Archive | September, 2012

End of Vacances

30 Sep

Well I finally start school tomorrow. Its been a great past two weeks with few obligations, but now its October. Time for things to get real. I have 2 classes tomorrow, 1 tuesday, 1 wednesday and 2 thursday. Not to mention I also work during the week. Time to get back to a regular schedule (blech).

Simone and I have been doing a lot of exploring of Paris and gelato eating. Finding new things to look and and learn about, and also to shop at. But today we had quite the fun experience! We came across a rave parade for ‘Youths against AIDS’. Basically it was a bunch of stages with DJs and bands that traveled down Rue Rivoli which is one street away from me. So we joined in on the giant party. We found a stage with an awesome female DJ and we danced while walking down the street for a good 30 minutes. We tried to get in on following  another one but people pretty much pushed us even farther from where we started so we just gave up and went home. But it was a blast–not something I’ve ever seen at home.

This city is just full of surprises.

Parades, Parties and Pre-Inscription

24 Sep

So its been a little while since I last posted because I am lazy. Terribly lazy. But also busy because we’ve been doing a lot!

We had last week off so all of us girls went back to school shopping for clothes. That took up most of the week and we all walked away satisfied. Wednesday evening we had a picnic with our PLP instructors. We went to a park in the 20th which overlooked Paris. It was so beautiful.

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On Saturday Simone and I woke up not so bright and early and went to a street festival that was located literally right outside my front door. We enjoyed that for awhile and then went to go get lunch near the Louvre. We then decided just to start walking and we ended up passing the Opera House, as well as Printemps, Madeleine and many other beautiful sights. We ended our excursion at, where else? Amorino, but this time not for gelato but for drinking chocolate! Thumbs up on that one!

After that we went home and took naps because we were going out that night to celebrate Amanda’s 21st birthday! It was such a great night. Everyone looked amazing and we all had a great time dancing into the wee hours in the morning! Simone and I made it back home around 345/4am and promptly passed out.

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Sunday I relaxed and then had Sushi Sunday… boy was it good. And then some more Amorino 😉

Today was the day to sign up for classes. We were all very nervous but we went early and got all the classes we needed! Systeme D taken down! We don’t start classes until the 1st of October so we have some more time to relax and explore Paris before the real work begins! Loving everyday more and more! This is the life!

Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife, and Hide Yo Husbands cuz Mikayla Got a Demi Au Pair Job

18 Sep

You saw right folks! I am now officially employed! I have been hired to take care of a nine year old little French boy! His name is Aimé and he is just adorable. His family is extremely nice, they just needed someone to bring him home from school and watch him for a few hours while they are at work. He also has an older brother, Ange who is 12, but he goes to a different school and walks himself home. Aimé is very shy, which I completely understand since I was extremely shy as a child, but I think that we are going to get along great! He likes history and Star Wars, aka he’s an awesome child. The father and mother are very sweet and very kind and I like them a lot. The mother is an agent for either a communication firm or commerce, I’m not exactly sure, and the father is a jeweler at somewhere near Palais Royale. Needless to say they are very well off, and they live in the 4th arrondissement across the street from Dominique Strauss-Kahn (the former French presidential candidate who was caught up in a rape scandal in NY). I start on Thursday and I am so excited! I will be speaking French with the little boy the whole time and possibly helping his brother learn English. I get to teach and learn plus get a little spending money. The new year has started off well!

Shana Tova

M

Petite Parisian Explorer

16 Sep

Well I knew I hadn’t written for awhile, but I hadn’t realized it was over a week ago!

This week was our final week of PLP class. The final exam was insanely difficult and the 4 page literary analysis of the short story was definitely not fun. But its over and I’m happy about that. On the last day we all got together and brought food and watched a really great film Les Intouchables. A really touching movie I recommend everyone to see it. Then we had a picnic at the Jardin du Luxembourg which was really nice as well.

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This week I also visited the university I will be attending–Université de Paris VIII Saint-Denis Vincennes. Its in the ghetto so I’m really glad the metro station is right across the street. Still nervous about going there though. We sign up for classes in the next week or two and then school starts! So crazy that it’s already school time, I feel like I’m still on vacation!

I’m loving Paris a lot, and the more I explore the more I love it. Simone and I have been exploring the city little by little and really enjoying it. On Friday I went to the Louvre for the first time since I’ve been here. I live 5 minutes walking distance from this amazing museum and whats better is that it’s free for students! Needless to be saying I’ll be going a lot! I finally saw the Mona Lisa and found some other pieces that I liked a lot. After that my friend Jovanni and I went and grabbed some Chipotle (9euro burrito… thats $12 people -_- ) and then a bunch of us went out to the club! It was a great time, but when we were done the metro was closed so 7 of us girls slept in 2 beds….

Louvre at Night

Saturday was a fun day as well. Simone and I walked around her arrondissement and did some window shopping as well as had a picnic near Les Invalides. Then we went to the Champs de Mars at night, watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle and listened to some great music by a random group of guys just jamming together with guitars, sitars and bongos. We ended the night by eating gelato in front of Notre Dame.

Today was an absolutely beautiful day and Simone, Efren and I made our way up to Montmartre. We walked up to Sacre Coeur and walked around inside for a bit. Then we got some lunch which was really yummy pizza and then were tourists for a bit and looked for postcards in the tourist shops. Simone and I walked away with some really awesome scarves and Efren got some posters for his wall. Then tonight it’s Sushi Sunday! Which means we’re eating sushi…and then probably gelato.

Tomorrow we’re going back to the university to start to look at courses and make our schedules. It’s going to be an interesting process.

Bisous

Mikayla

(Almost) End of Week Three!

7 Sep

I have now been in France for three weeks. Insane. In that time I’ve accomplished almost everything I needed to do, except get phone/internet, but that’s happening tomorrow! I have one more week left of the PLP class and then a week off before school really starts. I’m thinking a trip to the south of France?

 

Well today was definitely a let go and unwind day. Classes have been, not stressful, but lots of work, and people are worn out from moving and getting their lives together. A lot of people didn’t even show up for class today because they’ve been getting sick from the stress. I thought I had too for a few days but I seem to be fine (thank goodness!) After school got let out Betsy and I came back to my apartment so that she could pack her stuff to move into her new place as an au pair for an awesome hippie family. While I’m looking forward to the complete independence (I was housing betsy and was also holding suitcases for people) it also saddens me that I’m gonna be alone in my apartment. I’m a very social person and I like have people to talk to. But having the privacy is nice. After she left I finished unpacking all of my things and believe it or not, I have so much extra storage, I think I need to go buy more clothes! It’s a good thing I live next to Les Halles (a huge shopping mall in the center of Paris). 

 

Then I started to clean. And I mean clean. It’s been bothering me since I moved in that the place isn’t clean enough (something I don’t think my parents will ever believe I thought). But I’ve been meaning to deep clean my apartment the minute I had everyone’s things out. So finally today I started! Believe it or not (parents) but I’m a clean freak. For those of you who don’t know, my room at home is almost always a mess, but I told them that once I moved into my OWN space I’d be adamant about keeping it clean–and it’s so true. I started tonight with my floors. I have a thing where I hate walking on a dirty floor and feeling everything under my feet… this has been really bugging me for days now. I really like having clean feet. The only problem was I didn’t have a broom. However I do have a dustpan and brush. So I got on my hands and knees and swept my whole apartment until I was satisfied. (To my parents: I hope you were sitting down for that one). Luckily I have a mini vacuum cleaner so tomorrow I’ll be doing that. Tomorrow I’ll also be taking care of all my bills and making sure I have my affairs in order. I’m feeling very adult.

 

Tonight I had a very ‘French’ evening in retrieving groceries. I’m very lucky in where I live because I have specialty food shops right on the corner from where I live. I have a natural/bio foods store, liquor store, fruit and vegetable market, butcher, boulanger, seafood market, chesse market, and (my mom will love this, not) a foie gras specialiste. So pretty much I’m going to get the best of everything (maybe a little more expensive, but it will be great quality). So tonight I went from store to store to get all the things needed for my dinner. It was so great and I had a lovely meal. This was something I had been looking forward to for years. I remember being in high school and them telling us that this was how the culture worked, and I loved it. Let me tell you, it’s as picturesque as they said.

 

I then skyped Ryan for a little while even though my internet kept cutting out (which was really frustrating). I’m so excited though–last night we bought his ticket for him to come and stay with me for two weeks in December/January. Needless to say I already have a giant list of things for us to do and see (including Disneyland Paris!!!).

 

Tomorrow is going to be another (hopefully) relaxing day. Besides making sure my affairs are in order I’m pretty sure Simone and I are going to go explore more of Paris and probably end the night by going to a bar/pub which is something we’ve been meaning to do for awhile.

 

Until the next!

M

Weefee (WIFI) for No fee

4 Sep

Well I have no internet or phone and boy do I feel stuck in the middle ages. I’ve resorted to getting a meal at McDonalds for free wifi. Anyways these past few days have been pretty routine besides the whole moving into my new apartment thing. I really like it, but I’m still unpacking and figuring things out. A few people are leaving their suitcases at my house while they’re waiting to move and my friend Betsy has been staying with me until she can move into her apartment on Wednesday. So I haven’t felt it out totally by myself. I’ve been doing so much hand washing because taking it to a laundromat is so expensive. 11 Euro to wash–not including drying. So my bathroom looks like a hand washing war happened. 

Something thats making me really angry though are my neighbors upstairs. First night I stayed there they played loud (shitty) music until 3 in the morning and even when I banged on the ceiling with a broom they didn’t turn it down enough. Luckily they haven’t done that since. 

Other than that, class is going well and so is hanging out with friends. Though I miss my Simone who lives so far away and has 2 chitlin to take care of. The other day a few of us went household shopping and got some items like a trashcan and hangers. Really exciting stuff.

But everything here is so expensive so if any of you want to dedicate to the Mikayla in Paris Scholarship Fund that would be great. Checks can me made out to me. 

Love,

Mikayla

Being an Adult–It’s Hard! Especially in a Foreign Tongue

1 Sep

These past few days have been crazy. I’ve been exhausted and feeling a little under the weather because of it. We’ve had classes in the morning everyday and then hours of homework to do after, and sometimes we have secondary classes or meetings afterwards. We all come back and nap and are just useless the rest of the day. 

On top of that I’m trying to get my life together here. That means getting my bank account, phone, internet, all set up. The bank I had to make an appointment for a week in advanced and on Friday I finally went in. The appointment went really quickly and I was a little overwhelmed trying to understand everything I needed to do. Banking terminology in French isn’t something I’ve studied very well. However the bad news was that I couldn’t get my permanent phone or internet yet because my account isn’t active. I have to wait until I receive my bank card and my codes before I can do anything. This means I won’t have internet for a week or two, or a phone. So pretty much all contact is lost in my world.

Another thing that’s really overwhelming are how aggressive the men are and how creepy they can be. I wear no makeup and I don’t dress provocatively but still they stare and are annoying and sometimes give me the creeps. I don’t know how else to keep attention from flowing my way but when I figure that out I’ll market it. I know the other girls here are having the same problem.

But I still needed to call someone today about setting up an appointment tomorrow for a babysitting job. They live in the same arrondissement as I do, so it would be a 5 minute walk to ‘work’. I’d be taking care of a 9 year old boy 3 times a week for 2 hours at a time at 10euro an hour. Not a bad schedule I should think. So in order to do that I needed to go get a phone. 

This was an adventure. When I first went to get one, there was a sign on the door saying they were closed for lunch between 14h and 15h40. But when I looked at my watch it was 16h10. So I had to walk away and come back an hour later. Then I got my phone and had a really weird conversation with the guy helping me. Our topics ranged from the burqua (he was very much against it and we’re pretty sure there was a least some sort of racism behind it–he was african and they tend to dislike the meghrabs) to how he preferred Mitt Romney over Obama (I definitely had some things to say to him about that and he backed off saying he didn’t know much–don’t know how I won that one–my french isn’t the best). And then I had to help translate between him and some other customers who didn’t speak french. So that was odd. But I got my phone and I called the woman who didn’t answer.

Tonight I’m moving into my apartment and I’m excited, nervous and scared. I’ve never lived completely on my own before so this will be very interesting. 

But this morning a bunch of us woke up feeling homesick for different reasons. Mostly for the food (everyone wanted pancakes, eggs, and bacon) but for Simone and I it was for our boys at home. It’s only been two weeks and it’s been really hard to be so far away from someone you care about a lot. Skype and Facebook help a lot but there are a lot of sad feelings knowing you won’t see them for a long time. ANYWAYS we found that there was a diner near our hostel called Breakfast in America and it was an ‘authentic American diner.’ It was pretty good and it was nice to have some ranch! 

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I’m still enjoying France a lot and my French comprehension and speaking is improving vastly–I’m very pleased with that. Not sure when I’ll have internet again (hopefully soon) and I’ll update you all with how things are going.

À Bientôt