Saturday, January 8, 2011

End of Semester = Christmas Time?

I haven’t posted for so long that I am nearly embarrassed to start again, but honestly, those last weeks in Paris didn’t include that much blog-worthy. Highlights were visiting the Monet-exhibition in the Grand Palais (which included paintings from around the whole world and gave an enormous insight in his artistic method, since you could see two nearly identical paintings of the same scenery one next to another, with only changes in lighting or the seasons to distinguish them), exploring Paris anew with Erica in the worst snow storm ever (secret tip – we discovered that Shakespeare and Co. has an upstairs reading room, the cosiest thing imaginable, with old books which are not for sale, but only there in order to be read while the rain or snow is pounding on the windows), going to tea time with Aude to this amazingly posh tea room (Mariage et Frères? or something similar) where waiters in white smokings would pull out the chairs for us and serve us steaming hot pots of tea and delicious scones, and seeing the Youth Symphony Orchestra, also with Aude and her mom, play – leading us to the conclusion that clearly, we have already wasted our years, because what are we doing bumming around in school while others play that amazingly on stage?

Other than that, my days were filled with reading, summarizing, writing, reading, summarizing, writing, presenting, reading, summarizing, pulling my hair out over quantitative data – I had to finish up 5 papers (including a 20-pager) in 2 weeks and was going nuts. Well, it is done. It may not have been done as brilliantly or with as much insight as my teachers expect, but it is done. Plus, now I know more about the Operation Condor, the RAF, Jobbik, the Serbian Radical Party, the legal interpretations of the Iraq war, and Germany and France’s stance on that war than ever before – if any of these topics interest you, though, please don’t ask me. I am done with them. =P

What I do love about Paris in wintertime – when I am able to leave the house in a futile attempt to relax from the stress – is the atmosphere that gives the city a warm, hospitable glow. The lights. The Eiffel tower sparkling in the darkness. The Christmas markets – in La Defense, St.-Germain-des-Près, on the Champs-Élysee – that try to tempt you to have a glass of mulled wine and a Nutella-crepe. Everything about Paris in winter screams – or rather, whispers in a soothing voice – cosiness, relaxation, and the promise of a warm cup of tea in your house. Except when it starts to snow. But that is a story for another post.

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