Panda in Paris

in which this blog is an anomaly

Posted in Not France by parisianpanda on June 25, 2010
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Oh hey there, blog. It’s been a while.

This blog post comes to you in four parts.

Part One: Paris

I’m not there anymore. I left at the end of May. I miss it dearly and hope to be back in the fall for grad school. If not, Madison, Wisconsin, here I come!

Here are a couple of tidbits from the end of my time there:

The teachers from the lycée threw me a nice farewell party

Langhorne Slim concert

One of my last afternoons with Axel at the Square des Batignolles

Part Two: The United Kingdom

I am there currently and will be until about mid-August or so, living in London with Ben aka the lobsterback version of the kid from Almost Famous and listening to him say things like “Oh bother would you like a spot of tea? Lorries and porkie pies and football pitches and Dumbledore, oh bloody hell.”*

Do you see it? I see it.

It has come to my attention that I have been here almost a month and have taken no pictures of London. Hopefully that will be remedied soon, but I have taken pictures of some weekend expeditions to other parts of England. For example, my first weekend here we took a hiking trip to the South Downs, where I walked 12.5 miles across a bunch of hills which was more fun than it sounds and subsequently got a terrible purple sun burn which was even less fun than it sounds:

Not the White Cliffs of Dover but they are white cliffs and they are pretty close to Dover.

Southeast England looking twee and rural

Why hello there!

Last weekend I went to Bristol to visit my old French host siblings, Lise and Thibault, with whom I spent a week in high school in Marseille. Lise has been in Bristol all year on Erasmus, and Thibault happened to be visiting her.

Aren't they cute?

Suspension bridge

Property of the queen.

Bristol Cathedral, which looks suspiciously familiar...

Anyway, great trip, Lise and Thibault were gracious hosts as usual.

In conclusion, people here care about soccer and they aren’t even hipsters.

Part Three: Frankfurt and Amsterdam in May

I went to see David in Frankfurt:

The traditionally German-looking part of Frankfurt

David and the not-so-typically-German part of Frankfurt

Statue devoted to a currency that decided to become worthless right before I had to exchange it

Cons: Frankfurt is boring and moderately ugly, the city revolves around banking, and supposedly the population triples during the work week because of people coming in to work at the banks and is mostly dead on the weekend and devoid of young people. Pros: David and his Nintendo coworkers, apparently the only young people in the city, are awesome.

Ben and I also had a trip to Amsterdam:

Orange shutters!

Bikes and canals!

Same-sex wedding cake toppers!

They sure do have a sense of humor, the Dutch.

Things to definitely do in Amsterdam: The Anne Frank House (it’s overpriced but worth it) FOAM (Foto Museum of Amsterdam – great exhibits and super cheap,) paddleboating on the canals (don’t bother getting a boat tour, paddleboating is cheaper and so much fun) and frites with oorlog sauce (mayonaise and peanut sauce – it sounds terrible but it’s amazing and I still crave it.)

Things to definitely not do in Amsterdam: walk around at night on streets that have window girls at street level if you don’t like being terrified, see an improv show at the renowned English-language improv theater which will go unnamed but if you ever try to go you’ll know what I’m talking about because it’s in all the guides. I have seen some bad improv comedy but this wasn’t even funny after I did that thing everyone does in Amsterdam that’s supposed to make everything funny.**

Part Four: L’Arnacoeur Watch

The terrible Romain Duris/Vanessa Paradis film I lamented in my last blog is being released in England under the title “The Heartbreaker.” I’ve seen the posters in the tube here in London. They couldn’t even keep the clever pun in the title. I only hope this fate won’t befall my beloved United States. (However, if you see the French film titled “Farewell” is coming to a theater near you, do not hesitate to see it. It’s about French people and Russian francophiles and the Soviet Union and Americans and Willem Dafoe has a small part in it. Go.)

*English people talk like this. FACT.

**Activity to go unnamed because this blog is for the children.


la chute de l’armoire

Posted in France by parisianpanda on February 1, 2010
Tags: , , ,

1) Katarina came over because I was making dinner on Friday night. We were talking in the kitchen while I was tenderizing chicken (which was luckily in a plastic bag). Katarina was supposedly leaning on the kitchen cabinet when suddenly the whole thing lurched forward and fell on our heads and shoulders.

At least my chicken got super tender.

Cleaning up the wreckage

When we lifted it off the oven to put it on the ground our hands got sticky because the back was covered in glue. It’s a good thing that’s what was holding it to the wall, as well as two bent screws. Luckily no people and only two dishes were harmed in the accident, one of which is reparable.

2) This week I am on pretend vacation because the premieres and terminales have a practice bac exam all week, and since only two of my classes are with secondes the teachers told me I could just not come. I have no idea what to do with this week, apart from a lot of sleeping, some shopping and possibly a visit to this place. I should also get around to climbing the Arc de Triomphe at some point, since I can do it for free.

3) I am applying for a summer job as a study abroad counselor for high school students coming to Paris for a few weeks. This is the only job I’ve ever applied for that I’ve actually felt qualified for, instead of just tweaking my resume to make it look like I’m qualified and then hoping for the best, though I should probably not get too cocky because I am excellent and counting my eggs before they hatch.

4) Speaking of idiomatic expressions, I bought a book of them at Gilbert Jeune. Some choice ones:

avoir des fourmis dans les jambes: (to have ants in your legs) To have ants in your pants…it doesn’t rhyme in French, and having ants in your legs is a little weirder than just having them in your pants.

se noyer dans une verre d’eau – (to drown yourself in a glass of water) To be stressed out and distracted to the point that you make stupid mistakes – I am frequently drowning myself in glasses of water.

du jus de chaussette – (sock juice) – weak coffee. Gross.

avoir le vin gai/triste/mauvaise/etc. – (to have happy/sad/bad wine) To be a good/bad/sad/happy drunk…the entire first chapter of this book is about drinking.

avoir un chat dans la gorge – (to have a cat in your throat) – To have a frog in your throat…one of my parents’ favorite stories to recount from my childhood is the time when I was six and woke up with a sore throat and my mother told me I had a frog in my throat, and I was distressed about it the whole day to the point that I told my teacher I was really worried about the frog in my throat. Perhaps if the expression was “cat” and not “frog” I wouldn’t have taken it literally, since at six I probably would have known a cat wouldn’t fit in my throat. A frog however…

avoir l’estomac dans les talons – (to have your stomach in your heels) – to be very hungry. This is another expression I would have taken literally when I was six.

ramene ta fraise – (bring back your strawberry) – get your butt over here. Katarina pointed out that this sounds dirty. I’m resolved to stay away from even the most innocent of fruit metaphors.

5) I am going to Berlin and Hamburg with David and Matthew for the February vacation, and I anticipate everyone in Germany talking and behaving like Karl Lagerfeld.

6) I really wish I was in Seattle for Valentine’s Day so I could watch Dan Savage destroy leftover articles from dead relationships again. Last year was the best Valentine’s Day ever. If you are in Seattle, you should go.

7) This American Life reminded me that this is an excellent song: