Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Disneyland, nuns, and fainting spells

Is Christmas really 10 days from now? How on earth did this happen? That means in 11 days, I will have been in Paris for a full 3 months. 3 months?! How has time gone so quickly? I literally can't believe it.

The last few weeks have been pretty chill. A couple of Fridays ago, me and some friends went to see a showing of the famous, award-winning film Amélie at this cute little theater in Montmarte (a Paris neighborhood). The theater was kicking off their new series "Lost in Frenchlation," which they will be hosting once a month. They will be showing French films with English subtitles. This was exciting to me for 2 reasons. 1) I have never seen the movie and knew it was a "must" since moving to Paris, but still never got around to watching it. 2) The movie was actually filmed in Montmarte, so seeing it for the first time on location was really awesome. Not only that, but the screenwriter for the movie, Guillaume Laurant, was actually there to introduce the movie. Keep in mind, this is a very small theater that wasn't even close to being full, so it was such a cool thing that he came out to talk a bit about the film. What's more funny is that me and my friend actually were squeezed into the tiny bathroom with him before the movie and had no idea who he was. Hope we didn't insult him by not realizing it. Oops hah. But he smiled at me and was friendly so perhaps not.

The next day, I FINALLY got to go to Disneyland Paris! You can check out the full album on my Facebook, but here are some pictures from this super fun (albeit very cold) day.

The day after Disney (it was a very full weekend as you can tell), it was the first Sunday of the month, which meant free admission to Musée du Louvre. I went with 2 friends from church, and we ended up waiting in line for an hour. Security to get in took forever because of everything that happened last month. But we finally got in, and wandered around the wing with all the paintings. I'm not exactly Miss I-know-all-about-art, but it was still really nice to walk around and see the artwork. We did stop in to see the Mona Lisa, which is way smaller than you'd imagine, and the most crowded room in the entire Louvre. But I hadn't been in there for 10 years, so I wanted to see it. On the wall facing the Mona Lisa is the largest framed painting I've ever seen, and it depicts the first miracle of Jesus when he turned the water into wine.

Here are a few more from that day at the Louvre:

Painting of Louis XIV King of France

View from the second floor

The Winged Victory of Samothrace

David and Goliath

As far as my French classes go, I had a bit of good news. The intensive course that I'm currently in runs Monday-Friday 9AM-12PM. I've learned a lot, but it has been very difficult getting to and from class and being in class so much on top of being an au pair. The au pair sections of the class were full, which is how I ended up in the intensive course at the beginning of the trimester. But now, there are spots available in the au pair sections, which means instead of 15 hours of class a week, it's only 6 hours and only 3 days of the week. I have Wednesdays off which is important for au pairs since kids get out of school half day, and now I will have Fridays off. The classes are also not in session when the kids have school holidays, so now I won't be missing important information and have to play catch up. Plus it costs €190 less than the intensive course, so that was a huge blessing.

The downside to having to switch classes though is the fact I will have a different teacher and different classmates. I really like my teacher and my class is so great. Half of our class is made up of nuns from all over the world, and 3 of them in particular have been so much fun. They are such joyful and generous people, and they love to joke around. Plus they think I'm really funny so we've had a lot of good times. They spent 3 years in the US before coming to France, and after this year they will be heading to Australia. They sure get to travel a lot! A nun from another class is actually from New Jersey, and on our class field trip last month, she and I got to talking and turns out she has heard of my alma mater Liberty University, and had a friend who actually went there. Small world! Hopefully I will still see them all around the halls, but I still am not sure what time my classes will be, so we'll see. It would be a huge bummer not to see them at all though.

The only other interesting thing that happened lately was nearly passing out on the RER yesterday. I was on my way to class, and thanks to tons of train delays, there were tons of people packed in this particular train. I was standing with my back to the door and the couple in front of me had their kid's stroller pushed up against my shins. So in addition to be exhausted from a bad night's sleep, I was standing in a stuffy train car in my parka with my knees locked. Not normally a problem. I've only ever nearly passed out once before in my life (while I was a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding...that was embarrassing...). So at first when that vaguely familiar feeling started creeping over me, I was thinking..."no way...NO way am I about to pass out on this train. I'm going to fall on this kid, people are going to freak out...no....no..." Ummm yeah. I reached for the nearest handle I could find and decided to get off at the first stop (which is not the stop I was headed for) and just sit down as quickly as I could. The train was CRAWLING and I was getting a bit frantic. Finally we are almost to a stop, but at this point I was swaying pretty badly. I didn't realize how badly until I staggered off the train when the doors finally opened and haphazardly walked over to a bench, and turned around and two people had followed me asking if I was ok. Ahh...great. So you noticed? After asking if they needed to call someone and if I was ok, and telling me to eat something, I finally waved them off assuring them I was fine. But thanks to this particular station, the trains usually sit at this platform for about 5 minutes. So yes, that was 5 minutes of me sitting there alone eating my sad banana, looking at my phone and trying to ignore the 100 or so people staring at me like I was going to collapse on the floor. Awesome. As soon as that train finally pulled away, I went home and went to sleep for a few hours. So not only did I miss another French class, I was exhausted for the rest of the day. Oh well. I guess it makes for a good story.

But that's all for now! The cold weather is still a drag and is really putting a damper on my mood. But that's winter for you. I still need to make my way down to the Champs to check out the Christmas lights, so I'm going to try my best to do that on Thursday. Hopefully I will have some good pictures to share.

À bientôt!