5.25.2012

Amour


I love big cities. Everything about them is fascinating to me. My top three favorites are Paris, London, and New York City. I love these all for different reasons, and today I'm longing for Paris! Here are my reasons:

1. The language. French is so beautiful. I can't wait to become fluent and not feel so touristy asking "parlez vous anglais?" every time I need help. 

2. Food. Some of my favorite restaurants in the world (literally) I've found tucked away in Montemartre, along the Champ-Elysees, or nestled in the tiny streets of the Notre Dame district. The crepe shops on most street corners with the most delicious nutella crepes! The fondue is amazing and don't even get me started about the pastries! And you know? I even like escargot.

Another charming thing about the French dining system is the time they take to enjoy a meal. In America, if your food is good, you wolf it down. However, eating out is quite an experience in France! There is no rush and the waiters take their sweet time bringing your check. My favorite restaurants are quaint and usually packed! It's wonderful to sit there eating fabulous food listening to people speaking rapid French and just enjoy being in Paris! 

3. Streets. Paris in the summer is gorgeous! The French love their flowers and put them on display on seemingly every window. Beautiful, thick, green trees line the streets filled with tiny smart cars, mopeds, and plenty of expensive BMW's. In most areas of Paris there is a rule that buildings cannot exceed a certain height. Thus, the Eifel Tower is visible from many places. These buildings have kept their original facades and are Parisian all the way. With the intricate decorations and designs lending an antique feel to every street. These twisting streets lead to all sorts of beautiful, hidden, sites and just strolling down the road is lovely.


4. Fashion. That classic Parisian Chic sense of style is prominent in most people out and about. In fact, the difference between a foreigner and a Parisian is most definitely the way the dress. No one can pull of style like the French. It's not just the clothes they wear, it's how they wear them. It's a style I wish I had... perhaps if I live in Paris long enough one day then I somehow inherit that!

5. Icons. The beautiful landmarks of Paris are breathtaking! The beautiful churches are awe-inspiring. Some of my favorites being the Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, and the Sacre Coeur. You can still feel the past breathing in Paris. The Place de la Concorde still bears the feeling of the French Revolution and Versailles still reminiscent of King Louis and Marie Antoinette. The Arc de Triomphe is beautiful as ever, yet reminds of WWII and the Nazis occupation. The different palaces and vast buildings are all testament to the French's taste for decadency! 

6. Art. The finest art in the world resides in Paris. I could spend months in the Louvre and not see all the museum has to offer! I haven't figured out why the Mona Lisa is the most popular piece here because it's rather small and honestly not too impressive. The most famous paintings of all time are on show there, but the entire Louvre is full of simply beautiful things. After the Louvre, just walk across the Seine and you're at the Musee d'Orsay! Which is also lovely...



7. Lights. At night, the city is lit up in the most stunning way. Up on top of the Eifel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe, the view is unbelievable. I'd say Paris has been most aptly nicknamed the "City of Lights." I think it's fairly evident to say it's a pretty romantic place. I've been to the Eifel too many times without my kiss! Next time I suppose.







I'm getting carried away! I'd better stop here.  So to sum it up, I love Paris. I don't know why I miss it so much today. Maybe it's the weather. That's a safe bet! Always blame unknown emotions on the weather. Sitting here in the library seems really boring after writing all that... oh well. I'll get back to France soon enough! 

5.19.2012

Warning: Nerd Post.

I  just finished a great book called Sarah's Key. So sad, but also very thought provoking. It talked a lot about the Vel d'Hiv that happened in Paris back in July 1942. Honestly, I had never heard of it before. I can't believe I hadn't heard about something so devastating... but it got me thinking about how much I love two things.

The first thing being history. I love learning all about the past. It's fascinating and haunting all at the same time. I feel like things that happened in history can still be extremely relevant to the present. William Faulkner said that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." I feel the same way. Stories and events which happened so long ago still feel linked to what occurs right now. Think of all the people who have lived on Earth since the beginning of time and how each individual person has a story to tell. Also, the amount genius that's been on this planet is amazing. It's interesting to think that by studying history we can tap into all of that thought and wisdom that's been stored up for thousands of years. There is so much to be learned from the very finest of human achievement. Like incredible scientific and mathematical discoveries. The architectural feats. The brilliant literature and essays. The political advancements. Thriving economic systems. Astounding technological improvements. There have been so many neat things that humans have done and studying them gives us clues how to be better people and how to accomplish even greater things. The opposite is also true. By examining the darkest things the world has gone through sheds a very interesting light on human nature. Times like the Holocaust. The Gulags. The Cultural Revolution. The Great Leap Forward. Civil wars. Slavery. Brutal occupations. World wars. Atomic bombs.... the human race has endured through both glorious and horrifying events. By studying history I feel like  I understand my place in this world a bit better.

The second thing I love is literature. I spend money on books like celebrities do on Jimmy Choo shoes. Alright, maybe not THAT much, but you get the point. Reading good books- especially classics- teach you truths about so many different facets in life. Much of what I have learned in life so far has come by reading books. I've learned personal integrity, moral values, the inevitable triumph of good over evil from the novels I've loved and by my very favorite characters. I learned logic from Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I saw the value of friendship when I went with Frodo and Sam to Mordor in Lord of the Rings. I learned Courage from the Scarlet Pimpernel, Robin Hood, and the Knights of the Round Table. Ambition from D'Artagnan in the Three Musketeers. I went on adventures with The Count of Monte Cristo. Cried my eyes out for the motherly sacrifices of Fantine in Les Miserables. Learned the value of service and charity from Jean Val Jean.  Appreciated the beauty of words from Shakespeare... I could seriously take volumes to write about all of the books that have changed my life. If you allow it to, a book has the power to change how you see the world.

I think one of the most powerful ways to study history is through literature.  Clarence Day said it the best, "The world of books is the most remarkable creation of man. Nothing else that he builds ever lasts. Monuments fall, nations perish, civilizations grow old and die out, and after an era new races build others. But in the world of books are volumes that have seen this happen again and again, and yet live on, still young, still as fresh as the day they were written, still telling men's hearts of the heart of men centuries dead." History isn't just a collection of dates. It's a story. And what better way to tell a story than through literature?

I have this quote in my room and I just love it! Probably because I was always that girl with her nose in a book...

"I've traveled the world twice over, 
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
poets and artists, kings and queens,
old stars and hopeful beginners. 
I've been where no one's been before,
learned secrets from writers and cooks.
All with one library ticket 
To the wonderful world of books." 

5.11.2012

A few thoughts...

Some things on my mind:

1. Surprises are the greatest. I love being taken by surprise by anything- a visit, presents, phone calls, notes- anything. Unexpected things just make me very happy.

2. BBQ's make summer divine. I went to one today and realized how much I missed them during the cold, dreary,  bleak, months of winter. 

3. I really like frosting. Home made or store bought both work wonderfully. I really should think more healthy... 

4. Organizing things is quite therapeutic to me. And believe me, working for the Air Force, there is PLENTY of opportunity for that! I organize stuff when I need to think things through. The fridge is my personal favorite! 

5. I love going on walks. Probably one of my favorite activities in the world. Long walks with real talks...doesn't get much better. 

6. My sister is funny. Seriously, I love talking to her. We crack each other up... people would question our sanity if they could hear us! 

7. Last, but definitely not least in my list of issues, is money. It just makes life SO complicated! I wonder if Bill Gates would consider sponsoring my life...


  


5.06.2012

Music

Okay so I have a few things to say about one of my favorite authors Victor Hugo. He's an interesting guy to me for many reasons. Number one being his phenomenal novel which I love with my whole heart. He also has profound quotes that I find quite pertinent right now!

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and about which is impossible to remain silent."
 I love music for that reason exactly. It expresses emotions that I have that I can't put into words, yet the artist knows exactly how to phrase it! I absolutely love music that captures what I feel and that I can relate to. My friend and I once had a genius idea to create a song journal. Where you pick a song that perfectly describes how you feel that day and make a playlist! I should do that more. Here are a few of my top songs that describe how I feel about life: 
  • Going North- by Missy Higgins  
  • Gravity Happens- Kate Voegele
  • Beautiful Dawn- by The Wailin' Jennys 
"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves." 
I agree wholeheartedly with that. Life always looks better when we are secure in the knowledge that there are people that will love us no matter what happens. Knowing they are there provides so much security and happiness. I'm so lucky to have friends and family who feel this way about me!

 "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." 
This gives me chills for some reason. It's a powerful concept and it reminds me of the gospel being restored. It reminds me of what President Monson said about during his opening talk last conference about how nothing is capable of stopping the work of the Lord. It's awe inspiring to think that I'm a part of that work. 

Change

Well I have a pretty embarrassing story. I accidentally deleted all my blog posts... so cheers to starting over! I guess on that note, let's talk about new beginnings. One thing I love about life is the ability to begin again whenever you choose to. Or when you mistakenly delete your online-life!

Fun fact #1 about me: I actually really like change. I love having new experiences, travelling new places, moving to different apartments, talking to new people, and changing in ways I never thought possible.  I guess just love new things. Because when things change it means things have potential to be even better than they already were. Adventures never happen when you stay in the same place doing the same things you've always done. That's one reason why I love to travel. I get the itch to see and experience new things!

It's unfortunate when that change hurts and brings pain. Like losing friends or going through trials. I definitely don't enjoy that! Who would? It's interesting that one of the only constants of life is change. When the road you're on is going awesome, there are most likely rocky times are ahead. But then again, when the sea is rough, you can be positive there is smooth sailing ahead. I like the way King Solomon put it in the Bible:

 "There is a time for everything; a time to to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and time to dance, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to tear and time to mend, a time for war and time for peace."

So true. Things in life are constantly changing and I love it when things fare for the better! Change can bring a lot of challenges, but it also brings exciting new experiences! I suppose we wouldn't appreciate the laughs and the dancing  as much though if we never had to weep or mourn. Those times never last forever. And for that, I'm so grateful! If everyone has to deal with change on a regular basis, I guess a good ticket to success would be learning to deal with it.



P.S. The great Taylor Swift sings a great song about Change. Whoever you are reading this, look it up! It's one of her best. But then again, I'm sure you're all girls. So you've probably got it memorized ;)