More Monet

French Word(s) of the Day: juste nos quatre (juice-st no cat-rah)- just us four

Sam leads a tour through through Claude Monet’s home in Giverny.  We were in luck; the week we were in France was one of the last weeks that the garden was open.  It closed shortly after our visit for the winter.

I’ve discussed how much I love Monet.  Sam is also aware of this fact.  The last time I’d been at Giverny, there had been people all over the place and on all the bridges.  I was a little worried they were going to collapse.  I’d told him how sad I wasn’t that I hadn’t been able to take people-less pictures.

Sam’s tour gets in before the gardens open to the public.  He led his group to the house for their special tour (with another guide) and then snuck us into the gardens.  The four of us got to be there without anyone else for several minutes, and Sam said, “Happy birthday, Meghan!”

Happy birthday, indeed!

As today is my actual birthday, I think it’s the perfect time to share all my beautiful photos.

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Winter Flowers

French Word(s) of the Day: le jardin (luh jhar dawn)- the garden

We had our first huge snow of the year about 3 days ago which means that I’m ready for the snow to melt.  Winter should only last 3 days.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature and I disagree on this.  She thinks it should last 3 months.  I assume she goes south for the winter and doesn’t have to try to walk through sludgy snow on her way to work.

My favorite escape has always been to look at beautiful pictures, and I collected several when I went to Monet’s old haunt, Giverny, last spring.  Monet’s my favorite painter, but I can see how he made such fabulous paintings.  Ready for a spring escape?

Happy winter!

A Very Merry Disney Halloween Christmas

French Word(s) of the Day: Tout ce que je veux pour Noël c’est toi (too sah kah jah voo pour no-el say twah)- All I want for Christmas is you

My phone’s been acting up lately, so I am terrified that all my pictures are going to die.  This means tons of backlogged posts that I hadn’t gotten to yet will be appearing in the next few weeks.

We’ve got a lot to catch up on, folks!

I visited my sister, Alyssa, in California earlier this year.  She’s been living there for work.  She started a blog that she updates every so often (read: never).  I believe the last post was from October 5th.   See?  There are people worse at updating than me.

Disneyland was necessary during my visit as it’s my life goal to make it to every single Disney park at some point in my life.

This castle is Disney’s smallest and is Sleeping Beauty’s.  She has 3: this one, Paris, and Hong Kong.  If you’re going to be a true royal, you must bankrupt your subjects by using their tax dollars for castle upkeep.

We went to Disneyland when it was all spiffed up for Halloween.

They completely changed the Haunted House into Nightmare Before Christmas… it was like Christmas AND Halloween (and therefore appropriate for right now 😉 )

I’m glad that it now looks like I planned putting off this entry all along so that we could get some Christmas love here.

We also bought tiaras because why wouldn’t you?  All the park people bowed to us and said “Your highnesses.”  I wish people would do this to me in real life instead of staring at me like I’m crazy when I wear a tiara in public.

Mine fell off during Splash Mountain, but never fear!  A purple tiara found its way back to me by the end of the day…

The tiara is currently on my night stand waiting for an excuse to be worn again.  The 3D glasses I gave back to Disney.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Halloween!

(Ok, more like a day left.  But I am close!)

Une Visite!

French Word(s) of the Day: chuis bo (shh-wee bow)- I’m pretty (for men; “chuis bo” is the shortened version of “je suis beau”)

Louis came to America for a visit!  I always try to force people to come and see me, and I’m always shocked when they actually do.

He had his first real Halloween and was very entertained by all the trick-or-treaters.  Before we walked by the Boystown Halloween Parade, we went to Walgreens to get last second costumes.  I thought we’d only be able to find vampire fangs, but we actually found animal hats.

Courtesy of Louis

I know: penguins are a great look for me.  Why do I ever bother NOT wearing this?

Louis also looked fabulous (he even lent his sunglasses to his canine friend):

Courtesy of Louis

Our fashion sense clearly shows that we live/ have lived in Paris.  I expect Chanel to debut these hats soon.

In honor of our attractiveness, we sang this song all week:

Go to 1:10 for the song.  The first minute is them talking.

More to come!  For now, stay pretty.

New York, New York

French Word of the Day: meuble (mwa-ebleh)- furniture

I’m going to keep up the French Word of the Day.  I’m going to bet I still have a few (thousand) to learn, and who doesn’t want a little bit more French in their life?

My employer sent me to New York to help with a conference.  I’ve never traveled for a job before, so having someone else pay for all my expenses was AWESOME.  I wish work paid for all my vacations.

The first day, I got free reign of the city.  I went to see a little-known museum that some people call “The Met.”  You’ve probably never heard of it.

It was raining.  I have that effect on New York.

Someday, we will all find out why museums feel the need to charge half a year’s salary as admission.  It seems to me that more people would come if it was cheaper, but what do I know about business?

The museum had distinct signs that forebode food, drink, and photos.  I ignored them all.  So did everyone else in the museum.  I think they were there for decoration.

The lovely thing about going to a museums by yourself is that you can see whatever you want for as long as you want.  I hung out by the Egyptians for an hour, taking clandestine photos of really old jewelry.

I also found this sarcophagus of an Egyptian queen who died when she was only 21.  I never thought a thousand-year-old sarcophagus would make me feel old.

And the ever-popular Temple of Dendur (which sounds like a video game), gifted to America by the Egyptians.  It’s from around 15 BC.  No big deal.  Just a few millennia older than our government.

I believe they built a moat around it to keep tourists away, but if there’s anything I’ve learned about tourists, it’s that they will never stop trying to climb on ancient buildings in order to take pictures for their Facebook profiles.  Seriously, the FBI could learn a few things from tourists.

The next section I went to was the American section.  The Met has decided to capitalize on our fascination with HGTV and recreate homes from every century in our governmental history.  It’s like “International House Hunters 1600’s-style.”  (For the record, I would watch that show.)

I got a picture of this 18th-century dining room:

I also stumbled upon the medieval section.  I’m writing this visit off as “research” for my future historical romance novel.

I will take name suggestions for all four knights.

After my tiring day wandering through the museum, I stumbled upon an overpriced cupcake stand.

You all know my love for cake dictates that I cannot turn down cupcakes, no matter how overpriced.

It started to rain 5 seconds after my cupcake purchase.  I attempted to eat the cupcake while simultaneously walking and holding an umbrella.  Any of you who have ever seen me walk before (I’m not very good at it) know that this was a poor decision.  Part of the cupcake dropped into my purse.

The purse is still recovering.

I had dinner with my coworkers and found out that one also works for a literary agent for…. ROMANCE NOVELS.  I’ve already warned her that I’m going to send her a really, really sappy story.  Well, i will whenever I actually get an idea for it/ write it.  In other words, I’ll send her a story next century.

I took a picture of the New York Library, even though I never got the chance to go into it.  Next time!  I shall return.

The next day, I actually had to work.  Life can’t be all cupcakes and furniture.  Well, unless you own a store that exclusively sells said objects.

If anyone decides to open that store, I’d love to go into business with you.

Visit!!!!

French Word of the Day: visite (vees-it)- visit

My mom and her friend, Joan, were here for a visit.  They started the trip off right by bringing me a lot of items with chocolate in them from the States.  Girl scout cookies!  Reese’s Pieces!  Easter candy with more sugar than the French will allow in their candy!

It’s possible that I ate some of it before writing this.

It was lovely to see them both.  We went out for dinner every night, usually with a new French person (and Sam, who is basically French).

Sadly my new schedule doesn’t allow me to just skip days of work whenever I want, so I wasn’t able to join them everywhere, but we did get in some Opera Garnier and Sacre Coeur.

Today at work was exciting.  My boss offered me a job for the summer.  As long as I can legally do it, I think I will.  After all, when someone offers you a job in Paris, you take it.  Unless it’s at the Moulin Rouge, in which case you seriously consider it before deciding that you might want to go down a different career path.

I also did my first journalistic interview (where I was the interviewer and not the interviewee) with someone from Tumblr, the blogging site.  I ended up telling him I have a Tumblr (I’m a fan of the pretty pictures on it and like adding my own sassy comments to them… that no one reads because I have no followers…)  He asked what my name on it was and laughed when I said, “the meghan.”  There is only one Meghan, and apparently it’s me.  I can’t help that.

Mainly, I use the site to entertain myself, so I assume he’ll judge me if he ever looks it up.  I’m okay with that.

I was glad to be able to tell my mom my job news in person.  I hadn’t asked if I could stay, so I was flattered that my boss offered me the job of her own free will.  My mom was very encouraging and happy for me, because she rocks.  🙂

I hope she and Joan had fun!  I had fun with them.

I haven’t done my homework for tomorrow, but I’ve decided to be a slacker this semester because my grades count for nothing.  I’ve never been a slacker before, so this should be an interesting experiment.  I’m not good at not trying, so this will be a challenge…

Pain au chocolat count: 61

Mes Parents!

French Word of the Day: parents (pair-hawn)- parents

Translating my CV into French took way too long.  It would have been easier if some of the things had directly translated, but the French don’t even have the words or concepts of some of the things on my resume (like grants).  It’s surprisingly difficult to explain a job when the words for it don’t exist.

I also have to explain my schooling.  I might have graduated from college, but in France, the word “college” means “middle school.”  I’m willing to give the French the benefit of the doubt.  After all, my birthday and age are written on the CV.  I’m assuming most employers won’t look at the dates and say, “You were still in middle school at 22 years of age?  Is that normal in the US?”

According to the internship instructor, I can’t assume anything.  I think most of my resume now consists of me explaining the words on my resume.  Yay intercultural exchanges!

Thursday was Armistice Day.  The French have an obsession with World War I (possibly because they lost over 1 million men- an entire generation- and also possibly because everyone’s still trying to forget Vichy France existed), so they get a national holiday on the anniversary.  It’s a way to remember an important time in French history.

Of course, we used it as an excuse to party on Wednesday night.

My parents came on Friday.  Théo’s parents invited us for dinner which went really well, especially considering the fact that my parents speak very little French and Théo’s dad isn’t fluent in English.  Théo, his mom, and I had to translate a bit, but not as much as I would have thought.

We decided today would be our relaxation day, and we walked around the Champs-Elysées in the rain.  Paris in the rain… that sounds very poetic.  Except for the negative effect it had on our hair, it was.

Théo and Arnaud joined us for dinner tonight at this fabulous hole-in-the-wall restaurant.  Everyone got half-baked chocolate cake for dessert except for my dad, who got a banana pie with chocolate syrup on the plate- all of which he lovingly gave to me (the syrup).

Dessert is the most important part of any meal.  Especially if there’s chocolate involved, which there always should be.

Speaking of chocolate, my mom is insisting we go get some pain au chocolat during her visit because I’ve made her hungry with my blog posts.  It took a very long time to convince me to get some with her.  Roughly 1 second.

Chocolate… mmmmm.

Pain au chocolat count: 27