12 of 12 for May 2009

13 May

My last 12 of 12 in Paris. Where has the time gone?

Le petit déjeuner. I like Nutella, but only in moderation — I’ve been a eating a little too much lately, and the appeal starts to wear off after a while. It’s also one of the only foods in the house that isn’t organic.

My first class was French 300 (Grammar and Composition). The theme of today’s class was French cuisine — we watched a mouth-watering cooking show by this guy, my professor Anne-Catherine’s best friend. We also gave reports on regional French specialties (I discussed my experiences with Alasacian tarte flambée and Daube niçoise). I snapped this shot of my professor during our 5-minute break, when a few of my hungry classmates went to the boulangerie.

My “Paris Avant-Gardes” course was next. We watched A Bout de Souffle. Well, not exactly — I had only had about 4 hours sleep the night before, so I accidentally slept through much of the film. I really wanted to see it, too, since the last time was in high school. I managed to get this shot at the end of it.

When I got home around 2pm, I re-heated the piece of the tomato quiche left over from the previous night’s dinner for lunch. Pico was interested.

Unfortunately, this moment prompted an event that pretty much ruined my day. You see, my host mother makes delicious quiche. There’s always some left over, so the first time she made it she offered me to re-heat it for lunch the next day. Every time we’ve had quiche since then (maybe 3 or 4 times), I’ve always asked if I could have some of the leftovers for lunch, and my host mother has always obliged.

When we had the tomato quiche (a new recipe) for dinner, I wasn’t particularly hungry so I didn’t eat that much. My host mother was surprised I didn’t eat more and thought I didn’t like it, despite my reassurances. When I saw the leftovers in the fridge (only one piece), I figured my host mother had already eaten lunch and would’ve wanted me to eat the leftovers.

Later in the day, my host mother, visibly upset, confronted me and told me that she had wanted to eat the quiche for lunch. When I said I was sorry, she replied, “I hope you’re sorry.” It was the first time we’ve ever had any tension of the sort, but it made me feel terrible. If she had wanted me to eat more quiche the night before, why was it a problem if I ate it the day after? It cast a shadow on the rest of my day, and has been weighing on my mind ever since.

The thing that bothers me the most, though, is how she’s never expressed any kind of anger towards me until this point, which in all reality was a rather trivial affair. It makes me suspect that she’s kept any frustrations that she has with me pent up inside, because I can never gauge her mood. But how can she expect me to read her mind? Or am I just worrying for nothing?

The quiche wasn’t even that good when I re-heated it.

When the cloudy, drizzly morning gave way to a sunny late afternoon, I decided to go for a walk along the Canal Saint-Martin between the 10th and the 11th. When I got out of the metro at République, I stumbled upon a massive congregation of Sri Lankan Tamils who were sort of camping out everywhere. I soon discovered that they were protesting the alleged genocide of the Tamil people by the Sri Lankan army.

In the bed photographed above (hidden behind the two men sitting), were two men who have been leading a hunger strike for 35 days. Apparently, the protestors were forced to leave this morning, but the hunger strikers came back in wheelchairs. It’s amazing how much stuff going on in the world we just don’t hear about in the West.

This was my first time walking along the canal. Paris has so many cool things.

I suppose the canal isn’t as well known as a lot of other Paris attractions because it’s located in a “popular” (working class) area of the city (which is essentially the entire eastern half). There’s such a hugely different vibe between this area and, say, the 8th or the 16th, but it always feels much more lively (I also find that the more touristy the area is, the ruder the people are). I liked the brightly colored shops in this view, which reminded me a lot of England.

I walked through the Square Villemin, a nice little park that was bustling with people enjoying the (recently rare) nice weather. These old French women caught my eye. Nobody in the world is as well-dressed as French women, especially Parisians.

I got on the metro around rush hour at a busy Gare de l’Est to go back home. Line 5 direction Place d’Italie, changing at Oberkampf for line 9 direction Mairie de Montreuil. Descente à Charonne.

After dinner, I met up with Madeline at Ecole Militaire to visit the Eiffel Tower. It was her second-to-last night in Paris, so we wanted to do something special. It was our first time up the tower since 2004.

I think we had to wait in line for about 45 minutes (long for a Tuesday night, eh?), but it was well worth it. There’s just something magical about taking the elevator through the iron patchwork of the tower and then seeing the city of lights from the top. We’re now experts at pointing out all of Paris’ landmarks — we could even see the Ferris wheel at the Foire du Trone.

We had to wait a long time for the elevator back down, so we didn’t get to the bottom until around midnight, just as the tower began to sparkle. We relived one of our early nights in the city by buying waffles from the stand across from the tower. Fearing that we might miss the last metro, we ate them while walking back to Ecole Militaire. Messy, but delicious.

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One Response to “12 of 12 for May 2009”

  1. Megan 14 May 2009 at 22:20 #

    Sorry I haven’t commented in a while, but I have been reading!!

    I was sad when I read about the ‘altercation’ between you and your host mother… I hope the two of you make peace before you leave! It would be sad to leave on a sour note…

    Good luck!! And happy graduation!!! 😀

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