Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mozart-Amélie cocktail


Malin is going to see an opera at Palais Garnier, the old, beautiful operahouse I showed you some pictures from! This will take place next thursday :) Almost everything was sold out but there were some tickets left to this opera, Idomeneo, by Mozart and then a ballet. The weirdest thing was that we had to chose between a seat from where you wouldn't be able to see anything at all and another seat from where we'll see a little. So we took the more expensive ones and are now hoping that we're going to be able to see at least a small corner of the stage! This is also why we chose the opera in stead of the ballet... There's no point going to a ballet if you can't see the dance. In a opera you can at least hear what they sing. Why do they even sell seats like this? Or the places probably behind a pole where you can't see anything?! Don't understand... :) But at least we now got a chance to see a show at the opera!

And guess what else? Now I've finally visited "Le café des deux Moulins" from Amélie! Yay!

I've walked past this place a few times already but I had never entered it till now.

The hot chocolate was delicious! And it was very interesting to compare the café to the scenes in the movie. Some of it were the same, some not. I guess the owner of the café must be very happy that the producer of Amélie chose this café for his movie, because now I think it's one of the most popular cafés in Paris. It's almost always filled with people wanting to drink a coffe "chez Amélie". Just like me too :D

Can't wait to get back home and watch Amélie again! Hihii!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Travel journal, part three: Metz

Hahaa! You didn't see this coming, did you? ;)

Well, if everything had gone as we planned, we would have been back in Paris on tuesday evening. But, as always over here, something went wrong. We went to the trainstation in Luxembourg in time, just to see that almost every train was delayed by at least 30-40 minutes. Including our train to Paris. Someone had decided to commit suicide and jumped in front of a train between Luxembourg and Bettembourg, causing major delays on that route. When we had been waiting for an half an hour or so, they announced that due to an accident the train to Paris wouldn't leave at all from Luxembourg and that in stead, they would arrange a bus to take us to another town pass Bettembourg where the train to Paris would wait for us. Ok. Fine. We went outside to wait for the bus. When it finally came (after about an hour) the driver wasn't familiar with the road and got lost a couple of times. So when we finally arrived in Thionville, they told us that the train had already left! Apparently there had also been another bus and a train from Luxembourg that had been there in time, but nobody knew that we were coming too, so they didn't wait. I guess there were bad communication between Luxembourg and Thionville...

Well ok, so when does the next train leave then? Tomorrow morning! Great... So due to a slow driver, we had missed the last train to Paris for that evening. But I have to say that SNCF (like VR in France) organised the follow-up very well and everyone was so nice. They put us (we were three people that wanted to go to Paris) on a train to another town, Metz, and booked rooms in a hotel for the night. Then the next morning, we changed our old tickets to new ones to whichever train to Paris we wanted to take and we even got seats in first class!

But in stead of taking the first train to Paris, me and Sophie decided to stay a few more hours in Metz. Once there, why not take the advantage of exploring a new town? :) Metz is also a pretty old town with a long history. I especially liked the trainstation. It was built by the Germans in 1908 during an occupation, just to show off! :D

Then there were also a very impressive cathedral with enormous glass windows! Really! They were huge! Imagine a big, gothic cathedral with windows covering almost every wall!

This glass window was actually one of the smaller ones, but it's painted by Marc Chagall so I thought it could be interesting for you :)

In Metz we also visited the oldest church in France, build between 380 and 395, an old abbey, a city gate and of course the whole old town with it's numerous buildnings and streets.

But, after four days of monuments, churches and museums, we then decided to just have a relaxing walk by the river and in the different calm, green parks before heading back to Paris.

...but well, still one more problem crossed our path: when we went back to the hotel to get our luggage, the door was locked, eventhough the reception should have been open 24/7! We knocked and knocked and knocked, but nobody opened. And there were not a single telephone number anywhere. Then we just had to leave it and run to the railway station in stead. As we noticed that our train was 5 minutes late, we went to talk to the SNCF again to see if would be possible to send our luggage to Paris later. They were very surprised about the hotel and decided to call the reception. And now there was someone there! So we ran back, grabbed our luggage while listening to the receptionist's appologies (apparently he has just had a small break...) and then ran back to the railway station and jumbed on the train just before it left. Phew! It took a while before we had calmed down after that.

Loppu hyvin, kaikki hyvin! :)

Oh, almost forgot. The third person who wanted to go to Paris was a french guy and as we talked for a while with him in the hotel, he said he had immediately noticed that we possibly could not be french because we stayed so calm and quiet during the whole time! :D He, on the other hand, had been very distressed and argued with the staff etc. So even though we've been here for almost a month already, I can now announce that we haven't changed at all! We're still finns! ;)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Travel journal, part two: Luxembourg

Me and Sophie arrived in Luxembourg on sunday afternoon. I've wanted to travel to Luxembourg ever since I went to primary school. I remember I even gave a small talk about this country during a class in geography. I think the size of this country is what fascinates me the most. Why is it even a country of it's own?

Anyway, it was certainly bigger than Trier but I have to say that the old town of Luxembourg didn't exactly meet my expectations. I mean, the whole old town with its' fortress is a World Heritage of UNESCO so I thought it would be very special. The fortress was very impressive, but the old town itself wasn't at all uniformed. In fact, sometimes I wasn't even sure if I were in the actual old town or not! Spoiled by tourism... But those parts of the town that weren't only tourist areas were very nice. Like for example this part:

This picture is taken from one of the ancient walls surrounding the city. The differences in altitudes in Luxembourg were huge so we had to walk a lot up and down, escpecially when the city centre was in the upper town and our hostel in the lower town :) But it also felt very good to walk again in stead of always taking the metro everywhere! Some fresh air is only good for you!

The city was also much greener than Trier and I think it would look lovely in the summer! February isn't perhaps the best time to travel in this part of Europe. Everything is grey and dull and it's mostly raning all the time. I hope I someday get a chance to have a road trip in Europe during a summer. Then I'll definately visit Luxembourg (and Trier too!) again!

Even here we visited a museum of history and art. It made us realise how much behind Finland is when it comes to history. I mean, there were loads of findings ever since the stone age! You should have seen the different collections! They were incredible! For example the prehistoric section about the Gauls! When I compared that to the medieval exhibition at the Espoo City Museum, I just couldn't help laughing. They are like from two totally different worlds... or even planets! Unfortunatley photos weren't allowed in the museum.

This, again, is an interesting house... especially the colour of it :D And believe me, this is not the only pink house in Luxembourg! Another interesting thing about the house is the two white signs on the wall. There's a river floathing through the city and once in a while, the river floods. The higher sign indicated the hight of the water surface in 1756 and the lower one in 1806. Poor people who lived in that house back then... :)

One of the best experiences during this trip was nevertheless perhaps when we went to see an old movie. It was called "To kill a mockingbird" and produced in 1962. The movie theater itself was also pretty old with traditinal red seats and old movie posters on the walls. And the film was black and white with these dots and stripes all over and with a crackeling sound throughout the whole movie. Therefor the athmosphere was totally different to that in modern movie theaters today! Couldn't resist taking a photo even though I know it doesn't capture the moment very well... :)

The funniest thing is that I actually thought the movie was scary :D The shadows were much deeper since the picture was already in black and white and I jumped every time something sudden happened. After this I'm even more convinced that I'll never going to watch a real horror film... That's just not for me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Travel journal, part one: Trier

Last friday morning me and Sophie started our trip towards Trier in Germany. This is a small but very old town by the Moselle river. Its' glorious days actually took place during the antiquity and I guess it today mostly lives on tourism. But it was a very nice city with a beautiful old town!

In Trier we had a reunion with Tobias and Mikael. Tobias has been studying in Germany this autumn and was now heading back to Finland by train through the eastern Europe. And Mikael came here to accompany him back home. It felt so nice to meet friends from Finland again and being able to talk and laugh without being forced to explain a lot of details all the time. I think the atmosphere was actually very relaxed... and joyful too! Especially for us who's been abroad. There were hundreds of things to discuss and compare. We were wandering about in the city, visiting all the compulsory sights and just had a good time together. Unfortunately the weather was lousy during the whole trip so most of the pictures I'm going to post here will look very grey and boring, but you can try to imagine a blue sky and sunshine in stead :) You should know that I took almost 200 pictures during this week, so it's only a fraction of them you see here on my blog!

Here's a view from the old town square. I liked these colouful houses. Some of the houses were even decorated with coloured bricks forming a nice pattern.

And here's one of the compulsory sight: a Roman bath! If I remember correctly, it's one of the largest in northern Europe. There were also an amphitheatre, a bridge and a city gate dating to the same period. We were also able to enter underneath the amphiteather and that was so cool! The atmosphere there was very mysterious!

Since the Easter is approaching, the fast is soon to begin (or has perhaps already begun?) here in the catholic part of Europe. And that means carnival times! We didn't see any carnivals during our trip, but all the shops, restaurants and cafés were decorated with streamers and balloons. And guess what happened to me? I got a really strong "Vappen-fiilis"! It was just like the 1st of May in Finland... And I'm so going to miss the 1st of May when I'm over here... Especially the part with the herring-breakfast (Geez, what a stupid word for sillis in english!) in the park of Kajsaniemi listening to the spring songs sung by Akademen *sigh* But Sophie promised she'll celebrate the 1st of May with me here. We're going to sit in a parc with our student's caps and streamers around our necks, having a picknick and drinking champagne. So maybe I'll survive without my favourite celebration in Finland... If someone wants to join us, please come! It would make it all even better! :)

Then I also found a CD with Chopin in Trier. It contains among others five of his nocturnes and also one impromptu. The sound isn't the best, though, but I should have guessed it since it's Arthur Rubinstein playing and therefor an old recordning. But I still like it :)

But back to Trier. Before the guys arrived, me and Sophie amused ourselves in the city museum of Trier. It was huge! (It seem like all the museum over here are huge... at least compared to the museums in Finland!) But although the history-part was interesting my favourites were the two fashion exhibitions.

Here's, once again, one of my beloved tournure-dresses! I'm seriously considering having an historical wedding once I get married, just to be able to at least once in my life wear such a beautiful dress! :D

Then there was also this Barbie-exhibition! It was so funny! Along with the Barbies from differents decades, there were also real dresses from that same time! Here's a showcase with Barbies from the 70s. Look at the clothes! Especially the silver coat that Ken is wearing! Splendid, isn't it? :D And the funniest thing was that both me and Sophie have also been playing with our mothers' old Barbie-dolls when we were little! So we were feeling very nostalgic over those old dolls. We stood by the showcases and gasped things like "Ooh, look, look!! That's the doll I played with! And that's the same dress! And hey, I had one of those too!!". I think the staff at the museum were very amused seeing two young girls so excited about old dolls... :P

And well, since I was in Germany, I had to try a beer even though I usually don't like it. I tasted a beer from Trier (Trierer Löwebrau) and that wasn't all that bad. I was even able to finish my glass! ;) But then I changed back to wine again.

The last thing we saw before we left the town was the Trier Cathedral. This cathedral is the host of the Holy Tunic, i.e. the robe that accordning to the tradition was worn by Jesus when he died.It doesn't look even half as good in the picture than in reality, but behind the altar there was a locked room where the robe was kept. And above the door, there was this huge, decorated hole in the wall and through that hole you were able to see a part of the room filled with golden things. And the gold made the whole room glow! And that is the first thing you see when you enter the church. Very impressing!

But well, perhaps it's enough about Trier now, let's move on to Luxembourg! :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Just around the corner...

Hmm... Nothing much happening around here at the moment... Just lessons with those of the teachers who are not on a strike. We actually got an e-mail from the Erasmus-coordinator and there he told us that we should prepare for a long strike. Some parts of the University of Sorbonne is already compleately closed and he said the situation at Paris IV (the part of the university I'm studying at) is not likely to get better either. He refered to the strike in 2006 that lasted for three months and said that the situation right now is much more serious and complicated than that one. So, let's see how much studies we are actually going to be able to do here... At least most of the teachers have already given us the work for this semester, so we know what to do.

I also found my way to the library of Sorbonne. It's a shame you're not allowed to take any pictures in there because it's really lovely. The interior is very old and the whole reading room consists of dark wooden furniture. Especially the roof is very beautiful! You can't actually access the books yourself, in stead you have to go through the catalogue and then make an order. And then sit down and wait for the book. But at least in this library you are allowed to take home some books (two at a time for two weeks) if you want, which is not the case in most of the other libraries here in Paris. But actually I don't mind reading in the library, at least then there's not as many disturbing things around you as home (read: computer, other books that are more interesting etc...).

Today, as it again was my free day, I went out for a walk in the neighbourhood. Here's a few places I found not far away from me:

Do you see the french balconies? So lovely! :)

And I just love stairs like these! It's like they promise you'll see something nice once you've climed up.
And here's what I found: a small and peaceful parc. The perfect place to go and read later this spring! There was actually this one guy who sat in the grass with a book in his hand today too, but I think I'll prefer to do that when it's a bit warmer. Don't wanna catch a cold :)

And look at this house and its' exquisite details!

But here's again something I didn't understand:

Christmas decorations hanging over the street! And believe me, this is not the first, nor I think the last Christmas decoration I see here in Paris. Looks kind of strange when the nature around it has already started to turn green...

Oh, and then I found my bell-earrings in my bag! I didn't remember I brought them with me! But now I can walk around tingeling again! Yay! :D

Next time I'll probably have more to tell you since I'm now on holiday for a week and going to visit Trier in Germany and Luxembourg during and extended weekend. Hope it'll be fun! :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost in translation

I think that 5 languages in the head at the same time is a it too much to handle. Everything starts just spinning around and you're able to speak only a strange language nobody can understand.

Today I've been doing my homework for an italian class I'm taking here in Paris. It's actually a course för beginners so it should be a bit too easy for me since I've already studied italian for one and a half years in Helsinki. But it isn't. Because now that I'm here and forced to use french all the time, it's really, really hard to get your brain to think in italian in stead. So the homework that should have taken me only about... well, I don't know, a half an hour, maybe? actually took me at least one and a half hours to finish. And I think I've made a lot of mistakes anyway. And the translations from italian to french is even harder, because my french just isn't good enough for that yet! Luckily, my teacher said I didn't have to do that right now, maybe later on during this spring. Phew!

Today I also went to the bookshop and bought my first french history-book. And I even started reading it! At first I looked up like every word I didn't know but then I got a bit too lazy and just started reading while looking up only the most important words. It actually went surprisingly good! I can almost remember what I read! *lol* The book is actually pretty thick (600 pages) so I know I won't have time to finish it, but I will try to read at least most of it. Thank god it's a very interesting subject (History of women in the Middle Ages), otherwise I think it would be very hard to motivate myself to do something this tedious.

Then I've also been writing e-mails and chatting in both finnish and swedish today. So along with this blog, I'm using my fifth language within 9 hours. Therefor I hope you will understand and forgive my bad english. In fact, I don't know if I should be happy or sad. Because the longer I stay here and the more I speak mostly french, the harder it gets to produce something in english. It means my french is getting better, but on the other hand, I didn't come here to lose another language in stead! And I noticed that it's actually affecting finnish too. Not much, but still. The only language that seems to be ok is swedish. *sigh*

Well, well... I just have to wait and see where this takes me...

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Wow, I've been doing a lot this weekend! Yesterday Parismus organized a tour in the National Opera of Paris (Le Palais Garnier) and that was really worth seeing! It was built in the late 19th century and is a real masterpiece of showing off! It's at the same time both glorious and also very mysterious. You can very well imagine that the scenes of the musical "Phantom of the Opera" actually takes place in this particular building. Here's a few photos from the inside:

But we thought it would be even better to see it in the evening when there's people in fancy dresses in the corridors. Who knows, perhaps we'll found ourselves there, watching an opera or a ballet someday during this spring? The tickets doesn't really cost that much, as long as you don't insist on having the best places to sit :)

In the evening a few of us went out to eat sushi. This was the first time ever I tasted that. But even thought it was pretty good, I have to admit that I prefer chinese food. I'm not such a big fan of fish and cold food, so... :) But it was definately worth trying!

When I took the metro to the sushi-place, I happened to travel on a metroline that was mostly on the ground and not underneath in the dark tunnels. And I just love metros like that! It's so beautiful when you suddently get out of the tunnel and see the city around you. There was espacially on place, not far from where I live, where the metro got up on the ground just before it crossed the river Saine. The sun was just setting in the horrizon and the panorama was like straingt from a moviesceen! I would have taken a photo if there had been time for it, but it all just went so fast that I only concentrated on looking around. But maybe next time!

Then today, I started my day by eating brunch at the university restaurant. Since the sun was shining and it wasn't too cold, we decided to chill out in the Jardin de Luxembourg for a while after that. You know, just walking around and enjoying the sunshine. There were actually a lot of people today, probably on a sundyawalk. Some of them were also sitting on a bench reading the morningpaper or a book. Very idyllic! And do you remember the snowy photo I took of that same parc last week? Well, just to make you a bit jealous, here's what the parc looked like today:

I guess this is NOT what it looks like in Finland at the moment :P

Afterwards we went to visit the cemetery of Père Lachaise. On this graveyard, there's a lot of famous people buried. The ones I was mostly interested in was Edit Piaf and Chopin. I've decided to buy a CD with Edit Piaf during my saty here in Paris. She's just so french and I actually like her songs very much. And Chopin... my favourite composer. I'm actually playing (or practising) a walz by Chopin on the piano at the moment. He's just... splendid! Especially his nocturnes...

Here's the grave of Chopin. But we also went to look at the graves of Honoré de Balzac, Oscar Wilde (which was covered in red lipstick...), Moliere and Jim Morrison.

The last picture has actually nothing to do with anything, I just loved the sight of a red rose on the ground and had to take a photo of that :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

What a day!

Yesterday there was a Parismus-party so I got home pretty late. And still I had to get up at 6.30 today because my lesson started at 8. But when my alarm rang, I was so tired that I thought that ok, I'll snooze just once and then I'll get up. Well, I guess you already guess what happened. In stead of pressing the snooze-button I had apparently pressed te disactivating button in stead! I woke up again at 7.28 and was like "SHIIIIT!!!!". And up I jumped, skipped breakfast and ran like a maniac to the metro-station. I'm pretty proud though, because I was actually down in the lobby of the residence at 7.34! So it took me only 6 minutes! :D And I even reached the university in time, even though I just can't understand how that's possible since it usually takes almost 45 minutes from door to door. But today, I made it in 25 minutes. And even though I hadn't slept for more than... umm... less than four hours, I didn't fall asleep during the lesson!

Afterwards I went for breakfast with Liss, a canadian girl that I have the same courses with on fridays. But once I had had my cup of hot chocolate and was able to sit down, I started to get really tired. If the next lesson hadn't been as interesting as it was, I would probably had fallen asleep. You know what made it interesting? Not the history at all, because due to the strike we actually didn't have a real lesson. But in stead the teacher gave us some information about the strike and asked us what we thought about that, about the university, about history as a subject etc. And you should have heard the debate! Man, it was loud! Especially when they discussed history and the prospects for a historian. I have to tell all of you from Historicus who read this blog, that apparently a big part of the french students also has this very strong Cui bono?-mentality! :D It was just very amusing to listen to it, although I didn't understand all of it since they were talking very, very fast.

Here's another proof that the students here are very politically engaged:

Clearly Obama has a lot of fans over here too :) This was written on one of the tables in a big auditorium.

But to say a few words about the party... Well, french people just don't drink as much as we do in Finland! Or should I say, they just don't know the noble art of getting the party started :D There was actually a "before" (pronounced frenchly) at one of the Parismus-girls' place. But it wasn't perhaps exactly what we thought it would be. Everyone just sat there, talking and eating cookies and drank very, very little. But then, once we got to the party, everyone was totally waisted after like one drink! Ok, I admit that the drinks were very strong, but me and Sophie drank like four drinks each and almost didn't feel a thing! Poor, poor french people... I wonder what would happen if some of those attended one of our dinners (sitsar)? Which I by the way have started missing already...

We and the polish guy Marcin, decided to have a "Vodka-before" on our own the next time. That just appears to be the only possible solution! :P

Talking of students, today I saw something that almost was like our overalls! Check it out:

Yes, it's very primitive compared to ours', but it's at least something! :)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Yesterday it hit me that I actually have to study here! In french! Of course I should have thought about it before I came over here, and in a way I did, but perhaps not as closely as I ought to. Perhaps I thought it was just to read a lot of books and then go to an exam, because that I can do as long as I start in time. And I've also heard that the level of french education isn't even close to the finnish' level. So perhaps I thought it would be much easier here. Especially for an Erasmus-student who'd certainly get out of it a bit easier than the french students!

But what I haven't thought about was that I actually have to write essays in french! 8-10 pages in french! In good french! 10 pages is a lot for me even in swedish, because I'm just not good at writing stupid essays about a subject that it actually would be enough to write only one pages about, if even as much as that! Because that's what history is all about. Babbling total nonsense and saying the same things over and over again using synonymes. Cui bono?!?!? I think it would fitt its' purpose much better if you could just say that same thing only once in a clear and straight way. But no, that's impossible for historians, because it looks just sooo much better if you've written a lot of pages. That's why I definately don't wanna write my Pro Gradu in history. That's just not gonna happen. So once I'll finally get my Bachelors' degree, I'll quit.

So practically I'm just using the history department at the university to get a chance to go abroad. Because I actually don't need any of the studies I do here :D ...but don't tell anyone! *lol*

And then there's the problem with the credits. I have three points less than I should have to make Kela happy. But I really don't want to take more courses over here, I think it's going to be hard enough anyway. So does anyone know for sure that Kela actually looks at the credits for all the years I've studied instead of just one year at a time? Because if they do, I'm safe, but if they don't, I'll have to find those three missing points somewhere...

I by the way heard a frenchman with a "s-fault" when he spoke. That sounded very funny. He was almost like a Donald Duck or something *lol* He made my day, even though the course he was having was too hard for me (and Sophie). It was paleography but apparenty their "modern" paleography is like our medieval paleography. And the texts we read in Finland (from the 18th century), isn't even called paleography in France because those texts are just too easy to read anyway... Great... They were actually laughing at us when we told them this fact :)

Well, it's my free day today, so I think I'm going to do some shopping :) I saw this waistcoat in a shop yesterday and since I've a) wanted to have a garment like that for so many years already and b) it really looks very... parisian, I just have to buy it *lol* Who knows, maybe I'll find something else too?

C ya!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Maybe I'm not so happy about the key-system to the pianoroom after all... Because the lodge is closed for a few hours during the day, fom 11.20-11.40 and then again at 12.30-14.00. Since I didn't have any lessons after 10 in the morning, I came back home to do some laundry and to play the piano. I put my laundry in the washing mashine and meanwhile, I went to get the key at 11.40 to be able to play the piano for almost an hour. But when I went to return the key before 12.30 and get my own roomkey back, she had already left the lodge! Something like 10 minutes early!! Eventhough she KNEW I didn't have my roomkey. So then I just had to kill time for one and a half hour in the corridor. Veeeery nice indeed. Luckily I had a book with me so I read that for half and hour and then played the piano for another hour. So at least I've practised enough piano for today! But still, I was a bit irritated... Nothing works as it should here...

There by the way will be a strike here this week, so practically we don't have any lessons. But we still have to go to every lesson and check if a) the teacher appears or not and b) to possibly get more information about the strike and when it'll end... So I still have to go to the lessons at 8 in the morning just to be there for like 10 minutes and then wait around for the next lesson two hours later. I think the corridors of Sorbonne will be very familiar to me after this week :)

And it is raining today too.

Well, enough complaining :) I'm heading back to the university now and then I'll meet up with some friends... Perhaps I'll grab a croissant on the way to the metro... Hmm...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Rain, museums and rain...

Well, the weather is NOT very nice in Paris at the moment. It's been raining the whole weekend and continued today too. I really hope it won't rain tomorrow too!

What have I been up to lately, then? I've actually continued beeing very cultural! On saturday I went to see the famous big paintings by Monet at the l'Orangerie with the other foreign students. The paintings were really impressive! They covered the whole big wall! Then there were also these very lovely piano-paintings by Renoir.

This is a part of one of the Monet paintings. Quite nice, isn't it?

With us at the museum was also this Polish Erasmus-student and he had actually gone through the same thing as I did when I arrived! You know, with all the problems with the room. He also studies history here so it was the same coordinator who had erased him from the list! Even though he actually had gotten the confirmation letter, unlike me! And the worst thing of all was that at that point, there weren't any rooms left at this residence anymore, so he got a room at another residence on the other side of the town which will cost him 200€ more per month! Poor him! I just can't help wondering what the hell the coordinator has been thinking?! Is he bad at organizing or what? Really annoying. But it's good he found rooms for both of us anyway.

I've also noticed that you should never be in a hurry over here, and you shouldn't either plan anything important after meeting other people. Because after you've done what you were supposed to do, you always have to go for a coffee afterwards. Actually a very sweet habit but also very expensive as it's not very cheap to go to a café here in Paris. I guess most of my money reserved for food will go to hot chocolates and tea!

On sunday I met my old penfriend Rebecca here in Paris. That was very nice. We were walking around in Montmartre and also saw Moulin Rouge. And we talked french all the time, even though it would certainly have been much easier in english! But that was very good practise for me! And it actually felt much easier than usually since I was more relaxed and didn't worry so much about my pronunciation or if I used the right verb-form. As long as she understood what I wanted to say it was fine.

Afterwards I went to Musée d'Orsay with Sophie and the Polish guy, Marcin, to see more paintings and sculptures. But the museum over here are just so damn big that it's impossible to concentrate on everything. You just get so exhausted and in the end of the day everything just starts to spin around in your head.

Musée d'Orsay from the inside. It's been a trainstation before and that's probably why there's a huge clock in the end of the hall.

And this is a painting by Renoir I like very much... Maybe because of the dress. I adore these tournure-dresses! After all, that was what I wrote my proseminare about. I'd very much like to have a tournure-dress myself, but I guess those are pretty expensive...

After all these museums we really didn't feel like visiting any today. The weather was really awful so me and Sophie decided to stay indoors instead. We went to a shop that sold DVDs really cheap and bought some films for only 3,50€ each! Then we came back to my place and watched a movie while drinking all together 1 litre of hot chocolate! Jami! That is what I call a perfect way of spending a rainy day!

But now, if you excuse me, I think I'd better go to bed. There's still no news about the strikes, so I have to get up tomorrow morning and go to the university to have a look if I have a lesson at 8 in the morning or not *sigh* Why can't they just update their homepage and let the poor students know? I have to get up at 6.30 for heaven's sake! And if that's all in vain, I'll get very, very angry...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Oh hapiness!

Yesterday, I found a piano here at the residence! And not just a piano but a small "flygel"! Yay! And this morning, after my saturday-breakfast with baguette and a brioche, I went playing for an hour. You have to get the key from the doorman, but that's ok since there's almost 24/7 someone in the lodge. The piano isn't in the best condition, but it's fine. Better than nothing at all :) But the most dangerous thing about this is that once I've been playing a real piano here for half a year, I will not stand the electric piano back home anymore. So then I simply HAVE to buy a new, real piano. Woops :D

I still haven't reached my piano techer, though... I tried to call her both yesterday and today but she didn't answer her phone. I hope I'll be able to start going to piano lessons soon since it's almost a month since I went to one the last time. Also, I haven't even been playing for a few weeks now, so this morning I notivec I had actually gone pretty much backwards... But well, now that I know where and when I can play, I may play more often.

A few days ago I also noticed that the university has a flute-group, i.e. people who play the flute gather once a week or so to just play together. But sadly, I left my flute at home, it was too much luggage...

The weather was also very good yesterday. It was pretty warm (around 10 degrees, I think) and the sun was shining during the day. So I thought it was the perfect day to go to Montmartre. I didn't stay there for so long since I got cloudy quite soon, but long enough to walk around in the streets eating a baguette I bought in a bakery. Of course there were (as always) a lot of tourists and people who tried to sell both paintings and bracelets etc but I didn't mind. I liked looking at all the stuff in the shops, especially the posters since I'd like to add some colour to my room. And then, I sat down on the stairs leading up to the church and ate my lunch while looking at the great panorama of the city. I must say it was very nice. I felt good, even though it was the first day since the day I arrived that I felt a bit homesick. But that was probably because I didn't have so much to do. I simply had too much time to think about everyone back home. But once the university lessons start next week, I'll probably have to study more during the evenings and weekends. And once I get more stuff to do, the time will also pass faster and then I'll probably notice I'm back home in Finland even though I've haven't had the time to see and explore even half of all the things I've planned! :)

Here's Sacré-Coeur, perhaps one of my favourite buildings in Paris... This church is just so beautiful.

And this is the view over Paris from Montmartre. I think I live somewhere pretty much in the middle of the picture.

In the evening, I also met some of the other exchange-students and we went to spend the evening in a shishabar near Panthéon (although I first thought we were going to a sushibar! *lol*). Even though my french skills still are much worse than the others', I think it went better this time. I actually formed some real sentences and had a conversation with another girl! Goodie good! But I think I really have to start reading french book because my vocabulary is still not as wide as it should be. It's really hard to find the right words or even synonymes to explain what you really want to say. It's very annoying.

The mint tea at the bar/restaurant was by the way delicious! Loved the glass and the pot too! I want one of those! :)

Oh, and I by the way think Snufkin is protesting agains Paris and France. Not only did I lose my Snufkin pin, but now my Snufkin that I have on my mobile phone also broke! Unbelievable!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

French stuff... and some finnish too :)

Today, I think there's going to be mostly pictures in my post. That's probably very welcome for those of you who don't like reading long texts :) Today I think I'm going to tell you about the very "french" things I've seen/experienced.

First of all, on the day I arrived, something happened that actually made me smile. As soos as I had sat down in the train from the airport a man entered and started playing french songs on his accordion. I think the first song even was a very wellknown song by Edith Piaf, just can't remember the name of it. And that was sooo french! :D Although Sophie's hostfamily had ironically said to her "Just wait till you've been here two months and all of this will just be very annoying". He's probably right :)

Here's, on the other hand, a view that's very french: pigeons, a fountain and a café :) This is taken quite close to Notre Dame.

And as you can see, this picture is even closer to Notre Dame. I just thought it looked nice once the sun for once came out of the clouds. It was actually quite warm today, around 10 degrees, I think... Maybe the spring will arrive here after all!

And oh, I just thought this carousel was so lovely! I would have gone for a ride if it had been warmer! And ok, it cost 2,50€ so it'll better be a very long ride to be worth that price!

Guess what? I and Sophie ate Crèpes today! Mine was filled with banana and nutella and oh it was delicious! If you come to Paris, you should try it! There's many different flavours and they're not even that expensive.

Another very french thing appears to be strikes. When Sophie arrived in Paris a few days before me, the busses were on a strike so she had to grab a taxi to the city. Luckily she found someone to share the taxi with, otherwise it would have cost her 60€... And now it seems the next strike is coming along, this time it's the teachers at the university! Our lessons SHOULD start next week, but nobody knows. They might as well start the week after that. We'll see what happens.

Oh! And in the afternoon me and Sophie walked into a shop with comicstrips and look what we found there!!

It's Moomin comic strips! Here in Paris! Yay! And not stuffed somewhere in a corner, but very visible! Maybe they're not that hopeless here after all :)

And talking of Moomins: here's the last picture I took of my Snufkin pin :(

It looked good on my bag, didn't it? :)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Oh god, this afternoon/evening was hard. I was for the first time since I arrived forced to really try to communicate in french. We had this walking-tour around the shores of Saine with the Parismus-organisation (for the exchange students at Sorbonne). And man, that was hard. I was a total dissaster in the beginning, then it started to go ok, but then later, when we were sitting at a bar over a few drinks, I locked up compleately. Everyone else around me spoke so well, even Sophie were babbling really fast! But although I understood what they said and was even able to form some sentences in my head, I just didn't find the right words when I tried to speak it out loud. And when the others didn't understand me, the conversation didn't go so well and then I just ended up sitting there quiet... A real dead end...

I know that the only thing that will help is just to talk talk talk. And I hope the others will help me with that and have some patience. Otherwise this will be a very looong and quiet spring...

I by the way lost my Snufkin-pin!!! Nooo!!! How will people now notice I'm finnish?! And the cruel thing is, that I attached it to my bag only this morning! And then, a few hours later, when me and Sophie were walking around in the Louvre, I noticed it was gone!!! *cries* My little Snufkin... :( All alone in the big city of Paris...

It makes you really tired to think and talk with a foreign language the whole day. I think I'm going straight to bed now. My head feels like it's gonna expload. I'll tell you more news another time :) Good night!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My new home

This is what Paris looked like yesterday morning:

A snowy Jardin du Luxembourg (the park near my university), apparently every one was too busy for work and didn't have time to pop in there :)

Place de la Sorbonne, right outside the university building. The funny thing was that most of the fountains were still on even though it’s the middle of the winter and it’s snowing! That would never happen in Finland...

This day has been good. The sun has been shining which emmideately affects my spirits. I did some shopping for my room and I finally have sheets in the bed! Oh, this night is just going to be sooo lovely! You can't possible imagine how hard it was to find simple sheets for the bed! I searched alreday yesterday, but the only big shopping centres I knew was Printemps and Lafayette, and over there they only had really expensive ones! But today, I had better luck. I found a blancet cover in a very luxury shop, but it happened to be on super-sale and cost me only 10€! And when I got home, I noticed it was 100% cotton sateen :D Not bad at all, I must say! Then I also found a big supermarket not too far away from... well, I guess I have to call it home now... So now I can start makeing food here with my new pan. Although, I think it's mostly gonna be noodles and pesto-pasta, since you can't make such complicated menus with only one single hot plate. I don't have an owen, neither a micro... How am I ever gonna manage?!

A few of you might by the way know that over here people drink café au lait, tea or chocolate from really big cups in the morning, they're like small bowls for soup! So I bought one too. I'm actually drinking tea from it right now. Jami! Another day I can as well use it four soup or noodles *lol*

As for the rest of the room, it's much bigger than I thought. Here's a bed, a bookshelf, a wardrope, a table with two chairs, a sink with a smal mirror and then the "kitchenette" with a stove, another sink and a fridge with a small freezer-box. And a big window! Yay! At first, when I saw it the first time, I thought it was pretty ugly. I don't think it has been renovated for a few years and the curtains have this wierd brown-orange colour. But now when I've gotten some brightly coloured stuff here, it's actually looking almost nice. I'm still going to buy some posters to put on the wall. I read that there's a quite nice, small postershop near the university so maybe I pop by there sometime next week.

Although I thought this would be a very social place, I haven't seen so many of the others living here yet, only a few in the elevator. But at least I know I have a techno-lover nextdoor. He/She listens to techno all the time! And I really mean ALL the time! And quite late too.... And it's almost all the time the same f*cking annoying song!! Aaargh! :D I've been thinking about buying some big speakers to my computer too... Revenge? Oh no, not at all! *saint*

I by the way got a bit of a chock when I got home in the evening. Someone had been in my room! At first I of course checked that my computer etc was still there, and after that I started to look around. It seems like somebody had actually been cleaning in my room! Most of my stuff were in order and the floor was cleared of everything, apparently for vacuuming it! I wonder if this only was a one-time service since I just moved in or if I'll really have a real housekeeper? This country is weird... really!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Hello again!

This is my second night here in Paris and at the moment, my feelings are a bit… well… confused, perhaps? These first two days have been quite hard. Ok, it started pretty well. I had a nice last morning at home before going to the airport. Everything went fine there too and the plane arrived on time in Paris. I even found my hostel almost directly! I shared a room with two other girls, one from Bresil, who was only spending the weekend in Paris, and the other one from Germany who also were an Erasmus-student. She’s not going to study at the same university as I am, though.

But I was right. I did feel very homesick the first night. Or maybe not exactly homesick, but more like pain of going away from all the people at home. Half a year without them. That seems like a very, very long time.

I didn’t sleep so well that night either. The walls weren’t that thick so I woke up every time someone walked in the staircase or walked through a door. And it was actually freezing in the room. I was really happy about the thick pyjama-trousers made of fleece that my parents gave me for Christmas. The german girl had been staying at the hostel for the whole weekend and she said it was usually very hot during the night when 3 people slept in the same small room. So she opened the window. Perhaps not such a good idea after all :)

When we woke up, we understood why it had felt so cold. The snow had started to fall during the night! Actually pretty much of it. We were all like “What?! Snow?! It can’t be!” and the two other girls accused me of bringing the snow with me form Finland. “This is your fault! You brought this here!” they said :D

But still, so far so good... I left my luggage at the hostel and went to Sorbonne to get my studentcard. There I also met Sophie (my friend who also studies history and came to Sorbonne the same time) and we went through the “paperwork” together. It all went much easier than I thought. Too easy. It was when I went to get my keys for the room at the university residence, that the first real problem came along. The coordinator at Sorbonne had the same morning erased my name from the list and given my room to somebody else. Why?! I was confused and so where they at the secretary. They told me I had been on the list last Wednesday but not anymore... At first they tried to call the coordinator, but since it was lunch time, he was out. So they sent me, with my bad French skills to talk to him when he got back at 2pm. He was very confused too and only murmured things I couldn’t understand. He had apparently forgot to send me the confirmation request in December and since I never got it, I wasn’t able to confirm it either. But half an hour later, he had found me another room at the same residence! Thank god! There was actually another name written for the room, but they just wrote my name there in stead. I really hope I didn’t take somebody elses room.

When I had signed one paper at the secretary, they told me I had 45 min to get to the residence to sign the real contract, pay the rent + guarantee and get my keys before they close.
45 min? No problem, I thought. But I ended up running from Gare de Lyon to the residence to make it in time. And once I got there they told me that they didn’t take a card for payment (even though I had specifically asked at the secretary if they take Visa Electon!!) so then I had to run and find a place to take out that “small” amount of money... And that place was in the post office... Very odd... You can imagine how relieved I felt when I went to the hostel and found my luggage still there after all these hours.

Anyway, now I’m finally, happily here in my room. I can’t say it’s pretty, nor clean. But it’s somewhere to sleep the nights. And I can also make my own food here. But the bathroom and toilets are shared with everyone on my floor. And I think that’s the thing I will miss the most this spring: nice, clean and hygienic bathrooms!

But enough for now. Don’t you worry, I wont write as long as this text every time :)

Take good care of yourselves up there. Miss you all!