Archive | December 2011

Thank you Bahama-mama

Don’t worry, the explanation will come later.

It was almost not fair that our first full day in England had to be an early wakeup, but that’s kind of what happens not only when you travel with me (this goes as fair warning to any of my future travel buddies) but also when you try to fit in two locations into one leg of the trip. Today’s exploration sites: Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick.

Sorry, mildly unrelated, but Kevin snores!!! Not as bad as someone else I once knew, but snoring is snoring nonetheless. Good thing I’m not trying to go to sleep right this second or else he’d be getting punched. Well, pushed a little bit. We established earlier today that I have no measurable upper body strength and can barely open doors. So punching him probably would not be very effective. Back on subject.

We took a few trains to the town made famous by the one, the only, the William Shakespeare! The town looked as if back a few centuries ago it was cute and quaint and a quintessential English country burrough, but now it smacks of overpriced tourism traps. By going early in the morning before most of the sites were opened and refusing to pay for any of the combo tickets and thus not actually going inside the sites, I think we were able to avoid feeling like we were cows being milked for our money. Seeing the outside of Shakespeare sites made us appreciate their beauty and focus on the architecture and character of the buildings themselves moreso than we would have had we been bombarded with Shakespeare wax figures, at least in my opinion. So we wandered around the little town of Stratford, meandering our way down to the Holy Trinity Church (meandering turned out to be the worst catchword of the day, more on that later). On the way, we saw the Old Thatch Tavern, the only building in Stratford still with a thatched roof after three severe fires destroyed parts of the town in the 1600s. Further down the road was a Barry’s Butcher for my dad and The Garrick Inn, a tavern built in 1594 and still with its authentic Tudor era architecture (nerd out!), followed by the Guild Church and Edward VI Grammar School, the latter being Shakespeare’s primary school and also in the Tudor style to this day. I was giddy with all the Tudor architecture because there really isn’t much left that isn’t imitations built in the early 1900s.

The Garrick Inn, built in 1594

In the Holy Trinity Church, which looked absolutely beautiful glowing in the sunlight, is the burial site of Shakespeare, his wife, his daughters, his granddaughter, and some associated husbands. The art and architecture in these churches are just incredible. Especially when you sit there and think about how old they are, and you just kind of wonder how on earth were they made. I think someone should make a documentary or do an exhibit on that…hint, hint to all my history major friends who want to be historians!

Shakespeare's Birthplace

Without paying to enter the actual houses, there wasn’t a lot to do in Stratford besides walk around and take pictures of the outside of the buildings. We stood along the banks of the Avon river, utterly stunning.

The River Avon

We lucked out in that the sun was out in Stratford during the morning so all the water was sparkling and the light was shining through the trees, allowing us to get some really cool photographs. We did get lost while attempting to meander to a central bus station that apparently doesn’t exist so that we could catch a bus to Warwick. We finally did catch a bus, just as the weather became gloomier and we met a family of Texans. We really needed a better map, as we also discovered later at Warwick.

Like Stratford and Shakespeare, Warwick is popular because of one thing only: its castle. And, I mean c’mon, it’s a big ass castle! Pardon the language, but there is no other way to describe it and hopefully get the scale of the place across. Built in 1068 by William the Conquerer, the castle is full of other insane history that I will add some other time once I read the overpriced guidebook. I do know that it is/was the seat of the Earls of Warwick dating back to the War of the Roses and that now it has been taken over by the same company as Madame Tussouds Wax Museum and has become a bit too hokey and touristy for Kevin and me, and also WAY overpriced. So repeating our strategy from Stratford, we did everything in the castle that didn’t scream Universal Studios like walking across all the towers and looking through the state rooms, climbing the Mound (oldest site of the original 1068 castle), and trekking down to the trebuchet on the grounds and getting into a staring contest with a peacock (we won). But with our aversion to wax figures and our individual aversions to costumed actors and Nutcracker music–guess which one of us hated which more–we were ready to leave the castle after about two hours.

Warwick Castle

The Mound, site of the original castle built by William the Conquerer

castle grounds

There was a pretty church called St. Mary’s Church of Warwick on our way back into the town centre, so we figured what the heck? And it was such the right decision. A great thing about churches in England being open to visitors is that most of them are free or ask for a small, reasonable donation, and the employees are friendly and willing to exchange knowledge with me about any associated Tudor history around the church. Since Henry VIII began the Reformation, there is usually something cool and obscure that very few of us nerds would appreciate. In the church in Stratford, it was a chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket, an outspoken priest who was murdered because he opposed Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. And in Warwick, it was the actual grave of Robert Dudley, Elizabeth I’s controversial favorite courtier!

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester

Like I said, I may be the only one to act like a five year old in a Mr. Simm’s Candy Shoppe when faced with these things, but I have no shame in it 🙂 It makes walking into random churches a worthwhile experience. The weather in Warwick was following the lead of Stratford and turning sour on us, so we decided to head back into Oxford, leading us to the titular story of the Bahahamama.

We needed to find a train station so that we could actually return to Oxford, and I am so walking-deprived after being at home for three weeks in a town where walking a mile will get me nowhere other than down my hill that when given the choice between a mere 15 minute walk to the train station and paying for a bus, I pushed the walking option. I still insist that the directions were unclear and just generally sucky from the man I asked on the streets because we couldn’t find the train station anywhere, not even the landmarks that the man told us to look out for! After about 25 minutes, even I had to admit that we were hopelessly lost and would once again have to rely on a stranger to point us back in the right direction.

Enter the Bahaha-mama: a very kindly woman who was actually a British Jamaican (totally random combination making for a totally awesome accent) not only told us we were in completely the opposite direction from the train station, but also offered to drive us there! This was the second time that I have gotten seriously stranded in England (first time was at Blenheim Palace with Kelsi if anyone remembers that) and again someone was willing to go out of their way to help us out. Restores my faith in humanity, it does.

Needless to say we made it back to Oxford, exhausted and a little cold, teasing each other about my inheriting micromanaging from Mom (I told him to stop complaining about it because without my simply organizing our two days in London coming up, we would get nothing done with his constant “I don’t care”s). Walking around all day takes a lot out of you, and since my only friends around in Oxford are all out of the city tonight, we are calling it an early night and going to sleep now, regardless of whether the date is December 31st or not. We have five more days of intense walking ahead of us and need our rest. So in two hours for everyone reading this in Oxford, 5 for those on the East Coast, and 8 for my California family and friends, wish yourselves a Happy New Year from me ❤

Kevin Comes to England!!!

I’m back in Oxford!!!!!!!! I’m so excited to be back, despite arriving to rain and cold. I think that the last few weeks of 75 degree heat and perpetual sunshine cancelled out any adjustment my internal body temperature regulator had made over the last few months in England. So I’m FREEZING! And wet. But I’m so giddy to be back and busy playing tour guide to my brother that it doesn’t matter…too much.

The ten hour flight was full of turbulence and completely lacking in even a cat nap, but at least there were no screaming children or obnoxiously smelling people sitting around us. Air New Zealand actually had a pretty decent selection of movies and television shows to keep us entertained while we were stuck awake. Considering the length of the flight, it wasn’t that bad at all.

After arriving in Oxford and practically skipping to my apartment because I was so anxious to get there (read: drop my heavy duffle bag and unpack), I took Kevin on a tour of my adorably old college and the general City Centre, including all the Harry Potter stuff at Christ’s Church and went to the top of St. Michaels Tower, the oldest building in Oxford. For less than £2, we got this incredible, secluded view of the top of the entire city, literally breath-taking. I can’t believe that I’ve lived here for nearly three months and had never gone up the tower. The rain and exhaustion (curse you lack of sleep!) drove us back to my place for an early nap and prevented us from walking to the Eagle and Child for dinner. Instead we exchanged one pub for another and went to the Angel and Greyhound closer to my place and will push E&C until another night.

At Christ Church, standing in front of portraits of Elizabeth I, Henry VIII, and Cardinal Wolsey

View from top of St. Michael's Tower

That’s the basics of our first 24 hours of vacation. I apologize for it not being very informative, creative, entertaining, insert other self-decprecating adjectives, but we are absolutely exhausted and have an early morning ahead of us, so I will beg off with a simple good-night and good-bye to California for the next 6 months 🙂

The Great Edzant Christmas Caper

The scene: Christmas day at the Edzant Residence just outside of Los Angeles, California. Approximately 4 pm. Presents have all been opened; wrapping paper and ribbon is strewn across the living room floor. Everyone is settling down for a few minutes rest before moving into the other room for dessert.

The characters: The Edzant Family

Barry, the head of the main household, alias Dad, sitting at the dining room table

Patti, Barry’s wife, alias Mom, curled up on the carpet with the furriest animal you will ever see

Brinkley, the aforementioned furry animal, 15 month of golden retriever, just consumed an entire ball of wrapping paper

Kevin, Barry’s son, 22, resident sarcasm king, sitting on the couch opening up his new headphones

Jenna, Barry’s daughter and the writer of this mystery, 20, also sitting on the couch, plotting her escape to another room of the house after playing Elf and disseminating Christmas gifts for the last two hours, in need of a nap

Pamela, the aunt, alias Auntie Pam, sitting around the coffee table

Linda, the grandmother, additional near the coffee table

The mystery: found in the bathroom, a slightly damp snowman patterned hand towel left over an open flame from the scented candle next to the sink, the toilet seat raised and covered in soot

The case: Jenna was exonerated from committing the act because it was corroborated that she never left the living room during the afternoon until she went to the bathroom and discovered the towel over the fire. She naturally assumed it had been her brother Kevin because he had been the last one to use the bathroom, but upon initiating her typically sarcastic response, she remember that Kevin could not possibly have tossed the towel over the candle because he doesn’t wash his hands after using the bathroom. Therefore the two children of the family were ruled out as suspects. Patti was never considered as a serious suspect. Not only had she also been in the room for the entirety of Christmas present unwrapping, but it was also simply a widely known fact that Patti doesn’t toss towels around and just wouldn’t have done something like what the mystery entailed. Barry spent the next few hours mildly interrogating the remaining family members trying to get to the bottom of the situation, suggesting that he was not the culprit either.

The remaining questions: Who was the party responsible for nearly setting the towel on fire? Why did the towel not actually catch on fire? (Though that part is assumed as solved by Patti’s suggestion that the towel was flame retardant.) Why was the toilet seat covered in soot? Why doesn’t Kevin wash his hands after using the restroom? Only three suspects remain under consideration–the dog, the aunt, and the grandmother. But no motive, no further evidence, no confession, no conviction, and thus all we are left with is the open case of


Anyone with information about this crime is invited to come forward as soon as possible. Nature and amount of reward to be given is dependent on the usefulness of information and how much Jenna likes you.

Twas the Night Before the Night Before Christmas

And my mom and I continued our search for the perfect pie crust. Our recipe is quite solid, always a great flavor, but we can never seem to make it roll out without completely falling apart. Every time we make our traditional apple pie, we try a new method and pray to the pie-crust gods that maybe, just maybe, this time our pie crust will retain it’s wonderful buttery flavor and flaky texture without disintegrating and needing to be patched together again as we cover the pie. Pie crusts should not be Humpty-Dumpty!

And this time, it wasn’t! Not only did our pie crust come out beautifully, I also had fun using little pie crust cutouts to make a winter scene of Santa’s sleigh and reindeer flying over a forest in a snowfall. Literally. I made that on a pie. It may have been a little overboard especially since pies get eaten so my artwork wouldn’t last that long anyway, but it’s Christmas Eve Eve, and we all go a little overboard every once in a while.

Because of a wonderfully fair but inconvenient concept known as joint custody, we had my mom’s side of the family over for holiday celebrations two days before Christmas so that my little Emily could be here too. As such, it’s a Friday, meaning Dad is off at work and for the second year in a row getting the holidays together fell on my mom’s and my shoulders. Having done the holidays for the last 30 some odd years, Mom has kind of begun to “pass the oven” on to me. Last year I did the holidays alone because my mom had thrown her back out; this year I took the lead again but I had my sous-chef by my side for most of it. Good thing too, because making the turkey would’ve completely grossed me out so she did that. But the cooking and the cleaning and the making/wrapping the final gifts were finished just in time between the two of us. Except for that darn turkey which as always pushed dinner back an hour.

And whoa that last hour was crazy as all the turkey stuff and the gravy and the sides and things had to be finished with only two ovens and a stove. Talk about coordination! Again though, all dishes were completed at the same time and the dinner was enjoyed by all. Except Brinkley because he had to be outside. Not making the mistake of letting a dog inside with a turkey carcass on the counter again. That was a memorable Thanksgiving.

The two little girls were absolutely the cutest things of the night. Andrea (16 months old) cried any time I so much as looked at her, but at least Emily (7 years) was chatting with me and giving me huge hugs, though anything other than crying would’ve made me feel like a million bucks. She is just a love-muffin. It was pretty funny when I was cooking, wearing a conservative dress that almost looked like something out of the 50s and heels, occasionally a pink apron, and juggling cooking, being a hostess, and talking with a child…my new nickname became Donna Reed! (Which, side note, can you believe Kevin had no idea who that was?!) Of course I don’t think Donna Reed would be talking about wines, cell phone technology, the prospect of alien life and the future of our space program, or the medicine behind repairing a torn ACL on a dog’s leg. Times change just a bit.

I think everyone enjoyed themselves; I know I certainly did, despite how much work it was. And that’s really the point isn’t it? Enjoy your time with your family, end up with way too many leftovers, share laughs and the year’s adventures, and snap pictures of the excitement on little children’s faces when they open up their presents. Oh, and watch a dog attempt to open a present of his own.

So Happy Christmas Eve Eve!

A Fortnight in SCV

Hmm…how many posts have I missed in the last two weeks? No idea, but hopefully this can reassure everyone that, yes, I’m alive and kicking in my hometown still. Ok yeah probably no one was really worried about that, but just in case that one random person was freaking out because I haven’t updated anyone in two weeks can now rest easy.

It has been one of the most insane winter breaks I think I have ever had. I can’t think of a single day where I haven’t been running around like a headless chicken with errands. Literally two weeks worth of errands! I was more relaxed during term at Oxford! I have gotten in a little bit of socializing though. I saw my dear friend Amy for an awesome and long catch-up session over dinner (with my favorite waiter at BJs!!!), took my not-so-much-a-baby-anymore baby cousin to see Arthur Christmas, went to afternoon tea that really can’t compare to England’s teas, and had fun last night at my dad’s office’s Christmas dinner. But other than maybe those four things, my days have been filled with Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, Christmas wrapping, Christmas decorating, Christmas cards, and Christmas stressing.

Hard at work on those millions of batches!

Brinkley gets in on the action

Now I know what it feels like to be a mom during the holidays. Though I will say, based on the general response to my obscene amount of cookie batches that I’ve baked, I’m going to be a great housewife someday haha. As long as I get my career too 😉

But seriously, I make some damn good cookies.

Christmas cookie samplers for Christmas presents this year! That was a lot of baking


Just because I’m home as in at my house in Santa Clarita, that doesn’t mean that I cannot be homesick. It’s a Sunday, which would normally mean that Jordan, Kelsi, and I would be traveling somewhere in England and getting cream tea or we would be living in our respective libraries and rooms and then getting cream tea. The obvious solution would be to go to the Tea Garden and get cream tea, and while that sounds lovely, it doesn’t quite feel the same. I love spending this time with my family and my cutest-in-the-whole-wide-world dog, but I have a confession.

I miss England. There! I admitted it! I miss the people, the dancing, the studying, even writing the essays. I miss queueing in the freezing cold for Formal Hall (okay I don’t miss the cold part of that) and the way the sun glints off the stones on my way to the library. I miss how easy transportation is (walking > driving). I really miss my friends though, the British ones and the American ones who are now scattered across the country, or world in a few of their cases. Sigh. I can’t help being struck with melancholy and resorting to baking to feel like I’m back in England…though I never baked in England so I really have no idea how that correlates.

Two and a half weeks to go before I return to my second home.

Installation Dinner, aka Rave at the TPC

I think Deanna and I made history last night by starting a huge dance party/mature adult version of a rave at the SCV Business Group’s Installation Dinner. Somehow every social I attend for the networking group ends up in a dance party. Oops.

My first morning back home was spent exactly as my mornings at home used to be spent before I left: Starbucks with the mommy then errands, errands, manicures, and more errands. Okay, so the manicures and pedicure in my case are not really normal occurrences, but after seven weeks of dancing completely destroyed my feet, they were in desperate need of some professional care. And they look pretty 😉

I got dressed at Deanna’s since Mom had to deliver gifts to Dad at the TPC and then we joined them at the country club. Deanna and I were immediately put to work selling raffle tickets, and let’s just say that–shocker–not a single person said no to us when we asked them to buy tickets. Okay so the 50/50 raffle may have had some draw, but I prefer to think that Deanna and I just have amazing powers of persuasion.

It was a little bizarre to be at a formal three course meal where we didn’t stand up as a high table walked in, no one banged a gavel to make us jump six feet in the air, and no phrase in Latin was said before we could eat. Formal Halls back in Oxford seem so much more ritualistic compared to a Santa Clarita formal function. Then again, there wouldn’t have been a dance party to close out a Teddy Hall formal dinner either.

My dad, as President, gave out the gifts and thank yous in a very long and very funny speech. I love how he can make an event that has the potential to be more boring than March of the Penguins a veritable comedy show. Everyone was laughing and smiling as he worked the room. Then when I went up to announce the raffle winner, everyone just smiled at each other and said “Yep, she’s just like her dad.” I could think of way worse people to be compared to that my dad so thanks everyone!

All in all, it was a pretty fun night, especially considering that I had gotten off the plane about 24 hours earlier. Hopefully the lack of jet lag continues and I can continue to spend my days having fun instead of sleeping at awkward times.

Benedictos benedita…or whatever our Principal says in Latin.

Half a Day on a Plane

Longest. Flight. Ever.

Seriously, 12 hours of sitting on a plane in front of two screaming children whose parents were incapable of hearing their blasting music or of controlling them in the slightest. I’d say thank goodness for sleeping pills, but those only worked for five hours so I still had to spend seven cringing at the family behind me. Luckily I maintained my calm or else instead of my parents meeting me outside of customs, it would’ve been the police.

Yes, my wonderful parents met me as soon as I left customs with a bouquet of beautiful roses. It was like a scene straight out of Love Actually, with the huge smiles, rushing over with heavy bags on my shoulders, dropping them immediately at their feet, and smothering them in a huge bear hug. Oddly enough, after that initial meeting, it felt like I had never left, that two and a half months in a foreign country never happened. The only proof I had that it did was the crick in my back from the plane and nearly getting run over by cars as I looked the wrong way before crossing the street.

We grabbed a snack at Lazy Dog Cafe with Deanna partially because we love her, and partially because I needed to stay awake until at least midnight to ensure that jet lag wouldn’t set in (and it hasn’t so far, been going to sleep and waking up at pretty normal hours). The best part though was coming home to my Brinkley. He didn’t really understand at first; I don’t think he knew that I was really there. He was running back and forth between me and Deanna, before finally coming to terms with the fact that yes, his Jenna was actually finally home, and he attacked me with the dog version of hugs and kisses. Totally worth coming home for.

Good to be home with my family and my dog 🙂

Paris, Je T’Aime, but not as much as Oxford

I woke up at an ungodly 5:15 am to catch my train into London Paddington Station, then hailed my first cab over to St. Pancras International Terminal for the Eurostar to Paris! Yes, for those of you who didn’t know, I went to Paris this weekend. My friend from all the way back in junior high French class, Dale, has been studying there this semester so what better excuse to visit?

I was exhausted from the week so I pretty much slept through both train rides. Oops. Dale met me at the train station and we dropped my bag off at his place because the hostel didn’t open until later, then we traipsed off to meet some of his friends, talking nonstop because we have about five years of our lives to catch up on. Now that I think about it, we kind of never stopped talking the entire weekend.

We met his friends at Angelina for supposedly the best drinking chocolate in Paris (drinking chocolate is different from hot chocolate, look it up!). Also the most expensive, though everything is more expensive here than in Oxford. It was pretty amazing, dark and rich, you literally felt the inside of your mouth coated with dark chocolate. it was so decadent that I had a stomachache for hours. There was a line out the door and down the street, reportedly taking about an hour just to be seated. Luckily Dale’s friends had done the waiting for us and we sat right down. As for the chocolate…you could tell that they used quality dark chocolate in their drink (I believe it was from Africa) from the bitterness that practically reached black coffee standards. The texture was wonderfully smooth, but oddly drying; this was definitely not a drink to quench your thirst with. Now I can handle chocolate at 85% cacao with a smile on my face, but this drinking chocolate was so intense that even I had to use some of the flavorless whipped cream to cut into the richness. And then of course there was the resulting chocolate coma. Then we walked through the Christmas market on the Champs-Elysee. it was literally covered with people and the smells of food nearly made us puke during our chocolate coma. I swore off chocolate for the rest of my trip (that totally didn’t last).

Walking around the entirety of Paris sounded like a good idea, so we wandered down to the famous and gigantic shopping mall called the Galerie Lafayette. I’m not really one to care about shopping sites, but the Galerie Lafayette had two convincing draws: a public restroom and an incredible view of the city at night. The city stretched beneath us like an impossible maze, glowing from the streetlights placed every ten feet on the ground. The Eiffel Tower sparkled in the distance, Notre-Dame rose from the streets and the Seine wound its way through, dividing the city in two. it was magnificent. Then we continued to walk back to the hostel so I could drop off my bags, grabbed sandwiches from a random boulangerie, picked up a bottle of wine from Dale’s home stay place, and headed back to meet his friends at Pont des Artes. There we drank wine on  a bridge over the Seine as Dale and his friends explained to me what their lives in Paris have been like (they are on the UC program so not as much immersion as they had hoped). Lastly, we walked back to the hostel where I completely crashed after an obscene amount of walking.

It was weird to wake up the next morning and remember that I was in France, not England. Dale and I met at a cafe that turned out to be closed so we went to a patisserie for coffee and the best chocolate croissants that I have ever tasted. Flaky, buttery, chocolatey, so yummy. Two Asian tourists asked to take pictures of us, which I thought was really bizarre, but it wasn’t going to hurt us so who cares. I didn’t want that breakfast to end, but we had other places to go than a bakery.

We took the metro (which I kept calling the Tube like a true Brit) and then walked up Montmartre to Sacre-Coeur, the basilica of the Cult of the Sacred Heart. Churches are so hard to describe in enough detail to do them justice, especially in Paris where everything is so ornate. We wandered around Montmartre a but before heading down tot he anticlimactic Moulin Rouge.  The red windmill looked new and tiny and the theater is surrounded by buildings built in last 50 years. I couldn’t really imagine what it would have been like in its heyday and not looking like a tourist attraction along the lines of Madame Toussouds. The most interesting thing about it was that it was completely surrounded by every kind of sex shop you could imagine. We passed on visiting any of those obviously.

From there we walked (shocker) to Paris’s famous cemetery Cimetiere du Pere-Lachaise. It is gigantic and this beautiful mix of old, decrepit, large family graves and the newer, granite, single person gravestones. Most famous people who end up buried in PAris are here. They have a few maps that attempt to guide you to the most famous ones, but even the maps they provide are inaccurate and we spent a few hours searching for everyone. We saw/sought out Balzac, Chopin, Isadora Duncan, Haussman, Moliere, Edith Piaf, Pissarro, Proust, and Oscar Wilde. Yeah it’s a bit morbid to visit a cemetery as a tourist attraction, but I see it as a way of paying my respects to these amazing people and their contributions to the world. But we didn’t think about how hungry we were until we decided to WALK to the best creperie in Paris.

Breakfast had been at 9 and we made it to the creperie around 3:30. We were lucky that it was open because most restaurants apparently close between 3 and 7 to prepare for dinner. I ordered a crepe of emmental cheese, blue cheese, goat cheese, and grapes. Delicious because it’s a crepe in Paris and because we were starving!! We stuck around for a long time, talking and quenching our dehydration, before ordering dessert crepes (c’mon, it’s PAris). Mine was stewed apples, caramel, and apple liquor set on fire. I swear the crepe could’ve made me drunk. Dale’s was an amazing chestnut cream.

We then walked over to Notre-Dame so we could go to mass and I could check that off my bucket list. It was a worthwhile and beautiful experience, regardless of my inability to understand anything said because–of course–it was all in French! Now my French was actually passable and quickly coming back, but nowhere near enough to follow mass. The service and rituals were beautiful though.

We were completely exhausted but it was only 8:00 so going home felt like a waste of time. Dale has kind of made friends with this guy who runs a movie theater so we got to see the Rum Diaries with Johnny Depp for free. It was a surprisingly good movie that made me want to read Hunter S. Thompson. Thank goodness it was in English! We called it a night after that though; it was midnight after all.

Originally, I planned to go to the Musee D’Orsay by myself Monday morning, but I read a brochure over the hostel’s version of breakfast (bread, butter, jam, and coffee) that said it wasn’t open on Mondays so I went back to sleep before walking to another museum called L’Orangerie 90 minutes away to meet Dale. L’Orangerie is a pretty small art museum, but it has 8 of Monet’s water lilies covering two room that alone are worth the 5 euro.

After the L’Orangerie, we walked to Rue du Rosiers for the best falafel either of us have ever tasted. We chose to continue our walking streak all the way to the Paris catacombs. We went through the Jardin de Luxomberg, which is so different than the English style. The sun was finally shining so the garden looked very vibrant. We made it to the catacombs only to find out that they too are not open on Mondays. So then we had to backtrack to the Pantheon, another famous church with a crypt housing Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Rousseau, Voltaire, and Joan of Arc. The crypt wasn’t creepy like I expected it to be, probably because it didn’t look very crypt-like, or at least what I expected a a crypt to look like.

Next we went to the Paris Mosque for once again amazing and warm mint-honey tea. I love going to these hidden gems that people don’t normally see on vacation. I mean what tourist seeks out a mosque for mint tea? But it’s little things like that that are special in my book.

We were going to attempt to get standby tickets for the Paris Opera so we stopped by a chocoleterie for macarons (I’m so spoiled) and picked up sandwiches before hopping in the queue. Definitely a very stressful experience as we watched the lines crawl through ahead of us, our potential tickets dwindling away. We made it to the ticket booth 15 minutes before the opera was scheduled to start and literally scored two of the last 15 tickets. They also turned out to be amazing seats! The opera was in Italian with French subtitles above the stage, but I was impressed with myself for how much I could remember and read. Dale googled the storyline later and it turns out that we actually correctly understood the entire opera! Pat on the back for us! I still can’t believe our luck and that I got to see my first ever opera in Paris.

I was not going to endure another hostel breakfast regardless if it was free, so we went back to the amazing chocolate croissant and coffee place that we went to the other day. Somehow it was even better Tuesday than Sunday. I think it was warm so the chocolate was more melted and gooey. Our legs were exhausted and time was running out so we took the metro to the catacombs; thankfully they were open this time. I can’t really describe how it felt to be down there surrounded by bones other than simultaneously eerie and peaceful. Dale and I became very philosophical, talking about life and death and appreciation. Next we made a quick trip to the D’Orsay before a final macarons and sandwich stop as we parted ways at the Bastille metro station.

It was an exhausting trip,  but it was also perfect. Because we walked around so much, we really got the chance to catch up and discuss everything under the sun. Thanks so much Dale!!!

Back from being MIA

But sorry, that does not mean that this is going to be a long post filling everyone in on my insane week (including two trips out of the country!) that passed and that continues tomorrow. This is just to let everyone know that I am still alive, that I am still blogging, and that you are in for some long posts in the very near future. I’d do them now, but I have limited access to internet and need to use it to catch up on emails and, honestly, Facebook.

Stay Tuned!