Saturday, January 28, 2012

La gourmande

I used to pride myself in having a baby sweet tooth, craving the occasional cookie or brownie after dinner. Sweets were never my first choice. I'd grab the cheeseburger over the chocolate cake. But this baby sweet tooth has evolved into a full on grill à la Lil Wayne. I stop at every boulangerie and patisserie window I pass by--which is conveniently at every corner--drooling over the fruit tarts and fondants au chocolat.

Carbs. The food group that I used to run away from like the plague is now my primary food group. And when I say carbs I mean baguettes. And pains au chocolat. And viennoises au chocolat (essentially just a sweet baguette with chocolat chips. Healthy I know.) I am perpetually craving bread. It must be in the air, like the French breathe bread-insfused oxygen. Well, it is in the air. When I leave my apartment in the morning I smell the newborn baguettes coming out of the oven of my local boulangerie. When I transfer trains I see the melted chocolate oozing out of the pains au chocolat in the subway café. And when I step out of the metro, I resist the urge to stop by each of the five boulangeries in the two block walk to class.

In a city where galettes are displayed in the front windows of boulangeries calling you from the street, how does one resist? They're like kittens begging to be picked out of the window and taken it home, warming your heart and stomach. Don't be alarmed if I become the crazy galette lady.

Friday, January 27, 2012

College Fashionista in Paris

I was just photographed for College Fashionista. Take a look at the article here

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ma première semaine

My first week in Paris has flown by. This week has landed me in many places, whether it be driving down the Seine on a bateau mouche, cramming in between dozens of bodies on the métro in the morning, hailing a cab at 2am on the Champs Elysées, walking around the Eiffel Tower eating sandwiches with new friends or sitting at a café with old elementary school friends. So much has happened in so little time that I don't even know where to start.

The other day, as I was roaming the aisles of the supermarché somewhere in between the jambon cru and the petits suisses, I found myself reading, "un euro soixante-dix" instead of one "euro seventy". Bizarre. I haven't thought to myself in French since I lived here as a child. Later, as I walked down the wrong street, I said to myself, non, j'ai dû prendre l'autre rue. Again, I stopped to try and comprehend why my thoughts were in this other language.

I think that it might be because I am coming to terms with this new life. I feel comfortable living in a city that to some may seem completely foreign, but to me was once home.

I will admit, the first few days were difficult. I was uneasy with my French, I was apprehensive about meeting new people, and part of me was still back in the States. But after a couple of nights' rest next to Sélénon and the January french Vogue, I found the confidence that I had forgotten.

I now walk like I know where I am going because, well, I now know where I'm going. I step off the métro and no longer awkwardly look left and then right to orient myself. I wear all black. All of the time. I drink red wine with lunch, dinner, and everything in between. And I pick up the daily paper Direct Matin on my way out of the apartment.

Although it has only been a week since I first dragged my jet-lagged self to this place that I now call home, I have high hopes for the next four months. Four months may seem like a long time, but I know that they will come and go in the blink of an eye. I am already beginning to have thoughts of prolonging my stay in Paris. Who knows, four months might turn into the rest of my life!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dites bonjour au petit chat!

This is Sélénon, le petit chat. He is the best kitty in the world. He's such a French cat. In the morning, he drinks milk and and eats baguette with butter. He spends most of his days sleeping in a little ball on the couch near my room. When I come home, he's in the foyer laying on his back waiting for me to scratch his little white tummy. I'm in love.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

First day

I thought it all was going to be such a hassle. I thought it would be more difficult. I don't know why but I imagined Charles de Gaulle airport bustling with French families and international businessmen trying at all costs to get to their destination. I thought customs would be a long line of half-asleep Americans and crying babies. I thought my bags were going to be lost and shipped off to Dubai. I thought the Cabernet from Napa I brought as a housewarming gift would break in my suitcase tie-dying my clothes against my will.

Instead, my flight arrived forty minutes early to an empty airport--of course it was empty, France is closed on Sundays. The customs officer smiled politely as he barely looked up from my passport and motioned me to enter the country. I even snagged a baggage carrier so that I wouldn't have to push my suitcases (which, by the way, each weigh as much as a chubby 6-year-old) all the way to the taxi line. And the cab driver only honked at another driver once! La chance!

So after a 55€ taxi ride, I found myself standing on the corner of Rue Chaptal and Rue Blanche, right smack dab in the middle of 9e arrondissement of Paris in front of a large green double door. I entered the building after punching in the code I was given and was greeted by my host family at the second set of doors.

M. et Mme. Auban are very French. A grey haired woman in her late fifties bobbed up and down like a teenage girl at my arrival. Her husband, a tall man with a thin grey mustache that stretches over his crooked smile, calmly took my alarmingly large suitcases and welcomed me into his home, a beautiful apartment built in the 1830s. The walls are all painted white and stretch for miles as they meet the high ceilings at the decorative panels. A chandelier hangs from the large living room. After that, Mme. Auban took the reigns and showed me to my new bedroom, a spacious room with a view of the the salon de thé across the street and the flashing tabac sign above the corner brasserie (I would call it a bar, but doesn't brasserie sound so much fancier?)

She brought me around the neighborhood so as to familiarize myself with the area before my official first day tomorrow. It's still hard to believe that I'm in Paris right now. I keep having to remind myself to pay attention to everything surrounding me. For now, I am jet lagged and I am le tired, so I think I'll have a nap.