DANCE MARATHON. 2012. SUPPORT ME.
What an amazing weekend in Prague! It was such a cool city, definitely a tie for my favorite (with Munich, but I really can’t top that experience). I absolutely adored the place, did a ton of stuff, ate like a queen, and everything was so cheap (but really any place is in comparison to Paris…).
My friend Astrid and I left on Friday at 215 and arrived in Prague at 415. I fell asleep on the plane and then woke up once we landed and was REALLY confused. Why? Because apparently in the Czech Republic, the sun likes to set at 4pm. Oh yes, it was completely dark when we arrived. We caught a bus to the metro (so simple, only 3 lines) and then walked to our hostel. Our hostel was a street off of one of the main streets, so very conveniently located. Let me just say this, I am loving studying in Europe and traveling during the holidays because EVERY city seems to be getting decked out for the holidays and the spirit is palpable. There were trees, lights, tinsel, and a shit ton of Christmas markets. The Christmas markets were so fun to walk around, there were several in the city. They had hot spiced wine, sausages, gingerbread cookies, roasted chestnuts, churro-ish things, candied nuts, mittens, and so many other fun things. There almost as many Christmas markets as there were casinos. There were a lot of casinos, but don’t worry dad, I resisted the gambling urge.
Besides it being really dark early, which completely threw us off, it was sososososo cold. When we got there it was 29 degrees. Which means if it had rained, it would have snowed! I wore two sets of mittens all weekend.
Our first night we strolled around, went into a couple of shops and then went for dinner. Dinner that night was quite interesting. We ate at an Italian restaurant, where there was a musician singing in Spanish, and there was a pirate (really confused as to how he ties into the restaurant).
Saturday morning was absolutely killer. I got to go crossfit at Crossfit Praha! Haven’t crossfitted since August, so it was great to get back into it. The guy who owned it was so sweet and we chatted a lot. I will say that I am still sore and probably will be for another day or two.
On Saturday we covered A LOT of Prague: the castle, changing of the guards, the metronome, the Lennon wall, the bridge, the Opera, Old Town, and the two synagogues. After doing a lot of walking, we found ourselves in a little café to get a latté. I have not had a latté in too many months and let me just say it was heaven. They really do it right in Prague…big glass mugs, milky goodness at the bottom and a lot of froth on top. Ironically enough, towards the end we realized that we were surrounded by 80% french people, which made me feel really good, as maybe the French have rubbed off on me more than I thought.
Afterwards, we had another VERY interesting experience. Like in the movies/tv, there was one of those places where they have a fish tank with those little fish that the dead skin and callouses off of your feet. I didn’t partake (too afraid), but Astrid sat and did that for a half hour. I instead opted for a leg/foot massage. The woman spoke very little english and took me to a room. I had rolled up my jeans, but apparently not high enough. She said, “pants. off.” I thought “dear god, what type of massage did I pay for?” But she had a sheet that went over me, so still a legit massage. It was absolutely wonderful, haven’t done much pampering here in France. And our beds here are the worst. Diana (my roommate) and I wake up each day with really achy shoulders and backs. And I haven’t sat on a couch in 4 months.
That night we went to sports bar type place. In Prague, you seat yourself and there are smoking and non smoking sections, which surprised me at first. I assume it’s because it would be freaking freezing to stand outside and smoke, but who knows. Also, we had to tip, which I haven’t had to do in a LONG time. Oh, simple math, you always get me in the end.
This post is getting rather long, so I’ll spare you the details of Sunday. Let’s just say that Sunday also involved numerous lattés. I was tempted to get one last one at the airport last night, but even I had to cut myself off.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! I hope that you all enjoy your feasts and eat some extra pumpkin pie for me. I will instead be taking myself to see a movie and then making breakfast for dinner. So while you pass the cranberry sauce, slice into the turkey and aunt Cree uses half a stick of butter on anything and everything, I will be dining on 2 thick pieces of bacon, the best scrambled eggs ever, and a pear.
To be quite honest, at first I was feeling somewhat melancholy regarding Thanksgiving because everyone would write on facebook about going home and Thanksgiving is probably my most favorite holiday. This probably has something to do with the fact that I’m an admitted pumpkin-aholic. But yesterday I called my aunt Cree’s to wish everyone a happy early Thanksgiving. Stellar planning on my part as I was able to talk to everyone at once, rather than having to call each couple/person individually. And then today I hit the Krasnigor family and chatted with them. Let me give you some highlights of the conversation (also including the conversation with my mother that took place right before):
1. After I talked to my Opa about my approaching 21st birthday, he told me I was only one more year away from the real world and then preceded to ask me about what my future career goals are. Thanks Opa, I thought that was just my dad’s job…
2. I learned that the Kohler sisters can’t keep secrets, as Opa told me that “there was a rumor floating around” that he speaks German with an American accent. I may or may not have heard this from my German aunts and passed this fact to one Kohler sister, which once that little tidbit hit the ground, it was really only a matter of time.
3. Uncle Chuck and I discussed the merits of the new Muppets Movie, which he is apparently excited to see with my little cousins. Oh Uncle Chuck, I can always count on you to dish on the real stuff, how I adore you.
4. Dillon and my dad plan on consuming mass quantities of football with my poor mother this Thanksgiving break. Don’t worry Mom, I will be home soon enough, where I will reassume the dominant role and pee in a couple of corners to remark my territory.
5. As my date to head back comes closer, it is inevitable that each conversation with my mom now factors food in. What I can’t wait to eat when I get home basically.
6. My grandpa has an ipad. So he has officially surpassed me in the technology world.
7. The package that my grandparents sent? The one that I found out got shipped back to them? Was filled with tea and my most favoritest thing ever…furry socks! Nana sends me them every now and again and they literally are the best thing ever. I will be thankful to return to the US’s land of post.
Things I am thankful for this season:
1. Public transportation, I am really going to miss the metro, despite it being more often than not hot, packed, and smelly.
2. The marché and my rolly bag (they are a packaged deal)
3. Being able to travel and see more of the world (thank you parents, I am so fortunate to have the best parents in all of ventura county…just kidding, in the world)
4. Finally figuring out where I’m living when I get back to Santa Cruz! (again, thank you Dad, you’re so helpful, I owe you a dinner and dessert!)
5. Being able to talk to my family on/near Thanksgiving
6. Having such wonderful family and friends who have been so supportive of me studying abroad. I can’t wait to bring back lots of loot for you all, while you praise my sophistication and maturity (ya right, see previous mention of muppets analysis).
Happy turkey day to you all!
This past friday marked my 3 month mark for having been here in Paris and in 2 days, my month countdown will begin. All any of my friends can talk about it is “ohmygod we only have a month left! We have so much left to do!” So of course I have been fitting in as many things as possible. This week I have:
1. Gone to a dance class
2. Gone to a Mozart concert (this was facilitated through my program)
3. Went on a media visit (a class field trip) to France 24, which is a large station here in Paris
4. Went to the Galeries Lafayette and of course ended up on their gourmet floor. I realized that I have now been to every large specialty/gourmet store in Paris. Sometimes I just go in and walk around and look at everything (yes, I am a fiend for food porn). And every time I go in, I try to think of someone I could buy a gift for there, which always ends up failing…
5. Went to the Louvre at night and saw a new exhibit
6. Had tea at the very classy Mariage de Freres with my friend Tessa, which was absolutely wonderful.
7. Went to Montmarte with my friend Ilanit, where we poked into shops, saw a man playing bagpipe very poorly and waited in line for a public restroom while I talked about how I can’t wait to be around a cornucopia of public restrooms back in America.
And today I’m going on a Macaron crawl! I’m hitting up Lauduree, Lenotre, Pierre Herme and a few others.
What I didn’t do this week:
1. Receive packages from my mom or my grandparents. They sent me packages a month ago. So while everyone gleefully picks up packages each day, I longingly check my box and find nothing. And of course it is my luck that BOTH would end up lost or gone. I couldn’t get just one, no, that would be too convenient. However, I did receive A X-MAS PACKAGE from the Beauchain family (my aunt Vicky and her family). Which was so adorable, I have already decorated my room with the Christmas stuff. Thank you so much!!!!
2. Remember to put my keys back into my purse on Friday morning. Which means I was locked out. Which of course happened on my back from the gym. Which means I was in MY SWEATS and looking SWEATY MESSLIKE. After knocking on some doors (I had conveniently forgotten my phone in my room), I had to walk over to our school (still in my sweats) to get a key to get in.
3. Register for my own classes for next quarter. Of course my time to sign up for classes (factoring in the 9 hour time difference) conflicted with the concert I had signed up for. So I enlisted the faja. Because although I asked my mom, I think the technology and the amount of steps you have to take online would have been overwhelming and she was only too happy to pass that duty over to my Dad. And of course I get a text from my VERY FUNNY father telling me he signed me up for German and economics (wouldn’t you just love it if I took a class involving numbers, accounting, and how to balance a checkbook Dad? Well too bad, that’s why I became a liberal arts major!!!)
Time is quickly dwindling and there are lots of things going on, so unfortunately I don’t always have time to blog. This next week my french class is going to a play, I have a makeup class (which of inevitably is 3 hours long), there is a strong possibility my friends are doing a make shift thanksgiving. And then Friday I leave for Prague for the weekend!
If there is anything you are hoping I bring back from Paris for you, you better tell me now because I have almost finished with my x-mas shopping.
So, I’ve decided to use my blog to solicit. Mainly because it is simple and I’m a lazy college student. One of my good friends here, Christine, goes to UCLA. She told me about a Dance Marathon that is held at UCLA that benefits children with AIDS, which I eagerly jumped at the chance to participate.
Dance Marathon: Dancing straight (basically you have to stay on your feet) for 26 hours.
When: February 18-19
Goal: to raise 240 dollars.
For 26 hours, there are hundreds of dancers who stay on their feet (willingly). Every so many hours, there is a new theme, with different theme appropriate outfits/costumes, different songs, and different things to do. Each dancer has a little area, where they can store food and their change of costumes.
How am I going to accomplish staying on my feet for 26 hours?
– mass quantities of deodorant
– gallons of water
– my inner Michael Jackson
– pure animalistic strength
So, I ask of you to please donate and help me fundraise for this amazing cause! I need to raise 240 dollars and every donation counts! Help me out and I promise I will dougie, soulja boy, robot, wibble wobble, and have a flash dance moment (some of these may make more sense to you than others).
Donate here: http://support.pedaids.org/site/TR/CUGFC/General?px=1313867&pg=personal&fr_id=1190
My weekend with Julie has been amazing so far, it is just so wonderful to see someone from home, especially since I hadn’t seen her in 5 months! She and two girls from her program arrived Thursday night. I met up with them, showed them sights, then we had dinner by the Seine and went to the Eiffel Tower. Yesterday I took Jules to our marché, we went to Musée d’Orsay, went to Mamie Gateaux (WHICH WAS CLOSED!!!) and then ended up at a cupcake place, and saw the movie Ides of March (side note: I plan on marrying Ryan Gosling, I realized last night that the only 3 movies I have seen in Paris have all had him in them: Drive, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and Ides of March). This morning we went to the Bastille Marché, where we picked up some gifts for friends and family…gotta finish up my Christmas list!
Now if any of you know Julie (which is probably just my parents), you know that she is OBSESSED with all things Disney. And of course I lured her out to Paris to visit me by promising to go to Disneyland Paris with her. So Friday day was spent at Disneyland. First of all, Disneyland was SO COLD, I don’t know if I felt my toes once the entire day. And unlike Southern California, where the Socal-ites would be put off by the cold, the French held tough and shockingly to me, the kids were still going even when it reached arctic temperatures. And of course I assumed, oh it’s Disneyland, people will be dressed however. WRONG. I saw leather coats galore, high heels, beautiful coats, trendy moms, and of course the kids were dressed so well. There was nary a fanny pack or Disney shirt in sight.
I decided to break one of the French codes, which is no walking around eating or snacking. The only thing that is acceptable for that is a baguette/baguette sandwich. However, I was waiting in a line, starvin marvin, so I decided to eat a carrot. Which of course drew several stares. The best part? I was wearing mittens that only have the thumb and then the rest of the hand, so at one point I accidentally dropped the carrot, which then bounced through the line in slow motion. The old man next to me had a good chuckle over that one.
Unfortunately, Disneyland Paris is a lot smaller than the original one at home, which means LOTS of lines. And boy does Paris love its lines. I think since Julie has gotten here, I have been in over 20 lines.
Overall it was really fun and just comforting to be there, it reminded me of home. And we lucked out because the park had already been transformed for Christmas. Which stupid me, took like 3 weeks to finally figure out why there have been so many Christmas decorations up for a while. There is no Halloween or Thanksgiving, le duh!
Unfortunately Jules heads back to Italy tomorrow, but I will be visiting her in December, so I have something to look forward to! She reassures me that in Italy I will finally have good coffee…