How about maybe last Thursday or Friday...shucks. Guys, finals week was crazy! But I am officially done with school...for a year and a half! Now, that is good news.
But back to Friday...
I started off the day with my Fine Arts Final, which was pretty beastly actually. The funniest thing about the final though, was I learned way more than what was on paper. I didn't even care about the test answers, because I learned so much from being in front of the actual painting and analyzing. Bernie is my teachers name, and he rocks. Gonna miss that guy.
After that, Krista and I walked around by the church in the rain. We went into Saint Eustache, which is a late gothic church next to Les Halles. Now, the ironic thing about Les Halles is it used to be the stomach of Paris. A huge market place with fresh food...but now it is a ghetto underground mall with lots of construction. Ah, I hate that place. But the church is gorgeous. The ceilings were higher than any I had seen before it. I had this moment where I decided, churches are my thing. I love exploring churches.
Then, I headed home to get ready for the ballet. It was the Russian version of the Nutcracker that was playing in the Champs-Elysee theater. It was fun because about 13 or so of us got tickets, plus my Program Directors wife and daughter. We got crepes for dinner,and then headed on over.
Now, I was trying to be cultural and all cool about a Ballet. It is definitely a really different atmosphere. So proper and composed. I had pretty good seats and could see the whole stage. And to be honest, the story line really threw me off. Without words...I was lost. It is like a world you have to work hard to get into and then you enjoy it. The more and more I watched, the more I liked it. The live orchestra was cool, and the dancing was phenomenal. Haha, but what do I know. I was just pretending to know what was going on. At the end of the play, the curtain went up and down four times before people stopped applauding. Oh, people at the Ballet.
Then, I went down by Galleries Lafeyette and got to see all the beautiful Christmas lights! Oh my! It was really cool. The Christmas excitement is in the air. It's fun when things are universal. It helps me connect to the French culture.
Okay, on to Saturday,
I went to the Bois de Boulogne. It is a forest right on the outside of Paris, and is just gorgeous Wow. I forgot what real nature looked like. It was so great to just walk through trees, drinking hot chocolate, and relishing in the beautiful scenery. Plus, I started my day with an eclair. Guys...I have an eclair obsession! I made up a saying for my life..."An Eclair a day, keeps my happiness stay."
Anywho, my friends and I saw the Eiffel Tower and thought...let's walk there. So, we walked to the Eiffel Tower in the pouring rain. I wasn't prepared for the weather and wore my scarf like a nun hat. I was embarrassing the group, but I don't care!
I think thats why I love it here in many ways. I can't remember the last time I did my hair. Or really cared about my appearance. I don't have any temptation to use the internet or check my phone. And half the time I have no idea what time it is. Best feeling in the world is to be completely detached from it.
Once we got to the Eiffel Tower, we discovered hidden free toilets! Such a miracle. Then, hit up the Latin Quarter for some crepes. I never expect anyone around me to understand what I say, and so at the crepe place we were just talking about random stuff. But then, this guy next to us was from America! I forgot what it's like to be understood! Ha, he was on a study abroad too.
Then, we went to the Pompidou Center and saw the coolest night view of the city. The Pompidou itself is a giant eye sore. It's this big modern building that was purposefully built inside out. The French people hate the thing, but ironically, when you go inside, you can get such a cool view. It was a movie moment because it felt like I was on a rooftop looking at the city. Not a monument. Just a casual view. The sky was purple and black, and the city looked magical. BEST NIGHT VIEW EVER!!
This can't even touch the real view.
Finally, it was the singles ward dance. Boo ya! Free food, and a party. Can't beat that. Dancing is a universal thing too. That is why I love it. Even though it is hard to speak to them sometimes, we can dance together no problem. It is so fun to see the music they get excited about, and hear them yelling American lyrics. Plus, they are really into line dances. Never would have guessed. It just brings everyone together.
Sunday, I went to church. But literally thought I was going to fall over and sleep right then and there. You know when you think someone wacked you with a brick while you were sleeping? That happened to me! But I made through church. They had the youth come up and bear their testimony about their temple trip to Switzerland. That is where they have to go to get temple work done. Man, the youth here inspire me.
Then, I went to Le Vesinet, which is a suburb outside of Paris. Some of my friends out there, so we went out to visit. Holy crap, they live in the nicest area on the planet. Alyssa and I kept saying, "Good thing we didn't come out here before, or else we would have felt bad about where we live." Ha, sheesh. They lived in actual nice houses, in a cute little cottage area. We made a mashed up dinner together: potatoes, salad, bread, mac and cheese, lintols, and escargo. Well, I ate the escargo because no one else was a fan. I love the stuff though.
Then, we went over to the next town, to a castle. So beautiful, and found this breathtaking view of Paris. It was interesting because we were outsiders looking in. First view where I actually wasn't inside of Paris. It was so quiet and awe----SOME!!! I never wanted that moment to end.
Monday, oh man, monday. I started off the day buying groceries so that later that night we could make dinner for our host mom. And then, I met up with friends at the Chateau de Vincenne, which was really cool. It was closed because it was a holiday in France, but walking around it will still great. Eating a baguette and cheese outside a castle is still pretty great. Then, we hopped over to play Petanque on the Champ de Mars. Petanque is this game that French old men play. It was actually a party, and the best part was when a French guy came up and corrected us on our form. Yes!! Too goood!! Surreal moment.
Then, I went home to make dinner. I was in charge of the vegetables, I cooked some darn great green beans and corn. Then, I through together some fruit salad because I realized how American it was in that moment. Plus, Alyssa made chicken casserole and apple cider...yes my contributions were lame. But I tried hard okay?
Our host mom loved it!! She thought the fruit salad was dessert, because fruit is usually eaten for dessert here. Plus, she couldn't get enough of the apple cider. It was fun to be able to finally give something back. A dinner to remember.
Tuesday, I had my last final. Ah, that was a stressful time, but hey. Done with school. Then, I went to Saint Denis. This saint is the first one that is known in Paris. He went around smashing idols, and the people got made at him, so the story goes that the people cut his head off. Denis picked it up and walked with his own head until he eventually fell over and died. He is the first Saint I ever learned about, and I love the guy. His church actually holds all of the dead French kings and other royalties bodies.
So, you would think that it was in this super nice area, with a ton of embellishment and crazy nice stuff to celebrate the kings... nope. It is in a super sketchy area, and the church is really run down. It is really ironic and awesome. I loved seeing all of the kings that I have learned about this semester. Marie Antoinette and Louis the 16th are there, that was sweet!!!
Then, happy day, we went back to the Madeleine. I love the thing, and we all just sat quietly for a little while. It sucks you in, like a time warp.
Last view from the Madeline
My last Macaroon
Statue that looks just like Alyssa
It is hard to write about my last days in Paris. They are precious, and mine. And mostly consist of walking around and taking it in. So, I guess I will catch you up with that. It was great and it happened. And I will Paris forever.
I will come back! And that's a promise.