Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter Break

I have been so occupied lately. It's been great. I'm on winter break right now and have 3 weeks off of school. This week I've been exploring Paris- In fact, it was my travail to take Carine (one of the spring additions to our program) all around the city. She's adorable and it was a really nice day. Yesterday I went to the Musée d'Orsay and today I spent the day at Montmartre with Nicolina. I don't want to go back to school.

Also, we played a game the other night that was so. much. fun. We sat around at dinner for hours and us Gonzaga girls picked friends of ours for the other ones to date. It was great because now we are all in love with people we don't or barely know. I wrote my future soulmate a poem. When we meet, I will recite it to him and that will be that.


Here are some new years photos of Nic and I celebrating the New Year in the South. The girl in the second photo was freaking adorable and also scared of me.




Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lately

Here's what my life has looked like lately, based on my iPhone photos:

The messiest my room has ever been (and thanks for all the christmas packages, everyone!!)

Pre 21 drinks in Irish pub

Cité

National History Museum in Le Jardin des Plantes



Final day of the semester apéritifs

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Today...

...I was walking along the street and I saw something wonderful.

There's this man that lives on the street right by Notre Dame that I pass all the time on my walk to/from school. So today I'm walking by that corner and there are two girls who are probably a little bit older than me smoking on the sidewalk. They're chic and skinny and french. One of the girls turns slightly and sees the man sitting in his usual spot and without even thinking, pulls out her box of cigarettes and offers one to him. He accepts, she lights the cigarette, and then goes back to her conversation.

Offering someone a cigarette is such a simple, kind social gesture. It's equalizing. And the way she did it, so casually, made me hopeful.

Also kids, smoking kills.

Another amazing thing happened too: A boy in my program who I am not very close with gave me a gorgeous box of chocolates from Jeff de Bruges for my birthday. He didn't get me chocolates because everyone loves chocolate- he got me chocolate because he knows how much I love chocolate. I just found that the be the sweetest thing ever. And they're all gone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Happy Birthday!

It's my birthday! As anyone reading this blog probably knows.

It's really weird being here in Paris on my birthday. Definitely the most atypical birthday I've had.

Last weekend I went out to celebrate my 7,459th legal alcoholic beverage. I didn't drink at all today. For crying out loud, it's a tuesday!!






Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas in France- as weird as ever

I pride myself in being part of a family that makes others look conventional. Going to France for the year, I was plagued with many worries: would someone I care about get sick/die when I was away? How much would change when I was gone? Would people actually send my my Christmas presents? The one worry that is most relevant here, however, is whether or not I would be able to handle a holiday outside the heart of my overly personal, overly critical, completely irreplaceable family.

Well it wasn't the same nor was it a fraction of what it usually is, but Christmas in France was one for the books, and just as weird as ever.

I went down to the South of France the sunday before Christmas. The last time I attempted to travel I missed my flight (I blame Ryanair, and that blame is only slightly misplaced) so I arrived at the Train station about an hour early. In typical Kara fashion I also somehow went to the wrong train station first and then had to backtrack to the one that was only two metro stops away from where I live. It's okay, I was still way early. But I'm genuinely curious, does this kind of thing happen only to me?

So I got on the train from Paris to Nimes only to find out that I had somehow booked the same seat as another lady! Joking, joking, I was just in the wrong car. Of course. So I found my damn car and spent the next three hours stressing about what the hell my life was going to look like for the next week.

When I arrived Zoé was waiting for me outside of my car (apparently she could find it) and led me to her grandpère's car. He was one of those people that probably knows everyone in the world and has probably done them all a favor. He is really kind and really outgoing and speaks great english and strikes me as the type of person that gets what he wants without much effort. I guess he just seems to me like a powerful person.

The car ride from Nîmes to Marguerittes was short and full of roundabouts. Being in the South is completely different from being in Paris. The landscape, the people, the shops, the atmosphere is something else entirely. It was nice getting out of Paris, remembering that I am not in fact the ugliest person in every room.

I met Zoé's grandmère upon arrival, and she was hilarious and wonderful. She is adventurous and charismatic and funny, and I really can't think of a more wonderful combination of traits.

I said hi to Zoé's brothers with kisses and talked to the grandparents a little but and that night ate a lot of food: basically just some potatoes smothered in cream and cheese accompanied by red wine and dessert, of course.

That evening we went to pick up Nicolina and the following week was a complete blur of eating, drinking, napping, speaking french, eating, making chocolates, touristing the South of France, and eating.

Every year the family goes ice skating so the night after we arrived we met up with the rest of the family (Delphine, Christophe, and their kids Charlotte, Jean-Baptise, Victoire and Simon-5 yo twins and too cute). Zoé, and Nicolina were there, of course, along with Zoé's brothers Pierre, Jeremy, and Ben.

And let me tell you: this ice skating rink was more dangerous than the lobster tank at red lobster. lobster. Point is, it was just a giant mess of what seemed like thousands of insane and drunk european children on 15 sq feet of ice that was so abused it might as well have been snow. We were all having fun, especially Pierre and Zoé who were in charge of Victoire and Simon as it was the first time the twins had ever been on ice. Nicolina was attempting to bond with Ben (14) by racing, but of course, since it was christmas and christmas is about drama, Ben fell, broke his wrist, and had to get surgery.

Marie Laure (his mom) hadn't yet arrived and when she did she went straight to the hospital (obvs). At this time I was eating my weight in some sort of southern french delicacy while listening to Victoire complain that she didn't get to go around the rink by herself.

The next morning I woke up to a beautiful breakfast in the beautiful dining room. There were fresh pastries and bread in a basket, multiple types of juices. Homemade and store bought jams and, of course, my favorite, fromage blanc. Breakfast and chocolate were my favorite parts of my culinary experience, but that says a lot considering the other delicious food I ate while down there.

That was SO MUCH WRITING. welp, next time I will tell you about actual christmas and then new years and then probably I'll devote a whole post to the house, the gorgeous house. And the walk that Nicolina and I got lost on.

Also, I didn't proofread this because it's 1:30 am and though insomnia helps me write, it doesn't help my spelling and grammar. Sorry!

Happy New Year!

So as I was reflecting on this past year, I realized that it has been the best one of my life.

Last semester was just wonderful, and I worked my a*s off to get all As, and I had so much fun.

And then I went to London for 6 weeks and was arguably the most cultured I have been in my entire life.

And then I came to Paris and was arguably the most drunk I have been in my entire life.

That's not to say that bad things didn't happen, too, because of course they did. But I'm just really content. In french, if I said Je suis contente, it would mean I am happy. And I think it's kind of nice to remember it that way, that maybe real happiness is being content underneath being happy and being sad. I know, revolutionary stuff.

I have a feeling 2014 will be even better though. Mainly because I'm anticipating visits from some of my favorite people in the world. And also because in a few days I will officially be able to legally drink in every country besides those in which alcohol is illegal for religious reasons.

And last night I hung out with my good friend and we got dinner and then he took me to this Irish Pub in Paris and there was live music that was hilarious and just nice. If that's not a good omen, I don't know what is.

I will be back this week to tell you all about my christmas/holiday adventures in the South of France. The good news is I discovered something groundbreaking regarding my internet: a new cord can change everything. So I have a new internet cord (it's pink) and now people can even see my face on skype. No joke, I asked like seven people to skype yesterday just because I could.

Below, a favorite of mine from 2013. Happy January to you all xx

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