Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Riding on a Railroad

Today we went to Brussels! Getting up at 5:30 sucked but it had to be done. I was somewhat pissy right before we left because I was the only student who didn't already have his/her ticket from Josiane because she didn't find me Friday at the forum. I was afraid I wouldn't get to go! Anyway, once we were off, I realized how much I love train rides...you can see the countryside and get where you need to go fast. Of course it was dark most of the way there and the whole way back. As we were arriving, the sun was coming up and it looked really cool with all of the fog. So we got to Brussels and took the metro to the Paris Chamber of Commerce in Brussels. There, we learned a little bit about the EU and its purpose. After that, we hopped the metro again to go the Charlemagne building and learned about the WTO and EU/USA relations. From there, we headed to the European Parliament. We heard a presentation and tour. That room is the most beautiful room in the world. I wish I could work there!

So after a fact-filled morning, we had a long lunch at Il Pasticio (why we ate Italian, I dunno). It was a great little place though! Then we walked through town past the Palais Royal. This beautiful building houses the King's office. Belgium is a kingdom so there is still a royal family. Across the street is the Parc de Bruxelles. It wasn't so great in January but I bet in the spring it's gorgeous!!! We wandered through town to the Grand-Place where town hall is located. This square has the most beautiful architecture in the world. These buildings are fantastic! Then we did the normal touristy stuff.

We found the Mannekin Pis. This is a famous statue of a boy peeing. I bought a magnet :-)

After, we went to the bar Delirium which serves over 2000 beers! It was a cool little place to hang out. I tried a belgian beer called Sara but I just don't like beer! We ended the trip with belgian waffles!!! yummy!!!!!! Though I must admit I prefer crepes.
Josh, Antonia, and me

facebook albums of brussels:

Home Again

Peter called me during class....don't worry, my phone was on silent. The message he left was to make sure it was ok to go by in the afternoon so the electricity could be turned on. Um, of course it is ok!! So I was able to move out of Nanday's Monday evening and get back to my place. So now I'm all settled in. Today, after returning from Brussels, I bit the bullet and called the France Telecom help line to get my internet going. This is my first blog entry written and posted from home!!! Yay!!!!!!!! Pictures to follow!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Light My Candle

So, after a long day of make-up and heels (blah), I finish moving all of my stuff to my new apartment. Oh, happy day!!!! Except, NOT. I walk in and try to turn on my light to no avail. I HAVE NO ELECTRICITY!!!!!!!!!!! After freaking out...I ask a random neighbor (yeah, I talked to a stranger...I was freaking out-hence the blog title-and didn't think) and he helped me out by calling the electricity company and figuring out what was wrong. There's nothing wrong with my electricity, there's just no contract for my room. That doesn't make sense though cuz I had taken a load over in the morning before the career fair and there was electricity. I don't understand. I called Peter the landlord but he's in Italy until Sunday. He had a friend calling today (Saturday) but said he wasn't getting through on their line. So I crashed at Nanda's Friday night and then did some fantastic retail therapy today which surprisingly helped. I was hysterical last night...walking down the street bawling. Today was better and I realize that it's not too much of a big deal. Peter even offered to pay for a hotel but there's no point in wasting the money when everyone has offered to let me crash with them. In a week this'll be a funny story.

Career Day

So Friday we went to a career fair instead of having class. There were 140 companies there, and it was a zoo! I talked to some banks-Royal Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of France, Societe Generale-and notable businesses like McKinsey and Co and Bain and Co and Google. It was a good two hours, but by the end my feet HURT. Most of the companies want us to apply on line anyway so once I get internet I'll flip through the huge booklet and just apply and see what happens. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

World Inside My Head

So...I know I often complain about the way things are here or about missing things at home so I thought I'd make a list of the good and the bad...

Things I like in France:
1) coconut products: I love the scent and taste of coconut. I can never find anything in the states (besides almond joy and mounds). Here, I have coconut body wash (yum) and Pims cookies in a coconut flavor!
2) monuments: Walking down the street, you can turn the corner and see a beautiful building or monument.
3) pain au chocolat: bread and chocolate together is acceptable
4) flowers: There are flower shops on every corner practically!
5) Latin Quarter: restaurants, bookstores, and the middle ages (these are a few of my favorite things)
6) ads in the metro (aka Moliere and the photo below)

7) the fact that nutella and mustard come in cool little glass jars that you can clean and use as drinking glasses
8) month-long super sales!!!
9) sidewalk crepe vendors!!! yum!!!
10) French people who patiently wait while I try to get something out in French...better yet, French people who let me speak in French and they try in English so we're both struggling and embarrassed.

Things I don't like in Paris
1) the metro smells bad...like sewer bad
2) I don't like crowds and they are everywhere in France.
3) it takes forever to get anywhere in the metro
4) people make out everywhere!!!! city of love my foot...more like city of lust!
5) coke costs so much!!! then again...maybe I can kill the addiction (hmmm)

Things I miss in the states:
1) driving: When I get back, I want to drive with the windows down and the sun blaring.
2) Peanut butter: I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sooooo bad.
3) MOES: I want to be welcomed!
4) ice in drinks!
5) Target
6) 'mexican' food (besides Moes)
7) having an oven to cook in (not that I cook that much)
8) hugs...weird I know but I don't really hug anyone here and I miss that!

So I realized I never told you what classes I'm taking (because my momma and daddy keep asking):
1. Négociation/Argumentation/Marketing-so far we've learned how to make a phone call and how to negociate
2. Français des Affairs (French Business)-we've read articles about French entrepreneurs and learned some vocab
3. Langue et Civilisation-what it sounds like, the language and civilization....learning some history and vocabulary
4. Ecrits Professionnels-haven't done much yet in 2 classes but I know what I don't know....grammar!
5. Sociologie des Organisations-again, what it sounds like, sociology of business, pretty much the same as class #2
6. Etudes des Cas-case studies...we read a case and then talk about it in half French/half English
7. Initation à la micro-économie-economic theory....lots of reading
8. Prise de parole en public-we don't have this for awhile but from the name (public speaking), I'm gonna have to speak in front of people :-/

then we have some 'travaux en groupe' which is glorified study hall, preparation au stage (internship prep...I have no idea what this means), and espace rendez-vous stage (which I think is planned time to have interviews which is silly because the company chooses the interview time). Basically, they didn't want us to have free time to have fun.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Trip Around the Sun

Drew sent me the most beautiful flowers for my birthday! They were delivered Saturday morning in a box. It was like getting to open a present! According to Nanda, the best flowers come in boxes ;-) Forty roses in red, white, pink, cream with pink tips (my favorite!), and peach/orange were wrapped up in a cool gel pack in a white bucket with FLOWERS printed on the side. They are gorgeous! I want my bridal bouquet to look like that! So now my drab residence room is all cheery. Thank you Drew!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday was a nasty day so we didn’t get to do much but I decided it was worth it to pay ten euros to have two hours of internet at the residence. I had a wonderful conversation with Drew and my parents. Speaking of internet…I went with my landlord Saturday morning to get that set up for the apartment…so look for me online a lot in the near future!! With that worry checked off my list, I can now find an internship.

So Sunday was my actual birthday…the big 23…ha, I’m the baby of this group. Anyway, I woke up 9ish because of those **** Algerians talking in the hall again but I rolled over and didn’t get up till ten. I did my hw really fast (blah) and showered. Jamie, Samantha, and I went to Notre Dame to climb the tower because it was a beautiful day!!!!!
Puffy white clouds against a gorgeous blue sky. I had to put on my sunglasses!!! It was awesome to be on top of the bell towers. I took amazing photos and used my video camera like a tourist :-P But hey, it was an early birthday present so it made sense to use it on my birthday!

Nanda and Emily met us at the bottom and we walked through to see the windows while it was sunny to light them up. When we left, Jill and Diana met us outside but it had gotten colder and overcast so we went to a café for hot chocolate to warm up. We found this great little brasserie but while we were there it rained! :’( Mom called while I was in there though so I got to talk to momma and daddy! By the time we left it had finished raining though it was considerably cooler. We walked through the Latin Quarter to make reservations for dinner and then did some shopping. I found two beautiful silk ‘sweaters’ on sale for a total of 34 euro ($50ish). At another store, I found a cute pair of black flats. So I treated myself.

At 7, the whole group met up for dinner at Creperie de Cluny. I had a kir royal, a ham crepe, and the best dessert crepe in the world: banana, coconut, walnuts, and chocolate. It was fantastic. The waitress brought it out with sparklers on it for my birthday and everyone sang. They were so great. And the whole group bought me a Longchamp bag!!! I own a Longchamp bag :-D It is so great!!!!!!!! It ended up being a fantastic birthday. I wouldn’t mind having all my birthdays in Paris…as long as Drew is there for the rest of them.

third album on facebook: http://scarolina.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2101482&l=d3632&id=12600427

longchamp: http://longchamp.com/en/

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

These Foolish Things

So I don't have much to add...life during the week is boring with only class to go to. It's dark when we get to school and it's dark when we leave school. Class is ok...sometimes it's boring (I wrote Jenna a letter today) and sometimes I'm overwhelmed with information.

I saw this quote and liked it...made me think of someone special:
Loving someone's hard enough, but leaving them is torture. Don't think I don't think of you now. I'm with you every day dear.

I was in a cafe to skype with Drew and do internet things. It's a great little cafe with good fries. They play a mixture of music. The song 'That Thing' came on and the singers were singing along with it. It was cute.

I learned in one of my classes that the Toyota logo is supposed to be all the letters combined.
check it out: http://www.toyota.com.np/bmenu/tlogo.gif

I found good postcards: 10 for 1,50 euro!! Everything else I'd seen was a euro a card...so I was excited about that...I'll be sending out the first wave soon. Don't worry, more will be sent out later if you don't get one of these first ones...don't think I don't love you.

I went by my new apartment this morning...Peter, my amazing landlord, bought so much stuff at Ikea for me! Some dish towels, pots and pans, floor mat, plates/bowls, cute little tables...so my place is looking like a home! (don't worry, he'd already brought silverware, I won't be eating with my hands).

After going by the apartment, Peter and I went to a France Telecom to set up my phone, tv, and internet...hopefully all that is going to work out.

I listened to some Carla Bruni today. She's awesome...an Italian ex-model who now sings in French. I bought her cd a couple of years ago when I was here in France and now she has a new one coming out that I will in all likelihood buy because she's fantastic....
quelqu'un m'a dit...
Que tu m'aimais encore,
C'est quelqu'un qui m'a dit que tu m'aimais encore.
Serais ce possible alors ?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Stupid in School

BLAH!!!!! So I'm wondering if anything can start going right. We start school with the French professors expecting us to all be fluent in French. I won't go into whose fault that is but that obviously isn't the case. And even though some of us have a good grasp of the French language, the classes are still fast-paced and full of advanced content. The beginners were expecting to learn French and they sat in classes of full French thoroughly confused and overwhelmed.
So to fix the problem, the beginners are in a seperate class for only two of the seven classes we have-granted the two classes are the two we have twice a week as opposed to the others we have once a week or every other week. So, yes, I'm in the upper level class but I'm one of the weakest. I am not as fluent as some of the others though I understand everything that is said (except by Serb-face who has a horrible accent and slurs like a drunkard).

Second disaster: we were supposed to go the the French prefecture today to get our extended visas (we only have three month visas). Yesterday, however, after class, we were going through our papers with an administrator and were told that since our birth certificates aren't translated there's no point in going. So now we have to figure out how to get them translated! Who knows when were going to get this taken care of. The upside, I got to sleep in and do some laundry (yay jeans that don't fall off my waist!).

My own personal disaster: I went to a France Telecom store Monday during lunch to look into getting internet for my new apartment. So after going through the whole schpiel (?) with the guy, it turns out since I don't have a bank account (well I have the beginnings of one but it can't be finished until we get our visa stuff taken care of) that I can't have a France Telecom account. :'( I just want internet so that when I'm home at night I can chat with people and not be lonely!

Besides those small annoyances, things are going well. I bought a hairdryer for 7 euro that works like a dream. Now all I need is a cheap microwave and tv. OOH, I also bought two power strips for 4ish euro so when we go to cafes together we can all plug in. I know this seems immaterial but you should see the McDonald's at La Defense...it's a nightmare. So, I'm not always negative as you can see.

I don't know if you got down my address but it was taken of the blog site for safety reasons (because of you know who) so if you want to send me love in the form of letters, peanut butter, or money just ask for it and I'll be happy to email it to you!

Also, here's the link for the second album of photos I have on facebook if you didn't catch them before:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Champagne High

We officially did the coolest thing in Paris last night. Across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower is an area called Trocadero. There's a pretty park and fountain area. At the top of a hill are four museums as well as a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower. The whole group met up there and we just hung out and drank champagne (out of plastic cups because we are so classy!). I of course drank two glasses and was 'game over' as Liz likes to put it. It was cold but we had a good time. The metro ride home was the best part of course. It was so late and we were all a little happy. This is the most fun I've had on this trip so far.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Old Town New

Such a long day!!! I had to force myself to get out of bed at 7. We left at 8 to go to ESCP to have breakfast with Josiane. At 10:30, we went to BNP Paribas (a French bank) to open accounts. They are all over town but we went to the one at Place Vendome. Let me tell you about Place Vendome. There is a tall column in the middle with a road surrounded by two old buildings. In one building is the Ritz (the one Princess Diana stayed in her last days alive). There is a Cartier and Tiffany’s on the same street. So, we’re in a niiiiiiiiiice neighborhood. After getting bank stuff done, we went back to the DRI/E area (where we have class) and got sandwiches for lunch. Samantha, Emily, and I got 12 euro ballet shoes; I got brown!! I’m excited. Then we went to the school to use internet before our 2 pm tour.

This tour was amazing. Our guide Sylvaina was so funny and smart. She told us so much history that it would be wrong to not share with you. We started out talking about architecture. She said basically there were two styles-before and after Napoleon III’s reign. Haussman, the architect of Napoleon III’s time, has a notable style of five floors above the ground floor shops. The first floor was the most expensive. The second and the fourth floor had balconies. The fifth floor was the least expensive at the time because it was up five flights of floors but now is the most expensive because it gets so much sunlight. You can tell real Haussman buildings from later versions because there are balconies on the third floor.

After this wonderful conversation, we took a bus down the street a bit to the Luxembourg gardens. The palace of the Luxembourg gardens is now the seat of the Senate. It was initially built for Marie Medici as a palace outside the city. Yes, it used to be outside the city and now it’s in the middle! We also learned the difference between boulevard and avenue. A boulevard is roundish because it used to be the circumference around the city. An avenue is a straight road and leads to a certain place. Example: Avenue de Champs-Elysees ends at the Louvre and Avenue L’Opera ends at Opera Garnier (home of the Phantom of the Opera). As Paris grew out, more boulevards were made around it.

We walked past the Pantheon and La Sorbonne to the Latin Quarter. I’m going to get into Paris’ history so if you don’t care, go to the next paragraph: Paris began on the island now called Ile-de-la-Cité (where Notre Dame is) by a tribe called the Parisiennes (spelling is wrong sorry). They stayed only on that tiny island. Later, the Romans came in and settled on the hill on one side of the island (now called Rive Gauche –left bank). They built monasteries and the area was known as the intelligent quarter. Now the Rive droite (right bank) is known as the shopping area. Les Halles (shopping area on Rive droite) was where selling went on from merchandise arriving at the docks by the workers.

We walked the tiny streets of the Latin Quarter, which are centuries old. People used to throw waste out in these streets. Then we walked onto Ile-de-la-Cité to see Notre Dame. That island has such an amazing history. The square in front of Notre Dame used to have homes. The area is marked off (hopefully you can see in the picture) of where buildings and roads used to be.

We discussed the difference between a basilica and cathedral. A basilica is built over a saint’s tomb. A cathedral houses the seat of a bishop. Therefore, a basilica can become a cathedral but a cathedral can’t become a basilica. Also on the island is present day Palais du Justice. This was the first residence of the French royalty (and then the Louvre and then Versailles). And thus ended our tour on Ile-de-la-Cité.

After the tour, we did a little shopping but all the stores were crazy because it’s the first weekend of sales. Now we have a nice weekend to enjoy before a full week of class.

more photos on facebook:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bad Day

Oh what a day. It was the first day of class. We had to be there at 9 am which meant leaving at 8 which meant getting up by 7. Samantha had an issue (refer to her blog) so we took longer to get on the metro and we were almost late. Class was good, kinda. Our first class was negociation, argument, and marketing. It started out slow but sped up some-we discussed how to call someone for the first time for a business proposition. We got out almost half an hour late and then headed to lunch. The place has a nice cafeteria so we ate a good lunch for 5,50 euro (decimals and periods are switched). The second class was French business. We talked about law and economy. That was about it. Kind of boring for three hours.

After class I was online while Samantha was trying to fix some of her issues (again refer to her link). I was talking to dad and the computer restarted. I was so pissed off!! UGH. And then, we had to leave for the school to be locked up. So on the way to Josh's for dinner (more about that later) Drew called my cell phone from skype. We got disconnected twice before we were able to have a decent conversation-again, more frustration >:O

So here at Josh's (yes I'm being rude and typing a blog entry in a room full of people) we're going to have spaghetti for dinner and I'm talking to Drew some more on skype (yay skype). It's good to be in a roomful of people. It's a nice ending to a pretty much bad day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Long Day Is Over

Today was our first day of class. We arrived barely on time because of direction issues. The metro is so busy in the morning! There are 15 people in our class so it’s a nice size for special attention. I’m really hoping I’ll improve a lot. So from 11-12:30 we went over class structure and received the final schedule of classes. Us USC IMBA kids got a messenger bag with a notebook, pen, arrondissement book/map and another guidebook of Ile-de-France (Paris and its surrounding suburbs). It was fun getting new toys! At one we had a nice lunch provided for us in a private lunchroom. There is a culinary program at the school so we ate specially prepared food served by a student. We were served champagne, a salad, ray (as in sting ray :-/), and a chocolate mousse citrus-y dessert. It was fantastic! Probably the best meal I will have while I’m here. So immediately after this filling meal, we have to take the TEF (test d’evaluation de français). We’re all in food comas and have to take a 2 + hour test. It’s the equivalent of the TOEFL but I think we took a shortened version. We’ll get our results Friday. It started out easy but got hard fast. We’ll see how I did. The first section was reading comprehension, the second oral comprehension, and the third grammar. We have to take the test again our last day of class to note improvement so hopefully it won’t be as hard the next go-round.

So after finishing this test from hell, I quickly checked my email and then went to meet with Peter (my wonderful American landlord). He cleaned up the ‘apartment’ some and got his stuff out. He’s going to go buy me a mattress and pots and pans. I’m going to start moving stuff in on Sunday but I don’t have to be out of the current residence until January 27th so I have plenty of time to move all of my crap. We went to a nearby café to go over lease papers and I gave him 1040 euros (2 months rent) for a security deposit. Yes, I said over a thousand euros. Do you know how much that is in dollars!?!? :’( Anyway, my rent will start on January 15th and last through August 15th so this works perfectly.

So I didn’t get home until 8:30ish. We have an early morning on Thursday. Class starts at 9 which means we have to leave by 8. So it looks like I’m getting up by 7. I thought I wouldn’t have to do that again this semester but oh well. I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead or instead of doing anything during our vacation weeks, I’ll just hole up in my studio.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A Home

I have a home!!! I went to my meeting yesterday to see a studio and I accepted!!!! I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!! It's tiny: 15 square meters which is about 160 square feet. There is a tiny little bathroom with a toilet, sink, and shower. The 'kitchen' is a sink with two burners and a little bit of shelf space. The guy I'm renting from (who is American) will provide pots and pans and I'm going to buy two place settings when the sales start tomorrow. He's providing a bed but I'm going to buy sheets and blankets and pillows (again, after tomorrow when the sale starts). There isn't a tv or microwave. Depending on what I see in the sales I might invest in one or both. I saw a microwave for 30 euro so if it goes on sale, it'll be cheaper. I'm not sure about tv prices but hopefully I can find something. If I'm lucky maybe he'll give me cash for them when I leave in August. There is also a double bed (converter couch), a table, and a wardrobe. It's tiny but nice. It's in the 15th arrondissement which is kind of far away from everything, but you use the metro for everything so it shouldn't matter. It's not a touristy part of town but more of a residential area. It's in between two metro stops. By one is a movie theater. Near the other is a dvd rental place. On my little street is a bank, laundromat, and a cafe with wireless!!! There is also a nice supermarket down the street. As you can tell, I'm excited.

My new address: email me if you want it!! I'm happy to receive goodies!

to see my first album of photos on facebook, use the link:

Monday, January 8, 2007


Time is going so slowly...I've been here since Thursday and there's not much going on. Most days we go to the American Church to look at apartment postings and then go to an internet cafe until we're hungry enough to go home to eat. I have an appointment in an hour to go see a place so hopefully that will work. Half of the group already have places so I'm not doing badly, I just want to get this figured out so I can move on to the internship search :-/

Classes start in two days. I'm excited to have something to do, but I'm nervous that it will be hard. I know this will keep me more occupied so I don't dwell on certain things. I need to get into a schedule. I've been hanging out with Samantha a lot and I know she'll be a great friend while I'm here.

Hopefully I'll have something more upbeat to put in my next blog.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Oh, Champs-Elysees!

So I've recovered from my depression enough to go do some touristy things. Samantha, Will, Jamie, and I wandered to the Champs-Elysees last night hoping to see Christmas lights. They were still up but not turned on :-( We got some photos of the Arc de Triomphe and then walked over to the Eiffel Tower to get some photos of that. It sparkled for ten minutes and then we headed home.

Today Samantha, Will, and I went to the American church to look for apartments and then walked all along the Seine to the other side of town. We saw everything from the Eiffel Tower to Les Invalides (where Napoleon is buried) to Centre Pompidou to Notre Dame. We walked a lot!!!

No luck on the apartment search, but I've only visited one place...hopefully something will come up.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Hello, Goodbye

Ok...I'll only dwell for a minute: I miss Drew :'( Besides that, life isn't too bad. I arrived in Paris an hour early-yay tail wind! I ran into Rick at the passport control line and we found our luggage together. We found William Pfaff and then parted ways. Pfaff and I took a taxi to our place. It isn't bad. I have a nice room for the month though I will be looking for another place to live.

After unpacking, Jill, Samantha, Jamie, Will and I went to La Defense and got some chore-type things out of the way. I have a cell phone that works and minor groceries.

Today I woke up sooooo late! Then some of us just wandered around some trying to find internet. Obviously I found a cafe to do this post.

That's about it for this report...not much is going on. I plan to look for another place to live and try to find closer internet until classes start on Wednesday. If you're reading this then I probably love you and miss you like the dickens.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot...

and never brought to mind...

I never understood that song...probably because I don't know all the words. Happy New Year all! I celebrated in Charleston with Drew and Nishita (my boyfriend and bestfriend from college). We had a great time-dinner at Tsunami and a party given by one of Nish's classmates. It was a great night!

So now...I have two days until I fly to Paris. I know I should be excited; I get to live in PARIS! for 8 months. Yet after receiving emails from my classmates about the state of the 'executive studio' that we were encouraged to use the first month, I am nervous about getting on that plane. I will let that be the extent of my complaining.

I am excited to be in Paris, to better my French, to learn more 'bidness', to travel around Europe, and to meet new people.

I'm nervous too though! I have to obtain an internship and the not screw it up! I have to be away from everything/one I know and love for eight months!

Again, Happy New Year and I will write again once I've arrived in France!