what being a baby must feel like

here’s the thing—there are a ton of words in any language. take english for example. how many words do we have to describe the item of clothing that covers your bottom half—pants, slacks, jeans, bottoms, shorts, culottes, whatever. and that’s not including all the slang terms or weird combination words. therefore, a non-native speaker of any language is constantly confronted with words they don’t know. obviously. but, not really that obvious. having never spent this much time in a place where english is not the dominant language, I have been shocked to see how slowly progress comes when trying to … Continue reading what being a baby must feel like

tour eiffel: because I’ve taken a million pics

the eiffel tower (tour eiffel en français) is more french than baguettes. well, maybe not. but it’s up there. it’s so french, so parisian, in fact, that I’ve seen it a million times and taken a bunch of pics of it. this is significant because I don’t normally care for trite, tourist-y representations of a city. (I never saw the white house in the seven-plus years I lived in washington, dc and I never even went close to the statue of liberty when I lived in new york.) the eiffel tower, however, is right in the center of paris and … Continue reading tour eiffel: because I’ve taken a million pics

old orléans: chez jeanne d’arc

for the second week of holiday, a couple of other americans and I decided to take a day trip out to orléans, a smaller town about an hour from paris, by train. it was a super-fun day filled with more joan of arc (in french: jeanne d’arc) knowledge than I ever knew existed or cared to know. a brief synopsis: orléans was the site of joan’s big battle that essentially saved france. the town is still very grateful and there are multiple statues, museums and general arc-ness all over the city. check out the highlights: Continue reading old orléans: chez jeanne d’arc

formidable+other european songs I’m obsessed with

you know what immediately disappointed me, like, literally less than an hour into arriving in france? how american music is all over the radio. I love music, like most human beings, and I was really looking forward to being exposed to music that I wouldn’t listen to at home. it took a little while, but I’ve slowly been listening to more francophone artists, or at least non-american anglophones. “formidable” by stromae I should actually apologize for not alerting you to this person sooner. he was the first francophone artist I heard here, just a few days after I arrived, since … Continue reading formidable+other european songs I’m obsessed with

so when are we moving to barcelona? 70-ish hours in catalunya

this whole learn french thing isn’t going well. you know what is? my recollection of spanish from middle school and an unending love for the city of barcelona. I spent about three days there this week and, needless to say if you’ve read this post’s title, loved it. like, almost everything about the city, the amazingly efficient public transit, the wonderful food, the cheap drinks and the clubs where american music of the ’50s is mixed with roots reggae. if it weren’t for the stifling and constant presence of cigarette smoke, I would have probably never left. (this coming from … Continue reading so when are we moving to barcelona? 70-ish hours in catalunya

the selfies of january

as a solo traveler, I am constantly faced with a strange question: how can I effectively document where I am/what I’m doing? sometimes I’ll ask people who speak English—aka almost everyone, it seems—to take a photo of me in front of something. sometimes I’m with someone I know here and they can take a pic. most of the time, though, it’s a selfie. so, in the past few weeks, I’ve taken a lot of them. here are some of my favs from january, taken (clockwise from top left) on the champs-elysees, at the musée carnavalet, at the musée d’orsay, on … Continue reading the selfies of january

and not a single croissant was eaten…

before visiting france, I strongly associated croissants with the country. excuse the forthcoming satc reference, but remember when miranda didn’t want carrie to move to paris with the russian? she said, “what are you going to do over there? sit around and eat croissant?” for us ‘mericans, the buttery, carby, highly caloric treat just screams “FRANCE!!!!!” however, not one flaky morsel has crossed my lips in four weeks. idk, they’re not all over the place like you’d think. instead, I have been eating every other thing imaginable, like:         Continue reading and not a single croissant was eaten…

who are you when no one knows you’re smart?

I had the pleasure of having the best three-hour lunch last weekend with a really smart woman from Australia who’s recently landed in Paris wherein I talked and talked and talked and talked. I talked so much that at some point I noticed my throat was getting sore and that I might get hoarse if the conversation continued for much longer. the topics were some of my favorites: privilege of all kinds, systemic inequities, federal mandates for maternity leave, immigration, cake, family, how interesting it is that some people want to see different parts of the world and others are perfectly … Continue reading who are you when no one knows you’re smart?

how my iPhone is saving my life in paris

so, everyone keeps asking me if I speak French. before I left for Paris, the biggest question was, “do you speak French?” the answer is simple and complicated. no, I don’t speak French. yes, I studied French and I know a decent amount of French. the thing is, French is incomprehensible if your accent is off. like, in English, someone can say “what is your name” and even if they have an accent, a deep, deep accent from some place that does not speak English, you will probably know what they’re saying. French is not that way. it’s not as … Continue reading how my iPhone is saving my life in paris