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Published: November 23rd 2005
(Is there an 'e' in Abbey?) Me lifting Winnie up for no good reason
It has been a while huh? I guess I got lost and caught up in schoolwork, (of which there has been plenty) so here goes!
My flatmate had her birthday a few weeks ago and invited Winnie and I to her birthday party, which was such a great time. Chantal actually cooked and since then has been bitten by the cooking bug-I have certainly benefited from her change of heart! The party was another good opportunity to speak French and fun to see how birthdays work here. Women still don’t age more than 27 years old here, too! Strange. Of course I made Chantal a scarf as her birthday gift and she has been wearing it daily so it must be the right color!
We had Armitance Day off so Winnie and I wandered about and then met the Montgomery/Brown family for a jazz concert behind Notre Dame on a bridge. I guess they play every Friday regardless of the cold; I assure you it was cold! The next Monday I had an Art History exam so I went to the Louvre to do my studying for a good bit of the weekend. Yes, I went to the Louvre
On our walk from the college pub back to Nick's dorm on Friday night
to study the paintings in person- wow. The exam was fine, I don’t have it back yet, and this will be my first in-class essay in French so I have resonable expectations.
Now get to the good stuff right?! I have been a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work so it only seemed natural that we duck out of Paris for the weekend. Thankfully my friend Nick who lives in London made our break possible. We hopped on a plane (the Chunnel requires forethought if you want a decent price) and landed Friday afternoon. IT WAS AWESOME! My tension level was so low! No stressing about the placement of the adjective or agreement, nope, just enjoy the jolly wonderful accent and my place within that language.
Nick is in the London School of Economics for the year doing a program, which sounds similar to mine in that it is STUDY abroad. He lives in a dorm and has a wonderful mix of friends from England, Ireland, and America. We met in their campus pub and were able to feel the joy of a college campus. (What we have here in Paris is so decentralized, there is no
St. Paul's by day!
Saturday morning-we look ready to take on the day, no?
sense of real community, or not that I have found.) Then off we went to Brick Lane on the quest for the raved about Indian food. Each vendor trying to get us into his or her restaurants immediately confronted us, but we stuck with the books recommendation and were thrilled with the yummy food at Aladdin’s. This was quite a different dining experience. I was talking at a normal voice level, people were busting out with laughter, the sound level of the restaurant would be considered yelling in France, and in general the rules seemed to have disappeared into this wonderfully lax and comfortable dining experience. It was a lovely contrast. That night we wandered about for a bar but things here close at 11 or so, unless it is a club, so we made our way home and were in bed resting up for the next day by one.
Saturday we woke up and mapped out our day in his dorm’s cafeteria and headed out for the Westminster Abbey area. I most joyfully was able to see the Clock Tower (often called Big Ben, which is CLEARLY the name of the bell which is no longer housed there,
The Globe Theater
Winnie and Nick indulging me and playing swords in front of the Globe....I thought it was funny
hehe) and then there was Parliament, and then the Abbey. It was really great to see something I’ve seen represented so many times in paintings or photographs. We then walked past some parks (huge, open, green, less formal parks that is) to the National Gallery. This place is FREE! Woo hoo. I saw some of the art I have studied for years and was as usual blown away by the size of the works; in my text books they are all one page, so when seeing them in person it is always funny to see ones that are 13 feet and others that are 9 inches.
We made our way up to Notting Hill for the Portobello Market, which is a mix of everything you could want-from food to clothes to furniture. The area was very “bobo” as the French would say (bourgeoisie/bohemian) and such a great time. We ate lunch at the Lazy Daisy where I had a potato with cheddar cheese. (As soon as I saw cheddar cheese I knew I’d been missing it!) Then out into the cold for some more marketing.
That night we went up this tower called Oxo for a cocktail, we
The Clock Tower and London Eye
It looks so sunny but it was rather cold!
shared because one drink was the equivalent of $14,welcome to London, but the view was really wonderful. We then made our way to China Town for some yummy Chinese food and then out to a bar. This of course closed early on us so we decided to go dancing. The place we decided to go was next to the club where evidently Madonna was performing. So, we did what any crazy person would do, the group of 8 of us that had amassed waited in the cold with a bunch of Brits to see her leave the backstage door. Hahaha. It was so funny. We bonded with the people around us and chatted it up in anticipation. We did see her for a whole 15 seconds and it was lovely. Loads of fun as you might say. We have a video on Jason’s digital camera which I sure he could sell for hundreds of pounds. SO ridiculous, but fun.
Sunday was much more mellow, how can you peak after already seeing Madonna? So Winnie and I headed up to Hyde Park for some breakfast and wandering. We went into Harrods’s to see their Christmas decorations and listen to Christmas
so well named!
music. What we found in addition to a holiday fix was CARROT loaf and I am so much happier for it. We then took some scones to the park and walked about. Basically we ate the day away while enjoying the park and then returned to Paris.
Some might say we didn’t take full advantage of the city but I think it was just what we needed, a break and some green space to breathe. Sadly we did not get to squeeze a viewing of Harry Potter into our weekend so I’ll have to wait a few weeks for the subtitles and see it here instead of in its mother country, somehow I’ll make it.
After two papers this week I am leaving Thursday to spend some time in Athens with my Abby who is studying there-not a bad way to spend Thanksgiving! This is the worst and best time to be taking these vacations as the work mounts. I think these trips are going to keep me sane and not stressed though. I am always amazed that the work gets done regardless, it takes the amount of time you have. It you have three hours it takes
three hours, if you have three days it takes three days………I’ll be testing this theory and I’ll let you all know how it goes.
Love and misses!
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