Good vittles, love, and kissing…
There are a few things that are harder to find here than at home, and that I find myself pining for every once in a while. A lot of them surprise even me!
- Tex-Mex: One of the few cuisines that is easier to find in the US than in France. (By the way, did you know France has the Lebanese restaurant market pretty much cornered? It’s great for me, a falafel-addict). I need a burrito- STAT.
- Vegan cheese and mayo: France rightly takes a lot of pride in some specific dairy products (i.e. cheese) and any attempt to change it up a bit is SQUASHED. At least i assume that’s why I can find no vegan cheese (or ice cream for that matter). And I guess they’re also pretty partial to traditional mayo methods? I guess they did invent mayonnaise… right? I feel like I learned that from a pirates of the Caribbean blooper. On the other hand, they’re vegan yogurt here is SO MUCH BETTER. Apparently their non-vegan yogurt is also better (I have been told).
- Body oil: I’m on the hunt for some combined body and hair oil, but I haven’t been looking hard enough. Really this is about me missing my big Target/Stop & Shop/ Walgreen’s superstores, where you can find anything under the sun, except under very unflattering fluorescent lights. I think I need a trip to Monoprix.
- Consignment stores: Paris and France in general has great vintage shops, but what I’m really in need of is some bulky lightly used knitwear. Particularly of the turtleneck variety. Having worn through two beige turtlenecks in quick succession, I’m finding the cozy side of my wardrobe uncomfortably diminished. Also consignment is just how I’m used to shopping.
- Some hipster earthy crunchy ingredients: This is probably just because I don’t know how to say nutritional yeast or vital wheat gluten in French.
- Thanksgiving: Instead the French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau day, which is like this weird wine-Octoberfest. Yeah, I don’t know either.
- Watching the news: Although when my hosts have the French radio is on it is so often about Trump and it’s so cringe-y.
- Saturday Night Live: SNL WHY are your youtube videos NOT AVAILABLE in this COUNTRY!?
And lots more, but that’s all that’s leaping to mind at the moment!
*On a similar note to the very narrow interpretation of certain dairy products, the French are also very specific about the things that you can and can’t do with grapes. Like you can drink wine or you can eat fresh grapes. There are no raisins here. Other dried fruit yes, but no raisins. And no grape jelly. Even though that’s the American staple jelly. But I don’t miss these things because I’m not a big fan of raisins and because I’ve already written about HOW MANY EXCITING JELLIES THERE ARE HERE. Next up: rhubarb.
I woke up too early for no reason so here’s a links post, on time for once!
- I’ve started following French Vogue online and I’m really enjoying their “Sunday with…” series. Credit to the Jeanne Damas one for introducing me to this song.
- Love this Classic Film Club idea. I’ve seen most of the film noir on the list, but this selection of Japanese film noir is completely new to me and really peaking my interest! Where to start?
- The Marrying Mr. Darcy board game. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged, etc…
Truly I have mixed feelings, but I’m curious.
- The trailer for “A Quiet Place“. Spooky. I like.
- The structural inequality within the comedy industry. “The solution is putting people in positions of power who are not male, not straight, not cisgender, not white. This is not taking something away unfairly — it is restoring opportunities that have been historically withheld.”
- You’ve heard of latte art, but how about smoothie art?
- My chosen candidate for the 2020 presidential election.
- My nihilistic sense of humor strikes again, but this time with cats. Super relatable.
- The pajama trend has been taken to its only logical conclusion and we can all go home now.
- The subtle misogyny of male incompetence. I’m surrounded by idiots.
- In at least 34 cases, unusually long Postal Service delays resulted in rejections of DACA applications.
- Choosing a different sperm donor is choosing a different child and a different future. What surprised this couple about their experience.
- I’m sorry, Blake Shelton isn’t even Gwen Stefani’s sexiest husband.
- Karen Brit Chick (who you completely should follow, I’m in love with her) on her favorite vintage shops in NYC. Saving this for my next trip.
- Deadpool mixed with Bob Ross. What’s not to love?
- Honestly it is not Teen Vogue’s time. It’s more relevant now than ever and I wish it had been in my time the politically active and interesting publication that it has been for the past year or so.
Sorry for using up all of your free NYT articles!
No preamble. Down and dirty style.
Hey it’s November which means I should be changing my desktop background but I haven’t yet and besides I’m very into the one I have right now.
Other news: Halloween has come and gone- not a big thing in France, beyond being a theme for some parties. But now that Halloween has gone and France doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving (obviously) does this mean I can start watching Christmas movies and listening to Little Drummer Boy? I’m dipping my toe in today with Joyeux Noel, which is half war film and half holiday film. I tried watching Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas earlier, which has all the hallmarks of being something I should love (Jim Henson muppets is the only hallmark you need, really) but I only got a few minutes in. Am I getting too old?
This week is my first vacation from perfumery school at ISIPCA, and it feels somewhat undeserved but I’ll take it. Especially because Lily is visiting me from the states.
We’re back in Versailles now, but over the weekend we explored Normandy/the North coast of France.
Including: Rouen (with the cathedral made famous by Claude Monet, also location of the trial and execution of Jeanne d’Arc- did you know the tower where her trial was held is now an escape room?), Omaha Beach, Mont-St-Michel, and, on the way back, Giverny (absolutely beautiful in Autumn- we were lucky enough to get there during one of the last few days of the season, and the day before the first hard frost).
And I’m realizing I’m super into traveling. Because I’m in Europe and not only am I super close to Paris, but I’m also super close to all of these places I haven’t been before.
Also inspired by seeing the photos from the travels of my fellow students, who are spread around in the south of France (Marseille and elsewhere), Luxembourg, London, Burgundy, and Florence.
Destinations appealing to me?
- Morocco: Morocco (along with India) has been one of my top destinations for years. It’s particularly on my mind now because a) it’s closer and b) Hyun just visited and it’s beautiful with colors and camels and sand.
- So many more places in Italy: I would love to see Milan, Rome, Florence, Pisa, and more of Tuscany. Even in spite of the tourist-ness I fell in love with the magic that was Venice. Can you imagine staying in Tuscany and doing work during harvest time? I had a friend do that. So cool.
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Amsterdam, Netherlands: Because I need another association other than our luggage being lost there during a layover when I was eight. (We got it back eventually). Also the tulip fields, once the season is right.
- Switzerland: Particularly the Alps. Can I just say how into the Bernina Express train journey I would be? So into it.
- Spain: I may visit my grandparents soon, who live near Madrid. I haven’t visited them in Spain since I was seven. Other places in Spain I want to see? Barcelona, Valencia, and Andalusia. Also wherever it is that has the most dangerous hiking trail in the world.
- Malta: Warm-ish islands.
- Budapest, Hungary
- Galway, Ireland
- Elsewhere in France: The chateaux, Nice, Toulouse, Cannes, Grasse, Lyon, and Marseille.
I’ve already mentioned that Halloween isn’t a big thing here in France, but it continues to be a big thing in my America mind- which explains why I’ve let go of the crutch that is mindlessly watching television shows for the first time (Game of Thrones and Sherlock) and turned to some more spooky stuff.
Not that GoT and Sherlock don’t get kind of… odd.
So creepy black and white films, what have I got? Quite a bit actually.
I’m trying to capitalize on the creepy and supernatural over suspense, because then (knowing me) we would wind up with just a list entirely of Hitchcock films.
But there’s still some Hitchcock:
- Psycho, 1960: Psycho is fair game because it’s one of the most famous, most impactful horror films of all time. Also, you knew it was on the list because of the header image, so no surprises here.
- The Birds, 1963: Another granddaddy horror film, but this time with some definite shades of the supernatural. Truly I don’t find this very scary, but it is a magnificent film.
What did I watch yesterday?
- Death Takes a Holiday, 1934: Spoiler alert, he falls in love. I actually had a very good time with this film- and Henry Travers is in it. ❤
Hey, that was a good book:
- The Innocents, 1961: The Innocents is based on Henry James’ Turn of the Screw and it definitely captures the novella’s encroaching claustrophobia and uncertainty. Is there evil afoot or is the governess batshit crazy?
- The Haunting, 1963: Based on Shirley Jackson’s Haunting of Hillhouse, the film isn’t quite true to the book, but it’s fantastic in it’s own unique way. Very atmospheric and spine-tingling. I recommend both.
- Nosferatu, 1922: The original vampire movie, based on Dracula, the original vampire book. Even more chilling than the titular villain? A wife calling her husband by his last name.
- The Uninvited, 1944: Based on a little known book by the same title, this is a beautiful and suspenseful family mystery/ghost story/romance.
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, 1947: So this is neither creepy nor scary so much as good wholesome odd couple romance. With Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. So yeah, pretty good.
- The Hound of the Baskervilles, 1939: Not supernatural but almost so, and the desolate moors and howling lend a fair bit of creepiness. It stays.
I love Bette Davis:
- Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, 1962: Not supernatural but definitely one of the more disturbing and creepy films on this list (possibly ever). Child stars, faded glory, and a permeating air of decay.
Dream within a dream:
- Dead of Night, 1945: Supernatural tale-telling between guests at a country house starts takes an odd turn as one begins to experience some pretty spectacular deja vu.
The artsy French are so weird:
- Eyes Without a Face, 1960: I find this to be a completely amazing movie, both in terms of its haunting beauty and the simple but strange plot. Face stealing.
Much as I’m loving living in France, there are some things that just aren’t the same and that give me a little ache when I think about them. This variety of homesickness is a lot less all-encompassing than the kind I had to deal with when I turned up at Yale four years ago (couldn’t tell you why), but for whatever reason this transition has felt much easier.
I do of course have thoughts about why, but that’s a topic for another day.
In the meantime, I’ve been finding it interesting to consider what it is I miss most about home (not necessarily America, but my own life there) and how there are some senses that are missing America more than others. Oddly, I feel like what I’m missing most are specific sounds, more than sights or smells or even tastes (though taste is a close second).
- Autumn color. Take it from an entitled North East girl who has spent all of her autumns surrounded by yellows and golds and oranges and reds. You definitely miss it. Leaves turn yellow and brown here- which is quite pretty- and you get the snow-like leaf shedding in the wind that I love so much, but the wonderland created by the other colors is just missing. Sighing for maples.
- Giant supermarkets. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll choose France’s small stores and open air markets over a Costco or Stop&Shop any day, but there is something oddly compelling (and reassuring) about that almost inappropriate abundance.
- Canada geese
- Sirens. The sirens here sound different and much more musical. I miss our sinister alarms.
- Blasting reggaeton. There are not enough people blasting reggaeton from car windows here. Though mercifully there are more than none.
- English. Hearing people speaking your own language as you walk around. You don’t realize how subconsciously comforting it is until everyone around you is speaking French.
- There isn’t anything tactile at home that I can’t as easily palpate in Versailles, except maybe my bed. It’s very easy to miss your bed.
- Not anything really. The thing about perfume school is that your nose gets plenty of exercise and novelty.
- Good lord home-cooked food. I miss it so much. I am cooking for myself here, but not any of the larger and more time-consuming recipes I would undertake at home. Partly because I’m sharing a kitchen with a host family. Partly because vegan ingredients are harder to find in these parts. Like the French don’t do vegan cheese. Why would they? Their cheese is a national treasure. But Dad’s pizza? My banana bread? Chickpea cutlets? Cornbread? So many foods.
And of course I didn’t list anything relating to the people and animals I miss. Beings are amalgamations of so many senses. The feeling of a hug or of soft cat fur. Every person and animal’s individual smell and the sound of their voice…