Friday, December 21, 2012

Five Things: Lia and Amanda

This last post is dedicated to my two best friends here in Paris. Lia and Amanda have been amazing friends since I met them. Let's tell the story of how I became friends with each of them.

One of the first nights I was here, there was a group of people getting together in a room at the Cite U to hang out and meet each other. I was supposed to meet someone at the center building and we were going to walk there together. Without phones, it was quite difficult and we wound up not finding each other. I went back to my room and received a Facebook message from Lia saying we should try and head over together, so we agreed to meet up. I was walking to the other side of the Cite U and all of the sudden I here someone quietly say my name. I looked to my right, and there was Lia! The rest is history.

Amanda and I were walking back from a night out with friends. We were walking from the metro and first realized we were in the same building, then the same floor, then realized we lived right next to each other. We were neighbors! It was so funny when realized our rooms were directly next to each other and we hung out all the time after that.

These two have been with me since the beginning and I am so lucky to have them in my life. They have helped me through good times and bad times, but I owe so much of this amazing semester to both of them. They talk all the time about how I don't mention them enough in blog posts, but here you go, you two! I love you both and know we will be friends for a long time. Try not to miss me too much when I'm gone but I know Paris has more in store for you. Thanks for everything.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Five Things: The Metro

All of my friends know that the metro system is one of my absolute favorite parts of Paris. I love the system so much. I'm not sure if it's the brilliance of it, how much fun it is to ride, how grown-up I feel making transfers and following the pack of rush hour people in and out of the system, or how it takes me anywhere I want to go in Paris. My NaviGo (the monthly metro pass) is one of the greatest investments I have ever made. I take the metro anywhere from two to twenty times a day, maybe more, but not a day goes by that I do not use it. I feel like the coolest person in the world when I swipe my NaviGo and walk right through the turnstiles. I will definitely miss that.

This map is my best friend. I use it all the time and feel no shame. I keep one with me at all times, sometimes more than one. The information desk in each metro stop gives them out for free and I've collected quite a few since I've been in Paris. It may look complicated, but within a week or so of living in Paris, you, too, would be able to navigate the metro!

My metro stop is Dugommier on line 6, but my favorite line is 4. Maybe it's because it was the first one I used when I lived near Porte d'Orleans during my first month, but I love how it goes right through the center of the city and the way the route looks on the inside of the metro cars. My school is also on line 4, at the Saint.-Germain-de-Pres stop. I really am going to miss the metro so much. I could get anywhere in the entire city of Paris these past four months with just a swipe of my pass. The city was mine.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Five Things: Traveling around Europe

One of my absolute favorite parts of my semester in Paris has been the ability to travel around Europe. My original plan for my semester abroad was to go to Washington DC for an internship program. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that was not what I wanted from my semester abroad, and it was hardly a semester abroad at all. I wanted to see Europe. And I absolutely have. I have traveled to Barcelona, Florence, Pisa, Amsterdam, London, and of course, Paris. I have seen so many incredible sights and experienced so many different adventures. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Five Things: The bakery downstairs

As my time in Paris is coming to an end, I've decided to write a few last blogs to feature the five things I will miss the most about this incredible city and this semester in general. There are other amazing aspects of my experience I will miss of course, but these are a few of what I'll miss the most.

The bakery downstairs right outside of my apartment has been one of my favorite places since I moved into this apartment. It may not be the best bakery in all of Paris, but it is absolutely adorable and I have fallen in love with their bread and treats. Besides the fact that it is directly next door to my apartment, they have such great food and are so nice to me. It took a while, but the lady knows that I always want une tradition, which is basically a fancy baguette. She sees me walk in, gives me a smile, and grabs one from the basket behind her. I then give the nice woman my 1.15€, give the homeless lady that always sits outside the bakery some change, and start eating the tasty bread on my short walk home.

By the way, the bakery is open every day except Wednesdays. I don't usually like Wednesdays.

When I don't purchase une tradition, I usually treat myself to a pain chocolat aux amande. This is definitely my pastry of choice. A pain chocolat is basically a chocolate croissant, but when made into a pain chocolat aux amande, they add powdered sugar and almonds which makes for a perfect mid-morning snack. I wish I could take a million of these home with me so I never run out. YUM ----------------------------------->

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

London, baby!

This weekend, I went to London with Lia and Amanda. London was my last trip of the semester and it was quite exciting crossing this final destination off of the list I made at the beginning of the semester back in August. 

I'm going to make this post short and sweet since a play-by-play of the weekend seems unecessary. We saw the Parliament building, Big Ben, had tea with my friend from IU, Kelsey, rode a double decker bus, went up the London Eye and the Tower Bridge, and saw the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. I, of course, took my Harry-Potter-Lover photo at Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross and fawned over the Harry Potter goodies at Harrods department store. As far as touristy things go, that was the gist of our weekend. They were all great sights to see and someday I'll return to buy all of those Harry Potter goodies. 

The best things, however, occurred on Sunday, our last day in London. Lia and I decided to get friendship piercings. Amanda held our hands, so she counts, too. That night, we went to a bar that was basically empty. They had karaoke and I decided to sing "Somebody to Love" by Queen, one of my signature songs. Both of those things I have been wanting to do for a long time and I'm so proud of myself for doing them. No matter how much my mother may hate the piercing or how few people were there listening to me sing, I had a blast. I was so happy that I finally found the courage to do both. Getting the piercing was super scary but the karaoke was fine, especially since so few people were in the bar. But the best part was that I did them. Two things I was scared to do, I just went out and did them and it was amazing. I'm so thankful for Amanda and Lia who helped me through all the fear and silly nerves and and grateful to them for watching me sing and cheering me on. And Happy Hanukkah!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Jukebox the Ghost

On Tuesday night I saw Jukebox the Ghost in concert. Since Jonathan played their song "Hold It In" for me one day while we were in the car, I've absolutely loved them. They were in Indianapolis this year, which was a huge bummer for me since I was in Paris. However, their Facebook page informed me that they were coming to Paris!

They were the second opener for a guy named Allen Stone, who I've never heard of, but I bought a ticket to the concert nonetheless. Since I've been in Paris, Jukebox the Ghost has really become one of my favorite bands, one of my favorites that has all the members living (unlike The Beatles, another one of my favorites). My friend Amanda so kindly came with me and it was really a great night. I even tried my best not to be a weird, annoying fan. I think I succeeded. 

I snuck up to the front and was standing right in front of the guitarist, Tommy, or he may have introduced himself as Tom. I knew all the songs and most of the words to all the songs. It was so much fun to hear some of my favorite song played live. After the show, they were at the merchandise table so I went to introduce myself and had a nice chat with them. Since I already have all their albums, I asked if they would sign my ticket, and they did. The ticket also says nowhere that I saw them so they added the name to it. I talked to Tom(my) first and when he realized I was American and that I had came to the show specifically to see them he said he had seen me in the audience and was confused as to how I knew all the words and was singing along. Made more sense after I talked to them. I met Jesse the drummer and talked to Ben the pianist, too. Ben went to piano camp at Indiana University (where I normally go to school), which is pretty funny. I told them that Jonathan hadn't let me go to Outside Lands with him to see them and they called him an asshole. (Sorry, Jonathan. Maybe you can redeem yourself someday.) Super funny. I took a picture with them and as I was leaving, Tommy said, "Bye, Steph!" What a great night and so happy to have seen them live!

Jesse, Ben, me, and Tommy