Happy New Year // Bonne Année

I just want to wish all of you a very happy new year! I hope everyone has a great time and a safe time ringing in 2012. I want to thank everyone who has taken their time to read my blog and those who have featured my articles on their website. I never imagined that people would take an interest in what I'm going through, my thoughts, and my opinions. Thank you so much for all the support, it means the world to me knowing that I'm helping other students and entertaining others in the meantime.

I'll be heading off to Malmö, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark  right after New Year's so I won't update the blog until next week.

I want wish everyone nothing but the best in 2012. I hope everyone makes 2012 the best year of their lives. Thank you for all the support once again.


Meet my brother

Before coming to Paris I wanted to film this video with my brother but we ran out of time so he promised me that he would film it when he came to Paris. So here's the video! My brother doesn't like being in front of a camera hence his stiffness but hey I managed to get him to do this.
Hope you enjoy the video, we're off to do two of our favorite things today: eat and go to a concert.

Seeing Paris as a tourist

Chilling next to a Picasso painting.
During my 4th month living here I've found myself doing the tourist thing once again thanks to my brother being in town. Its weird how one becomes used to various sites such as the Arc de Triomphe and can simply walk right past them without thinking anything about it, but what I've realized is that its good to marvel at these historic sites like tourists every once in a while. And as for my brother he's enjoying seeing Paris as a resident and going to non-tourist trap restaurants.

Manchester and London

The Manchester Christmas Market.
Here are a couple of pictures from my trip to England! To see more pictures click here.

Merry Christmas // Joyeux Noël

I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas. If you're with family I hope you have a good time celebrating with your loved ones. If you're a student abroad like me I hope you're celebrating with friends.
I wish nothing but the best for all of you. New videos and posts coming up soon!

England here I come!

Again I'm very sorry for the lack of posts this month but I just finished up the semester last night and today I spent the majority of my day inside the comfort of my own bed catching up on my sleep. Tomorrow will be the first time that I'll be leaving Paris and going back to an English speaking country but no I won't be going back to the States for the Holidays, I'll be going to l'Angleterre or England! It's going to feel a tad odd being in an English speaking country when I've been hearing nothing but French for the past 4 months already. The two cities I'll be visiting are Manchester and London which I'm extremely excited about despite already knowing that its going to be even colder than in Paris. I plan to record some footage from the trip and my birthday (December 19th) which I will edit and upload it as a vlog when I come back.

I will be back in the bloggerverse on December 23rd, right before Christmas! I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Sorry for the lack of updates

 I've been busy with the last few exams or devoir sur table at school, as well as finishing up my Christmas shopping that I haven't had time to sit down and write a blog post.

I still have to edit a video I recorded at the Champs-Elysées and write a thorough post about my first semester in Paris. But for the meantime look there's a picture of me with 1/2 of my favorite band, Phoenix.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. New posts coming up soon!

The Soundtrack of my Study Abroad Journey

I think I've made it no secret that I'm a huge St. Vincent fan and also that Strange Mercy is by far my favorite release of 2011, but after yesterday I have become an even bigger fan of Annie Clark- if that's even possible. The show was held at Café de la Danse which is one of the best music venues I've been to let me tell you. I arrived at 17h30, about and hour and a half before the door were supposed to open and there was no one! Not one single soul! Which is very strange for me because I'm used to seeing people lined up hours before a show starts regardless of the artist back in the States. I had a pleasure of meeting a guy from the Philippines who also liked the same music as I do before the show and my friend, him, and I just chatted away until the doors finally opened. I bought my ticket to see St. Vincent during my second week of studying abroad, the very day they came out, so you can imagine how many different emotions were running through me when I walked into the venue and when I made my way to stand in the very front (have I mentioned how much I love not having a barrier?).

Blending in with the Parisian

One of the things I've noticed about Paris is that despite being the fashion capital not every Parisian is necessarily fashionable. Most students at the Sorbonne do have a really great style but if I were to judge the city as a whole I would say that its like almost every other city: you have those with great style, those who play it by the rules, and those who seem to not own a mirror. I've found the way to easily spot a Parisian is by looking at who is wearing headphones on the metro, and particularly Dr. Dre Beats.

Entertainment on the Métro

I won't lie, you see some pretty strange things on the metro sometimes. Whether it is a guy wearing just briefs or hearing "Cielito Lindo" sung by a French person with an accordion, you just tend to see some random things on the metro and especially if you have to use the metro on a daily basis. Last week I was asked by a gypsy woman to wake her up when we reached Châtelet and I also saw probably my favorite metro performer. A man with a portable karaoke machine entered M4 direction Porte de Clignancourt, at first I thought "what the hell?" since I'm so used to seeing men with accordions and guitars enter in hopes to get some tips but this guy- well this guy just rocked my socks off and made me laugh when I desperately needed it. The first song that he sang as "La Bamba" and his encore performance was the Numa Numa song. One word: hilarious! I hope I get to see him sing again because he was by far the most memorable metro performer I've seen to date.

Picture Recap- November 2011

L'Arc de Triomphe on the first Sunday of the month.
This is a picture of recap of the first half of the month.

A Californian's Tips on how to stay warm in the fall

My fall essentials: Warm headband, button-down shirts, and  a wool sweater.
Yes, you've read correctly... IN THE FALL! Despite the common misconception it does get cold in Southern California... for about two months in the year but the point is that is does get cold. Paris currently feels like San Diego in the winter which is about 30º-50ºF. I have already seen my fellow Californians walk around like a stuffed animal by wearing a ton of layers and their fluffiest jacket as if it was already snowing. I've even read on Facebook statuses that the heater has already become their best friend. Let me tell you I'm not doing any of that because my plan of attack is to get used to the cold since I know that it's just going to get even colder in the coming weeks.

Inpirational quote

If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel— as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them— wherever you go.

-Anthony Bourdain

México en Paris

Tacos de carnitas y una tostada de nopal con queso
As I've mentioned before it is a lot harder for authentic Mexican food in Paris than it is to find something American. There are McDo's and burger joints everywhere and also American themed restaurants. I've found a lot of Tex-Mex places here which causes French people to think that fajitas and chili con carne are Mexican dishes (PS. That's not really Mexican). So for Mexicnas good luck on finding dishes like menudo! In my search to find the best Mexican food I've come up with this conclusion- if you want authentic Mexican food then you'll have to cook it yourself.

Time to layer up!

I'm finally getting the chance to use the Blogger app on my Android phone since I'm bored in school and my next class starts in 50 minutes. So the weather is starting to change slowly but surely. Right now Paris feels like how San Diego feels like in it's coldest months which in reality is not too bad but I'm certainly not used to cold weather.

I do like cold weather so I won't be one of those people complaining about the cold every single day but I do think that I might have to start wearing more layers because I'm starting to get really cold.

I need some chocolate Abuelita to make hot chocolate and maybe that coat I have been eying at Zara. Excuses, excuses...

2 month update!

Sorry for the slight audio lag. 

Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte

As I mentioned before I had the pleasure of visiting Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte on Saturday evening with my fellow exchange students from California. It was a candle-lit tour so we couldn't see the outside of the castle very well but it was still breathtaking.

The Social Club

If you're a Ed Banger/French electro fan from the United States or Mexico then you know about the Social Club and probably even dream about going there. I know that was certainly the case with me and I finally had the chance to go the Social Club on September 30th to see Breakbot. First time at the Social Club and I'm seeing an Ed Banger artist? Now that's what I like to call good luck.

First day of class in Paris

Usually the night before I go back to school I have a lot of trouble sleeping and when I wake up I'm just a complete mess. My nervousness kicks into high gear and I have to keep my fingers crossed so that I don't spend over 20 minutes finding parking, but here in Paris it was a whole different story.

The French University System + Registration

To say that the French and American way of registering for classes in a university are different would be an understatement. I came to Paris knowing that registering for classes would be a headache but you really don't find out how bad it is until you have to do it. So back in the United States we're used to making wish lists online with the classes you want to take and you have a registration date. On the day you're assigned you just go online and simply add the classes- that's it! In less than 5 minutes you have all your classes picked out and the worst thing that can happen is that your class gets filled up but if that's the case you can just crash the class and hope that the professor can give you an add code. Here in France it's a completely different story.

New and Old Paris

La Grande Arche
Yesterday afternoon I spent the day in what I'd like to refer as new Paris- La Défense. Don't get me wrong I absolutely love old Paris, the historic buildings, and the people taking a stroll in the afternoon but I also appreciate new and modern buildings. One of the things that stands out the most at La Défense is of course La Grande Arche which was breathtaking- it was big, clean, and very modern and the fact that you can see the Arc de Triomphe in the distance perfectly demonstrates the two contrasting sides of Paris. There are various sculptures and two malls in that area, all which again are very modern. I really enjoyed spending a couple of hours in that area and getting to see modern Paris.

L'Arc de Triomphe in the distance
Today since I didn't have much energy to go out Beatriz and I decided to explore the area we live in and what we discovered was pretty cool if I may say so. During our walk I felt that I was in at least 2 other cities, it was remarkable how drastic the architectural styles would change from street to street. Some of the buildings we walked by looked like something straight out of a fairy tale- a charming little house made of red bricks, town houses painted in pastel colors, and tons of flowers. Today's walk and yesterday's trip made me fall in love with Paris even more. Although I'm at the point that I'm getting used to waking up in Paris, its moments like these that make me say "I'm extremely lucky to be living here."


I have found there is a severe the lack of Mexican culture. As I've mentioned before I live in Tijuana for 10 years before moving to San Diego which has a very strong Mexican presence. I've seen a couple Mexican restaurants in Paris but here's the deal I'm extremely picky with my Mexican food so picky that the only Mexican restaurant that I go to in San Diego is Lolita's. So when I saw BocaMexa I went in to see if there were Mexicans working and there are. I had never been so happy to see another Mexican in my life or seeing Salsa Valentina- it was ridiculous but it brought me back home for a split second.

RIP DJ Mehdi

Today French DJ and member of Ed Banger Records has passed away. I was in shock when I found out the news and even more so that it happened in the same city I'm currently in. I was hoping to see him perform while I was in Paris but unfortunately that won't be the case. You and your music will be truly missed.

How to Avoid Getting Homesick

Homesickness is something nearly everyone goes through at some point of their time abroad but fortunately for me I've yet to experience it during my first month in Paris. Here are some of my tips to avoid getting homesick.

Remembering September 11th, 2001

I really can't begin to comprehend that its been exactly 10 years since the day that changed the U.S. forever. I can still remember that day as if it happened only a week ago.

Quick update from Paris

I know I haven't updated in a couple of days but I've been busy with the intensive French class and also trying to see which university was the right one for me. After much thinking I decided I was going to take up the challenge to go to the Sorbonne Paris IV. Its definitely going to be hard for me but I'm ready and more than willing to give it my all this upcoming school year.

Carte Bleue and French Cellphones

ZTE Blade
This is the follow up to "Opening A French Bank Account." On the previous post I described how easy and quick it was opening a bank account in France but I have to say that the process to obtain the carte bleue (debit card) was anything but fast.

Discovering a Different Side of Paris

When we first got told that we were going to Belleville (an area where a lot of immigrants in Paris live) I have to admit I wasn't too keen about the idea. I don't even go to Barrio Logan, the immigrant neighborhood where many Mexicans reside in San Diego and I'm Mexican! So my thought was why would I want to go to the immigrant neighborhood in Paris? But you know what I was very glad we were shown that side of Paris. Belleville is a neighborhood in Paris which parts of it lies in four different arrondissements. It is also the home to the second Chinese quarter in Paris and a lot of eclectic street art.

Cooking in Paris !

Yes, I cooked in Paris. Actually I took a cooking class for the first time ever! Today I had an after school activity at Tours de Cuisine with my fellow MICEFA students from California. I really didn't know what we were going to make but I told people on Twitter to keep their fingers crossed for me since I tend to burn things when I cook. Luckily that wasn't the case today. After a couple of minutes of figuring out where exactly I was in the 11th arrondissement, Beatriz and I finally found Tours de Cuisine in a small street. We were the second group of people to get there and the rest arrived a little later since they also had trouble finding the place as well. Once everyone was there we found out what we were going to make- DESSERTS! Beatriz and I decided to make mousse de framboise (raspberry mousse) and pâtes à tartelettes (tarte crust) both which ended up being delicious.

Jaywalking in Paris

A French pedestrian crossing sign, much less obnoxious than the yellow ones we have in the States.
For those who are not familiar with this term it means its a reckless way of crossing the street. Growing up in Tijuana I rarely used the crosswalk to cross the street, you're basically taught to look both ways a couple times just to make sure there aren't any cars coming your way and if there are just run!

Les livraisons | Deliveries

Source autoblogger.fr
As an American I'm used to having delivery guys be polite and on time, while I think they do that because of the tip at the end of the delivery, I still generally find them easy people to work with. This past Monday we were supposed to get our beds delivered from 11h-14h. We were hoping that they would arrive early so Beatriz and I wouldn't be too late to our mandatory orientation but that wasn't the case. Once 14h came around and there was still no delivery guy, we decided to run to the metro to get to the orientation late- turns out the delivery guy arrived at 14h30. I had to call Conforama and to see when they were going to reschedule the livraison or delivery.

First week in Paris

By the way, are palmiers normally the size of people's head? Or am I just in foodie heaven?
Je t'adore, Boulangerie Huré.

The plants are on fire?

Picture belongs to SGEHagelstein on Flickr.
Around 2:00am today, just about when I was about to knock out I heard a sirens and didn't think much of them because its kinda normal for sirens to echo around here and sound a lot closer than they actually are but this time it was different. I saw blue lights flashing in the living room so I decided to take a peak outside. I saw that there was not one but two firetrucks outside!

The Welcome Dinner

 This Sunday was the day I met my fellow CSU IP classmates studying abroad in Paris. Beatriz and I arrived where everyone is staying at (we opted out of the temporary housing since we already had an apartment) promptly at 4pm but when we arrived there was no one there so we thought we had entered the wrong building. Slowly but surely people started arriving from their walks or making their way down to the lobby. Beatriz and I shortly met the MICEFA program coordinator, Melissa, who is pretty cool and very easy to talk to. What I noticed once everyone was downstairs is that everyone was in their little groups, kinda like in high school- you're in a new unfamiliar setting so when you find someone who you feel comfortable with you just want to hang out with them. You get what I mean?

Journey to Paris

As promised here's the vlog documenting the physical journey to Paris. I'm going to take you from San Diego all the way to Paris.

Opening a French Bank Account

On Wednesday I started to go to various cellphone companies asking for information on their plans and what I immediately realized is that in order to get a phone contract you need a French bank account. The last thing I wanted was to open another bank account since I had just opened one at Bank of America but as we kept searching for a good cellphone plan I realized that there was no choice but to open a bank account in France.

First 2 days in Paris

Today I'm going to share some pictures from my first two day in Paris with my parents. Hope you enjoy!

Welcome to Paris

Well I've already been here for two days but this is the first time that I've found time to sit in front of my laptop to give you all an update on how I've been doing. I know I promised a vlog at the airport but there was barely any waiting time in between flights that the only things I did were go Facebook and tweet. My parents, my best friend/roommate Beatriz, and I arrived to Paris at 11:35am on August 16th.

Last day in San Diego

Here's a little video that I filmed on the last day in San Diego. I am feeling about a million different things at the moment so I really felt like just telling you how I'm feeling at the moment. Now I'm off to enjoy my last couple of hours here and then at night I'm going to In-n-Out. I have to enjoy my last burger there in a while. By this time tomorrow I'll be on a plane to Paris!

EF Tours Reunion

Today I had dinner with half of my classmates that went to France with me in 2008. I have to admit I thought it was going to be awkward because I had not seen the majority since my high school graduation but I have to say that the dinner was a lot of fun.

Going back to my roots

Literally. Today I went back to my natural hair color, dark brown. For the past year and a half I've dyed my hair colors that are lighter than my natural hair so its a bit weird for me to see it so dark once again. I also cut my hair, I didn't think I was going to get a lot of my hair cut off but cutting all the bleached hair left me with hair just above my shoulders which doesn't bother me at all since I enjoy shorter hair. If you want dip dyed hair and you naturally have dark hair think twice before doing it because you will damage your hair a lot. Despite losing my long hair (well long in my opinion) I'm extremely happy with how my hair turned out and it turns out that I had the exact same cut back when I was 2 years-old.

Breakfast in Tijuana

This morning my mom and I went to have breakfast in Tijuana with my grandma, two of my aunts, and a couple cousins- it was mi "desayuno de despedida" or my goodbye breakfast.

Tips and thoughts about France from an 18 year-old Laura

Today I spent the majority of the day cleaning out the other half of my room with my mom and throwing out even more old school work. One of the papers I found was a questionnaire that my high school French teacher made my classmates and I fill out about our trip to France, the following are my responses. Keep in mind I was 18 years-old and didn't know as much about France as I do now.

One more week to go!

Francis and my mom's cockatiels.
The last week in San Diego has arrived! And I seriously can't believe that the day I've been waiting for since I came back from my trip to France is only 7 days away. Since my last post a couple things have happened. I helped my parents buy things for their trip and we got a new addition to the family- a little lost Yorkie which my mom named Francis because I'm leaving to France. We've been desperately looking around my neighborhood for "lost Yorkie" flyer since the dog didn't have a dog tag at all and today we finally found one but that poster was for another Yorkie which was fortunately found.