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A Gryphon's Life in Paris

Dear family and friends,

Throughout my semester abroad I will post news and photos of my adventures in Paris and beyond. I hope to use this page to stay connected with all of you so please feel free to post a message. Even with an ocean between us, you are still on my mind.

Much love,

Diary Entries

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Location: Toronto, Canada

Hello everyone!
I have been sort of MIA because I have been traveling and finishing school. Everything is done now and I have said my goodbyes to Paris and all of the wonderful people I met there. The big flight home went really well, I slept through most of it so maybe the time change won't be that bad. Now I'm just sitting in Pearson waiting to come home to Ottawa.
See you all so soon!!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Location: Paris, France

Schoolwork Update

I am almost finished up with the schoolwork portion of my semester. My film and architecture papers have been handed in but I still have history and literature to go! Wish me luck :)


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Location: Paris, France

I'm hungry. Again.

Sarah and Laura (from Guelph) just left to go see the Eiffel Tower light up. They visited me in Paris on their whirlwind trip through Europe and I was delighted to entertain with a simple dinner here at the MEC. Wine, cheese and baguette to start...then a nice green salad and pizza, with macarons for dessert! Yum. Dinner was a few hours ago and I think I'm hungry again.

Check this out! It is guaranteed to make you hungry. Promise.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Location: London, England


Hi, I'm back from my trip to London - it has to be one of my favourite cities in Europe. So much to see and do, great accents, and lots of fun! I put a boatload of photos up from my museum day and the touristy stuff.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Location: London, England

Back in Paris

On my flight from London to Paris, I noticed the girl beside me having some trouble breathing. I quietly asked if she was alright and got her talking. She hadn't flown in 6 years so was pretty nervous. As we started to take off she got worse and worse so I extended my hand. Sometimes we all just need a hand to hold.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, 06 April 2011

Location: Paris, France

Working hard & trying to get better

Okay, I admit that I am sick. If the intense cough in my chest wasn't a sign it should have been the fatigue and congestion. But have no fear! I continue to pump myself with fluids and rest at least 7 hours a between essay writing sessions, of course. I was starting to feel sleepy so I went for a quick walk around the Cite Universitaire to get some sun on my face and fresh air into these lungs. The walk made me feel a lot better so I cranked open the windows to our balcony and have fashioned myself a little work station out here, overlooking Boulevard Jourdan and Parc Montsouris. It is about 2:45pm so there are groups of little kids being let out from daycare - the shrieks coming out of their little bodies upon discovering the sunshine are adorable. Having a bit of background noise from the street is nice and I think the fresh air will do me good! 21 degrees weather isn't too shabby either, [that's 70 Fahrenheit, Dad]. I am still working on my architecture paper about collective memory and WWI war memorials, it should be finished by this evening, I hope! I have about 6 pages completed for my film paper and about 4 to go before handing it in on the 11th. I still have time!

Oh! And thank-you to Becky for the amazing exam care-package that I just received in the mail. You know I'm a sucker for Reese's Pieces! The maple syrup has already been enjoyed on some bangin' waffles and the pancake mix you sent forced intense discussion about whether Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben were ever married or not. A) Uncle Ben was a real person but Aunt Jemima was not and B) Ben died in the 1940s and Jemima is based on the 1880s period so I think there would have been just too much of an age difference to make a love connection. Unless fake-Jemima was a big cougar. In any case, many thanks!

I'm sending all of you lots of love so can someone please send me some healthy thoughts??

Tuesday, 05 April 2011

Location: Loire Valley, France

Loire Valley

Hello, I'm home from the Guelph trip to the Loire Valley! We had 4 days full of castles, chateauxs and wine-tasting, it was fabulous. See photos.


Monday, 28 March 2011

Location: Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg & Obernai, France

I am home again from my weekend of traveling (within France this time) to Strasbourg. What a city of immense history and pride. You could see the German influences as well as the continuing French tradition, but I still got the feeling that Alsatians are quite unique on their own. We left the MEC at 5am to travel by train to Strasbourg. Then we had a guided tour of the city (in English and the guide was fabulous!!) and a tour of their Notre Dame cathedral. Anne-Lise organized a really fun outing to a restaurant that served the traditional "tarte flambee" which is basically a pizza with a very thin crust and creme fraiche for its base. They made their own beer and the Canadian group imbibed so much that our songs drowned out the house band. We encountered some interesting folks that evening and I cuddled into bed early enough for our 9am start on Sunday. I have determined that I can sleep basically anywhere: floor, train, plane, hostel....

On Sunday morning we traveled out to Obernai, a small village outside of Strasbourg. We poked around a bit and attended a winery for a tasting. My favourite wine was the "muscat" which is a dry white wine. I bought a bottle here but he is an independent vitner so I won't be able to find his wines in Paris let alone Canada, only in Alsace! We trained back into Strasbourg and went on a "bateaux mouche" ride through the canal that encircles the city. Out to the European Parliament and back, I was exhausted and was happy to sleep on the train back to Paris.

I found time to incorporate a bit of research into my trip. My architecture paper is about the monuments aux mort (monuments for the dead) that are erected in Paris. I think adding a comparison to the monument in Strasbourg might add flavour to the piece: the Strasbourg people feel such pull between France and Germany (for good reason through the years) so they have made their monument neutral and it is one of the few, if maybe the only that does not mention that the soldiers died "for France". [See photos]

Lots of love,

Friday, 25 March 2011

Location: Kemptville, Canada

Congratulations Mommy!

Sending lots of love,

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Location: France

Hi there,

So this is the time of year where I go into hiding and enjoy my time writing essays and finishing final projects. For all of you, that means I might be a bit scarce OR you'll hear way too much from me because I'm procrastinating. We'll see.

For now, here are some things to look at and listen to in order to distract you from me.....

Picky Palate: one of my favourite food blogs
This is a great little blog from a Mom of two. She makes easy food that photographs beautifully; each of the desserts look so tempting! I think the ingredient lists are pretty easy too, the items are easy to find in North America.

How Stuff Works: everything you needed to pondered when you're bored
I have downloaded the app to my iPod and have just started listening to the podcasts titled 'Stuff Mom Never Told You' and 'Stuff You Missed in History Class'.

TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading
This site makes it difficult to even choose what to watch! There are great videos about every topic you would like to check out: neuroscience, history, economics, music, etc. Check out Andrew Bird's one man orchestra, anything by Steven Pinker and definitely Ze Frank's talk about making real connections to people on the Web.

Cheers for now,

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Location: Dublin Bay, Howth, Malahide, Ireland

Tour to Dublin Bay, Howth and Malahide Castle

Today we had time for a 1/2 day tour along the east coast. We traveled up Dublin Bay and enjoyed the views. Stopping in a tiny fishing village (Howth) we got to see some playful seals who just enjoyed our attention as well as the "Ireland Eye" island. Continuing along the coast we stopped in Malahide and took a tour of the castle there. They are in desperate need of funds to restore parts of the castle but we enjoyed our tour and Becky and I scampered off to enjoy the grounds before returning to Dublin and flying back into Paris.

What a weekend!!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Location: Dublin, Ireland

St. Patrick's Day in Ireland - Dublin

Professor S. (architecture) is a god-send and cancelled our walking tour today because he didn't want to impinge on our party plans and could see that some students had already been liberal with the green beer but showed up to class anyway....the epitome of respect. In any case, that left Becky, Sarah and I with some time to relax before we took the shuttle bus out to the Beauvais airport. Ryanair was late, like always but the flight was enjoyable (especially with on-board cappuccino and Bailey's). We left Gillian at the airport to enjoy her time with her family on the farm and we trekked into the city centre. Not moments after disembarking from the bus, we saw an old man keel over and a fight. I was a little alarmed but realized that the entire city had probably been drinking since noon and I was just late to the party....

All checked in and donning our green outfits we found Louis in the Temple Bar district and set to work. The streets were full of gorgeous music, lots of Guinness and...Canadians! It seems like every second person I met on St. Patrick's Day in Dublin was a Canadian. Small world! We had a lovely night. Friday was slated for tourism so we set out to hit as many sights on the map that we could before it was time to hit the pub again. St. Patrick's, Christchurch Cathedral, and the Museum of Modern Art were all checked off the list even before our yummy fish and chips lunch at a local watering hole. We ventured into the Guinness Brewery district and were astounded by the lineup, there were probably a good three hundred folks ready to imbibe in the Black Gold tradition. Thank-goodness that we booked tickets online and printed them out because we skipped that line of 300....hahahaha (tiny, sinister laugh).

The brewery was a really fun experience: you got to see how the beer is formulated and cared for through the entire process. We had a quick taster beer (demi-pint) halfway up the building but there was still so much more to see. I think I liked the advertising exhibit the most, they have had some great ads over the years. "Tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick..." Then we went up to the Gravity Lounge and got to have a full beer. It was delicious and felt "good for me". I even asked to have a shamrock sculpted on the top of my pint. The lounge is entirely glassed in so we could see the whole of Dublin in one beautiful panoramic glance.

Horse-drawn carriages were lined up outside the brewery when we came out so we thought, "Why not?" The driver was cheerful and it was great to be able to sit through a different tour of the city. Definitely worth 5 euro. We saw Trinity College, home of many of the Irish literary greats and then suited up for another night out in Temple Bar. I met a Brazilian learning English in Dublin. Man, his accent is going to be so messed up!

[See photos]

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Location: Paris, France

Becky in Paris: Day 4

After film class we bundled out to Versailles and explored the Chateau and the gardens. I finally got to see the Science exhibit!! I was floored and Becky being Becky of course wanted to see it and share it with me. See photos.

That was a long day with lots of walking too but we had to save our energy for the next day.....

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Location: Paris, France

Becky in Paris - Days 1 & 2

This is a retroactive entry because I have been so busy with schoolwork. Some quick procrastination is in order...

Sunday, March 13th, Becky arrived at Charles de Gaulle. Although travel-weary, she was eager to begin her European adventure so we traveled to the Notre Dame cathedral. We actually were lucky enough to sit in on a mass which is something that I have never done before. Very smoky.... We had a giant dinner at le Petit Pont and wandered around the Latin Quarter. The dinner faces were especially priceless, "Becky's first snail" face provided some entertainment for me! Then we popped over to the Eiffel Tower and were both awestruck. Of course it was her first viewing but it was also special for me to watch her see Paris and light up when she encountered the city.

Monday, March 14th: Since I did not have class today, I planned a giant cross-Paris excursion. We started at the Cite Universitaire and walked through Parc Montsouris so I could show Becky my neighbourhood stomping grounds. We continued up to Denfert Rochereau and she enjoyed the Lion of Belfort. Onwards we continued up to the Luxembourg Gardens and wandered through the lush first beginnings of spring and up to the Palace. We then turned up towards the Pantheon and took refuge in its cool interior while paying our respects to the great men (and women) of the Revolution. It was surreal for me to be standing next to Rousseau, Voltaire, and even Marie and Pierre Curie. We continued down near La Sorbonne and down through Chatelet where I dazzled with my architecture regurgitation skills and navigational ability. It was a test for me to see how many things I could remember from class AND how to get from place to place. We walked down rue Rivoli and enjoyed a quick lunch then continued to the Louvre (outside only), through the Tuilleries Gardens to Place de la Concorde and then stopping quickly at the Obelisk. Onwards we walked up the Champs d'Elysees and walked all the way up the Arc de Triomphe to enjoy panoramic views of the city. I quizzed Becky to point out the places she had already been and it helped her to mag a map of the city in her head. We hopped on the Metro and took it all the way up to Sacre Coeur where we enjoyed a small picnic on the steps of the cathedral and people-watched. With a quick stop at Moulin Rouge, my giant tour needed to end due to exhaustion....we headed home to the MEC.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Location: Paris, France

22nd Birthday: Phase 1 Complete

Okay, I suppose I have to admit it now. I am one year older... I woke up to a big bouquet of sunflowers from my wonderful roommate and my door covered with messages and balloons. Sarah and her organizing committee surprised me with a beautiful brunch outside on the patio this morning. So many people came down for J-shaped pancakes, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fruit and Nutella (because we're in France). Now we move on to Phase 2, manicures and pedicures with the girls.

I feel like a princess, thank-you to everyone for the birthday wishes!

Merci Merci Merci

Friday, 11 March 2011

Location: Paris, France

Good morning!

My retroactive Reading Week adventure diaries from Italy are finally posted on the blog. Sorry that I take FOREVER to do anything.

Had a lovely chat with Uncle Dan and Aunt Marsha the other night, welcome to the blogging and Skype world Bones! I'm so happy that you're tuned into my adventures. Received a beautiful birthday card from Aunt Gayle and Uncle Joe today, thank you very much for the sentiments! I do intend to have a happy birthday, it is all a surprise for me because my roommate and friends have been busy little bees keeping the plans all a secret. Actually, I was just kicked out of my room and had to close my eyes while leaving because there are secret birthday plans happening in there. More about turning 22 when it actually happens....

Sending out a Happy Birthday to my father Brian, can't wait to have a mini-celebration when I get home to Canada. Will date squares go with the wine I sent him from Chianti?

* Just posted photos from my excursion to the Paris Carnival with friends from the MEC. We're really just big kids that went to a parade to avoid doing homework. Enjoy the photos.

Much love,

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Recent Messages

From Grandma & Grandpa
Hi Jill, We are just now catching up.Have yet to view pictures.We did not have computer access in Florida,as the computer in the Rec. Hall was broken most of the time.
Sorry we did not send for birthday,We did not have your address in Fla. HAPPY HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES.
We did enjoy a nice warm 2 months of winter in Florida.Looking fwd to seeing you when you arrive in Canada.This sounds like it has been a real Learning & Enjoyable experience.( a trip of a lifetime!!!)
Love G & G.
Response: No problem, that just means that I will have lots of stories to share when I get home!! Definitely the trip of a lifetime, xoxo
From dan
hope you get to do everything you want in the next coupla weeks! c u soon, hope your chest is better.
Response: Thanks Uncle Dan. Just a few papers left until I can relax. Urgh! I spent 4 days in London and my cough went away completely. Less than 24 hours back in Paris and I'm miserable again. There is something in the air at my res....
From Dad
Tours, France picture- what is this flower? FRITALLARIA.

So, what did I win.
Response: haha, extra hugs on April 30th.
From dan bone
looks like Elizabeth May is leading in the poles!

April fools!!

when do you return to Canada?
Response: hahaha, I return to Canada on April 30th. See you in a month!
From Mom
Does sleeping anywhere include sleep-talking and snoring??
Those will be a welcome home factors.
Response: I still talk but I don't snore. I think :)
From Mackenzie
hey Jill happy belated birthday sorry we missed it <3 we r all thinking of you hope you're having the time of your life! from the bones
Response: Thanks for the birthday wishes Bones!!
From dan
we just hooked up skype, dan.bone3

how do we get your info?

rain rain go away
the sun will shine and Jill will play!
Response: Cool! I have added you on Skype. The internet connection at the residence isn't the best so I apologize in advance if calls are crackly or cut out all together <3
From dan bone
hi again, just checking up on you, I see you met spiderman, actors are not on the recommended list for mates! Belle Journee
Response: hahaha, thanks for the tip Uncle Dan! Miss you so much.
From Dad
"Activism in Paris and Evading Security" So if a gendarme uses "punition", you do know that if is likely time to call the Cdn. Embassy's Legal Affairs bureau. : )
Response: Thanks Dad, I'll be okay.
From dan
Jill, great to see all of the photos and read about yer trip. Almost like being there. Hav a great time and I look forward to checking out more blog stuff, this is the first time I have read a blog I think, au revoir mon petite chou !
Response: Thanks Dan :)
From Grandma&Grandpa Mc
Hi Jill
Just getting caught up with your blogand pictures Wonderful. We,re leaving for Florida on Sun 30th for two mos but hope to check in on you down there
Love & Kisses

From Cheryl
Great photos Jill! Looks like you are having a blast. I can't wait to see some more. All the best!!
Cher :)
Response: Thanks Cher!
From Gayle and Joe
Great reading and great pictures! Sounds like an incredible adventure!
Response: Thus far my trip has been the most wonderful experience!
From Grandma M
Hi Jill
Its so nice to see Paris through your eyes It sounds wonderful
Love G & G
Response: Hi Grandma and Grandpa! I'm so glad you're following the blog, I will try to keep it up to date for you. Lots of love, Jill
From pam
Oh, Jillian I am following your journal.... so exciting.... what are the baguettes like....yummy??

pam and greg
Response: Thank-you for following. The breads are absolutely amazing, it takes willpower not to gobble them up before walking home!
From Lisa
Hey, glad to see that you got to your residence. i cannot wait to see pictures. we will have to set up a skype date when were both settled. hope Paris is wonderful.
Response: I love my residence, it is sort of like living in an IKEA store. Let me know when you're free!
From Mom
Good news!
I'm glad you are started on your adventure.
Response: Thanks Mom!
From Mom & Dad
Jillian is off for her great adventure. Plane departed late from Ottawa & hopefully she can make it to her Paris connection flight for 8:15? Assumably, the connection was made so, Dites bonjour à Paris!

If settled and able, call on us on Facetime@ 1:30 pm Central European Time ((CET) or 7:30 am, our time, which should be before Mom departs for work.
Response: haha, I had to run through Pearson but I did make my connection! I'm safe and sound in Paris.