Tiny Food

Tiny food is awesome.

Interview: http://crushable.com/other-stuff/interview-jesssica-hlavac-cells-im-so-tiny/

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Mmm….pastries….

I find it very very hard not to get fat in France.

tarte citron, my favorite.

There’s nothing spectacular about the French paradox. The French people just have incredible will power.

Me? I wanto to eat every pastry in this window. In fact, the french idiom for “window shopping” is lèche-vitrine, or window-licking.

pastry w/ dates, in the Marais

Perhaps the French are better able to pass by a pâtisserie because they’re everywhere, all over Paris and all over France. My access has a potential end date.

How many pastries can one eat in a year?

Quartier: Take 2

I’m lucky. My new apartment is right next to the promenade plantee. It’s a former railroad track, sort of like the hi-line in New York.

The promenade runs from the Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes.

It also cuts through the Jardin de Reuilly, home of the sparkling public water fountain.

That’s right, sparking water fountain. As an effort to decrease plastic consumption in France, the government has installed Paris’ first sparkling water fountain. It’s just like regular H2O, but it’s + CO2!

It’s a great running route. Which, is very important to keep off all of those delicious French pastries.

Hello World!

After the blackout that was this summer in NYC, I’m back online.

Just a brief update: I spent the summer living in Harlem with Jill (best friend from middle school) and traveling up and down and up the east coast. It was great. The summer was a really wonderful reminder of what a loving community of friends and family I have.

It was interesting to live in Harlem, its quite a different scene than the rest of Manhattan. It can be just about as crowded as Times Square, but instead of photo-taking tourists slow-walking tourists it’s filled with a community. Sure, there were some incidents while I lived there, but the most exciting incident that happened in to Jill and me was when a rat ran over Jill’s foot. Ew. Ew.

I spent a week in Greece with baby bro Kasey. Greece is amazing. Its paradise. Total paradise. We went to Athens, San Tourini and Iraklion and Chania in Crete. Unfortunately, a proper blog on Greece will have to wait until I have photos. Kasey has my camera, the why is complicated, his camera is with me in Paris.

Which brings me to my next point, I am back in Paris!!! Its strange to be back here. I feel less like an outsider; I know how to navigate the metro, avoid the dog poop on the street, deal with convention, speak the language (sort of, it comes and goes), etc. Still, its strange. There’s something about coming back here for round 2 that is just different.

I’m spending my time teaching English in Saint Ouen (just to the north of Paris, its a pain in the cul to get there, but it gives me some solid metro reading time) through the Teaching Assistants in France (TAPIF) program. I teach at 3 different primary schools and have about 12 different classes, all about 45 minutes each. Its a lot of work, but so far, so very good. We’ve had a couple trainings so far, and I’ve learned some tactics about teaching French children the “H” souflee (it’s HAH-loween, not ‘alloween) and been given some very basic tactics for songs and such, but programs need to be tailored for each class.

As I’m back online, look out for posts re: my new ‘hood, the strikes in Paris, eating at school cantten (cafeteria at the primary school), strict teachers and ‘alloween (err, I mean Halloween).

OK OK, one iconic shot:

France vs. Germany

There’s been a lot of talk about the state of the European Union, how a Greece’s economic woes are bringing down the entire EU economy and the Euro along with it. This is one of the Right’s fundamental problems with socialism; the prosperous support the short-sighted. But, that’s what socialism means: we support each other.

Here’s a great NPR interview:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127897649

My favorite part is when the on-air economist says, “The Germans believe in binding rules and strict discipline and punishments for those who break the rules. The French don’t really like that idea. They prefer political management, political control, government discussing their problems around the table. However, although France and Germany have very different viewpoints, they will always reach a compromise in the middle.”

Its amazing how the same fundamental fight manifests itself across epochs.

Graduation

6 years, 4 states, 3 schools, 2 countries and 1 BALS diploma later — I am finally a college graduate.

You might think that after all of my meandering, I wouldn’t really care about my college graduation.

Au contraire.

I’m not saying that everyone feels like this, but if I had done school the “normal” way, my graduation would not have been an accomplishment as much as a landmark; something that I had to do and I’m glad to be rid of.

See, I hated college. I don’t think I’ve just purely hated anything in my life. Part of the hatred stemmed from my college of choice, part of it was my attitude towards college. Although my three years in DC were intense, working at the Senate and going to school part time at night was the right thing for me to do.  Each world put the other into perspective. While I was at Georgetown, I could realize that politics was just a chapter in history. People have the same politics and political instincts.  And politics is ubiquitous across epochs.

When I was in that political world, I could understand philosophy of tangible life. Studying philosophy made me realize the bigger picture of individual life. It made it easier not to be caught up in the small, but hard not to think about the big.

This dualistic split between life and thought is, in part, what I wrote my thesis on.

So many have grown beyond the need for an establishing religion, but it means that we’ve lost a guiding philosophy. For all of human existence we’ve believed that there was some force that was more powerful that us.  We’ve come to an evolutionary pinnacle, we now believe that mankind is omnipresent and indomitable. For better or for worse, we have nothing to believe in but our own guiding philosophy.