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!