good n greece-y.

This all happened back in July.

My current view: a deck chair covered in snow.  My view at the time? Aaaaaall of this goodness.

I didn’t realize that this little chunk of my travels was going to be so absolutely necessary until it happened.  You would maybe think I was doing enough nothing.. considering I had been finished school (FOR ALL TIME… for now) for a month and was just takin’ er easy in Paris.  I don’t know. Maybe there’s just no real takin’ er easy in Paris.  Maybe there’s just no takin’ er easy with me. Like in general. Anywho, point was, I was ready to jump on the lazy-train.  Santorini.

There were some backpack-carry-on-size stresses.  Maybe a couple of “wait, what?! you mean I’m still broke like I was last week? how much is that tzatziki again? where can I find internet so that I can frantically email my parents and owe them another bajillion dollars?(but not)” stresses.

In all seriousness, my time was spent putting as few thoughts into my brain as humanly-possible whilst remembering at least to eat.

Pah.  As if that was difficult. Greek food made my life. Tzatziki and Feta for all!

I’m extra serious about the whole doing nothing situation that was happening.  We pooled, and beached, and had the occasional early-afternoon libation, as long as it would not interfere with our non-negotiatiable early bedtime.

I was so sedated by magic land that I temporarily forgot that I hated cats.

Obviously: go to Santorini.

Where should you go after Santorini? Barcelona.  Try your best not to take the 4:45 A.M flight, you know the one following your Hostel’s weekly “BBQ”. I’ll show you Spain next, just you wait.

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At long last.

“It’s been a while”, I say to myself when something reminds me about blogging.

Most gargantuan understatement of the YEAR.

I guess I realized the hard way, that when life throws you off the horse, it takes like four months to even look at the horse again without whimpering like a child, another two weeks to shamefully amble toward the foul-smelling thing, freaking out and running away every time it makes that weird sound and shows you its creepy horse teeth, then another solid week and a half to lift your sorry arse up n’ over and consider riding it. Ugh *shudder*

Now, I’m finally at that point… where I can think of no freaking reasons (read: excuses) to not blog… and I have a major hankering for some written words.  And food. As if I needed to write that. Food (eventually). I’ma do this.

So, what happened to me for forever?

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endings of beginnings

Living in Paris hasn’t just been living in Paris. It’s been learning (not school-type learning… come on now).  It’s been growing up (some might call me an adult, though not to my face or I’ll have at you).  And above all, it has been about connecting.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not leaving yet, nono. Nonono. nope. I’ve still got 756 hours to go in Paris. You know.  Approximately.

But school is overish.  (Don’t tell my legal strat. prof.. if he asks I’m working diligently on my presentation)

This means that all of that connecting is finally starting to lead to goodbyes.

We’ve been together for a short time, and I guess we knew it would be temporary.  But in this short time, we’ve all been there for each other to lean on.

To commiserate about Paris attacking us with paperwork.

To make disgusted faces when walking under a pee-drenched passage.

To plan our escapes.

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Long Distance Mother’s Day.

So I went traveling a whole bunch. Then I got back. Then I went traveling again. Then I got back. Then finals-ish-type-things started happening. The blog hasn’t happened. It’s sort of this strange phenomena where the more I have to potentially blog about… the less ability I have to actually spend time on the B-log.

So I figured today was the best day possible to break the hiatus. It’s Mother’s Day.

Who did I do my whole bunch of amazing traveling with? My mother. And for that I thank my lucky stars.

Thank you Mom, for every moment.

If any year has been worthy of an epic day of mother appreciation, it’s this year.

Today, you’re at home, and I’m nine time zones away, so in lieu of making you breakfast in bed and creating new memories… I’m going to have to reflect on our past adventures… and pretend we’re still living them.

My Mom came to Paris. It was up to me to introduce her to my version. Finally a chance to give back after all those year of drive-the-daughter to ski practice.

We traipsed through the Louvre together.

We made freaking adorable photo sequences together.

We went to my French class together.

We acted like locals together, pondering sculptures in the Jardins.

We acted like tourists together, climbing the monuments and shopping for chocolate (both we did faster than the other tourists).

We learned how to make new things together. Things involving half a kilo of butter.

We spent some time in calmer places together.

But really.

Really.

Most Importantly.

We ate together.

From the savoury…

To the sweet.

I had been dreaming up our list of hot spots for three months. You best believe it rocked.  Mother-daughter bonding is best served along side a Pierre Hermé macaron. Or seven.

I was more than ecstatic about being the guide, and showing my Mom what it’s like not to just tour, but to live in Paris… BUT I think the second half of our trip really hit it out of the park.

Exploring somewhere brand new together. Unbeatable. Frustrating when your map is soggy and you can’t stop hiccuping from overgelatofication, but unbeatable.

Mom, I learned so much with you in Italy. I could never put a price on our colourful, cultureful week.  I know. Your credit card statement can. I’m… sorry about that. When I have a real people job I’ll…

Anyways… Italy lessons!

- When you’ve lived in Paris for three months, colour… and natural plant-life.. together… it’s just too much amazing for one lady to handle. But I did.

- Some hiking signs are absolutely necessary in order for you to find the next village, others are just necessary. Yes that’s a wine glass.

- Cats become less evil when they’re Italian. And named Emilio. There were more than 30 cats that living hotel. Yeah. All named.

- Sometimes, places are so beautiful.. that even if the weatherman says the sun isn’t supposed to shine, it just can’t help itself.

- When you’ve seen 80 million cats, seeing two dogs is way more exciting than it needs to be.

- You don’t have to be with your significant other to make the Via Del Amore worth while. Anyone you love will do just fine.

- When it’s raining in Florence, take refuge inside a museum and take illegal photos of the most famous works of art on the freaking planet, don’t run a marathon.

- Bridges make cities more awesome.

- Umbrellas are worth it, even though they love a good photo-bomb.

- Yes, it is possible to have more churches than people. Rome I’mtalkintoyou

- Yes, it is also possible to have gelato in excess of 3X per day. It helps if you share a deep bond with the individual with whom you are eating said gelato, less judgement is passed.

- Time travel is real.

- Discover a hidden gem together, and you’ll never be able to forget it.  Because you’ll never be able to stop bragging about it. Pretty much at every future meal ever. “Mmm, this is good, but do you remember that time, in Italy, when we found that place..”

- The amazing food in Italy doesn’t stop a one hidden gem.. or 4 pizzas, or 3 plates of fresh pasta. Many a vegetable were eaten upon my return.

- No, it is not possible to see all of Rome’s awesomeness, ever.

- Don’t forget to toss a coin in the Fontana di Trevi, because trust me, you’ll at least want to see the awesomeness more than once.

- Never stop having “firsts”.

I’m so glad that happened. Now I want to make fresh pasta. And fresh pesto. And fresh croissants.  And pizza. And feed it all to my mom. I love you Mom, I wish I could be with you today.

To all of the people reading this who aren’t my mom. Hi. You must take your mom to Italy. That’s right step-mom, we have some unfinished business.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

 

 

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My weekend in photos

It has been a beautiful weekend ladies and gents. Let’s reflect shall we:

Buds becoming leaves. Amazing.

The most adorable Oeufs en Cocotte eaten by my friend Nicole.

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My First Swissventure

I’m just going to start this off by letting you all know about how the circumstances must be uber particularly particular in order for me to properly blog.

- It must be evening (trying to get over this one).

- I must not be hungry in the least (I should really nix this one too).

- I must have already read all of my emails, checked all of my facebook notifications, and perused every new item in my google reader as of two minutes ago. Oh bum. I didn’t check twitter. Or pinterest. Ugh. I’ll soldier on through my neuroses.

- Oh and finally, I must be reclined in my bed with the covers over my legs, leaned against the back wall with a pillow under my lumbar and another behind my neck… and my knees bent at 90°… with my macbook on my lap. (In my Parisian residence, escaping my not-nice desk chair also means that I have to untether myself from the not-wireless internet)

Hi, my name’s Britt. Two weeks ago today I was still struggling to recover from Switzerland withdrawal.

My friends and I spent 4 days out of our first (of two!!) “spring” breaks in the Swiss Alps. Holy Hannah.

Let’s first talk about the necessity for me to actually leave Paris. I guess I didn’t actually realize that it was a necessity until I had left… and then realized that I didn’t know how I would have survived had I not left.

Paris is big, bustling, cultured, artsy, gourmet, and gorgeous… but it’s a city. Especially in “winter” (not what I call winter, but to each their own) big cities can be grey. Paris is no exception.  The trees weren’t gettin their leaf on… and the haussmannian architecture leans toward the monotone.  It’s also not… really.. clean. I don’t mean that it’s dirty like dirt dirt like the great outdoors, more like people dirt.  Paris has been lived in by bazillions of people. And bazillions of pigeons. And little tiny dogs. And you can tell.

Don’t get me wrong, it really is an important and supremely awesome part of the city. You can really feel the life and the history, but you can totally smell it too.

The metro isn’t all that peaceful, and the locals don’t smile for just anyone (with the exception of my cheese lady. I love you cheese lady). I mean I’m used to that of course, it’s just not like home.

Ugh… I even feel guilty for feeling like I needed a vacation from Paris.  A vacation from a vacation? Girrrrrl. Get some real problems.

Sorry, that was me getting serious with myself.

First world problems aside, Switzerland was the exact taste of home I needed. Swiss-German-French-Italian home.

Now let’s go over where exactly I went. My two Aussie friends Vic (roomie!) and Matt (downstairs neighbour who can very likely hear me do ab-ripper X) departed with me crazy early the first morning from the Orly airport.  We were awake before the metro.  Maybe we didn’t need to be in hindsight. But we were.

We easyjetted to Geneva, where we caught the train through the Swiss countryside, passing through both the beautiful Lausanne, and the Swiss capitol of Bern. As soon as we got off the plane, I knew we had arrived in a land of increased timeliness and cleanliness.

Take the train through Switzerland if you go, please. Loverly.

Our home base and train destination was Interlaken, Switzerland, where we stayed three nights at the Backpacker’s Villa Sonnenhof.

Interlaken is, surprise, located between lakes.  Also mountains. The hostel, more of a legit surprise, was the most amazing magical hostel/hotel/anything hospitable-ish experience I have ever had. The staff were undeniably friendly, but not in a, “woah, back off hostel creepers” way.  In a cool, “I speak Swiss-German and I’m a super ski bum” way.  The beds were more comfortable than the bed that my buttocks currently rests upon.  The EVERYTHING was incredibly organized. From our room keys, our mini locker keys, and our bathrooms, to the ski-room, open kitchen, restaurant and ski discounts/recommendations, busses, hot drink tokens, and breakfasts… they had it dialed.

Oh god. breakfasts. Free. Filling. Fdelicious.

Every morning, all you can eat.  Soft brown Swiss bread, granola, a vat of yoghurt, and nutella. Needless to say… we each went back for fourths on the last day… realizing that it would be the last free meal we ate in Switzerland.. meaning the we would have to pay real Swiss prices on the journey back home.

We spent our two full days in the Interlaken area skiing. Duh.  The first day was for the Maanlichen and Kleine Scheidegg areas. Oh baby. The mountain range was breathtaking. Jungfrau region, you knock my socks off. More accurately jacket off. You knocked my jacket off.  It was freaking warm. And sunny.  Spring skiing at it’s finest. Gotta love forgetting your sunnies and coming home with an eyeball burn. Yeah. That’s right. You can’t put sunscreen on your eyeballs people.  I had burn lines on the whites of my eyeballs. That is all.  I know.  Probably really ungood. I can still see.

On a non-eyeball related note: my lunch salad on the mountain was the size of Matt’s responsibly helmetted head. Amazing.  There was pineapple in this salad. I can’t even remember what other craziness was in that bowl.

We gave’er up the other mountain on the second day.  All the way up to the Schilthorn. I know.  It is entirely as epic as it sounds.  This mountain was wild, awesomely fun, and nearly as confusing as the pile of spaghetti-looking chestnut puree that some of us had for lunch dessert on the mountain.

Our second day involved:

Losing Vic on a Mogul run.

Last pictured here.

Finding her, thank the lord, over an hour later.

Watching Matt pull Blue-Steel while biting it.

Cutting it so dang close to the lift closing time that we wound up in the middle of the mountain… without a direct trail down the mountain.. or any other options other than taking the gondola down like the rest of the normal people (so not happening).. accompanied by a group of like-minded-but-more-German-speaking rebels.

Hiking our arses up a hill, cross-country style.

Letting a kind guinea pig test out every uncharted trail for us before the rebel hoard decended.

Sneaking under the rope that said “trail-closed” after the one mountain employee in our group relinquished all responsibility for our actions, because we sure as hell weren’t skiing cross-country in our alpine gear just to find out the trail that we were determined to get to was freaking closed.

Skiing down the closed trail with an extra dumb smile on my face, making race car noises, while thinking about how I am likely the most brave, intense, courageous, heroic, rule-breaking individual in the world at that moment. Except guinea-pig guy.

Giant pots of boozy-melty cheese, and friendly swiss ladies who won’t tell you the ingredients for anything. ever. regardless of their big smiles and kind words. don’t even think about asking about the salad dressing.

Switzerland? Surreal.

It was like the pill that I didn’t know I needed to take, but when taken, cured me of the digestive discomfort I never knew I had. Or maybe it was the chocolate and cheese.

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I made macarons

Yes I did.

Not only did i make macarons, I made macarons in Paris.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that equates to double the Brittany is a Parisienne points. N’est-ce pas? 

Ok, so technically we made french macarons in Paris using the Italian method, but that’s neither here nor there and you don’t care about that and neither do I. And that does NOT take away from my Brittany is a Parisienne points.

The making of the macarons:

A few weeks back, I found out about La Cuisine de Paris, a warm, welcoming, 100% ex-pat friendly cooking school, via none other than Sir David Lebovitz himself.

No, he hasn’t been knighted, but I kinda just knighted him there.. ish.. didn’t I. Henceforth known as Sir David.

No, scratch that. Master David. As in Jedi Master. As in my Jedi Master of Paris and all things food.

Woah woah woah, back to the point. So David was hosting a rendezvous, hot chocolate drinking, macaron-eating and book signing the following day at La Cuisine de Paris and he posted it on his bloggity.

Intrigued.

I did some interweb creepin’.

Turned out that La cuisine offers a full range of English taught cooking, pastry-making, and market perusing classes. I saw Macarons.

Done. Booked.

I know, I know. BRITT what are you doing.  You’re in France to learn French.  Get out of that damn english speaking cooking class and sign up for one of their (available!) French cooking classes, you weak-willed female.

My excuses: It was like, my second week here, chill.  Even listening to the explanations for the delays on the metro PA system stressed me out. Also, it’s a super great way to meet other expats in the same situation. Networking people. Networking. Oh yeah, finally, I actually wanted to know HOW to make the macarons.  Sure I’d be able to get the gist of it en Français, but guaranteed I would mis-interperet some extra important tip like wait for at least two days before you try to eat your macarons or else they will be dry and less awesome, for something wrong and similar like, don’t wait two days before eating the macarons or else they will be dry and not awesome. Heed the warning and avoid temptation for the first two days, believe you me.

How was the class you ask?

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