The Face of Newark Abroad

Posts tagged ‘french’

2nd Birthday in Paris!

This 2nd birthday in Paris is great! It’s already better than last year and we are only on day 1 of the festivities. I had class this morning. It was the thesis preparation seminar and was helpful. I have to put a lot more energy into this thesis early on. That was followed by a few errands and then hanging out with friends.

Dinner was at Pedra Alta, a Portuguese restaurant in Boulogne. It was delicious. In my city back home there are many Portuguese restaurants and the food is wonderful. I like it much better than French food. There were 7 of us and we ordered food for 8 people. We had fish, steak, pork, veal, and shrimp, plus loads of vegetables, french fries and rice. There was only a little leftovers (haha).

It has truly been a great day and Paris and I were blessed with beautiful weather.

The rest of the festivities include clubbing at Bizzart tomorrow (like every Thursday), clubbing at 21 Sound Bar near Bastille on Friday, and Saturday is La Nuit Blanche in Paris!! Good times.

Birthdays in Paris are amazing!  🙂


Food For The Homesick

Mmmmm breakfast.

Look, a real breakfast!

Does anyone else love to eat? I do! I am greedy and prefer three meals a day with snacks in between. The secret to French skinniness is that they eat smaller portions, the food is expensive AND, they don’t have real breakfast here!

If you read my earlier post, French Culture Shock, you know I have touched on this shocking subject before. For breakfast we Americans like eggs, grits, bacon/sausage, homefries,  pancakes/French toast, etc. In France breakfast is a croissant and a coffee or hot chocolate. A tasty snack, but where’s the beef??

Don’t panic yet. I have great news. There is a diner (yes a genuine diner) that serves American breakfast in Paris. The restaurant is aptly named, Breakfast In America. Being a Jersey girl, I know what a diner should be. Our state has more than anyone can count. I was skeptical going in thinking, this is not going to be good and its probably not a real diner.

I was pleasantly surprised! I ordered fried eggs, bacon, pancakes, and home fries. Best 11 Euro I have spent in a long time! I sat at the bar. There was old American music playing. Waitresses yelled out “Order up.” I felt like I was back at home.

The food was delicious. As my belt tightened I thought, “Am I getting full?” I ate real bacon! The pancakes were soft and cooked perfectly. Today was the first time I had seen an egg cooked in a restaurant. They usually eat the raw atop beef tartar (yuck).

For all you other homesick Americans in Paris or in France craving a real breakfast make your way to Breakfast In America. They are open every day and brunch is served all day on Sundays. The service was good and the food was great. I will be back on Tuesday. It’s not a special occasion or lunch date, just Tuesday.

–     Happy eating  : )

Birthday in Paris

Tour By NightMy birthday and celebration in Paris turned out great!

Because my birthday fell on a Tuesday this year, I had to celebrate it the weekend before. This past Saturday night we began the festivities. We started off with the housewarming/birthday party at my house. (It’s French so when I say my house I mean my 18 meter apartment.)

It was great. We had lots of champagne, rum, vodka, wine, and one of the boys bought whiskey. Yes we keep it classy. There was also fruit, cheese, vegetables, and baguettes bien sur (of course)!

There was about 13 of us in the apartment getting drunk and having a good time when my landlord rang the doorbell. I tried to look as sober as possible and took my birthday tiara off. My landlord spoke the whole time in French and was fussing. I apologized and told her we were a bout to leave anyway to go out.

We left en route to the Gibus Club at metro stop Republique. I was told this was a good club in Paris with American music. Ladies were free before 1:00am so we made it in.

The music and atmosphere at the club were good. Besides, I had been drinking champagne all night. I ordered a malibu and pineapple at the bar and a vodka tonic for one of the guys. My drink was really good. I had a great time at the club.

Today, my actual birthday, I had a night class. When class  was over we made a group trip to Pizza Hut where the pies are buy one get one free on Tuesdays. That’s right I had Pizza Hut in Paris. Don’t judge me. lol

Pizza Hut is one of the few restaurants that stays open late night in that area. My friend and I had the Lousiane and the Supreme. Delicious.

Back in my apartment and I have enjoyed my French, Parisian birthday.

Good times


French Culture Shock

I moved to France all of 3 weeks ago. I am still slightly recovering from culture shock.

I dreamed and fantasized about my move to France but never anticipated such huge adjustments. Of course I know France is not America, but certain things that seem common sense to me are foreign or non existant in French life.

Let’s start with something simple: Fire Safety.

French fire extinguisher

I imagine France must not have many fires, because many of the homes and buildings are not equiped with fire escapes. In fact, the windows that one might jump out of if necessary are usually covered at night by shields so that the tiniest bit of light cant’ get in! If there were a fire in a tiny apartment and you could not get out the door, the apartment would become an oven and you would roast.

In my new apartment there is no fire alarm, carbon monoxide detector, smoke detector, fire extinguisher, nor fire escape. Although there was a box of sand in my hostel.

I’ll just pray that the hot plates I have for a stove top don’t start any fires!

Next let us discuss: Breakfast.

Greasy, fat American food. YUM!

Or for me, lack thereof. I am a meat and potatoes type of girl. Even when it comes to breakfast. I enjoy fried eggs, bacon, home fries, and french toast. (Thankfully I knew before arriving here there is no such thing as french toast in France.)

A French breakfast consists of coffee or tea, croissants, a baguette, and possibly cheese. I was shocked when I learned that meat is not eaten for breakfast. So much for my hopes of a sausage cheese biscuit one day. I will have to cook my own breakfast daily because its the most important meal of the day. With all the walking and climbing stairs multiple times per day, I cannot start the day off with a lack of energy or hunger pains.

I’ll just have to make a fried egg sandwhich with a baguette!

Finally, on today’s list anway, there is the issue of: Banking.

The French bank is unlike anything I have ever seen!! I opened a French bank account before I left the US. I had no trouble opening the account and transferring all of my dollars into the new account. I was informed my debit card would be ready upon my arrival in Paris.

It wasn’t until I got to France that the problems with the bank began. The pin code to my atm card was mailed to me. It is not simply printed on the paper. It’s a scratch off thing. I was misinformed by one of my American friends and scratched the wrong side. The numbers were almost invisible by the time I was through with it. I tried the code twice unsuccessfully before asking the woman at the bank if she could decifer it.

We were both wrong and the machine ate my debit card! A new one was ordered and would take 5-7 business days.

Bewildered, I told the woman I needed to make a withdrawal. She seemed aggitated and told me it really wasn’t a good time. How rude of me to inconvenience her by being broke. The woman told me she needed authorization and everyone was on lunch break. It was about 12:15. I asked her when I should come back. She told me at 3:00. “3:00?? The lunch break here is 3 hours?” I barked. 

After about 30 minutes of waiting, the woman made some phone calls and got her authorization. Why an authorization is needed to give me my money out of my account is beyond me.

I signed a form requesting some Euro and the woman gave me a plastic card. She told me to put it in the atm machine and my money would come out.

Let me get this straight, although this is a bank, you don’t actually have any money? This is too much for me to bear!!   

Banking in France sucks and takes some getting used to. I might be able to settle on a few things and accept certain things here like cheese is served for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Yes, cheese is on the dessert menu. But when it comes to money I don’t like to play around.

Don’t get me wrong, I am going to stay in France, I just wanted to share my culture shock with all of you. As time passes I’m sure this rough adjustment will just feel like a bad dream. I will awake to my fantasy of a fun and fancy free PARIS! 

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