Paris: Short-ish Stories: Part 6

Trip Start Sep 13, 2012
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Trip End Dec 21, 2013


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What I did
Youri Meena Music

Flag of France  , Île-de-France,
Monday, November 12, 2012

1) 10-15-12: Weird observation: All of the names of the girls in my Cours Practique class end in the letter "A": Anna (from Sweden), Isabella (from Brooklyn), Fatima (from Morocco), Indhira (Mexico), Muna (Indonesia), Vera (Netherlands, i think), and, of course, me, Teresa (USA). There are a few other girls in the class whose names do not end with "A", but the majority do. 

2) 10-16-12: Over the first couple of weeks in October, I, like everyone else in my program group, went to work planning my personal adventure outside of France. Many people chose Amsterdam, some Spain, a couple Italy, Proust, Belgium. I, initially, had chosen Cardiff, Wales. As a few friends before me, I wanted to visit the Doctor Who Experience exhibit there. The Experience is a Doctor Who museum with interactive elements, and actual props from the TV show over the past 50 years. The most recent addition is Matt Smith's (Doctor #11), and Steven Moffat's hand prints in concrete slabs displayed next to the T.A.R.D.I.S. Cardiff is also where TORCHWOOD, (the Dr.Who spin-off), is filmed; i was hoping to find the location where they filmed, and the studios. I met with Jane, and we planned out the whole trip: the cheapest flights, the trains from the airport in Bristol to Cardiff, hotels in the area and exact distances, prices and times of the D.W.E, and taxi rides if needed. It was all planned and perfect: complicated but perfect. Unfortunately, when we added it all up, it came to about 800 U.S. dollars, and I really did not have that kind of money to spend on one weekend. After much begrudging, I was forced to scrap the idea of going to Cardiff. Luckily, though, I met Haley on the Normandy trip, and now I have a travel companion for our trip to visit Joanna and the family in Athens THIS WEEKEND! Funny how things work out.

3) 10-22-12:  You know you are Parisian when someone asks you for help at the Laundromat, and you actually know how to help them. A couple weeks ago, while i was sitting in the Laverie waiting for my laundry to finish, a girl about my age was having trouble figuring out how to start the machine. She had put her clothes and soap in, but I guess she didn't know how to read the directions on the wall, (even though she was French), because she closed the machine and expected it to start right then and there without paying. She turned to me and asked "Il ne marche pas?" It doesn't work? No, it works just fine, you just have to pay the machine for it to start. Dah.  
10-31-12: On Halloween night, I was on my way to meet my whole group for a night of tricking and treating, and as i was walking down the main street with my sparkly Halo on, a man in his 20s, (not bad looking either), stopped me and asked, (in French), where he could find the bus stop. He asked for a certain bus number, but i don't remember what it was. I did, however, know exactly where the stop he was looking for is; it was only a block away. I gave him the directions, (using amazing French, by the way), he thanked me, and then wished me a "Joyeause Halloween". I think the halo gave me away. 
 
4) 10-24-12: Speaking of my Cours Practique class, a couple weeks ago, we were talking about dinner table and kitchen vocab. Our professor was taking down the words for different types of drinking cups, and almost all of them had been said, so i said "mug". She said, "bon" (good), and wrote it down on the list; turns out the word is the same in French as it is in English. Then, Juan, a middle-aged man in my class, from Argentina who has lived in Europe for almost ten years, raised his hand and asked "Qu'est ce c'est 'mug'?" What is a mug? What?! What do you mean 'what is a mug'? Mug, like 'coffee mug'. Our professor tried explaining it to him, that it's mostly used in America to drink hot liquids like coffee and hot coco. But, he didn't really understand, (he understood the words, but not the function of the object), so i actually had to draw him a picture. There are some girls in my class from South America whom, too, did not know what a mug was, and I had to pass my drawing around so they could understand. Maybe it's a South American thing.

5) 10-31-12: A couple weeks ago, after Cours Practique class, my friend Muna and I went out to lunch and then coffee around the Garneir Opera house. We had some pretty average chineese food for lunch, but then we met a friend of hers for coffee at an outdoor place right next to the Opera House. Turns out, her friend, Loubin, who is, (was), a professional tennis player who knows, played with, and is still good friends with the most famous men's tennis players in the world. Just to name a couple: Andy Murray and Roger Federer. Yeah, that's right. It was pretty crazy. It's good Loubin chose quit tennis early in life and go into accounting, because if he was as popular as his buddies, i probably would have fainted. As it was, he was really cute and charming. 
After coffee, it was getting late in the afternoon, and I wanted to head home to get stuff done. As per usual, though, I was distracted by the amazing world that is Paris. Muna was walking with me back to the metro station in front of the Opera House, and I heard a man singing with a guitar over loud speakers. I looked across the street to the steps of the Opera House, and there was a man singing, and a relatively large crowd gathered on the steps watching him and singing along. Well, I couldn't pass up checking that out, could I? As I made my way over to the crowd, I could see that the singer was pretty young, (probably in his late 20s), and was too cute. He had posters up advertising his website, and a case open with his CDs for sale: Youri Meena. I ended up sitting on those Opera steps for over an hour enjoying the free concert. Youri was amazing. Oddly, he spoke mostly English during his concert, but some French, Spanish, and Italian for those in the crowd who were of other nationalities. As I found out later, he was born and raised in Napoli, which is why he speaks Italian so well. He interacted a lot with the crowd, asking where people were from, and just talking to random people in between songs to fill the silence: all the while playing his guitar. He sang mostly American songs, all of which i knew, but also some in French that he had written himself. There was a group of teen French girls in the crowd who were singing along when Youri did some Adele and Lady Gaga, but he really tested to find the Americans in the crowd when he did "We Will Rock You". He did some old rock, but also some Whitney Houston and was able to do it really well. Even if he was singing a song I really didn't like that much, he made me like it; he was that good. Needless to say, I was one of those fans who bought his CD. When I went up to put my money in his guitar case and take the CD, he skillfully continued his serenade, and winked at me. As I observed later, he winked at all the ladies to went up to buy his CD. Some of the really young kids begged their parents for spare change so they could run up to the case and drop the coins in; it was pretty adorable. Youri had all kinds of people from all kinds of places mesmerized by his skill and passion. And, of course, this was the day i decided to leave my camera at home.
At one point, Youri asked some people in the crowd where they were from. One of those people was a middle-aged man off to my left, sitting with his wife; turns out, they were from Connecticut. Well, us Connecticut-ians have to stick together, so I went over and introduced myself. I told them i was from Ct and a Quinnipiac student; they happened to be very familiar with QU. They have friends in the PreMed program because the husband just HAPPENS to be the president and CEO of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford. Sonofabitch. The wife used to be a French teacher in Ct, and they were currently on vacation with their kids, (all full grown and married), in Paris. They were renting an apartment for a week, but they told me that they were not looking forward to going home because of the damage from Hurricane Sandy. Apparently, they got the very last flight out of JFK before they shut it down for the storm. They had to meet their kids for dinner, but they gave me their business cards and emails. I stayed to watch Youri for a few more songs after they left, but then i headed home where i immediately uploaded his CD onto my itunes.   
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