Thursday, November 26, 2009

Buns & Thighs: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday November 26, 2009 - Buns & Thighs: Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello everyone! As the number of days between now and Christmas decrease and the inches of my waist increase, I am becoming highly aware of the, eh hem, effects of my pasta-bread-cheese diet. (“Thanks France”) Therefore Wednesday November 18th marked day one of my 30 Day Challenge. Perfect timing; I can start the foundational training for my triathlon! I really want to do one this summer when I get back to the states!

My plan: a) stretch and run 5 times a week, b) work out my arms, abs, and buns every day, and c) no pasta, bread, or cheese. Now, I KNOW that this last one sounds insane and ridiculous, but believe me, I have no problem avoiding those at all…it’s the dessert I can’t go a day without; it must have something to do with being an Irwin… Anyways, of course the wonderful mother that I have told me that I am perfectly fine the way I am and should only worry if I was going to ask her to mail me new pants! Well at this rate, I will need new pants by Christmas! Thus, the Challenge has begun! But, to be perfectly honest, I can’t complain…when I wake up early to run the only motivation I need is to remember WHERE I get to run! The little green patch right in front of the Eiffel Tower on this map is where I get to do my laps. Can’t complain, right? I get to run with a bunch of other Parisians who look oh-so-severe and intense and turbo and scary…today I just looked at the ground. Needless to say, it was my best run thus far! Ha!

For my French Civilization class, we visited the Musée Carnavalet on Saturday. It displayed the History of Paris through paintings, cartoons, figures, and artifacts. It was really interesting and we actually wanted to see everything! Ironically, there was this one painting that caught my eye. It was of this red-faced jolly looking man leaning over a huge casserole dish with wine at one elbow and bread at the other. I joked, “Oh look! It’s me!” Then, I just happened to come across this article online from the New York Times mentioning this very painting!

I also took many other pictures of pieces that I really liked…I think I might take all of my visiting American tourists here for a visit!

This one reminds me of pictures of my glamorous Granny:

So as you fill your happy tummies today (since it is Thanksgiving) eat an extra serving of sweet potatoes for me and get ready for my Mid-Summer 2010 Thanksgiving Celebration; it is my favorite holiday and I have MANY things to be thankful for after all…each one of you included!

Psaumes 139:1-18 (grâce à/thanks to Madame Driscoll)

Éternel! Tu me sondes et tu me connais, ²Tu sais quand je m’assieds et quand je me lève, tu pénètres de loin ma pensée; ³Tu sais quand je marche et quand je me couche, Et tu pénètres toutes mes voies. ⁴Car la parole n’est pas sur ma langue, que déjà, ô Éternel! Tu la connais entièrement. ⁵Tu m’entoures par derrière et par devant, et tu mets ta mains sur moi. ⁶Une science aussi merveilleuse est au-dessus de ma portée, Elle est trop élevée pour que je puisse la saisir. ⁷Où irais-je loin de ton esprit, et où fuirais-je loin de ta face ? ⁸Si je monte aux cieux, tu y es ; si je me couche au séjour des morts, t’y voilà. ⁹Si je prends les ailes de l’aurore, et que j’aille habiter a l’extrémité de la mer, ¹⁰là aussi ta main me conduira, et ta droite me saisira. ¹¹Si je dis: Au moins les ténèbres me couvriront, la nuit devient lumière autour de moi; ¹²même les ténèbres ne sont pas obscure pour toi, la nuit brille comme le jour, et les ténèbres comme la lumière. ¹³C’est toi qui as formé mes reins, qui m’as tissé dans le sein de ma mère. ¹⁴Je te loue de ce que je suis une créature si merveilleuse. Tes œuvres sont admirables, et mon âme le reconnait bien. ¹⁵Mon corps n’était point caché devant toi, lorsque j’ai été fait dans un lieu secret, tissé dans les profondeurs de la terre. ¹⁶Quand je n’étais qu’une masse informe, tes yeux me voyaient; et sur ton livre étaient tous inscrits les jours qui m’étaient destinés, avant qu’aucun d’eux existât. ¹⁷Que tes pensées, ô Dieu, me semblent impénétrables! Que le nombre en est grand! ¹⁸Si je les compte, elles sont plus nombreuses que les grains de sable. Je m’éveille, et je suis encore avec toi.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Gray Day Full of Light

Sunday November 15, 2009 - Père Lachaise Cemetery - Notre Dame

Quite the picturesque Sunday afternoon! Today the skies were gray, the air was crisp, the leaves were falling and my favorite exploring partners were ready for a new adventure, so we headed to the Père Lachaise Cemetery. There are many famous figures buried there including Georges Seurat, Gertrude Stein, Guillaume Apollinaire, Honoré de Balzac, Frédéric Chopin, Moliere, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde, and of course Jim Morrison. The cemetery is massive and surprisingly beautiful, though you won’t find me there after dark…yikes!

We then headed to a café outside Notre Dame for a warm bite to eat. Now, I realized that I had never actually been inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as sad as that is… I highly recommend visiting on a Sunday evening about 5pm. The mass service is just starting but they still allow tours in the outer foyers of the cathedral. We basically got to stroll through at dusk when the huge chandeliers are lit up and the choir is singing. It was so impressively picturesque and peaceful. Take a look:

Look Mom, the famous rose windows!

Bonne soirée tout le monde!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The American Church

Sunday November 8, 2009 - American Church in Paris: Feels Like Home

So enough about red meat, let’s talk food for the soul. As you know, I live in the 7th Arrondissement home to not only the Eiffel Tower and Parc du Champs de Mars but also the American Church in Paris. How “lucky” is that?! …Hmmm, I kind of think the Big Man Upstairs might have had something to do with it… The church is beautiful!! My whole Grace family would definitely appreciate it, and it is located on the Quai d’Orsay right on the Seine River. Location, location, location.

So I guess one might say that I should be going to a French church to fully immerse myself into the French language, but I can’t help it! It feels like home!! The first couple of weeks that I was here, I was in temporary housing (remember the hostel without internet and scummy bathrooms) and I didn’t get a chance to attend a church service during that time. When I moved into my apartment and realized how close I was to the American Church, I was thrilled. The funny part is, the first time I went I was actually freaked out that all these people were smiling at me. Oh wait, they’re Americans. Duh. But, I was surprised to see how quickly I adjusted to the French street culture of not smiling in public, ever. So of course being the old lady I am I adore the traditional service with the hymns backed up by a massive organ. There is a contemporary service on Sunday afternoons that I just tried today and loved it too! We sang all modern worship songs that I know all the words to. I don’t know; I think for me it’s something therapeutic to wake up on a Sunday morning and get ready for church. It reminds me of home and soothes my homesickness. It’s only a 15 minute walk, but I usually take my time to enjoy some solitude with my Father.

You can see more about the church and some photos on their website.
And PS, these photos were taken back in September...and it hasn't been quite that sunny since!

Friday, November 6, 2009

La Rochelle

October 23-25, 2009 - La Rochelle Weekend

Rema's aforementioned french boyfriend (the one who brings stinky cheese to my house) kindly invited us to go to his hometown for the weekend; the coastal town of la Rochelle. Ironically, in high school we had to do a french project on a french city and I was assigned to la Rochelle...who would've known that one day I would be freezing my buns off and soaking wet due to the simple fact the the ocean is literally "in the air" right on la Rochelle's very own beaches!

There were TONS of seashells! I was going nuts.

PS Rema is deathly allergic to shellfish. Therefore this photo: hardly funny...due to the fact that I would have to be the one to inject her emergency EpiPen OMG...

We went to the biggest aquarium in Europe: SO fun!

More seascapes...

The bridge to l’Ile de Ré, an island in the Atlantic Ocean right off the coast of La Rochelle.

On the island, the weather was beautiful and sunny (and dry, lacking all that wonderful ocean air)...I loved being in nature again! Paris is pretty but it's not exactly natural (ie manicured forests, really?)

If anyone can identify this creature that does not have any sort of skeleton, tentacles, or substance other than gush (eww), let me know!

Hello Slug! He was about the size of my head! (and squishy, we tested)

Au revoir La Rochelle!