Thursday, 31 January 2013

Paris Snowed Under!

It snowed heavily last week, and I as usual, was quick to step outside for some "artsy" pictures with my trusty phone camera. I particularly love how the light changes when it snows, with the skies becoming stormy and slightly foreboding. It gives the city an eerie feeling, and automatically makes all my pictures look black and white or vintage. Anyway, here are a few of my favourite ones... 

Pictures were all taken late morning/early afternoon, with my HTC radar.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Resolutions 2013 or Annual (try!)To-do List

Increase Exercise
  • Take train to work, and walk (4 x 15 minutes) each day
  • Abandon metro; always cycle within Paris
Change Diet
  • Complete ban on caffeine and fizzy drinks. Minimise junk food consumption
  • Increase intake of water, fruit and vegetables. Practise quasi-vegetarianism
Improve Health
  • Get rid of acne
  • Increase fitness, heart-rate and muscle tone
  • Stay in touch; contact at least 4 friends abroad, each week
  • Spend more time making and developing Parisian friendships 
"Self Improvement"
  • Gain ability to converse in Italian
  • Start Spanish classes
  • Take a least one course in a subject that interests me; law, philosophy, Yoruba literature, history...
  • Restart violin lessons
  • Manage money well, save 2000€
  • Use time wisely
  • Blog at least 52 times 
  • Sing with the choir this summer
  • Start process of getting driving license
  • Improve punctuality
  • Read more books by Nigerian/African authors
  • Go dancing, to the opera/cinema, sightseeing etc. Be cheesy, have fun! 
I'm not sure, but this is maybe my first proper new year's resolution, and it's 17 days late already... Still, better late than never I say! I'm hoping to do an evaluation of how many of these goals I manage to achieve. I'm really optimistic at the moment, but come December we'll see how well I've done... ;)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Ma Vie Amoureuse a Paris 3

December was a bit bizarre for me, relationship-wise. I had just met someone I really liked, yet I hadn't officially ended things with Fred, and two other "past people" suddenly decided to contact me!

Antoine asked if we could hang out. I agreed to see him because to be honest, I like him as a friend, I was curious about why he was suddenly eager to see me, and he was paying for lunch at a very good sushi place. I obviously couldn't decline the invitation; everyone knows Japanese food is my Waterloo! Anyway, we hung out for a few hours, laughed, had fun etc., but I spent the whole time thinking about someone else. Towards the end of the afternoon he asked me out a couple of times, and spent the weekend texting drunk messages... It was really weird that he (now that I no longer liked him!) tried hard to get us to start seeing each other again, but for me spending the afternoon together was very helpful.  I realised I was completely over him, and that was such a relief.

Ben suddenly emailed from the US updating me about his life and his difficulty in finding a job at home. He then informed me that he might be moving back to Europe. I'm not sure what I was supposed to do with that piece of information, but it was nice to know how he's doing. However, but I'm not sure how or even if to reply...

With Fred I kind of felt the relationship was over, since we hadn't seen each other since early November and were barely staying in touch. Yet, I'm a very tidy person, and as long as we hadn't officially broken up, in my head we were still together. I wasn't really bothered about the weirdness of the situation though, until I met H who I really liked and wanted to be with. Anyway, I sent Fred an email (we weren't going to see each other until the new year!) explaining my side of things, and after a few exchanges with him trying to convince me to at least stay friends, the relationship was officially over. I felt really bad about how this ended, to be honest, but I guess it was doomed from the start...

Anyway, that brings us to Hussein :)

One Friday in the last weekend of November, while helping out at my new church with the Christmas baking, I met three nice guys. I immediately decided that two of them could become good friends, but sort of ignored the third one because I thought he was with one of the girls there. Anyway because I wanted to hang out with J, one of the two guys, I invited myself along to a football match evening which happened to include H. (Un)fortunately the Internet TV channel was a bit rubbish, and we had to entertain ourselves by chatting...that my friends is when I noticed him properly! Cute but a little reserved, I thought, so after some Facebook investigation to determine his "status," ;) I asked him out on a date. Little did I realise how easy it would be to fall under the spell of the wonderful Hussein...

H who is 28 (same age as me!) and Christian; who is tall, dark and very handsome; who has the most beautiful heart-melting dimpled smile. H who allowed me to drag him to the museum for the exhibition on Nigerian/the old Benin Kingdom arts, who listened patiently and asked intelligent questions as I showed off my knowledge about Nigeria. H who teases me because I've started speaking bad French, using slangs and gestures which are very French; who once helped me go to sleep by making up and telling me a beautiful image-rich story; who often texts me using the Yoruba and pidgin English phrases he learns by bugging his friends. H who might be first guy with whom I fall in love...

I have promised to keep him off my blog for the most part, but as I think he'll be around for a while, I have decided to officially christen him on here...just in case I ever need to mention him. So anyway, he will hereafter be known as Hussein my favourite Kenyan, alias HFK :)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Netherlands 2

Stumbled upon random real life nativity scene, where we agreed to take photos :)
On est tombées sur cette vraie crèche de Noël où ils nous ont persuadé et nous ont pris en photo :)

Les velos...partout!

While walking round the city...
Pendant notre balade dans la ville

It was foggy throughout, making the city seem mysterious, mythical, beautiful
Il faisait du brouillard pendant ma visite, ça a rendu la ville mystérieuse, mythique, magnifique

Netherlands 1

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I spent a few days with my friend E in Utrecht just before Christmas. It's been quite a few years since I last visited the Netherlands, so I was grateful when she decided to take time off from her twenty-five hours a day/six days a week (supposedly part-time!) PhD job to show me round Amsterdam. We went to the Anne Frank house, saw a monument (an old Jewish theatre) dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and spent the rest of the time wandering round the city. I have always been interested in the second world war, and was really wanting to visit the house, but it was really sad for me to imagine what the people went through. Still, it was a lot of fun rediscovering the city with E.
Comme je l'ai dit il y a quelques billets, j'ai eu la chance de passer un peu de temps avec mon amie E à Utrecht, juste avant Noël. Ça fait presque 5 ans depuis ma dernière visite aux Pays-Bas, donc j'ai été contente quand elle a décidé de prendre congé de son vingt-cinq heures par jour/six jours par semaine doctorat (soi disant emploi a mi-temps!) de me faire visiter Amsterdam. On est  allées à la maison d'Anne Frank, a vu un monument (un ancien théâtre juif) dédié à la mémoire des victimes de l'Holocauste, et a passé le reste du temps, en balades dans la ville. J'ai toujours été intéressée par la seconde guerre mondiale, et avais vraiment envie de visiter la maison, mais il était tellement triste pour moi d'imaginer ce que ces gens ont vécu. Mais à part ça, c'était une vraie plaisir de redécouvrir la ville.

Vending machine for junk food, Dutch efficiency at work!
Un distributeur de junk food, l'efficacité néerlandaise en spectacle!

They call it Oliebol, we call it puff-puff. I was able to taste this delicacy again after  many years
Ils l'appellent oliebol, nous l'appelons puff-puff. J'ai pu goûter ce délice à nouveau, après plusieurs années

The requisite Amsterdam photos of "coffee" shops :)
Des clichés obligatoires,  les "coffee-shops" d'Amsterdam :)

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year's Eve/Le Réveillon

My sister left for England a few days ago, leaving me home alone. Since I knew I'd be working early on new year's, I'd originally planned to dine solo and then go to bed. However, I ended up spending time virtually with Hussein (my favourite Kenyan!), and it was fun to welcome in the year twice. I may live in Paris, but I'm British and for me the year doesn't begin until the BBC has broadcast shots of Big Ben striking midnight! As usual, having my trusty camera phone to hand, I decided to  record everything for posterity's sake ;)

Ma sœur est partie en Angleterre il y a quelques jours, me laissant seule à la maison. Comme je savais que j'allais travailler tôt le jour de l'an, j'ai prévu de dîner en solo, puis de me coucher. Mais au lieu de ça, j'ai pu passer du temps en ligne avec Hussein (mon Kényan  préféré!), et c'était bien amusant de fêter le nouvel an à deux reprises. Même si j'habite à Paris, je suis anglaise et pour moi l'année ne commence pas jusqu'à ce que la BBC a diffusé les images de Big Ben sonne minuit! Comme d'habitude, ayant mon téléphone, mon fidèle compagnon à la main, j'ai décidé de toute enregistrer pour la postérité ;)

Champagne in freezer = Disaster!
Champagne au congélateur, quel désastre!

Dressed to kill... :)
Habillé sur mon trente-et-un... :)

Candle, lit...
Bougie, allumée...

Frozen Yule Log with Berries
Bûche Glacée avec des Fruits Rouges

Garlic Snails. Yum!
Escargots à l'Ail. Miam!

Dinner is served!
Le dîner est servi :)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013