Dare I Go Three Whole Months Sans American-Style Bacon?Paris French Studies, Fall 2011
I can tell I’m nervous about the semester because certain dumb worries keep pressing on my mind, such as the Bacon Problem. But then I remind myself that I’m going to gourmet Shangri-la and, of course, there’s always that trusty European salami.
The bigger things I’m not worried about. When my older sister Elizabeth studied abroad in Vienna with IES, we practically had to lasso her into coming back. I visited her and can sense why she wouldn’t want to leave; her apartment was clean and bright, she took classes in a palace, and her program friends were the real deal, I’m talking Ya-Ya Sisterhood material. And she didn’t even have residual heart complications from all that Sachertorte mit schlag. I think this bodes well for my experience.
I’ve got this last week until I leave for Paris set aside for packing and fondly reviewing tidbits of frenchy, hm, “research” I’ve done over the summer:
-Gigi. Set in belle-époque Paris, the movie features a toothy Leslie Caron and a scene in which Maurice Chevalier sings “Thank Heaven for Little Girls.” I believe this song would be considered mildly perverted by today’s standards.
-Innocents Abroad. Twain’s documentation of his travels through Europe. Of Parisians, he quips, “they simply opened their eyes and stared when we spoke to them in French! We never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.”
-Laduree. Everyone’s favorite highfalutin macarons. If you aren’t impressed by that statement, have a look at the (somewhat unsettling) animation on their website: http://laduree.com. Whoever made this clearly had one too many cream puffs go to the head.
-Aymon. A Swiss friend I made in Australia. He regaled us with many French drinking songs. I include video documentation (below); note the flanking Siberian and Chinaman who valiantly attempt to sing along. (And yes, I realize that my background chuckles are all too audible). Aymon also informed me that the French majority does not celebrate Halloween. I guess that means I won’t be bringing my Abe Lincoln costume. But my host family probably would have been a touch concerned if I were to unpack a beard anyway.
-La Belle et La Bete. Cocteau’s gossamer adaptation of the well-known tale. Below, I link a Youtube clip of Belle’s dreamlike entrance to the Beast’s castle. If you mute the video and set it to “I’m Going Slightly Mad” by Queen, tis quite trippy. I will take credit for that.
-Edwin. My whimsical cousin, who taught in Paris for several years. Ed wrote me the following poem in light of my expatriation:
gardez bonne mine
et l’air Deneuve,
nostalgie de couleur rose
pour faire preuve
qu’un trajet vous pose
prète à découvrir le labyrinthe parisenco.
Thanks, Ed! All these little windows into the grand land of mimes, frog legs and artistic moustaches have me feeling like a serious Francophile. My relationship with bacon and bluegrass is going long-distance, but we’ll make it work!
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