Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pickpocketers and Victor Hugo

So, after babysitting Alenor ( I swear she gets cuter every week) I hopped on the metro. 8:45 pm, minding my own business, doing reading for a class, when all of a sudden a girl bumps into me, and then her friend bumps into me. I'm sitting down, it's a pretty empty metro. So the woman next to me says "hey, watch where you're going" to the girls and then one of the girls tries to slap her in the face! They had a little fight and then the girls moved on. By then it was clear, they were pickpocketers. There was a "gang" of them, if you will. A gang of teenage eastern European pickpocketing girls.

There were 4 of them, actually. The two that were bothering me were working together and the other two were working the other end of the car. First of all, are you stupid? If you want to successfully pickpocket you might want to separate from your friends. You also might want to stay away from trying to pickpocket multiple people in the car very blatantly. They would bump into you, one would ask for directions or start a fight with you, while the other one (who had a coat over her arm so you couldn't see her hand) tried to get your wallet.

Luckily, no one got anything stolen and they got off at the next stop, but it was a little unsettling. I wanted to say something when the one tried to slap the lady next to me, but I honestly thought they would have beaten me up. Great times!

On another note...Sciences po stop bringing me down. I suck at exposes, the french kids can do them better, they can also speak french better, they win, i lose. Come across the pond and I challenge you to...? What is our version of the expose? OH YEAH, we don't have one because we realize exercises like that are a complete waste of time.

I had my commentaire on victor Hugo and universal suffrage today. The girl who did her expose on him after me was "parfait." The teacher said perfect! They never say perfect! The whole time I was looking at her thinking "god i hate your beautiful French accent, I hate how much you know about Victor Hugo, I hope you do poorly in your study abroad year." Not really, but I was frustrated. I hate getting questioned in front of the class and then getting told everything I did wrong. I get nervous speaking in French in class, and yeah I don't know as much about Victor Hugo because he's not my country's national treasure and therefore I haven't been studying him since I was 5. I just feel stupid, but I know I shouldn't because I don't think the French kids are stupid when they mess up in the English classes.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


I guess I should post about classes since that is, after all, the reason I'm in France.

U.S. Foreign Policy: So far so good, although a little basic. I like my teacher, he's French Canadian and very sweet.

French language: complete waste of time! She asked us weird questions the first day like "do you like the smell of apples?" Um...sure?

L'histoire Politiques: Idées culture & tempérament: The lectures are too broad and abstract for me, but the discussion is alright. It's basically about how writers view/write/influence history.

Education policies & Social inequalities: Love! My teacher is so cool, she works for the ZEP program here. We will mostly be focusing on the U.S. and France. Today she told us about how a former student was "traumatized" by a teacher at Sciences Po who told her "I know you're American and your president says 'yes we can!' but in France we say 'no you can't!'" HA HA HA. He was basically telling her to quit being a smart ass and stop questioning what he, the teacher and man with the PhD, says.

Gender and Politics: Unfortunately there is only one guy in our class and he is gay...why do straight men never want to take classes that have to do with feminism? It would be interesting to hear their views! Plus you'd be tons of girls, duh. It seems like it will be interesting, but my teacher is sort of a bitchy glass half empty kinda gal.

Cinéma français et identité nationale: I've seen a lot of the movies which is both good and bad I guess. The French love to talk about national identity so that will be fun and by fun I mean frustrating.

I can't really say much because I've only had my classes one or two times, but I'm excited about them!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chez Paul

This past weekend Alice visited me! The whole weekend was great, but my favorite part was our lunch on Sunday. She hadn't yet had a traditional French meal, so I looked up places open on Sundays. We arrived at Chez Paul, which is in the 11th close to Bastille, at around 2. It's so old school, i love it. I don't know how long it's been around, but at least from the 40s. So off the bat I loved that it felt like I was in a little time capsule.

Anyway, we sit down and a few minutes later the table next to us is filled with two french woman and three french men. The one man was so excited to say hello to his friend that he accidentally spilled red wine on her shirt. So, she takes off her shirt. She was sitting there in her beautiful lace bra for a few minutes while she tried to get the wine out of her shirt. She looked at us and said "oh I'm sorry, but you know, we're french!" No big deal, just a 40 year old woman (in incredibly good shape) stripping at lunch.

Then they ordered SO many appetizers. Oysters, risotto with fois gras, sausage, cheese, and on it went. I thought they were having a lunch out of appetizers, oh how I was wrong. They all cleaned the plates of their main dishes. Of course, they were all skinny as well. As their eating and drinking was going on, one of them was drawing caricatures of the waiters on ten euro bills. He was clad in tattoos and had an awesome skull ring, but seemed oddly young and childish. You could tell this group frequented Chez Paul often, they knew all the staff. Throughout my meal he would turn to me and say odd things like "did you catch the flu in Mexico?" when I coughed and asked "are you trying to kill me?" when his chair broke. All in a very lighthearted way, though.

I should mention what Alice and I ate. I had pepper steak that came with a huge portion of potates au gratin-delicious! And Alice had a nice piece of salmon in a cream sauce. We also split a tarte tatin which was quite nice. I would definitely good back for the food.

As we were finishing our meal the guy with the tattoos looked at me and said "you're not going to have an apartif? Have an apartif! It will be our treat! He's the boss, he can do whatever he wants" and he points to his friend who had the coolest red glasses and also a skull ring. So they bought us creme de menthe which looks and tastes like listerine. As we're drinking the listerine the tattoo man started sketching me! It was cool, but also awkward because he was blatantly staring at me. I wanted to ask him for the sketch but was too embarrassed. But hey, that is the closest I will probably come to being a "muse" in Paris.

I guess Chez Paul is where cool Parisians go because the British couple next to us told us they saw Jean-Paul Gaultier the last time they were there. They said he was there with a little boy and "an incredibly glamorous woman." All of a sudden the entire place went dark and waitresses brought out a birthday cake for the little boy and sang him happy birthday.

Anyway, it was a great lunch. I strive to be cool and rich and spend my Sundays eating enormous amounts of food with my friends. I can go without the stripping, but hey if the mood strikes...

Later that day Alice saw a guy propose to his girlfriend at the Eiffel tower! How adorable. He had a band, all her friends and family, and a banner asking her to marry him. She cried, ha. Although I'm sure I would have too, I cried watching the Google Paris commercial from the Superbowl.

On a completely different note, I loved this article.
Stop making out next to me, nasty french couple. And stop turning around to see if I'm still here, I'M HERE. I'm not leaving this public place that is a coffee shop so you all can get it on. Feeling someone up in public is not allowed. AH, France. This happens to me way too often.