Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Update

This semester is totally flying by. I cant believe that in 32 days I'll be back home with the California sun and my puppy by my side. School is immensely time consuming and trying to squeeze everything else in between is simply impossible. Here's a quick photo update of everything I've managed to do in the last couple of weeks. 

A few weeks ago, my best friend from home, Tiff, and 7 other friends from high school traveled to Madrid to stay with a mutual friend. It was far too much of a hassle to travel to Madrid, or for them to come here, so I assumed that I would miss out on seeing them and just have to deal with waiting until I returned home to catch up with all of them. Flash forward to midterms week and a 9 hour day in the library times 7 turned in to a bit of delirium which resulted in me purchasing a ticket to Amsterdam to meet up with all of them for 12 hours. So in summary, I found myself on a 7pm train to Amsterdam with a return ticket for 9 am the next morning. It was so incredible to see Tiffany and we immediately turned in to wrecks when we saw each other for the first time. I had so much fun with them, and although got nothing accomplished but a rowdy night out, it was the perfect post-midterm break and resulted in dozens of fabulous memories. 
The quick trip made me realize just how lucky I am to be here. To go to class in the 7eme, hop on a train to Amsterdam, snap a photo in Museumplein, make a pit stop in Brussels to grab a coffee and some yummy snacks, take a test on campus, and end the next evening tanning at the Eiffel Tower within 24 hours is so surreal. J'adore ma vie. 

The next weekend Chantal had a few friends from home visiting so we played tour guide for a few days. We had a great picnic on the Pont Des Arts (Locks of Love bridge between the Louvre and College de Quatre Nations), the weather was beautiful, the Laduree was delicious, and the acoustic concert was a blast. I love showing people around the city, especially on an uncharacteristically hot weekend when there are thousands of people stopping at Berthillon to grab an ice cream cone and passing hours at a cafe with nothing to do but enjoy life. Weekends like this make me really appreciate the life I'm making here and enjoy it that much more. 
The same weekend, HBHS Model United Nations was in town for their annual european conference. I made a few plans to meet up with them, but after many failed attempts, I finally grabbed a bottle of wine and a delicious croque monsieur with my French teacher from high school, Madame Gruwell. It was so incredibly amazing to be able to see her. She is the first person who showed me that it was possible to actually pick up and move here, and inspired me 100% to make it happen in the first place. After hours of catching up and swapping 20-year-old in Paris stories, she told me that she is deciding to retire this year and move back to Paris in the fall! Such exciting news and I cannot wait to share this life with her next semester. Everything happens for a reason, and I am so thankful that the plans to meet up with the whole group fell through so that I could properly see her in our favorite city.  

Last weekend, Chantal and I spend the afternoon at Pere Lachaise, which is the cemetery that numerous people are buried at, such as Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf, Chopin, Oscar Wilde etc. Here are a few photos.
Kissing Oscars grave! They recently cleaned off the precious kiss marks and put up this glass protector around it. Proud to say that I already kissed him two years ago though before the protector was put up.
The next day we perused through the Marc Jacobs/ Louis Vuitton exhibit. So fabulous. It had everything from the first trunk manufactured to every piece of the last runway show on display.  

To my extremely pleasant surprise, I received a package from miss Linda Mirth a few days prior to Easter. So thoughtful of her to send it, and with such perfect timing!! Easter Sunday was filled with a great brunch with new and old friends, easter egg dying, and couch vegging. Cannot be grateful enough to Linda to be so thoughtful!

A few weeks ago a handful of my friends went to Doha, Qatar on a study abroad trip. One of the students from my school is the prince of Qatar, so they enjoyed camel rides, dinner with pet cheetas and servants, personal henna artists, interviews at the news station, and sand duning through the desert. Can you say jealous? After their trip, our school hosted a Qatar evening to celebrate the diversity we have at AUP. One building of our campus was transformed in to a huge Middle Eastern style tent, belly dancers, excellent food, ambassadors and  henna artists. Needless to say, after feeling so left out I felt it necessary to get a tattoo, which two weeks later is now a large orange blob on my hand that make it look like I have been fondling ravioli sauce. Gross. 

Tonight a friend and I were walking throughout her cute neighborhood and decided to stop in to a bar for a quick happy hour drink. Little did we know that it was drag night and we would be involved in a Lady Gaga impersonation. We had such a blast dancing on stage with Kegole La and partaking in all of her craziness that we completely forgot our Sunday Blues. Only in Paris right?? Well maybe New York too... 

The great weather has brought about a million picnics at the Tuileries and Champ de Mars with dozens of kids from our school. Everyone sort of comes out of the woodworks and meets up in either spot, bringing guitars, wine, homework, and friends. Can't get enough of it!

With only two more weeks left of school I have no idea how I am going to balance free time with homework. All I can do is try to enjoy my last month here and update a few more times!
Until next time

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stop 3: Venice, Burano and Murano

Next stop: Venice! Jared and I flew off to Venice for the last 3 days of the trip before returning to Paris for a relaxing (aka cramming in the library) weekend before school started again. We really lucked out and got a cute little apartment on one of the canals for crazy cheap! No hostels on this spring break! Venice is such a small city, and I had no pre conceived notions about which was absolutely fantastic! We spent most of our time sitting on the canal drinking wine and laughing about god knows what over bottles of wine. Tres chic. Chantal met up with us the second day and I was so excited to see her! We also ran in to 2 girls from AUP that we spent a bit of the trip with. We all took a day trip out to Burano (Island of the colorful houses) and Murano (where they make glass) which was so great to see! Sadly we arrived a little late so didn't get to take a tour of the glass factory, but I bought a great little wine stopper and beautiful necklace. Not to mention Jared broke a pair of glass earrings which are ghastly, but now mine nonetheless. And so it goes:

St. Marco square



St. Marco's

Last minute carb cramming before returning to Paris!

Hi mom!

Stracciatella! My all time favorite

Jared, Chantal and I in Burano

St. Marco's 

Beautiful in Burano

Little canal near our apartment


Ciao Venezia!

Cheesy at St Marco

Murano sunset



Venezia canals!

Burano play time



St. Marco's

He thought we were soul mates. I didn't hate it.

So I'd have to say Venice was my favorite because we got a great feel for the city in such a short amount of time. Minor set backs included maps flying into the canal when we were 100% lost and starving, room being about 85 degrees with no control at all, Hard Rock Cafe as the only option for nightlife, and vomit encrusted on the window of our 2 hour boat ride to the islands. But only MINOR set backs to this fabulous weekend! The weather was perfect and the company was even better. We didn't do any museums or anything of that sort because A we're broke and B the whole city is beautiful enough to get lost in without needing to be bombarded by tourists and queues. 
Spring break was so different than my last one because we got to take our time in each city without feeling rushed or spending an absurd amount of money. Even though I've already been to 2 of the 3 places, I didn't feel like it was a waste because this experience was 100% different than my last. I feel so lucky to have been able to cross even more things off of my bucket list and to do it with people that I enjoy at the same time. 
This week my best friend Tiffany is in Madrid, but will be visiting Amsterdam for the weekend, so of course I couldn't resist and bought a ticket to go visit her!! I am so excited to see her and can't wait to go back to such a great city. Call it ridiculous because I was just there, but I know I'd kick myself later if I didn't make the effort to see her! It's gonna be a quick trip and I won't be missing any school, so it really works out great! 
PS I've been designated photographer for Jared's fashion blog since we've been here so check it out! 
He's quite flamboyant but I love him to pieces and would be so homesick without him! Not to mention he's the best mirror to my horribly repetitive outfit choices I have every day. 

Until next time!!!


Barcelona was next. Again it was Jared and I, as well as a friend from OC/AUP. We stayed with one of their friends, who is also from OC strangely enough. We sort of did our own thing because my friend from AUP had a lung infection, so was in bed the whole time, and the girl we were staying with stayed home with her. Thank god I didn't catch it! The second we got off the plane we were so excited to be in warm weather, a beach city and to hear NO ONE speaking German! Barcelona consisted of running in to old friends at night clubs, beach days, Gaudi admiring, and hidden bars. We met up with even more of Jared's study abroad friends, of whom I actually hit it off with extremely well, and spent most of our trip being taken around by them. Again, being my second time in Barcelona, I definitely had things on my list, but was in no hurry to cross them off. 
Margaritas at a mexican restaurant. Definitely not spanish but got the job done!

Park Guell! Gaudi is my hero

Park Guell

Las Ramblas

Montjuic Castle

Montjuic Castle

Drinking on the beach! So happy to be in the sand

Montjuic Castle thirst quencher


Park Guell

La Boqueria market

Casa Batllo. My favorite place in all of Barcelona!

Park Guell

La Sagrada Familia. Awe-some!

Montjuic castle

La Sagrada Familia

Up to Montjuic!

Castle at Montjuic

Park Guell

Gaudi's home! Such a genius

Montjuic Castle

We went to so many fabulous places in Barcelona and I was so excited to have the sun shine on my face again. I couldn't have asked for a better group of kids to hangout with and had such a blast finding new spots, including the Sherlock Holmes bar (password and magnifying glass required), delicious gelato shops, and the strangest Spanish roommates you could imagine. It came and went so quickly, but I could not wait to get to Venice to meet Chantal and sleep in a real bed rather than someones floor, as thankful as I am to not have had to pay for a hotel!
Venice, Burano and Murano next!