Practicing Gratitude

This subject headline popped up in my inbox throughout the entire day and I could not stop thinking about it. The run that I went on this morning really fueled this thinking. I felt so grateful to be running, to be using my legs and making myself stronger and healthier. It really made the day wonderful, no matter what happened throughout the day, I had my run. And of course, I am also aware that a run in Paris is no ordinary run. I am aware of the fact that it starts to seem “normal” to you after you have been living here for a month, but really it is truly extraordinary.

Even in the gloom of winter, it's beautiful

Simply for this reason (and the fact that the weather is sooo much better than it has been for the last two weeks!), I am so glad that kicked myself in the bum and got out there to run today. I have been craving it actually after 10 straight days of walking and Bikram Yoga, I was definitely ready for a change. I rounded out my morning workout with a little NTC (Nike Training Club app for the iPhone) in the Tuileries and then I ran home because some weird guy with a black backpack was staring at me and following me around the entire time that I was in the Tuileries. I knew better than to stick around for any longer than I needed to, and even though I kept moving the entire time he kept watching me, sooo long story short, I did exactly what my French Madame told me to do in Paris and I bolted home!

NIKE!

Sticking out like a sore thumb...pink Nikes and proud of it!

I was greeted at home by a very thank you from my French family for the Valentine’s day treats that I gave them-Conversation Hearts (accidentally en espagnol!) and some macarons from Pierre Hermé! [Pierre Hermé or Ladurée? (la-do-ray—> pronounication according to my French teacher)]

I was so excited to get back and reward my workout with a quick bath, which was also nice because it was not in a crowded and dirty Bikram Yoga locker room! I inhaled an orange and ran to the metro then ran to my art history class at the Louvre. I was in such a hurry that I wished I had listened more to the little kids singing on the métro. They were so cute, but I was trying to hurry and meet my professor that I couldn’t stick around for long.

After studying Ingres, Delacroix, Géricault at the Louvre….

(sorry for the blurry pictures-this is a fast moving art history course)

Liberty Leading the People (aka the cover of the Coldplay album, which means there was a bunch of tourists taking obnoxious pictures all around it)

My friend Christine and I had a whole conservation about what kind of stuff the employees at the Louvre have to deal with everyday like how many times per day they have to tell all the tourists to turn off the flash on their cameras!

And finally, the Louvre could not be complete with a portrait of Napoléon,

I have found that a consistent theme runs throughout the cities that I have studied abroad in…everywhere in London there is a statue of Queen Victoria and everywhere in Paris, there is something dedicated to Napoléon. A little self-possessed, but I think that definitely made their point, even I am reminded of who they are every single day that I live in these two cities. (bahaha “A Tale of Two Cities”-maybe it’s actually time to completely read that book for real this time)

Today’s art history theme was a lot of death and dying, in “a grisly and ‘ROMANTIC’/’REALISM’ way,” you know the usual art history topics.

Since we are a small group, we headed over to our new (but expensive!) favorite food court at the Carrousel de Louvre for lunch—> I was so hungry at this point with a not very good breakfast this morning!

I am still craving Falafel after smelling it on Sunday, but I couldn’t bear to have it here again after last week’s debacle at a Mediterranean restaurant there. The rest of the food was good and filling, but the falafel tasted like paste or pure flour, it was definitely not  “L’as du falafel”–> I am going back this weekend before Lent! I need it! (besides it’s vegetarian, yummy, and the falafel pita is crammed with veggies!)

So today, Elena, another girl in our programme, (: and I went to Salam, which is a mix of Ethiopian, North African and Indian food, and my small plate today was entirely vegetarian with aubergine, carottes, et coucous. Although it was expensive with my drink and the yummy honey-filled dessert/ pastry that I split with everyone, it was filling and really good. This time around, I would definitely get this meal again…or maybe I should finally try MacDo (McDonald’s) here….just kidding (okay maybe sometime in the future here,  apparently it is supposed to be much better here).

After sticking around with Jessie (another very sweet girl from the same programme) and oohhing and longing for everything in Fragonard…including a pillow that apparently one of my favorite bloggers from Paris also loves (Making Magique)

Great minds think alike (:

I had to head back home after buying a postcard from a really cool art store in the Carrousel.  Everything in there was too tempting, I have to be on a budget, but one day, I am coming back for one of these babies.

A heart that looks like a mailed postcard was my favorite…it’s decoration for only 39 euro. Still pondering that dilemma.

After saying goodbye to Jessie, I headed down the Rue de Rivoli towards my destination and wandered into some of the storefronts facing the Tuileries<—-ultra touristy

the sun's finally out in Paris---> thank goodness!

(I’m a dork and took a shadow picture, enjoy laughing at my expense if you wish)

I found an ornament (finally!) to add to my collection and then spotted some gifts that I definitely took note of so I could back later. Then, I took a little detour of nostalgia into WH Smith, a British bookstore (and one of the only English selling bookstores that I can find). I love all their books, I definitely want to come back and buy Les Misérables (yes, because I’m in Paris and I’m a total dork, I put it on my life list to real the whole thing eventually).

But what I like most is their upstairs department, it’s filled with British gifts, memorabilia, souvenirs, and goodies. Perfect for someone like me is struggling right now between my love for Paris and my newfound love for all these British or even remotely reminding me of London. I had a mission today, but I will be back very soon (and when my budget allows to continually purchase some beloved gifts there). Not going to lie, the other day I had a good cry when I saw all of the stuff that they had, it just reminds me o much of my time there, what an incredible semester that was.

I was in search of a new bag for my books that wasn’t so bulky like my HUGE bhv (2 euro) sac, so I managed to leave WH Smith with a very good selection of goodies and a new sac that I am very proud to carry around (and it’s reversible!)

some quality British nostalgic food that will become lunch or dinner at some point this week...where's the Chicken Tikka Marsala from Sainsbury's when you need it?

And due to the fact that my mom and I are literally obsessed (okay she is way more so than I am!) with the Royal Wedding and William and Katherine in general, for just 3,60 euro, I bought my first “Keep Calm and…” product (shocker!)

After a lot of commuting, a lot of class, texting my Mom and Christine, realizing that the expressions like  “whereabouts?” have slowly made my speech more and more British influenced without me even knowing it, and lots of French homework (is there anything else to do right now?!)….I finally sat down to a delicious dinner of courgette (Zucchini) soup and delicious chevre chaud toast salade w/vingarette and miel (honey)<—-(my new favorite dish ever) with my French family. I hope that I am getting better at speaking from their perspective, I tried explaining American grades and the meaning of GPAs to them, hopefully I made it somewhat understandable with the help of my French sister, of course!

To round out the night, before tackling a bunch of homework and emails, we all ate the delicious macarons that I bought for yesterday Valentine’s celebrations. Although I had tried three different flavors that I split with Christine over the weekend, I was in love with these new flavors and according to my French family-Pierre Hermé macarons are the best in Paris! I would definitely have to agree after experimenting with the Olive Oil and Mandarine flavor as well as a little piece of both the café and the cassis flavors, the texture and the flavor combinations of Pierre Hermé macarons are absolutely fantastic!! I still have to try and compare the Rosé and/or Frambroise flavor because that is one of my favorites everywhere, but who can complete with macarons that taste this good and have real pieces of cassis (blackcurrant) in them?! “Les Incroyables”* collection which includes “Guimauve Amande”* is still my favorite (from Ladurée) all of time, but….I am just waiting for Pierre Hermé to come out with the same flavor some day.

(Ladurée)

Yes, this is what I think about all day (no, not really, but it is definitely a tried and true topic of great contemplation and conversation). We also tried some of the Conversation Hearts (that were not nearly as fun for me since they were en espagnol) and some chocolate cake and some truly incroyable chocolate….uhhh such a good way to end the night with them.

Please tell me why I would ever want to leave here…crossing my fingers that some people that I know and love very much can come out here very soon or in the next year so we can enjoy each other and this beautiful place together!

Bonne nuit tout le monde!

 

*(literally “the Incredibles”)

*Marshmallow Almond!

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One thought on “Practicing Gratitude

  1. Sounds like you are having an AMAZING time and soaking up the wonder of Paris!! You make it sound so wonderful. I’ll have to visit someday!! Be careful on those runs!! Guess whether your in LA or Paris, there are always creepy men. 😉

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