Monday, May 28, 2012

It's a Paris Fling

Goodbye Paris, it's not going to work out between the two of us.  It's not you... it's me. 

Three weeks was the perfect time to have a little fling with Paris.  As charming as it all is when you take away the cigarette smoke, homeless people and awkward showers, in the end the truth is that I am just not cut out for heavy city life.  I did, however, enjoy my three weeks there immensely.  I have pretty well covered the first two weeks, so here I will catch up on (at least most of) the third. 

Monday May 21st Shannon and I had tickets to Disneyland Paris, or Euro Disney as it is also affectionately known by.  Having sufficiently psyched ourselves up for the occasion, we boarded our train.  With no shortage of excitement we had planned on spending the whole day there.  Unfortunately we had counted on the weather being a bit more cooperative.  We exited the train and it promptly began to rain.  We were determined to be optimistic because, well... when you're in the happiest place on earth, there aren't many other options.  Umbrellas in hand we carried on toward our first destination, Big Thunder Mountain.  Soon we decided the umbrellas weren't even worth it and commenced to get soaked, which lasted the more part of the day.  Would it be bad to say the best part of our adventure might have been when the restaurant gave us an extra order of chicken nuggets and french fries?  Anyhow, we returned home early and spent the rest of the evening thawing and searching the internet for ways to counter pneumonia.

That's us. In the middle. Poncholess.

Tink. Really? You're covering the coolest part of this.

Boo-yah! Free food!

 #1 attraction in the park, discovering it's name to be true.

Tuesday May 22nd, after school we met up with Jacques and Ariel and went to Pere LaChaise, a massive and old cemetery where several historic and iconic people are buried.  I woke up feeling a bit grouchy for one reason or another, but was determined to get over myself.  However, it wasn't as easy to get over the headache that had been throbbing behind my eyes for two days.  But, I put on a somewhat-content face and went about the day.  After all, I do have an affection for cemeteries for one reason or another, and this one was wonderful.

 Jim Morrison

Fredric Chopin

That night we went to a Debussy symphony concert in the Musee d'Orsay.  It was beautiful music, but such a strange setting.  There were no seats, so everyone just sat on the floor or found a statue to lean against.  We couldn't see one sip of anything, so we just sat and listened.

Wednesday May 23rd, Shannon and I decided to skip class.  We just couldn't make ourselves go, so we set out on a day of small filler things we had wanted to do.  This was our result:

Although the real sister statue was replaced by a plaque saying she was out being repaired, we found the one that's in National Treasure.  Neat.

The Bastille, which is a monument dedicated to the French Revolution.

We then took some time to go shopping for a couple of souvenirs, and got lost looking for one of the shops we had been in the first week.  No worries, we didn't get attacked by gypsy children this time.  Giving up, we then decided to hop on the metro and go to a sweet park (new-age French parks are way innovative and cool) and rent bikes.  After getting off the metro and about seven miles of walking later we still couldn't get the rent-a-bikes to work.  Feeling defeated we sat down with frozen carnival treats and people watched. Deciding a nap was in order, we headed home for the rest of the afternoon. 

After dinner that night Anne-Charlotte took us to see her #1 pride and joy, her garden.  She had been raving for 2 1/2 weeks about how crazy it was to have a vegetable garden in Paris, and how she was the president of her garden club. 

In case you were wondering, this is an insect hotel- she is so proud.

Thursday May 24th, was nothing special, up until dinner that is!  Determined to give us a complete French cultural experience Anne-Charlotte wouldn't let us leave Paris without eating frog legs.  After she came into our bedroom holding a dainty pair and made them do the French can-can, I was a little bewildered by the idea. 

They didn't end up having an extraordinary taste, just garlic and butter- which is what they were cooked in.  But still, exotic, right?

Friday the 24th was a perfect day.  It was my last day of class (in Paris).  Look at that eclectic class.  From left to right their respective countries are:

Korea, USA, Australia, Italy, France (professor), Korea, Brazil, Portugal, and Brazil

After school Cousin Day 2012 commenced.  My cousin Kevin Maynes who is stationed with the US Army in Italy came to Paris to see me!  Our epic day included:
The Catacombs
 Bones, upon bones, upon bones...



 Getting our street portrait drawn... Which will have to wait to be posted until my parents see it in real life.

 A quick stop by Notre Dame

 Eating escargot for our first time.

 Dancing to these guys in the metro.

And eating crepes along the Seine with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Altogether it was a wonderful day!  It was so nice to hang out with him, somebody that I felt comfortable being a little less reserved around.  We filled the day with good conversation, funny jokes and reminiscing about growing up (which we both still seem to be doing). 

Let's just say Cousin Day 2013 has a lot to live up to. 

And, I'll leave it at that for now. 

Sydnie Juniper

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm a Mormon

Here lies part III of the travel log, the focus of which will be museums and churches. 

In talking with the other students I realized that I came on this trip supposing myself to love museums.  You see, I have however come to discover that I am a believer in, "all things in moderation."  After experiencing miles and miles artwork and artifacts I am a little museum-ed out.  The man's voice on the audio-guide is forever engrained in my brain, and I have only seen a small sliver of what Paris has to offer.  

It's not everyday the chance comes up to see the worlds most famous works of art, so I do consider myself fortunate to be taking advantage of the opportunity.  I have been here for 20 days so far, and the majority of the time has been spent on the metro, in museums and in Catholic churches.  

Note to readers and photo skimmers alike- I have discovered that it is impossible to make it through a Parisian museum without seeing a nude portrait or sculpture.  Please be aware and understand that some photos in this post will include these nude images.

The following are highlights from the places photos were allowed to be taken:


 Our tour here, led by Malcom Miller, made me feel just like I was at Hogwarts, he had a brilliant British accent, but was in dire need of a cough drop, as he was clearing his throat every few words.

 Musee d'Art Moderne

 Typical of modern art.

Musee Rodin

 "The Thinker"-- I couldn't help myself.
Balzac-- not the most attractive of men. 

Memorial de la Shoah

(Holocaust Memorial) 
Photos were not allowed here, so the following are courtesy of Google images.  
This was one of my favorite places we have visited so far.  As it has always been a point of interest for me, I was very moved to have a small glimpse into the memory of the French Jews that fell victim to the Holocaust. 

Upon arrival at the concentration camps, it was customary to write on the walls the date of arrival and if fortunate enough, the date of departure.  Within the memorial they have segments of the walls.  I was touched by two of the messages left by individuals and families in particular.

"Eskenazi Famille- Tres bon moral"
(Eskenazi Family- Very good morale)
"Je veux garder tout mon espoir"
(I want to keep all my hope)

It was a very somber visit, but most definitely worth it, and a very good reminder to keep hope even in the most dismal experiences.  I can only hope one day I can have a family of such high morale as the Eskenazi family. 

Musee Carnivalet

I think this little boy will grow up to be the man below. 

Musee du Louvre

Who wants to go walk a few miles of the worlds largest art museum? 
    Left: "St. Mary Magdelene"                                      Right: "Venus de Milo"
 "Winged Victory"
 This one is called "The Turkish Bath..." Here's to you Shelby, hoping your bathing conditions are more conducive to privacy. 
Michealangelo's "The Dying Slave"
 "Napoleon III Apartment"
 "Psyche and Cupid"
Which was one of my favorite of the limited works we saw here, being pre-persuaded by Anne-Charlotte as something we HAD to see.
And of course "Mona Lisa."  Appreciate this, because I fought through a mosh pit to take this photo.  Just as a heads up to anyone dying to see the Mona Lisa, she is much smaller in format than you would expect. 


The crypts below the pantheon are the burial place of several very famous and historical french figures such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Marie Curie, but the crypts were poorly lit and thus the pictures didn't turn out so well.
Vaulted ceilings with incredible large scale paintings are everywhere here!

Centre Pompidou 

 What the Pompidou?  Possibly Paris' weirdest building, housing another modern and contemporary art museum.
Like this sculpture, for example.

Sacre Coeur 

A Cardinal church (which means a miracle happened here, info thanks to Ariel).  Known as the most romantic place in Paris, and a popular place for street artists to hang out.

 St. Germain des Pres 

 The oldest Church in Paris


 Saint Sulpice 

 Apparently this one is mentioned in "The Divinci Code," which is cool, if you've read the book... which I haven't.  But, still cool.

Famous for their organ concerts, but Shannon and I gave up the chance to go to one tonight so we could eat frog legs instead.  Good trade?  I'll be sure to let you know.  

To Be Determined Church

For whatever reason I can't recall what this one was called... but, nonetheless it is beautiful inside!

After visiting so many of these Catholic churches I have a deeper appreciation for religion in my life.  The depictions of Christ in these cathedrals and churches are stunning.  I am grateful, to belong to the a church that celebrates His life along with His death, for I know both to be crucial to my personal salvation. 

"I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  
I know who I am. 
I know God's Plan. 
I'll follow Him in Faith." 
-Children's Hymn #77

Last of All

In the comments of my last blog post a good friend posted that her mother-in-law was in Paris on study abroad with BYU.  I figured she and I would be in the same ward, so I scouted her out this past Sunday.  We had a very pleasant conversation and the world shrunk a little.  It was nice to run into somebody that knew my grandparents and had connections to other people I love. 

My name is Sydnie Landeen.  I'm a student currently studying abroad in France.  I'm a museum goer, sight seer, and food critic.  I believe life is best lived happily, and that's why I'm a Mormon