living and working (and eating) in Paris!

Au Revoir

So I have been really really bad at posting.  Really bad actually.  But, I have just been really busy.  A while back I had one of my oldest friends in the world here for a week.  We were busy “taste-testing” the bars of paris and since then, things have been fast paced and busy.  But I will try to think about some of the things I did in the last little bit….

-We had a big deadline at work and I pulled an all-nighter for the first time in a really long time

-I got stuck in an elevator at Shigeru Ban’s office

-I had a team dinner on my co-worker’s house boat under the eiffel tower on the Sienne.  It was amazing and catered and so much fun.

-I had my last day at work last Friday, and the Friday before I had to give a speech.  I don’t like giving speeches, but it was fun and the office surprised me with a LIP watch by Roger Tallon, the designer of the TGV train system here in France.  They also gave me a Renzo Piano monography signed by everyone in the office which is really cool.  ALSO, my team gave me some original hand-drawings of the project I worked on, which is really amazing and I can’t wait to put them up in my new place in Boston.

-Made a 100page portfolio of everything I did here

-Had manyfun times skating around Paris with my friend Dijan

-I went to a weekend long party at a convent in the countryside of France for a friend’s birthday.  It was crazy and felt like what I think Woodstock must have felt like but without the live music.  We roasted a whole lamb on a rotisserie and I think 60 of us ate it.

-Finally saw many of the museums I needed to visit in Paris.  I really loved d’Orsay.

-Rock climbing in Fontainbleau

-Had drinks and hung out in a small atelier in Paris that is actually an old leCorbusier house that is currently rented out.  It was great and made me want to have a small studio space to work.

-Went to Metz with the office to see the new Pompidou Center by Shigeru Ban.

So many other things that I cannot think of now.  It has really been a great experience here in Paris.  I worked with some really cool and great people who I became pretty good friends with.  I will miss everyone here a lot.   I never thought about Paris as a place I even wanted to visit so much, let alone live.  There was nothing wrong with it.  It just wasn’t on my radar.  Now, I really have become used to it and like it a lot.  The way of life here is very nice and very comfortable.  I know there is a reputation for people being rude here, especially to Americans, but I seriously experienced none of that.  I mean, Boston seems like generally a “more rude” place than Paris.

Maybe some things I will miss about Paris:

THE FOOD…I ate so much food here and somehow was able to lose weight.  I had pastries almost everyday, heavy, buttery and creamy meals all the time.  It is so good.  But I think the food is more natural or less-processed or something.

Specifically, I will miss Chez Janou’s Magret de Canard, crem brulee, L’as du Falafel and the falafel at Chez Hanna, coffees at a few places including Cafeoteque, tacos at El Nopal by the canal, anything at Chez Robert et Louis, the potatoes at Chez Bridgett, crepes, so many other places…so many.

THE DRINK…We have champagne everyday almost for something…no occasion…no New Years, just because it is delicious.  Also, Ricard, the pastis of Marseilles is like an Anis liquor that you have with ice and water and it very refreshing in the summer.

WALKING EVERYWHERE….i love just walking places or skating places and not needing a car

COOL SHOPS AND PLACES…just popping into new places all the time.    There is always something interesting and fun going on here whether it is an exhibit or a concert or a outdoor movie, or whatever.

THE PEOPLE…I met really great people here and I know I will see some of them soon, but it will be strange to not see them anymore on a regular basis.

Thing I will not miss about Paris:


The smell of urine

hmmm…there is probably more, but I don’t know.




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So for the last 5 months I have been working on the same project.  It is the new National Library and Opera House in Athens Greece.  It has been really fun to learn about it and to learn how to better detail buildings and all that.  We recently finished our CD (construction document) set and we all celebrated by going to one of our co-worker’s house for dinner.  He lives on a big barge made into a house and it was totally amazing.  We had champagne and dinner on the boat sitting on the river about 1/4mile from the Eifell Tower.  It was really amazing.  A bunch of us took Velibs (the public bicycle rental thing in Paris) there.  It was a good night and I think I will miss this place and my co-workers when I leave next month.

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Last week my office sent me to London.  I got a chance to catch up with classmates and friends Tory and Jess.  The large triangular building that is under construction is the lastest from the office.  It is called “The Shard” and it is massive.  It is going to be the tallest building in all of Europe.  The multi-colored facades is another recently completed project by the office.  We had a nice few days there.  I love the English breakfast (beer included).  We even got a chance to see the end of the year show at the AA.  It is cool to see what the students on the other side do.

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” The things other people have put into my head, at any rate, do not fit together nicely, are often useless and ugly, are out of proportion with one another, are out of proportion with life as it really is outside my head.

I have no culture, no humane harmony in my brains.  I can’t live without a culture anymore.”

-KURT VONNEGUT, in Breakfast of Champions



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So today I got a new phone.  It is called John’s Phone.  Basically, think of the Iphone4….now think of exactly the opposite.  That is this phone.  It is just a phone…no camera…no internet…no texting…no alarm…just a phone.  I don’t know if I can handle the no texting or not, but I am excited to give it a shot.  Basically the phone works everywhere in the world and is doesn’t use a locked SIM card.  It also has a 3 WEEK battery life.  I think I am going to like it.
























The “phonebook” is an actual phonebook with a little pen that slides out of the side.  The paper address book also has a little pocket in the back of the phone.

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This has nothing to do with being in Paris.  My friend, Greg Tran, just finished his thesis at GSD.  He won the Thesis Prize…pretty rad

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I used to do a lot of things I liked before I started architecture school.  I guess I just have got so into school that I have sort of pushed all those things aside.  I used to blow glass, something I really enjoyed.  I also used to paint quite often and play basketball with my friends and skateboard.  That was one of the most fun things.  In college (pre-architecture), some of my friends and I would skate around all the time.  A few of use would have a 40 or two and bomb down Roosevelt at night time to gasworks park.  Looking back on this now, I realize it was the craziest stupidest thing I ever did but it was so much fun.  I remember headlights coming right at us and we weaved between them and then we would get going so fast that the wheels started to wobble.  Speed wobbles were the worst because it meant that you were definitely going to crash.

So in Paris I found a skate shop by my house.  There aren’t a lot of skate shops (or people skating for that matter) in Paris.  These guys were cool and built me a board in like 10 minutes.  The boards are more expensive than in the states and I guess it is because all of the pieces are coming from the States.  The guy who sold me my board was like “oh yeah, this is that good American wood”.  I thought it was funny.  Anyways, I got a blank deck and basic film trucks but I raised them a bit on pads and got the craziest wheels ever.  They are called “rat bones” by Powell-Peralta and they are really big (not quite as big as a longboard wheel) and they are incredibly soft.  Basically they can roll over anything.  I think this is really important here in Paris where the ground is really bumpy sometimes and other times really smooth.

I basically just want to cruise around fast and turn really hard.  I don’t care about tricks or anything anymore…just sliding around.  I think this picture is cool….it is Jay Adams sliding around and turning so low and hard he has to put his hands on the ground.  I really love the aesthetic of the old skating from the 70’s when people were emulating surf moves.  

Anyways, my friend Dijan got a board too so we’ve been skating a bit together.   At night after work or dinner or whatever I have been going out and skating for an hour or two around the city.  It is great because there aren’t really cars int he city so much at night…at least where I have been gong.  Also, it is bright enough that you can skate all night if you want to.  I am having so much fun doing this.  I am not as crazy on it as I once was.  I have no desire to go to the skate park or do tricks…i just want to cruise.   I want to start doing all the things I used to again.

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So me and some friends went to Disney Land Paris the other day.  It was so cool.  I am proud to say that I have now been to 4 disney lands.  We did all the rides, including my favorite which is called Star Tours.  So good.  Anyways, we went to “It’s a small world” thing and I kind of forgot how creepy it was.  I mean, it seems so much like those “Chucky” movies to me and I just kept thinking that if I were a little kid, I would not think this was such a magical kingdom.

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Anish Kapoor

I saw the Anish Kapoor exhibit called Monumenta at the Grand Palais.  It was insane.  It is basically a massive inflatable.  So cool….for more info about it you can visit the site MONUMENTA

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I have been pretty MIA lately and I think I need to re-enter the blogosphere.  It has just become a bit overwhelming.  I have done a lot since the last post and pictures and memories are piling up.  The thought of re-posting all the things that happened over the last month is too much to think about.  I am thinking of some highlights….

A couple weeks ago I traveled to Italy to visit the office in Genoa.  It was great.  Giovanni showed us a lot of great spots since he is from the area and we went to a fish festival in a town called Camogli as well as an afternoon in Vernazza, le cinque terre.  It was nice…lots of sun…lots of beaches…not so bad.

My friend Dijan and I have probably had 400 cups of coffee in the last month and that has been really fun.  It is such a nice thing that people do here and I don’t think we do enough of it in the states.  Here it is normal to stay out late on a weekday and just have a drink or a coffee or something like that with your friends and watch people walking by.  I think the best part is you are never rushed to order or to leave or to pay or anything like that.  You just take your coffee and you can chill there for hours if you want.  Back home if someone says “do you want to get coffee” it usually means you walk to starbucks together, grab your coffee to go, and go back and sit with it at your desk while you work.

I saw Timothee and Rachel from GSD.  They were in town for a really short time but I got to meet up with them and meet some of Timothee’s cool French friends.

Michael Murphy from GSD has been here the last few days and it has been fun to hang out with him.

I finally met up with my friend Claire who I met 3 years ago while traveling through Portugal.  She is a really talented musician in Paris called La Fiancee.  I think it sounds so nice…check it out.

I saw the new Zaha Pavilion at the World Arab Institute.  It was terrible.

I have seen some good movies, found some good restaurants…walked a lot.

I am starting a competition with Tiffany and some other people.

I submitted an entry for another competition.

I have learned a bit more processing.

I have had a lot of interaction with Renzo.  I get really nervous to present drawings or models to him but he is cool and nice and I think I am learning a lot just from being around him.

things are pretty good.

Today I am going to see the new Anish Kapoor exhibit at the Grand Pavillion and I am really excited to see that because it looks so cool.  French Open is starting today too.  Maybe I will post pictures of these things….the stuff above though, too many things to post.  Anyways, I am back to blogging I think!  I think… I don’t know.  I have been reading this book called Eating the Dinasoar by Chuck Klosterman.  In one chapter he is talking about everyone’s obsessions with posting everything that happens to them…like it is so important because it happened to you and everyone should know.  I sort of agree with this.  Like the whole facebook thing, twitter, all that stuff…sometimes it seems self-indulgent.  And I know reflecting on this in a blog post is completely stupid and ironic.  But maybe we are all living like lives that aren’t really that much different from each other.  Sometimes I post about a place I visited or something that happened to me and I think “who gives a shit?”.  Because a lot of times when someone posts things on facebook and it just pops up when I visit the site, that is exactly what I am thinking…”i don’t give a shit”.  But, I think my mom gives a shit and wants to see what I am doing out here…so mom, I will reluctantly post more shit.

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