September 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Marseille: On Soup, Soap, and Snorkeling

Oh hey Marseille...

“Oh I hear it’s really dirty down there,” people tell me every time I discuss summer vacation. I guess it’s tough to shake some labels. But seriously, Marseille is far from the cesspool people think it is. Or at least that's the case since 2013 when it was the European Capital of Culture, forcing it to scrub up a bit.

My friend Lindsey, who loves Marseille, has written about it quite a few times, so I know I’m not exaggerating. The city, the third largest in France, is also the biggest port along the Mediterranean and the town that has now stolen my heart twice.

It was the starting point for a road trip from Provence to Paris, and it started with a taxi ride from the train station that could rival the zigzaginess of any Parisian driver. Safe and sound in the Panier, one of the oldest parts of town, we slipped easily into vacation mode. There's just something about the south, ya know?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Marathon du Médoc 2014: A Masquerade

This was well before any notion of fatigue set in...

Third Time’s a Charm

Two Americans, an Aussie, and a Singaporean walk into a marathon…

It was just another Saturday in the Médoc region of France when 10,000 runners and wine lovers descended upon the sleepy town of Pauillac, north of Bordeaux. Dressed in their Carnival finest, we were ready to run the world’s longest marathon.

Fireworks burst overhead at 9:30AM as we set off on a 42 kilometer trek unlike any other in the world. Musicians lined the streets as locals joined runners from around the world, cheered on by an equally international crowd. Water was plentiful, but played second fiddle at this marathon.

I’ve written about it before, and I’ll say it again. It bears repeating. There's a reason I've come back for a third time. We drink wine – hearty red wine – at multiple chateaux along the route, racing towards the last few kilometers where oysters (with white wine), steak, and ice cream await the willing.

And we were all willing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Back to School in Paris: One More Time

All ready for my first day of class!

It was the last time I’d ever receive this type of letter. After grammar school, there was the excitement of high school. Then letters arrived about college. Then an acceptance letter to a master’s program arrived. Then came the notification that I had been adopted by the Sorbonne as a PhD candidate.

Yesterday I received my last set of “certificate de scolarité,” renewing my enrollment for the 2014-2015 year – my final year – at the University of the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris 3. This officially marked the end of my higher education in France, and probably in the world. There will be no more first days of school for me as a student after this October. My lunchbox would be retired, forever.

Well, at least that’s the most likely scenario. But this being France, who knows what hiccups I may encounter…