Saturday, November 20, 2010

Settling in. Loving every moment.

Well, I've now been in France for almost 2 months.  About to break my record for time abroad.  I'm going home for a couple weeks in December, which I'm really excited about, but I couldn't possibly imagine leaving for good yet.  Good thing I'll come back to 4 more months after Christmas!

Work is going a lot smoother.  I'm not getting as nervous before each class, and it's not as big of a deal now to stand up in front of 20 kids (although there is that moment at the beginning of each class where I say "ok.  Hello everyone!  Hello."  and I do an awkward wave.  I should work on a better start to class...)  This next week I'm going to talk about Thanksgiving and have all the kids make hand turkeys.  You know the ones....
I had fun making this today while watching clips of The West Wing on youtube...  Americaaaaa!
Also, tomorrow I'm going to be singing in a choir concert!  I know, random!  One of the girls here studies music at her university and she wants to keep up with it while abroad, so she and I and two other girls joined a community choir (the rest of us are just doing it for fun).  The choir is all middle-aged French men and women, and they're all so fascinated by us, les anglaises ("the English girls"... actually we're British, Irish, American, and Canadian, respectively, but you know).  The songs are kind of difficult -- Latin! German! Russian! aaaack -- but it's really fun.  I used to take singing lessons (fun fact!) and I've actually kind of missed it.  My mother would be proud I think... she was trying to get me to watch this documentary-show on BBC called The Choir and I always rolled my eyes, but I really do like choir.  (Sorry Mom, the teacher is an older French woman and not a "cute" young Brit like on the show.  haha.)

Last weekend a few of us took a quick trip to Paris.  Just because.  AAAH I love living an hour away!!

Inside les Galeries Lafayette
A lot of the shops were all decorated for Christmas... the lights at Galeries Lafayette were ridiculous!  And look at that tree!

They had big window displays at the Galeries with puppets and music and lots of people crowded around.  It reminded me of NYC.

Katie and the Rockettes!

Under l'Arc

We walked along Champs Elysées and we went up to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which I've never done...  what an amazing view.
A cute older American couple strolling around l'Arc...  (me in 50 years?)

Champs Elysées from the top of the Arc

One of the windows on Champs Elysées

Louis Vuitton!  Ridiculous.  That is all.

Shortly before being told (in English) not to take pictures in LV.  Oops.
Then we found LaDurée, which I keep hearing about but have never visited... I know they're famous for their macarons (and I looove macarons), so I was all excited when I saw the shop.  They have a café too where you can sit down and have tea and lunch and other things that are probably very pretty and delicate and overpriced.  We walked into the pastry shop next door to get some treats.

The line was HUGE.  No matter though, we got to look at all of the pastries while we waited, and I needed time to decide exactly what I wanted.  Ok, so I've been in my fair share of French pastry shops at this point... and I have never seen anything so beautiful as their pastry selection.  The pastry case just went on foreverrr and everything was perfectly frosted and placed and illuminated and decorated.  I was overwhelmed, to say the least.

I decided to get 6 macarons in a pretty box that I could keep later to put stuff in.  :)  I almost got a millefeuille too, like the raspberry one I had before at Paul in Rouen, but I decided against it.  My friend Megan got one though, and she took one bite and hated it (it had alcohol in it - some of the layers were soaked in rum).  :(  I felt really bad.  I tried it and loved it (rum in pastries? yes please) so she gave it to me.  What a girl.  (I still owe you a drink, dear.  You're the best!)

Action shot!  Eating and walking on Champs Elysées.  Look at that decoration!  Overwhelmed, I tell you!!
Raspberry, chocolate, salted caramel, orange blossom (the only disappointment - it tasted like soap!), pistachio, lemon.

Gorgeous clouds over Paris right before we got on the train

Last night we went out for one of the assistant's birthday and had a grand old time.  Met lots of locals, including a girl who is a pastry chef at my favorite bakery.  Hello, new best friend!

My favorite Scot!  Jill.  The blur is other Jill, l'américaine.  haha  <3
On the agenda:
- Going to Paris again on Wednesday to see Harry Potter!
- Checking out a store called "Thanksgiving in Paris" to find American things, like canned pumpkin
- Tryyyying my best to make pumpkin pie.  We'll see.  haha.
- Thanksgiving feast with a bunch of people on Thursday!
- Going to Lyon for the big Christmas light festival thing on Dec. 4
- Going to Strasbourg? maybe? Dec. 11?
- HOME! Christmas! Family! Friends! Sunshine! Mexican foooood :)
- New Year's Eve in Paris.

Wow this year is going by fast...

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