I got up a little bit before 11 to have breakfast with Sheila, but I got dressed before I headed out to the table. We ended up eating around 11:30 and finishing around noon. Sheila left soon after that to meet up with Kyle to help him finalize his course schedule at Paris VII. I stayed home to do some “housekeeping” with my finances online. Amazon France was giving me some trouble ordering my books for my theatre class with Mme. Hersant, mais ce n’est pas grave, I got it figured out alright. You’d think seven euro wouldn’t be all that big of a hassle… Madame was doing some housekeeping of her own, and came into my room to talk to me about what my plans for the day were. Joan had called me after she finished packing and said she wanted to meet up so she could get out of the house. I’d pulled up Sortir Sans Gluten and found a couple restaurants that were halfway between our houses (and in the first arrondissement, so probably very expensive), but Joan ended up wanting to go back to Canal St. Martin, so I figured out how she could get there from her metro, and we left our respective houses to meet up at République.
I got in touch with Sheila, and she said that she and Kyle would meet up with us at the same stop. I made it to République first, so I went to Joan’s stop and waited for her, then we went back to my stop and waited for Kyle and Sheila. We’d been warned to keep a low profile today since there were protests against and anti-Islamic film going on, and to try to speak French on the streets, so Kyle had taken this to heart and had dressed as Parisian as possible in an effort to blend in, which was very amusing to all of us. Instead of making the transfer over to line five to go to Canal St. Martin, Joan wanted to go to see Helmut Newcake! We left the metro station and headed over in that general direction. Joan was pleasantly surprised with how delicious everything looked, and initially wanted the same thing Rouge ordered (lemon merengue tartlet) when she’d come with me the first time, but there was only one left, and someone had claimed it. She’d decided on a Madame de Fontenay avec Caramel de Beurre Salée, which is basically a large, sealed cream puff with caramel filling (think round eclair). I originally wanted the same thing, so I decided I’d order the same thing in chocolate. I ordered first, but they’d brought out more tartlets, so Joan switched her order and got a tartlet. I was a little bummed out, but no matter. Sheila and Kyle didn’t order anything… initially. Sheila ended up going back for the last slice of cheesecake that was left. Joan said her tartlet was really good, and Sheila was scraping her cheesecake plate clean, so I’ll take that as a good sign… I’m really glad my friends like Helmut Newcake as much as I do, but I’m a little worried this is going to put a dent in my wallet! Oh well, at least I get to have all kinds of delicious pastries… My goal is to try one of everything by the time I leave (I’m definitely well on my way), and to have lunch there at least once. Since I’ve liked their page on Facebook, I know what they make for lunch every day. They’ll make a limited number of plates, so if it sounds like something you’d like, you need to get your butt down there and have it pretty quick… Sharon called me to tell me all about her crazy night last night, and to ask us what we were planning on doing tonight. Joan’s got a friend that invited us to a party, but we still needed some more information. Sharon and I (all of us, really, we passed the phone around) talked for about ten minutes. After I hung up with her (even though I technically didn’t use any air time), I got what we now call the “text of death” from Orange: the one that says I’ve only got a euro or so of credit left on my mobicarte, and I need to go buy a rechargement at a tabac.
There was a tabac right by Helmut Newcake, so I stopped in and bought 25 euro worth of credit. Considering I hadn’t done that for about three weeks (thank goodness for free nights and weekends), I think I’m sitting pretty with this plan (and phone). We headed back to the metro after that, and Joan took us back to her new neighborhood to show us around. She has THREE Picard grocery stores near her house. Picard is a really interesting store, everything (okay, 99%) is frozen! We went inside one to check it out (at my request, I wanted to look around), but we didn’t buy anything. Kyle was a little creeped out, but I thought it was interesting. I don’t think I’d buy a lot of vegetables there, but the idea of ready to eat (after defrosting) sauces was pretty cool. We left, and Joan showed us where her house was, but since her host sister is prepping for her law school exams, she’s currently not allowed to bring people over. The first floor (rez-de-chaussée) of Joan’s house is a Japanese restaurant that was pretty fairly priced, so we decided we’d eat there for dinner, but it wasn’t anywhere close to dinner time yet, so we wanted to walk around a bit more. Joan has a lot of open air/outdoor markets by her house, which is really cool. We even walked by a fromagerie (cheese shop) and a poissonnerie (fish shop)! We got in touch with Rouge, who was worried she was starting to come down with something, and had been resting all day. She wanted to see us, so she hopped on the metro and made her way to Joan’s area of town. We headed over to the metro where Rouge was headed, and there was a park nearby, so we figured we’d hang out for a bit. There seemed to be some kind of massive child-related yard sale going on. There were tables set up everywhere, and lots of people were selling old toys and clothes for toddlers and very young children. Of course, there were lots of young children around as well, and Joan was incredibly happy about that, since she’s a baby sitter and she loves kids. We walked around for a bit, then sat down for a while to wait for Rouge. There was a Carrefour nearby, so we checked it out so Joan could buy a banana and a bottle of wine for another time.
Once Rouge arrived, we headed down to the Japanese place. Rouge was excited since eating a lot of ginger, miso soup, and green tea would probably help kick whatever she’s trying to fight off. Kyle decided he didn’t want anything, but the rest of us ordered a few things. Rouge and I found meals that looked good, they came with salad and miso soup before the actual sushi entrées, but Sheila and Joan just had sushi for the most part (Joan ordered some yakitori as well). Rouge had a lot more sushi than I did, so she forced Kyle to eat some since he hadn’t ordered anything. He smeared Sheila’s entire portion of wasabi on a single piece of sushi and ate it, and surprisingly, all of us were closer to tears laughing that he was actually eating it. I’m surprised I managed to finish everything. During the meal, I couldn’t help but pick on Rouge a little bit for the fact that the tips of her chopsticks were crossing as she ate. That’s bad luck (and bad form) in Japan. Clearly, my paranoid/perfectionist side is starting to get grate on my friends’ nerves a little…
We all parted ways with the idea of meeting up a little later on to go with Joan to her new friend’s party. Kyle never wanted to go in the first place, so he passed. Sheila decided she was too tired. Rouge was ready to go, so she went home with me and Sheila so I could grab a jacket, and meet back up with Joan. Madame had a friend over, but had never told us. Worse, she didn’t bother introducing us… I was a little hurt, but I tried to not let it bother me. Rouge and I headed back down to the metro to meet up with Joan, but Rouge decided she was too tired, and it’d be better for her to rest more to make sure she properly fights off her cold before her classes start at Paris IV. I met up with Joan, Alexandre (the guy she’s tutoring), and two of his friends. We headed off to the party as soon as I arrived. It was a decent walk from the metro, but well worth it. When we arrived, there were a couple of things I noticed right away… there were only two other girls there out of the 20 or so other people around… and everyone looked mysteriously young… Joan called Alexandre over. “How old is everyone here?” “Between 16-18, that’s the majority.” Evidently, Joan and I had crashed a high school party. Being American made us quite the hot commodity, though… everyone came up and gave us bisous and spoke to us in English. I hung back and let Joan do most of the talking since she wanted to practice her French. When I opened my mouth, most people looked at me funny, and either complimented my French directly, or asked why I spoke it better than Joan did. I shrugged and said it was only because I’d studied it for six years, and Joan had only been studying it for two. The party itself was really quite fun. I talked to a handful of different people, as did Joan, and I got a chance to practice my French a lot! I mentioned to Pierre (a guy who’s actually British, and I swear he sounded exactly like Alan Rickman when he spoke English, I was kind of freaking out all night) that I was okay with people speaking English to me since it’s for practice, but I was at the party to do the same thing with French, and I wasn’t getting much of a chance to do that. We started a conversation where Pierre would speak to me in English (as did any other guy that was around me, since most of the people at the party were guys), but I’d respond in French, so I got to practice a bit more. I feel like I did a pretty good job keeping an eye on Joan since I’d decided to not drink at all. The walk to the metro was a decent distance, so I wanted to make sure I’d remember how to get back to it. I ended up talking to a different Alexandre for most of the night. His friends kept picking on him since they always spotted us together, joke’s on them, nothing’s going on since I’ve got my boyfriend back home, et je suis contente. About 60% of the people at the party left right at midnight, but Joan and I stuck around until about 15 minutes to one, and when we left with Joan’s Alexandre, everyone was like, “Don’t take the Americans away!” When we were leaving, everyone got up to give us goodbye bisous, so I’m definitely going to say I’m a master by this point. Joan had given her number to a guy named Thomas who has family in Detroit, plays basketball, and speaks English really well. The Alexandre I was talking to all night has mine. I was happy we’d made some French friends, so I’ll call it a successful night, even if Joan and I were the oldest people at the party… I made it home shortly after two in the morning.
C’est peu de dire aimer, Elvire, je l’adore;
Ma passion s’oppose à mon ressentiment;
Dedans mon ennemi je trouve mon amant…
–Corneille: Le Cid