It's been a while...
Trip Start Feb 04, 2009
8Trip End Jun 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Probably the most exciting thing that's happened in the past couple of weeks was that I got to attend the Elie Saab fashion show! It was amazing to say the least! GW is actually affiliated with the Paris American Academy (PAA) which has some sewing/fashion related classes - the professors of these courses are usually able to organize the attendance of their groups at a show during fashion week, so we got to go along with them. However, we were working backstage! We had to get there around 9:30 AM - the show was scheduled to start at 11:30 (though it probably started an hour late, typical for the fashion industry)! Each person (I believe there were about 20 of us) got one model to dress, who each had 2 or 3 looks. My model was Yulia Merzlyakova, she was from Russia, very tall, blonde and skinny! The models all get there hair and makeup done then just sit around until the show is about to start then get dressed - there were some wardrobe malfunctions, mostly dealing with shoes not fitting and the fact that there were not enough gloves and handbags to go around - but other than that things went very smoothly. While the models were sitting around, there were tons of photographers coming up to them and taking pictures - its interesting to see actually see people who are beautiful for a living function. It pretty much is there job to make different faces or sit in elegant positions in case something is snapping a picture of them - I feel like it would be very embarassing to constantly be posing and have people staring at you, I think it definitely takes a certain kind of person to do that work! That being said, all of the models were very nice. My model had a black mini-dress with all of these black-jewel encrusted details and a cut-out in the front (she looked fantastic!); her second look was a simple black dress with an oversized coat. Once the music started, all of the models were ligned up and they all sort of started to get themselves psyched up to get ready to go on the runway, when they came off there were a whole bunch of photographers waiting for them and each sort of would do a funny pose or face or dance (they must have been pumped with adrenaline!) and then they would run to their little station to get changed for their next walk. They probably had about 3-5 minutes in between each walk, though it felt like much shorter and seemed very stressful. It was really amazing though! All of the clothing was so gorgeous and it was surreal to actually be there holding them and seeing them close up (at first I was a little disappointed we couldn't see the show but this turned out to be much better! I believe reviews were generally positive - Elie Saab has a pretty diverse clientele (both Hollywood stars as well as the Middle Eastern elite - he's from Lebanon) so there were certain pieces for each group. Anyways, I've posted lots of pictures from the show on my shutterfly site so definitely check them out! Also, here's a link to some backstage shots as well as a review ( http://fabricmag.com/fabric-magazine-fashion/elie-saab/ ).
I feel like I've done so much else, but its hard to remember it all! Kim and I have made it a mission of ours to explore different areas of Paris - I know last time I mentioned we went to Montmartre - more recently we visited the Marais which is a famous district known because it is an older part of Paris which was not affected by the urban planning in the 19th century which changed the rest of Paris. One of the main areas there, Place des Voges, was where the French royalty used to be situated before their move out to Versailles. The architecture is different in that there are red brick buildings and steep pitched roofs, as opposed to the rest of Paris. It was really beautiful and a very cute area. It's also been really great weather this past week and a half (50-60s and sunny) so we've been exploring various parks and open areas. It feels so wrong to be cooped up in my apartment when I can be outside enjoying the weather! Our favorite park thus far has been Parc Montsouris which was actually the setting for a scene from Paris, Je T'aime. It is really lovely, its very hilly and there's a lake and a beautiful wooden bridge crossing over the RER. I also have pictures from this, and my favorites are ones of these ducks that were just walking by near where we were sitting! It's nice to feel like you're not in the city all of the time. This park was actually located on the edge of the city in the South so it took a bit to get to but was definitely worth going.
Eva and I both didn't have class one Friday so we decided to have "our big day out" as we fondly called it. We walked along the Seine down to the Louvre - taking pictures of everything that was blurry on our boat tour that we took during our first week here. The city really is beautiful when viewed from the river - I feel like sometimes walking along the streets its easy to forget that you're in Paris. If you're just rushing along to school or trying to get somewhere all of the streets start to look the same and you don't appreciate what Paris really has to offer. But from the water, you practically get hit in the face with all of the amazing architecture, massive buildings, churches and palaces. It's similar to the feeling I get when I revisit the monuments in DC - you know they're always going to be there, but when you're there, and you think about the history and the city you're in, it makes it more special. After our walk along the river, we walked north away from the river and visited the famous old Opera house (I also have pictures of this!). Again, absolutely gorgeous (I feel like I don't even have to note how beautiful things are anymore becaue it should be just assumed hah). Anyways, Eva and I are actually going to the opera with GW on April 9th, I believe it is in this original opera house so that should be quite exciting. After seeing the opera we went to a cafe and got steak-frites (steak and fries), a traditional French meal (which was delicious) and then we went to Les Galleries Lafayettes which is another massive department store in Paris. It is most famously known for its huge dome in the middle with stained glass and gold details (see pictures!) along with its fantastic shopping. There are just way too many stores and boutiques in Paris; at this point though, I almost feel no temptation to go shopping because everything just seems so exhorbitantly expensive and I'm trying to save some money so that I can do some fun things on Spring Break.
Kim and I finally booked our Spring Break tour! We'll be taking a train from Paris to Munich where we'll spend two nights, then from Munich to Salzburg (sight of the Sound of Music!!!) where we'll spend one night, then from Salzburg to Vienna for 3 nights and finally to Budapest for 3 nights then we'll fly back to Paris from Budapest. We ended up purchasing a student train card which cost around $60 but ended up getting us discounts which saved us around $150. Altogether, our transportation is actually only costing us around $350. We have yet to book our accomodations but we've been looking at different hostels in the cities which seem relatively cheap (25 euro/night). I think part of the fun of taking the train and staying in hostels is meeting other student travellers from all over Europe - I can't wait until we leave (April 10th)!!! I bought an Eastern Europe travel guide and it seems like there are really fun things to do in each city. For example, Budapest is extremely well known for its baths (apparently it is located on top of a huge thermal spring so there are tons of public thermal baths). We're planning on sitting down this week and coming up with some itineraries so that we get to see everything we want. Eva and I are trying to figure out some long-weekend trips to either Barcelona or Amsterdam and Kristin and I are trying to arrange a trip to Croatia in between the end of my finals and when my Mom and Dad come in the beginning of July. Oh! My friend from home Steph is going to be doing a summer program in Venice so she'll be visiting in the end of May and Kim and I will most likely be visiting her at some point in June!
Oh I almost forgot to mention that Kim and I went to Disneyland yesterday! Kim's cousin works there and is able to let in 3 free people each day - he also gave us a bunch of fast passes so we were able to get on all the rides we wanted without the wait! Euro Disney is definitely not as big or exciting as DisneyWorld but it still has most of the main attractions - we went on Space Mountain (my favorite!), Star Tours, Honey I Shrunk the Audience, Thunder Mountain, the Teacups, It's a Small World etc. The big castle is a little different but there is still a Main Street USA (which is strange because its in France...) Anyways, we had a lot of fun and made me nostalgic for our family vacations to DisneyWorld when I was little. Next time we go back (yes we will go back!) we'll go to the other park (Walt Disney Studios) which has the Tower of Terror and the Rock-n-Rollercoaster and is more modern and not so fantasy-land esque.
School work has been getting a little heavy - I've had several French assignments along with two presentations in other classes. I feel like even when I don't have actual work to do, I'm always trying to catch up on reading - but there is so much to do in the city, its hard to stay inside and get it done! I still can't believe how fast this is going by! I remember on the first day of our Welcome Program my professor said that it would go by in no time - and then she said the phrase that almost every French adult has told me while I've been here: Il faut profiter! Which pretty much means that you have to profit from your time here. I didn't believe her at the time, but once the Welcome Program was over and it felt like I had been in Paris for only a couple of days I knew this would go by fast - now I'm almost 5 weeks into school and spring break is only 2 weeks away! Though things are going by quickly here, I still can't help but think about how long of a time it is to be away. I do get a little homesick every once in a while - just for the little things, like speaking to a customer service rep. in English when my phone doesn't work haha.
I can't think of much else to talk about but if anyone has any questions or wants to hear more about anything in particular let me know so I can write about it! I hope everything is going well in the states!
Love and Miss you all!! Grands Bisous! (lots of kisses!)