Sorry I haven’t updated in a while! Busy, busy! But don’t worry! Still alive and kicking, as evidenced by picture above.
Some quick recaps:
First weekend in March: Four Hamilton students visited Paris for the weekend! Cara and I served as ‘tour guides’, taking Katie, Bekah, Rachel, and Mike all around the city. Nobody has visited me yet, and it was pretty cool to be cosidered the ‘local’ (even though I still don’t know where I’m going most of the time! Our group was consulting a map near the Arc de Triomphe at one point and a sassy French girl yelled to us from her car “Hey! Where did you buy that map?” haha… I’d make fun of us, too.)
On our agenda: the Louvre, Eiffle Tower, eating delicious crepes we found for 2 euro, walking past the Opéra, walking down the Champs-Élysees, seeing the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Co., drinking wine, eating cheese, baguettes, and apples, going out on rue Mouffetard, drinking coffee in the Deux Moulins (café from the movie Amélie), seeing Monmartre, the Sacré-Coeur, the Moulin Rouge, buying berets (here’s looking at you Bekah..! She pulled it off, too.) Phew!
My favorite memory of the weekend had to be going super close to the Eiffel Tower. It was actually my first time getting up close and personal with the famous monument even though I’ve been living here for 6ish weeks. Our group arrived just before sunset, as the sky was darkening. I’m just putting it out there- the Eiffel Tower is just OK in the daylight. Sure, it’s super tall and romantic-looking with some straight and rigid, some swirling bits of metal majestically coming together in that unique and renouned “A”. BUT at night. Let me tell you. That thing sparkles and shines like a smiling beacon of light over all of Paris. I’m not even a sucker for girly, glittery, or shiny things, but I was smitten when, at the top of the hour, the tower began flashing. It wasn’t a “hey! look at me while I gouge out your eyes with my erratic beams of light” type of flash. More of a “I am gracefully shinning down on you with fabulous white sophisticated rays of beauty.” When it started blinking, all the tourists around us made this hushed “oooooh” sound. Everyone turned towards the tower and watched, mesmerized. Here’s a picture of the Eif-tow at night:
Last week’s highs and lows:
Low: Going to the Office of Immigration to get a physical exam. This is mandatory for my long stay visa (issued from the Boston consulate, those lucky dogs from NYC didn’t have to do it!) I arrive a little before 9 AM and walk through all these sickly-looking people waiting outside. Sketch. I check in and am told to wait. Wait wait wait wait. Over an hour. French bureaucracy, you kill me. Finally, I advance to a new room and am told to wait some more. I get weighed and measured by cute old ladies who are all about redheads and thought I was ‘très jolie’. They were cute! Next I had to go into a little room and get half-naked so I could have an X-Ray. Real weird. Went to another doctor and answered medical questions in French (very hard) and FINALLY advanced to the final part. More waiting. Had to go OUT of the office to buy stamps to complete my application (there was a spelling error on the website so every single person had to do this…) FINALLY handed in the full folder of info and walked out the door, a free woman at last at 12:30. Officially cleared to stay in France/Europe until June!
High #1: One of my classes included taking a ride on the Bateaux Mouches, the famous tourboats on the Seine. It felt very toursity, but I liked seeing Paris from the water. Brrr… it was a bit cold, though!
High #2: On Thursday night, I participated in a cuisine workshop chez Rosabelle, a friendly woman who leads these workshops for Americans in her home! On the menu: salade sucrée-salée au saumon fumé, blanquette de veau, and tarte au citron. We started cooking around 9 and did not sit down to eat until 11! The time flew by as we chopped veggies, melted butter, juiced lemons, etc. The food was BEYOND AMAZING. The salad had apples, imitation crab instead of salmon, and a nice vinaigrette, The blanquette de veau was a creamy concoction with veal, onions, carrots served over taglianni pasta. My favorite part was the lemon tarte- delicious shortbread crust and a tangy lemon filling. I forgot how much I love lemon desserts! (hint, hint, family!) I was totally stuffed by the end of the night, but calories well spent.
I’ll update soon on my weekend in Brussels!