One More Chapter
A twenty two year-old's view on life, death,
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
and Taylor Swift conspiracy theories
It's official, I have now been living in Paris for one entire week!
That can't possibly be right.
I've definitely been here longer than that.
Wait...no, it really has only been one week.
That's right, it may have been only seven days, but this past week has been one of the longest, stressful, exciting, and exhausting weeks of my life, both mentally and physically.
As detailed in my last blog post, getting here was one of the scariest and most chaotic 15 hours of my life. But, voila, I have arrived safe and sound. There were a few moments where I honestly thought I wouldn't.
Because I was coming in with all that stress already, it seemed to be even more difficult to begin settling into Paris life.
Am I actually here? I kept asking myself. This can't really be it. I've been waiting all my life for something I already have.
Yup, turns out a lot of Paris is very similar to New York City.
Coming in from the Airport, I was brought through back roads, through the rather sketchy parts of Paris, full of trash, graffiti and poverty. The sections they forget to tell you about when you apply for the program or hear about the city from other people. Then I came to the hotel we stayed in for the first night, and it was in one of the more bustling sections of Paris. And it really does look similar to New York, except you can't understand anybody around you...which I guess is still not that different. The only difference is that New York streets make WAY MORE SENSE. Thank you for grids, New York!
The next day though, I was picked up by my host mother and brought to my home stay.
This is it. I thought. Now I will really get to see what French life is like and here is where the real adventure begins!
My room was great and the cat was really friendly and out going and my host mother was very, very friendly. So I figured, I was in luck and that it would be an amazing first week.
And while, yes, it was surely a week to remember, I forgot one thing: AWKWARDNESS.
This first week was one of the most uncomfortable of my entire life. Not only was I in a city the size of New York when I'm used to the woods and of Worcester County, and not only was I in a country half way across the world where I can barely communicate with any of the people, but I was also living in a stranger's home.
I didn't know how much I should stay in my room and out of their way vs how much I should interact with the family. When I was with them, I didn't know what to say since I can barely speak French and only my host mother really speaks English. I didn't know where I could go or sit or stand or drink or eat. In the end, most of my first few days I spent my time at home in my room talking to my friends and family back at home and longed with all my heart to just be back with them where I was comfortable or that I had chosen to stay in an apartment with all the other Americans in my program.
But this is an adventure, and it's not supposed to be comfortable all the time. Plus, I found relief in knowing that the other student who were in a home-stay were also suffering from the same awkward experience.
But as time went on, I began to become more comfortable with my host family: Serge, Veronique and Liam. And now, I truly feel lucky to have such a nice family and home. They are all so full of love and joy all the time. They are by far some of the kindest and genuine people I have ever met. Serge and Veronique are so madly in love I makes my heart hurt to have meals with them and watch them stare into each others eyes, like there is no one else in the world. After meals sometimes they put on music and we all dance around and do the dishes together while singing. On the weekends they all wake up slowly, eating breakfast in bed and playing the piano softly while sipping their coffees. It's so serene and such a positive atmosphere. I truly feel blessed. And while there is still a little bit of awkwardness, especially with the word barrier which can lead to some very awkward and stumbling conversations (one of which Serge and I just had), we laugh and let the moment pass on.
BUT THERE'S MORE!
Because, obviously my home-stay is just merely where I live.
Turns out, most of Paris does not look like New York City.
I know, crazy right?!
You just got to get out of the highly populated, commercial and residential areas and into the historic and beautifully kept up areas. Such as the Arrondissements along the Seine river. It's like a whole new world, full of art, romance, and age old beauty. It is truly a sight to behold. And on beautiful sunny days, sitting in the parks and walking by these castles, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
I have seen and done so much in just these past few days and know that there is so much more to do! I have explored Versailles, visited the Eiffel Tour, seen a sliver of the art in the Louvre and gone on a boat tour of the Seine. Tomorrow will see a visit to Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tour once again since it's just such a sight. And I simply cannot wait to spend my Thursday afternoons exploring the Louvre and reading in some of this country's most beautiful places.
All in all, this week has seen a roller-coaster of emotions and each night I sleep like I just ran a marathon, but I am starting to get a feel for the rhythm of the life here and can already feel my French comprehension beginning to improve!
Until next time!
Thank you for reading,
Song of the Day
This is one of the French singers that my host family introduced me to, and I LOVE HIM! Everyone should give him a listen!
Well, I have officially arrived in Paris. And it was no easy task!
Of course, my flight had to be during one of the largest and longest snowstorms this season, because why make it easy, right? So I ended up having to find a new flight itinerary since my original one ended up being cancelled. It caused my arrival time to be pushed back by a couple of hours, but I had hoped that I would still be able to meet the API group on time before they left.
Well, that hope was thrown out the window when I sat IN THE PLANE for more than five hours before we finally took off. That's right. OVER FIVE HOURS!!! We were supposed to take off by 7:45 pm and we took off the runway around 1:15 in the morning and flew for about 6 and a half hours. And the whole time, all 12ish hours we were contained in the tiny airplane seat.
By the time we touched down at the London Heathrow Airport, I had missed my flight by about three hours. Unfortunately, the new layover I was issued as I got off of the plane was leaving in about 50 minutes. Which meant the gate was closing in about 30. Excuse me?!?!
I had to go to the OTHER SIDE OF THE AIRPORT, go down two very slow escalators, take a train two stops, go back up two very slow escalators, go through two rounds of security, go back to the other side of the airport and all before the gates closed. Oh, and while carrying a huge carry-on that was definitely over sized and extremely heavy since it was full of books and shoes, as well as my "purse" which was also full of books and making my shoulder burn from it's weight.
I made it onto the plane - though, after they had announced the gate was closed - and fell into my seat, sweating and thirsty and sad that I didn't get to stick around to hear all the amazing accents.
Upon arriving in Paris, I found my way to the baggage claim, having missed the API meet-up group by three plus hours and knowing I would have to take the dreaded taxi. Unfortunately, to add to my worrying, my bag didn't appear on the conveyor for my flight. So I stood there sad and alone, took a deep breath, and went to the desk to inform them of what had happened. I was afraid they would be upset that I was unable to speak French, but the man at the desk in front of me was wearing a cowboy hat, so I figured I was good.
I was informed by the man at the desk that my luggage was still in London and that it was being shipped over on the next available flight. It was to be delivered to my hotel that evening. I had a hard time believing him, but to my surprise, I went to the desk this morning and it had in fact been delivered. So that was a little light in all of this awfulness.
I spent my first day (well, more like night) in Paris, listening to what I was able to make of the Safety Orientation (I ended up being an hour late after spending a LOT of money on a cab) and then using the metro for the first time. Unfortunately, our program directors had brought us all to the API office to show us where it was and what it looked like, but then they said, "Ok, that's the end of today's orientation. You're free to go."
This prompted us all to look around at each other in a panic, and wonder who am I supposed to go with? I'm certainly not walking back alone, so I need to find someone to pair up with. Why are they leaving us to fend for ourselves? We've only been in this city for a few hours! And all we've seen of it was that hotel conference room and the short trip here!
Honestly, I just wanted to go back to the hotel room and sleep, but I didn't want people to think I was unsocial, so I ended up grabbing a sandwich with two others from the program and taking it back to the hotel to eat it. Unfortunately we got extremely lost getting back to the hotel and by the time we found our way back to the metro and got back on then back off at the place we'd started at then tried a new route back to the hotel, my panini was pretty cold, but somehow still so delicious.
At the end of the night I wound up passing out completely with my head at the wrong side of the bed and my tablet still in my hand and towel still on my head. My roommate attempted to wake me up when she came home, but it was a lost case. I woke up five hours later disoriented, set my alarm, got into bed properly and fell back asleep. I have never felt such jet-lag in my entire life.
The morning consisted of retrieving my baggage, eating breakfast and trying not to have a panick attack. I met my host mother, Mme Marco Veronique, and soon was at home, getting settled in.
And thus begins this very big adventure.
Thank you for reading,
About This Blog:
I started this blog as a way to challenge myself to write more over the 2014 year, but it has blossomed into so much more than that. I use it to let people in on what's happening in my life, talk about things I find important and to spread the news about amazing people, places and art.