Friday morning/afternoon was orientation at Negocia, the business school where I am taking Global Marketing on Tuesdays at (groan) 9:30AM. It takes about 45 minutes to get there. I take Line 4 (Alesia), switch at Reumer-Sebastopol to Line 3 and get off at Porte de Champerret. The building is really slick looking. Everything was quite disorganized when we got there (typically French? :-) ) but every was very nice to us. Not only were there IES students at the orientation, but there were also students from Mexico, Dominican Rep, Sweden, and England. There were two women who welcomed us and talked about the school. One was called Emanuelle (and Russian last name). She looked about 45 years old. I found out later that she was born in France (!) and that half of her family was Italian and half Russian. Pretty interesting that her parents made it over that early.
The school "restaurant" was fantastic!! Plenty of vegetarian options for me. They even had cheese and yogurts and desserts. And it was super cheap because the government subsidizes. I paid less than 4 Euro! I'm very happy about this lunch option. After lunch, some French students were supposed to take us on a tour around the building. That didn't happen, so we improvised and had a couple of our new French girlfriends (who were sitting with us and talking to us during orientation) lead us. The hallways smelled a bit funky, but the classrooms were pretty nice. And you could even see the Eiffel Tower from one side of the building!
Negocia is located in the 17th arrondissement; so is a large Jewish area. I even scoped out a kosher Chinese restaurant (I can't remember if I mentioned this), which I'm super excited about! I wanted to check it out after orientation (we were done by 1pm) but it was way too cold outside to get lost looking for the place. In general, it's awesome to "get lost" in Paris (in the good areas where there are lots of people, of course). That was you stumble upon cool places! So instead, I went home to get ready for Chabbat.
I stayed indoors the whole of Chabbat - it was waaaay too cold to walk outside. And it was STILL overcast. I hadn't seen the sun in what seemed like a week! Brigette, a relative of Danielle's, came over again for Chabbat lunch (she was over the past two times, too). It seems this is routine. She's really nice. She's about 30 and works as a mailwoman. She wanted to take me out this Sunday, but I got back to her too late and she made plans to visit the mother of friend, who has cancer. Which is a mitzvah, to be sure. Brigette asked me what I was interested in for next week, and I said I'd love to go see the Comedie Francaise, or just some funny comedy in the city. She said she would look. The Comedie is expensive, which is why we might not go there.
Saturday night, a bunch of us girls went to Boulogne (a nice Parisian suburb, though to me it still looked like the city) to celebrate Jenny's birthday at a Thai place. I got there late because of Chabbat, so I had a dessert instead. Then, we went to the Quartier Latin (Latin Quarter) to find a bar/club. Everything was pricey, so we finally settled on a cool looking club with disco lights. We did well to do this, for half an hour later, there was a looong line outside of people waiting to get into the club; so popular, it was!
The waiters had mardi gras-like masks to denote that they work at the club. It was packed! I loved that the drinks were served with a sparkler. Very cool. Good drinks, expensive, and unfortunately, weak. Tasted almost like juice. Very good juice. I got a cool cocktail that was a 2-in-1. Meaning, a cocktail on the bottom, separated by a piece of lime, and a different cocktail on the top. Neat! We went to dance - nothing like dancing with a group of girls :-) Came back to find that a waiter accidentally spilled Jenny's left-over drink on her and my coats. My white sweater, which I had taken off because of the heat, got the brunt of it, as well as my new French hat. Thank G-d I washed these two and the drink came off. But I'm taking my black coat to the cleaners tomorrow. Would I come back to that club? It's awfully cool, and Happy Hour is cheap, but...I'm not sure anymore hahaha! I wouldn't feel safe leaving my stuff.
Laundry, done. Cooking vegetables, done. Researching the company where I will have my interview for an internship tomorrow, 3/4 done. It's called TemptingPlaces, and it's an online website that allows people to reserve amazing, luxurious hotel rooms anywhere in the world. A TP crew goes out and finds these places, these unique, magical, luxe places, writes about them, photographs them, and then allows fabulously rich people to take advantage of them. Unfortunately, I won't be working with these crews. They want me for my English so that I could write and translate things from afar - Paris. But hey, maybe I'll get a free night's stay at one of the hotels from them for my hard work. After all, internships in France are not paid ;-)
Then, I went to scope out a gourmet kosher patisserie with Sreya. It was located at Nation, last stop on line 6. Transferred from my line 4 at Denfert and then went all the way to Nation. Most of the trip was above-ground, and it was beautiful to go over the Seine and see the Sacre Coeur in the distance. We ended up going to 3 patisseries - Franck Souffan, Charles Traiteur, and Nani. CT was the best. BEAUTIFUL petits gateaux (little cakes) and other pastries...couldn't look away. Since we went to FS first, we got a few things from there. Sreya, a framboise/mousse petit gateau (respberry mousse) and me a chocolate/vanille mousse petit gateau, a croissant (first one in Paris!!) and a few macarons (framboise!). The man working there was super nice. He gave us a few other macarons to try and gave me a calender from the local synagogue. I also picked up an invitation by his cash register to a Mileva Malka (meal after Chabbat that is a custom for some people) soiree for women this next Chabbat. Maybe I can get some of my new Jewish girlfriends (Genia, Sarah, and Jaime) to come with me.
Sreya and I walked around a bit, took some photos...There's a pretty statue at Nation as well as two columns. Danielle later told me that in the olden times, this used to be one of the gateways into the then-walled city of Paris. The two columns are left as a reminder. Then, Sreya went back home and I went to the Marais. Remember the skirt and shirt that I had to give back at the modest shop Pour Mes Filles? I went back to try to spend the 50Euro that I had as credit. I found a blue flowery, flowy dress. I always wanted a dress, and this one was pretty nice and was 39Euro. That means 11Euro more to go. They had cute "t-shirts," as they called them, which were like a one-color shirt with 3 brass buttons on the shoulders, from each side. It's like a step up from the shells that I wear (undershirts - black/white). But the largest size they carried didn't fit me...I complained that French girls are smaller than American girls ;-)
The way home was interesting. I was at the metro stop Montparnasse-Bienvenue on my line (4) when the train decided not to leave the station. Then we heard the dreaded words over the intercom: Mesdames et Messieurs, il y a un colis suspect a Vavin, et il n'aura pas des metros de Chatelet a Porte d'Orleans...or roughly that. Basically, suspect baggage left at the Vavin station, which was the next stop. And that means close down about 8 stops. Whooo. I call Danielle. She tells me to get on bus 28, which stops right outside the station. I walk out. And there it is. The Tour Montparnasse - Paris's Sears Tower. I can't wait to go up there at night and gaze at the city. Well, the bus didn't stop outside Montparnasse. One of the girls waiting for it started walking, and I followed, thinking she'd go to the next stop. She didn't. Kept walking and walking. I started feeling like a creaper. So I asked her where she was going. She said bus 68, on the other side of the marche (open-air market) that were walking through. I said I'd follow because I didn't know the bus routes. Worked out well, in the end. Got to be like a real French person who knows the bus routes, and not a tourist who uses the metro maps.
Classes start tomorrow...I only have one, the Business French/Internship Seminar, which is a combined class, as I found out. I'm super happy about this because then I'm only taking 4 classes instead of 5, because it's 6 credits, instead of the usual 3! This way, maybe I won't be crazed over having an internship as well as taking classes. My interview tomorrow is at 5pm. Classes end at 10:30. Perfect. And, CouchSurfers tomorrow, again! Henry wanted to come along. Remember him? He and Jean Paul, the two Chinese guys I randomly met at the Raspail metro station and with whom I hung out (and video-d). Should be fun!
A bientot! (And sorry for the super long blog entry, since it's been 3 days :-) ) Oh, and it was sunny today, FINALLY!