Hope you’re having an enjoyable, safe Thanksgiving weekend! I’m back in North Carolina until January, but I’ve still got weeks’ worth of experiences to write about. Cheers to Paris!
Arc de Triomphe
Not joking, wandering Paris is the best. I (somehow) ended up at the Champs-Elysees on Halloween, which I thoroughly enjoyed because I got to see little kids running around in their precious little costumes. Even though the French aren’t as enthusiastic about Halloween as Americans, it was nice to get a little taste of home while abroad.
Also, standing in the little median between traffic whizzing by was worth it.
Jardin du Luxemburg
After the Tuilleries, the Jardin du Luxemburg is probably the most famous garden in Paris. I’m surprised it took me the majority of the semester to make a visit, but I really enjoyed it. If you’re looking to take a nice walk, go on a run, or need to take your kids somewhere to let out energy, Luxemburg is the place to be. There are lots of walking paths as well as playgrounds and basketball courts.
Jardin du Luxemburg also hosted the original Statue of Liberty for quite a long time. The Statue of Liberty that is in New York City is based off of this smaller (around 7 foot) statue that was flown overseas to be used in the construction of the Lady Liberty we know and love. The small Statue of Liberty was replaced with a bronze replica in 2014, so this Statue of Liberty is the replica.
Still pretty cool, though!
France’s presidential election is next year is set to be just about as interesting is the U.S. election was this past year.
Nicolas Sarkozy was the president of France before the current president, Francois Hollande. Up until recently, Sarkozy has been campaigning to win the primary election to re-run for president and he held a rally about fifteen minutes away from my house.
It was super interesting. Sarkozy represents very conservative French values and one thing he said went viral online.
To give some background, France takes the separation of church and state extremely seriously. For example, students that attend public school and normally wear a yarmulke or a hijab for religious purposes cannot while they are on school grounds. Any behavior that is openly religious is avoided.
Apparently the separation of church and state is causing some tricky issues in the cafeteria as well. Muslim students don’t eat pork, so what happens those days that the cafeteria serves pork? Sarkozy suggested that the Muslim students get two servings of fries instead of the cafeteria preparing a different meat for the Muslim students.
Mamie is an endearing term for Grandma in French and I can now proudly say that I have my very own French “Mamie”!
I call my special Mamie Manu, and she’s one of the most intriguing people I’ve ever met. She was a teenager living in German-occupied France during World War II and her father was a member of the French Resistance. She was a dentist in an era when women rarely held any job, and she has travelled the world.
I got to interview Manu for school, and aside from learning about her accomplishments, I loved seeing how her son Phillipe was so proud of his mother. As Manu explained her life experiences he sat across the kitchen table with a little twinkle in his eye. Precious.
In the United States, Novemeber 11th is Veteran’s Day, but in France it is Armistice Day.
I got to watch different branches of the military march down the Champs-Élysées, which was super cool! My favorite part was seeing all the big bulky men meet up with their families and get all googely-eyed around their kids. Precious.
Back to American holidays – THANKSGIVING.
Let’s just say I’m so excited for Thanksgiving this year because it’s the first time I get to spend Thanksgiving at home since my senior year of high school. Mama Baker and I are going to go hard today and make all the pies!
What are your plans for Thanksgiving?