Friday, May 30, 2008

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Social Media in Plain English by Common Craft

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Registering for NU Classes

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I got an email two days ago, and I had to read it twice.  The first time my eyes kind bugged out of my head as I tried to comprehend what it said and what it meant both literally and conceptually.  The second time I read it I just felt nauseous. 

From my school:
"... I just wanted to send you a quick e-mail to remind you that registration for Fall 2008 classes is well underway.  I know that some of you are still debating whether to stay for the dual degree or not, but it may be wise to register for classes and drop them once you decide.  By the end of the week the Dean will be reviewing course enrollments and cancelling sections that have low enrollment.  This means that your options will be more limited (or sections will be full) if you wait."

I'm waiting on the results of two classes and it looks like I will be waiting till maybe mid-July.  So I did what I felt I needed to do: I complied.  But every part of me felt that it was wrong to do, this idea of "being safe" of "preparing for the worst" makes me want to die.  It makes me feel like a failure or that I'm planning on failing and for the record, I'm not, I'm not ready to call it quits.  I'm not ready to leave France.

I'm ready to stay for a second year, to improve my French and attack that 100 page memoir.  I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Even if I miss so many things about home, Boston and Edwin; I'm just not ready to go back.

If you like Lost

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My good friend Matt passed this along to me. . .

It is so funny that I nearly died.

For all of you in the States tonight enjoy the finale! I'M SO JEALOUS!

To have and have not

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For the first time in my life, I am disappointed with myself and reading.  I am a reader.  I love books and they play an integral part of my life.  I remember when I was a little girl, I would sleep with books under my pillow - reading until late into the night and then reading first thing in the morning.  I would devour books so much that my mom refused to buy them for me because I would finish them within the day, and she sent me packing along to the library where I fell even more in love with reading. 

I'm such a book nerd that I convinced my friends in Paris to do a book club, and so we began - each of us excited to share a book.  We were reading on the metro, the bus, the train and in parks around Paris; all working to finish the same book.  It was fascinating.

But being on my internship takes up a lot of time and sometimes I ended up just plain tired, and I was also trying to read four books at the same time. . . and so I failed. For the first time ever, I was the one who didn't finish my book.  I was the one who hadn't gotten through it all.  I remember in high school when we were assigned book I would have them read a week in advance. 

But I did eventually finish and I didn't do the book justice.  I think I was thrown off by the boat scenes, the fishing, and sometimes that plain violence in the book.  They say Hemingway writes things in a very clear and descriptive manner and he does so much that some of the scenes were utterly graphic.  If you have read this book, you cannot deny that you didn't feel his arm hurting after it was shot.  I was near sick when I read that scene. 

We had our first book club meeting and it was good.  Next meeting is next week, we will be going over Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land (which I loved ;-).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Purple Violets

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Purple Violets: the idea of being the same, but not, and also a wonderful film by Ed Burns. The premise of the movie is 4 friends  find each other after twelve years and they find that they are mere shadows of the color they once were as in Purple and Violet.

It's what we become, each year or interaction adding or taking away from us - from what we want to be or are.  Molding us into something entirely new, but keeping within ourselves, within who we are.  We change and grow, but are never entirely different nor the same.

Every time I see a friend from my year abroad, I am astonished to see how we are like cookie cutouts ourselves.  We started one way, but after baking came out entirely different.  The 5 years that have left us shadows of our young selves, but now older, open in a different way, but still open. 

I saw one of my closest friends from when I lived in France  this weekend and it was good.  She was the girl who would swim in public fountains with me and leap to a day at the cinema, seeing movie after movie and eating popcorn after popcorn.  You share a lot when you are young and alone.

It felt good to hang out this weekend.  I was totally comfortable, sitting, being and listening.  We biked in the rain for 12 km and it was glorious.  We remarked how we are too old to ride carnival rides without thinking of falling.

Everytime I meet one of my exchange friends, we talk about our year.  We talk about looking back at how terrifying it was.  How it's like living with an ulcer for a year - terrified that you are going to make a mistake and make someone unhappy or that for one mistake they will send you home.  How how much our parents must have trusted us and believed in us to let us go and live in the homes of total strangers.  How independant we became and how dependant we became on each other. That year was defined by so many good things, like the friendship we share and the inherent openness we share, because we know that it's hard to make friends and be alone.   We are now all scattered across the world, and we are; we are so many things.  We are going to be so many things, and connect with so many people, but still we share something, something that is ever the elephant in corner of my mind.

It took special people to decide at that young of age to go abroad alone.  I'm glad they are still in my life.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

I love holidays

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The French are notorious for their holidays.  I always knew that August was a crazy month for holidays, but never did I realize that the entire month of May is absolutely filled with days off.  It's wonderful.

Not that I don't like going to work.  I'm pretty obsessed with my internship, ok, I'm totally obsessed with my internship.  But still having to go to work only 2-3 days of the week is fantastic.  Today we slept in and awoke to a Paris still in tune with the most beautiful weather ever.

It is glorious.

You know what else is glorious? Commuting by bike.  I think I have mentioned velib before and how it is the most wonderful system ever.  I have my metro card that I signed up for a membership for my navigo on and so my metro and navigo card are one in the same - fantastic.  I can go up to any stand at any moment and just grab a bike to go and then when I'm done/tired/bored I can just put it back anywhere in the city. 

It takes me about 30 minutes to get to work by bike and honestly they are some of the most perfect 30 minutes I spend each day. On the way home if I get stuck at a light, I can look up and take in an amazing "Paris moment" as Sacre Coeur looks directly down at me and my only option is to pedal toward it.

These days I cringe at the sight of the metro.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Ending Sundays

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Its midnight and I should be sleeping.  But for some reason I can't will myself to shut my eyes and end such a lovely day.  Sundays are beautiful.  Paris is starting to become a balmy sanctuary and I am starting to adore it even more. Let's face it; I'm smitten with Paris.

It all started on Friday.  Convinced by my roommate that my head would explode if I studied any longer I took the evening off, got my eyebrows threaded and went on a bike ride with an end destination of Le Kitch. Le Kitch has an amazing drink called the Shrek, a green and goopy refreshing ogre like substance, but wonderfully frozen and oh so tasty.  Its like a frozen mojito.  We are currently so obsessed with them that we went back on Saturday for happy hour.  Nothing beats $5 Shreks on a warm day.  And it had been a wonderfully warm day where we studied in the park and then went for more bike rides on velibs. I had 3 Shreks! We then took our bikes and rode to Sacre Coeur to watch the sunset, but our Shreks had made us a little slow and we missed the sunset, we sat on the hillside anyway; because one doesn't need a reason to admire the Paris skyline. 

Oh Sunday brunch, how I love thee. My favorite day of the week/ meal is Sunday brunch.  Today was divine.  The sun was shining and we went to a new place.  I love new places. Something about finding a place that plays fun music, is on the canal and has a delicious veggie bagel sandwich makes my week. And even though I had to come home and study after brunch, the windows being all open and the sunlight streaming in the apartment made it ok. Made me realize that I should be indoors anyways because I burn lobster red if I'm out for too long.  So brunch made do.  I got my RDA of biking, sun and delicious food in. . . all at once and all with friends. 

We had Indian delight for dinner and then one of my favorite desserts: fruit pizza.

Now its time for bed and tomorrow I have to wake up study some more and go take my test.  Somewhere in the back of my head I'm reasoning that if I don't fall asleep tomorrow won't happen and I won't have to end my perfect Sunday (even if it might be monday already). I've got 6 more hours in Texas. Denial is one of the most innocent states of being.

I could deny Monday forever.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

IBWE 2008: Shalalalaa

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Last weekend I went on an adventure of grandiose proportion: IBWE 2008.  IBWE stands for International Business Weekend and is meant as a way for students from across partner schools to gather together, have a great time and interact through sports/team spirit and to win the Coup d'Ambiance.

The trajectory:   
Thursday: Paris, France -> Reims, France -> (small stop in Luxembourg to pick up Germans) Frankfort, Germany -> Kerry, Ireland -> Cork, Ireland

Monday: BACK!

On Thursday night, my roommates and I grabbed our assorted luggage and sent ourselves back to Reims to go to one of the only clubs in Reims, Soa.  What transpired after was both hilarious and exhausting.  We took the 45 minute TGV back to our wonderful oasis of Reims and were welcomed by a committee of our student council.   They made us sing songs, cheered for us and were downright amazing.  Then we went to the club and it was so much fun to see everyone and partake in old jokes and make new ones! We danced, laughed, and had a fantastic time.  Then it was 3 am and time to load up on the bus to get to the Frankfort airport.  Because you know it is always necessary to go to Frankfort to get to Ireland if you are starting from Paris.

Friday, we continued our 12ish hours of traveling and got to our destination Trabolgan (an Irish camping resort) and the festivities began!  Every year it is the tradition for each school to have a relay team to get to the IBWE destination.  It is an amazing endeavor that takes a ton of work and also a great level of dedication to coordinate, find sponsorship for and  actually partake in (I'm planning on participating next year).  Our team was amazing and they brought spirit, a sense of fun and an overall surprise to this year's relay!  They had told everyone they would be swimming to Ireland (of course they didn't) but they biked to Bretagne and back and then went on the journey with us.   But then once we got to IBWE they went off and later we found out that they were arriving by BOAT!  They had rented a boat and came in with a wondrously glorious entrance on top of waves and overall with undoubted panache.


We have a school haka.  Inspired by the All Blacks and a bit by Missy Elliot . . we have a school haka that we all get together and grunt, yell, whoop and smack our arms to in unison.  I have never been a great possessor of school spirit, but IBWE seems to bring out something in me that gets me gloriously spirited.  I was wearing my gaulois horns the entire weekend, rarely ever took off my gaulois sweatshirt and t-shirt, and sang la Marseillaise as loud as the next person.


Friday night was the video competition.  You can see ours below.  I can promise you it is class. Watch them both.  It is a part 1, part 2 kind of deal.

One friday night, the theme party was "childhood heros".  My penthouse roomies and I had got to thinking the week before that it might be AWESOME to dress up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles.  I
can promise you it was.  I was Donatello, the smart one ;).  The night was so much fun, we danced, posed, did ninja kicks and had a wonderfully excellent time.


Day two brought teaching the French a thing or two about the favorite American pastime: Flipcup.  That night the party was a headphone disco.  We got to switch between two competing DJ's as they worked through their mixes and we worked through our mixers. 

Sunday morning were the sports competitions and our own Penthouse Ciara scored a goal for the ladies soccer team! Woot!  It was also the time we did an amazing group haka. . .in true All Black's style to intimidate the Old Boys volleyball team!  That night was a pirate party! I have never laughed so hard trying to pose with my roommates like we were in a boat or whilst sword fighting.   We didn't win the Coup d'Ambiance, but we definitely put in our best effort.


That morning I woke up to get on our 6am bus, still a little buzzed from the night before. . . and still dancing.

Next year, I am on the committee to plan IBWE, and I have got to admit we have our work cut out for us.  I have never seen a group of 200 drunken international students been corralled cross countries and to different events... flawlessly.  This year's BDE, MadMix, has done amazing work, and I can honestly say I'm proud to have been able to see them do such a great job.  We like to say they are superhumans, but even more I just think they are just superbly wonderful, kind and extraordinary people.