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Jill McCracken’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 09 Jan 2011

Location: Paris, France

MapParc Mountsouris

The academic meeting yesterday kicked our butts into gear so we cracked down on the lit. readings last night and this morning. We're reading a bit of background about the Lost Generation on the Left Bank, so I think a trip to Shakespeare and Company might be on the menu for some day this week after lit. class. Sunday morning seems to be a quiet time in the house, some residents were absolutely flabbergasted that Sarah and I were making lunch at 12:00 and had already been awake since 8:30am. Crazy Canadians (I can actually say that because the surprised pair came from Italy and Russia respectively) - the house accepts 30% of its residents as non-Canadian students.

After much urging from our little yoggie (Sarah), this afternoon we treated ourselves to an exploratory walk in Parc Mountsouris as a study break. I'm so glad we did because it was vibrant and full of young families and old couples out for a stroll. We were careful not to be toppled over by the hoarde of runners though - that must be the secret to why the French are so thin. Sarah and I wake up every morning to swarms of joggers descending onto the park. The children have to get a ticket to play on the swings, I found that to be an interesting cultural difference as play-time seems very regulated here: a ticket for the swings and they can sit on, but not ride, a pony in the park. Even the youngest children (as young as four or six I would guess) are dressed up in tiny suits or tiny dresses and leather boots. They're so adorable that you just have to smile. I took lots of pictures in the park so I will put them up soon after tonight's adventure.

Can you believe that pansies are growing in January? Also note that you can't walk on the grass here. We saw signs everywhere that roughly translate: "The grass is sleeping/hibernating from October to April." A quick jaunt down a cobbled street on the east side of the park unveiled gorgeous housing of every style all crammed together. I have never seen so many smart cars in my life; they line the street and even fit in some entranceways instead of parking on the street, I suppose that would save the family some euros on the municipal parking cost!

Okay, more lit. readings for this week.....ciao! (I have learned a bit of Italian from my neighbour Stefano but not a lot and my pronunciation is laughable. Maybe he will help me practice for my trip to Venice if I help him practice English?) xoxo