestant(Loyalist) dispute. It's really intense...and still very much a part of the culture today. I met some really interesting people this weekend....and just totally experienced something I knew nothing about. It was a little overwhelming, but I'm glad I went.

Sunday we drove up the Antrim coast to "Giants Causeway". This is....a must see. So, basically its a really impressive landscape of crazy volcanic rocks in weird shapes and a big wall of rocks that the sea runs into....and its been there for I believe thousands of years. The cool part is that the Irish have a legend that goes with it. There was a giant named Finn McCool....and he battled this bigger giant, but when he realized how big the other guy was...he pretended to be a baby. The other giant was so scared to see a baby that large (as BIG must the father be) that he ran away....on the path of stones that Finn McCool had built for their battle (aka Giants Causway). It's really breathtaking......and although I am afraid of heights, I climbed a "wee" bit. 

Monday morning Lauren and I went around with an ex political prisoner and got the catholic perspective of the troubles....we saw a lot of murals, graveyards, monuments, etc. Very interesting and really depressing. 

Happy to be back in Paris! My 21st birthday is this hopefully I will have good things to tell in the future!

Friday, February 20, 2009

20 Fevrier 2009

Nothing that interesting to report....but I know (Dad) that you're anxiously awaiting my next post. I leave for Belfast in the morning...and I am very excited. Also, it is official...April 10th-19th I will be in Greece with my roommates and other friends on my program. I am flying in and out of Athens, and hopefully visiting Mykonos, Ios, and Santorini. My life is so, so hard...........

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Le 18 Fevrier

Today I went to the Memorial du Marechal Leclerc de Hauteclocque and Musee Jean Moulin....2 museums adjacent to each other that are in honor of France's liberation from German occupation during WWII. It was pretty interesting to get a French perspective on the French resistance and all the political and social issues of that time. At the end we (I went with my language class) watched a 10 minute film that was sort of went through the beginning of the occupation to August 25th....the day of liberation. Definitely something worth visiting if you're in Paris longer than 3 days. 

C'est tout pour aujord'hui! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Perfect Tuesday

Today was a perfect Tuesday. I only have class from 11:30-12:45, which makes Tuesday a great day for exploring the city. My roommate Jessie and I left school at 1....and we intentionally got lost....found a new part of the city.....and ate a GREAT lunch at Bistrot Etienne Marcel (Rue Etienne Marcel je pense???), which I believe is in the 1st or 2nd arrondissement ( I can't even remember how we walked there...but it was only 15 min from school). Everywhere I walk I see the cutest dogs I have ever seen, and a woman was eating lunch next to us with a dog that resembled my Dexter a bit (but in white). 

Lots of great little shops and things to see where we walked was very nice to just walk around and see new things. We decided that recently we haven't been speaking French enough to one another in the apartment (we of course speak french regularly to French people....) so we decided to make it French hour. That went pretty well....for the most part. Also, we bumped into a new friend...Camille...he's Parisian, and very cool--and it was funny to run into someone we knew, who actually isn't American....

No pictures today.....just a tiny update. Probably not doing anything interesting for the rest of the evening. I am going to attempt to cook fish and cous cous for dinner....should be interesting. 

Peace and love. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

The 26th Day Mark

So....I was going to not blog. However, I have decided that if I don't...I will lose all my memories! I am no good at keeping a diary, so instead of sending various people emails (where I often repeat myself....yikes....) I am going to track my journey on this blog.

Where shall I begin......since I have been here, a lot has changed (that is, I have changed...). I speak French much better than I did on my first day, and in general I feel very comfortable here. Paris is...again...beautiful, and I could totally live here one day. One of my favorite activities is post school grocery shopping at my local Poissonerie, Frommagerie, Patisserie, and then getting wine from my favorite caviste around the corner. It isn't as hard being an American girl in Paris as I had expected....or perhaps I have yet to face culture shock. 

In the last few weeks I've done and seen some really great things. My roommates and I went to Versailles and toured the Chateau (its incredibly gaudy....and strangley beautiful and overwhelming), I have been to the Louvre several times (since I am a student here I get in for free! You can't beat that), I went to Musee d'Orsay (my favorite museum here), have been to the Tour Eiffel (obviously.....), and walked the Marais forwards and back. I have yet to go to Centre Pompidou though, which is funny....because I essentially go to school next door to it! Can't wait to go and check out some Duchamp and Picabia......very excited. I think I may check it out tomorrow.

Friends from Pitt who are studying in London/Barcelona visited me 2 weeks ago too. That was really fun! We went and did a lot of touristy things...and it was really nice to see familiar faces. Sacre Coeur was beautiful...and I think my favorite basilica I have seen (LOTS of cathedrals in paris....many to get through....)

My classes are pretty interesting for the most part. I LOVE my Oenology class....and basically I think my professor is the coolest woman alive. Her name is Carol Brick-Stock and she's a gastronomy writer....very well educated, I could listen to her speak for hours, and I basically want to be her one day??? Oh, yeah, since I have been here I had a revelation that I really want to be a food/wine writer. She might have something to do with this. I am also taking Haute Couture (aka fashion history)....right now I'm now overly enthusiastic about the class, but we shall see. My french language courses are going well....and both my professors are great. I really like my professor Michele Matheo-Coadic (I think I spelled that wrong)....she speaks rapid fire french, and it's great for learning. 

This past weekend I visited my friend Susan in Barcelona. Having my first trip away from Paris made me appreciate Paris even more. Barcelona is really, really beautiful.....Gaudi architecture is VERY cool (really in...he was on major drugs?????) and it was great to see friends from Pitt. I had lots of fun--and saw lots of great things. La Boqueria is my mecca.....for those who don't know, its a huge open air food market with the most beautiful produce, meat,  and seafood I've ever laid my eyes on. It was hard to not cave in and buy food.....but I just let my eyes have a party. The second two pictures on this post are of me at Barcelona's Arc de Triomphe, and then me in Parc Guell.....which is a park Gaudi is INCREDIBLE and a must-see for everyone in their lifetime. Amazing....thats all I can say!

Next weekend I am visiting Lauren Dumm in Belfast. For those, again, who don't know....Lauren is a fellow Chi Omega from Pitt...but she graduated my freshman year. She is my "great grandbig" in my sorority family-tree, and has always been super hospitable and great to me. She moved to Belfast after graduation to complete her graduate degree, which she just finished in December--and is now permanently living there....with her Irish fiance! So, Saturday I am packing up once more, and spending 3 days in northern Ireland. That should be exciting! 

I will be better at feel free to check out this blog every couple days.

Peace and love to all who read! I miss you all too....VERY much!