54. Yesterday's Alphabet (inspired by a friend...)

firstly, i'd like to point out that this post was more of a project than anything else...& i'd say that you're in for a treat...

secondly, just to put a spin on things, i've decided to go a little "all-out" with my picture editing, which is to say that i KNOW things are over-done...it's the fun! :)

thirdly, all photos were taken on october 27 but the post is only up today cause that's how long it took me...



so here's my little notre-dame de paris experience...(photos are un-edited)

step 1: intrigue...ah, a statue, who could it be? well, 2 sec. later, a woman appears from underneath the silverness to join the rest of her friends who are obviously takng turns to be the statue...they laugh hysterically & think that it's all too funny that their "beating the system"

step 2: while entering the cathedral, we find another woman begging for money. at this, i was simply speechless. am i the only one that finds something contradictory about this? or perhaps i'm being too judgemental...

step 3: this woman comes up to me after i exit the church & asks "do you speak english?" i was going to lie, but i couldn't so i said yes. so she holds up that piece of paper ther, which i knew was supposed to coax me somehow into donating but i skimmed through the scribble anyway but i only catch the last line..."god bless you"...really??? je rêve...

step 4: on the very left, you see the "statue woman" literally sprinting away (almost comical) towards the cathedral to hide in the crowd of tourists because on the right, you see a pair of gendarmes approaching. it turns out that what they're doing is strictly prohibited...

...& her friends all think it's hilarious (it sounded like cackling...) that today, she's the one out of the four of them that has to run like a fool. they laugh smugly, practically in the gendarmes' faces..."culture shock" for $200 alex

it's not uncommon to see parisians waok their puny dogs on retractable leashes they my own dog could never ever survive on; for some reason, i love this picture; maybe it's the jacket, the angle? & yes, there is a dog behind here that i managed no to capture...

paris day morning

last night, i saw this guy sprinting down a parisian sidewalk on springy stilts. in a split second, he just disappeared behind the cars parked along the street...ouch :S never did i ever think i would catch a scene like that!

on our way to paris



technically, he wasn't jamming; it was more like gentle strumming but super amplified that at first, i thought it was music played by the cité de la musique building to attract people...beautiful

chilhood is a great thing...

i dare you to close your eyes & imagine...banana spit...hehe :P

i thought it would be bigger & more independent as a building...hollywood magic, i guess...opened 1889, not long after the revolution (no way! my ipod is playing "roxanne tango" from the soundtrack now!!) *sigh* ewan mcgregor is too perfect for the part...

seriously, these restaurants thrive everywhere, like grass (planet earth joke)

gosh...i don't know...i love onion & i love soup. i don't love onion soup, at least not the french kind. i hate bread dipped in xoup & little did i know that this famous dish is packed full of bread. & no one mentioned that it's covered with a thick layer of melted cheese either...just my luck. i hate melted cheese, especially when it's used to provide some desperate bit of flavour for a soupd that really has less flavour than a broth. ugh, i'm gonna say that my expectations were too high...let's just say. & i'm hoping it was just the bad prep of the restaurant cause their other dishes & service were also rather poor...might i add that the dishwatSOUP, i mean soup was 7£?

WHAO. talk about contrast. on the left we have the colour of the sky. on the right, we have the colour of paris' sky...aye-ay-ay...(un-edited picture)

when i saw this guy on my way to the st-pierre, i wanted to take a piture of him sooo bad (stalker behaviour, i know) but i didn't want to freak his out & as it's kind of hard to get a shot of someone's face without standing in from of them...anyway, on my way back to the car from the église, i saw him again!! i knew i just had to but again, you knoa, i still tried to stay somewhat respectful...so when he turned the corner, i got this. he had the BIGGEST beer-bottle glasses i had ever seen...too. cool. my jaw hung open, that's how cool.

i LOVE this shot, taken walking towards THE tower

where they play foot & where céline dion performed

need i say more? i actually took this shot for the diabolo guy in the bottom left hand corner...he was failing miserably; a beginner? for a street performer, you don't gain much when your diabolos (is that what they're called?) are flaying all over the place...not very practical on a big flight of stairs...

this is absolutely my FAVOURITE shot EVER. ever. love. love. love. & i'm not even going to take credit for whatever artistic skill it might have took cause it was a complete fluke. i was trying to take a picture of i don't know what & the car moved so i got this instead...i'll take it, thanks. :)

this was in from of the église st-pierre in montmartre; i have a cdertain sympathy for him cause he's um, stuck in a wheelchar, which is a handcap that cuts you off from most professions, i think...anyway, i though he was pretty good, with his mike, making little keychains...

i was thrilled when this guy decided to smil, even for the camera of some random foreigner zooming past him in an ancient volkswaagen

paris is very big on sex. there are sex souvenirs for sale at sex ships, there are sex streets and heck, there's even a sex forest. every night, gendarmes have to patrol the forest to make sure prostitutes are taking advantage of it or er, being taking advantaged of in it...

i honestly couldn't resist the yellowness of this façade

dead centre in parisian traffic


53. Just Because

i'm blogging today just because..

it's nice :)

i just read my last post, which i wrote half asleep so i don't actually remember what i wrote, which i good cause i realize how much better i write when i'm half conscious...

ah, good ol' consciousness a.k.a, the current topic of philo. shoo-bee-doo-bee-doo...*jeopardy song*
honestly, believe it or not, i don't actually have a post topic, hehe...

but you know what, i just discovered that my sister is taking stress leave, which means woot!, which means i'm gonna call here, which means woot! woot!, or better yet hoot! hoot! but i won't say why this time...

so yeah, i'm just taking it easy, you know. :) oh yeah, sweetness. i've been working all morning, which isn't actually true cause i got up at 1:15, which also isn't actually true cause due to the time change, which was actually two night ago, but i forgot to change, i actually got up at 12:15 in real life, which isn't as shameful as 1:15...phew

obviously, i'm ipod-ing, which i've discovered helps me concentrate when i work...go figure. i'm glad SOMETHING can help me concentrate, gosh..& i'm very proud of all the songs i put on it before coming cause they're honestly keeping me sane.

my emploi de temps was too chargé so i got rid of my international courses, which is bittersweet (i got attached again...) but i wouldn't have been able to pass them for the BAC anyway, so wtv. it's bittersweet but just takes some getting used to.

the first thing i did when i got my package was clip my nails & then yesterday, i painted them a light, one-layered silver. i considered a dark maroon but wasn't bold enough...next time

everything they eat here is so creamy :S

oh yeah, last thing, i'm going to paris tomorrow with my italian AFS friend, woot! i love her, she's very easy going like me & we both adore each other's clothes. & she has this purse that i'm sooooooo jealous of cause she bought it for 1, and i mean UN euro?! at a street second-hand sale. it's a cowboy-brown leather of a beauty...*sigh* i'll let you know how paris goes!!

back to work...
& all because i came to computer to look up miscible...




52. des bleuets?!

i have to make things quick so i'm opting for pointform, which i've gotten used to with all the note-taking they do here...

-you'd think that with all the notority that french cuisine has, the french would know blueberries...nope. not a single person knows what blueberries are. gosh, they're missing out. my philo teacher was talking about how nature makes inedible stuff blue so that they're unappetizing so i quietly objected in my corner & no one around me knew what bleuets were! so i did some research...blueberry = airelle or myrtille or bleuet but airelle = cranberry (while cranberry = canneberge) & myrtille = bilberry (british) or blueberry (american). bleuet is a canadian term & in france, means cornflower. there's your culture for the day. no one believes me that a blue fruit exists...

-i received my first package today!!! *sniff* i cried, of course i cried. i saw my mom's handwriting :( & that makes me cry. so i'm keeping the packaging forever so if the cleaning lady throws it out (which she does sometimes so it's not nice...probably cause i get attached to a lot of random garbage) i'll be sooo P-Oed, you've no clue. ahhh, just the thought of it. anyway, i got my favourite things: a nail clipper, mechanical pencils w/ a bonus sharpie, replacement parts for my suitcase handle that popped off (or my suitcase was too heavy?) & SURPRISE! an anklet from my sister cause i lost the first one...*cry*

-so the dog over here chewed up my expensive folder/case. i don't mind cause that's what dogs do but i've gotta say, i don't really like my pets here. the cats hiss, don't like being held but ALWAYS sleep on my bed & won't leave me alone, they pee on my bathroom floor & the dog has too much energy. she can't stop pouncing on you & licking your face...

-today is officially the first day of les vacances Toussaint...FINALLY (12 days off)

-i want to sleep soo bad cause i stayed up til 2 in the morn last night to type up a lab report. but i can't sleep cause then my host family will know i stayed up too late & won't let me do it again, which is bad for school. it's tough to restrain, you know. i can't do all the disgusting things you're supposed to do it front of family i.e.burp, fart, scratch, etc.

-i may have already mentioned this but i had this horrid recurring nightmare where i'm back home & can't understand why i don't remember anything except the whatever i've lived so far except that in the dream it's been the whole year. it feels like amnesia or something. it's scary cause it's those real vivid nightmares when you're super conscious so you're aware of your real life situation (like that it's only been a few weeks in france) but so scared. even when i wake i don't know where i am. anyway, i haven't had the dream in a while, but other ones so it's fine. i love dreams. :) weird cause there's one person that keeps coming up in my dreams...

-i love my ipod. it's my sweetest companion in france cause it automatically brings me back home but i think it's getting sick already. now where's that warranty??? just kidding. knowing me, i would never switch as i'm too attached already even if i only see it in its case. a new one wouldn't be the same. & the earphones broke so i had to fix it with superglue & glued my fingers together...pro :D

good day





today, the temperature was 0°. love. i love the smell of winter..so fresh. it keeps me calm.

chilly cheeks, ears & fingers that burn when you get back inside. lots of sweaters, warm drinks & the smell of burning fire wood. mmmmm...

the other day on the news: a man in the states was strapped down in a bed in some *zing-zing* lighting jail room to have some lethal poison injected into his bloodstream for the 18th time. apparently his veins are impenetrable...he's still alive.

stew on that one now..comments are welcome.



50. Fortune

you know that stat: if you clothes on your back, a roof above your head & not hungry, then you're a part of 25 percent of the world's population who have that.

or something along those lines...

25 percent?! you realize that's a major minority, right??? anyway whether that stat is exact or not, i do know that the overall meaning of it is true: if you have those things, then your heckfully fortunate.

so i just came from doing one of my favourite things: sitting in front of a crackling fire, in a comfy armchair, sweatpants, warm socks, legs propped up, hot chocolate in my left hand, chocolate chip cookie in my right & crumbs on my face, i'm sure. the point is that in moments like that, you can't help but take into some deep reflection. i'm my case, the rough draft of this post...

it's amazing really & it makes my heart rise a little cause it feels so light. i came from fortune & with AFS i come to yet another place of fortune, which i'm defining as a situtation where you possess all three of the above listed requirements. it makes me feel like i'm bouncing around in that 25 percent so for a moment, i thought to myself, "ought i have chosen france?"

mongolia, thailand, russia, mexico, brazil were all on the list. did i sneak my way out of a harsh reality? fear? cowardness? or perhaps, i needed a proper education diploma for my return? there were numerous factors in chosing the country i wanted to go to but what i can affirm is that i definitely did not chose france by process of elimination. it was a deliberate choice but i can't say that i wasn't afraid in facing a "poverty-stricken" country (for lack of a better word, & i know that the countries i listed aren't necessarily third world but if you look on a poverty map, they're not categorized as wealthy).

for some reason, i feel like i would've taken more away with me if i had chosen a "poorer" country cause i gotta admit, france is what it seems & it's more or less similar to home. yes, there are differences but it's nothing i can't handle. maybe i just did my research well. maybe i'm adaptable. maybe i'm just eager to travel. maybe i'm only a month & a half in naive & stupid & culture shock hasn't arrived yet.

whoa, this is really steering away from my rough draft...

what i planned to say is that i think above all, the greatest luxury just has to be comfort & it's weird that luxury is defined by swimming pools, labels & wealth. like yeah, we've heard it a million times that rich people aren't necessarily happy blah blah blah... but i'm talking about the moments when you, yourself are in the most comfortable place, like curled up with a book or doing yoga or whatever suits you, don't you ever just sit there & marvel at how you can do what you're doing without care? i think comfort is a beautiful thing & it's ultimately, what people strive for even if some are a little blinded by the green bills.

anyway, i won't go further cause i think you get it.

so last thing, i wrote a rant post on paper about the french school system. it's actually a very good post. i'm thinking about recycling it but i'll probably put it up later, when i feel the feelings again cause it's just negative energy to put it up. i'm too happy to get into it now.

& last last thing, i have a terrible concentration problem where i um...can't concentrate. apparently i'm the only one cause i've been talking to people about it & my philosphophy teacher mentioned it in class (& i wanted to jump up & be like me! me! me! you're talking about me!). i ALWAYS do the "out-of-body" thing where i think about me doing whatever i'm doing instead of doing it. it's like that mirror in a mirror situation & it's hard to deal with when you've got a lot of studying to do.

although it doesn't happen when i eat...:P


p.s. i have soooooooooooooo many things to blog about it's ridiculous. but my fingers just can't keep up...


49. See What I See

i went to a town near the hotel i was staying at & this is what i saw around Tours, the city of castles...it was amazing cause all the old houses, water pumps, artifacts etc. were still there for us to see.

this alleyway was a tanners' alleyway where they prepared their skins for sale. (animal skins) note the wooden walls...

the sun was perfect...i had to. white dress, if you're wondering.

view from the castle.

sky from the castle.

the castle. (people actually live here but allow visitors to visit parts of the property)

the castle gate keyhole.

the town church.

the town church crypt. *shivers*

more cryptness.

so humid, so stale.

crypt entrance.

french stranger.

* i dare you to look at a real life anteater. sorry, but they are really ugly.
**i saw okapis, which i didn't know existed. google them. it's crazy.
***sry i forgot to upload these backwards. the chronology is reverse, if you care.


48. Mois-nniversaire

today is my "mois-nniversaire", which in english means that i've been here for a month on the dot...woot?

i don't know. it certainly doesn't feel so surreal anymore or perhaps it feels so surreal that i'm blinded so it feels real...not sure but what i can say is that i can clearly identify my "home" because i get that i'm-not-sleeping-in-my-own-bed feeling when i'm not sleeping in my own bed. that's to say that this weekend was my host father's family reunion & i slept at a hotel. this one...

it was quite luxurious & connected to the Beauval Zoo; a famous one where they birth lots of baby animals. like these ones...

anyway, i was really shocked at my reaction when i first entered the zoo. i realized for the first time that being in a zoo, i'm looking at wild animals from all over the world...like from the the aooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo wild. it's crazy that they end up behind glass & in cages where they spray fake rain. it's just insane. well, basically it took me some getting used to, to see the big cats just pacing back & forth but then analyzed from some other angles (as alway :P) & it came to me that most of these animals were probably brought up in captivity so they don't really have a reference to compare their life to. right? i mean, they have somewhere to sleep, they have food to eat & althought they're quite limited space-wise, they sleep the majority of the day away so i guess it's alright. i truly believe that animals (like babies) are not like us. they rely on their instincts & don't really care much for over-analyzation (shhht) so i think they're good. it just makes me chuckle when i see all those simulation habitats. gosh, they're so fake.

so the family reunion was nice. the family's not that complicated in person but in words...i'll do my best. it's like this: (i'll go by generation) there's a mamie, head of heads. she was basically the host of this entire thing/the oldest one there. she has three kids: a daughter (60), a son (55) then another son (50, my host father).

the old daughter has four kids: a daughter (30, adopted), a son (27, adopted), a daughter (24) & son (15). the daughter has a son (4) & a daughter (2). the son has a daughter (8mths).

the old son has two kids: a daughter (29) who has a daughter (7mths) & another daughter (28).

the second old son has three kids but one was absent: a son (22, absent), a daughter (20) & another daugher (17 today! happy b-day!!!)

so that's the basic lineage minus the fact that everyone there had a spouse or "significant other" except the babies & the three teens: me, my host sister & the 15-year old. so that's it, not that's it's supposed to be thoroughly enjoyable for you...sry, it's more for my own record.

oh yeah, seriously, we spent more time eating than anything else this weekend. IT'S CRAZY. i, knowing myself, am i HUGE eater but i should keep my mouth closed cause these skinny french people have bottomless pits for stomachs. you literally went into each meal full. not not hungry, cause that's just an understatement. FULL. for example, last night's dinner, which was after the huge nutella crêpe, which was after the huge lunch, which was after the huge breakfast, went something like this...

first, there was the apéritif, which consists of champagne (oh yeah, i drink more or less often now; i say yes to 50 percent of offers but only in the spirit of the culture & i haven't even tasted what drunk is so don't worry) & platters or hors d'oeuvres, which i would translate as "out of the main stuff", which is accurate enough. next, after everyone's got their tastebuds going, we get some huge plate of entrée, which is an appetizer, usually cold & too filling, knowing that you still have to fork through the main course & the dessert, but too good to let any of it go to waste. so yeah, next you get le plat principal (i think?) which only fills you up more & usually its some lead-role meat on itty bitty veggies. you finish with a désert, which is usually a meal on it's own. THEN, when you think it's all done (cause you're supposed to end with dessert, right?) they offer a digestif, which is some crazy 50 percent alcohol (like cognac) that you can feel go through your system cause it burns so much to "help you digest & wash everything down." most people take a lighter version, like more champagne. THEN, when you think your about to explode the offer you yet someting else to drink like tea or coffee, which comes with a biscuit called a gâteau & although a biscuit may seem like nothing, it's actually a big something cause i forgot to mention that from the first course, they leave bread on the table that is soooo good & that the french eat like it's nothing. really!? cause to me that is major filling starchy complexe sugar carbs. i love bread but not even i could eat it knowing all the courses i had to sit through. plus, i think we went through a good ten bottles of wine.

these people are nuts.

i think i gained 10lbs. this weekend. but that's probably cause i ate 20lbs. of food. of EXTREMELY good, well plated, cooked my a french chef food. here a little recap: limitless oysters, clams, prosciutto, pain au chocolat, ratatouille, canard, veal in cream sauce, crème brûlée, tiramisu, white chocolate heavenly stuff, fromages, charcuterie, pain, vin etc. etc. etc. let me emphaisize...LIMITLESS, as in buffet. but well presented high quality stuff. & i promise i only named 10 percent of what was offered this weekend. & you wonder why i have to keep taking deep breaths.

i don't think i knew what i was in for when i said i was coming to france to eat...

EAT would have been more accurate.



(sry i don't have visuals so support my opinion...as with every weekend, my camera died WAY too early.)