Long time no blog…

 

 

 

 

 

I highly apologize for not having any updates on my blog for the past month+. It has honestly been because I haven’t had enough time at all! I always felt that I never had enough time while I was in madison but it has gotten even worse in Paris. I’ve been travelling A LOT and just got back from my spring break trip(s) to Milan, Barcelona and Morocco.  I will be posting a more detailed update on what I have been up to but for now I have a whole bunch of pictures to show you what I’ve been up to for the past month. Enjoyyyyy 🙂

 

Also, an easier way to see what I’m up to is through my instagram account! http://instagram.com/sameera_j

 

I upload it more often now that I’m travelling so feel free to follow me to keep updated on what I’m up to through some fun filters! 🙂

 

Miss you!!

 

xx Sameera

 

 

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The tale of les Champs Élysées + La tour Eiffel+ Chinatown (petit Asie)

Today was a day of walking! I walked so so so much that I think my feet hate me and would detach themselves from me if they could. Apart from the walking though, the rest of today was magnifique. I think I’ve seen most of the major monuments so far and can rest on sightseeing until ‘le weekend’. . Me and a couple of girls in my exchange program met up and headed to “place des vosges” which housed so many amazing looking galleries all of which we sadly couldn’t see.

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We then just decided to walk towards the prettiest looking streets and ended up for lunch in an adorable Algerian looking restaurant where I had brochette couscous #yumm (if you didn’t see le instagram photo,  try not to drool below) Getting the check split became such a hassle and I began to wonder if we were somehow oozing American because every time I spoke near perfect French to them they would always respond in English. Like I’d try really hard with the accent and everything and then, bam, they’d respond in English. I’m currently trying to find out and suppress whichever part of me that emits “American”.

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Brochette and créme brûlée (first proper french lunch)

We then took the metro to Champs Élysées where we came across Abercrombie & Fitch, GAP and Banana Republic! This was a huge surprise because it’s the most famous French shopping avenue, and it’s filled with American stores. This leads me to conclude that the French secretly ADORE tons of  American things but won’t admit it because well they’re French! (Shhh)

We headed to the Arc de triomphe and ran into a huge Louis Vuitton store, (my heart smiled again) and then ran into some guys from our study abroad group. We all walked to zeh eiffel tower togezzer, where my feet then began to scream in pain. But because it’s Paris and there are important monuments everywhere, we ended up making several ‘detours’ (meaning excursions due to being lost ) and we ended up seeing several cool looking embassies (the Korean one was the bomb) and saw Napoleon’s grave, and the aquarium of Paris.

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IMG_2137 IMG_2146 IMG_0857IMG_2105( cute old couple tried taking our pics and the guy got his thumb in the pic)
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I had my first Nutella crepe (t’was again DIVINE) and then we decided on an impromptu trip to Chinatown or as it’s known here, ‘le petit Asie’= little Asia!! I then had the cheapest dinner ever in Paris in a Chinese restaurant (6 euros) and then we got lost AGAIN, on our way to the metro.

Things learnt so far:

Being lost in Paris is one of the best things ever!!

I ooze a certain American-ness that makes French peeps respond to my perfect French in English

Restaurant owners don’t split checks in France, no matter how expensive the lunch

Kebabs are the business!

There’s a metro always in front of you! Always!

And I’m taking Sunday to rest my poor poor feet after walking all over the arrondisements of Paris

A tout a l’heure -Sameera

The tale of the gypsies + boat rides + getting lost

My second/full real day in Paris started with a breakfast of a baguette and Nutella, plus Moroccan tea. Side-note: French Nutella is somehow way tastier than American Nutella and baguettes are super cheap, hence le breakfast. I got lost 4 times on my way to the metro which was right in front of me the entire time but this however made me ask over 5 French people on the street where the metro was where they then proceeded to look at me like I was mentally handicapped because like I said the metro was right in front of me THE WHOLE TIME. When I finally got on the right bus, I headed for  orientation at ACCENT and then a boat ride on the Seine. We were warned of all the things NOT to do in France and of pick pocketers in the metro who don’t look like pirates and were then left on our own for lunch. We ventured out in our obviously American tourist group for lunch and then found a super cute crepe/panini place where I for zeh third time had a baguette (twas divine :)).

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Random French architecture

We then then headed to the metro to get on the boat and proceeded to lose a member of our platoon on the train. This guy from IL couldn’t get off the train on time and we watched his terrified face as the train took of while we all stood on the platform. It was more terrifying than funny at the time but we all couldn’t help laughing because his face was priceless! He later found us by following the Seine though, so no casualties! So we finally got on the Seine and it was so unbelievably touristy and I LURVED every minute of it. I got my first glimpse of “la tour Eiffel” and I HAD ARRIVED HONEY. (in my Nene Leakes voice like my sister says )

IMG_0772First glimpse of la tour

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After the boat ride, our ACCENT leader totes abandoned us and told us to enjoy. Now I’d packed imagining to have pretty warm weather and even though its 40-50 everyday which is way better than -30, I felt super cold like usual. We however decided to soldier on and look for the phone service place to get phone numbers because we are all phone-less and dependent on WI-FI. This excursion got us completely lost but we however ended up on the most prestigious shopping street in all of Paris, Rue St. Honoré. Now if any of you guys know me well you can imagine my face when I saw the stores around me. My heart was smiling so big and I suddenly felt warm. The stores were some of the most expensive couturiers  you could think of, the likes of Hérmes and Lanvin and  It was by far the happiest I’d ever been being lost. Definitely coming back here someday when I’m not a broke college student. We also accidentally came across the famed Macaroon place a la Gossip Girl,  “Laduree”, and we of course went in and got ourselves des macarons pistache.

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We finally found the phone place where we found that twould have all been done online but no biggie because being lost on St. Honoré definitely made up for it. We then did some more getting lost on the way home and almost got robbed on the metro by gypsies.

Gypsies or as they are they’re called travelers almost robbed a friend while we were on the metro. It was super packed on the train and these preteen girls got on the train with us and one started acting like she was helping my friend hold on to the pole. She was very loud and obnoxious about it and jostling us all around so we all thought that she was drunk and tried to shuffle around. A French guy on the train suddenly yelled at this girl and her band of friends to leave us alone and to get off the train. WE of course thought this guy was being a major douche because these were just preteen girls. The guy got into a fight with the girls and they kicked him and then got off the train and the man then explained that the girl was distrcting us while her friends stole. My fiend then noticed that her bag had been opened but none of us knew how close we were to being robbed. Turns out the douche yelling at the kids was saving our obvious tourist butts. This saviour gave more advice and we then got off the train clutching our bags and warily headed home.

I got lost again on the way home SURPRISE SURPRISE! But I got kebabs while lost and then proceeded to pass out due to exhaustion at 9pm (SHAME).

A tout a l’heure- Sameera

The tale of the scallops + first 24 hrs in Paris

Sooo…these first hours that I’ve spent in Paris have been one of the most exciting hours of my life. To recap, I arrived and officially breathed in French air at 9 am on January 16th 2014. Now of course I was smiling and showing all 32 of my teeth making all the native French look at me weirdly while perhaps musing who this weirdo smiling at 9 am was. Now getting my things at the airport was super easy and all I did for customs was walk through a door! (God bless that American passport). I then proceeded to head to the exit but before then, some ahem ‘creepy looking’ guys ( creepy because they were sneakily looking around for I assume the airport police) approached me and asked me in rapid French if I wanted a taxi. Now because I had done my research and had gotten advice from past study abroad students (merci Allie et Taylor), I knew that these guys were the underground taxi men who could potentially sell me like Liam Neeson’s daughter in Taken. Getting kidnapped wasn’t on my agenda in France so I quickly shuffled ahead with my 51lbs suitcase, backpack and duffle to the real taxi drivers. Once I got there I gave them the address of the ACCENT office (THREE TIMES, cuz je suis paranoid) and then relaxed and took in my first view of Paris.

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my first photos of Paris

I arrived safely at ACCENT and was then told that the taxi fee was 50 EUROS( $76) which almost made me cry. But alas I had arrived, so I handed over 3 dresses worth of a taxi fee to the taxi driver. The day then ended with a walk around the neighborhood where I had my first baguette and shopped for the first time in Paris. P.S France is SUPER expensive and I pulled the brakes really hard on all my shopping plans once I saw basics went for 50 euros. Quelle d’hommage! I knew it’d be expensive because it’s Paris but I aint paying >50 euros for a tank top , not even if it’s super chic parce que c’est un tank Parisien 🙂

I finally made it to my host mum’s house at 6 pm where I met the “Gardienne” who’s a super nice woman wherein we proceeded to converse in French because you know it is France and I was congratulated on how my French “n’est pas horrible”#YASS. I moved in and my room is way better than I expected and met my host mum who is super sweet btw. She offered to make me dinner and I agreed when she said scallops because you know she said SCALLOPS! She asked me to “reposer” and I lied down for a bit but then woke up to confusing darkness and a clock that read 2am. Turns out I passed out while “reposer-ing” and MISSED THE SCALLOPS! ah well, c’est la vie.

I do have to say that even though I missed the scallops and was so exhausted, Paris had so far lived up to my expectations. And although all I could think of at 2am was how to ask my host mum the next morning if there were any left over scallops, I couldn’t help but smile because I was finally where I’d been dreaming of for years.

A tout a l’heure, Sameera 🙂

Paris

Hi there you, so this is my pre departure post and right now all I’m filled with is anticipation, excitement, fear and HAPPINESSS!! Paris is the one thing that I’ve been waiting for for AGES and in T-18 days I’ll be breathing French air!

Welcome to my travel blog which is supposed to be a way to update everyone on what and where I am so stay tuned 🙂

Paris

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So, I’ll be spending the next couple of months studying abroad in Paris and I can hardly wait!! This has been a dream of mine that I’ve had for SO LONG! Now that it’s almost here, I’m mainly nervous and restless simply waiting for my departure date to get here 🙂 I’m thinking of creating a brand new blog documenting my study abroad trip featuring the above image.

 

I used to be a French Major and now I’m simply getting a minor but this hasn’t decreased the amount of love I have for France. I’m also double majoring in Int’l Business and Marketing so Europe is a sensible choice.

 

I’m so excited I can hardly keep still and Paris is constantly my main topic of conversation. Will keep you updated!

À Bientôt

 

Xx Meera