So I hung out with some Witches…

 

Image(here’s me dressed as a witch a year ago. I should have seen this coming.)

I don’t know exactly how the idea formulated. Part of me thinks it was a long time coming, after having all of those profound spiritual conversations with my roommates. Maybe I just wanted to find some spirituality that was more my style. Maybe I was just feeling Witchcraft one day.
“I’m so embarassed.” Ryley shyley giggled after her professor handed her a book titled “The Spiral Dance” at a faculty dinner.
“We’ve been reading a lot of feminist literature in my independent study, and one of the authors we’ve been studying is Wiccan.”
Ryley didn’t know that the week before I had dedicated an even more embarassing amount of time I should have been doing homework or catching up on Sherlock to googling how the heck to find a Wicca church in Orange County. These things are harder to find than the holy grail. I searched online for hours until I could find one that didn’t require an application or looked like a place animal sacrifices were socially acceptable.
We decided that we were going to meet up on Sunday and attend service at Temple Goddess. Because YOLO. Unless you’re a witch. How many lives do they live? I had actually done zero research on the topic, and that became incredibly apparent that Sunday morning as we were getting ready.
“What are you wearing?” My friend Hannah frantically texted me.
The website said, ‘Wear casual clothes to honor yourself.’ Honor yourself. How do you ‘honor’ yourself with clothes? I pulled a bra out of my dirty laundry pile and realized I was out of my element.
My shoes were filled with sand and my dress was wrinkly, but it was the best I could do after neglecting laundry for about two weeks. Hannah jumped in the car in leggings and a nice white shirt. We had both decided to throw on denim jackets. It adds a level of causalness that says you don’t take things to seriously but also implys you might be a witch.
When we picked up Ryley, she was dressed in all black.
“I thought I’d go for the literal Witch approach.” Probably the worst thing you could do going into a situation youre not familiar with is to try and imitated the stereotype society has laid out for them. We had never been to a place like this before and we didn’t know what they were capeable of. What if they casted spells on us?! What if they harvested our organs for power?! That’s why I chose the “Church as if it were casual friday” look. Because that’s not a thing, anywhere.
We arrived for 11am services to a room filled with women ranging from ‘sunday service’ to ‘Pagan Voodoo queen’. The spectrum was incredible. Some women looked like they were going to go pick up their kids from a soccer game right after this, and others wore long kimonos with bright floral patterns. The three of us waited in the lobby and nibbled on refreshments while a few of the women entered the main temple through a curtained door and started singing a song that went something like, “My body is the living temple of love, my body is the body of a goddess.” I could definitely vibe with that. I’m all about body image and self empowerment. My fears of forced organ donation slowly melted into excitement for some feminine empowerment. Everyone in the lobby lined up single file from oldest to youngest (Men in the back, awesome), and entered one by one into the room of loud chanting. I was last, and pretty afraid. What was behind that curtain? I pictured a dark room with a cauldron in the middle and a bunch of grey haired women throwing parts of animals into it. The altar would just be a giant spray painted mural of satan and at some point we would all have to burn pentacosts into our skin. Then I realized I was probably being racist and the woman in charge of ushering the women in opened the curtain and urged me forward.
As the curtain opened around me I saw that the room was actually set up like a church would be. There were chairs in a circle and at one end there was a gian altar with no satan, but instead a giant cat looking thing surrounded by candles. In each corner there were smaller altars, each decorated with a different element. Upon entering I had my hands washed by a woman in a giant purple tunic, and then I had to reach in and grab a percussive instrument from a basket. My inner high school percussionist beckoned me to take a tambourine.
A drum circle ensued for about a minute and then crescendoed into everyone beating their drums faster and faster until we exploded in a giant ‘thank you’ to mother earth. Then we all went around the circle and introduced ourselves according to who our mothers were. We all had to take a moment and say thank you to the mother that bore us, no matter our relationship to her, which I really appreciated. When it came to the woman next to me, she didn’t say anything. Instead, the woman leading the ceremony, Ava, introduced her as ‘Ravenseye’. I turned around to watch this woman maybe say something but my anticipation was just met with an icy glance. She was definitely a witch. The way she looked at me I imagined sucked out part of my soul and replaced it with that ghost from Paranormal Activity. I quickly turned my head back to the main altar and for a second considered saying a Christian prayer. As if that would help me. I could practically feel Jesus building me my own section of hell just for being in this place.
There was a small table in the middle of the circle, and next we were allowed to then place an item on that table to ‘charge’. What that means, I’ll never know, but I placed my mother’s mother’s ring on the table for the rest of the ceremony.
The first woman to walk up to the microphone was the leader of todays Ceremony, Ava, and she was a total fireball. She cracked jokes nearly the whole time, and whenever she agreed with something, she would snap and cheer.
Then there was the candle lighting ceremony. One by one, the priestess Amina picked up a colored candle and asked someone to talk about what the candle represented in their life. One woman spoke about boyfriend troubles, another about focusing inward instead of outward. These were normal women with normal problems. Amina held up a pink candle. The compassion candle. She asked if anyone had a story to share about compassion for themselves or others. No one stood up. Classic Witches, not having any compassion for anyone. I stifened a giggle as I heard rustling from next to me and proceeded to watch Raveneye walk up to the microphone and hold the candle in her very tiny hands.
“As I walked in today someone told me I’m not the smiling type. I nearly cried because I already know that…”
Well, I suck. Not only was this woman probably not a bloodthirsty witch, but she probably wasn’t a bad person either. She went on to describe a biker club she visited that had only one female dancer.
“I just feel so much compassion for this woman. She’s so brave to stand up there in front of a room of big, scary biker guys. I just hope that more dancers are hired to keep her company and help her feel more comfortable.”
She lit the candle and sat back down. The other women shook their instruments and some even howled. This was a room of women that were genuinely interested in the well being of other women, no matter what circumstance they’re in, and I really was beginning to respect that. The ceremony began with a chant honoring your body, and since then everything we had discussed was about respecting yourself and your ‘inner goddess’.
My moment of reverence only lasted a few moments, because just then a mousy woman in a leopard print jacket went up to the mic. She introduced herself as Dr. Miluna, an ‘intuitive’ physician. Miluna went on to tell a story about how this past week she went to her regular OBGYN visit and refused to take all of the tests her doctor had recommended. Instead, she had wished the Doctor had asked her about her intuition and explained that if you ever have a negative feeling or negative energy, just look up to the sky and say ‘lift me up Goddess’.
Now, I’m not a trained medical physician, but I would like to take this time to say I don’t really think reciting any phrase is a good substitute for a mamogram unless that phrase is ‘yes I’d like a mamogram’. I checked out Miluna’s website after the service and discovered that she had a brain tumor that she claims was cured with her intuition and extensive surgery. For only $200, you will get a half an hour session where Dr. Miluna will explain to you the source of your malady, tell you to refuse any necessary testing, and then probably recommend very extreme medical care.
The next woman to go up and speak was an animal communicator by the name of Suzan. Suzan was probably about 60 years old and had dried out, bleached long blonde hair. She wore a robe of all different bright colors, and when she wasn’t up speaking she had the luxury of sitting on the temple throne. Her speech began with a story about a ferral cat by the name of ‘Big Head’ that she helped rescue. Big Head had been kidnapped by a neighbor and slashed with a razor blade. He was frightened by humans, but a woman in the neighborhood desperately wanted to capture him and get him medical attention so she called upon Suzan for guidane. Apparently, Suzan arrived and asked Big Head what happened and let him know she was going to help him get medical attention. Big Head had a few questions. How would the go to the vet? Was the vet nice? What was the vet going to do? She explained to Big Head the nature of the visit and Big Head agreed to go.
During her story, I just had to look over at Hannah and Ryley and gauge their reactions. They both had very inquisitive looks on but all of the women around were completely captivated. This woman couldn’t possibly be serious. I tried to picture in my head Suzane silently staring at a giant ferral cat, and the cat just being like ‘fuck this’ and running away because it’s a cat and has no thoughts. But Suzan stood by her story and shared that her gift has helped countless people reconnect with their bad animals. I bet she also charged a heinous amount of money.
We had to cut the rest of the ceremony short because it was the fourth Sunday of the month which meant it was the spirit faire. We all exited the room oldest to youngest just as we had been invited in, and were ushered into the lobby where we could sign up for a reading. I put my name down for Tarot cards with Amina at 2, and was immediately washed over with fear. What if she was going to tell me I would die the next day? Or go to prison??? I couldn’t live with that kind of knowledge. Hannah and Ryley also signed up for Tarot cards and Oracle Tatoos, and then we walked outside to watch the live demonstrations. About 10 different ‘gifted’ people from all over the country were waiting outside to tell us about all of the spirit demons that were going to posses our bodies that evening. Or at least I thought. What actually happened was you could ask any one of them a question about your life, and they would channel spirits or angels to help answer your questions. On a serious note, I think every single one of them read Cosmo’s horoscopes that morning and twisted them around to sound less abhorrently sexist. Each answer to every question was unsurprisingly vague and could be molded to match any situation in ones life. “You need to exhibit patience with your sister.” Um, THANKS MOM. It’s not like every single sibling has been told that every day about their sibling.
The bell ringer came out notifying me that it was time to go in and discover my fate. Again, I walked into the room passed the curtain, but now the lights were almost off and instead of chairs set in a circle, there were 10 different tables set up with the readers behind them.
I walked over to Amina and sat down. She could tell how afraid I was. “Relax child, and cut the cards as you wish.” Geez, no pressure. Just cut the cards as you see fit, but don’t do it wrong because then you’ll find out your going to die of feline AIDS.
After I cut and shuffled, Amina layed out the cards.
“Oh my” she whispered in some sort of demonic bewilderment.
Fuck, this is it, I thought to myself. Just lay it on me. Tell me about the man that’s going to break into my house and murder me. I asked for this.
“Your compassion for animals shows you have a great potential to be a Animal Communicator. Have you ever tried to speak to animals?”
If I ever write a memior, there would have to be a chapter in it titled “Kaelyn does not give a shit about animals.” I’ve tried really hard to care about animals, and I think I do to an extent, atleast enough to not have people worry I’m a serial killer. But to answer your question miss, no I have never fucking tried to speak to animals.
I tried to politely explain to her how wrong she was, but she swore she had never seen anything like this. Somehow, I was born with an innate ability to look frogs in the eye and understand the way they think. As if animals speak in english! I pictured myself speaking to my cat.
“Why are you such a bad cat, cat?” (my cat doesn’t have a name. Probably a testament to my families concern for animals.)
“Meow”
I left the table with a list of recommended readings, and $20 less.
Am I glad I went to a Wiccan church? Aboslutely. I have an open mind and I genuinely want a glimpse into how people other than me think. Do I want my $20 back? Definitely. Don’t look at cards that CLEARLY HAVE PICTURES OF HUMANS ON THEM and tell me I can now understand squirrels. I’m now reading Starhawks “The Spiral Dance” to gain better knowledge about this taboo religion. For what it’s worth, I think it definitely has a lot of good messages for women, young girls in particular. I’ll never judge anything that encourages women to achieve their full potential and love themselves unconditionally. I would just encourage them to do so in a way that leaves time for yearly mammograms.

End of an Era

I never did wrap up my posts about Spain. The more involved I became wit the culture the less I wrote, which looking back was probably not the best idea. As I adjust back to my life here in Orange County, I find myself more and more nostalgic for my life in Madrid. I miss the people, the nightlife, the adventures, the independence, the sense that my life was unpredictable, and mostly the UN. Chapman is amazing and I jumped back into the swing of things very quickly, but the sense of adventure just isn’t there anymore and it’s something I’m striving to gain back. That’s why I’m going to try my best to revamp this blog. It’s no longer just about my time in Spain. My need and desire to write shouldn’t end when my trip ends because I should always be doing things worthy of a story. So far, this semester has actually been pretty incredible and I’d love to share my experiences here. The adventure didn’t end as I boarded the flight back to America, it just began again! Life’s the adventure.

Roman Holiday

“Why hasn’t Kaelyn written a blog post in almost a month? Is she alive?” You anxiously ask yourself as you check my blog, yet again, searching for signs that I didn’t run away to be a gypsy like I told everyone I would. Well, internet stranger, to put it bluntly, it’s because I kind of suck.

I swear it’s not because the only thing I’ve been doing is sitting in my pajamas watching neflix and just don’t have anything to write about; I’ve been doing a lot. But my teachers decided to pump up the jamz with homework recently and when I’m not reading propaganda on why America sucks or writing a paper on drug cartels I’m either out or eating, neither of which I can blog during.

LAST WEEKEND I WENT TO ROME!

Wednesday night a group of 8 of us left for Rome. I don’t know if you’ve ever traveled with a group of 8, but it’s….a lot of people. That’s why almost immediately Thursday morning we all split up. Two of us went off to quickly tour the inside of the Colosseum, while the other 6 of us went on the journey of our lives. You think I’m kidding, but what started out as a guided tour of the Colosseum turned into a Davinci Code chase around the city of Rome, exploring catacombs and putting our tongues on very, very valuable pieces of artwork. It all began with Alex, our tour guide. We got paired with this beautiful, beautiful man who happened to be the smartest person alive. He lead us through the ruins and told us stories of the ancient Romans and more about their daily life than I thought was possible to know. Alex also happened to be the best story teller of all time, so when he said that he was leading a secretive Michelangelo tour that night, we signed up on the spot.

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Look at how freaking absorbed I am in everything he’s saying. 

Anyways, that night he lead us through back alley churches and catacombs containing two of Jesus’s apostles, as well as showed us where the inquisition and Galileo’s discoveries took place. We even saw an original Michelangelo sculpture that’s just hanging out in a church no one knows about.

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Bonnie and I just had to lick it.

The tour concluded on the steps of the building where Caesar died. The building is no longer there but the original marble steps Caesar walked up to his death remain and are now the steps of a discount bike repair shop. That’s history right there.

Afterwards Alex lead us to this restaurant simply called ‘Grandma’s’. Upon our arrival a small old woman came out and told us in Italian that now, ‘you are home, Grandma’s going to cook for you’. There wasn’t a menu, she just brought out for you what she wanted to cook which happened to be lentils, different kinds of meats, pastas, and apple cake. We were so stuffed and the waiter kept coming over to us saying that we had ‘very small stomachs’. It really is an Italian thing to guilt people into eating more…. 

The next day we toured the Vatican, home to the Catholic overlord, as I explained to my roommates. Our tour ended up being like 3 hours long, and our tour guide really didn’t speak English well so I did not learn anything about the place. I honestly can’t even tell you what building the Pope lives in. We were really discouraged after the tour because the tours the day before were the greatest thing ever, and then St. Peter’s Basilica was closed. The main attraction wasn’t going to open for another 3 hours, so we left and had lunch and came back only to find that tourists weren’t allowed in. WORD TO THE WISE: When someone asks you if you’re a tourist, or if your actually there for the event, always act like you’re supposed to be there. They asked if we were there for mass. HELL YEA WERE HERE FOR MASS, DUH THATS WHY WE BROUGHT THESE CAMERAS AND ARENT DRESSED APPROPRIATELY. They let us in without any questions. 

We found seats in the pews and waited for it to begin. As a Catholic, I was just excited to be at Mass in the Vatican. Like how many Catholics can say they’ve done that? And Catholicism is very competitive so I knew just by being there I was automatically getting a better seat in heaven than everyone else…. But that’s when it happened. The music got really loud and everyone stood up and turned around, cameras in hand. And then, just like that, Pope Francis walked through the doors and down the isle. Everyone fell silent and the only sound that could be heard were the shutters on everyones cameras. Francis wasn’t fazed by anything. His gaze was forward on the alter, and he was reciting something to himself.

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This is really the only good picture I got of him. The second he walked by I kinda froze and couldn’t believe it was him. Total fan girl move.

The rest of the trip was incredible and the food was AMAZING. I’m definitely going back at some point to do a tour of the whole country. We wanted to go to Pompeii but there just wasn’t enough time. So, until next time, Rome.

 

Avergonzado

That’s spanish for embarrassed.

This weekend was….interesting. It involved lots of roommate bonding, just a little internal bleeding, possibly being poisoned, 2 stomach bugs, one garbage pale full of shattered glass, and a LOT of juice.

I’ll begin with friday afternoon. I was lying in my apartment debating whether or not I wanted to go to Retiro and rollerblade with some kids from school. On one hand I was so tired and had reading to do, on the other I needed to get out of the apartment. I had one of those “you’ll never live a fulfilling life if you just stay in your apartment!” moments and forced myself off my couch.

My rollerblading experience consists of 2 birthday parties I went to that were hosted at the local Ron-A-Roll, both of which happened before I was 9. Rollerblading is like riding a bike, though. They both have wheels and both can lead to very serious injuries.

It was such a beautiful fall day. The leaves were fiery orange and gold and it was chilly enough for a sweater but not a coat. Right when I arrived I was glad I decided to go. Our professor lead us to a track that we skated around for a while, but then she disappeared off in another direction. One of the girls and I decided to venture off and see where she had gone, but the path we were on started to slowly slope. I was picking up a lot of speed and remembered that I didn’t know how to stop. The girl in front of me zoomed off down the hill, but I tried to slow down by doing that weird zig zag pattern they teach you to do the first time you go skiing. Same concept right? Except when you’re skiing and you fall you land on snow and I just landed on the concrete.

I decided the only place on my body I could land and not cause serious bleeding was my back. Right before I was about to hit the curb I rolled backwards and landed flat on my back. I think it must have sounded like I was laughing, but I was just making noise after the impact to make sure I didn’t knock the wind out of me. The people walking past must have thought I was completely fine because not one person stopped to see if I was ok. THANKS SPANIARDS! I think one guy even took out his iphone. I’m sure if you google, “dumb american girl falls at retiro” it’s a youtube clip of me.

The next day was the color run. If you’ve ever done a color run then you know the absolute MAGIC that is Holi. This picture describes it best.

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It was just a giant fiesta of loud music and colored powder. My scalp is still green. And I definitely should have gone to the doctors instead because my back was killing me, but I’m glad I didn’t.

That night I was lying in bed when all of a sudden I heard the loudest shattering noise I’ve ever heard. I woke up thinking it came from the kitchen. Initial response, “omg omg omg there’s a burglar in our apartment and they were stealing all of our plates!!” But then I checked the time and it was 7am. I’m pretty sure not a lot of plate robberies occur that early in the morning. I checked out the bathroom with my roommate and there was glass EVERYWHERE. The mirror had fallen clear off of the wall and there were pieces of half-inch thick glass scattered out into the hallway. We cleaned up what we could but we had to close the bathroom/ glass dungeon for the rest of the weekend until someone that knew what they were doing could clean it.

The rest of that day was lazy. None of us were feeling well so we just hung around and talked. I think the majority of us are going through one form of culture shock or another and it’s nice to have someone to talk to about it. It’s not the whole, “I’m too depressed to eat.” feeling like Chapman made it sound like, it’s more of like a cloud that just kind of hangs over you sometimes. Sometimes it’s more present than others and sometimes it’s not there at all. There’s just something so isolating about being on a train and not being able to understand what anyones saying. Or not being able to answer strangers on the street when they ask you something. I can see how this would be liberating for some, but I basically thrive off of human connection, so it’s a little jarring.

On a happier note, later that day my roommate Tamara found an old picture of me dressed as Miley Cyrus when I was 16 and shared it to all of my roommates so everyone in my school could see it!!! I retaliated with this:

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That’s her face on Miley’s head. Word to the wise, don’t mess with the girl with Photoshop.

Oh, and a juice place opened by my apartment!! I’ve been 7 times in the past two weeks and that’s not a lie.

K I need to actually study now.

The Secret Camera

You know those times where you find out something’s bad, and then every piece of information you receive afterwards just makes it worse? That’s kind of what happened this weekend.

I was digging through my backpack when mysteriously I found a tiny point and shoot camera similar to my roommate’s inside. I pulled it out and showed it to my friend Suzanne.

“Hey, is this Bonnie’s camera?”

“Have you turned it on and looked at the pictures?”

“WHY DO YOU ALWAYS TALK TO ME LIKE I’M A CHILD?!”

Ok, not really, but I hadn’t thought of actually looking at the photos on the camera to confirm that it was my roommates. The second the screen illuminated I was sure though.

Suzanne- “Of course it’s Bonnie’s, the whole menu is in Chinese.” Suzanne-1 Kaelyn-0

I brought the camera home and showed my roommate.

“Hey Bonnie, I found your camera in my bag from last weekend.”

“Yea, that’s not my camera”

“What do you mean it’s not your camera, the whole menu is in Chinese…”

“So because it’s in Chinese that makes it mine?”

“I’m very ignorant.” Bonnie-1 Kaelyn- 0

Bonnie turned on the camera. The last picture taken was of the Mona Lisa, so it couldn’t have been hers. We saw the Mona Lisa on Friday when we went to Paris and she had been taking pictures the entire weekend. I flipped a few pictures back and saw a selfie taken by a very adorable, young Asian couple.

Oh no….

I totally had someone else’s camera. For the sake of convenience let’s call them Danny and Sandy. I flipped through more pictures and saw a glimpse at their trip to Rome as well. My roommate Lauren came in and laughed, “Wouldn’t it be so funny if this was their honeymoon?!”

That’s when I got to their wedding photos. This trip was their honeymoon. Beautiful snapshots of Sandy in all sorts of dresses, people celebrating their love, pictures with parents. All of it was on this camera. Scrolling back there were photos of her trying on her dresses and picking out cakes. They had a Toy Story themed cake. What kind of perfect couple picks out a Toy Story themed cake?!?! Farther back still was a photo of them holding up their marriage certificate. Danny and Sandie 4 eva. Basically the most important and exciting parts of this couples relationship-probably the most important for the rest of their lives as well-was on this camera. Then came the photos of them with sick and dying relatives. It just kept getting more and more sentimental. In total there were about 2,000 photos spanning 6 months.

My first thought was, “oh how sad. This camera isn’t even worth $50 on ebay…” But then I thought about it a little more in depth. I would be so devastated if my camera were lost. Especially if 6 months of my most important memories were inside. Yea, there was probably a photographer at their wedding, but all of their honeymoon memories were lost except for their actual memories. AND they didn’t have a camera for the rest of the trip to take their adorable, peace sign selfies.

There had to be something I could do for Danny and Sandy. I downloaded the picture of the certificate onto my computer and emailed a copy of it to a Japanese professor at Chapman, trying my best to explain that I was using their address for good and not to find them and kill them… She emailed me back this morning with his address. Shipping to Japan from America is $200+, but the least I can do is mail a letter with the SD card inside. How freaked out do you think they’d be when they get a letter written in a language they probably can’t read with an SD card belonging to who-knows-what. That could result in a not so pleasant visit from the government to my house….

And then I’d sell the camera on ebay.

Maybe.

So we’ll see what happens. I hope they get it. They really are cute. Danny and Sandy 4 eva.

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I have new friends!!! (And they’re all 2)

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For the past few weeks I’ve been volunteering at a local preschool teaching english to two year olds! I’ve worked with little little kids since I was 12 so I’m really used to dealing with tears and snot and pushing, but the first day I went to go help out I absolutely HATED IT.

1.Kids suck at responding to things when they don’t know you.

2.I’m not good at Spanish which means I’m also not good at Spanish when you are physically unable to pronounce R’s and S’s

I show up the first day all like, “oh I probably have the same spanish knowledge of a 2-year-old, let’s do this.” NOPE. Anything I tried to say to them was greeted with a look of, “are you having a stroke?” I couldn’t tell if they just weren’t responding to me because they didn’t know me and I was some random American chick who spoke like a cavewoman or because I was speaking nonsense. It was probably a combination of both.

I left the first day accomplishing nothing besides getting a saliva soaked hairbrush stuck in my hair for like 20 minutes. Oh, that’s another side note. I forgot how much kids put into their mouths. LITERALLY EVERYTHING. There is not one toy in that classroom that has not been in at least 5 kids mouths.

Anyways. My third day there I was singing to them the song about the 5 monkeys jumping on the bed, praying that they would at least pay attention even though they clearly had no idea what I was talking about. Not like I can even compete with the Spanish songs the teacher sings. There’s one about a crocodile killing children. I don’t have anything that hard core.

So I finish the song and they kind of look at me like, “seriously, that’s all you got?” And I sit back in the corner with Luca who just cries the whole day, every day, totally defeated. Luca gave me this look like, “join the club” (Luca speaks english so he get’s me on an emotional level). BUT afterwards when we’re going out to the garden to play some sweet games, Olivia comes up to me and says,

“Los Monos.”

Monos means monkeys. She understood what I was saying!!!! BABY GENIUS! She made me sing her the song about 500 more times and boy, was she cracking up. That song’s hilarious.

Me and the kids are all homies now. I walk in and they all run up to me and want to tell me just how red their car is or show me how many blocks they can fit in their mouth (David always wins with 4. That kids going to be the man when he grows up.) Adrien and I even have this inside joke where we pretend to eat each other’s pants. Olivia still makes me sing the monkey song 10 times every day and I’m so over it. She should really get on with her life. Pablo still owes me money.

Kids are the best, guys.

Mocha Chocalata ya-ya (Paris 2013)

Before you read this, listen to THIS and THIS

Ok, that’s better.

This weekend was spent in Paris! The best flights we could get were Thursday night to Sunday morning, so that meant that we only had two days to see as much of the entire city as we possibly could. We decided to take the challenge and I think we did fairly well.

First off, the four of us (Me, Bonnie, Jonathan and Kara) decided to buy a Paris pass. For 100 Euro, a Paris pass grants you free entry into most museums (you get to skip the line as well), unlimited metro and hop on hop off bus rides, and a few other special offers. The first day we decided we wanted to see the Arc Du Triomphe first. I wish I knew more about it, but I know it has something to do with Napoleon…. We climbed to the top and looked out over the entire city. That’s when I saw the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Landscape

It was so incredibly breath taking. The Eiffel Tower is one of those landmarks you hear about your whole life but don’t actually know if you’re ever going to see. It was kind of emotional for all of us, and Kara even teared up. That’s when it really settled in for all of us that we were in Paris. We just stood there for probably 20 minutes staring out at it thinking about how fortunate we were that we even got this opportunity. So many people see this iconic structure only in pictures or on TV but never get to experience it the way we were getting to; up close and in person. I knew I had to get a picture of me licking it.

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Next stop: THE LOUVRE!

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The Louvre is the biggest museum in the world, and by far the most beautiful one I’ve seen. It has over 35,000 pieces of art ranging from prehistory to the 21st century. I think the oldest thing I saw was an Egyptian piece dating back 3,000 years B.C. I could probably spend a year in there and not run out of things to look at. This was the first time I got to see a Da Vinci painting in real life. We were strolling through the Italian art section when we came upon the Virgin of the Rocks, the original version. It was just as stunning as everything I’ve read about it. Da Vinci has such a unique style because he’s somehow able to paint things so soft and angelic. Parts of the background fade into each other and you cant really tell where one part starts and the other ends. The Mona Lisa was just around the corner as well. I’ve only ever heard negative things about the Mona Lisa; about how small the painting is, or how overrated it is. What are you expecting? Why would someone paint a giant portrait of only one person? It was the perfect size and her smile really is as majestic as they say it is. One second she’s smiling and the next she looks almost bored. The point is that it doesn’t matter if you like the Mona Lisa or not. The painting is one of the most famous of all time and basically represents humanity in a way. It’s really incredible to see in person.

Then we popped in to Notre Dame, but we were so tired. I snapped a few quick pictures but there was Mass going on and we didn’t really want to interrupt.

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At night we headed back to the Eiffel Tower. If you think it’s beautiful during the day, hold onto your freaking hat because at night it transforms into the most romantic, majestic man-made creations of probably all time.

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Every hour on the hour the tower lights up with twinkling white lights making it look like a giant diamond. We stared in awe friday night when we saw it for the first time, and then immediately after the silhouette of a man 20 yards in front of us got down on one knee to perform the most perfect proposal EVER. The woman he asked put her hands to her face and started crying and we were cheering and I may or may not have teared up the slightest bit. Then the four of us agreed that our lives our forever ruined now because nothing we do will ever be that romantic.

Saturday started off a little slower. We went to the Luxembourg gardens and then met up with my french exchange student Celia from last summer! It was so good to see her again, and really nice to have someone to help us order in the restaurant. The rest of the day was spent traveling around on the Hop On Hop Off bus trying to see all that we could. Then in the evening we went to this little Macaroon store called Laudree and bought the cutest macaroons in the whole world! They were ridiculously expensive but we just had to try them. We couldn’t eat them just yet though, so we went next door and had dinner first.

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That’s me with the snail I ate! That’s also me with the couple that was literally eating each other behind me the whole time… I love that I’m trying so many new things here! In America I would never EVER eat a snail, but why not? It’s a cultural thing to do and I don’t want to miss out because I’d rather stay in my comfort zone. I had to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths first, but I got it down and it wasn’t even that horrible. It tasted kind of like a mushroom and it was covered in pesto.

We decided to end our time in Paris at the top of this 59 story building with a panoramic view of the city. We watched the Eiffel tower and at our Macaroons (holy crap, so good). At one point Bonnie reached out her arms and made us all get in for a group hug. Just as she started getting sentimental about how amazing our time in Paris had been, the Eiffel tower lit up like a thousand twinkling stars. We all stood there, arms around each other, and watched until it went out. A perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

Our flight the next morning was at 8:30, so we left the house at 5:30. I already miss the city but I know I’ll be back one day. After getting a little taste of the culture and romance of the city I don’t think I could live without going back at least once more. Paris, J’adore!

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