La vie parisienne.

I had spent the first three weeks in Paris adapting to the french pace of life and settling in to our lovely-abode-turned-pig-sty home. The Welcome Programme for International Exchange Students are pretty much a waste of euros except for the 2-hour french classes each day. Initially we did go for our orientation walks and the very first Erasmus boat party but the organization of these activities are rather laissez-faire and it is much better that we do our exploration on our own.

Its not all play though. Allocating time for groceries and laundry is certainly a dread for most Singapore-bred exchange students. But doing groceries can be fun with my housemates and often we have to venture to Place d’Italie’s Tang Freres for our dosage of chili and other nostalgic twangs. Most of the time, we will do it the French way with the Singaporean Kiasuism comparing prices across the various French supermaches in the vincinity. For the freshest products and specific meat parts, we buy at the traditional Marche in our neighbourhood where the display of carcasses of rabbits disgusts me each time.

When it comes to cooking, we each have our own distinct style. For Eu, its CHAPALANG, a pinch of salt, a handful of garlic, pouring in whatever that is rotting in the fridge and throwing in whatever that is cheap. She made me lug 5 kg of onions back from the street market at Place d’Italie as it cost only 3 euros. For Clar, its her secret concoctions flown from Singapore- Bak Ku Teh, Chicken Curry, chinese soups all within little satchets. Her cuisines often won praises but its considered cheating! ha.

Placing cuisine aside, we did try to things the french way. So theres the attempted immersion into the french culture through free entries to Lourve on Friday nights and free concerts in churches on weekends. Well, theres the concert featuring Bach’s pieces which we attended with Yu and Thierry. Admittedly, I think we had a good nap then.

When Pope Benedict XVI came to Paris, we joined 250 000 parisiens in an open-air mass. Its really incredible how the french cheered and waved flags. The religious fervour is akin to nationalistic effervescence in Singapore on National day. And as a typical intellectual Sciences-po student, we attended a tv debate show on politics and religion but en francais! so its hard trying not to fall asleep in when the camera is on especially we are all separated, inserted between the french, to depict a rich ethnically-divided audience. (poor wilvin was chucked in a corner out of sight with the old pple as he was wearing a shirt with an obscene tagline).

Well, school seemed to be the least important to us at this moment. I never felt embedded in Sciences Po uni life as it does not has a proper campus but scattered buildings within the most expensive 6ieme arrondisement. So as we walked from one class to another, its indulgence of the eyes on the biggest fashion brand names like Sonia Rykiel, Emperio Armani and Zadig & Voltaire. Thankfully none of which are affordable and hence not worthy to make a detour to in-between classes.

The only thing praiseworthy of sciences-po is the international classroom which is a little bizarre to me initially as original sciences-po students are a minority in class. The requirements of courses need sometime to get used to too with a lot of oral exposes, disertation and essays. The workload is also a nightmare as I ended with 8 courses and one sports elective- Handball. Handball is fun just that we are all a little disadvantaged physically (a clash with a brazilian almost sent me flying)

One of the highlights of parisien student life is our regular dinner invites at boulevard magenta. Its really cool to have a culturally-diverse group of people cooking and eating at our place and we get to taste different cuisines although the cleaning-up is always an arduous task. With our frequent invites, we had to switch the environmentally-unfriendly, un-french way of using disposibles plates. After several ‘cultural experimentation’, I have to admit that its generally easier to gather with Asians who share the same love for spicy food!

Et voila, c’est la vie parisienne for now- happily sounding as rants about all the admin bullshit are spared from this post…


~ by porcupines on October 5, 2008.

2 Responses to “La vie parisienne.”

  1. shimin, how are you! 😀
    here to bring a smile to you in cold france! enjoy your sep!

  2. shimin, how are you! here to bring a smile to you in cold france! enjoy your sep!loves,kaiwei

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