I’m actually going to start this with a little more about Wednesday night after my last post. During dinner we had some great conversations and I’m now completely sure of Vladimir’s smartass-ness! The Chalufour’s silverware has monogrammed “P”s on it and Vlad wanted to know why since no one in their family has a P in their name. Mme Chalufour said it was a family heirloom and someday it would go to one of their children. Vlad answered this by saying they should have named the kids Pierre, Paul and Patricia!

Jaclyn and I also introduced the Chalufours to peanut butter with apples. They enjoyed it but couldn’t believe some of the other ways of eating it we described but they were mortified by the idea of PBJ sandwiches. The discussion then turned to candy: they hate Hershey’s but they really want to try Reese’s!

And now Thursday!
We started the day with our placement exams, hopefully they won’t say I’m too dumb and send me home!~

After the test we had another orientation about culture shock and how to handle it both here and when we return. The next part of the day was incredible!

The IES faculty arranged for us to go to a 3 star restaurant and cook our own meal! AT Chez Guy Martin we were split into two groups and shown to the kitchens, I didn’t make it in the group with Katie and Jaclyn but I met lots of other students. Our chef was named Rudy and he helped us make quinois (similar to kous-kous) with vegetables and chicken with chocolate souffle for dessert. First we chopped the vegetables and had a bit of a hard time translating some words from French to English. It was bad enough that most didn’t know what fennel was in English so the French just made it worse! I was also really surprised to hear many of the other kids say they had never cooked before!

Each of us had our own station with our knives set beside, it was just a little intimidating...

Each of us had our own station with our knives set beside, it was just a little intimidating...

Chef Rudy showed us how real chefs chop onions so you don't tear up or cut yourself.

Chef Rudy showed us how real chefs chop onions so you don't tear up or cut yourself.

Most of the other kids were pretty nervous about cooking and were uncomfortable at first but in the end we all had fun!

Most of the other kids were pretty nervous about cooking and were uncomfortable at first but in the end we all had fun!

All the chopping and dicing went well and no injuries were reported. Then came the actual cooking. The veggies went in with the quinois along with some white whine and bouillabaisse. The chicken got fried in olive oil and then it was time to plate. This was the part where I found out I watch Food Network tooo much (thanks Sam!) We used round cutters to hold the quinois in place, then the chicken went down and we topped off both with some herbs and balsamic vinegar. Chef Rudy said my plate was the best looking, I guess watching so much Iron Chef America paid off!

My plate!

My plate!

The meal was delicious and the conversation was a lot of fun. I got to know the other kids and hear about their host families and from the sounds of it, Jaclyn and I got the best one! Dessert was chocolate souffle and all I can say about that is “WOW!”

Chocolate souffle!

Chocolate souffle!

A trip to the Musee d’Órsay was next on the schedule. I caught up with Katie and Jaclyn and some of the others from lunch yesterday. We took the |Metro and walked some and then we were there. The walk went by the Seine and I got my first good look at the river and was pleased to find it just as pretty as I’d imagined. Just off the Seine there’s a statue of Thomas Jefferson and we had some fun with that since there’s one at MU too. Our new friend Meaghan is from Virginia and she was ecstatic! She just had to get a picture with “TJ”.

A bridge over the Seine, one of 21 in all.

A bridge over the Seine, one of 21 in all.

Statue of Thomas Jefferson along the Seine.

Statue of Thomas Jefferson along the Seine.

At the museum we received a special guided tour, complete with earpieces a la James Bond! The tour was okay, but after an already long day we didn’t really have the patience for an art lesson, especially in French. I was blown away by the artwork and the building thought. Seeing Degas'”Ballerina at 14 years old” and Van Gough’s self-portrait in person was indescribable! I can’t wait to go back with my Impressionism class!

Van Gogh's self-portrait, a little shaky I'm sorry. I'll get a better one before I leave.

Van Gogh's self-portrait, a little shaky I'm sorry. I'll get a better one before I leave.

The main lobby/entrance to the Musee d'Orsay. A converted train station, the building was designed to be both beautiful and functional, it was also one of the first cast iron structures in Paris.

The main lobby/entrance to the Musee d'Orsay. A converted train station, the building was designed to be both beautiful and functional, it was also one of the first cast iron structures in Paris.

Monet's view of the Seine at Giverny. I can't wait to go here myself!

Monet's view of the Seine at Giverny. I can't wait to go here myself!

The little ballerina at 14 years-old.

The little ballerina at 14 years-old.

Wen we were released from the tour we were on our own. Because I still needed a cellphone and some others needed SIM cards we went back to the 14th arrondissment by IES to go to the Phone House (real name I swear). Jaclyn, Katie, our new friends Meaghan (Virginia TJ-lover and hilarious redhead), Harrison (satiric History buff from Chicago minus the tweed) and Andres (Venezuelan with a quick wit and reserved exterior) managed to wander the entire 14th before getting the phones taken care of. I still didn’t get one worked out, but that”ll be in my next post.

Meaghan had to go to dinner with her family but the rest of us were free so we tried to come up with a plan. The Montparnase Cemetery is really close to IES so we headed over there. By this time it was 7:40 pm. Note to self: cemeteries close at 7 pm. Because we didn’t think climbing the fence was a good idea, we walked away to look for dinner and to find some fun.

We grabbed some crepes with Nutella at a vendor, Andres convinced us to buy them so the vendor gave him his for free! He’s a sneaky one. When we finished these we decided to just get on the Metro and take a random stop. The closest line happened to be the 6th, which goes to the Eiffel Tower.

AT this stop we gawked at the tower for a few minutes before we decided food was more important. That close to a big monument all the cafes were super expensive so we kept looking. Finally we found the “Sandwicherie”(again, real name). It was the sketchiest place I’ve ever eater but it was cheap. Harrison didn’t trust it so he went to the more expensive bakery.

Katie and Andres at the Sandwicherie with their cheap dinner.

Katie and Andres at the Sandwicherie with their cheap dinner.

After eating we went back to the Eiffel Tower and took the obligatory photos and just hung out and people-watched. We saw so many different people taking different pictures in front of the tower. Everything from Harri Krishnas to bikers in Santa Claus hats to the cute Italian couple who took our photo. The man spoke some English and regaled us with his tales of visiting 35 states!

Harrison, Andres, Katie, Jaclyn and myself in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Harrison, Andres, Katie, Jaclyn and myself in front of the Eiffel Tower.

Just in case anyone is confused, this is the Eiffel Tower.

Just in case anyone is confused, this is the Eiffel Tower.

By 9:30 we figured we should all head home. The boys headed to their Metro stop and we took ours back to the Champs Elysee. Because of the dark Jaclyn and I walked Katie home and then came back to our home. It was a long, busy, fun day!

I definitely feel like I’m in Paris now!

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