Friday, September 11, 2009

The Beginnings.

So I promised myself that I would blog after a week of being here, and it's now Friday-slash-Saturday morning so the time has come. I'm in Paris. The French are wonderful, interesting, rude, earnest, forthcoming, stylish, stand-offish, and timeless. From the architecture to the food, the language to the cafés, everything is pretty much as I expected. I was warned about some aspects and prepped for others, but it's taken a lot of getting used to, don't get me wrong. I would like to say that I've comfortably adapted to all of my surroundings these past six days, but that would be wishful thinking FOR SURE. I got here last Sunday around 11:30 a.m. and I'm still jet-lagged. However, I am proud to say that I was resourceful enough to take a train to my homestay my first day thus saving 40 euro and since then have successfully taken the metro a number of times (only having to turn around and go in the opposite direction twice :] ). My 'house-mom' Véronique is an extremely sweet, 58 year old women with two boys who are Julian 29 and Simon 26 (pronounced Simone). The eldest, recently married, lives with his wife in NYC, and Simon has his own place in Paris. She's asked me a ton about myself which is good practice for my French but apparently is enamored with her sons because we talk about them a lot. I met Simon the other day, a sweetly typical French boy complete with slicked-back, jet-black hair, fedora, and trendy clothes most likely from Longchamp. But his brother works for Nike in the states so I'm pretty sure they're the only shoes he wears. I was inadvertently invited (cough BY HIS MOTHER cough) to an after party for the magazine he works for, Jalouse. It's the day before my birthday, and The Virgins are the 'band of honor' joke. I was slightly pleased, to say the least. But anyways, back to Vé 5'2" she's all personality with big, brown curly hair, glasses, and European looking shawls that she 'casually' wears around the apartment which is ever so French. Everything is antique; the cracked mirrors, the original wood-paneled floors, the library of French literature/theatre, the chaise, the paintings, the silver, the piano you know she got from her great-grandmother, and the red walls....everywhere. I've enjoyed the time I've gotten to spend her, be it brief....mostly dinners and the conversation we shared over wine with Simon at my first café outing in the Marais quartier. However, she's already managed to laughingly poke fun at my "terrible French speaking" as well as give 'suggestions' that come across more like orders. But despite my slightly hurt feelings, I was warned by IES staff (i.e. the program I'm studying with....acronym meaning Insitute for the International Education of Students) that the French are so often critical and oblivious that we can't possibly take it personally. Therefore, I decided her critique of my French speaking was God's way of giving me a heads-up; maybe I'm not as good as I thought I was, but hey...I've got four months to apprendre le francais...donc, il faut que je commence etudier TOUT de SUITE. (translation: I've got four months to learn, I'd better start studying RIGHT AWAY.) ;] All benefits of the doubt aside, I just came off of four months of summer without speaking, hearing, or reading French, and I think I've done pretty well thus far. I've already met some beautiful girls through my program that shared my first night out in Paris (: dinner and drinks near the Champs Elysees) as well as my first visit to a museum (the Musee D'Orsay...ended somewhat badly, but I'll get to that later. Funny story.) All in all, I'm half-way through orientation with good acquaintances, eaten excellent French food, wandered Paris on a Friday night, taken pictures on the metro with Playradioplay, Third Eye Blind, South, or Owl City blaring through my headphones, and only had one moderately threatening encounter with a bum who flicked his cigarette on me, ending in a British lady's complaint to the cops (..another funny story). Ahh, the experiences of a study abroad student. More details to come, but for now it's 2:45 a.m. my time, and my bed looks rather cozy. I love you all, my dearest loved ones! Pray for me, think of me, and send me snail-mail! (It seems like the proper, historically Paris way of communicating.) But hey, e-mails/facebook messages will do ;]


  1. Cool! Sounds like you have some adventures to look forward to. I'll be checking in to hear your stories-- I love travel!

  2. ahh thanks emily! yah i've creeped on your photos before and you've been to some amazing places...if you've got any advice on France i'm all for it ;]