September 2007


So…I have these super old-fashioned heaters in my house. Two of them. One in the main room and one in the bathroom. They look like this:

Old school, yes?

Anyway, when I was sleeping in my sweatshirt and warm socks for the first few days I was here I tried to make these things work, but they hated me. I couldn’t even turn the knob on the one in the bathroom. And the other one just wouldn’t turn on. Luckily, I found a space heater that I have placed directly next to my bed so I can at least be warm at night, but it makes it nearly impossible to get up in the morning.

Cozy bed, or super cold bathroom floor? Um, I’ll take the cozy bed, thank you.

Well, no longer! Today I came home from work and my apartment was miraculously warm and cozy. And then I heard some little clicking and popping noises coming from the main heater. What’s this? I thought. Of course, I immediately ran into the bathroom and tried the knob there just for giggles. And it works too! They’re hot!!!

Apparently in France they turn off the heat for the whole building until October. Maybe to save energy or something. I really don’t know. What I do know is I’ve never been happier to be nearing the month of October. I guess they turned it on a few days early because it’s been pouring down rain for two days now. Maybe some of the other peeps around here started to complain. Me, I just thought it was my apartment so I didn’t see any point in asking about it.

Another reason I’m super happy: I can now cross “space heater for the bathroom” off my shopping list for tomorrow! Woohoo for saving money!

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I’m so super excited because I got my new washing machine yesterday. I’ve already done two loads of laundry in it! Moving men here though are magicians. They brought the washing machine up 8 flights of circular stairs without an elevator and took my old one down. I don’t even know how they were able to fit it, but they did. I seriously have no idea how half the apartments in Paris got their furniture inside. I’ve been told that sometimes it’s brought in through the window, but somehow that doesn’t seem easier. Walking up a ladder carrying a gigantic dresser, or walking up circular stairs? I think I’ll take the stairs, thank you very much.

Um, and I have a new Nervous Breakdown up so go check it out.

We’re talking Excessive

For the most part, people here drive small cars. They do this because a) there’s not space and b) gas is really expensive. The smart car, above, is one of the smallest cars I’ve seen here, but even the regular four-door cars are really compact. So today when I saw TWO Hummers on the road I was a bit pissed off. In California we think Hummers are a bit excessive. They’re completely unnecessary for both around town and freeway driving. And they only get, what, like 8 miles per gallon of gasoline. Yesterday I filled up Red’s tank and it cost me 52 euros. So I’m guessing a hummer would cost about 120 euros to fill up, if not more (my tank was only 3/4 empty). That’s roughly $165.

It’s not only that though. I don’t think a Hummer can fit down most streets here, considering I feel cramped in my little car. And where do they park??? One of the Hummers I saw today was parked half on the sidewalk and half in the street just so it wouldn’t be blocking traffic. And I bet it doesn’t fit in any of the parking garages here. In Paris, a Hummer is more than excessive. It’s Excessive (with a capital E, in case you didn’t get that).

Little Glass Jars

Can I just say how much I love that glass jars are used for just about everything in France? I don’t understand why we ever stopped using them in the U.S. I know they’re still used for some things, but I think in most cases (olives, peppers, etc) it’s because they’re imported. In the U.S. I think we moved away from using glass because it’s more expensive to produce than plastic, which is made from oil (coincidence? I think not). Also, I think people prefer plastic because it is less breakable than glass.

BUT glass is far more environmentally friendly than plastic. It is the only thing besides metal that can be reshaped over and over again without losing it’s strength. Plastic, on the other hand, can only be reused if there aren’t too many other chemicals mixed with it (chemicals that give them color and texture, for instance). And many plastics aren’t even recyclable, despite having the cute little chasing arrows on the bottom. Again, it’s because they’ve had too many chemicals added to them. It would do more damage to the earth to melt them down because they release noxious fumes into the atmosphere, than it does to chuck them in the garbage. Water bottles however are one of the two types of plastics that are easily recyclable. Still, wouldn’t it be better to not be so reliant on something made from oil? Just saying.

So anyway, I love these little glass jars. I was going to buy a toothbrush holder the other day but then I remembered I had some yogurt at home in a glass jar and I could use that as my toothbrush/toothpaste holder. And I have to say it works quite well. Also, my nutella glass is almost ready for use. I just finished the nutella and have the glass soaking in the sink right now. 🙂

Mannequins

Last thing, I promise. I just wanted to share a little something that makes my heart smile, and that is the French word for models. In France super models are nothing more than mannequins. That makes my heart smile because it makes it so much easier for me to remember that a model’s body isn’t as real as we all are persuaded to believe. Hearts for that!

And the winner is….

My little sister Kati! Somehow, despite my parents utterly ignoring my youngest sister and treating her like she’s a huge pest, the girl has managed to talk her way into a trip to France. Yay for Kati!

Since about July she’s been asking me for information on how to get a passport and a plane ticket, but I haven’t been very hopeful because I know how difficult it can be to get my parents to do anything. And because Kati is under age 14, she needs BOTH of my parents to go with her to the post office to apply for her passport. Not only that but she needed a copy of her birth certificate as well as all the other accompanying info (social security number, passport photos, etc.).

But somehow today she finally managed to pull it off. She somehow found her birth certificate in the mounds of garbage at my parents house. She got her social security number from me (I have no idea why I had it, but I did). And today she finally got my parents to the post office! That’s a huge hurdle. If she can do that then I know she’s for sure coming to visit me. Yay! I’m going to have visitors.

She’s coming in December for my birthday and Christmas I believe, which makes me super excited. I have a whole week off after Christmas so I’ll get to spend super lots of time with her. Unfortunately it also means I have to make a trip to EuroDisney and pay their extortionist prices for entry and basic accomodations, like food. It will be fun though, I know it. Especially considering nobody will be there in December so we won’t have to wait in line or listen to a bunch of screaming children.

So, anyway, I just wanted to share my excitement with the world.

Any other visitors coming my way?

How about a group reunion in Paris in the spring???

Today I joined 15,000 other women in running La Parisienne 6K. I haven’t run since the half marathon I did in May so I ran pretty slow, but it felt good to get out there and run again. The race was only for women and it was to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness. I didn’t actually sign up though because you have to have some crazy medical form to sign up for a race here in France. I just ran with a bunch of friends instead. Kind of a bummer though because I was the only one without a number and without a medal at the end 😦

There were two other girls who weren’t in this picture.

I really liked this race though because I got to see the sights while also running it. We ran around the Champ de Mars, which is of course famous for the Eiffel Tower in the middle of it. It was a really good run, but a little on the hot side today since the weather has been so nice lately. My time was horrendous at 52.11 minutes. My best 5K time was 35 minutes! What this tells me is I need to get out and start running some more. I’m signing up for a 10K here in October so maybe that will give me some motivation. Anyway, here are some other pictures from the run…

There were a lot of groups running. I especially like this group with the butterfly wings. There was another group dressed as ladybugs that I really liked as well.


There was supposed to be group stretching before the race. It turned out to be a jazzercise session. SO weird.

This came out really blurry because I was running while I took it, but those signs are pictures of Barack Obama and they say “Les Filles Barack” or “Barack’s Girls.” Loved it.

This last one is my favorite picture from the race. Oh, and you can see one of the ladybug girls there.

When you’re the black sheep

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but when you’re the black sheep of your family, not so much. I haven’t lived near my parents for almost two years. But I felt like they were close when they were only two states away because I was constantly arguing on the phone with my dad about pretty much anything and everything. He and I can never have just a normal conversation.

And moving 3,000 miles away hasn’t changed that. Apparently I’m too old for my parents to love or care about. So I’m over it. I’m not talking to them anymore. All it does is hurt my feelings.

Someone to love

Being in Paris makes me really want a puppy, especially a super cute one like the one above. Unfortunately, Tony isn’t convinced I’ll take care of it. And, um, he’s right.

So instead I’ll be buying a plant. I think a lime tree. If I can keep that alive for a whole year I might move up to goldfish.

I really do hate watching everyone walking with their cute dogs around here. It makes me super jealous.

Mmmmmm…

I really feel like I’m in Paris now because I finally bought and ate a croissant yesterday. And it was just as delicious as I remembered it being. Now I think I’m addicted. I’m going to work in a bit and I woke up super early just so I’d have extra time to stop off at the boulangerie (bread store). Croissants and bread are one thing I’ll always be able to afford here. Croissants are 45 centimes and a baguette is 90 centimes. You can’t beat that!

I spent pretty much my entire weekend in an English pub watching rugby, but since it seems like most of you are completely disinterested in my rugby encounters, I’ll talk about something else.

Awhile back I wrote about bookcrossing.com and how cool I thought it was. I never really took full advantage of the site though. But now that my reading material is pretty much nill (have you noticed the lack of book reviews around here lately) I’ve decided to go back and have a look at the site. What I found is that you can “hunt” for books in certain areas. So I signed up to get notices when people drop a book off in my district of Paris.

Last night I received my first notification. It said a book had been left two days ago at the Palais de Tokyo. And it had the picture above with a description of why the it was left there. Well, two days seems like quite awhile so I thought for sure the book wouldn’t still be there, but I went anyway. I felt really weird looking around this statue for a book. But I also felt like I was on some kind of treasure hunt. It was really actually kind of exciting.

Long story short, I found the book. It’s called “Malices des Singes.” I’m not really sure what it’s about, but I’m going to attempt to read it (French dictionary in hand). When I’m done I plan to hide it somewhere for someone else to find.

Seriously, I can’t even explain why I find this so exciting, but I do. I really feel like it’s a big treasure hunt in the city for me.

So, uh, you should all go sign up and start hiding books in your town. Yes? Yes.

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