For the 10 subscribers who have been wondering why they haven’t been receiving email updates from SOEC, for our Facebook friends who haven’t seen our wall posts, and even for the HuffPost readers who haven’t been calling us out for spamming recently (still uncalled for), we’re baaaaaack!
Now that we’re both settled in our respective study abroad locations–Edinburgh for Kfacta and Paris for Ellie, we can finally BLOG! Sorry we’re not sorry (désolées que nous ne sommes pas désolées), but SOEC is officially transatlantic. As we like to say way too often, GET AT US.
Neway, T.G. IFSA Butler encourages its participants to travel before the start of classes. Alyssa arrived in the City of Light on Friday night via Ryan Air, which according to her is the “NJ Transit of the sky.” Offensive but acceptable because we did officially compare the transit systems of the tri-state area in a previous post.
On Saturday, we conquered Paris by foot. This weekend was the annual “Journées du Patrimoine” in France, meaning that all monuments and government buildings that are usually closed to the public were open and free. Despite the excessive amount of Parisians celebrating the French Republic and taking advantage of the gratuit entry, we managed to see every monument on Ellen Doernberg’s Paris charm bracelet. These included but were not limited to:
- The Panthéon
- Assemblée National
- The Louvre
- Musée D’Orsay
- Tour Eiffel
- Tuileries Garden (how is this pronounced? note to self: ask conversation teacher)
Distractions by pastry displays and general laziness hindered us from entering any of these monuments, but we did take pictures outside most of them, making us wonder…. how many people’s pictures do you think you’re casually standing in the background of?
Random musings on some French things:
- Striped shirts are everywhere. For realz, every Parisian seems to own a striped shirt and wears it on the same day. We wonder: how do you describe the pattern? Is a striped shirt blue on white, or white on blue? Two different styles but the same color scheme. There go the French sailors starting confusing fah-shan trends.
- La Cure Gourmande is a bakery chain scattered around Paris that literally displays piles of cookies. When you walk into the store, an enthusiastic bilingual salesperson greets you with a box of free samples. The further you walk into the store, the higher the probability of being greeted with more free samples. In the two days that Alyssa was in Paris, we went to approximately 5 La Cure Gourmandes (some locations more than once) and tried the free samples–shortbread cookies with chocolate or raspberry filling and chocolate covered almonds that resembled olives. We finally gave in and bought some cookies. Thankfully we got more free samples at the register–chocolate covered orange slices. Yaum. And more good news: the Rue Rivoli location is hiring!!!! If your student visa says “autorise travail” then you’ve got one foot in the door!
- We also tried world famous hot chocolate from Angelina, which in essence is just melted chocolate. We’re not sure whether it should be interpreted as a local min or a local max that we sipped our Angelina hot chocolate while mooching free samples at La Cure Gourmande.
- This just in (has always been in…): they don’t take pounds in Paris. Alyssa tried to pay for a crepe with a 10 pound bill. Awkward for Alyssa, the vendor, and everyone else who saw the cultural mishap go down.
- A note to future Eiffel Tower tourists: Once you enter the complicated maze-like line, it is nearly impossible to escape! We changed our minds about going up the tower once we were already halfway through and had to jump gates, limbo under chains, and dodge hundreds of eager tourists to get out. Seriously exhausting.
Books: Madeline. Can someone please confirm that she does in fact fall into the Seine?
Movies: The Ides of March starring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. George Clooney truly DOES get better with age. If anyone is on the fence about planning a trip to Paris, they should come solely to see the massive Omega Watches advertisement featuring George Clooney’s silver foxlike visage. GOSSIP: a certain DDD who is friends with BP says that GC is gay.
Song: Aux Champs Elysées. Listen to this song at your own risk. Once you hear it, it will never leave your head. Also, not sure if we ever gave Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Chain (Live From Webster Hall)” the attention it deserves. Wow, my life.
Complaint: TABLOIDS!!! Can’t understand/identify any celebrities in the French tabloids, nor can we find any American gossip mags. Also probably a majah faux pas to read about Julianne Hough and Ryan Seacrest’s latest sojourn to Hawaii while sitting in the same cafes once frequented by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre.
Also, not into pay-as-you-go international cell phones. The lack of service/cost of text messaging abroad translates into a major communication fail. #abroadproblems, woof.
And to that we say, vive la france!