Friday, June 25, 2010

St. Malo

Two weekends ago I went with two friends to St. Malo, an adorable little town in Bretagne on the Côte d'Emeraude.  I had been six years ago as a group trip the first time I studied abroad in Tours, and it was nice to go back, and a desperately needed fun and relaxing weekend away from Paris.  Here are a few photos of our trip:

church in St. Malo

main square

beautiful beach

along the beach

St. Malo and its fortifications

beautiful water

little street in St. Malo intra muros

passage to the beach

St. Malo

so happy to see the sea!

huge plateau de fruits de mer

about to remove the head of my first langoustine!

bonfire on the beach with some random Parisian students we met

wish I never had to leave...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Drank too much? Get some Axe!

I was at Auchan the other day looking for shower gel when I noticed this:


It's a bottle of what must be the most amazing, most magical shower gel in the world.  Axe lendemain difficile / anti-hangover shower gel!  Pretty amazing right!?  Where do they thing of these things?  And most importantly, does it work???  It could be quite useful...

Our little voiture française

We have a car!!!

After the disaster of our car breaking down when we tried to drive it up from Bordeaux a few weeks ago, I am happy to say that we officially have the car and it's here in Paris (well techinically the KB)!

Lionel's parents were nice enough to drive it up last weekend so that we would have it and we wouldn't have to make the trip down to Bordeaux again to get it.

So, without further ado, here is our car (excuse the bad picture...it's parked in the little parking garage area, so the photo is very dark):

our little AX!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tagged!

Since Amber was nice enough to tag me in a recent post in which she answered ten questions asked by another blogger, I decided that the least I could do was answer.  So here are my answers to her ten questions.

1.  If you weren't in France, where would you be?
I'm not sure.  I suppose that realistically I would most likely be in the US, though I like to hope I wouldn't be in Ohio.  However, I like to think I would be somewhere else in Europe since I would also like to live in Ireland, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

2.  You're on a deserted island with one book.  What is it?
Hmmm...this is a hard one.  I'm torn between Pride and Prejudice and Les Miserables.  I love both of those books.  I've read Pride and Prejudice a dozens times already and I never get tired of it.  But Les Miserables satisfies my desire for both a good fiction novel and for history.  Victor Hugo not only wrote an amazing story but also included amazing (my nerd side coming out) historical details and descriptions that really excite the history lover in me.

3.  Oh crap, my car broke down and I'm on the side of the road hitch hiking.  Would you pick me up?
I don't know.  The American in me says you should never pick up a hitch hiker, you might be killed.  But I think I would feel guilty leaving someone on the side of the road.  I would at least stop to help!

4.  You've got the power to wipe one food off the face of the earth forever.  Which do you choose?
Ketchup.  Sans hésitation.  I hate ketchup.  Hate hate hate it.  Just the smell makes me sick.  I can't even stand to be around people who are eating a lot of it; the odor nearly makes me throw up.  Not to mention it looks kinda like blood.  I will never understand how people can eat that stuff.

5.  What were you most afraid of as a child?
This is going to sound absolutely ridiculous and just completely horrible, but when I was a child I was absolutely terrified of a Bible.  To be more specific, it was a really nice, illustrated childrens Bible that my grandmother gave me when I was a baby.  It has a white leather cover and my name engraved on it in gold.  And it terrified me when I was little.  I remember I went to look at it one time and it fell open to this horrible picture of a man who had just been shot in the head with a rock fired from a slingshot and there was all this blood and this horrible looking wound and he was sinking (or maybe drowning?) in the sea (sorry for my lack of biblical knowledge...I have no idea what story this illustration referred to).  That picture haunted me for years.  Unfortunately my grandmother passed away when I was very young, so I didn't have the heart to throw the Bible she had given me away, but I couldn't stand to look at it either, so I hid it in the bottom drawer of my dresser under all my socks and I wouldn't go near it.  I remember I was so afraid of that Bible that I was even afraid to open the drawer it was hidden in for fear that something bad would happen to me.  I had nightmares about that picture for years.  Perhaps this explains some of my dislike of religion?  But I still have the Bible...and I finally (only a few years ago) moved it out of my dresser drawer and put it on my bookcase...

6.  Where do you think you'll be in five years?
I don't know.  I just hope it isn't Paris.  If I'm still living in Paris in five years I think I will have gone insane.  Other than that, I imagine I will either be in France or in the US.  It really depends on my career options...if nothing opens up for me here in the next few years, I think I will have to go back to the US.  Otherwise, I just hope to not be in Paris!

7.  You can spend one day in your partner's body, able to read all his thoughts, etc.  Would you do it?
No.  Definitely not.  I don't want to know what he really thinks of me and I certainly don't want to know how I look through his eyes.  Plus I can't imagine spending that much time on the internet reading about video games.  Not to mention he is old and I certainly don't want to know what it feels like to be 34 until I have to!

8.  You've got a round trip ticket to anywhere in the world.  Where are you headed?
Wow, this one is hard too!  It depends on so many things!  And I don't know how I would ever decide!  But I guess it depends on one thing...if I have recently been to the States to see my family and friends.  If I haven't then I am going to Cincinnati.  If I have, then I think I would want to go to Brazil to explore the Amazon rainforest.  It's been a dream of mine to see that rainforest since I was a little child, obsessed by the rainforest and dreaming of becoming a botanist.

9.  What do you think about hyphenated or double last names for children?
Well, this one is hard too.  Since I can't imagine ever having children, I've never really thought about it.  But I suppose that it's ok if the mother didn't change her name and wants to show that the children are hers too.  Or if she wants to be able to continue her family name because there is no one else to do it.  Or for any other reason really...I don't see why it should really matter.  What matters most is that the child is healthy and happy, n'est-ce pas?

10.  A plane crashes.  It's full of people you think the world would be a better place without.  Who's on it?
Hmmm...I have a feeling I could make a really long list if I think too much about it, so I'm going to limit myself to only a few people.  And number one on my list would have to be a certain ex-president of the US who greatly resembles a monkey.  I can think of a few actors and actresses we definitely don't need, and I also wouldn't mind seeing the majority of Parisians go down...

And here are my questions for those of you I tag:

1.  If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save?
2.  If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
3.  Imagine you can travel through time.  What time period would you go to and why?
4.  Football or soccer?
5.  What reality TV show would you most like to participate in?
6.  What is your favorite college (university) memory?
7.  What is your favorite thing about France?
8.  How do you like your coffee?
9.  Wine or beer?
10.  What song always puts you in a good mood, no matter what has happened?

Tagged:
Jasmin
Marybeth
and of course anyone else who wants to do it

Monday, June 14, 2010

Le rêve américain...

I saw the weirdest poster the other day for an exhibit at Le Parc de la Villette called Le rêve américain...   The website describes the exhibit as being "une vision critique d'une génération ancrée dans la société américaine des années 70-90" (a critical look at a generation anchored in American society from the 1970s-1990s).  Just from the description and the name of the exhibition it doesn't sound completely promising; it sounds like it is going to be critical of American society and culture.  But then, as if there was any doubt, this was the poster:
I especially love how they linked the American dream to a fat, bald man who is poorly dressed in dirty clothes, wearing a baseball cap, holding a beer and riding his John Deere tractor.  Is this really what people really think of Americans?  Because if it is then I'm insulted, embarassed, surprised and angry all at the same time.

When I clicked for further information about the exhibit it seems it is a collection of sculptures by an artist called Duane Hanson which are supposed to depict the typical American and American society from the 70s to the 90s.  For the most part it looks like a collection of sculptures of fat people, but it is apparently supposed to be a statement about how the American dream has really just become a quest for money and power.

I'm pretty sure I won't be going to see this exhibit anytime soon.  But if you are interested it goes until August 15 at the Pavillon Paul Delouvrier at the Parc de la Villette (metro Porte de Pantin) and entrance is free.

SATC 2

I can't believe I'm just finally getting around to posting this, but I have been so busy lately with weekend trips, visitors, work, paperwork, etc that I just haven't found the time.

My friends and I were so excited about Sex and the City 2 coming out that we rushed out to see it the day it came out in France...June 2.  We decided to suffer miserable days at work on Thursday so that we could all meet up after our very long Wednesdays and see a late show at Les Halles.  We met up before the film and grabbed dinner, then drank sparkling wine out of cans before the movie started to celebrate the fact that the second film was finally out.


After dinner and our drink (by the way, sparkling wine in a can is REALLY, REALLY bad) we headed into the depths of Les Halles to see the film, surrounded by a huge crowd of annoying French people.  Of course, they wouldn't let us into the cinema until 5 minutes before the movie started so we were all standing around in a "line" (think the French definition of a line).  When the let us in people were pushing and shoving each other as we headed along like a herd of cattle, but we finally managed to get in alive and get seats.

Of course, all those annoying French people were so excited to see the film (why couldn't they just have gone to see it in VF!!!) that they were screaming and shouting and clapping and whistling like crazy people throughout the whole film, which was quite irritating for those of us who actually wanted to hear the dialogue, rather than read it in the subtitles.  But overall, it was an enjoyable experience and I really enjoyed the film, despite the many negative reviews it has received.

That said, while I did enjoy the film, meaning I thought it was hilarious and I laughed a lot, it also shocked me quite a bit.  I know I laughed with the rest of them at all the jokes based on Middle Eastern/Islamic culture, but I was also shocked they took it as far as they did.  I felt like they were truly insulting an entire culture and just reinforcing many of the negative stereotypes that exist towards this culture in the Western world.  I felt they could have used this as an opportunity to try to spread cultural awareness and understanding, or at least they could have avoided the trip to the Middle East altogether and sent the girls somewhere else instead.  All I can say is I was really surprised, though this is a hypocritcal statement since I was shocked but I also found it hilarious.

The film also made me think a lot about Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and his desire to ban the burka, niqab, and other such Islamic veils in France.  I know, it's strange to think about Sarkozy when watching a funny chick flick, but during the scene with the woman wearing a full length veil trying to eat french fries, all I could think of what Sarkozy would say and if he could somehow use this film to illustrate his point.

All in all it was a good night and definitely worth the absolutely miserable Thursday I had after having gotten home at 1:15 am.  I thought the film, while not as good plot-wise as the TV series or the previous film, was hilarious and very entertaining.  It was the perfect opportunity to forget about the stresses of my life for two and a half hours and to just have fun watching the wild escapades of these four great friends in another culture.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Boyz II Men

As ridiculous as it might sound, last weekend I went to the Boyz II Men concert in Paris at the Zenith and it was actually quite a good show.

I managed to motivate Marybeth to go with me and we had a really good time making fun of French people and enjoying some good old Boyz II Men music.


The concert started at 8pm with some French guy we had never heard of (we eventually found out his name is Marc Antoine).  All the French people seemed to have heard of him though.  They were screaming like crazy and dancing and singing along while Marybeth and I looked at each other wondering who he was.

  Marc Antoine

After Marc Antoine played for about 30 minutes, they did a 45 minute intermission (45 minutes!!!???) and then Boyz II Men played for about an hour and a half.  They played a lot of their old music from the 90s, which was great, along with some newer stuff and some covers of some other great songs (like Amazed by Lonestar and the 4 Tops).

Boyz II Men

I really wanted to see Boyz II Men in concert because they were actually the first group I saw in concert without my parents, way back in like 5th grade.  I thought it would be fun to see them again more than 15 years later, and it sure was.

It was also entertaining to see how many French fans they have and how well the Frenchies manage to sing in English.  I was also surprised at how much they understood since Boyz II Men kept talking in English between each song.  There was even a Frenchie who made a huge poster (American style) for Boyz II Men, written in very bad English.  He even made a reference to Philly and when he put the sign up the man behind me had to explain to his girlfriend that Philly is short for Philadelphia.  Gotta love the Frenchies...

the crowd at the concert including the deaf French guy with his poster written in bad English

All in all it was a pretty good, calm night and something different from my usual nights in Paris out in a cafe.