July 9, 2012 by jenniebean10
My (extremely limited) ability to speak French has declined significantly since arriving in Paris. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? I will guess. I got timid, which makes it hard to understand my French, and then nobody wants to try to understand my French. I was reading back in my little notes from when I arrived. I had been all excited because on my first evening, I ordered my dinner without speaking any English. Last week, I ordered some cheese, spoke a tiny bit with the Monoprix cashier, and even spoke with someone from work in French, too! Proud moments for me. Well, they’re all gone. Apparently I can’t pronounce numbers properly or even ask for a wakeup call! At least I can still order du café au lait. Pfft. I probably just jinxed that.
So…back-tracking to my first week in Paris. On Wednesday, I met my first new couchsurfing friend this trip: Nicolas! We went to La Défense to look for a drawing book for his grandma, and ended up finding a piano afterwards. It turns out there are 40 pianos around the city of Paris right now. It’s part of Luke Jerram’s art installation called “Play Me, I’m Yours,” which rescues second hand pianos, paints and tunes (maybe?) them, then distributes the pianos throughout cities across the globe to bring people together by way of music. There are some scheduled performances, but for the rest of the time, the pianos are open for anyone to play. Pretty freaking cool, right? Well, it gets cooler! There were some people playing and gathered around the piano, so Nico and I listened for a bit. Eventually, we joined in with the music-making, and got to play with about 3 different shifts of strangers. One guy, Arthur, stayed there the whole time. This guy was extremely talented and great at laying down a beat, improvising melodies, accompanying others, as well as singing. After a couple of hours, the shops at La Défense all closed, but the security guards let us stay for almost an hour longer. We had the whole place, empty, and to ourselves for our little jam session. It was fantastic!!
Last Thursday, I didn’t do much besides prepare for the SAB and practice my presentation. On Friday, my presentation went swimmingly! I represented Gettysburg well, and I “did great work.” (For those of you who don’t know, Gettysburg’s motto is “Do Great Work.” More often than not, people say it facetiously. In this rare instance, there is no sarcasm.) Since I wasn’t allowed to stay for the afternoon part of the meeting, I went into Paris and visited Le Musée du Louvre. It’s open until 10 on Friday evenings, and people under 25 can get in for free – wahoo! It wasn’t very crowded, so I didn’t have to shove too many people in order to see the Mona Lisa. I won’t talk much about the history of the Louvre or what it’s like, but I will say that it’s gargantuan. Seriously, ginormous! It’s one of the biggest art museums in the world, it was built in the 12th century, it’s the most visited art museum in the world, and it used to be a fortress. If you go downstairs, you can see the remnants of its past, including the moats and glimpses of its dungeon.
While I was inside, I was getting impatient (what’s new?) and kept looking out at the gorgeous weather and surrounding gardens/fountains/attractions, so I scooted outside to enjoy that. Oh, and on my way out of the Louvre, I noticed another one of the pianos! I love this whole concept.
Leaving the crowds of sweaty people in the Louvre was totally worth it!
I feel extremely lucky. Not only do I have a job right now, but it’s interesting, I’m gaining pretty valuable experiences, I get to travel to Paris, and I get to explore and see stuff like this after work! This entry has been sufficiently long, so I’ll talk about my first weekend in the next post…
I do realize that my writing is kind-of sort-of total crap right now, but let’s blame it on the fact that I’m tired. Sorry!