This week was an ultimate test of my self-control when it finally started getting sunny JUST as we began midterms. It was hard not having a place to go to study like a big school library because I can get easily distracted at home without a big desk and being tempted to talk to my friends late at night. But it’s okay, I survived. And I rewarded myself big time this weekend by pretending I was on my own little fall break just as my friends were who came to visit me.
I think it’s odd that two different IES programs can be so different. One has a 10 day fall break and the other (ours) does not. It is kind of a bummer that we only have weekends to take advantage of instead of being given a week-long break. But regardless, my friends got to come here and see me, and we had a great time.
Lucky enough, their hostel was right down the street from me, so it was perfectly for getting together and traveling in a larger group. As the temperature started to drop Thursday afternoon during my second walking tour for class (I had just finished midterms), the city was so gorgeous with the fall colors and the unreal clouds. Paris may not have greatest sunsets, but the clouds always look so perfect and fake that it almost makes up for it.
We started out the weekend eating crepes and drinking underneath the Eiffel Tower before going out. Saturday we went up to Montmartre, one of my favorite areas, and explored some of the shops and vintage stores before making our way over to Chinatown for Pho (a perfect cold-day remedy), and then back to the center for a pit stop at the famous Angelina chocolatier for their luxurious hot chocolate and a stroll through the Tuileries and Louvre. I tried to think of the most typical and delicious French foods for my friends to eat this weekend and decided we HAD to eat fondue. My other IES friend brought her sister who was in town and the group of 10 of us gorged ourselves on meat and cheese fondue on Friday night. Saturday we brought some food under the Eiffel Tower for lunch, but until we could no longer stand the freezing cold, we went up to le Marais for more shopping. Next on the menu – French onion soup for dinner and after, a bar that hosts the newest (and weirdest) French obsession – baby bottle bars.
After going considerably WAY over budget this weekend (sorry Mom and Dad), I decided it was like my own weekend vacation in Paris that was definitely necessary. I constantly think how crazy it is that I can see some of my best friends from school here in Europe a couple of times over the course of this semester even if it may just cost us a few extra bucks in transportation costs… But I was so happy to be a tour guide for my friends and show them just a few things that I love most about my new home and hopefully they will do the same for me. It’s so entertaining to teach each other the nuisances of the other’s culture, be it Italian, Czech, or French, each one is so unique and comparing them all sometimes left us in fits of hysteria. I cannot wait to give you my own impressions once I’ve returned back from Rome and Barcelona. One thing I have to say for sure though is that Paris is one of the most expensive places to be!
This week is only three days for us with the “holiday” weekend of Toussant after Halloween. Some people are going away for the weekend but hopefully I will be going to Paris Disneyland and the Salon du Chocolat. Surprised? I hope not.
I have some new photos on the blog from this weekend! If you can’t tell, we’re desperately freezing. I thought three big coats would suffice here, but it’s not even November and I’m already complaining. I’ve been away from Seattle too long…