So of course when I was deciding to go abroad, my intention was to experience new things. Today, I:
1. Learned something new
2. Tried something new
3. Went (and am going) somewhere new
Oh and before I forget, I need to give a shout out to someone. One of my MANY followers. HI GRANDPA, yes, I am getting your comments. Only you and my father (with the occasional Tanya) are my loyal commenters.
Now to address my new experiences! Today we went to the Mosque in Paris, which is absolutely beautiful. Churches, mosques and other religious temples are always so darn ornate and magnificent to look at. We first walked through yet another charming garden to get to the mosque. As for my learning something new, this happened through my new friend Miraya. She is Indonesian and Muslim and taught me a lot about Islam today. I learned that culture greatly affects how you practice the religion. And you pray five times a day and before each prayer, you wash certain body parts of yourself three times (this is to help you focus before you pray). We discussed religion and the role that religion plays in defining a person. It was very enlightening to learn more about Islam while outside of the United States, I felt that I gained more perspective and so often Americans can be so close minded. But when you think about it, religion relies on people having faith, regardless of the religion. So we should appreciate this aspect and realize what religion does for people- unifies them and gives them hope and beliefs.
Well that last paragraph may have deceivingly convinced you that this was going to be an intellectual and reflective blog post, but alas, tis not so. One of my goals in Paris was to try new foods (escargot, pate, fois gras, etc.) and this summer I began challenging myself to buy vegetables I had never cooked with and learn how to! And ironically enough, last night I had a conversation with my Aunt Christa, who lived abroad in Belgium for two years with her husband and at them time, newborn son. She told me that the food thing was at times difficult because you are accustomed to certain brands and can’t always recognize the words that describe various foods. I told her I was just going with the flow and for the most part didn’t have this issue as I’m buying identifiable things (veggies, fruit, meat). So of course, after that conversation, I deal with what we discussed. On Sunday I had bought some cut up beef. Now I realized that it wasn’t just cut up beef, I could tell that the texture was different. I thought maybe it was beef heart or a different animal, I really didn’t give it that much thought. And then I cooked it for lunch today. And thought to myself, “hmmm…pee. Is that what I smell? I think that’s pee. On my jeans? No. Around me? No. Oh! In the uh um…pan.” That’s right, I bought kidneys! Beef kidneys! And while they smelled a bit funky, they were pretty good! (I think I need to figure out better seasoning or how to cook properly. I’ll just look up a recipe on cookinwidkidnees.com.
As for going places new, that was partly the mosque. And then afterwards, a group from my class went to a tea house right next to the mosque afterwards and it was bombdotcom tea!!! So delicious. I began to sip and I looked down 20 seconds later and had finished it. Miraya looked at me and asked me if I had finished my tea already. Um..yes? I also signed up for different things through ACCENT (the people who run our program) today! I signed up for a concert and tomorrow I’m signing up for a day trip to Chartres! Oh, and I MIGHT have signed up for another cooking class… But this one is with my fellow students, so it will be fun bonding (that’s what I’m telling myself anyways).
This is the mosque from a corner street view.
This is the inside of the mosque (so serene and peaceful!)
This is an opening in between the prayer rooms. It’s hard to tell all the detailed tile, wood work, and painting. But trust me, it was gorgeous (I’m running out of synonyms for beautiful…)
Only one more field trip after today and then next week we begin our classes!