Published: February 3rd 2010February 3rd 2010
Today I was able to sleep in a little, since I didn't need to be at ISA until 16:30. I decided to explore Paris, and cracked open the Paris Bus Cards I had won in a raffle at the French Club Soirée last year. I thought about going to the Eiffel Tower, but I spoke to Catherine and she said the lines are really long, even in the winter, so I decided to go to Champs Elysées instead, as I could take a bus from my stop and not need to switch. Unfortunately, only one of the lines that is listed in the Paris bus cards goes to my stop, but they are still very useful to have, because I never know what bus stop I may find myself near. Also it is nice to have the list of all the cool places to go, that I would also be able to get to from the metro.
On the way to the bus stop, I stopped at the boulangerie right down the block and bought myself a demi-baguette for only o,45€! It was delicious. I am going to miss boulangeries when I get back to the states.
When I got off the bus, I had a nice little walk down the Seine, and got to see the Eiffel Tower. I found the Champs Elysées and walked down toward the Arc de Triomphe. I took many pictures, and to save time, I will just link the entire facebook album here
. I loved going into the Arc de Triomphe and seeing the city from the top. I bought myself a paris map book in the gift shop..they had the one ISA told us it was good to get, that is organized by arrondissement. The touristy map I got at the airport is small and hard to read, and obviously touristy, so I can stop relying on that now.
I got on the metro to come to the ISA office, and then stopped for a snack at another boulangerie. Here I got a petit pain with cheese and tomato. It almost reminded me of a bagel. There is a picture of this in the facebook album as well. It was very good.
At the meeting, we took care of our OFII forms. Apparently the backlog is so much, I may not receive the letter telling me my appointment for medical exam until after I leave, so I may not have to pay them the 55€! Afterwards, Nadine et Christelle told us about life in Paris, where to shop, where to change money, the student discount (WHICH ROCKS! It is available for almost everything, and can be as much as 50%! US needs to take note lol), gyms and swimming pools (won't join a gym...you have to join for a whole year!), Nightlife, Entertainment, and travel tips. We got restaurant and shopping guides. I received my carte CROUS which allows me, as a student, to eat in a bunch of cafeterias and restaurants only for students! A meal is always 2,90€, which gets you 6 points of food...different items are different points. Such as a hamburger is 4, fries are 1, a yogurt is 1. You can make any combination you want, and extra things are only 55¢. There are a bunch of locations, and it is very exciting for me, cheap, decent sized lunch. I also received my carte louvre jeunes, which allows me into the louvre for free, whenever I want, for a year! This is awesome because you can not see the whole louvre in one visit. There are also several museums open for free on the first sunday of the month, so I may check one out this coming weekend! Finally, I received my membership card to Club International des Jeunes à Paris, which I have been getting emails from. They tell you about interesting current events. They also have meetings on tuesday nights where people get together to speak French and English, to help each other with the languages! It sounds like a really cool way to meet people. I did not expect to have to carry so many cards around.
Nadine et Christelle also told us about some interesting sounding volunteer opportunities, including: afterschool activities with kids, helping kids with homework/learning English, teaching English to the unemployed to help them get jobs, reading to sick kids in the hospital, helping the red cross, helping WWF, and others. I may sign up for one of them, perhaps one of the ones with the French kids!
After the meeting, we got to talk to some French students! At my table we met Sarah et Ludivine. It was really nice to meet French students since my classes will be composed of international students. Politics is a very popular topic of conversation here, although it seems taboo to ask personal questions, such as who someone voted for.
I need to make plans for my 2 week spring break, I think I would like to travel. I am not sure where I should go, I would like to see the south of France and possibly some other countries!
With all of the walking I did today, I am très fatiguée. Bonne nuit tout le monde!