dimanche 15 novembre 2009


(Wow I'm falling behind with my blogposts already! So much to see, so little time in which to speak of it...)

Our study abroad class went to Paris for four days during the end of October.

First, our program was lucky enough to get each of us a ticket to see a ballet at the Opera Garnier. Since I am a huge fan of the film, the musical, and the novel titled Phantom of the Opera I was walking on air during the entire visit. Walking up the winding stairways lit by elegant wrought-iron candélabres and being lead to a box seat with red velvet covered chairs and heavy, sumptuous red curtains with golden tassles - yes, it will always be one of the most pompous buildings in Paris, but I felt like a princess. The ballet was exquisite as well, but I must admit I took enough pleasure in merely sitting in that chair!

The first time I visited the Louvre I had to be dragged by my well-intentioned friends into the very room. The Mona Lisa just isn't worth it. Yes, its a well rendered painting. Yes, it's by da Vinci. I adore da Vinci. But you're better off looking at "la Vierge au rochers" that's in the adjacent room - it's an absolutely gorgeous painting by da Vinci that will always be overlooked in favor of la Gioconde. Someday I want to visit a museum that has a large collection of da Vinci's charcoal or ink drawings - his skill at portraying emotion and movement and age and youth is breathtaking and it is particularly evident in his sketchbooks.

My favorite visit apart from the Opera and the Louvre was Fontainebleu. Fontainebleu is gorgeous. Lesser known than Versailles but certainly more comfortable. If you can take a daytrip from Paris and spend a few hours at this chateau it's worth it. The photos speak for themselves - I could have sat by the huge reflecting pool and watched the swans all day. The interior of the castle is just as sumptuous as Versailles but much more cozy and a little less pompous.

That's all for this evening, I need to get some sleep...

jeudi 10 septembre 2009

Hands Up!

A few days ago, as we were walking home after classes, Alyssa realised that she had left her host mother's knife at the Dickinson Center's kitchen. After we returned and found it, I offered to carry it in my purse while she bought groceries so she wouldn't be seen carrying a large, rather menacing knife through the supermarket. (No need to scare the adorable French children accompanying their parents through the aisles if we don't have to.)

A couple of blocks away from my road, a shady looking man approached us. As we hurried past him, eager to avoid another encounter with a flirtatious middle aged sansabris (a story for another time - all I can say is that Alyssa does, in fact, have sparkling blue eyes), the knife slipped out of my purse and went spiraling onto the pavement.


I looked up with a start, shock written across my face as my eyes found a man across the street, hands waving in the air in a gesture of surrender and smiling like a Toulousain who'd watched faaar too many American Westerns. He laughed and watched Alyssa quickly recover the offending knife while I continued to stare dumbly.

So...add that to the (previously) innocuous list of reasons why one should not bring knives to school.

mercredi 9 septembre 2009

Les fleurs rouges dans la Place du capitole

KENZO, a French perfume company, presented a very grand promotional event in the middle of Place du Capitole last Saturday. 200 million red flowers, all fake but quite convincing, were "planted" in the middle of the square. On Friday one could only sample the perfume being sold, but on Saturday nearly everyone left the square carrying a red blossom of their own. I asked one of the ladies handing out the flowers whether I could have one for my host mother as well, but she said that they could only give them to those present. When I returned that evening, my host mother smiled, laughed and said that she had tried to do the very same for me!