Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's the little things

Tom met me at the airport. I had watched the "Three Days of Snow" episode of How I Met Your Mother a few days earlier, and so I imagined him showing up with a sign and a serenade, and me with a six-pack microbrew à la Lily and Marshall. In real life, I stumbled off the plane slightly jet-lagged bearing a root beer purchased in the airport, only to discover that problems with the RER-B line meant that Tom hadn't quite had the time to make it to the gate.

Ah, France.

Luckily, I managed to at least meet up with him at the airport-end of the RER in plenty of time for him to play packhorse for my luggage on the way home. He made up for the slight mishap with a few amazing home-cooked meals that really put what I let pass for "cooking" into painful perspective.

Since then it's been a pretty slow, pleasant week. Classes won't start up again in full force until February, so I'm lazily enjoying the temporary lull. Made Tom drink the root beer and relished the reaction: I was so convinced he'd hate it that he was reticent to let me be right ("it tastes...interesting. But not bad. Just not like food. Like mouthwash, you know?...") I guess rootbeer is one of those culinary miracles, like Reeses, that only Americans can appreciate. Saw Avatar (in English) in a cosy theatre that had couches with removable armrests in place of seats (it would have made the ideal movie date situation, had the giant 3D glasses not made everyone look ridiculous and be incapable of making any subtle, suave moves).Had my first tutorial and first class at Paris 7. Both centered on 17th century literature, which has to be THE most boring period. Ever. Fortunately, my professor is one of those who is absolutely enthralled by her own field ("what? you've never heard of this obscure 17th century theorist?? But he's brilliant, and American!") so hopefully her enthusiasm will be contagious. Toured Paris 3, where I'll have a class this term, which has to be the most ghetto of all the Parisian Universities. The bad news: I'll have to bring my own toilet paper. The good news: I might be able to sneak my way into an Arabic class, and the school is right near Rue Mouffetard, or bar/fondue central--I forsee some fun after-class excursions.

Being "home" for a few weeks made me realize how much like home Paris is beginning to feel. I was thrilled yesterday to once again be able to indulge in "my" bakery's lunch formule--a 5 euro special that gets you a baguette sandwich/quiche/pizza, a drink, and a dessert of your choice. I gobbled the chevre and broccoli quiche and Orangina on the spot, but I saved the chocolate and pear clafoutis for a treat later in the day. In comparison to American fast food, the care that the French put into something as small as a pastry--the ceremony of baking, buying, wrapping and carrying, not to mention savoring--makes my heart happy. I carried home my pyramid-shaped package like a jewel, and when I finally unwrapped it later that night, I decided it might even be better than one. Yum.

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