Sunday, October 19, 2008


PS: I am so sorry about the grammer and spelling mistakes! All I can say is, lack of time and a proper keyboard!!

Another Marriage Proposal...

So this last week has been quite lovely! The weather here has been wonderful! Blue sky and warm days, combined with golden leaves and beauty all around.

Running is a pleasure here and apart from the nearly twisted ankles I get from running across bumpy pathways covered with leaves, I could not ask for better scenery!

This week was a busy one. On Wednesday we left the house around seven to go to the Clooney Museum where the remains of some ancient Roman Baths were. That was interesting. Then we went back to the Institute for two hours of class about the European Union, which is very interesting, and then went to the Louvre until ten that night. It takes about an hour to get home from the Louvre, so by the time we got to bed it was a little past eleven and we had to leave the next morning at five thirty in order to make a train to the Loire valley which is many hours away.

By the time we got there it was about ten in the morning and the weather was beautiful. It was the perfect setting to see one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life before. The place we were going to visit was a very old chatou. It is one of the only ones that has a lot of the original artwork and artifacts in it that survived the revolution. There are manicured gardens of different kinds all around the chatou which is built ON the Seine River. However my favorite part was the forest next to the Chatou. Oh my goodness, when I walked into it I was sure I had stumbled into the Elvish land of Lothlorian. The trees were a light green and covered with golden leaves. Not yellow-but bright golden. The sunlight was streaming through the trees and there was a light breeze so all the leaves falling made it seem like a light blanket of snow was falling. I just stood there and looked and looked, I could not take my eyes off it, it was so incredibly beautiful.

After that we went to get on the train, but ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, so as the train came rumbling in it went right past us, and thirty girls had to sprint all the way down the tracks and to the other side. It was probably pretty comical hahhah. Inbetween several more trains home we stopped in a town and had an hour layover. I was starving and so I went in search for a Boulangerie in order to purchase a baguette. Every city I have been to in France to far has had one of these bakeries within five minutes in every direction, but I walked forever and could not find the bakery. Finally, at the other end of town I found a grocery store and hurried to buy my baguette that I had walked so far for. I then realized had ten mintues to get back to the train station, when it had taken me about half an hour to get to the grocery store, so I ran back to the station, and besides getting a little lost, barely made it in time for the train (which was a good thing because I had no idea where we were going or what train to get on). However as I went to step on the train, my baguette which I had worked so hard for, feel out of the bottom of its bag onto the sick pigeon walked on floor. I ate it anyways...luckily I am still alive.

When we arrived back at the train station and had gone to board the metro to get back to our respective residences, I looked up and realized I could not see the stop sign. This made me realize I had left my glasses on the train and so I ran with my roommate back to the trains. However, being in the semi-unconscious state I had been all day due to lack of sleep, I had no idea where we had come from or what train, among the many dozens, I had come from. Luckily my roommate was with me, who knows far more Francais than I do, and she was able to communicate to someone that I had lost my glasses. We were led to a lost and found and amzingly enough my glasses were there! The men in the room kept telling me to kiss the man who brought out my glasses, but I just laughed, said my two words that I do know, merci beaucoup, and ran out of the room. What a blessing! I cant imagine what the rest of this trip would have been like if I would have lost those!

On Friday after doing some school work I went to the Eifeel Tower and climbed all one thousand and something stairs to see the incredible view. Now I know why Paris is considered such a beautiful city. Wow. We stayed there from full sunlight to sunset and finally the lights turned on in the city. It was incredible.

Saturday my family had a HUGE party at their house. I got home around eight and walked in to find the furniture completely moved out of the house to make room for a huge dance party. There was good everywhere, lights, a DJ and everything! Everyone was dressed in party dresses, blazers and ties. I guess my family does this with a bunch of other families on a regular basis. They even have a teacher who comes each time and teaches the kids how to dance! I love it though, because the party is full of adults, kids, and teenagers. After a while all the adults go downstairs to listen to their own music, probably classical, and drink wine and eat cheese, while upstairs the kids are dancing away. By the way my family has a sweet sound system with speakers in nearly every room of the house. I really felt as if I was at this aritocratic party of all these rich families who are training their kids how to party in style. Pretty much my roomate and I just danced with ourselves and ate a lot of chocolate mousse and eclairs. My roommate seriously looks like she could be fifteen and so some fifteen year old kept asking her to dance the whole night. It was pretty funny.

Then today we went to church, and afterwards I went and to have a picnic with my friend Cami on the Seine River. It was nice to soak up the sun and watch the sail boats floating around on the river. During our talk, she told me about the Second marriage proposal she received yesterday, from a sixty year old frenchman. Oh man...then men here. :):):):):)

Well, I hope all is going well at home. I cant believe I will be joining you all in America so soon! I am loving it here, but also loving my dear America more and more as the days go on. Actually I was talking with my professor today and she mentioned that because of the recent financial crisis, BYU might be shutting down there study abroad programs. How sad right!? I am so glad that I got in, just in time!

Well I love you all and hope you have a great week!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

beacoup de pain

This week has been nice and relaxed. I am getting more into the routine of things and feeling more at home and oriented with Paris. I even feel confident in my transportation skills, so that makes me feel very independent.

On Tuesday afternoon after class we had a bunch of free time before we went to a concert so a few friends and I went to the Tuilleries (sp?) Gardens in front of the Louvre and sat around a beautiful pool for hours just talking. We were discussing how ancient western civilizations like Greece affect the character and way of life I am and have today. It was a very interesting discussion, and because I have quite a bit of leisure time here I feel as if I am an olden time rich aristocrat who has servants who work for him and then has time to ponder the great questions of life. I also felt as if I should be writing some great American Novel as well. Anyway the jardins are just beautiful! Everything here is turning colors and there are red and yellow leaves everywhere! There were also ducks and fish in the pond that we were sitting around.

Then Tuesday after my usual meal of baguette and nutella (or sometimes I substitute cheese) we made our way over to the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Cathedral itself is incredible. We have been learning more about the construction of cathedrals this past week and the more I study it the more impressed I become. Since it was built in the Gothic style it has walls that are mostly made up of glass windows allowing heavenly light to come inside and filter throught the brilliant stained glass. The vaulted celings are so tall and there are pieces of work everywhere just bursting of symbolism. Something that has struck me as I have learned more about Catholicism is their devotion to Mary. It is incredible to me that practically none of their beliefs in Mary are doctrinal, but rather grew up around the Colt of Mary and have no scriptural basis. I had no idea that they believed that Mary was also immaculatively ( I have no idea how to spell that and only have a french spell check) conceived as well. Also I find it so interesting that sexuality even within marriage is considered a sin in the Catholic church, and that if you participate in it you have to confess it. Ironically however marriage in the Catholic church is a holy sacrament, but meant to be for marriages that are only celebit. This idea of celebacy is further endorsed by Mary being immaculatively conceived and therefore proving that a celebit life is the most pure and holy. Learning about this sort of stuff has been the most interesting thing about my trip so far. Anyways we got to listen to the Messiah in the Cathedral and it was absolutely beautiful! The siprano had the most beautiful clear voice!

We also visited another cathedral where all the royalty in France was buried, but during the revolution their tombs where opened up and all their bones thrown in a heap outside the cathedral. However, after the revolution they took all the bones and put them in a room in the very bottom of the cathedral where we got to visit. In the bottom of the cathedral there were also the remnants of the very first wall of the church which was started in the fifth century AD!

Then today we went to a huge cathedral in Chatres. It is an ancient medevil town and I had my second offical French pastry, a tarte aux pommes, which was decent but not the best. I did however try one called the milfeuille the other day and it was pretty good.

Well this weekend I am going to a ballet of Edward Scissor Hands. And in the next few weeks if I can arrange it, I may be either going to Spain or AFRICA for the weekend! That would be amazing!

Well I hope all is well in dear America! I love you all and hope everything is going well!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Getting to know Paris

So I have been in Paris for about a week and a half now. I am starting to get the feel of the metro system a bit more, am getting used to the agressive men, and even have stopped coughing when people blow smoke in my face. Hahaha

The city is beautiful! And I have to remind myself to be amazed every time I see a new magnificent building... which is about everywhere you turn. Each morning I run down by the Seine River for about a three mile jog and then get ready for the day and to go to class.

Now that we are finally settled in Paris our classes are a bit more structured. On Monday we have our religion class which addresses the History of the Church in France. The class if taught by the director of the institute in Paris, who is just finishing his PHd this very week. His English is excellent and although he has an accent he is still quite easy to understand. After religion class we all get together for an FHE activity which can range from going to a park to seeing some other interesting place. Tuesdays I have my political Civilization lecture which I really like and find incredibly interesting. Wednesdays I have my European Politics class for two and a half hours and then that night we spend four hours in the Louvre looking at art for my Civ class. Thursdays are reserved for day trips that we will take each week to places like Normandy, and the rest of the weekend if usually left up to us to do as we like.

This last Thursday was my first lecture in the Louvre. We studied mostly Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Persian, and some Mesoptamium cultures. During this lecture we came across the Nike. This is a gorgeous sculpture of a woman leaning forward on the stern of the boat. I absolutely fell in love with the piece and stared at it for ages. It was so beautiful. There was so much drama and movement in the piece and I felt as if she was about to spring off the stern of the boat and fly away.

Many of the sculptures and paintings we have seen this far have been in the nude. In fact I think I have learned more about human anatomy through art than I ever did in my high school health class. However, I have come to recognize the absolute beauty of the human body and love looking at the sculptures. It sparked an interesting question among my friends and I. The question of at what point does art become inappropriate? I have not quite figured it out myself.

Today we had free because we did not have a day trip to go on. We went to take a picnic under the Eifeel tower but by the time we arrived there it was pouring rain and freezing so we decided to go shopping instead. I discovered the H and M store which I really like, in addition to a bunch of other cute little boutiques. I think that I already loved European style before I came over here. Everyone wears tights-and I love tights! Plus I love the dresses that people wear, the dressier look, long pea coats, and button up shirts! Too bad everything is soo expensive!

My friends I were planning on going to the Opera tonight, but then were forced to change plans because the friend I was going to go with had her crazy host Mom demand that she stay home for dinner. I am learning how lucky I am to be placed with the family that I am with! In fact this morning I woke up to a maid wanting to clean my room! I dont even have to take out my own garbage! Is that not amazing!? I may never come home! Hhahha. Three times a week I eat with my family. I find it interesting that they always eat dinner together, and it is always a sit down meal that usually takes at least an hour. I find it ironic that they are much more family oriented then many in the Mormon culture. Perhaps it is just an American thing to be rushing so much. Anyways we always start with a different main course. Something like fish lasagna or friend rice with mushrooms, and then we have one course at a time like bread, cheese, lettuce with a dressing and yogurt or fruit for dessert. I like it, and would like it even more if I could understand half of what the are saying. Unfortunately, I cant quite enjoy the meal because I am straining to here what they are talking about in case they call on me and ask a question.

Well I hope everyone is doing well and that the economic crisis is looking up! If there is one thing I have realised admidst all that I like in Europe, is how much I love about the United States! I really am so thankful to be American!