Saturday, October 24, 2009

two weeks of blogging in one post

man, i didn't realize i had fallen to far behind! oh well.
stolen clothes were never returned, and the housing department basically blamed their theft on me (such pleasant, sympathetic response, right?). there's a chance i may be able to get a little reimbursement from insurance for the stolen wallet and the clothes; probably won't know or receive anything until 2012, but hey it's promising.
this tuesday we had an international student afternoon affair, with a mini orchestra performance and tons of hors d'oeuvres. i had 10 baby pastries and cakes- delicious!- two maccaroons, one ecalair, a couple tarts, a couple chocolate shelled-fruit filled treats on a cracker, etc.
i finally got in both my french and american debit cards, though still waiting on a pin number for the french (even though its been 3 weeks).
i tried to go salsa dancing at a place called "les docks" last night, but after spending an hour and a half walking around in heels trying to find it my dutch friend and i gave up. we walked ot the seine river and enjoyed the view for a while, then stumbled upon remains of the old roman wall from the 1300's- nice surprise!
i went to church with jo again last week, and one of the members was getting baptised. it was really interesting and a huge ordeal the entire hour and a half long service was devoted to her baptism. i thought i had seen people celebrate baptisms before, but man this church has all prior memories beat! the girl's aunt came all the way from southern france to represent her family, gifts were given, two people while sharing scripture with her started to cry, her and the pastor changed into all white just for the baptism, the pastor geared the whole sermon for her, and food and drinks were served afterwards. i know the angels celebrate when someone becomes a christian, i think i have a better idea of what that's like now!
i discovered this morning with my leftover tortillas that they taste lovely with nutella- perfect combo of the south meets europe :) deb came back from her visit to the states and brought me goodies- 2 cans of sloppy joe mix, ranch dressing, italian dressing, peanut butter and sweet baby ray's honey bbq sauce! within 24 hours i made rice with sausage and bbq sauce, a pbnj sandwich and sloppy joe's- it was fantastic!
winter suddenly arrived. one day, it was just 15-20 degrees colder, and it hasn't really changed since then. more rainy, but still definitely not as much rain (or as hard or as much) as other parts of france nearby. i busted out my winter coat yesterday for the first time, and discovered a pair of pink gloves inside! score.
so i've been sick like 3 weeks now, and finally went to the doctor on campus. walked in and was seen all in under 45 minutes, for free, and got 3 prescriptions: a nose spray, pills and a syrup to drink, all bases covered. all the pharmacies are the same here; there's no need to find the cheaper one because they're the same, which is convenient. i went to the one close to my campus, and all three cost 10 euros! they shot out of a little metal tray from the wall, like something from the jetson's and it was cool. the french and european union socialist system works really well for them- the citizens pay high taxes, but everything from education (at every level, including master's) to health care to discounts for everyone under 26 to transportation is free or almost free because of it!
lots of confusion as usual- bank, transportation, money, classes still not confirmed by my advisor in texas, sickness, drama with italy trip- but i'm getting more used to it. i've been praying for a higher tolerance and deeper trust in God before any plans of person, and it's been a bit better.
i leave for a six day excursion into italy in a couple hours! going with katie to paris today, then flying to milan late tonight for a 6 hour layover in the airport and then arriving in rome! i'll be there sunday through thursday morning, couchsurfing with 1-2 people, and then fly to trapani, sicily. i'll be there two days and then return to paris and then le mans, on halloween! happy halloween everyone, and i'll be back with italian stories in a little over a week!

Monday, October 12, 2009


emily was in germany and let katie sleep in her room last night, which was awesome because it meant i didn't sleep on my floor again. katie and i went to mass at saint julien's, the oldest and most known cathedral in town. this service was definitely more community based and closer to a traditional mass than the more famous tourist attraction churches. afterwards, we saw little girls with scooters by the door and little boys running around play fighting. they even had a table with little finger pastries and juice, which we saw after a little boy walked up to us with some treats on his place, looked at us with big eyes, and offered us some without saying a word.
i showed her the local sunday market, where i bought several gifts and groceries. we both tried our first french savory crepes, made by a cute older couple from a trailer: crepe cooked on the skillet with an egg fried on top of it, then doused with cheese and ham. it was served classically, folded into fourths, and delicious.
she wanted to see vieux mans, and while we walked around we stumbled upon a regional art museum and a mandolin musuem, both free to us. the quaint regional museum had several floors of fantastic things from the same ground i live on, which was super interesting. the mandolin museum was cute and had great music in the background, and the coolest thing was its collection of up to two centuries-old intruments. then we passed by saint benoit, one of several other beautiful cathedrals that for some reason never have services and aren't promoted by the city. there are at least 5 i can think of, maybe one of which is protestant, that are in more than decent condition, gorgeous and yet swept under the rug. weird.
i made us dinner, and i introduced her to my favorite british tv show called the it (information technology) crowd. we spent a couple hours figuring out our week long school vacation break, which will be to italy! she almost missed her train, which seems to be a growing and unforunate trend with my friends and i. i spent a whopping four hours skyping with my parents, and crashed after a busy, perfect weekend!

saturday with katie

we slept in! and i took her to meet kitty felix, and we stayed in deb's room an hour swapping youtube videos. then we wandered around town and had a leisurely picnic at the parc in the sun. i had my first shopping trip in le mans, getting a pair of cute black boots and some other fun small things.
we made an early evening showing of our first movie in europe, max and mary. it's australian, so english, but most movie theaters dub everything into french; we went to the indie theater and heard it in english with french subtitles. it's claymation with lots of dark colors, which fit the plot- one of the most surprisingly depressing and bleak movies i've ever seen! i'm glad i saw it, because i really wanted to, but it was a let down; when it was over, even the french all stayed in their seats from shock.
i took her to the place i raved about from yesterday, i got a lifechangingly-good hamburger for 2 euros. we came back to campus, got together with the internationals, and went out to three places for the night. somehow, i didn't pay anything the entire night and morning. first was mulligan's, the irish pub everyone here is obsessed with, for a bit. next we hit up cafe pop until it closed- so fun! we danced the whole time, mostly just our group on the floor, and the dj had a lot of fun with us. afterwards, i asked him if he knew any good places still open for dancing, and he said he would personally take us to one! we followed him to a place nearby, and on the way i held his huge book of CDs while he had a drumming contest with one of the tunisian guys on top of a car. we arrived at a place called djecko's, and he got all 10 of us in at the same time for free and personally held our jackets and coats behind his turntables. we danced to similar music in a much more crowded and larger place than before, until we were exhausted. i had decided to wear heels for the first time in a month, and paid for it- we left town at 3:30, after all the trams had left for the night, and i walked back barefoot. sleep at 5am


this morning i spent several hours in geography class and then swapping notes with a german girl. later in the evening, i met up with a french woman and her son to see about babysitting. christine wants me to watch four year old ben on occasion, and pays me extra to speak only english with him. ben immediately began a shooting match with fake guns with me, and wanted to share his french fries with me- i think we're off to a good start! i discovered a fantastic, cheap, fast and yummy place right next to her place that delivers pizzas and burgers for free- new favorite place!
then i met up with katie at the train station! i really like exploring and doing france with her- it's odd that we both go to UNT but are just becoming friends here. the two of us went to a place i've been dreaming about eating at for about a month, "american" food at a place called buffalo grill! i thought it was buffalo bill's, and when i realized i had the wrong name, i decided to keep calling it bill anyways. a group of 8 other americans, english and germans were not disappointed. i had a salad with corn and red beans, sourdough bisquits, a huge well-done arizona burger, fries and a grenadine-water drink. i also took a red balloon with a cowboy and girl indian on it, and an indian headdress paper crown (like burger king hats, native american style). EXCELLENT!
we came back, chatted with some friends, i showed her my view of the city from campus and we talked until early morning.


i had history and volunteering classes today- both were swell. i ate dinner with mathilde and her fellow french freshman girl bereniece, and then met up with a ton of internationals for the night. leondra from brazil made everyone brazilian vodka-lime-sugar mojitos/martinis, and we stayed in the kitchen until it closed for the night. then ten girls and leondra went in search of a good place to dance, and i discovered cafe pop. they played arabic-american-french-latin music, with house/techno/middle eastern/70's/80's/hip hop/pop music- it was perfect! i didn't stay long, class the next day and katie coming in for the weekend, but it was fun.


so after the stolen wallet, missing my train to le mans, getting sick and other such exciting events, here's a recap of nice things that happened that made things better. God was incredibly nice in letting only my wallet get taken, and then setting up sympathetic people and inspiring grace in their hearts to help me get things taken care of. the police let me use their phone for international calls to take care of closing two bank accounts for free; nicolas' key only cost 3 euros to replace and he was a gentleman about the ordeal; the university gave me my 3 new keys and ID for free which should have cost me 40 euros; my bank charged me 25 euros to block the account but the woman i met worked the system to make it only cost me 4; all the international students have offered to let me borrow money, and i borrowed plenty from katie; 600 euros worth of money i had been waiting on for 45 days came in today and i was able to withdraw some and use it; things like this. i'm feeling a bit better, health wise. my professor said my butchered homework, first of the semester, was ok even though it deserved a 0. i needed to buy a new tram ticket, that is unlimited use for one month, anways; when i mentioned this to an employee on campus, she gave me one for free (30 euro value). i lost a lot of money, but was successful in blocking american and french cards and accounts without anything being taken from them. i was SO GLAD i got into my room and could sleep here.
unfortunately, after my class the admin was closed for the day and i couldn't get any of my new keys (c'est france).
also, i witnessed my first two strikes in france- one with the hospital workers and one with the public transportation employees. this meant the tram only worked half the way to town for me to buy groceries, and i walked the rest of the way. thankfully, because the firemen had come and put out a huge bonfire in the middle of the street, when i was on my way back with overflowing heavy bags the tram was running again.
i had my geography lab and dance class today

tuesday: paris, day 5

this day didn't go as planned, in almost any way. woke up 2 hours late, and missed going to the musee carnavalet, the paris history museum. packed my bags, hit the metro and set out to find the area my grandma (dad's mom) grew up in. she was born in surene, now the 16th arrondissement (district), of paris and lived there with her parents until she was 18 and married my american army grandpa. with her memories, my dad's interviewing skills and the help of google maps, i found the exact apartment building she used to live in (after passing it 3 times). turns out, it is set for demolition; good thing i didn't wait to go back there later! after pictures and conversations with strangers, i took the metro to the bois du boulogne, where she used to watch rugby matches with her dad.
then i hightailed it to the train station, and got there in just enough time to miss my train to le mans. awesome. it's not possible to trade it in for a later train because it's a student card, which sucked because it meant i just lost that money and time. frustrated with recent parisian events, i start to cry in the station; i wanted to go to the bathroom for some solace and emotional release, but i couldn't because you have to pay to use train station bathrooms and they are smaller than port-o-potties. i go ot buy a later ticket, and with some grace from God in the form of pity from the lady working, she gives me a reimbursement for my train for a one that leaves in 2.5 hours, for almost no extra fees.
i leave the station to find a nice place to relax, and discover the best-cheapest-quietest chinese bistro around. i feast on my first egg rolls, sticky rice and schezuan beef in months. i used the bathroom here, which turned out to be a hole in the ground like actual china, that's how you know it's the real deal! i do my homework, conjugating 40 verbs and writing a couple paragraphs in the conditional verb tense, and then get on the train.
i arrive in le mans, then campus and then my night class with about 20 seconds to spare before it starts. i realized that my french source told me how to do every bit of my homework incorrectly, and that it was too late to visit the admin for a new key to get into my dorm. after two hour french language class, english jo comes with me to beg the security guard to let me into my room. of course i have no means to prove i live there, as its all stolen, but thankfully he let me in anyways. i stayed up until about 3am trying to get life in order, and remembered in bed i had a class 6 hours later.

monday: paris, day 4

just me and deanna today. it rained until mid-evening, but nothing that stopped our fun! we stopped at the moulin rouge, and headed to the sacre-coeur in the montmarte area of paris. the sacre-coeur cathedral, dedicated to the sacred heart of Jesus, is on a hill of the far north part of paris overlooking the city. we climbed up, enjoyed a man playing fiddle and the view, then centured inside. the basilica was beautiful, and has a huge dome on the top that inside has a magnificent mosaic of God, the Holy Spirit in dove form and Jesus with tons of famous martyrs, saints and Christian leaders worshipping them. also really cool was the collection of stained glass windows- they visually told the life stories of many saints, with written summaries to explain the images in french. reverent and classically pretty place. she wanted to get a legit french cafe experience, so we bought some pastries (my first madeline pastry-cookie as well as a green and black olive pastry), picked a sidewalk cafe and had a drink while people watching. after that, i sent her on her way and wandered the area a bit.
i wanted to see an opera, but needed to stand in line for an hour and a half to see if i could get a ticket again. i decided it was worth the wait, and wound up being the last person to purchase a ticket for the night! it started at 7:30, and at 7:29 i sprinted up five flights of stairs and found my seat just before they closed the audience for the show. my ticket was 7 euros, and was one of the worst seats; the ticket actually had "sans visibilite," or without visibility, written on it. this was fine, because i was still inside the opera garnier (majestic theater that actually inspired the entire story of phantom of the opera) watching my first opera! it was mireille, which apparently is the quintessentiel romantic opera, which got its start in paris in the mid 1800's. i sat in a top corner, right next to a gold ceiling angel statue with a view of the entire orchestra, audience and half the stage. i was at eye level with a small projector that had the words written out, in french, so i actually knew everything that was going on the entire time! it was lovely, insanely dramatic and captivating. with intermissions and all, i didn't leave until 11:00!
went back to nicolas' sleeper sofa, and enjoyed some shut eye.

Friday, October 9, 2009

sunday: paris, day 3

i got 4.5 hours of sleep this morning. thankfully, nicolas was incredibly understand about the key- he responded the most ideal way, and the cost to replace was only three euros. deanna and i headed to meet katie at notre dame for a morning mass, and explained all that happened. katie lent me plenty of money to tide me over for a while- talk about finding out who your friends are, both girls totally shone in the midst of this drama and pain.

mass was lovely! we attended the last one of the morning, and had front row seats in the center. they definitely modify all masses because of the fame- for example, there were no bars to kneel on during mass, so no kneeling whatsoever. instead of finding the readings and hymns in the appropriate books, everything was printed in a bulletin, southern protestant style, to follow easily (really convenient). i was bummed i couldn't (honestly) receive Communion because i'm not catholic, but i was glad to be prayed over and blessed by the deacon anyways. i love taking Communion- having to come authentically to God, in whatever state i am, to remember and honor the very real sacrifice of Christ that has forever changed the world and myself. we spent another hour wandering around and admiring the cathedral before hopping the train to versailles.

we arrived in the perfect ammount of time to see everything our ticket could pay for. we saw the entire grand palace in 2.5 hours. the most intriguing thing being the bed of the queens, where marie antoinette had slept and 19 royal children were birthed. the hall of mirrors, famed for tons of ornate crystal chandeliers and mirros, was beautiful; the military history wings through floor to celing pictures was cool too. then we frolicked in the rightfully famed gardens for another 2.5 hours and headed back.

katie left back for rennes, and then deanna, nicolas and i hung out for a couple hours before crashing on his sleeper-sofa.

saturday: paris, day 2

deanna and i woke up with the sun to meet katie from her train. katie is also a fellow UNT girl, studying in neighboring rennes; this was my first time to spend more than an hour with her, and it was great. we took the train to the eiffel tower, or tour eiffel in french, and began our ascent. i desperately wanted to climb the whole thing, but it turns out you can only walk to the second floor and then take the elevator, which turned out to be just fine- after walking about 50 flights of stairs, we were ready for a break. on the first floor, we did a 360 degree walk around and read about its history and all the signficant buildings you can see from there. on the second floor, we took more pictures and shivered from the chilly air; we decided the top would be pretty cool, but there was a long line, it cost double, would be even colder and the view even smaller. then we walked our now sculpted muscles down all the stairs to hear the soliciting of cheap eiffel tower keychains in a half dozen languages.

so europe has this thing for carousels- don't really know what the deal is with it, but i think it's a fantastic thing to have tons of. i made a goal to ride one while in france, and a cheesy rickety carousel at the foot of the tower seemed perfect. the girls and i rode around 3 times, goofing off and capturing everything on camera (pictures on facebook very soon!) one of my favorite moments in the city. we decided to eat cheaply for lunch, and buy fruit, bread and some cheese. deanna tried her first french cheese, and we learned there are over 1,200 types in france from a sweet cheese store owner.

with happy tummies, we arrived at the louvre. we came in through a mall entrance, which was really strange- one of most famous museums in the world, in the midst of a mall (we thought we were lost, haha). i have heard way too many people complain about the length of entrance lines to this place- i think i waited about 5 minutes to buy my ticket at noon on a saturday. and it was free, because i showed my student ID! we spent the next 4 hours in a daze, attempting to take in all the talent, time, fame, stories, scope, size and amount of art... and only covered one fourth of it. we stayed mostly in one wing, looking at sculptures and european paintings. i begrudgingly saw the mona lisa, and even after studying the history and seeing it, still wasn't excited about it; it's something everyone is supposed to love and look forward to, but meant nothing to me. we were amused at how many signs had a photo copy of the painting, some permanent signs for the museum too, with directions on how to find it. the venus de milo, also famous for its ambiguity, was temporarily on display, which was cool. i loved being with them- deanna is an interior design major with 3 semesters of art history classes, and katie is taking all art classes in rennes- appreciative and also insightful into what we were seeing, helping it mean more than just pretty or weird art.

we stopped by nicolas' place for a while, and then tried to buy tickets for a ballet at the opera garnier. because they were all sold out, we decided to buy tons of icecream and watch the eiffel tour from below light up. every night at the hour, for the first five minutes, it sparkles; we joined tons of people on the lawns in front of it and watched.

tonight was la nuit blanche, an annual event of contemporary art showcased from 6pm-6am in all the most famous gardens around the city which drew in 1.5 million people. we thought one of the locations was the tuilleries gardens, and were surprised to see nothing when we showed up. instead, we walked around the garden and imitated statues from an abandoned shopping cart i found while exploring the bushes. from there, we found la place de la concord, checked out its fountains and statues representing all the major french cities, and saw the arc de triomphe from the champs eylsees. then we met up with pascal, who took us to saint germain, which is the oldest part of paris and apparently unknown by tourists. deanna and i peaced out at midnight to get some much needed sleep (already tired, sick, walking all day), thinking this was the end of the night.

we didn't make it to sleep for six more hours. my wallet was stolen in the metro (aren't i the biggest stereotype possible?) while i was focusing on buying more tickets for deanna and i; i wish i had been mugged instead of it being snuck away when i wasn't aware, so there could have been some smack down and retribution. inside my very special wallet from china i bought when there several years ago was plenty of cash, french debit card and info, american debit card, american credit card, insurance, driver's liscence, student id, key to nicolas' place, key to my dorm, key to access my dorm building and mailbox key (nothing important, obviously).

we searched everywhere, talked with the metro people, filled out a paper and were sent to the police station with maybe the most vague directions possible. in our quest, we met some super helpful french people our age going out on the town who told us how to reach a different station that should be open. we found it around 1:30, and i got to participate in my favorite french pasttime again: waiting. after being insulted by several officers several times, filling out a 7 page form and spending an hour and a half on the phone cblocking bank accounts, it was 3:30. all the metros were closed for the night, and we spent an hour trying to figure out the bus system to no avail. we spent 30 minutes tracking down one of the only available taxis in the city, and made it nicolas' at 5:30. because we had no key, we had the misfortune of having to ring his doorbell until he came to let us in and explain why i didn't have his key. thankfully, deanna was a super trooper- patient, didn't talk a lot, paid willingly for the taxi, emotionally and prayerfully supportive.

friday: paris, day one

after all the confusion with deanna's arrival, i head to my geography class. i felt really awful, and asked one of the girls to take notes for me to copy next week- i went back to my room and slept until i had to leave to meet emily for our train to paris. deb was supposed to come too, but didn't last minute; however, another guy we know named jamie decided to come last minute. we hopped on the hour long tgv (ridiculously fast train), arrived in paris and found deanna finally!

we made our way to notre dame, so emily could meet up with her 5 (turned out to be 4) friends studying in spain. deanna and i ventured out, and got into saint chapelle and then the conciergie. we spent an hour (the longest we waited in a line all weekend- not bad at all!) going through security, because these two monuments are located in the grounds of three of france's most significant political bodies. saint chapelle is this beautiful, medium-sized church most famous for its stain glassed windows. 15 main panels tell different stories and books of the Bible; my camera died and i couldn't find any batteries, so deanna took pictures for us while i translated its history from french to english.

we walked next door to the conciergie, a quite ironic building that used to be a kitchen and guards rooms for royalty and later became a prison most famous for keeping the rich, nobles and royalty captive during the revolution in the late 1700's. this is where marie antoinette was held for 70 something days before going to the guillotine, and watched her best friend and duchess be torn limb from limb by a raging mob and then have each apendage spiked on spears for all to see. i saw the cell where she was kept in the women's area of the prison. we walked through the whole thing, and it was really interesting.

after our first outings, we met our couchsurfing host nicolas. this is basically someone i found through a network of travelers who agreed to let us stay at his place for the duration of our trip, for free. he's great- 27, computer consultant, leaving to backpack ecuador next week. we dropped our stuff off in his flat, which was shockingly tidy, and then took him out to dinner as a thank you. deanna and i split a 3 course meal, her first french meal, of 6 different meats for a starter, beef and onion with fries main course and chocolate pie for dessert.

pascal, the man who let deanna stay with him the night before and with whom katie and emily were staying, invited us over to meet him and four of his friends. the three of us went to his place, and spent a couple hours with emily, pascal and his aimiable friends. he's an expert piano player, with 25 years experience, and the night was a mixture of hearing music, sampling wine from bourgundy, and swapping stories. great first day!


i had my first class of la benevolat et sa gestion, aka a class about nonprofits in france, today. the prof is easy to understand, sympathetic to foreigners (harder to find in a prof than i expected)and i'm with two cool german girls too. emily made deb and me a surprise dinner... of southern food! homeade bbq chicken sandwiches, coleslaw and corn, topped off with strawberry soda and eclaires, mmm.
i spent the day getting ready for deanna, my friend from UNT studying in scotland, to arrive in le mans. on my way to pick her up from the train station, she calls me from a stranger's phone (hers isn't working for some reason) to say she missed her train, the last one of the night. i scramble, and thankfully get a hold of one of the couchsurfing guys who says she can crash at his place for the night. i spend the next couple hours getting ready to leave and arranging a ticket for her to come at 6:30 the next morning. turns out, i'm getting fairly sick, with some sort of throat-nose-cough-mucous thing that has been going around campus. with 4 hours of sleep under my belt, i'm on my way to pick her up again and she calls to say she missed this train too. we agree to just meet up in paris, and forget her coming to le mans altogether.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


i wrote and sent out my first mail today!
deb came by with felix and asked me to kitty-sit while she was in class for an hour and a half, and it was the longest i've ever spent alone with a cat. a couple girls have decided to claim him until a home can be found; there's a good chance he may just stay smuggled in the dorms until they leave. i needed to run a couple errands around campus, and i totally became one of those girls who carries a small cute animal in her purse. he loved it- when i came back to my room, he stayed in there cat napping for 45 minutes. deb came back with another girl who was a vet's assitant for two years to give him a checkup, and turns out the lil guy's got a tapeworm and infested with fleas. awesome for him, and for me who then did two loads of laundry to rid my room of them. for the second time, i stained all my laundry! argh, the machines here are completely different and now a bunch of my stuff and the school's sheets are stained pink/red/blue/purple. on the upside, a white blouse i had is now this really great slate/baby blue.
tonight was my second danse societe class, and it was fun again. meeting more people in it, and getting better at swin/rock and roll and cha-cha. there are a couple showoffs that annoy me, but they're great dancers and way better to be led by them versus the other limp noodles. i tried to play some country music for my teacher and school her on how we do it in the south, but we had technical difficulties- next week!
i cooked dinner with some french girls and my brazilian friend tonight, and learned a lot of random and offensive slang. i spent the night getting ready for paris stuff, and for deanna! she goes to unt with me, is in the same small group at the same church, and is studying abroad now as well. she comes in tomorrow night from dundee, scotland for the night and then paris for the weekend!
today was tuesday, and i got to sleep in. i only have one class tuesday, and it's at night; so my weekend is friday from 11am until tuesday at 6pm! i met up with a french guy for lunch, and his name is arnaud. it seems this is a common french name for guys, i've already met two and only know like 6 french guys. we ate the french cafeteria version of asian food, and for dessert i had a donut/pain au chocolat thing. he's pretty cool, the first average french guy i've met. on our way out, i met some of his political-type friends who were passing out fliers to privatize the postal system. and i totally succeeded with my first joke in french, with the french! score. humor is difficult to translate; even if it's actually quite funny, the wong choice or order of words, slow delivery and bad pronunciation just make it fail. they reminded me of my kooky denton guy friends, and i liked that.
an hour later, deborah comes knocking on my door for the sole purpose of soliciting my help to get a kitty out of a huge tree. really. for about an hour we try to find guys we know to hoist me into said tree for its rescue, to no avail, and i go back home. two hours after this, i'm on my way to language class and i see about 10 girls i know under this tree with felix, the boy they has just saved. he is CUTE- i've never had a cat or liked them much, but kittens are different :)
class tonight was good- turns out, i was able to take one class geared for non native speakers, and we spend all of class talking and reading about each other's countries. i'm starting to see the two men who specialize in teaching french as second language are pretty good at offending foreigners and producing stereotypes. only one was directed at americans, that none of us have the physical capability of rolling our "r's" in french. thirty minutes later, the prof asked my nationality and was super embarassed when he realized he had been rude. the longer i'm here, the more different nationalities people assume i am: at first, american, then canadian, most recently german and spanish. nice.
i stayed up until 2:30 watching one of the dumbest movies of all time with three americans. it's called hot rod, and it's about a crummy stuntman; it was the best source of dumb humor i've run across in a while.

mellow monday

i don't have classes at all on monday! always three day weekends; this is my first semester of my entire school career to have this. it's really strange, especially because i don't have a job- i feel like i should always be doing something, but don't have a lot of concrete obligations to do...
i was going to check out a judo class tonight, but instead visited a modern dance class. good night- for someone who loves to dance, that was just painfully boring and depressing! the only "formal" dance classe i've had was middle eastern dancing at a ywca, taught by women not from that culture and had never been there. i used to wonder what it would have been like, to have gone through dance classes as a little girl, and taken this typical style- now i know it would have been awful for me!
i ate dinner with french friend and semi-neighbor mathilde and ehr friend lula tonight. they are really great but don't talk a lot; it's weird trying to initiate a conversation over an hour with people in another language.

that's what i love about sunday

i checked out another church today, with my english friend joanna. it's a small baptist church of around 40 people, mostly french and some english who have lived here for a while. i even recognized some old school songs from my childhood methodist church, which was pretty cool. the people were great, and the sermon was basically just reading a chapter of the Bible and everyone discussing it, community style.
after that, i ran into another american girl and we wandered this lovely park together; once i got back, i met up with 5 ukranians to "faire du picknicking" at the same parc. we lounged on the grass, swapping food and drink, for three hours. it was my first time to be around them this much, and it was fascinating. the culture for female appearance revolves around girls always being put together, looking alluring and ready to pose any time; hanging with three of the girls and seeing this was interesting.
i met up with a moroccan/french guy and helped with translate his resume (c.v. here), and as a thanks he bought me my first drink mixed by a machine! j'ai pris cacao au lait, or hot chocolate, and this little grey vending machine-robot presented me a cup of fresh(ish) warm goodness. for 40 centimes, too.
i spent the rest of the night talking with my parents and my sister leslie online and messaging about thirty people to see if i could crash their chouches in paris next weekend.