Winter Break: A Photo Essay

Apparently I said I would blog on a “semi-regular basis” or something, which was a smart, proactive, and foreshadowing description of my “recent” activity on this blog seeing as I did not write a single blog post last semester. I wrote a thesis though so I guess that’s an accomplishment. Oh, and no more Facebook for me, so I have no idea who will see this post. (email subscribers? are there any of you out there?)

With winter break coming to a close I will present to you some of the world seen from my eyes (or rather, the lens of my cell phone) during that time.

One of three completed knitting projects. #mylifeissad

One of three completed knitting projects. #mylifeissadorhilarious






Dirty Projectors at Carnegie Hall 1/11/13

Dirty Projectors at Carnegie Hall 1/11/13

mom's office computer holds a trove of treasures.

mom’s office computer holds a trove of treasures.

Newest addition to JFK boulevard btw. 30th and 31st.

Newest additions to JFK boulevard btw. 30th and 31st.

Not a super thematic photo essay but oh well. The photos are fun though!

Finally, I feel compelled to mention that today is a very special girl’s birthday…


Happy 5th birthday to the most photogenic dog in the world! I love and miss you sooooo much.

I’m not dead!

Dear readers, contrary to popular belief I did not fall off the face of the earth after returning from Paris. I’ve settled into HCA (which once upon a time were called HPA, as I learned from my job) life, and am enjoying the delicious CSA vegetable share that Nate, Peter, and I are splitting for the summer. (However, I’m not really enjoying the mouse  that I see scurrying around from time to time).

This could be sort of an epilogue-y post ending the ariellebold enterprise, but I sort of want to keep the blog and update it on a semi-regular basis. We’ll see how that goes until the semester starts.

So yeah. United States. I’m really loving it here now. I’m not feeling nostalgic for France as much as having a newfound appreciation for some American ways of life. This realization could be due to my being a student/boarder more than a tourist, because I am definitely nostalgic for some of the places I’ve visited in Europe outside of Paris. (Am I bad to say I miss Germany a lot?) Since I’ve been back home, I’ve been coming up with a mental list of things that have been culture -shocking. Some of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust to coming back from abroad have been:

  • Floor numberings in America being one shorter than they are in France. (Maybe this difference is one of the reasons why America has an obesity problem.) I tend to think I’m a lot higher up now in a building than I actually am. And get confused when I realize I’m lower.
  • Businesses being open on Sunday (and grocery stores being open past 2PM). I have this idea in my head now that I can’t go anywhere on Sunday. This is wrong! In fact, now that I mention it, 24-hour locations (read: Wawa, CVS) are sounding pretty awesome to return to as well.
  • BOY did I miss diner food. That’s not really a negative adjustment, I’m very excited to have diner food back in my life.

Otherwise, nothing super new and exciting on the horizon except that I’m starting some thesis research, so actually that is exciting. Last week I got stung by a bee on my toe while taking out the garbage, which is a pretty sad way for a bee to die as I didn’t provoke it at all. Yesterday, a week after this bee sting occurred, my toe decided to swell up, which looks funny compared to the other toes but is sort of scary seeing as I’ve never had this reaction to a bee sting before. So now I’m on some antibiotics and wish I had a time-lapse memory so that I could figure out if the antibiotics are working! I’ve saved the stinger for curatorial purposes…to be placed in the museum about me which will be erected in my honor at some point in the near future. Hey, maybe this blog post will make an appearance on the wall description that accompanies it. So meta!

Turning 21 in a few short weeks means I can patronize the newly erected Beer Shop-ee (for cider) and Bryn Mawr Bev (for cider), in addition to the most histper pub + cheese and meat and bread that Ardmore has ever seen. Have I mentioned how much I miss cider? or apfelwein? or German beer? OR the glorious apfelweisse!


I am back from my weekend trip to la campagne! And it’s my 100th post! And I will be done with finals on Wednesday! And Nate is coming in 4 days! Lots to be excited about. AAAHH!

But this post is about my trip bien sûr. Just to fill in folks: I was invited to Normandy by my internship boss’ boss, who founded AteliersVilles. I worked with her several times over the two months I interned, and she took a liking to me! She and her husband ended up inviting me to their country home a few weeks ago at the end-of-the-year intern party. Which was super nice! I took the train from Paris since they had spent the entire week there and I had class. The train left from Saint-Lazare and arrived in the Trouville-Deauville station in about two hours. The train station serves both Trouville and Deauville, two cities which are connected by a bridge. Odile and her husband picked me up from the train station and we grabbed lunch at a local brasserie where I ate mussels. Odile and I also walked along the shoreline and she showed me the beach cabins that run along the beach for several kilometers, each one being named after an American movie star! Which was sort of strange but funny. After lunch we drove to their home, which was about 20 minutes away. When we got out of the car it immediately smelled like cow poop, so I knew I was definitely in the countryside! Now I know why the French say “la campagne.”

The back of their house. The house used to be a forger, which is where a blacksmith lived. It was built in the 1600s I believe. Pretty cool it’s lasted all this time! Odile and her husband have owned about four or five apartments/houses in Normandy, and they are thinking of selling this one soon to be closer to the main part of town.

part of their backyard, with a wall dating from the Middle Ages.

more of the backyard, the hill behind the fence is where cows run down every night to graze.

here comes one!

After settling into my room, Odile took me to Honfleur, a neighboring town.

view of the main part of Honfleur from a hill, which is also in Honfleur.

Honfleur zoomed-in

Église Notre-Dame de Grâce. Since Honfleur is a fishing/sailor town, the interior of the church has all sorts of nautical symbols, and they even hung up model boats from the ceiling.

side street in Honfleur, at the bottom of the hill now.

inside Église Sainte-Catherine, in the main part of Honfleur. It was built from two separate hulls of boats which makes the church asymmetrical in the interior. Kinda cool! At the time the church was built, a lot of buildings were built using scraps of wood from old ships. Most buildings in Normandy are built from wood rather than stone due to the abundance of the material.

port of Honfleur

a lot of the streets in Honfleur had these flags hanging along the width of the road.

On our way back to the house we stopped along the beach so Odile could show me some of her favorite houses that are au bord de la mer, for lack of a better expression in English. (And with each house, of course, comes the gossip about each of the owners, like the family whose dog always runs away and never thanks the people who bring him back.)

sign on the beach in Trouville-sur-mer

houses lining the beach. I am a fan of the stylized military fortress!

That night I had my first traditionally French home-cooked meal of the entire semester (and it’s already the middle of May!) – with an entrée (appetizer), plat (main dish), salad, and cheese. I have eaten these types of meals out before (actually just at the catered lunch at the Assemblée Nationale) but it has always been funny for me to eat salad after the main course, because in the US it’s typically served as an appetizer.

The next day we went to see a lot of World War II sites, which were about an hour’s drive away from our house. The first place we stopped was at the American Cemetery. They had a free exhibit in a freestanding building next to the entrance that focused on the D-Day operation and Allied Forces tactics in general. Everyone was getting so emotional! The French are still very thankful for the Americans saving their country from the Nazis!!! In fact, so much so that the American cemetery is actually US territory – the French gave it to us as a gift. So throughout our time there Odile and Guy kept saying “tu es chez toi!” (You’re home!)

view of the American Cemetary

trees in the reflecting pool

There are over 9,000 graves in the cemetery, with deceased soldiers from both before and after D-Day.

Jewish soldiers have different gravestones. The backs of all the tombstones have the soldier’s name, military ranking, date of death, and state of origin.

one of the many unknown soldiers who are buried here.

After spending an hour and a half at the cemetery, we drove to Omaha Beach, the site of the débarquement, and ate at the restaurant located right next to the beach. It turns out that the owner of the restaurant is Odile’s son’s mother-in-law, so we were pretty much treated like family. Since their restaurant is really the only one in this location, it was crowded when we arrived, but we spent a good two hours there because it was raining and we couldn’t really walk on the beach anyway. By the time we finished lunch the rain had stopped, so we were able to explore a little bit and take some pictures.

memorial commissioned for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.

We then drove from Omaha Beach to Pointe du Hoc, another military site along the shore where battles took place. There were a ton of holes where (I suppose) the Allies fired bombs, and we were also able to see what remained of the German defensive constructions.

craters galore

German thing.

(Phallic) memorial for soldiers who fought at Pointe du Hoc.

Saturday night we also ate dinner at home which was yummy! The drive back to Paris today was about two hours, but given the rainy weather that was to be expected. And we beat Parisian traffic woohoo! The weather this weekend wasn’t super great for most people, but I liked it. It was grey out but not cold at all, so it was still enjoyable to be outside. I am really happy to have seen this part of France, and sort of on a whim at that!

The beginning of the end

I leave in exactly 14 days from today, which is crazy. I have a lot going on in between then, including four final exams for three classes, a weekend trip to Deauville (Normandy), and then six days in Paris with Nate! I am really excited to move out of my apartment – time for a change of scenery and some independence.

This post is going to be sort of a hodgepodge of pictures I’ve wanted to post for a while and updates on what I’ve been seeing in the past 48 hours. So here we go:

ceci n’est pas du vandalisme (this is not vandalism) [side note to my francophone friends: is the “du” grammatically correct? shouldn’t it be de?]

Inside the library of the Assemblée Nationale. Harry Potter lives!!!!

inside the Salle de Séances of the Assemblée Nationale (they are in recess, hence the wrong date, I did not visit on Wednesday, March 7)

View from the restaurant on the 9th floor of Printemps, one of the big department stores in Paris. TE;DE (too expensive, didn’t eat (there))

Yesterday was the Investiture of François Hollande – his day of being brought into term. (Side note: Presidents are not inaugurated here in France – we have a faux ami here! One uses the word “inaugurate” for buildings when they are to be opened/presented.) I caught this procession of horses on the bike path along the seine on the rive droite, just by Place de la Concorde. I was taking the bus and there was a huge traffic jam because of it! Also the horses were followed by three garbage trucks and an ambulance 😛

One year-old rainbow building south of the Tour de Montparnasse. Today in my history of Paris class we actually spent the afternoon walking around this neighborhood, and it happens to be right near where Nate and I have booked our studio apartment when he visits!

View of the Eiffel Tower from Place de Catalogne

I was SUPER excited when we were shown this building, because I thought I had studied it in my history of modern architecture class. I was freaking out (mostly in my head), trying to remember the names/architects/etc. After googling “modern apartments paris glass columns classical” I hit the jackpot! Sort of. Because I found the building I studied, but it’s not in Paris. They are nearly IDENTICAL. 

THIS is what I studied – public housing called “Les Espaces d’Abraxas.” Don’t they look so similar?! (Thank you google for the pic.) (Also thank you Liberal Arts Education for giving me the ability to *think* I recognize buildings – a truly marketable skill.)

Our last stop was in Notre-Dame du Travail, a catholic church. It was built in the 1900s for construction workers. Since materials were so scarce, the architect used iron, stone, and wood from the Palais d’Industrie, an old exposition hall for a World’s Fair that was dismantled when the Petit Palais and Grand Palais were built in its place. I had never seen a church with metal décor and art deco paintings, it was super!

This is for you GC – poster on the front of the church with Pope Jean Paul II (who is apparently the servant of mercy) saying “Don’t be afraid” !!!!! Something’s not right here…

Tomorrow is another jour ferié (national holiday) so I’ll probably spend the day “studying” or something. Hopefully I’ll have more to post after this weekend after spending the weekend in Normandy!

Two Châteaux

If you study with Sweet Briar in the fall semester, orientation is held for a month in Tours, where you get to see a lot of pretty châteaux and enjoy the warm summer weather. For the spring semester folk, orientation was held in Paris for a week. This past weekend, the annuals + us semestrials went on an excursion to see two châteaux just outside of Paris, Château Vaux-le-Vicomte and Château Fontainebleau. I think Fontainebleau is a little more famous, it is the site where Napoleon I was arrested/abdicated and has incredibly rich interior décor designed by famous French folk such as François Ier and Henri IV.

We departed from Paris bright and early at 8:45 in the morning, to arrive at Vaux-le-Vicomte a little before it opened at 10, along with a bus full of old people.

these dudes aligned the gate at the front of the château.

We had two and a half hours of free time until the group reconvened for lunch, which gave us ample time to explore the gardens and go inside the château.

The first working moat I’ve seen on a château! Château de Vincennes, which I saw earlier this semester, had the remains (read: trench) of a moat but there was no water inside. There were even carp swimming around in it!

funny sign that indicated to visitors not to let children walk on the grass/ruin the meticulously-groomed French garden.

French gardens, with English garden surrounding it. We went al the way to the top of the hill you see there in the back! The garden + hill reminded me a lot of the Schönbrunn estate my mom and I saw in Vienna.

third-wheeling/application of my hebrew name

trying to fit in, not working so well.

view of Vaux-le-Vicomte from the back. The dome was being restored when we visited, unfortunately!

“toilet” I saw in the “bathroom.” Removable toile chamber pot inside wicker chair.

“Realistic”(?) “workers” I saw in the kitchen.

We ate a three-course lunch at a restaurant at the château which was super yummy! I’m on a roll with all these catered meals! Then everyone fell asleep on the bus (probably from the wine) on the way to Fontainebleau. Apparently Fontainebleau is the same size as Vaux-le-Vicomte but it seemed a lot larger, I think because the distance from the entry gate to the building itself was a lot smaller. We had two hours here, and went inside the château before exploring the gardens.

wall panelling inside La Galérie François Ier which was, evidently, built by François Ier. I had already learned in my history of Paris visit to the Basilique de Saint-Denis that the salamander was his symbol, but I learned from the audioguide that this is because they “repel” fire. (I guess since they’re amphibians?)

décor along the Queen’s staircase

Part of the English garden. These gardens were different from Vaux-le-Vicomte as the French garden was completely separate from the English garden rather than being incorporated inside it.

view of the château from the lake

Overall, I think I liked the gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte over that of Fontainebleau, and the interior of Fontainebleau over that of Vaux-le-Vicomte. And, actually, I preferred Fontainebleau as a whole over Versailles! Which is crazy seeing as how ornate and beautiful Versailles is, but however scaled-down (if at all) Fontainebleau is was preferable to me. I haven’t fully explored the gardens of Versailles yet, so maybe my impressions will change once I go with Nate.

Today I went out for lunch with Allison and have been making the finishing touches on my university “scavenger hunt” paper (as I now call it) due tomorrow. After I hand it in i’ll be on the home stretch, with four exams left which require minimal studying!


My History of Paris professor said today that there are 5 cities in Europe that have the best representations of the Art Nouveau style: Barcelona, Prague, Vienna, Brussels, and Paris. And I’ve been to all those places! I didn’t get to see very much Art Nouveau in Vienna, and I don’t remember very much architecturally from Barcelona, but it’s still pretty cool to say that I’ve been to all the best cities representative of my favorite style of architecture.

In today’s site visit (because I still have a week of class!), we walked around the 16th arrondissement, where I had never really been before. Apparently this neighborhood has the biggest architectural variety of anywhere else in Paris – you see Haussmann apartment buildings next to ones built in the 60s and 70s. Very cool, and the neighborhood is super cute to boot. Our focus of this class was on Hector Guimard, Art Nouveau, and the International Style that followed. Guimard is that gangsta who designed all the pretty green wrought-iron entrys to the métro. He became famous a bit earlier than that though, and it was through his connections with Parisian politicians that he was selected to design these entryways. Anyways, the neighborhood that we were in had a good 5 or 6 Guimard buildings still preserved, which is amazing! I was so so so happy. I love Art Nouveau man. AND, my professor brought up again the relationship between Art Nouveau and Gothic which made me happy. My two favs.

I wanted to post all the pictures I took because I love all the buildings. But alas, I narrowed it down to a good 15 or 20.

Hector Guimard’s signature – which he put on all his buildings. Architects were allowed to “sign” their work until after WWII, when people didn’t want famous architects getting too much of the spotlight.

First Guimard house we saw.

He designed everything, from the moldings to the numbers.

His style is also known for using a mixture of materials- here we see stone, concrete, and iron.

one of the other apartments we saw, which was part of a whole little cluster of Guimard apartments. Here we see the famous bow-window, which gives the apartment more light and square footage without taking up more room on the sidewalk.

He left no detail undesigned.

Façade of the Castel Béranger, proudly listing its 1st prize win for the best façade of Paris. I gave an oral presentation on this bad boy today for my class (because why wouldn’t I have chosen the Art Nouveau monument). This is Guimard’s most famous building (and it’s still occupied today! Our prof said that the rent is not high at all…perhaps if I end up being a grown up I will call this place my humble abode)

blurry façade

I appreciate how the door tells you the name of the building. Who even names buildings these days? Or knows their names? (actually that question is entirely false from an architectural history perspective, but you get the idea.)

view of the back/courtyard of the Castel. There are 36 apartments in the building.


stylized seahorse in green! those dudes were all over the place. plus a cool shot overall.

The second famous house we saw was designed by the architect Mallet-Sevens on a road which carries his name.

He designed all the houses on the street and his signature looked like this.

and you can’t go posting pictures of International Style buildings without talking about Le Corbusier. So here is a photo I snapped of Villa Rocroy, our last stop on the site visit. (did everyone check off their 5 points of international style? I did!)

Shoe Quandary

I brought nine pairs of shoes with me to Paris. Which seems like a lot if you say it out loud, but I would like to think that I am not as high-maintenance/fashion-savvy as that number may imply. The breakdown is as follows: two pairs of boots (one tall, one short, obviously), two pairs of sneakers (one red, one blue), one pair of black flats, one pair of black heels, one pair of sandals, and two pairs of flip flops (one which was used for showering in the hostels). I have yet to wear my heels and my non-shower flip-flops, so I would say I *slightly* overpacked. Didn’t get as warm/fancy as I imagined, I guess.

The issue for me, with 21 days left in Paris until I leave and an incomprehensible bond I form with every pair of shoes I have owned, is which shoes to bring back home. Surprisingly for me (but perhaps unsurprisingly for most of you), some of the shoes I brought are beginning to show their last legs.

You have my short boots, for example, which, at only a little over a year old, already have cracks in the sole! I only noticed the damage over spring break but I have noticed the bad smell which comes from that cracked portion for quite some time – I never knew where it came from before! Also the back heels are getting to be quite worn down.

I did not bend them to show you so that I wouldn’t throw up while the photo was being taken.

dat erosion

You have my navy blue jack purcells, which, after almost two years of being my favorite pair of sneakers, are not so pretty anymore.

me being sad because I love these shoes and the soles are wearing down.

frayed backs, etc etc etc.

Then you have my red Vans, which I’ve had since freshman year of college and have lent to various people over the years. These are the pair of shoes I am less attached to (if I can say that without sounding like a brat), and they’re one of the oldest pairs of shoes I have owned, so I’m thinking they’ve had a good run.

yep that’s an almost-hole you see there.

I got the title of this post from the NY Times Moderlode blog, which examines a variety of issues around parenting in the 21st century (and I keep up with that sort of thing, you know). Because Lisa Belkin stopped writing principally for the blog, Motherlode consists of guest posts every day, which cover a variety of subjects. They recently started a once per week “Parental Quandary,” in which readers submit various conflicts and questions regarding specific parenting and children issues. Readers post comments on the article, and then the best comments (and the ultimate solution of the parent[s]) are posted a couple days later.

So here is the quandary: do I bring my boots home and redo the sole, or is it not worth it? Will I be more or less hipster if I replace my blue sneakers? Should I just walk around barefoot from now on? What if I have friends who desperately need to borrow a pair of red shoes next year and I don’t have mine?

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