Things that are making me happy today

I’m going through a bit of a rough patch this week, so thought I’d list a few things that made this Sunday, April 3rd, a good day.

My friend Claire took a spontaneous trip to Paris this weekend (from New York!) so we met for a walk through my marché and some breakfast. When I told my marchand I’m loading up on Vitamin C to ward off this cold, he passed me two free kiwis. Then Claire wanted some clementines for the plane, and he gave her three free! Score!

On to my fromager, who flirts with me shamelessly. Today I hit the jackpot! He passed me a big log of beurre salé à la truffe. He knows that I like salty butter, and this stuff smells INSANE. I’m going to use it to scramble some eggs tonight, I think. Any other ideas for how to use it?

I’m working on my oral presentation for my Post-Colonial Indian lit class, and while it’s kicking my ass, it’s going to be good in the end. It’s also helping me understand my friend Lily’s dissertation, on Fashion in English Modernist Literature. It’s always nice to be able to converse intelligently with those friends you suspect are roughly a billion times smarter than you are.

I’m ignoring the impending cold that threatens to mar my Mexican trip, and trying to focus on one thing at a time.

1. Write presentation.

2. Pack for sister’s wedding in Mexico.

3. Drink a lot of margaritas with Elodie on the Caribbean

4. Watch my sister get married to a kind, smart, cute, lovely Aussie.

Not too bad, right?

I found a gorgeous bathing suit that I WANT SO BADLY if any of you feel like you owe me a birthday present. Color orange, size medium, please. Thank you.

Otherwise, I’m going to go back to popping Klonopins and vitamins, in an attempt to ward off stress and disease. Wish me luck!

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mdr is the French equivalent of ROFL*. It means mort de rire, or dying laughing. And that’s just what I did upon hearing Ben’s story.

Long-time readers will know that Ben was my very first private student back in 2006, and has become a dear friend over the years. I even got him an internship in New York this summer, which makes me AWESOME.

He’s currently working his butt off getting a really difficult diploma, and is tired. So when he took the bus home recently, after working for like 12 hours, he was exhausted and really hoping for a seat. There weren’t any for most of the ride, but finally, a few stops from home, he grabbed one. Almost immediately an older man got on the bus and asked Ben, a healthy, able-bodied 19-year-old, to give up his seat. Ben refused, saying he was exhausted. (I know, I was shocked, too. I might have even smacked him for that.)

A woman across the way told him how rude he was, and Ben replied, “I know, I’m like the Rosa Parks for young people.”

Sadly, the woman didn’t have any idea who Rosa Parks is, but I laughed my ass off.

*rolling on floor laughing, in text-speak

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eek! wonky photos!

The move from Vox to WordPress was actually really easy, but WordPress has totally different formatting for its photos. I could google it and try to figure out how to do it properly, or I could just ask here if anyone knows the answer. You don’t want to keep looking at photos as poorly formatted as last night’s post, do you?

I was up most of the night with Indian summer’s mosquitos buzzing in my ear juuuuust as I was dropping off to sleep, over and over, so I’m tired, cranky, and feeling lazy. Someone else should therefore do the work for me.

Thank you.

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happy fourth Franciversary to me!

Today marked my four year anniversary in France. Or, as Sam calls it, my Franciversary. Which makes sense, since I used to celebrate monthaversaries with an ex. And while he made fun of me for the word at the time, I later found out that he had co-opted it for use with his new girlfriend. Charming.

Anyhoo. Four years ago today I arrived in France via the now-defunct Air India flight to Paris, smelling of curry and homeless, friendless, clueless, and scared shitless. Luckily none of those adjectives apply anymore. I now have all new adjectives, like broke, well-traveled, and definitely-too-old-to-be-going-back-to-school.

That’s right, I’m going back! I’ve enrolled in a Master’s at the Sorbonne, and classes start on the 27th. For years I’ve been avoiding this, looking down on those who use a student visa as a way to stay in France. I thought I was all hard-core, being an illegal alien and hiding from the law. But really, it was just exhausting and stressful. What’s so bad about the easy way out? The fact is, I like easy. Easy is good. Easy makes for fewer popped Klonopin and a happy passport. I did hard-core for four years and earned some easy.

Not that enrolling in this Master’s degree was easy! Whoo boy. If I can ever bring myself to face the months of paperwork and hoop jumping that I went through this past Spring, I’ll write about it. The French have perfected the art of la paperasse, which I choose to translate as “paperwork that is so useless it could just as easily be used to wipe my ass.” I’m convinced that the reason school and office supplies are so expensive is because there’s secretly a monopoly with the state. For every form you need to file, you need the correct folder for it. They get you in the paperwork fees and the filing fees.

So, I’m getting my Master’s degree at Paris III, La Sorbonne Nouvelle. Lest the word “nouvelle” fool you, the school was founded in 1253. That’s right. Like, 800 years ago. Holy crap, right? The University of Paris was all divided up in 1971, and the resulting schools were given names and numbers.

My degree is housed by the UFR (Unité de Formation et Recherce) Monde Anglophone, in the Etudes Britanniques, Nord-Américaines, et Post-Coloniales department, doing the Littératures anglophones track. Confused? Just look here. I’m doing option 1.

I’m super nervous. I haven’t been a student, apart from some classes at The New School I took for fun, since Spring 2002. The other people in my program are likely to be straight out of undergrad, so a good eight years younger than me. And they will, for the vast majority, actually have degrees in Littératures anglophones. I do not. My degree is in Linguistic Anthropology. And did I mention it’s from 2002?

I’m scared I won’t remember how to do homework, or research, or write papers . . . GAH! PAPERS! They were the bane of my existence at Brown. It doesn’t really make sense, since I’m actually a decent writer. I mean, I worked as an editor for five years. That should count for something. But I don’t know the crazy way that they write papers here, and have a feeling it will take me a while to adapt. Socratic method, my butt. It’s just a way to keep everything as complicated as possible.

We’ll see how it goes. For now, I’m just so ready for class to start. I hate having nothing to do, and I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing the past few months. I’ve read five of the books for my classes already, as well as five books for research into my first year’s thesis. Yes, I have to write a thesis each year. Fun times. And further proof of my hypothesis that the government is behind the ridiculous prices at Gibert Jeune. Really, a hanging file is just a piece of cardboard and some plastic. There is no reason for it to cost 1€50.

To end on a pretty note, here are some photos of my tour of the Palais du Luxembourg today. This weekend was the Journées du Patrimoine, when all the buildings that are normally closed to the public are open and free. People line up to see the Palais Elysée, the embassies, private museums, Val de Grace, etc. I went to the Senate, housed in the gorgeous palace at the head of the Luxembourg Gardens.

It’s not any prettier than many of the other palaces I’ve seen around Europe. But what’s truly shocking is that it’s right in the middle of Paris. It couldn’t be any closer to the heart of the city, and it’s totally closed to the public 363 days a year. Check out this view from inside the Petit Luxembourg:

And the Senators have this amazing private library:

With a not-at-all-shabby view from each window.

And this room, where the magic happens:

It looks like an opera house:

Even more amazing, though, was the ballroom. It’s so huge and gold and luxurious that pictures won’t really do it justice.

I wanted to see loads more places, but yesterday was Yom Kippur so I only had one day, and I *might* have slept till 11 this morning. What?! Fasting is tiring.

Send good back to school vibes my way, please!

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I just bought my tickets back to New York for the Christmas vacation, and realized that, by the time I fly back to Paris on December 30th, I will have spent 11 weeks of 2010 in the States. That is a looooong time. Almost 3 full months!

People often ask if I miss New York, and seem surprised when I say no. I love New York,  but no, I don’t miss it. How could I, when I’m always there?!

Of course I miss my parents when I’m in Paris, but we talk every day and I spend so much time with them when I’m in the States that I don’t feel *that* guilty about leaving them. (This is a lie. I feel enormously guilty). As for my friends, we talk on the phone and email and they visit and I visit and it works out.

I do wish that I didn’t have to fly back to the States so much. It would be wonderful if I could go just every six months instead of every four or five. But my mom can’t travel over here, so I have to do all the flying. And  neither of us would be happy going six months without seeing the other. Maybe in a few years she’ll be well enough to fly eight hours (and we’ll find a free apartment for them to stay in here!), but for now, it’s up to me. And that means going every chance I get.

It can be a bummer, because flying to New York means not flying somewhere else: Egypt, Corsica, Madagascar, wherever. I do have my upcoming trip to Istanbul to look forward to (squeee!), and I hope to book a week in Egypt over February break, if I don’t fly back to New York again. If I do, then I’ll choose a different destination for the April break. I think Egypt would be too hot in April . . .

These are not big problems, I realize. I’m lucky that my mom and I actually want to see each other, and lucky that her stroke wasn’t more serious (kinahora). Just something I’m thinking about as I plan to fly back to the land of cheeseburgers, Forever21, and adorable puppies who are the softest, smooshiest, cutest balls of love in the world .


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not Constantinople

EEEEH! I’m so very excited. I just booked tickets to fly to Istanbul over Toussaint vacation. YEAH!

A while back I had decided that I could do two big trips a year, and several long weekends away. So far 2010 has seen two trips to London (only one on my dime, though), a week in Italy, loads of time in the States (I think it was actually 2 full months of the year!), and a few weekends around France (Tours and le Cher). So you’ll see that I have not yet reached my quota of traveling for the year!

I do have an extraordinarily tight budget this year, since, um, I don’t actually have a job yet. Like, at all. But I decided that I would use the bit of 30th birthday money from my parents and sister to buy a ticket to Istanbul instead of another piece of jewelry or something else that would just sit in my apartment.

The ticket ended up costing $30 more than my birthday gift, but it was the best I could do. I’m going to have a long layover in Rome, as it is. But I don’t care, cause I’m going to Istanbul! Yeah!

I just bought my guidebooks (le guide du routard and Rick Steves, my favorite combo) and will start looking for a good hostel. In the meantime, if you have hostel recommendations, or, better yet, a friend or couchsurfer to suggest, please let me know! I’ll also take any and all advice on restaurants, day trips, Turkish baths, shopping, etc.

Soooo excited! Can’t you tell?

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drumroll, please!

Although I still don’t have a header for my new blog, I’m going to post the address and hope that you’ll all follow me over there. Please don’t forgot to update your RSS feeds, blog roll, and any links you might have! The new la fille en rose is at! Very exciting!

So this is the last post I’ll make to my Vox account. Now that I’ve been in France just 5 days shy of 4 years, it’s as good a time as any to say that I don’t even wear that much pink anymore. Orange has been my favorite color for a little while, but I’m a bit too attached to the name “la fille en rose” to change it.

If you are able to help me with my header, please let me know. I know exactly what I want, and can see it in my mind. It’s just a question of getting it on paper. Or online, as the case may be. I basically just need a way to draw something on a tablet and have it upload to a jpg.

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