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Friday, October 28, 2005

Oh It's Cold!

So my fears of winter having arrived were yet again a little premature. Apparently Paris is yet again experiencing unusual weather and this week has been fairly mild. So mild in fact that I have worn my flip flops the last two days. Being an enormous fan of flip flops I happily welcomed this change of weather and in addition I was thoroughly pleased to be able to witness one of my favorite French oddities one more time.

For some reason the French like to pretend it is not warm but that it is always cold. Along with this both men and women have a love affair with scarves. I first noticed their love of scarves over the winter, ok it's cold no big deal scarves are nice. But then came summer and they continued to wear their scarves and yet complained about how hot it was. I'd like to point out it was never really that hot whenever they were complaining, had they simply removed the 4 foot long scarf wrapped 5 times around their necks they would have realized that it actually felt pretty good outside.

So this type of behavior continued for most of the summer but they did finally start ditching the scarves once it became truly hot. However, at the first sign of cold weather out came the scarves, sweaters, jackets, etc. and despite how much it has warmed up since then they refuse to put them back up.

So as previously mentioned it has warmed up a bit again in these last few days. Today was a lovely 75 degrees and I pulled out the flip flops, capri pants, and tank top. Yes perhaps I did over retreat back to summer but I was never cold and I was comfortable all day. So as I was walking through the office one of my French coworkers had to stop and ask me if I was cold wearing my flip flops outside. I simply said that I was not since it wasn't cold outside. He then has to point out that he's wearing a sweater and has his coat and scarf and doesn't understand how I'm wearing flip flops. Unfortunately at the time all I could think to say was "but it's not cold".

So here I am yet again trying to figure out why the French insist on dressing as though it is always cold, even when it's not, and find myself asking "what is the deal with the scarves?".

Thursday, October 27, 2005

What The Heck?

So now the French think they can own the smell of strawberries???

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- The European Union's second highest court has rejected a French company's bid to trademark the smell of ripe strawberries.

The court said evidence showed that "strawberries do not have just one smell" because varieties of the fruit were not alike.

"There is no generally accepted international classification of smells which would make it possible ... to identify an olfactory sign," the court said Thursday.

Paris-based Eden SARL had asked the court to overrule the EU's trademark agency, which rejected a request made by another French firm to register the scent in May 2004.

The company planned to sell the scent for use in soaps, lotions, cosmetics and scented pens.

The court dismissed the attempt to register the smell and a picture of a strawberry as a trademark. It agreed that in some cases, a trademark for a scent could be allowed.

"The olfactory memory is probably the most reliable memory that humans posses," it said. "Consequently, economic operators have a clear interest in using olfactory signs to identify their goods."

Only one scent has so far won EU trademark protection: the smell of freshly cut grass. A Dutch perfume company registered the scent in 2000 and uses it to make tennis balls smell good.

Attempts to trademark raspberry, lemon and vanilla scents have also been turned down.

To their defense though I guess they did have some reason since freshly cut grass has already been trademarked, although I still don't understand that one either.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You Know A Lot Of People Go To College For Seven Years

Well I just found out today that I was accepted to receive my diploma from my French school, Euromed Marseille. However, in typical French fashion I won't actually receive it until Febuary despite having graduated in August. On top of this I finally received my paper diploma from Pepperdine about two weeks ago. Therefore, it seems to me that I have at last finally completed all requirements and all administrative work and am officially done with school!

I'm kind of excited about all this but it's also kind of hard to accept it seeing as how I have yet to see any of my diplomas and have had no form of celebration. I did receive a few presents and some nice cards, but it's still just hard to believe that I'm done with school for potentially the rest of my life. No more hiding from the real world in classrooms for me, it's finally time to go out and join the rest of society.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Day In The Land of Chocolate

So today I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 8th annual Salon du Chocolat in Paris. Two friends and myself headed down to South Paris this afternoon where we overindulged in chocolate for about 4 hours. There were booths setup from various places and many offered samples of the chocolate. We tasted various degrees of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and even some white chocolate. We had chocolate liquour, hot chocolate, chocolate bread, and even a type of spicey chocolate dip which was eaten with a tortilla chip(surprisingly delicious). There was even a fashion show of dresses made with chocolate, and they were offering chocolate facials and massages.

Needless to say it was a great time and it's a good thing I'm broke or else I might have come home with boxes and boxes of chocolate. If you would like to see pictures from the event you can find them on my website under "France Pictures" in the menu bar.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Winter Has Arrived

Since arriving home to cold temperatures in Paris back in September I have been living in fear of winter's arrival. I realized the extent of my fear this past week when we were blessed with a random week of warm beautiful weather. So I was chatting with my friend as we were laying in the sun in the park and telling him how afraid I am of winter coming this year and how odd that is since I'm usually so excited for winter. He then pointed out that I'm now coming from a Parisian summer, not a Texan summer, and heading into a Parisian winter, not a Texan winter (he's a Texan as well). So I then realized he was right, I just left a summer where I enjoyed the temperatures most of the time, I never had the chance to get frustrated with the heat and I am not heading into a mild refreshing winter but a full, real, if you will, winter. So while I was happy to realize I just spent a year going through what I would call real seasons, despite what I would call a rather chilly spring, I became even more fearful of the approaching winter. At that time I wasn't sure how much longer our great weather would last, but I knew it couldn't be that much longer. I woke up sunday to a so so day and considered our great weather to be gone. I dressed for winter monday morning and left for work only to be surprised with a rather warm beautiful day again. I had lunch in the park and was happy to see winter was holding back a little longer.

However, I woke up this morning with memories of yesterday and dressed for the warmer temperatures. Only this time when I left for work it was grey and very cold. I stayed in for lunch and when I left to go home it was already getting dark, it was still cold and still grey leaving me to conclude that winter has officially arrived. Hard to believe just 3 days ago I was laying in a park in a tank top, with barefeet, and my jeans rolled up, surrounded by people in their bathing suits. I guess I knew it was coming and it had to come eventually. The only thing getting me through this is the fact that I know mid winter I get to return to my mild Texas winters I've come to appreciate in some form.

In an update on my previous post, today there was a whole shelf devoted to christmas candy set up in my grocery store. At the same store I found a shelf about 1/8 the size of the christmas candy shelf devoted to all things Halloween. I found myself staring at the Halloween shelf for quite some time missing Halloween decorations. Had it not been for the fact that I'm so broke, I would have bought that Halloween candle. But anyway, I think this takes the cake for the most premature decorating/holiday preparations and it's coming from France, who would have guessed?

Monday, October 17, 2005

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

So upon leaving my office today I look up across the street and to my surprise I see that Galleries Lafayette has already begun putting an enormous display of christmas lights on their building. I was thoroughly excited as I just can't wait to see Paris dressed up in Christmas decorations, not to mention it's nice to see the French make some form of celebration/decoration for a holiday.

*Disclaimer: I in no way actually support this blatant disregard for Halloween and premature decorating, however, due to the fact that the French do not celebrate Thanksgiving and only rarely decorate or even celebrate holidays the way we do in the U.S. I am willing to look past this faux pas as I have been holiday deprived here.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Friendly With The Bums

So I've noticed quite often in Paris that people will just stop and talk to the bums on the street. They wave and say hello to them and chat with them as though they're friends. The other day I saw a girl do the French cheeck kiss with a bum and then squat down on the ground to chat with him. While this seems very nice, it also seems very wrong in some way.

First off I really don't understand how you become friends with a bum in the first place. And secondly, wouldn't you feel bad about being friends with someone who you let sleep outside on the ground. It seems to me like you should be helping them, but perhaps your chats do help.

Basically I just really don't understand this and am facinated by it so I thought I'd share, perhaps some of you have a few thoughts on the subject.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

French Celebrities

So today on my lunch break I happened to come across French actor (who has also been in several American films)Gerard Depardieu. He was out in the street talking, almost seemed yelling, at 3 police officers and holding two bottles of wine. There were trailers on a side street so I know they were filming a movie and the cops seemed to be there to block the streets, however, not sure why he'd be upset with them.

Anyway, was kind of fun seeing a celebrity and a French one this time. Guess I could have in theory seen other french celebrities and have never known since I really don't know that many well enough to recognize them.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Again, I'd like to ask the question "Is it just me or is there something wrong here?"

Soon my loans will be coming due and since I am still just a lowly intern I called up Sallie Mae to find out my options on deferment since I will in no way be able to make my payments for a while now.

After explaing to her that I can't pay because I'm abroad doing an internship and her going through my options and informing me of the procedures we chat just a bit before she does her wrap up.

In this final wrap up she informs me that Sallie Mae also does financing for mortgages and proceeds to ask me if I'm planning on buying a house within the next 3 months.

If I can't pay my loans do I honestly have any business buying a house? Not to mention I just stated I was living abroad doing an internship.

Now I know it's just standard procedure and she must ask that question to everyone, but don't you think at some point companies should just start letting their employees make judgement calls. Because in my opinion this just makes the company look bad and makes them less in tune with their customers as it seems she just didn't listen to a word I said.