is it friday yet?
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Serendipity Factory. Can't help but smile.
I am happy when...
...I am at the beach.
Friday, March 13, 2009
After being in Paris for 3 days, I finally ventured out with Sallie to see the famous sights and scenery yesterday. Well, technically we ventured out on Tuesday afternoon when we went to Versailles with Anne. But that is about 20-30 minutes outside of the city, so that is a little different. Versailles was all the grandeur that I expected - absolutely amazing really! Loved that afternoon walking through the beautiful house and gardens.
So yesterday (Wednesday), Sallie and I woke up early and planned our day. Our plans were to go to take the Metro to the Louvre first, then walk to Musee d'Orsay, then eat at a restaurant along Rue de Bac, then take the Metro to Notre Dame and spend the rest of the afternoon there. So we made our way to the Louvre, stopping for pastries and coffee of course. The Metro train was packed but we pushed our way through and arrived safely.
The Louvre is humongous so we decided to tour the Egyptian artifacts, Greek and Roman artifacts, famous paintings, and crown jewels section. All was wonderful - saw the Mona Lisa, Raft of Medusa, Venus de Milo, etc. The Egyptian artifacts were really cool - the tombs of the mummies were incredible. Though it seems a bit disrespectful that they opened the sarcophagi where people were buried... Anyway, the jewelry was really beautiful also. I got excited in the crown jewels section where the fancy dinner ware, crowns, and jewel boxes were showcased. The jewel boxes were so cute! I want to start collecting those now.
After the Louvre, we walked to Musee d'Orsay where the Impressionist artwork is held. These would be paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, etc. I bought our tickets while Sallie dug around in her purse for her wallet (she thought she may have cash to pay me back). We entered the museum and Sallie still hadn't found her wallet (her purse is pretty big and there was a lot of stuff in there). We sat down so she could look and she realized that it wasn't in there. Ahh! We thought about the last place that she had it and that was back at the Metro station in the morning. We knew it hadn't been stolen because her bag has a zipper and it had been zipped the entire time (plus her wallet is really small so they wouldn't have been able to unzip her bag and pull it out).
We went to the Louvre and asked if they had found a wallet, but they hadn't. Then we went back to the Metro station by Anne's apartment and asked - no wallet. A bit disappointed, we went to Anne's apartment so Sallie could call her parents to cancel her bank card. We chilled for the rest of the afternoon - Sallie sorted out her matters and and I finished 2 chapters of studying.
Then Anne came back from a long studio and Sallie and I took her out to dinner. Well, I guess I technically took both of them out to dinner since Sallie lost her wallet. :) But we went to the Eiffel Tower and ate at a delicious restaurant nearby that Sallie planned out. It was called Cafe Comfort and the chef was pretty famous. We did the whole she-bang - wine, appetizers, entrees, and dessert. It was fantastic!!
We stopped by the Eiffel Tower on the way to the Metro station and took pictures under the beautifully lit up Tower.
Heading out for the day!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Side note - I posted the pictures from Israel to Facebook. Check them out!
My brain has experienced freedom after being in Paris for only 1 day. Anne and I had discussions on career choices earlier and I want to recap them here.
1. Pastry school (Patisserie) - There is a 9 month program in Paris at the Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts. Tuition = $20,500. Ouch. The 9 month program in London is $14,625. Both schools have programs that start at the end of June. The idea is once I finish the program, I will either find a job to further my skills and contacts or open up a bakery in the United States (lenders would be more willing to lend since I at least have a degree for my services/products). I need to speak with the pastry chef from Alon's to get his perspective on my plan. I remember him saying that pastry school was not worth the price; you will receive just as much experience working directly under a pastry chef. I also need to meet with the owner of the Little Cake Bakery in Atlanta to see how she got started - whether she had the formal education or not.
2. Fashion industry - modeling agency, magazine publishing company (advertising division), or something with a designer. This is obviously far-fetched since I have almost no contacts in the industry and clearly no experience or background what-so-ever. But I love it and I think I would be great at it if given the opportunity. I need to schedule a lunch with an acquaintance who opened up a modeling agency in Atlanta after graduating from Georgia Tech.
3. Travel agency/concierge service - Help individuals and groups plan trips all over the world. Specialize in planning elaborate trips for the rich and famous. Focus on the Atlanta/South Carolina/North Carolina market.
4. Lounge/Club - I love the idea of owning a lounge/club that serves elegant desserts and drinks (coffee and alcoholic) for the time period after dinner but before hitting the late-night scene. I also think owning a club would be fantastic so I would like to incorporate a separation for dancing in a club atmosphere. Therefore, this design could accommodate a multitude of customer preferences. For those who want to stay in one place all night, they will be able to spend their entire night in one place with all of the luxuries that they want. For other customers who only want the lounge or club, they could choose to do one or the other and move on to other places throughout the night. To break into this industry, contacts are a must. Should I become a bartender? server? The other option is going to the clubs every day they are open and befriending the owners/managers. But that's not really efficient. I will talk to Mauricio about this.
So clearly I need to marry a millionaire to make all of my business dreams and ventures turn into my realities. :)
I'm on the right track, right? Laying out my options... Comments are appreciated (but don't be mean!). :)
Sunday, March 8, 2009
That was my highest bid. Pretty proud of myself for that one... apparently camels go for about $6,000 so I think my dad would be pretty happy with $60 million. And we've got plenty of land for it now that they live in the country. Honestly, I should have taken him up on his offer.
Today was our last day in Israel. We visited old Jerusalem and did the Delorosa, which is the walk that Christ took with his cross after being persecuted on his way to his death. Again, kinda-sorta a tourist trap since that was 2000 years ago and tons of buildings have been built over the area as well as the fact that the area has been destroyed multiple times by many different groups over the 2000 years. But nevertheless, the Catholics had a hayday.
I know I sound really sarcastic but I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I have experienced and learned about the old times of Jesus and the immense history here. I really just feel that they have idolatrized (I think I just made that word up) so much of the history here. When I say "they", I mean the centuries of people who have lived here since Jesus' time. Each religion that follows one God and believes in Jesus wants to claim these holy spots as their own. And then there are other religions that want to blow it all up. So there have been buildings built over all of these spots multiple times and destroyed multiple times. Of course that alters the true history and now it's difficult to know what to believe.
All in all, I believe that God is everywhere. He is not only in the Wailing Wall or on the stone that Jesus was supposedly buried on. He is everywhere and in everything. So I find it very difficult to come to these places and pray on these holy areas and get very emotional at these particular places that Jesus apparently walked through. Nothing is SACRED here. That is my point (sorry it took me a while to come to). We're at the stations of the cross in the old streets of Jerusalem, and there are street vendors and kids all over trying to sell you things. Here you are trying to respect the area that Jesus met his mother and it's just impossible to do. Again, Israel is not what I expected - I think I held it up high and didn't realize that it is still a functioning city and business still runs.
Well my computer is about to poop out on me so I've got to cut this short. Sorry if it's a little choppy - I don't have time to edit it.
I'm in Tel Aviv tonight, by myself, so lonely :(. I'm heading to Paris in the morning - yeaaaaaaaa Anne!
Friday, March 6, 2009
Alright, I'm going to make this quick because I don't think I have a lot of time left on my internet time.
1. I am in Israel. It is crazy.
2. People - majority of the group I am with are hispanic so I have definitely sharpened my Spanish skills this week. It's all couples and old people. Lisa and I are definitely out numbered. Lisa has been great - we're keeping each other sane. Grandma is a handful but we're hanging in there.
3. Conflicts - I can not deal with Catholics (thanks mom). I really try to be understanding of other religions but I am really fed up with Catholics. I'm really sorry if I'm offending someone... And I honestly don't understand Judaism. The Jewish community here is just ridiculous. I'll tell the things I have learned from our tour guide later.
4. Food - eat a lot of bread and hummus. Desserts are good. Rice is good. Veggies aren't always fresh but they're good. Good amount of canned fruit. As you can see, lots of starch = Mary Beth's getting fat. Yippee.
5. Back to school - so our tour guide is basically a professor. We start every day at 7am and don't get back to the hotel until about 8pm. They have crammed so much stuff into each day, it's just too much. I have learned more about Catholicism, Israel, the bible, etc. than I would have really ever wanted to know. But whatever.
6. Sickness - got a head cold on Wednesday and it's not quite gone yet. That kinda put me in a sour mood because we're on the bus all day, in and out of tourist sites, dealing with nagging vendors trying to sell us junk, etc. Of course that just gives me a headache in addition to not being able to breathe and my throat is on fire. Yeah, fun times in Israel.
7. Highlights - Haifa! Oh my gosh, most beautiful place in Israel without question. It's right on the Mediterranean, clean streets, amazing views (like Rio de Janiero with the mountains right at the sea). Just a perfect place. Mona is going to be there in June so I'm going to try to come stay with her for a week during my birthday!
~Another highlight is I've finally figured out what I want to do with my life. Now don't flip out because this might seem far fetched, but it's honestly what I want to do more than anything. My dream is to buy the space next to Willy's at Piedmont Park (I think there's a bakery there right now) or some other location in that same vicinity (with parking) and build my own bakery. It will be called "emmy b" and I will sell/serve home made ice cream hand mixed with toppings (like marble slab and cold stone), pastries, cakes, specialty chocolates and candies, and sandwiches. Of course there are other details but I won't get into them in here. So you should be happy for me that I have found my dream and am building my business plan even though I know you think it is far fetched and impossible for me to do. Guess what - I will prove you wrong my friend. ;)
The craziest thing about this whole trip is basically everything is "according to tradition". As an example, we went to a church today in Bethlehem (which is a territory of Palestine, definitely did not realize that) called the Church of the Nativity. It was built because they believe that Jesus was born beneath the church. It was built back basically 2000 years ago to preserve the cave (because Mary and Joseph were so poor that they didn't even live in homes, they lived in caves) that Jesus was supposedly born in. Alright - I might be the only person to voice this but honestly, no one really has any proof that Jesus was born there. It's basically a legend and they are assuming that Jesus was born in that particular cave. Please people. Give me a break. I could go on and on about the things that they "think" happened at particular spots but no one really knows for sure. I think it's just a tourist trap and they want to make this huge deal about something just to bring people there and make money. Well let me tell you, it works on these Catholics. They believe anything.
So now that everyone thinks I've turned into a cold-hearted bitch, well maybe I have. I'm just laying out the truth like I see it.
Let me remind you, it's all according to tradition.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Today is March 1 and it snowed. A lot. Snow is so beautiful - I always get excited as soon as it starts.
The past two weeks have been cRaZy! Work has been extremely busy and stressful since Kurt has not hired someone to replace George. I had two additional jobs dumped into my lap - on top of my own duties. Ahhh! But I'm hanging in there, day-by-day.
I'm leaving for Israel on Monday and I'll be gone for one week touring the Holy Land with my Grandma and cousin (Lisa) and then one week in Paris with Anne and Sallie. How lucky am I??
It will be a much needed break from life. I have a lot of thinking to do - particularly career-wise. There are tons of ideas floating around in my head and I need to put it all together.
List of aspirations for the trip:
1. Take pictures of everything - awaken my artistic spirit.
2. Spend quality time with my grandma and cousin.
3. Be silly with my girls Anne and Sallie - girl time!
4. Experience the culture of Israel - food, people, scenery, etc.
5. Experience the culture of Paris - food, people, scenery, etc.
6. Learn as much as possible about the Holy Land and how Jesus was able to affect the nation.
7. Live like a Parisian (and learn a little bit of French).