Sunday, 27 April 2014

Back in time

Hall of Mirrors

Good morning my dears,
I have just come home from a sleepover at my friend’s place – we cooked and watched films until late that night. Sitting there in my pyjamas while eating ice cream and popcorn threw me back a couple of years and I had the feeling being 14 again. It reminded me of talking about all that little meaningful problems like boys that we had a crush on, enemies in our high school phase and the make-up that just didn’t go along with our age. Those nights are memorable and we all agreed that we should establish regular sleepovers, like we did when we were younger.

As predicted two weeks ago, I went off to Versailles again yesterday. It rained cats and dogs which was great for our attempt to only visit the inside of this castle this time. Again we were overwhelmed by the golden decorations, the colourful walls, the size of the chambers (on chamber is actually 4 times my entire apartment) and the bulks of tourists. I sometimes felt as if I was fighting to get to the next room, kicking and pushing Chinese, Indian, Mexican and Italian friends. Most of them couldn’t take the time to really soar up the atmosphere so they rushed through the rooms – while pushing us away.  I guess that they had their bus waiting outside, taking them to the next European sight but still, I felt really stressed by that behaviour.

Enjoy your Sunday! I meet up with friends now and look forward to a short week at work since Thursday and Friday are bank holidays. Woop woop!

Gold, gold and gold
Lusters wherever you look
Marie Antoinette's room
Me in front of the main part

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The happiest 5km in life

The happiest 5km of my life?
I can tell ya’!

This is how I spent my Sunday two weeks ago when the first COLOR RUN was officially taking place here in Paris. Most of you are probably already either familiar with the Holi Festival of Colours or the Color Run that both have their origins in the Indian Holi Festival. The Holi Festival is a traditional Hindu festival of love and colours that honours the beginning of a new season, respectively spring. Besides a huge bonfire and prayers on the eve, the next day people, armed with dry colours and coloured solution, spray the natural colours on others while they sing, dance and express pure happiness.

While the Holi Festival of Colours pretty much resembles the actual Holi Festival, just without any buddhist and spiritual background, the Color Run is a mixture between a running event and the colour explosion. The distance to conquer is only about 5 km (hence I might have exagerated when I talked about my marathon project on Sunday), so everyone who wants to spend a happy day is welcomed. So were I and my friends. Each kilometer you pass a station with a new colour - Yellow! Green! Blue! Pink! – I looked as if I fell into a bucket in front of an artist’s atelier. Obviously, the whole event was less about fitness limits but a true fun activity with hundreds of pictures to record the memory. Yet, it has its charity background since the participants’ fee is given to an organization for children.

All in all, my three girls and I enjoyed the day very much and we eventually ended it in front of the Eiffel Tower where DJs accompanied the colourful atmosphere. Not only that we already plan to participate in other Color Events, but we also enjoyed running to such an extend that we now prepare for more runs. My goal is a half marathon in autumn for instance. 

Check out the official pictures and videos here

We PRETEND to be Usain Bolt
Later that day
Friends, fun and colors

Sunday, 20 April 2014

And where are your eggs hidden?

Happy Easter!

After a quite short working week, I went to my parents for this long weekend. Since they have moved into a new apartment, I was tremendously excited to explore their new place and the surroundings (that I explored, of course, jogging). Not to forget "my" chamber, a room painted in cheerful bright pink that slowly replaces my beloved green wall. Hence, I am sitting on their terrace, gazing at the beautiful lake and the mountains that are both only a couple of minutes away.

Today I keep this post short as I do want to benefit as best as possible from the time with my family - and the Easter breakfast that is ready on the table. Instead, today some new pics from my oh-so-calm week as my boss was absent all the time. Yet I had to replace him on Wednesday when I spent the entire day in a meeting where I was the only women amongst 12 senior managers (Speaking of that, be aware of a post about a book that I am currently reading and that exactly evokes that topic).

Enjoy your Easter break!

Apple trees in front my window
Spring lake
Terrasses de Lavaux

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Pompous Week: Versailles

The Grand Trianon - Marie Antoinette's place

Good morning everyone,
Seriously, those weekends pass too fast. Generally my whole time here in Paris flies by in a record tempo that scares me a little. Friday, I already had my mid-internship-interview with my boss, for instance.

Let’s start today, with a quick recap of my week: Monday, shopping with a good friend – what I found you will see in short notice. Those who follow me on Instagram (@svenjacole) know that we had #FreeConeDay on Tuesday: For this occasion, Ben and Jerry’s distributed ice cream for free, so what was better than grabbing a Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cone after work? After a little jogging session, I met up with friends on Thursday for an after work on one my favourite terraces here in this city. And finally, I ended my week with a Chinese-Mexican birthday party on Friday night. Puuuuh. Sounds like a marathon, doesn't it? Speaking of that, I can’t wait to share a project with you that concerns exactly that activity.

Anyway, after such a tiring week, that also implicated a lot of work, I yesterday took the train and left Paris. Half an hour later, I found myself in a different world – the Versailles Castle. I can’t believe that I have never been here before, but it is one of the most prestigious places I have ever been to. As weather was incredible, we started in the garden: Hedges are cut in a structural manner, classical music takes you back to the 18th century, fountains add some lively components... I felt as if I was on a film set. We had picnic by the lake, rented a boat (so much fun!) and walked around for hours – so long that we couldn't even manage to visit the actual castle. Yet, there is Marie Antoinette’s place that we visited, a smaller castle and a more rural and less structural part of the park that contrasts the main building.

Yes, it’s been a fantastic day. And since I didn't visit the main castle this time, I will be back in two weeks again: back to Louis XIV, back to golden statues, back in time, back to Versailles. 

Music chamber
Pompous decoration
The rural side of Versailles
Lake and Statue
The main castle and the canal in front

Incredible arrangements with hedges and seashells
Back in time: The main castle
View from the main plaza
Little flower girl is happy while rowing activity

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

TUC Transformation

Snack time

Since my last week was pretty stressful, I totally forgot about a duty that I had to deliver this weekend: I was invited to a party where everyone had to bring a snack. It was only three hours before the party that I was sitting in the metro and became aware of my little dilemma. Next, I jumped out and straightly went into the supermarket. One could say that I should grab a bag of crisps, get home in order to choose an outfit and makeup and stop making a fuss about the food.

But I can’t. I just can’t. I hate being invited without having given my little personal touch to a drink or food. It might be a ribbon (but seriously, a bag of crisps with a ribbon looks ridiculous) or a small poem attached in a fancy way to a bottle of wine. But I don’t feel comfortable with only quickly buying something as I always want to express my gratitude for the invitation and some kind of caring towards the host. And then I actually had this second issue: Not only that time was too short to cook an entire meal, but I had to find an effective way to transport everything, space-saving and disposable at once.

Challenge accepted! With these both conditions in mind, I strolled through the alleys and searched for something tasty, easily to transform, quickly to make, for a reasonable price … and I eventually ended up with cheese, ham and TUCs.

Now, this is actually what I love most about cooking. You have some super simple ingredients and you try to create something totally new. I headed home, grabbed onions and tomatoes that I had still on stock in my fridge and began to prepare little Pizza-TUCs. Totally easy to make, it took me about 10 minutes (180°C in the oven) and once they are cold, you can wrap them into aluminium foil. For your next party?

Everything you have left, bring it on!
Ham, cheese, onions, tomatoes...
Bon app├ętit & happy snacking!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

App-Check : The Tinder Experiment

It was two weeks ago. Sunday night. My friend wrote me that message that she couldn’t come to dinner. The beginning rain outside reflected my inner mood. I sat in my little apartment, watched the rain and had this huge portion of pasta in front of me – alone. In those situations you miss your best friends or your family, all hundreds of kilometers away. After having eaten kilos of pasta and dried a few tears (Yes, I can be sentimental), I felt a lot better and came to the conclusion that I am probably not the only single person having a bad day.
Wait! Did I say single ? Right, 51% of Paris' population is single, thereof 122 000 men between 20 and 39, a fact that I lately captured while reading the metro news on my way to work (best video concerning dating here). There and on different blogs I spotted articles about an application to meet or date people : Tinder it is called. So, I don’t know exactly what has driven me, but I quickly clicked ‘Install’ in the App store and a couple of minutes later Tinder has settled in my iPhone.

For all of you who are not familiar with this app (from Wikipedia): Using Facebook, Tinder gathers users' basic information and analyzes users'social graph to match potential candidates who are most likely to be compatible based on location, number of mutual friends and common interests. Based on the results of potential candidates, the app allows the user to anonymously like or pass them. If two users like each other then it results in a "match" and Tinder introduces the two users and opens a chat.

Seriously, your first match is pretty exciting. But then after a while it gets a little boring since most guys have already liked me before. You actually begin to expect a match for every guy you like and you are almost disappointed if it’s not the case. How I chose the guys before wiping them directly away ? First, I set filters that I only consider men between 20 and 30 and in a radius of 30 miles. During playing (because this is how it feels), I realized that I generally hesitated with guys wearing Ray Ban Wayfarers which is definitely not a valid criterion. I also had a spot for skis, mountains, tennis rackets and suits. At the same time I had my no-gos such as shirtless, too many selfies, motor bikes, gangster style etc. You see how superficial it is.
But the app is not only about matches but also about the chats afterwards. Since I had already 100 matches after the first three days (yet I consider myself as very picky…), I was involved in 25 conversations at the same time. Though, I continuously refused to contact any guy first. Of course there were those conversations that started in a totally weird manner and that I totally ignored, but there were also people I enjoyed chatting to.

Yet, I strictly but gently refused to accept any personal meeting throughout the first days. I was too afraid of meeting strangers, being kidnapped, finding myself in a total uncomfortable situation or any of that kind. Until a certain point I tried to gather as much information as possible and decided eventually to give a guy a chance to satisfy my curiosity. We decided to have a drink after wok in the neighborhood and fixed the meeting point at the metro station. 2 minutes before I arrived he wrote that he was already there. So I went upstairs and well, obviously a couple of people were waiting for someone. There was this one guy at the exit that looked like the one on the photo... and after having asked him it turned out that he wasn't the one I was looking for. Thus I continued seeking: Then, I saw this other guy, also hectically looking around as if he was waiting for someone. He looked at me, he looked away, he looked again, and then - he turned away. He ran away. Across the street. Was never been seen again.  
At first I thought that he might haven't been the one, but eventually and after no response to my message, I felt sure that HE WAS THE GUY. THE GUY WHO RAN AWAY. Guys, this has been one of the funniest moments in life. Like seriously ever. There I stood, waiting for my first blind date in life and the guy ran away. In the middle of the street I started to laugh loudly because this was a total fail that I absolutely deserved and that made me realize that Tinder is a waste of time.

On my way home, I obviously started to wonder about the whole dating app. I realized that even if I like chatting to people, I am not the kind of person who really enjoys to get to know people there. It's another way to expose yourself, to obtain acceptance and to disapprove people because of their photos. I am definitely too extroverted and open-minded to hide behind an app or too serious to look for fun dates that end in one night stands. And after not even 10 days of "tindering" I pressed the delete button even before I arrived back home.  

What do I want to say with this post? I openly admit that it was fun to test the app but to seriously meet people I prefer meeting them in real life. Speaking of that, I enjoy this beautiful Sunday with friends and who knows - I might find my future husband in the park and not on my smartphone.