Wake up in the morning feelin’ like P. Diddy…
Friday Morning 8:00am (Midnight – Seattle Time)
Made tea, finished a paper in French, got dressed, and left the Fondation Des États-Unis. A short rant about my building – Every Maison on the Cité Universitaire campus has a keypad at the front door that requires a code to enter the building. The lobbies have a security guard at the front desks and yet another keypad hindering the public from accessing the dormitories. Sounds safe, right? Well the Americans have all of these amenities except for the security guard, and after living here for 8 weeks I’ve realized you don’t actually need to type in the secret code to enter, because at every hour of the day/night the doors are unlocked!
Attention Terrorists: Are you looking for a convenient way to kill 250 sleeping Americans? Are the embassies too heavily guarded for your liking? Well then the Fondation Des États-Unis is the place for you! Just fill your backpack with explosives and waltz on in like a eager student!
Anyways, back to my day – I walked across the street and took the RER-B from Cité Universitaire to Denfert-Rochereau (Pronounced Donfare-Rowsh row) from there got on the 4 towards Porte De Clignancourt. Got off the train at Saint-Sulpice and walked to the boulangerie for un pain au chocolat then to Le Instuit Catholique de Paris.
10:00am – Practiced all of the French vowel sounds as a class in unison which sounded like some ancient pagan ritual chanting. For a minute there I thought we might be raising someone from the dead…
Everyone took turns describing popular landmarks in their home countries. One of the girls was telling us that the largest aquarium in the world is in her hometown of Okinawa, Japan; and mentioned all of the different fish and animals they have there – including the Phoque. Like English, the French pronounce the ‘Ph’ sound as an ‘F’, and ‘Qu’s as ‘K’s (I could literally and metaphorically spell it out for you, but I’m trying to somewhat resemble a lady, so just sound it out). Most of the class had been drifting off but jerked their heads to attention at the word. Someone holding back a smile asked the professor “Qu’est-ce c’est Phoque?” (What is this: Phoque?), and she just kept repeating ‘Phoque, Phoque’ as if repetition would be enough clarification, but all anyone could do was raise an eyebrow or laugh. So she tried a different approach, while continuing to exclaim ‘Phoque, Phoque!’ she bent forward, started clapping her arms and making barking sounds. I was dying. If anyone is familiar with Goldie Hawn’s film ‘Overboard’ there is a scene on the garbage scow where this same exchange takes place, had I not already known Phoque meant Seal, I probably would have wee’d myself.
1:00pm – After three hours of French lecture I picked up a jambon et formage sandwich and sat with a few friends in the courtyard for lunch (It was good but I would punch a baby for Taco Time). The sun was out so Tracy and I walked to the Jardin du Luxembourg to lounge near La Fontaine Médicis.
4:00pm – Tracy had an au pair interview with a family in Félix Faure, so I went with her on the 4 from Saint-Sulpice to Montparnasse-Bienvenue, where we switched to the 6 and then changed to the 8 at La Motte-Piquet Grenelle; until finally arriving at Félix Faure. We had a little time to kill so we stopped at a brasserie for a massive bol de sorbet.
5:00pm – Tracy went to her interview and I got back on the 8 then got off at Madeleine to see L’église de la Madeleine.
6:00pm- A few weeks back I hung string around my room so I could clip pictures/tickets/mementos up on the walls in an effort to downplay the mental institution cell vibe. Each time I have visited a new city or museum I’ve purchased a postcard to add to my magpie collection. The night before I had run out of clothes-pins so I stopped in at Monoprie (France’s higher-end Target) to pick up another pack. Every cashier had a line at least 5 people deep except for one random register in the middle with just one woman making a purchase; I looked around and didn’t see a sign indicating it was closed or anything so I just got in line after her. The second I crossed the threshold Every single person in the vicinity turned and stared at me, even the cashier, but not just staring – critically appraising every inch of me up and down. I wondered briefly if this is how Lindsey Lohan feels all the time. As I looked behind me to check that I didn’t have toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe I eyed a small sign that read “Cette ligne est réservée aux femmes enceintes” (This line is reserved for pregnant women). Yep… So I arched my back and just went with it.
8:00pm – Strolled around the huitième arrondissement and ended up in the beautiful Parc Monceau where I experienced the lovely Parisian moment of getting caught in the pouring rain. I tied my scarf around my head like Audrey Hepburn at the end of Breakfast At Tiffany’s and hurried to find a métro (not a cat). It was wonderful and cinematic for about three minutes before the novelty wore off, then it was just freezing misery and flu-like symptoms. My trench coat wasn’t waterproof by any stretch of the imagination, my tights were soaked, and my mascara had started to run. I caught my reflection in a store window and I was sad to find I had less of a Jane Mansfield vibe than Jane’s addiction. I was able to get on the 1 at Concord, transferred to the 6 at Nation, until finally arriving at Glacière where I was meeting up with friends at Anna and Christina’s apartment for drinks.
3:00am – I was able to make a few interesting friends but overall the party was kinda lame, there was the plethora of Americans using the phrase ‘hella’ and not in an ironic way. Everything was winding down so Natan, Michael, Sigurd, and I went upstairs to open a couple bottles of wine.
Sigurd (pronounced Sig-UR) is a very interesting gentleman, he’s originally from Norway but is in Paris studying medicine and working towards his PhD in Neuroscience in order to become a neurosurgeon (which I guess is impressive, if you’re into that kind of thing). But besides that he’s the first person I’ve encountered here who not only understands my humor, but has been very quick to counter all of my deplorable remarks with something as equally offensive or absurd. Our first interaction will make for a charming story to share with the grandkids; he needed 9 more red solo cups to start a game of beer pong, and believed an individual with certain endowments would have better luck convincing the bartender to hand them over. He therefore approached me solely because I met the bill of being female. I explained that I was flattered to be his 12th choice in a lineup of girls but because my body so closely resembled a cereal box he would fare better seeking out a curvier co-ed to do his bidding. He laughed and stuck around long enough for me to reprimand him for rocking the double denim (the unforgivable denim shirt and jeans combination, commonly known as a ‘Canadian Tuxedo’, cornering the market on the hipster-farmer look). We had a ridiculous back and forth banter that if anyone had overheard they’d quickly assume we needed to be committed.
He is hilarious but far too emotionally stable to be compatible with my co-dependency; I just don’t know how to work with that? He has yet to exhibit any signs of what I refer to as ‘Male Pattern Madness’ a checklist I’ll go through when contemplating a potential gentleman suitor. He’s also quite outdoorsy, and is into all that camping and rock climbing nonsense, which for me is just a little slap in the face from Jesus. Though on the plus side he does appear to be ‘glass half full’, which would give us a strong foundation for everyday arguments, and therefore more ample opportunities to harbor disdain. In addition to this his emotional compass does appear to always point north, a vital counterpoint to my fickle conscience, which inevitably would lead to lessened jail sentences. So maybe there is a future there after all! We’ve hung out a few times since meeting, and he just got on a train at Gare de Nord to Rotterdam for a week. This separation timeline is perfectly placed, a seven day absence is all I need to over-analyze every interaction we’ve had thus far and make something out of nothing. Knowing me, by Sunday I’ll have already made the transition from bitter cynical woman to preteen singing love songs into her hairbrush.
Ooh La la!