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!


Kyle Andrew said...

It's very likely that I will know some of the missionaries in the area. I probably met some of them while I was at the MTC. Look out for Soeur Fabiano, she is a fiery red head and we had a lot of fun playing volleyball.
I am so jealous you are there.
I saw a lot of naked art too. . . . I think it is only inappropriate if it makes you think of things you're not supposed to. Or if you are a missionary.
I can't wait for you to get home and we can speak french together.
Did you have frites while you were in Belgium? If you didn't you need to ride the Eurostar back up there and try them. They are so much better in Belgium than they are in France. Also, I hope you have tried the Doner Kebab places. They are delicious! My favorite sauce is Andalouse.
I am jealous.

Leigh said...

I have several points I'd like to address. Ahem. (hahah)

Aggressive men? Like wolf-whistling? Ew

So you're jogging Every morning? Right on, Jules

Your classes sound SO cool!! I'm way jealous.... maybe I'll go to BYU just so I can go on the study-abroads. Do you have to be Mormon? lol

I love your description of "drama and movement" about the Nike piece. You sound like a certified art major.

I think technically, any "art" is always such in the eye of the beholder. Art to some people isn't art to others. In the same vein, nude art could Never be inappropriate... depending on who you ask :)

Isn't H&M awesome? The first one I ever went to was in Scotland, and everyone I was with told me there was one in every major, fashionable U.S. city. Now I feel like I see them everywhere when I travel.

Can that girl's host Mom really demand that she stay at home?? Lame. When my mom hosted the Vietnamese girl, she said she felt sooo lucky to have been placed with her because the girl was really laid-back and polite. So I suppose it goes both ways. Your host family is way lucky

Love you!