Crystallized Sugar & Parmesan(y) Cheddar

The morning passed rather quickly today. I got onto the train and then watched a woman climb on after me with a clarinet and speaker system. I immediately thought, “Good God, no,” because, through experience I know that there is only good or bad clarinet playing, there is no mediocre. She was bad, but she was trying. It was evident that she wasn’t in serious need for money, so, I don’t know if playing on subways was a hobby of hers? From that moment on, her song played in my head all day. Sometimes my ability to repeat songs in my head drives me crazy.

The trains were very slow, so I was two minutes late, but the Chef hadn’t yet arrived, so, I was fine. We were making pear tarts and I was happy to see that it was very easy to prepare. I will never understand people who don’t watch when they cook sugar and butter together…it’s going to burn. So, everybody was burning their butter and sugar causing clouds of acrid smoke to invade the room. We had to open windows and let the chilly air inside so that we all didn’t die. It was pretty bad. Azham and I didn’t burn ours, but rather, crystallized ours. If you stir sugar in liquid, it will melt and then separate. Thankfully, this is reversible so it turned out alright.

I was talking with my Asian friends and we began wondering how old we all were, an odd conversation to have in Paris. The French have a taboo on certain topics and this is one of them along with money and politics. They were all surprised that I was 19. Jongin is 21. Then the biggest shock to everybody in the room: the other person from Korea that I talk to is 45! She is the youngest looking 45-year-old I have ever seen. We were all stunned and still are.

Soon, the tarts were done baking and it was time for judgement. I finally met a Chef that I really don’t care for. It’s not that he’s mean, but he doesn’t like to help and when he does he’s very abrupt. In addition to saying my tart looked fine, I also needed to get a haircut, shave, and stand up straight. He must have seen the steely determination in my eyes to do none of these things because he told me to, because he added, “At least in theory…” I don’t mind getting my haircut, not at all, it’s going to grow back, but when people tell me that I need to cut it, I want to hit. I don’t know why I have this reaction, but I always do. Now, if I were on a reality series and they told me to cut my hair, I would do it gladly because that is called a makeover and will include either Paris Hilton or Tyra Banks. If Chef had given me a styling suggestion such as a faux-hawk or something, I would have considered it, but the bluntness of saying, “Cut your hair,” doesn’t go with me.

We got done before 11:00am and my next class wasn’t until 12:30pm, so I decided to run home. The train was so fast! Back at the apartment, I wasn’t surprised to have no mail…again.

I had cookies for lunch because I can. At the restaurant under my apartment, they were cutting up baguettes with a bread guillotine. I had never seen anything like that before, so I was enchanted.

The train back to school was the slowest train I have ever been on. I mean, I could see bugs on the rails walk past the train. There was never an explanation. By leaving at the time I did, I should have been at least fifteen minutes early, but ended up two minutes early, which is late, I guess. Class had already started when I got in, but that wasn’t a problem.

Today, Chef prepared the most horrible cake I’ve ever seen or heard of. It’s called a moka and is basically a sponge for coffee extract. The cake itself isn’t bad, but after it’s cooked, it is literally dunked in diluted coffee extract until it is soaking wet. We were all rather repulsed. I don’t think I have ever been so completely bored in my entire life, as well. In the end, with the coffee-flavored butter cream, it’s a pretty cake, but good Lord, it is revolting. The piece of cake I had to sample was literally dripping. Yuck.

I bought some magnets at the counter. I have already lost two of mine. Ten for seven euros. If I had only known that there were magnets at the counter, I wouldn’t have wasted so much time last month looking for them and buying those overpriced souvenir ones. Then I left.

On the Internet, I had heard a rumor that the Shopi by the school sold cheddar cheese, but they didn’t. I bought a cheese that looked like cheddar though called Mimolette. I also bought some Sunny Delight! I haven’t seen that in a very long time. Vanessa Paradis was on the radio and I knew the song in French, so that made me happy.

Back home from school, again, I made myself a taco with the new cheese. It tastes exactly like parmesan! I looked it up on the Internet and was kind of disgusted by what it is. They make it using cheese mites, which are exactly what you think they are…little bugs who eat and poop on your cheese. If they are uncontrolled they can cause something called Baker’s Itch. I became very scared. It is good cheese, though.

I heard a clatter at the window and went to have a look and was shocked to see that it was hailing pea sized ice chunks. Everybody was at their window along the road watching the freak storm. Whenever we would make eye contact, we’d all shrug as if saying, “Paris…what are you gonna do?”

Then I took a nap.

Father gave me an early Valentine’s gift via my bank account for my mini-vacation to Disneyland tomorrow. I am really looking forward to it even if the Phantom Manor (best ride in the whole world, and no it isn’t the Haunted Mansion, this is very definitely and infinitely better) is closed. I’m going to ride everything. Probably won’t go to the Disney Studios though, because that really sucks. I may even go out to dinner at Planet Hollywood! I love Planet Hollywood even if it is kind of crappy.

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