Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Here's to my honey, who managed to find me a copy of a very-out-of-print knitting pattern book that I'd been lusting over for ages!

Merry Christmas to all!

Isn't he a great photographer?

Monday, December 26, 2011

I really wish this was a joke...

Sometimes, being away and then coming back makes things that were odd/strange/funny before even more ridiculous. Take, for example, the American obsession with loungewear. I think this is a concept that most French people have a lot of trouble understanding. I'm pretty sure this ad (which is a real ad and I saw it on TV just a few days ago) will not help convince French people about the necessity of loungewear for their daily activities.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Things that I noticed about the USA

Having been gone for almost 3 months, here are my first impressions of being back:

- People are BIGGER here. Try riding the train. The majority of people do not take up a single seat.
- American bus drivers are similarly crazy to French bus drivers.
- The sun comes up much earlier here. When I left Paris, sunrise was 8:42am. Here I woke up at 8am and the sun was already up! I like that.
- People in Boston dress much more casually than in Paris. And not just around MIT. Also, my new French miniskirts might be inappropriate for conservative New England.

Monday, December 19, 2011

back in the States

Well, I'm back! (Barely, freaking airports/planes/KLM/Delta). Anyways, I got to come home to the most amazing boyfriend, who surprised me by getting us a tree! We decorated last night, our "Christmas Eve":

Then today we did gifts. A wonderful and perfect Christmas all around! I'm particularly pleased with my surprise for Diego; he loves surprises and I'm really bad at not giving them away. But this year I was successful - he never guessed the camera that was under the tree!

Of course, that meant he needed a model.

"Wait, who, me?"

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Note to self:

Do not fly AirFrance/KLM/Delta ever again. This happens every time.

getting ready...

I leave for the States tomorrow. Well, at least I think I do. The French bureaucracy is still ongoing, and things could blow up today that prevent me from leaving the country, but I really hope that I could cry and say "But its CHRISTMAS!!!". Fingers crossed everyone!

In other news, last night I met up with Thomas again for dinner and sightseeing around Montmarte. Wow, is that place touristy! But its also a cute old part of Paris. It started to rain so we walked around inside the Sacre Coeur Basilica, but there were no photos allowed.

Thomas and I are setting some sort of friend record by seeing each other three times in three different countries in three months. I guess we're both big travelers now. :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good day

Today I went to apply for my French social security card. Despite my horrible French and their complete lack of English, I managed to conduct the entire transaction in French, and at the end the lady even said I was very sweet. I count that as a major success!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Christmas spirit

This nearby cafe is decorated for the season!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ying and Yang

While the French bureaucratic processes tested my patience today, Lucy made friends with Oakley:

I'm gearing up to head Stateside on Sunday, if, fingers crossed, the French processes don't suddenly speed up and I end up with an unchangeable medical appointment in the next two weeks. So everyone please hope that the bureaucracy is bureauCRAZY until January 1, and then it becomes extremely efficient so I can finish all the paperwork before heading to the APS conference in February. Yes, I realize this is probably too much to hope for. So I'm taking charge of the only thing I can and knitting frantically. Good enough.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

In the spirit

I don't know what it was...

Maybe it was the seeing the huge tree at Galleries Lafayette with my MIT lab mate Thomas...

Maybe it was shopping with him at the Christmas Market on the Champs Élysées...

Maybe it was the kind man who threw in a "little something extra" when I bought a few things from him at the Market...

(sorry, no picture on this one, can't ruin the surprise for the 4-year-old who will be unwrapping it soon!)

Or maybe it was thinking about last year's Christmas...

But whatever it was, after weeks of having no desire to get ready for Christmas, today I bought a tree.

Her name is Lucy. From the song "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds". She's 17 cm tall, and I decorated her with a long pearl necklace and some ribbon that I cut out of a shirt. The very nice woman at the store assured me that she can make it through a Paris window outside, but at least until Christmas, she's going to stay inside with me.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Daily Vocab Lesson

This morning during coffee, some of my lab mates were passing around one of those American oreo Snack Sacks (the big blue plastic bags of mini-oreos that you buy at airports). One of our lab mates recently returned from the US and brought some as a present to the lab.

The conversation turned to weird American food, how processed everything is, and how everything lasts forever. The expiration on the bag was more than a year away, and I mentioned how the cookies might already be more than a year old and yet they were still fresh because they had "so many preservatives in them!" My lab mates burst out laughing.


I just stared blankly. I'm getting really good at that. Friendly lab mate managed to stop laughing long enough to say, "Les préservatifs... in French...

it means...


Yes, I just told my entire lab that I think that American cookies stay fresh longer because they are filled with condoms.

Christmas spirit

Christmas trees for sale!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Apparently I'm not the only unpopular one - my British friend told me tonight how her entire lab had bailed on going to get a drink with her after a conference. She was quite hurt. But maybe it has something to do with what my lab mate said yesterday. Or phrased a better way here, in bullet point #2.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Taken down a peg

Just when I was starting to feel like I fit in (or at least did not stand out so badly), the lab mate who is the friendliest to me lectured me today about how the people in lab are colleagues, not friends, and that is why no one discusses anything personal during coffee or lunch. We are all just supposed to be acquaintances.

Previous probability of me asking friendly lab mate to hang out this weekend: 85-90%

Current probability of me ever asking friendly lab mate to hang out outside of work: 0%.


My friend Amanda and I checked out the Rodin museum on Sunday.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I've been having trouble finding things to write about this week. It does not feel like December here. More like New England at the end of October. There are still leaves on the trees and its pretty warm outside (around 50F), and rainy. Maybe a trip to some Christmas markets will get me in the spirit, but for now, I'm just trying to survive the next few weeks until I'm back in the States.