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in⋅vo⋅ca⋅tion: (n) the magic formula used to conjure up a spirit; incantation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

salads to remember

Antipasti Salad with artichoke, red peppers, chick peas, fennel, and Parmesan shavings [via] the Food Network -I'd get one of those fancy cheese shavers just for this!
Warm Beet and Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese [via] the Food Network - this looks amazing!

salad obsession

I never thought I'd say this and I partly hate myself for saying it, but I'm beginning to love salads. I don't just love them like I like the color the leaves turn in the fall and how pretty they look - red, yellow, and ocre - spread out on the ground, I really, really love them. I am obsessed, completely obsessed.

I always thought of myself as someone who'd rather have a plate of grilled vegetables and a chunk of cheese before committing to the cold leaves and tangy flavor of most salads. I would say I'd rather have a sandwich with nothing but tomato in it than have a salad. However, I am slowly starting to realize that there's more to salads than romaine, grilled chicken, and cider vinegar. It all started this spring in Ireland, where I had the most delicious goat cheese and caramelized onion salad. The goat cheese was salty and strong and the onion was sweet and gooey; they complemented the bitter leaves so well.

This fall, I am bent on kicking old habits and eating healthy. Salads twice a day. You'd think I'd hate them by now, but the love is only beginning to grow.

Chick peas, dried cranberries, red onions, olives, grilled portobello mushrooms, red peppers, eggs, feta crumbles, and tuna on a bed of iron-filled spinach.

Chick peas, beets, dried cranberries, red onions, olives, grilled portobello mushrooms, tofu, and a balsamic vinaigrette on a bed of spring mix.

Monday, October 4, 2010


After a month of thinking and germinating ideas of what this blog needs for me to finally feel like I can write on here on a semi-regular basis, I have settled on a Nathan Farb image of Jim Morrison (in all his ghost-like splendor) to grace my blog. I needed to go back to the basics after a long and successful stint with Lulu from Pandora's Box. Invocations is a reference to a Jim Morrison song and I say this because it does come from his "solo" poetry album with music by The Doors, An American Prayer.

This feels like what it's supposed to. Let's see if this keeps me coming back.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Looking to give this blog new direction. Maybe I'll start writing fiction: my first love. Or maybe poetry. I remember when I enjoyed writing poetry. I also remember when I started to think it was stupid. Either way, this is getting a much needed facelift.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sweden vs. Ghetto

Is rap music always much more ~culturally relevant~ when a white girl from Sweden sings it?

You be the judge.

"My Life" by JJ


"My Life" by The Game ft. Lil Wayne

So $obsessed$ with this song.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

thoughts on tildes

i 'feel' like changing my 'name' on facebook to this: ~

it may describe me more than anythin' else out thurr.

my life via lil wayne n the game n now JJ

And I'm grindin' until I'm tired
And you ain't grindin' until you tired
So I'm grinding with my eyes wide
Looking to find,
A way through the day
The life of the night
Dear lord you've take so many of my people
I'm just wondering why you haven't taken my life
Like what the hell am I doing right?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I think I'm really good at picking certain things, but I'm really bad at picking other things.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

On Lil Wayne,,,

Thanks to Sydney, I just watched the best interview in my life LOL. Katie Couric takes Lil Wayne on and they talk business.

lil wayne: "i'm a gangsta, miss katie"
katie couric: "what does that mean when you say 'i'm a gangster'?"
lil wayne: "i dont take nothing from no one, i do what i want to do...and i'm going to do that until the day i die, and if i can't do that, then i'll just die"

Words to live by.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

On David Guetta...

So, I can't stop listening to ~popular~ music that was famous a year ago. First one is Kid Cudi's "Memories" which is a catchy yet unfortunate song by David Guetta, who is the biggest tool.

big tool

Monday, April 5, 2010

sass + class


All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.


not a good day.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

thoughts via gchat

rd.eisenhart: hahaha
youre such a charismatic figure maria i think you should try dictator out
it might look good on you
your dance moves would be enough to get any democratic government to eliminate at least one of "check" out of their "balances"

but you cld be like the next Michele Bachelet or Evita

Sunday, March 28, 2010

just take off your shoes, there's nothing left to lose

So, last semester, I used to freak out often about school work at Sciences Po. I had a lot of free time to get stuff done last semester, and I felt like I needed weeks to finish assignments. I've been a little more ambitious with my time management this semester, which is to say, I have less time to do homework now because I work around 24 hours a week, yet I still think I can go out. I've realized I only have a couple of months here, and if getting work done means pulling an all-nighter, so I can go out, I'm willing to do that because if some sacrifice means I'll get to do everything I want, then I'm doing it.

I still decide not to go out to things because I have work to do, but if the activity is big enough, I'll go. This Thursday, we all went to Social Club around Sentier for TIGA!!
Now, if you don't know who he you go! He's actually not in the video, but he made this songgggggg. It was an early Paris classic from like back in September when Martin showed it to us.

So, first up, it was drinks at Nastasja's. I was having such a hot mess day, it was really humid out and I just wasn't feeling the night. But, Nastasja put on some red lipstick on my lips and the night got better! The power of some make-up. I'm telling you, I only discovered it at 20 years of age, so it all feels like an experiment.

We got some vodka instead of wine that night, which is unusual for us, and maybe contributed to the night being turned around for me. We also took a lovely group picture with my friend, Sarah Jin's coolest polaroid ever. Sometimes I regret leaving my polaroid(s) back at Penn. They are probably in that box in my friend's basement. Funny thing is that they're the result of my freshman year obsession with Ebay. I bought so many things on it! Cornucopias (I know, wtf), shisha (that then I refused to buy and got suspended from the system haha), countless books, 2 polaroid cameras, plenty of polaroid film, 35 mm film, etc.

I miss it.

But, after drinks at Nastasja's, we went to Saint Michel to catch the metro. Now, of course, it took like a thousand hours for the metro to come. The thing is it doesn't run as often at nighttime, even though it's always extremely crowded on Friday and Saturday nights because everyone is out late. Anyway, we made a video on the metro. Here are some snapshot highlights.

So, how do you feel about your life?"Pretty good actually..."

What are you doing this summer?"I don't know yet, don't interview me!"

"...I might intern in D.C. because a friend in the econ department sent me the forward, and the deadline was extended and like I want to intern in D.C." (you drink away, Nasty aka I'm living my life)

So, seeing Tiga was actually pretty great. I don't think I've had this much fun at Social ever. We danced nonstop for like 2 hours and he played most of the time while we were there. I'm not going to lie, but I was front-row and he kept smiling at me. He also said we could take a picture with him after the concert was done, all this from the stage haha. Tiga and I had a ~connection~. We would've stayed to make this picture a reality, but he still had not finished playing at 3:20 am, so we just left.

Saturday morning, I had a midterm! Good thing I started studying on Thursday. I stayed in all of Friday and studied all day. I stayed up basically all night to study, too, except for random 45 minute naps I kept taking. The exam was not at Sciences Po, but the Maison des Examens, a large building with a bunch of classrooms where students can take exams, on the outskirts of Paris. It takes about 15 minutes to get here by the RER, which is not part of the regular Paris metro system because it usually goes into the suburbs. What I find hilarious about this place it's that it's a large maybe 10-story gray building with large black letters that say "Maison des Examens" and it's so ominous, as in definitely foreshadowing EVIL THINGS TO COME! Everytime I see it or say its name, I think of the building as an establishment shot, in the night, rain, and thunder.

Like this. (This is the Addams Family House, btw haha)

Midterm was not hard at all. I feel like I overstudied, as usual. It was for my Réalités Internationales class, which is just International Relations. I met a gap-toothed Sciences Po cutie on the train. I lent him a pen, and now I really want to run into him at Sciences Po and ask him for my pen, his name...and his love, lol.

Saturday, I recovered from the midterm, ate, and slept. Saturday night was Laura's birthday, so we were off to her cute apartment in the Quartier Latin for a birthday shindig. They all live in a very cute and well-decorated apartment. My favorite quote of the night came from Robert D. Eisenhart III who said to me, "I'm crazier than you, but you get all the credit."

LOL maybe.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

the crazy woman from the library

I know I have written extensively about how the Sciences Po library doesn't have any resources, how there are countless books you cannot check out or that you have to wait up to two days to receive, or how it's hot, smelly, or how there are not enough places for students to study, or maybe how its staff refuses to acknowledge their own mistakes and blame them on you (a French trend, actually) etc, etc, but today, I write about something the library does not have many of and that is crazy people.

By this, I mean actually crazy people, or even hobos.

Back in 2007, Penn's library was frequented by a hobo who took the 4th floor movie rooms as his private quarters. I remember walking into one of the rooms to watch a movie for my film studies class and there was a man, with a number of plastic bags all over the floor, sleeping on the floor. I left the room and asked the student who worked there if I could have another room because someone seemed to be sleeping in there.

"He's still here?," she asked me, with a terrified look in her face. I said yes. She then said he had been coming over lately, so I asked her why they don't get him to leave. She said the library staff had tried but that the man had been violent and that there had been many incidents with him.

It's not that I want to be mean to hobos, but are you kidding me? I couldn't use a library facility because a hobo had taken it up as his private residence! I don't know if the university ever dealt with that. The university has to ask him to leave and if they do not ask him to because they are concerned with him, then they should set up a help center or something of the like.

ANYWAY, there are not many of those cases here at Sciences Po, from my experience. However, there is a rcazy woman who comes here almost everyday.

I've spotted her various times. She's of African descent, she wears like a towel wrapped around her head. She is always wearing a long coat, no matter how hot it is inside, or how warm the weather is outside. She is always wearing it. Then, she is always carrying a big shopping bag with herself. A purse and that shopping bag. On various occasions, I've seen her place that bag in the most inconvenient place, like in a corner where it obviously crosses the border into a student's working area. I figured that because she can get on the computers - which is all she does - that she must have a Sciences Po ID, but it is bizarre because this lady does not look like a student, she must be like 35-40, and she does not look like a teacher. I've never seen her check out books or anything. All she does is go online. She always looks like she rolled out of bed and came to check her email. She also stays here for hours on end!

But, the most bizarre part of it all is the fact that this lady is always carrying an empty plastic bag around her hand. When she finds a computer, she sits down, wraps the plastic bag around her hand, and types with it. What I don't understand is that she doesn't use two plastic bags for each of her hands...she only uses one for her right hand. She makes so much noise when she's typing because of that plastic bag! Is it fear of getting an infection or touching something that everyone else has touched that has led her to do this?!

If so, why would she only cover one of her hands and not both? Also, why the hell would she come to a library where there are a million students, all who could be carrying life-threatening diseases that could be spread with a single cough?!

To be honest, it also pisses me off, if she's not a student or a teacher, because she's using up our resources. The library barely even has seats for the people who go here, I don't know if computer access should be given to people who should be using it at home. There are cyber cafes everywhere, you know.

In any case, can she get her plastic bag away from here so that I can focus?!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Paris, pourquoi?

I complain about a lot of things all the time, and I complain about Paris and how things don't make sense here all the time. But, I don't want to go! I just looked at one of my friends' pictures from September and how beautiful the city looked back then: sunny, quaint, and warm. This reminds me of the fact that it's going to start to get like that once again soon. It's already much warmer and sunnier, with the occasional shower. It's so nice to be out these days, and I realize that I don't know if I'll ever have the chance to live in this city ever again. I'm truly lucky for this opportunity.

But, then I go back to reality and look at the clock and see it's 1:20 AM and that I have an essay due in a couple of hours, and that I have class at 8 AM. Class from 8 AM - 10 AM, then work from 10:30 AM - 6 PM and then class from 7:15 PM - 9:15 PM, so I'm probably not going to get much sleep and I'm only going to get back home at around 10 PM.

A friendly reminder that things in Paris aren't as great as they seem. School sucks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A bottle of wine is a lifestyle

I've been working on an assignment for the last week and I can't bring myself to do it. I don't even know why. I have basically most of the research done, and all I need to do is really start thinking and put it together. I also have a midterm this coming Saturday. The problem is that I work too much. I am getting burnt out. No one wants to work for 8 hours and then go to the library and work some more. I feel like I've been doing the bare minimum this semester to get by. I devoted so much time to assignments last semester, because I still didn't know how things had to be done and because to be honest, I had a lot of free time. I didn't want to spend money, and I didn't have internet at home, so I would spend the whole day at the library. Granted, I would procrastinate for at least 40% of the time, but the other 60% would be spent getting some kind of work done.

This isn't happening this semester.

I got through one of my first assignments of the semester without making much of an effort. I still did well. I also got through some other assignments with minimal effort, but didn't study for a french quiz recently, and I basically failed it. Even by Penn standards - extremely generous for study abroad students - I didn't do well. I don't know how much of my grade is determined by this, but it upset me. I just completely forgot I had that quiz. Anyway, so, I'm really not so good at verb tenses in french and you know why? Because I speak spanish. I translate and when I translate, I get the wrong verb. SPANISH, YOU ARE BOTH A BLESSING N A CURSE!

Anyway, now for fun times.

Friday was for drinks at Nastasja's and L'Urgence, a hospital-themed bar around St Michel where you get drinks in baby bottles. Unsanitary? Yes. Fun? A little.

I also recently went on a date to Canal Saint-Martin. The date wasn't the greatest, but the places we went to were amazing! I vowed to return with da gurlz and recreate the date, but without my date. To be honest, can company get any better than KMH and Nasty? Not really. By the way, I spotted my actual date from last week as we strolled around this area. I hid in a store. He probably saw me anyway, but hahah it was childish but I don't really care.

First up, Strasbourg St-Denis and around that random gate that pidgeons hang out at. So many stalls sell fresh fruit around there at really good prices, but I'm not going to lie, it's a bit hood and is probably really dangerous at night. We went to a moderately-priced vintage store around that area, and then went off to Canal Saint-Martin for a nice afternoon stroll with some water bottles and madeleines in hand.

We walked around a really cool, hipster art book store, Artazart.
We browsed fashion and photography books, until we got tired and headed towards Chez Prune for some drinks. They have good sangria pitchers for about 10 euros, and you can get one glass for three people. So, it's really 3.3 euros per person for a glass of sangria, which isn't bad at all at least for Paris. They have really cute lamps and a nice, laid-back crowd, cute service.

(Chez Prune on the side there, with N and KMH. Thank you, Davey for the picture!)

When we left the bar, IT STARTED POURING SO MUCH. I am not talking about a light shower, I'm talking about hardcore rain. I wasn't carrying an umbrella, as always, and I got extremely wet.

Then, indian food at Passage Brady. On that note, Indian food is the biggest rip off in Paris. The smallest portion of palak paneer you've ever seen in your life will cost 8 euros, and you pay for rice separately, which is 3 euros for the smallest portion ever. If you want to get a nan, that is 3-4 euros for a small piece of nan, and your grand total is 15 euros and you are not even that full. Never doing that again. Then it was off to a party we weren't really invited to, but great times ensued. I got home at 5 am. Are you serious?

I went grocery shopping today and made myself a tuna melt. This is my biggest accomplishment thus far. It will probably be the only thing I accomplish today.

to the mediterranean

End of february and beginning of march were for traveling.

First, it was London. Then it was Aix-en-Provence for a lovely time at Martin's house. Then it was Morocco. One day in Casablanca and three days in Marrakesh. We stayed in two really nice hotels in both Casablanca and Marrakesh where I feel like we all got so much more than we paid for. Breakfast was included, beautiful and spacious rooms, great service for very affordable prices. Hotel Central in Casa and Riad Dar Aalsad in Marrakesh. Honestly, a trip I will never forget and a place I'd visit again. I'd even move there!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The more I live, the more I realize that I only do me, and I keep it real.

More updates on Paris, Aix-en-Provence, and my first Moroccan adventure coming soon!

But, first: commentaires and exposes.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I have nothing pretentious to say today. I have no elevated language or sophisticated vocabulary to share with you today. All I have to say is that cold weather makes me sad.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

the truth is...

that being back at school is terribly uninspiring...I've developed the nasty habit of ruminating over things (should I buy milk tomorrow? Do I have work today? Did I check my email? Is my blackberry blinking because I got an email or is that the reflection? I should probably drink more water...I should also probably buy a lightbulb and stop using candles in the bathroom) that I have not done and should do, or things that I am about to do. I try to go to bed early, seeing as I have early classes, but I spend hours just tossing and turning, trying to fall asleep, and no success. Finally, I succumb and get online or write on this blog. It all started in October...anxiety doesn't let me sleep, thinking of all the things I have to do at some point.

Knowing I have to wake up at 7 AM, walk for 5 blocks to the metro in the freezing darkness for an 8 AM philosophical soliloquy takes the fun out of sleeping.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

la rentrée in the city of dimming lights

Technical note: I changed the layout of this blog. I am aware that it looks messy and that the header I put at the top isn't large enough and it just looks a bit awkward. The reason why I changed the previous really minimalistic and clean layout was because it only took maybe 20% of the display, with info about me and followers taking the other 20% and leaving 60% of the page blank. It was starting to make things look weird and driving me insane. It makes it impossible for pictures to be embedded in the text and for you to post actually long things. Enough about this. On the picture, it is Louise Brooks, an American silent film actress who actually pioneered the bob haircut. She was in a Pabst film I really liked, Pandora's Box (1929).

In other news, this week was awful. School has officially started again. Last semester I had classes in the afternoon and for some reason, I decided to give more 8 AM classes a try. Bad idea. Try listening to a philosophical conversation on what is sacred at 8:10 AM. I also got a pretty bad cold/flu that has developed into a nasty cough, as usual, so actually, try listening to a philosophical conversation of any kind at 8 AM with sinus pressure exploding, a headache, a runny nose, etc. Impossible.

I'm also working a couple of hours a week. I really hope I can actually handle working and studying full time. I wish there was a bus I could take directly from St Germain des Pres (where Sciences Po is) to Censier Daubenton, where I work.

Thursday night, we had drinks at Nastasja's. When I say drinks, I really just mean cheap wine. The night ended with a stop by St Michel to get some greasy food. You can get these huge cones of fries for 2 euros. It's horribly unhealthy and probably the worst thing you could eat, but I was really in the mood and hey, the product has a really good price to value ratio. On Friday night, I went out for drinks with KMH and her friend at Frog and the Rosbif, an apparently extremely popular pub by Etienne Marcel. I accompanied them to sushi and learned that my favorite sushi dish, salmon on top of rice, is called Chirashi. Then I was off to Pause Café in the Bastille-Charonne area. We got carded there. We got carded for the first time since I've been in Paris. I didn't even remember what it felt like. Nastasja and I were in utter shock. It was a really awkward moment for us. Do we look 16,17? When we reached in for our IDs - which I'm pretty sure I wasn't even carrying with me - the waiter was like "no, it's fine, if you have it, it's good." Excuse me? As in, excusez-moi?!?! After that, we headed to Le Motel to celebrate a friend's birthday which was really fun but it closed at like 1:40 am.

BlackBook (the french equivalent of Time Out) describes Le Motel as,
"at the moment the indie place to be in Paris. Packed nightly with super-cute, razor cut, local hoodie hipsters who come to hear their DJ friends and the occasional live band. But by the time you read this, the scene may have migrated somewhere, leaving you and a bunch of other confused Americans in its wake. Or maybe not..."

On whether it is a hipster hotspot, I guess it is? But the place is pretty gross-looking. It's very grunge-y, I guess, which is fine. The music is great though. I stole this picture from their myspace.

N & I felt really adventurous and economical so we waited for the night bus. It took like 15 minutes to come, but it was only a 10 minute ride to Chatelet. Chatelet is kind of like the center of public transport. Most lines pass by that metro station and it's known by its hoodness. You wouldn't want to be there by yourself at 12 AM. It's not too safe. We had a very surreal experience on the bus. This couple got on at one stop, then this guy who seemed to be a hobo. All of a sudden, they burst into song and dance. The woman produces a flute out of nowhere and she starts playing a song. I didn't know the song and I'm pretty sure they were all singing in arabic, including the hobo who started dancing. He was so drunk, I don't know how he managed to keep on going. Next thing you know, the whole back of the bus, including us, was clapping and chanting along. All of this at around 2:30 AM. I took a really dark and blurry picture of it with my blackberry.

You can see a blurry hand on the left, that's the hobo's hand. I'll call him sir, because I feel bad what if he's not a hobo? Right at the center is the woman with the flute. On the side, some guy who I think was playing some sort of makeshift musical instrument? So surreal and random. One of those paris memories I'll cherish.

The night ended with a dash through the rain up to Nastasja's where I decided to stay because I was too far from home.

Saturday was for grocery shopping and an attempt at cleaning and lots of America's Next Top Model. Saturday night got started a bit late, included drinks at N's with KHM and her friend, a brief cameo by Dave and his friend, and a night out on the Oberkampf/Parmentier area. We had all been wanting to go to this club/bar called Alimentation générale. We got there at around 1 am - late - and there was a huge line outside. We were told we would have to wait 30 minutes. We tried, UFO, another bar, and we were told we couldn't go in anymore. We tried Le P'tit Garage, we got in, got a table for four, and stood up to order drinks. We stood in line waiting to get some wine for almost 10 minutes and right when we make it up front, the bartender, who had previously winked at me, just screamed that "C'EST FINI" and turned off the music. Frustration. We walked to L'Orange Mécanique (which is A Clockwork Orange, a place that's nowhere as cool as the movie or as the Molokko bar that you'd think they'd try to imitate but they're not as inventive - take a look at the pictures comparison) and it was closed. We continued onto the next street, went into a random bar: closed. Walked into another place and it was still open. We got some wine, thought about the implications of ordering mojitos but ended up not doing so, and the bar was closed 2 minutes after.


The night was over at 2 AM. A Paris night out was done at 2 AM. What is wrong with this city? If you don't go to a club, you have to assume you'll be going home at 2 AM. The worst part is that the metro closes around 1:30 AM on weekends. You can take a night bus, but you'll probably have to wait up to an hour at 3 AM for it to pick you up - that is if you find one around you that will take you around where you live. You can also take a cab, but after the metro closes, all of them are taken. Your best bet is to call one, and pay extra because you're asking them to pick you up.

There was an article about this on the NYTimes recently, "Revelers See a Dimming in a Capital's Nightlife" and it explains why the city dies early: "densely packed, mixed-zoned neighborhoods; a lack of late-night transportation (the last metro leaves at 2 a.m. on the weekends, 1 a.m. during the week); and an unwieldy tangle of rules and regulations on bars and nightclubs, applied with uncommon zeal by a “repressive” police force."

Another reason why a Paris night is done at 2 AM, "The police have lately, for instance, begun enforcing a long-overlooked law requiring establishments to hold a “night authorization” permit in order to stay open past 2 a.m., an annual license that club owners say is difficult to obtain."

Paris night out fail.

So, instead of dancing/drinking the night away, my friends and I ate the night away outside a popular crepe and panini spot on Rue St Maur, 11th arrondissement. I got a cheese + mushrooms crepe that was amazing. I also ravaged part of a nutella + banana crepe. I never get sweet crepes, but it was amazing.

“Paris, it’s not the City of Lights anymore,” Mr. Dechambre said. “It goes to sleep at 11.”

Monday, February 1, 2010

the week I got to be a tourist/girl

I discovered make-up at 20. I got a blackberry four years after everyone got it, and I also discovered Paris a good 4 months after getting here.

I finally got to be a tourist this week. With school a week away, I took some time off to actually enjoy the city and see things that I hadn't seen before or do things that I usually claim to be too busy to do.

First, I went to the Pere Lachaise cemetery, located kind of near my house. As in, maybe four metro stations away on the same line. I took an afternoon off to pay a tribute to Jim Morrison and the rest of Paris's creme de la creme.

Interesting fun fact is that Paris's cemetery used to be located in central Paris, but new laws in the 1800's dictated that that wasn't that clean, so they opened one "outside" Paris. As Paris grew, the cemetery became enveloped in the town. It's still east of central Paris, but definitely within the city's bounds.

I had a moment with Jim Morrison's grave. I really hated how people kept hogging his grave. I think the only reason why they go is to see his grave and they've probably heard "Light My Fire" and "Riders of the Storm". Sometimes I feel so cliche liking him this much, because everyone else likes him too, and they know who he is even if they're not big fans. He's not an obscure idol to like. He's just really fascinating. The summer before I went to college, I spent a long time (the electricity was getting cut for 7 hours a day) reading books about The Doors (like My Life with the Doors by Ray Manzarek) and watching everything I could about The Doors. Yes, I watched the movie with Val Kilmer. Yes, I was in love with Val Kilmer in that movie. He makes you love Jim but hate him at the same time. Anyway, I then went on to listening to "An American Prayer" which was an album they released posthumously, well for Jim, that is. It's bit of his poetry, still not sure what I think of it, but as lyrics, they're great, so it's his poetry with music from The Doors. It was finished after Jim's death and it's supposed to be poetry he recorded before he died with a jam session by the other musicians. It's quite glorious, it's exciting to hear. It's like 60 minutes or so of pure entertainment. You don't want to skip any of it. "Ghost Song" and "An American Prayer" are my favorites. It's deep and you just want to lie down and listen to it on repeat.

On Pere Lachaise, some graves were truly beautiful, but there was something strange about being by myself at a cemetery. There was no one there and I'm pretty sure if I had stayed longer I would've gotten frostbite. I saw a real burial taking place there, too. People were crying and saying "merci d'etre venu." My mom says you always have to shower after going to a wake. I wondered for a while if I should shower after visiting it. I didn't, but it crossed my mind that I should have. I think it has something to do with karma? I'm not sure.

That same day, I met up with Katherine at this bar/cafe called L'imprevu. It's the unexpected, kind of. Actually, unforeseen. Katherine Mary Hayes had said they had really good chai there and she was right. I feel like going there often, but the chai goes for 4 euros and I am poverty-town. We had a cup and then I sat and read. Dave popped in later. I went home and made rice and beans.

Notice that I'm now reading. This is The Wild Things by Dave Eggers. Someone said it's on the bestseller list of the NYT. It's so good so far. I think it's based on Where the Wild Things are. I miss reading for fun. I miss reading that I actually want to do and have no deadlines for.

This weekend was also ladies weekend. Martin and Dave were gone, so the girls took over. This doesn't happen often and I usually find myself the only girl among a sea of guys. Not this weekend though.

We watched the State of the Union on Thursday, I believe. Friday was pre-game at Nasty's and party at Sydney's. Sydney described her party as "debauchery" and she said baby jesus wept. What else could you want? The party she had was in honor of her new roommate, Lily. We miss Nathan.

Saturday was ladies night. Pre-game at Nasty's and then La Cantoche and Social club. All in the Sentier area.

I hadn't been to Social in ages, but it wasn't as trashy as I remember it to be. Just a tad. We met two girls, one french and one spanish. The spanish one met this nicaraguan girl at a summer camp! I guess Exeter's small. We danced for a good kind of sweaty time.

This was the lineup:


DJ DEEP (Deeply Roated House Records / FR)

23h / 15 euros

We didn't pay to get in though! Thank you, N.

asia 2010: singapore and phuket

This trip was a much welcomed break from the cold weather. I am truly lucky. I've been blessed, je pense.

the holidays

Paris for Christmas (with the family and an adorable apartment on 21 rue de Malte, near Republique), New Year's in London (family + fireworks), and Venice with dad and co.

Venice is above. I will say something...first time in Italy and it was really nice, but the food did not impress me. I had one good eggplant parmigiana there and that was the extent of it. I don't know if I'm more picky of an eater than I previously thought, but I wasn't impressed. Venice was rainy and really cold all the time. I think I didn't get the best impression of it. The last day we were there, it was the only sunny day. Beautiful day, but everything's really touristy and you get the feeling no one real lives there. It's like a tourist town. No one speaks italian except for your waiters and your boat drivers.

I had fried mozzarella one day. That was great. Orange juice there was awesome and caffe lattes. It was great to be with my family, though.

I got back to Paris on January 4th and proceeded to study for finals, or attempt to. Had them on the week of Jan 12th, then on Jan 13th. One was hard, one was easy. I still don't know what grades I got and something tells me I won't find out, maybe ever.

Then, January 15th, my big asian extravaganza.

you forgot

For someone who claims to love writing, I really sure forget this thing exists. I swore that I would keep it going back in November, but I just don't put in the effort and I'm not sure why. I suddenly have internet, which isn't really true, I'm semi-stealing the signal, but it has changed my life.

I just want to do a photo review of the second part of 2009 (the best part). Just to get this out of the way and start fresh with some mo' material.

Pictured on the side: Euro Disney trip at the beginning of the year with Martin, Dave, Nasty, and Ignacio...

life at the cite universitaire - picnic at the cite - the view from my building and my family in paris in december.

This doesn't come close to describe the time I have spent here so far, and it doesn't describe the fun I've had and the people I've met and my love/hate relationship with all things french.

I've realized french cuisine isn't as great as we all thought it would be. I have discovered a newfound love for fries and mayonnaise. I also really like sole with butter sauce. I love paves de saumon with whatever they give me, herb butter sauce. I also really like tarte tatins. I love croissants and pains au chocolat. I love crepes with cheese and mushrooms. I really like crepes with anything. I've also discovered that salmon is the best thing that happened to food.

Here's to a new year and hopefully, a continuously updated blog.