Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Oh hey there! Guess who got an unheard of 18/20 on her commentaire. Oh yeah. Right now i like you a lot sciences po...until i fail something next week.

Last Thursday I went to a prison for my prison class. First of all, it's across the street from a pre-school. So creepy! "Let's have convicted felons across from adorable little children!" "Okay, great idea!"

I thought that they would all be in jumpsuits (i was hoping they would have their own color and not orange like the US) but nope, they were just chilling in Adidas sweatpants. We got to go into some of the low security wings and they were just walking around. Freaked me out a little. We went into cells too! It felt like I was intruding or almost breaking in. They had pictures of family members, books, posters, it wasn't as harsh as I expected. Over all, the prison reminded me of ship. The thing that stuck me the most was that until a few years ago (we're talking 2000s) prisoners were separated based on their race or ethnicity. French in one section, African in another, Jewish in another, etc. So weird. I couldn't get over that.

Even though I am very much against Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, I love the Christmas decorations here! I'll give France a break, they don't have Thanksgiving, so they don't know better. Most of the decorations I've seen are either very traditional or very bizarre. Case in point, animals getting drunk is the theme of the Gallaries Lafayette Christmas windows. When I take pictures I'll post!

A few hours ago Algeria won the last spot for Africa in the world cup. OH my god the mayhem. Since there are a lot of Algerians here there was a huge celebration. I was on the subway and it was filled with people singing and dancing and wearing the Algerian flag. On my walk home the same stuff, dancing in the streets and honking horns.It made me really happy even though I thought it was Iran for a hot second (the flags are similar, but still an embarrassment.) It's what I imagine Chicago to be like when (if?) the cubs ever go to the world series. Or really any sports team in Chicago. I tried to remember the last time there was so much excitement over a Chicago team and I think it was when I was 9 and the bulls beat the Jazz. Sigh, come on Chicago.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I feel bad writing this because my landlord is beautifully playing the piano downstairs and it's wafting up to my apartment. I love it when he plays, sometimes jazz, sometimes classical, but always so pretty and calming. Anyway, this post is about how France is pissing me off at the moment.

First of all, so sick of being though of as the stupid American. In my immigration class a few weeks ago a girl from Hungary said that "Americans don't know where Hungary is on the map, so I just tell them I'm from eastern Europe." I had to raise my hand and tell her that I was American and know where Hungary is on a map-imagine that!

Then yesterday in the same class the teacher said "egalité fraternité liberté" and turn to ME (she knows I'm American) and goes "I'm sorry, do you understand what that means even though I said it in French?" First of all, why do you assume that the American doesn't know French and not the Chinese girl next to me? Second of all, even if I didn't know French I'm not retarded, it's the same in English as in French.

If you think we're so stupid and messing up the world why don't you stop asking for are help and obsessing over our pop culture? That also means stop eating McDonald's (France eats the most McDonald's after the U.S.) It's just rude! I would never insult someone about their own country to their face. I don't believe you can generalize a country at all, but especially one as big and diverse as America. This didn't all happen in this class, just pent up frustration.

Then we proceeded to talk about how France is the most racist country in the world and how it's okay that they ignore it because that's the French way. What?! My teacher said that the French don't like to use the word minority "because that means everyone isn't equal and in France we believe everyone is equal." Um, excuse me we just spent an hour talking about how if you don't look French (white) or don't have a French sounding name people will not think of you as truly French even if you're a citizen and then you won't get into a school like Sciences Po or get the job you wanted.

Oh, and then I came home to find out GW won't accept the courses I'm taking in French towards my minor because they are not "cultural" enough. I'm in FRANCE with FRENCH teachers speaking FRENCH. My minor adviser literally told me I'm learning more towards GW's minor standards by taking a fluff class on French cinema at GW with American kids taught in ENGLISH than taking classes here. I honestly don't even care. Don't give me the minor GW, it'll be a great story.

Also, I'm getting really sick of butter and ham sandwiches. Try to be a little bit more adventurous, please. You eat snails, but you can't stick some mustard and vegetables in a sandwich? AND coffee to go is essential. We don't all have time to sit in a cafe to drink coffee. Oh God, I could go on and on, but I'm sounding a little crazy...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go away

The next ten days are supposed to be cloudy and rainy. Why didn't anyone tell me it rains in Paris all the time! It's killing me. No sun, all rain. If this continues I will surely come back to America wearing all black, bitter, and no longer smiling. I might even start shushing people in restaurants (yes, that actually happened to me last night.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Normandie et Mont St Michel

I should have put this up earlier, but I just kept putting it off. Anywho, I went to Normandy and Mont St Michel last weekend! It was a GW affair, so we were with all the GW kids that are in a GW program and are all best friends, etc. It was free travel, room, and food! Again, GW bought me mussels. Delicious.

First we drove up to Normandy and went to a war museum. I think it should have just been about WWII, but it went all the way up to the end of the cold war. The had letters from soldiers that you were able to read. Oh my lord, heart wrenching. One that I read was only to be sent if he was killed. It was very eerie to read it, knowing that this poor man's parents had to read the letter knowing he was dead. Reading the letters made everything much more tangible.

We also watched a movie that was footage from the storming of the beaches. You see the soldiers jumping out of the boats into the ocean, climbing up cliffs, shooting, some of them dying. Very intense. The whole time I kept wondering who was shooting the movie and whether they survived.

Then we went to Omaha beach where they have put up this cool, but rather violent memorial statue. I don't think it was the best statue to memorialize the battle, but I like the way it looks.

Next, we went to Pointe du Hoc where there are these huge craters left over from all the bombs. It's hard to tell in pictures how deep it is, but it looks like someone took 20 feet ice cream scoops out of the earth there.

We also went to the American cemetery. I hate military cemeteries. It's hard for me to take it all in, i just get very overwhelmed and sad. Something about them all being lined up perfectly, with the same grave just doesn't seem right, makes it too abstract. There were lots of flowers on graves, which surprised me, but was very sweet.

After our afternoon in Normandy we drove to Mount St Michel which is this teeny island (23 people live there) in the middle of the ocean that is home to a giant abbey. It basically looks like something out of Hogwarts. So beautiful! The abbey wasn't especially beautiful, very cold and grey, but the fact that someone had such intense faith to build this enormous church on this tiny island is pretty incredible. You're out of breath walking up the little town to the church, I can't imagine what it would have been like to be carrying building supplies on your back.

I'm really happy I went. I don't think I would have been able to get to either of those places if it wasn't for the GW trip because it's far and you need a car to see everything. So, I would say thanks GW, but I'm not going to because they're taking my tuition money while I am at another school in another country. So there GW, hope your feelings are hurt.