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"Nobody said it was easy/ it's such a shame for us to part..." [Jun. 16th, 2007|12:14 am]
celiatravels
[Current Location |my bed]
[Current Mood |nostalgicnostalgic]
[Current Music |'Rush of Blood to the Head' album - Coldplay]

Before jumping into the plane (or, rather, rushing like mad for a connecting flight that then decided to be atrociously late)...I was fortunate enough to get to say an in-person goodbye to [some of] my Parisian friends!

We met in Café Beaubourg, right next to the Centre Pompidou museum of modern art.

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(no subject) [May. 29th, 2007|03:23 pm]
celiatravels
Today I:
  • was not at the Gare du Nord -- bleary-eyed and half-asleep this morning at the ungodly hour of 6am -- to leave for England with 70 squirrelly nine-year-olds. Score.  It might've been cool to have a free trip to England (although having to herd children around might've been LESS cool); but I ended up having to cancel (which they were pissed about) at the last moment for school obligations...
  • went to class
  • went to the library, which lamely was CLOSED >:o
  • worked on orgo nonetheless
  • ate delicious food
  • noodled around for far too long on the internet. Old habits die hard
  • took a concentrated cranberry-gunk capsule for...a maybe bladder infection.  Jogger's hematuria?  Why am I posting this here.
  • drank a million liters of caffeine-free tea, accordingly followed by a million trips to the loo.
Tomorrow I will:
  • run.  Even though I probably shouldn't.  I am addicted
  • make lunch for my friends!
  • begin packing, synonymous to The Dread Of Celia
  • stuuuuuddddddddddddddy and finish that effing paper
  • ask my mom to schedule: dental appt., and an appt. for some bonding time between my hair and my hair lady Jenica. It has been faaaaaar too long.
  • email M. Leduc, call M. Tranchier, email Mme Woisard, text Santarpia, possibly swing by Secretariat for Phys Humaine
  • CALL PSU FOR CLASSES AAAAGH -- calc, stats, orgo
  • email Reed profs for...prof overrides so I can actually have a fall schedule -- physics, bio sem, biochem, bio section, IP
  • send postcards to OMSI people to make nice and butter them up to give me a job during the cadaver exhibit.  Haaaaaa
  • go to sleep at a reasonable hour
I love:
  • French
  • languages
  • choir and piano. Art -- making and beholding
  • MY FRIENDS!  Dany, Xavier, Greg, Gwen, Pauline, Deborah, Frédérique, Mouloud, Ilannah, Shoshannah, Alexie, Naima, Erica, Hondjack, Alden, Louis-Germain, Mohamed, Enoch, Raphael (Lepeu and Lalou), Kelou, Forum Etudiant kids, the Temime family, the Lepeu family, Solensi directors, everyone at choir......and everyone back in the States, of course
  • being responsibility-free! (Ha! When is that...)
  • summer! Food! Fresh fruit!
  • research!
  • being a bio dork
  • Reed! Portland! PARIS!
  • you
xoxo
Cel
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Ahem. [May. 26th, 2007|01:01 am]
celiatravels
So maybe I lied.  Cus... I'm actually writing in this thing again.  Mostly it's for my mum.


The urge came to me today to draw.  It's a study of sorts for the painting I want to do for my host family -- who knows if I'll actually get around to it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lately I've been trying to figure out if I've changed that much, or at all, since being abroad.  I have the overwhelming impression that no, I haven't really.  Perhaps a few billion of my cells have died and been replaced by new ones (bizarre to fathom, no?  I'm not the same person materially as I was seven years ago) -- but somehow I still feel I'm the same essence in this skin.  Maybe that isn't such a bad thing, but there's this perpetual internal propulsion in me aspiring to self-betterment (which, admittedly, is sometimes tempered by occasional sloth).

We really do only have such a finite period, a blink of an eye, on this little spinning ball of green, and I can't help but wonder sometimes if I'm making the most of it, doing it right.  Maybe I should relax and stop thinking about it so much -- I've had an incredible year, learned about and seen incredible pieces of art, maybe improved my French a bit, tinkered around with bio and chem subjects, forged meaningful relationships with lovely lovely people.

Now: back to work!  Maybe.  Or maybe running first.  Mainly I need to take care of administrative crap before it eats me alive.
Chow.
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(no subject) [May. 24th, 2007|11:44 am]
celiatravels
Just deleted a bunch of entries. 
Hunch I have dwindling readership; I may well stop posting here for a bit.  I think I'm sort of a nomadic blogger of sorts, in that I never stay an extended period with any given journal-thing.
Chow.
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Relief, stress, relief, stress [May. 23rd, 2007|11:36 am]
celiatravels
Ahhhh, where to begin.


Relief : DONE with art history and Physiologie Humaine!  Sweet!
Relief :  ten (beautiful! splendific!) full days to...
  • study study study: organic chemistry final!  Agghh, the death of Celia.  Perhaps this should go under the "stress" heading.  At least I have ample time for hard-core review.
  • write papers for neuroscience class and clinical psych; study for neuroscience final.  I did surprisingly well on last test for how much I'd studied; I could possibly score even higher (hehhhhhhhh) if I decided to study more.  The truly satisfying thing about grades of late is that (and I know self-comparison to others is TERRIBLE) despite being American and not having classes in my native tongue, my work and grasp of the material is still somehow above par. 

In other news... (more on post-university plans)
So, lately (and redundantly) I have been obsessing about the possibility of doing a Fulbright program after Reed, and basically I would give my left nut (err, if I had one?) to do the prog at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan.  NOW, however, as I have been in contact with former-Reedie-turned-ENS-research-scientist Bianca some more, she has told me about an even MORE amazing-sounding program, which I could MAYBE finagle via Fulbright as far as funding is concerned:  the Erasmus Mundus Masters program in molecular nano- and biophotonics for telecommunication and biotechnologies.  Students spend a semester in Paris taking classes at ENS, a semester in Madrid, a semester in Wroclaw [!!!!!! POLAND!!!!! My grandma would be THRILLED], with the last semester spent doing research back at ENS.  And the course sequence page makes me salivate.  And FREAKING A, I would get to learn Spanish and Polish, not to mention being back in Europe -- how freaking sweet!??!!?!!?!!!!

Even if it'd postpone my MD/PhD application for a bit, I think it would be SO WORTH IT, because frankly I don't mind being a student forever (and, can we say "advantage-on-MCATs"?).  It is a position in life that I quite enjoy, and I don't really see the need to "get a job" very soon (having a certain job title by a certain age is a bit extraneous anyway, I have decided, especially if I'm ENJOYING what I'm doing); and besides, I think having a bunch of studies under my belt will afford me greater possibilities for jobs down the road anyway. 

Okay, that's it for now; I'm taking off.  Toodles.

Mucho amor a todos.
Celly
xoxo


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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Med school. Dinner party. Etc. [May. 4th, 2007|07:46 am]
celiatravels
After class today I wandered into the medical school of Univ Paris 5 - René Descartes and it is ohmygaw wow.  I decided to inquire as to how it might work for an American to go to med school there.  So far it seems somewhat complicated but at least feasible; in any case, I need to get in touch with a Monsieur Bernard, the dude in charge of international student stuff.  Sadly, I will most likely end up staying in the States (or maybe not SO sadly; New York is a place that speaks to me at the moment) for the rest of my formal education...but I would like to at least explore options and the possibility of doing it here.

I'm off to run momentarily, but in the meantime I present you with photos from a 'dinner party' I threw last Tuesday.  On the menu:
  • Baked white fish (very lean, and I don't know the name of it because it's in French!) w/ tomatoes, onions, olive oil, basil & oregano
  • Green bean salad
  • Spiced baked sweet potato wedges
  • Artisan multi-grain bread
  • Steamed veggies, grilled eggplant and bell peppers with olive oil drizzled on top
  • Dessert -- pineapple, kiwi, muscat grapes; plus, some people brought Turkish Delight and Parisian macaroons!
  • Endless amount of wine. Haha.  How French





Gosh it gives me such pleasure to cook for people I love!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Anyway, it is high time for me to go change and get my booty to the running trails; it has been a few centuries since last I went.  Then it is study time till bedtime.  This weekend, too, will be spent in its entirety, I think, at the Centre Pompidou library, which I JUST NOW discovered; too bad I didn't realize its awesomeness earlier.

Goodbye everyone!
Oh, actually, before I go: I have changed my mind again.  As much as I miss certain people and aspects of Portland, I really do want to stay in Paris forever.  They shall have to drag me kicking and screaming like a two year old to the plane this June.  Uuuuuuuuuuuuugggggghhhhhhhhh.
Mwah.
xoxoxoxo
Celia
 
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I interrupt the THRILL of my packing to bring you... [Apr. 26th, 2007|05:12 pm]
celiatravels
Er.  An update on the moving situation.
I am moving to...the Champs Elysées!  ANDANDAND coincidences among coincidences, I'll be a stone's throw away from someone I am fond of hanging out with.  Ah, convenience.  And possibly ritziness.  Aaaaanyway, I have made, like, zero headway in this packing business, so I should get on that.
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Home! [Apr. 15th, 2007|05:09 pm]
celiatravels
Or...in Paris, at least.
For how much time I spent atrophying in trains, buses, airports and airplanes today, I really should be much more exhausted.  Somehow I have mustered the energy to put up photos.








Quel beau voyage. :-)
...and I miss Israel already :-( but am still basking in euphoria for my good fortune to have been able to go, and to have spent the time with such lovely, lovely people.
Bisous and much affection,
xoxo
Célia
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In Israel!!! [Apr. 8th, 2007|10:20 pm]
celiatravels
That's right, THREE exclamation marks. 
I don't really have time for a very detailed update since I'm not on my computer ... but, suffice it to say, I had THE most delicious fruit smoothie on the beach, with a gorgeous sunset in the background.  I will post pics (so far I have taken approximately 56796534653) when I have internet on my own computer.  In the meantime, I think I may simply write in a word doc au fur et à mesure and then post everything at once.
Bisous tout le monde!
Celia
xoxox
PS  It's soooooo beautiful here, the Temimes' house is SO COOL (marble floors omg!) and then the next three days I'm traveling with Julien and his friend  Kelou around Eilat, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem... lalalalala!  Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee exciiiiiiiiiited :-D 

Errrr! I really want to write more, and in a better, more organized manner, mais helas.  A bientot!
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Sometimes I wish I could teleport [Apr. 4th, 2007|06:44 am]
celiatravels
...because then I wouldn't have to spend 45 minutes in the metro to get to where I need to be.  This is how it would work: I'd close my eyes and concentrate really hard on where I wanted to be, and -- poof! -- j'y serais.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I feel like vacation has already started.  Yeah, I still have classes and crap before the end of this week, but the sunshine has really got me in this lazy, carefree state of mind right now, which is actually quite bad, because I need to be productive.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Photos, yay.  I've been doing a lot of these lately.


That's all for now.  Back to wishing I could teleport (and in the meantime, obligingly taking the metro).
A tout à l'heure my lovelies.
xoxo
Cel
P.S.  Seder was wonderful.  I'll have to write about that in more detail later...
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כשר לפסח [Apr. 2nd, 2007|07:17 am]
celiatravels
Sorry, bread (and misc. chametz) -- you and I have to take a break, as much as I will miss you.  GOSH I am a carbs fiend -- especially with how much I run -- so Passover is reeeeeeally hard for me... but I also happened to find a nice little cachère naouri store next to the elementary school I teach at, so I stocked up on a bunch of tasties.
>:-)
A tout à l'heure.
:)
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Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh. (Shabbat; Israel tix; PHOTOS, et cetera) [Mar. 31st, 2007|05:46 am]
celiatravels
Just got back from a Shabbat celebration-observance thing at my friend Ilannah's place.  Gosh I love her family.  They are very, very observant (but somehow not in the same vein as the last family with whom I did Shabbat -- maybe I'll describe that later), so I felt bad leaving early (around noon) -- but I just have a buncha crap to do.  My to-do list is PACKED with random errand things (like whoa), and all of them are mind-numbingly tedious and dull.

-Clean room
-Organize yet again: class crap and English teaching mat'ls
-Take back those books to zee library, pay that f%^&*ing fine for having them out past due-date
-Laundry
-EXERCISE!  It's been eons since I last did a nice long run; plus, my dumbbells are sad I haven't used them for so long, and frankly so is my tummy, which I can FEEL is not as toned from lack of crunches as of late
-Studystudystudystudystudy -- which is a separate to-do list on its own

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

OH!  So I FINALLY have my plane tickets to/from Israel now, YES. :)  And my friend Coline (from Forum Etudiant group at school) will be there, too, at the same time!  I SO have a bunch of people to visit and chill with, hopefullyhopefully. :)  Also, I really want to take a ferry to Cyprus or something.  Egypt is probably a bit out of the question, sadly, given I only have a week there and don't want to spend the money to extend my ticket, UNLESS a very generous person by the name of My Dad decides to be UBER COOL and perhaps confer me a shekel or two or a bunch..?!  It's not very often I get to be in this corner of the world; faut en profiter...

In any case, however, if you even KNEW the trouble I went through to GET said Israel tickets... oooooy veeeeeeeeeeey.
Again, I will try to be super-succinct, cus sources of irritation I try not to dwell on.  But it was incredible, really.  Ordered the damn things probably a month ago and JUST NOW have them in my eager little hands.  The annoying Orbitz site told me I could only have paper (NOT electronic) tix, a term I obligingly submitted to, seeing as these tix were the least expensive.  Paper tix = UPS delivery -- which isn't SO bad, I thought, cus this means they'll come directly TO me, garner my signature et cetera, and won't risk getting lost via the postal service

Except I only coordinated fifty GAZILLION different meeting times with EXPLICIT, CLEAR-AS-DAY directions to my humble abode, and every single time the stupid UPS people somehow were incapable of finding my place.  Finally, uber-fed-up, I decided simply to go pick up the tickets myself. 

FIRST of all, "grossly inadequate" does not even BEGIN to depict the lame directions they gave me to find the place.  It's just outside of Paris in the "suburbs," the industrial complex; the whole endeavor took at least 2 and a half hours via RER (train system), bus, walking, and luckily having come across a truck driver with a really nifty navigation-system-gadget, into which you type the address and it tells you how to get there. 

THEN I get there, present my ID and tracking number, and they're like, "Well, hmmm, it appears not to be in our system anymore" and I burst out laughing while simultaneously wielding ALL my inner might to suppress the spewing of every single bad word I know in French that just so happened to be at the tip of my tongue at that very instant.  Keep in mind that not only had I put in a million kajillion hours to find this place, but I'd done so in the rain.  "You're (suppressed bad word) KIDDING me!"  Then I think I did rant a bit, which felt quite good, and then they found it, and then they were like, "Au revoir, bonne journée!" and I wanted nothing more than to say "Sayonara, bitches -- last time I ever do business with you."

Ahhhhhhhh, anyway, hahah.  I HAVE MY TICKETS NOW!  Which is all that's important.
:)

And now.  Time for more photos.  These I snapped in the Samedi Marché directly outside Ilannah's house.  It's really so lovely to have a teeny little camera now (my other digital camera I wouldn't even dream about attempting to fit in my coat pocket) -- cus whenever I see something particularly French or worthy of photo-documentation, I simply whip out my 7.1 megapixels of splendific-ness and point-'n'-shoot to my heart's content.


Well, it is March 31, which means I have April, May, and 20 hazy, je-ne-sais-quoi days of June... and then we have to cart me back to the States.
:(
My, how time flies.
There ARE things I miss vaguely, from Portland, from the States; but mainly, I think I will be more sad than happy to be going back.
On the other hand, I DO have all my Reed and lab stuff, and Catherine's lab, and Pip and OMSI and running trails and the Portland Marathon et cetera et cetera that await me...
It's so bittersweet, realizing the imminence of my return.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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AWESOME [Mar. 29th, 2007|01:25 pm]
celiatravels
This maka me happy, very happy.  It has absolutely nothing to do, however, with travel / my year in Paris; I just decided I needed to put it here because it really made me that happy.  Reedie reactions / responses on our online forum here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Applications Up Nearly 100 Percent at Reed College Since 2001: Reed Class of 2011 chosen from a record pool of 3,363 applications.

PORTLAND, OR (March 26, 2007) – For the fifth year in a row, applications to Reed College have broken records. An all-time high of 3,363 students have applied for the 330 freshman spaces available in the Reed class of 2011. "This represents a 94 percent increase in applicants since 2001," said Paul Marthers, Dean of Admission. Marthers speculated that the rising tide of applications has resulted from Reed's increased national outreach efforts, growing public awareness beyond the traditional East and West coast markets of the college's intellectual strength, and the continued popularity of the Pacific Northwest, especially of Portland, as a destination of choice for college students.

Reed provides one of the nation's most intellectually rigorous undergraduate experiences, with a highly structured academic program balancing broad distribution requirements and in-depth study in a chosen academic discipline.

Marthers said he anticipates that Reed will offer admission to approximately 33 percent of those who have applied this year, down from 40 percent last year. Following the mailing of decision letters on or before March 29, the college will host hundreds of visitors to campus and hold receptions and other activities for admitted students and their families throughout the month of April.

****

Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit web.reed.edu.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lower acceptance rate = more allure for top-notch applicants = better ranking on that Awful US News & World Report ranking thing = more nationwide renown in general = maybe more credit and acknowledgment by grad schools I may apply to in the future?
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I love Paris in the springtime... (PHOTOS) [Mar. 28th, 2007|05:27 am]
celiatravels

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I find that life gets the most interesting when you least expect it [Mar. 27th, 2007|03:51 pm]
celiatravels
Crazy crazy craziness.  Hahahh.  Facebook, a networking site, apparently is catching on in France ("Fesses"-book, hehhhh), and someone randomly added me as a friend, and it turns out he lives and works, like, 3 minutes from where I live.  We even MORE randomly got together tonight, had pizza, blablabla.  Even more randomly: he's Jewish too and spent 2 months on a kibbutz in Israel.
Bygones.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Chem TD today was super fun; prof was like, "So, who wants to do the first problem?"  (Long, tense pause loomed heavily in the air.)  So I dorkily dart up and go, "I'll do it!" and grab the chalk.  (I wasn't ABOUT to have busted my buns the night before on those ridiculous hydroxyl group transformations for nothing, only to have someone else steal my thunder at o-chem problem solving and squiggly-arrow splendor in hot-pink on the chalkboard.)  Anyway, way fun :)

Then, what else.  I don't know.  I really don't ever want to leave Paris.
Also, on another note, I smell really good at the moment.  Gosh I love Fragonard perfume.
:-x
Goodnight everyone.
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Brief PHOTO update [Mar. 24th, 2007|09:29 am]
celiatravels
I'm allotting myself twenty minutes to put up photos.  And then I have MUCHA TAREA (whoa, where'd the Spanish come from? totally random).


That's all, really, except for these parting thoughts (translation follows):
Paris, capitale de la qualité de vie
Râleurs, stressés, ou désagréables, les sobriquets ne manquent pas pour les Parisiens.  Et pourtant, à en croire l'étude réalisée par PricewaterhouseCoopers et le Partnership for New York City, dévoilée hier, Paris est la ville qui offre la meilleure qualité de mode de vie en comparaison avec dix grandes villes du monde.  Elle se situe en deuxième position pour son capital intellectuel, derrière Londres, et en troisième position pour sa puissance financière, derrière Londres et New York.  Mais s'il faut bien vivre à Paris, la capitale se situe en dernière position concernant sa capacité à favoriser l'initiative économique et à la 10ème place pour le coût de la vie.  Une mauvaise note due au prix de l'immobilier, mais aussi à "la rigidité du marché du travail," selon le porte-parole de PricewaterhouseCoopers en France.

Paris, quality-of-life capital of the world
Actually, I am too lazy to translate all that and actually need to work now anyway, but apparently, in a comparison of 10 major metropolitan cities across the world, Paris came in #1 as the place to live.  Just that it's expensive, the blurb adds.  So, it's #1 if you're rich, which kind of is the same anywhere...except maybe not, because Paris really is sososo lovely, and I could totally envision myself living here permanently in the future.

The end! 
Célia
P.S.  Mummy, I promise to update on my Israel trip ASAP.  I might also go to Egypt, cus my friend Matteson is there for the year and she invited me.
Much love to everyone.
xoxox
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Journal makeover, woohooo [Mar. 23rd, 2007|01:16 pm]
celiatravels
I'll probably fiddle with colors and so on in a bit, but for the moment it's staying as is because I am terrible with CSS / HTML and what have you and get easily frustrated with programming and the like.

Anyway, more pics, update on Israel travel, etc...to come eventually.
MWAH
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Ahhh, crazy week! [Mar. 16th, 2007|10:59 am]
celiatravels
...culminating in an (ALMOST) Celia-mini-meltdown.  Or major meltdown.  I never realized how dependent I am on my computer until its battery died (no big deal, right? Just plug her back in and all's swell and dandy, riiiiiiiight?!?!? WRRROOOOOOONNNG). 

Obviously, I do not want to dwell on the now-passed painful prospect of having possibly lost all my important documents, with only a cold chunk of metal staring dumbly at me for some undefined period of time...and I have no idea how I got it working again, and basically things with buttons and I do not get along very well.  And thus this calls for a change of topic.

(But it's working, PHEW!)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Okayokayokay, so crazy week.
Maybe not THAT crazy, just BUSY, which is the way I like it -- between class lectures & conferences and Orgo Lab Awesomeness ((see below)) and running and museum non-visits (the museum workers were on strike, as half of all French Employees In Any Given Moment And Place are) for Art History and choir practice and lesson planning and teaching and studying... I have so much to recount and just haven't had the time! :)

Figure 1
  Alexie and me orgo-ing it up, making camphor from isobornéol, a derivative of wood extracts from some Asian pine tree used medicinally in achy-muscle lotions, giving that slightly tingly-numb sensation similar to Burt's Bees Chapstick.  I, with glasses too big for my face, dorkily have been obliged to stuff cotton in the hinge-areas of my goggle things to make sure they stay on so I don't accidentally go blind during orgo antics.

Ummmmmmmmmm.  Teaching last Thursday was uber-fun.  I have one really good class, and one so-so one, and I'm trying REALLY HARD to impose authority and HANDLE the class so we can GET STUFF DONE.  I really DO want them to be able to say and understand basic stuff in English by the time I'm done with them.  Handling a class has nothing to do with age or looks or niceness or meanness -- there is a certain je ne sais quoi element to teaching that only certain people have... but maybe that's not true.  Teaching is just as much a thing to be learned as whatever you're teaching.  I find it very theatrical, getting into this teacher-role business. 

So yeah, Thursday.  Since Saturday is St. Patrick's Day and we have been working on Anglophone Countries posters...the productive class got to have a party!  I told them to wear green, and then we learned about leprechauns and clovers and St Patrick and parades and basically I probably don't know enough about Irish culture, but they brought FOOD and wore GREEN and were freaking adorable.

Now I have to go get ready cus I'm going out tonight.
With Laaaarrryyy, ooh-lala.
Except frankly I am exhausted and don't feel like getting dolled up and don't want to go out and BOOOOOOOOpiss&moan... but I could end up changing my mind.  He just so happens to be going to Israel around the same time as me!  Coincidences, coincidences...
(Roguish grin.)

Anyway, uhh, bye.
Célia
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The truth comes out! [Mar. 14th, 2007|11:03 pm]
celiatravels
First news: I'm going to Israel for spring break!  YES!  Just bought the ticket last night.  Hehehehehheh.

And now, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me...
My program in Paris (through the CUPA organization) ends, officially, the 31st of May.  My ticket back to the States isn't until the 20th, which means I have 20 days during which I sort of need to figure out where I'm gonna stay.  I thought to myself:  Hmmmm, wouldn't it be much simpler just to stay at Host Mom's so as NOT to have to lug a suitcase around everywhere?  I asked her if this would be possible, how much "rent" would be, etc.  "I'll have to figure it out and tell you next week," she said. 

So, yesterday she tells me she wants $348 euros ($452) for 20 days!  A week of which, probably, I wouldn't even be there (Sardinia travel, elsewhere?).  So it is (1) Sayonara, Host Mom, come May 31 and (2) SO PAINFULLY OBVIOUS (not that it wasn't before) that she is only into this hosting-me thing for the money.  She is kind of a sad character, it seems to me. =(  She has a daughter, so she isn't completely alone in life, but during dinners together she has ranted a bit on how the institution of marriage is meaningless, how architects are going to have to change living quarters to as to better accommodate new lifestyle arrangements (such as friends living together, instead of couples/families), blah blah blah.  Anyway, as much as I like the apartment / my room / this area, she does get on my nerves a bit; it'll be nice, I think, to be elsewhere. 

Now, the question is...where to stay?
Kevin finally sent me Tong's phone number, so either I can work something out there, or with a Jewish host family in Paris, or friends, or something.  I have a month or two to figure it out, I suppose...
Anyvay, that is it for the moment.
Ta.
XOXOX,
Célia
(yes, with an accent aigue over the e; BEB, it annoys me you found my travel journal -- kindly do please stop cyberstalking me.  And I actually do mean that in the friendliest way possible.)
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A few French friends…and a Thai girl [Feb. 18th, 2007|04:02 am]
celiatravels

Yesterday I had my first Physiologie Humaine class (at 8:30 am on a Saturday! Boo! However: Being ready at 8:30 a.m. means the rest of the day’s MINE to seize to the max…whereas otherwise I might very well only lounge about in PJs all day and/or possibly go running). It was the only thing I could fit into my schedule; what I really wanted, en fin de compte, was Cellular Biology, but of course that was not meant to be. Butbutbutbutbut! It turns out that the class I have now JUST so happens to be very neuroscience-y! We had a review of the Nernst equation as it relates to trans-membrane diffusion and active transport of molecules and ions; action potentials, eeeeeeet cetera. I think it should be cool, and I actually excitedly anticipate sitting in the library up to my neck in books on the subject. (Herrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.)

Then, I did a ten-mile run, but not before chilling for a bit with Mme Koné, the cleaning lady. She’s from Côte d’Ivoire, and somehow I think life as a cleaning lady in Paris with a two-year-old daughter, and three kids back home, cannot possibly be as glamorous as Christine’s or Norlwenn’s or my…very pampered life. Social inequality booooootttttttthhhheeeeers me. In actuality (and for this reason, to a degree), she is the only one for whom I bought holiday gifts this past Christmastime (it was actually for her daughter). Yeah, I bought little trinkets and so on for host mom & host sis, and something for Mom/Dad/Jacob for Chanukah…but they were all kind of little things. It just makes me feel good to be…good to other people. I make her food, too, like plum compote and tea. So in any case, she invited me to Côte d’Ivoire to stay with her family! Ahhhhhhhhh. Haha. It made my day. In all likelihood, of course, it’ll never happen (although I would KILL to go to Africa), but it is just the invitation in and of itself that made me happy.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum, okay, that’s it. Here are some photos from my Saturday evening pub outing with French friends, plus photos from the Egyptian Treasures exhibition at the Grand Palais that I went to with a dif French friend.

(Wheeeeeeeeee! French friends! ;)

 

XOXO, Célia

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So, it turns out… (and other musings on events of late) [Feb. 17th, 2007|02:52 pm]
celiatravels

I reviewed the syllabus of the Reed organic chemistry class and… the amount of stuff they cover over the course of the year is, in fact, what we (in France) did in one semester.  So not only was this organic chemistry in a different language but at twice the pace!  Brilliant.  Oh well, whatever, I validated the subject and now am taking the “Year Three” course; tant mieux, je suppose, que j’aurai davantage de connaissance (ou, théoretiquement, au moins)

In other news, I am quite happy with my class selection for second semester.  Although…I would’ve liked to fit French composition in there to really improve my French.  I feel I haven’t been actively attempting to enhance my vocabulary and handle on grammar, which kind of bothers me, since I’ll have spent a year with only marginal upgrades to my command de la langue française.  It probably doesn’t help that I am blogging in English.  Or thinking in English.  Ahhhhhhh. 

Thursday was My Moment of Misanthropy.  I had to deal with annoying French Administration again for class registration (reeeeeeeally draining) and afterward, when a scruffy, disheveled-looking guy on the corner asked me for money, I asked him what kind of food he liked & said I’d run and get it for him in the adjacent Monoprix.  Normally it’s “beggars can’t be choosers,” no?  No!  Not in France.  He proceeded to insult my French, but not before demanding money in lieu of food first.  The gall!  Here I was trying to do something nice for someone…

At this point, with my frustration meter already off the scales from the Bureaucracy Bitches, I was 2 nanoseconds away from doing something rash.  But, I responded that I don’t like giving money, and that it’s too bad he doesn’t want free food, and have a good day, goodbye.  Normally beggars on the street break my heart, which is why I invite them for food sometimes, but now…donno.  I think that if I ever have a lot of money, I will give it to really constructive programs, such as education, OMSI and various other museums, research, the arts.  Keep people from even getting to the point of being on the street corner, instead of giving food and money without really fixing the problem.  Of course, everyone needs to eat, but I’ve actually talked to a lot of homeless people and the problem runs much deeper than that. 

Anyway.  Bygones.

SPEAKING of education: Friday was FAR-more Fantastic (okay, I’ll stop with dorky capitalized alliterations now!).  I get yet more vacation (don’t ask me how this works; probably, by the end of August, I will have actually worked less than HALF the time I got paid for), but Friday was the last day before the nice, long two-week break from… well, not teaching.  Um.

Anyway, the lesson plan I’d prepared ended up working really well, and THEN, at the end of the day, one of the girls came up and said “Célia! Je te souhaite des très bonnes vacances!” and gave me a big hug and a kiss on the cheek in the French tradition.  Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo cute!  I was beaming all day after that. 

Okay, that’s about it, except that I’m really itching to do some hardcore traveling once April gets here…so I need to get started on planning that.

All for now!
Ta.

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My host mom has terrible luck with...THINGS [Feb. 10th, 2007|01:08 am]
celiatravels
Since the five months (!!! holy cow!) I've been here...
  • 4 toilet seats have broken (I don't even want to know how; my host mom isn't fat or anything, so...)
  • the kitchen light has gone kaput, and it's not just a bulb issue
  • the washing machine has broken (and been replaced)
  • the dishwasher has broken (and not been replaced...but for the better, because it didn't really wash dishes anyway)
  • Host Mom's computer has gone to the shop
  • the mailbox key hole has been damaged...by none other than Host Mom for some reason I was too incredulous to really pay attention to when she was telling me
  • the bathroom apparently has developed a leak, for which there are gazillion (if not superfluous) buckets lying around on the apartment-way stairs, placed there by some neighbor as a subtle reminder that she wants it fixed ASAP
  • I'm certain there is more, but you get the idea.  Basically, stuff here just doesn't like to stay unbroken.  Makes me want to lock away my laptop / iPod / camera / other valuables for fear of Host Mom's Touch of Death (I feel so sacrilegious terming it as such, but you know).
Okay, photo time.



Mmmmmmmmmk, time for running and a bazillion errands, including lesson plan prep...
Byeeee.
XOXO
Célia
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Being boyfriendless on Valentine's Day in Paris is LAME [Feb. 8th, 2007|05:25 am]
celiatravels
But I have come to the conclusion that the opposite sex is kind of a waste of time until I am done with all my studies and ready to get married and have babies.  Okay, not true.  Still, hormones, do have mercy on me a little, will you?

CLASSES for second semester:
Orgo 2
Human physiology or molecular bio (I can't deciiiiiiiiiiiide)
Psychology - psychobiology, neuropharmacology and neurology
Psychology - sensory and motor systems
19th & 20th century painting in Paris
French Composition


In other news, I need to buy my Israel ticket for Pesach (oh, and anonymous commenter Jacob, thank you for that link!  That site looks very helpful).

Well, with one semester behind me, I will certainly -- OOOH, welcome interruption!! The post-man just came and delivered me a delicious box of goodies, containing my amazing teeny 7.1 megapixel camera that I got for an equally-amazing price, and an iPod for an even better one (free, from my brother); suhWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET :)

Anyway, as I was saying... yes.   Actually, no, I'm going to get going; I'm off to do my nice long trail-running.
Ta!
Celia
P.S.  St Malo and Mont St Michel pictures to come (from this past weekend!  It was GOA-JUSS, I tell you, simply gorgeous).
MUAH!
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idea! [Jan. 15th, 2007|09:35 am]
celiatravels
I just had a brilliant idea.

I think I will try to do a Global Health Council Internship in Washington DC this summer.  Pay is lousy (hmm, maybe I'll apply for a Reed grant of sorts, see if they'll gimme ching), but it'll nonetheless be perfect, cus I'll already be in DC to go to this conference.  Wee!

I'm just trying to see how long it'll take via public transport to get from from Baltimore to DC (actually, just found the answer! An hour) -- how sweet would it be to take physics this summer (which I need to do anyway, EW) at...Johns Hopkins?

And how sweet would it be to do a ROAD TRIP to get there?!?!?!

Ponderponderponder, ideas are brewing and bubbling in my mind, hehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhheheheh.  Probably overly-ambitious and impractically idealistic, but it's better to fall short of a high aim than to reach a low one.  I just need to keep in mind the deadlines: April 1st for the internship and the 30th for the conference.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In other news, I kicked ass on my genetics final today, YES.  Studying for it last night was actually way fun -- I had dinner at my friend's house (his family is SO COOL! more on that in a second), which is just outside of Paris and inconceivably huge.  And old.  There's wood in there that's held those walls up since 1773, before the country of my citizenship even came into existence. 

Anyway.

Not much more to recount, except that I truly am enjoying my Solidarité Enfants SIDA (Solensi) volunteer work, which I did again today, like every Monday.  Here's a picture from the Solensi holiday party, which was a benefit strictly for HIV-moms (the org helps all families in precarious situations, but it has a special interest in AIDS-affected families...which I've already said a million times, I'm certain, but you know). 

There is absolutely no difference I can discern, disposition-wise, in the seropositive and seronegative people at that party.  Makes you pause.  It's interesting, however, to see the variation in manners of people who come in for their weekly ration of diapers / baby food & milk / clothes / toys, etc.  There are some who are genuinely, manifestly in need -- the ones who come in with mismatched clothes, missing teeth, a million drool-covered kids, or thick foreign accents -- who unwaveringly and enthusiastically give profuse thanks each time.  And then there are some who have cell phones and leather boots and coats and hand bags, and I wonder to myself how they have money for that but not for the human beings they have brought into this world.  And coincidentally it's that mom who hands me her screaming, smelly baby while she serenely putters about, going to the bathroom, talking to other moms, and getting diapers -- without offering so much as a "thank you" when she comes to retrieve her darling.  I don't do volunteer work to be thanked, but it's nice when it happens anyway.  Oh well, eh?  I'm not the one who decides who's eligible or worthy of social assistance...I just help with distribution of stuffs.

Uuuuuum, what else.  My Harvard running friend Thea is leaving for home soon -- the 20th! :( -- and her host mom already left for Israel this morning, saaaaaaaaaaaaaadness (but at the same time okay, because I will see them again soon).  Eek, that will be cutting it tight, budget-wise...because I really do want to book that ticket for Passover in Israel.  What a completely unique way to spend it: everyone will be doing it, and I'll have less temptation as far as my favorite complex-carb source is concerned.  And I'm just generally jonesing to get back there.

Oh yeah, so Max's family -- really, really, really cool.  Dad: dentist; mom: chemistry and physics teacher; siblings: video games junky (or one of them, anyway -- so reminiscent of my own bro!).  And they have a kajillion musical instruments around the house, including two pianos, a clavichord, an old-school bassoon from the 1800s, flutes, a zillion old recorder-flute-things; ummmm, a cello, and a guitar.  I would sooo rather live there (where incidentally there is an extra room!) than with current host mom!  Even if it'd add another 15 minutes of commute time to school.  (It's not that I'm unhappy here, mind you; just, I keep trying to convince myself that if I give her more time, she'll grow on me -- whereas with this family, I sort of feel as though I instantly "clicked" with them.  So warm, animated, welcoming!  And they eat health food!  And don't have annoying animals!  And the dad is Jewish!  Not that that makes any difference whatsoever, but...yeah.  Max's mom is even trying to learn Hebrew...so I'd have someone to practice with, and would feel less of an idiot with my language program practice.)  Hmm, long parenthesis. 

Ooooookey, c'est tout pour l'instant; Bianca is just getting back from vacation, and I am keeping fingers cross (eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, I really really really want it) about lab stuff.  Omgomgomgomg.  I want to be her lab minion, because it ended up being really fun the last time.  Gosh I love lab work.

The end.
Byebyeeeeeeeeee.

Cel
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So, I do suppose my journal updates have been sparse [Jan. 13th, 2007|12:00 pm]
celiatravels
(Not that many people read them and are missing them.)
Post-Switzerland, things have sort of reverted to routine again, and I haven't been doing a whole heck of a lot in and around Paris.
Tests are upon me, so that is fun; oddly, I'll have 2 more weeks' vacation following my last test...and then classes start again. 

I have to say -- I've been doing fairly well up till this moment now about not missing much from home.  But nostalgic longings for Portland have been edging their way into my mind as slowly (but surely) as the shadow cast on a sun dial moves from the 3 to the 9.  You don't see it happen; all of a sudden it's just there.  Time is weird like that.

I couldn't tell you what exactly it is I miss though.  Actually, I can.  I miss the quality of education I was getting at Reed, because it definitely isn't happenin' here.  Honestly, a few of my classes may as well have been the professor handing me a thick textbook and saying "Here, go have fun" -- that's how much I've gotten out of going to all their lectures and conferences.  I worry my brain is atrophying to mush from lack of use!  I haven't had classes since mid December and won't have them again until Feb 10th!

Then again, maybe I'm just being insane in not relishing the time off; I'm sure I'd complain if I were crazy-stressed at Reed --
but at least feeling less idle.
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A gazillion PHOTOS! of SWITZERLAND! :) [Jan. 6th, 2007|01:04 pm]
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