Saturday, March 29, 2008

A way to spend a glamorous saturday night in Paris

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CChip Zuc Bread:

Makes 2 loaves

You’ll need: 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • a treat wouldn't be a treat without chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, shift flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar together.

In a separate bowl whip eggs until foamy, add in oil and follow with zucchini and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into dry until well combined. Fold in cchips.

Divide batter equally in 2 standard greased loaf pans. Bake for 45 min - 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. Alternatively, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes or 24 muffin tins for 20-25 minutes.



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My roommate and I have started running. It all started with a dreary Saturday morning in Paris and ended with a 35 minute run on the banks of the Seine. Not bad for scenery, right? I felt marvelous as my legs kicked into stride, and even though it was a slow jog it made me feel wonderful. It's what being alive and part of the winter thaw is all about.  The stretching my legs after months of being cooped inside because of the cold, is so amazing.

I used to be a self-proclaimed anti-runner, but last summer as I decided to loose a bit of weight; I jumped on the  bandwagon.  More like I huffed, puffed and trudged onto the bandwagon, but I got running. I lived next to this adorable little park in Boston called The Fenway and it was so nice to be able to do a couple laps around the park and mosey on home.  In Paris, we're obligated to go out and find a place to run as our neighborhood isn't the ideal place for hitting the pavement.

First day out, we did the Seine near Notre Dame and then the next time we did the Tuileries in front of the Louvre and also the first part of the Champs Elysée. Today, we tackled the canal area, running past Republique et all the way to Bastille. It was nice and the Canal is going to be great in the summer. And by great I really mean AMAZING - all caps, full on.

Running has become a great way to see the city. We've found new nooks each time we've been out. Though we look pretty hot doing it. And by hot I mean NOT AT ALL. We look like New Jersey housewives with our cropped capris, oversized t-shirts and puffed vest. As we schelp around the streets of Paris where everyone looks gorgeous in every shade of black imaginable, we can only laugh at ourselves and how awful we must look - but whatever it's always a good time.

We are thinking of running a 10k. This could get messy, but hey - as long as messy includes loosing a few pounds; I'm prepared. :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Northeastern News Article

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This is another thing I wrote for the Northeastern News; it was published today. Enjoy!
Editor's note: This letter was submitted before Easter and therefore discusses the holiday in the future tense.  
I've been a practicing vegetarian for nearly three years, but this year for Easter I will be, strangely enough, roasting a rack of lamb. Call it tolerance, call it bad luck or even call it homesickness. Somewhere between 11:30 p.m. and midnight Thursday my roommates and I decided we needed to have an Easter meal for our group of friends abroad here in Paris, and that of course included: a rack of lamb.

I'm not even religious, but I still get excited when I see splendorous holiday tchotchies lining the windows near each appropriate holiday. Oh yes, holiday delight is international, so there is never a worry about missing junk decorations (that, let's be honest, make us all smile inside).

This isn't the first dinner we've had in the sheer name of keeping things together and familiar. Last November, 35 of our collective friends gathered into my bedroom (cleared of all furniture and replaced with tables and chairs from various apartments) and gave thanks - some for the first time.  
That night we created something powerful, something a bit bigger than ourselves, as we gathered together on such a traditionally American holiday. One of the guys got to cut the turkey for the first time - a job typically reserved for the patriarch of his family.

A lot of times we've laughed at the idea of our expatriate community and the fact that we are pulling something together for the sake of normalcy that you get only when you smell your mom's best dish cooking in the oven. Yet, holiday after holiday, we are seen piecing together something our mothers and grandmothers would be proud of, searching for that same feeling we scoff at when we are feeling brave and a bit more removed.

No one wants to admit they are homesick. I haven't been home for Easter in four years, so I am not new to slightly burnt entrees and less-than-traditional presentations at the novice dinner table, but even so, I still wish I could spend every single holiday with my family.I guess you could say I've been slightly homesick for almost four years at this point.

It's a dull ache you deal with and sometimes you even roast a rack of lamb to numb it.

- Brittany Blackmon is an international business major on co-op in Paris. She is also the worst vegetarian ... ever.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joyeuses Pâques

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Paris Book Club

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I've also started a book club in Paris with a bunch of my friends. Because I'm really nerdy.

The list:
  • To have and have not
  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Anthem
  • A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
  • Prayer for Owen Meany
Other books that were suggested include:
  • Slaughterhouse Five
  • 3 cups of tea
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • The World According to Garp
  • Salt
  • 100 years of Solitude
  • Illiad
  • For One More Day
  • Shadow of the Wind

Friday, March 21, 2008

Petite Anglaise

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I went to a book reading the other night to hear a British blogger that has written a book inspired by her blog. It was a really good time as we were given glasses of champagne and then the opportunity to have our books signed.

You can check out her blog here.

I also bought a lovely copy of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It has gilded pages.

Classes, Coop Abroad : An Education

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Back in February, I wrote a letter to the editor at Northeastern News and my friend being the editor ;) they published it.
All-Hail: Northeastern News -

Classes, Co-op abroad: An education
I'm on day three of exams in France (that's five tests down and three more to go this week). I'm pretty sure the aching nausea that I've been carrying around for the last three weeks is starting to go away, but at this point of sleep deprivation and European treaty overload, nothing is certain. 
I came to Reims Management School about five months ago with two suitcases, an oversized backpack and no place to live. Fast-forward and you'll see me getting ready to move again in 3 days to Paris.

I love France and I love my school here. I love that when I walk through the hallways about three or four languages can be heard and the school is small enough that things aren't extremely overwhelming. But there's something even bigger than that: it's the camaraderie. It's the fact that every student here is going through what I'm going through right now, or went through it two years ago. There's a support system of students always ready to help out because they understand that things are difficult. I don't know how many of you are totally familiar with the Northeastern international business program, but it's one that gives students the opportunity to spend one to two years in a foreign partner school. We take the classes in the country's language, the exams in the country's language and to top it all off we do our co-op in the country's language.

Today, with two weeks until I start my co-op, I can honestly say I've completed more interviews in French than I have in English; I've been asked more ridiculous marketing interview questions in French than I have been asked in English; and I even have a job to go to in two weeks. I can officially only do accounting in French and you would think French and English accounting are very similar, but I can promise you they are not. I'm pretty sure I can only explain the Neo-Classics to you in French, and if you asked me to tell you when the Louisiana Purchase happened I would mention that Europe had its largest expansion in 2004.  
English words come a little slower today and my mind mingles French and English freely, with me just turning French words into English, and half the time I'm unsure what language I'm speaking.

I've studied more these last two weeks than I ever did at Northeastern and I've honestly never been challenged this much in my life. There's a joke here about some of the German students in our school who tend to know every answer to every question asked and walk around speaking in fluent French; if you know the date of an economic theory, you can bet that the German sitting next to you knows the date, the author and probably his date of birth and death. That's how nuts school is here.

Today, I took a three-hour exam and managed to fill out just six pages with my large sprawling handwriting; the French kid next to me had nine and looked to be going at a steady pace. I've never been so chock full of economic theory and European theory in my life, but that's pittance compared to what my European neighbors in class can spout out. They rattle off dates and places of treaties like it is second nature, they spout off economic theory like it is small talk and boy do they put my English to shame.

But I'm learning a lot and, hey, we get a chance to retake our exams in three months if we fail. Evidently, last year's American average was four retakes. I'm hoping to only have to do two. 
- Brittany Blackmon is a junior international business, French and marketing major and is studying abroad in France.

Monday, March 17, 2008


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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wow, I’m back

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It took us over a month for us to get Internet. We started the long process on February 12 and the little button on our livebox stopped blinking yesterday the 14th.

What a hassle.

But I'm here. In Paris. You've caught me at my pseudo one month anniversary and things have been happening at our little apartment.

First off, my apartment will be herein referred to as the Penthouse, because it takes me 7 flights of stairs to get there and it is wonderfully grand. I like it. My bed takes up my entire room so it is more like sleeping on the floor every night than anything. It is also incredibly low to the ground which makes it interesting. I like it though, and I fall asleep nestled between a garden of ikea flower. My room is cute.

The Penthouse is working out quite well. We are all interning at various parts in and out of Paris, and its been a whirlwind of commuting learning the ropes and settling in. I took a week off before I started my internship to grab so much needed rest. But I didn't end up resting too much. It was more getting things done, being hassled with Penthouse necessities and dealing with our sexy landlord.

My internship is great. I get to do all my work on a Mac which is brilliant and exciting and fun. I'm in charge of a lot of stuff that I am interested in and this week I really started to feel like I was getting a feel for the numbers. I'm doing search engine marketing coupled with affiliate marketing and then whatever else I can get my hands on. It's cool work and it's for an even cooler company. I dig it.

We've been baking a lot. Since we've moved in, we've made:
Pretty exciting stuff. We have a nice little oven and it is getting used all the time. Last night we had a little dinner party where we made a gorgeous lasagna and had some smashing salad.

Paris is different in a big way. When we were in Reims our little community was so close together and now were are spread out among the arrondissements of Paris. Its been interesting to see the effort we make to hang out and be together. Its inspiring in a community centric way and to be honest, I love it.