Un blog Travellerspoint

Shopping, Tapas Bar

overcast 5 °C

Daniela and I started off the day by meeting up at Porte de Clingnancourt, the very last stop on line 4 (my line). She had been to a great flea market (marche de puces) there, so she recommended it. It was raining a bit, which, for some reason, scared off the vendors. So no market. No problem. We went straight to Les Halles (rememer this? I went there a few days ago). First stop was Mim, that French "H&M" type store. Daniela got a shirt. I got some jewelry (I will go broke due to jewelry, I swear).

Then, we proceeded to go around the little shops. They were basically all the same. Shoes, jackets, tacky jewelry, and some clothing. We both ended up finding a pair of cheap shoes and scarves. Lots of these stores were actually run by asians. You can tell in the merchandise style, too, haha.

I was getting tired of the French Asian shopping, so I went back to my place to start running errands. First stop: La Poste. To finally send Marie's black fur gloves to her in Philly. I found an envelope that would fit the gloves, and proudly presented my ready-to-mail package to the guy at the kiosk. Except apparently, the envelope was for in-France only mail. Great. Guy told me I should've asked...All the Poste's big international envelopes were expensive, so I went to the nearby Monoprix (similar to Walgreens) and got a package of regular, large envelopes. Ok good, these were approved. So gloves, check.

Next, laundry. I hauled my laundry hampers a few steps out of my door. Thank goodness the Laundromat is right there. A pair of possibly Algerian men were in there, drinking beer. At 5pm. I guess this is what you do when you're waiting with a friend for your laundry to finish. (Everyone who is mildly freaking out at the moment...stop...it was a lit, big laundromat and no one was going to rape me in it. Maybe next time I'll wait until people are gone, but I really needed underwear). When they saw that I looked lost (it's not a coin in the slot kind of laundromat), they laughed and helped me out. Except that they were watching when I put in my laundry. So I told them to look away when it came to my...private stuff! Laundry, check.

Proceeding...David. I had to look up contact info for Birthright France. Found the website and just an email address. Added David on facebook and sent him the info. He'll be back in 3 weeks and we agreed to meet up at the Lions Bar again. Now, it was homework time. Remember when I went to the Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge with Daniela? So now it was actually time to do the homework part of it. Find info about it and write coherent paragraphs that I will say to the class. But that will probably be on Monday, because tomorrow our teacher is taking us to the Marais for falafel and all the other good stuff. And Friday no class except for the Negocia business school orientation. Oh, and I got an email from the tourism bureau where I was interested in interning asking for an interview Friday. Amanda, the academic coordinator from IES, will handle the rescheduling part because of Negocia. Good! I hope I'll do well in the interview. Though I really am hoping that Credit Agricole will allow me to have a chance at an interview, too.

At 8pm, Emi and I met up at my metro station (Alesia). We, Daniela, Jenny, and Sam were meeting at the Tapas del Toro bar with our Canadian friend Lee (not Henri, as I though before. Hard to hear in a bar sometimes) to watch some Spanish soccer teams go at it. Barely watched the soccer teams. Eveyrone had beer, but I decided on a good pina colada. Fitting. Vanessa, Lee's friend from Couch Surfers, invited two of her French friends to come, too. Florence and Frank. They were super nice. Too nice, even. Then, I found out that they weren't Parisians hahaha! They were from Nord pas de Calais, all the way up north by the ocean, right across from England. Country people. I like. Maybe I'll go to Calais to visit them. If there's a Chabad. They were doubtful, but I'll do my research.

Bonne nuit

Posté par parischica 14:50 Archivé dans France Commentaires (0)

Pere Lachaise, Movies, Bar

overcast 6 °C

I'll start with something that's not in the heading of this blog post. Internet. Boy, was it a hassle to get it. There are a few options. One, the cheapest, is a subscription for at least one year. Can't do that. Next is a monthly renewal, but it requires a bank account in Paris. BNP, Bank of America's partner in Paris, rejected me because I'm only staying for 4 months. Option 3? "Le Cle 3G a l'Internet," meaning, a USB with rechargeable internet. Cost: 39Euro. Recharged: 15 Euro for 13 hours. This is pretty good.

Being very bad at technology, I couldn't get the Cle to work at the beginning. Why? Because I didn't properly insert the SIM card into the Cle. Leave it to me to make a silly mistake like that. I imagined my Dad shaking his head at me and saying, "What do they teach you at school??" Well, at least I figured it out in the end, with G-d's help, for sure.

Excited, I opened a webpage. Time to check email. Loading time: 5 minutes. Why was it so slow? I checked the internet connection. Dial-up, DSL. Darn it! These words exist in French! I can't believe I just paid for that!! But Meline, a girl in my French class, just gave me a password for the free internet Wifi in Paris. I tried that. Worked like a charm. I won't return the Cle because I'll use it for very private stuff, like transferring money from my bank accounts. That protection is worth 39 Euro + 15.

Yesterday was a fun day. I had Daniela over for lunch. Then I had Jenny over for dinner. Wow! I like hosting people. I made pasta, burekas (in the oven), and grilled zucchini and eggplant. I wish I could've made fish, but we were in a hurry to go out. Jenny, a few other girls, and I wanted to go see the Monet Exhibit at the Grand Palais - the last day. The line was so long, a guy came from the museum to tell us that we wouldn't get in before the closing time of 11pm. It was 5:30. Ok...

Jenny and I decided to go watch a real French movie. Not those funny American dubbed ones or American with subtitles. A French movie with French actors. We settled on Pompompidou, a movie about a woman who committed suicide and a writer who painstakenly put the pieces back together to reveal that she was actually killed. Sounds morbid, but it wasn't at all. Comeon, it's the French! Jenny and I liked it, and we also liked our surroundings! A clean, pretty, red-seat movie theatre.

Movies & Pop Corn

Movies & Pop Corn


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Next, I joined Daniela, Genia, and Emi (from Spain) at a bar called the Lions Club off of the Bourse metro. Bourse being the stock exchange! It was a beautiful area. Daniela found out about the event from a website called Couchsurfers.com. It's people who stay on other people's couches instead of paying for hostels/hotels. I would never be crazy enough to be one of them, but I didn't mind meeting them. Plus, I hoped the brought their French counterparts with them.

As soon as I entered the bar, my glasses fogged up. Lots of body heat, let me tell you. It was full. Nice bar, not gross and smelly. Relatively cheap drinks, too. We hung around one of the tables, talking to a group of people there. That's where we met our new friend Henri, a Canadian guy who's been living in Paris for 1.5 years. I went to get a drink at the bar, and lo and behold, met probably the only Jewish guy in the whole bar - David. He was teasing me about how my order would take forever. I assured him that I would handle it; drink came in a minute :-)

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He's Moroccan but speaks French like a charm. I found out that he's going to Spain soon to work a bit. Not only that...he wants to do a study abroad in Chicago...at Loyola!! He's studying in Lille at EDHEC. I wanted to study at this school's center in Nice, but Loyola severed it's relationship there, telling me that students didn't have good experiences and communication wasn't so good. So how is it that David can go to Chicago but I can't go to Nice??? He was confused, too. But hey, if he comes to Chicago, I can show him around and practice my French. And possibly use him as eye candy, but that's auxiliary...

David hasn't been on Birthright to Israel yet. This is a problem! He's 24, so he can still go (age limit: 26). I told him about it and he didn't even know that such a thing existed!! I said, "You probably don't belong to any Jewish groups in the city?" Suspicion confirmed. Oy vey David...how will you ever find a nice wife? Although, maybe in Paris it's different, everyone knowing everyone in the Jewish community, observant or not.

On to today...Parker from French class did a presentation on the famous cemetary Pere Lachaise (confessional advisor to Louis XVI I believe). It was a great presentation. So great, that it moved Daniela and I to visit the cemetary. People like Chopin, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Modigliani, and Oscar Wilde are buried there. Along with rich French people with grandiose sepulchers (new word for me - meaning tombstone in Latin) dating from the 1800s. The day was gray and appropriate. Morbid for some. Interesting for Daniela and I. Though we stupidly didn't take a map and therefore only found Edith Piaf. We'll have to return, maybe during a sunny day where we can see better.

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I then went to Notre Dame, again, to find a pair of black, furred gloves for Marie (remember her? she stayed with Danielle for a few days when I arrived). I'm sending them to her in Pennsylvania. I also bought more posters of Paris to pin up on my wall. Oh, and I had a crepe with nutella. I couldn't resist. Vegetarian enough. Did I mention that if I eat out, I eat vegetarian? I try not to eat out, but when it happens, I've given up meat. Good deal! It's really hard to keep kosher in Paris, though. Every corner has a beautiful boulangerie or patisserie staring out at me, with amazing smells wafting from them. Rue Daguerre, off of which is my school, is even worse. Vendors with any kind of cheese you might imagine, other vendors with meats, pastas, chocolate. It's quite a horror. And a patisserie on the corner where my school is.

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My deal is, I'm treating myself to a kosher pastry (or two) in the Marais (Jewish area) on Sundays. And pudding/gummy candy from the kosher supermarket there, too. Also, I found out about a kosher Chinese place in the 17th arrondissement. Jenny, who is korean, wants to go there with me! I'm super excited about this one. And of course, there's a bunch of falafel stands in the Marais. Our French teacher is actually taking us to one on Thursday. She's not Jewish, but she apparently loves falafel. Oh, and on the side, we're going to go see Victor Hugo's maison (house), the ancient remains of Paris's walls during the reign of Philippe-Auguste, Centre Pompidou/Beaubourg (modern art museum), and the Carnavalet museum. On the side :-)

Ouf it's getting late. No class tomorrow, though. Going to another flea market with Daniela, bigger and better than the other one. It supposedly has antiques, so I'm going to look for cameras for my Dad!

A bientot

Posté par parischica 15:43 Archivé dans France Commentaires (0)

Flea Market, Jewish Pastries, and Les Halles Shopping

overcast 5 °C

This morning, I took a little tram from Porte D'Orleans (5 minutes walk from me) to Porte de Vanves (25 minutes walk from me) to go to the flea market. People were buying their groceries there, their meats and cheeses, and their little trucs (things), like coloring pencils for kids, kitchen stuffz, ect. I saw a nice shirt, but the guy didn't have my size. I needed large, and he tried to persuade me that I would fit into a small. They think this is flattery? Bah. So I settled on some nice jewelry for 13 Euro.

I am currently wearing a hat. A very cute, gray hat with a little flower (you know, those that are oh so popular in the states and somewhat in France). I joke that I look like a married Orthodox woman in the hat; but it is quite fashionable! I bought it shopping around the touristy Notre Dame area, where I went after the flea market. Apparently tourists like different French hats, not only berets! I bought my sister Lisa one, too.

I also got all of my touristy shopping out of the way: postcards (Le Petit Prince!!), keychain, magnet, poches du fleurs (good smelling pockets for clothes drawers), a little eiffel tower, and a nice picture of Paris during fall/winter to hang in my room. But gosh, are these French people stubborn! I tried to haggle, but they grimaced, said non, and didn't call me back when I walked out, as I had hoped. Hahaha...what can I do. I paid the full price. I was also supposed to get Marie a pair of black fur gloves, but I ran out of money. Gosh it's too easy! Hopefully I can get them tomorrow.

After Notre Dame, I walked to Le Marais, the Jewish area. I have decided that I will go there every Sunday to treat myself to kosher patisserie (pastry). I am trying to keep kosher, so it's really hard to pass every boulangerie and patisserie (one every half block, seriously) without desire. But I have decided. I will treat myself on Sundays, and this way I won't get fat :-) I feel like I'm lighter already. I just spent the whole day walking. This helps immensely, too! People walk a lot in France, though we all take the metro a lot, too.

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I returned the clothes I bought at the tsiut (modest) girls' store. But not for money. Store credit. I forgot that small stores in France don't give money back. Maybe even the bigger stores won't. I didn't have time to look around for something else, but I will conquer that store and find myself something! I had to meet Saidie, my bike tour guide. She and I went to a patisserie, where she got bagels and a bunch of stuff, and I got merengues, an almond tartine, and something yiddish and unfamiliar that was made out of honey. Mmm...

Saidie and then proceeded to walk around. We walked all the way to the Centre Pompidou (modern art museum that is known for pipes that stick out of it, like an inverted building). There, we came upon some street performers! They were fantastic. The first one rode a unicycle. It was cool because there was a slope leading down to the museum, so he was cycling on a slope. He was juggling swords and his hat. The next was an African who did some tricks with a fire torch and with paper. He put some hand sanitizer on a klenex, rolled it up, and lit the tip on fire. Then, he unrolled it and there was no trace! He took a cigarette from an onlooker, lit it, puffed the smoke to show that he lit it, and then stuck it into the klenex. Again, no trace. He didn't say "don't try this at home" so...I'm gonna go get myself some hand sanitizer ;-) Just kidding! Then, he looked at me, and asked me if he could borrow my bag. It was my shopping bag, where I had all my trinkets and pastries. I gave it to him. He pulled of one side of my little pastry bag, rolled it up little by little until it was a tiny ball. And then, out of nowhere, instead of my pastry bag piece, there was a 5 Euro bill! He called me over, stuck the bill in front, and told me to take it. I reached out, wary, and he pulled it away, of course, all the time making jokes. It was quite fun! Lastly, he pulled a trick I won't forget. He pulled out a page from a magazine. Tore it up into pieces. Uncurled his fist, and started unrolling the ball of torn up magazine pieces until the whole page turned up again! I'm trying to remember, now as I'm writing, if he got the magazine page from his own bag or from another onlooker. I think it was his own. So maybe he had two pages like this, each from the same magazine. But it was still fantastic!

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Saidie and I made our way over to Les Halles, the famous shopping mall. We stopped into a store that looked like an H&M, but French-style. And went in. And came out half an hour later with clothing and jewelry (me). It was fantastic. I'm not an H&M style girl, but this French version was fabulous! I spent a good 75 Euro (clothing, jewelry, and a bag). Yup, these first few weeks are going to deplete me, but it will even out as I calm down :-) It was lots of fun, and Saidie and I decided to call each other during the week to hang out.

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I'm sorry about the lack of photos on this blog...they have to be uploaded one by one, not like on facebook, where I did upload all my photos. So if you'd like to be FB friends with me and are not as of now, search me "Elina C" and I will add you, unless you're a creeper who I don't know.

Posté par parischica 13:02 Archivé dans France Commentaires (0)

Tu B'Shevat, Bus Tour

semi-overcast 2 °C

My computer lives!! Thank goodness. Shows how little I know about tech. Computers don't die so easily. All I needed was an adapter, not a converter. Those gentlemen at Office Depot should be fired!!

Wednesday and Thursday were the Jewish holiday of Tu B'Shevat, a time of nature renewal and thanks. I saw an event on Facebook for Thursday night's celebration at the Centre Fleg, a Jewish youth center in the 5th arrondissement - not far from the 14th, where I live. Guila Tolub from the W. Rogers Park community told me about it; she used to work there when she lived in Paris. I took the metro for some 6 stops from Alesia to Odeon, and it was right nearby.

It was a cute center, not small at all, like many things in France. They have a little deli area when students can buy kosher food and a study room with a t.v. (haha) At first, there weren't too many people (of course, the French are always late, so if you couple it with being Jewish, it's as bad as being a Russian Jew). I, of course, was on time. First thing I did was introduce myself to the people who worked there, because from there they would introduce me. They were pretty nice. But the rest of the young crowd kept much to themselves.

I was forewarned of this - that French Jews like to keep to themselves and aren't too welcoming. I did my best, talked to some 7 different girls/women. One, who ran the place, gave me her contact info and told me not to hesitate to come, hang out, and attend classes/events. Which I will. I'll break through their hard skin; I have the patience :-)

That Thursday afternoon, I hung out with Daniela, a girl from my program. In our French class, we had to choose a monument to visit and create a presentation about. I choose Moulin Rouge and she chose the Sacre Coeur, two monuments right next to each other and worlds apart. We decided to go visit them together. The Sacre Coeur was gorgeous; we took great photos. Also, the Tour Eiffel looked so beautiful from there...

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We descended from the Sacre Coeur and were trying to figure out how to get to Moulin Rouge when we saw three young guys approach us, looking lost, speaking Spanish with an accent that was neither Mexican nor Spanish. Found out they were from Argentina. Daniela's Spanish is good. Mine is broken, but I managed. They wanted to go to the Opera; we asked if they wanted to join us to Moulin Rouge first. So we went. It was great! I found out that they were doing a tour around Europe. They had already been in Amsterdam, London, and Spain.

We all took photos at the Moulin Rouge; good grief, so different from the neighboring Sacre Coeur! It is in the area of the Pigalle metro stop, well known for being the red light district. Lo and behold, sex shops lined the streets. And the owners didn't want to create interesting names for them either. Just "Sex Shop." Great. For us, a few photos in front of Moulin Rouge were enough. I'll have quite an interesting presentation next Tuesday for my French class!

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At the end, when the Argentinians were bading us good-bye, I said I couldn't hug them. Why? For religious reasons (I don't touch guys - in Judaism this is called "shomer negiah" - "guarding the touch.") They asked which religion. Jewish. Ohhhh! We're Jewish, too! We just came from Israel! Birthright, Taglit? Si!!!!

Small world. Now I know what Argentinian Jews look like. Nothing like me. Except for the cutest one, who did look a bit Jewish with his curly mop of brown hair. But he was the least talkative :-(

Friday, our French teacher took us on a bus tour around the city. IT WAS SO COLD!! We got unlucky. It's the kind of bus where you sit on top and take photos as it goes. After half an hour of his, I went to the bottom level, and was followed by everyone else within the next hour. But it was a beautiful tour nonetheless - almost every major monument/touristy area. I took some photos and video.

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And now Chabbat has ended. Plans for Sunday are flea market and bagels with Sadie, my guide from the bike tour. Sadie misses bagels from the states, so she found the Jewish area, which is open on Sundays, by the way :-)

Signing off for now, a bientot!

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Uhh...looks more like Alice in Chains than Tim Burton

Posté par parischica 11:18 Archivé dans France Commentaires (0)

Orientation and Tech Sufferings

6 °C

Pardon for skipping a day of blogging. My computer is in a sad state right now. The converter that I bought at the Parisian Office Depot (they have them, what do you know!) didn't work for my computer. So I took it back and they replaced it. The new one decided to jump the electricity at Danielle's. She has a special box in her closet near the front door where she turned the lights back on. Thank G-d this didn't happen at my apartment...I would've cried. So now I'm afraid that either my computer's power cord, or worse, the computer itself, is fried!!

Had second day of orientation today. Lots and lots of talking from the staff, who, by the way, are great. Very supportive and encouraging. There's Natalie, director. Peggy, second director. Amanda, academic coordinator. Marion, student intern. Chris and a few other people. All great. There are actually 2 other girls from Loyola on the program. Sarah and Liz. I've had a class with Sarah before, the infamous Marketing 201 class where I got a B- for not turning in my final properly on the internet. Liz is a Sophomore studying Polysci. Oh yes, we got our schedules. I can apparently take the business french class I wanted because the interneship seminar on Mondays is actually half of the internship class. The second part is on Wednesdays during the same time. Maybe then I can drop the art class and have more time to work or for myself.

Too tired to write more. The technology has really made me tired!!

Orientation photos: lunch!

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On the IES street:

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Posté par parischica 11:46 Archivé dans France Commentaires (0)

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