Last night, Ben, our TA Emma and I went to a concert at a venue called Petit Bain. It’s an adorable boat docked on the Seine river with three levels – bottom being the stage and bar, middle a bar and restaurant, and the top a rooftop terrace. If the weather had been nicer, we could’ve sat on the roof, but as almost every other day of this trip it rained… In two words, Paris has been cold and rainy so far, and I’m told that this isn’t necessarily normal for this time of year. Anyways, the concert was such a great experience! Anyone who knows me knows I love music, and I of course love French, and I’m always searching for new French music. I’ve always found it difficult to discover new French artists from the States because over there I have no idea who’s popular or how to find out about them or anything. The artist we saw was Karim Ouellet and he had a great voice and was really talented at guitar. He made little jokes in French between songs and overall I had a great time. The venue had an intimate feel, similar to Cat’s Cradle. I could imagine myself living in Paris and attending concerts at that place all the time.
The past days have been mostly classwork and rain. We went to an exhibit at Le Petit Palais called Paris 1900. It was filled with beautiful artwork, clothing, relics, and so on from the 1900’s in Paris. It coincided perfectly with what we have been studying in our class here!
I’m also really loving the Sorbonne French class. I have a great teacher. He’s funny and definitely very intelligent. He is familiar with languages other than English and French (obviously due to the number of international students that take courses at the Sorbonne) and I find it fascinating to see how he explains things to hispanophones. I have made a couple friends in my class who are from a few different universities in the US doing programs similar to ours. I also met a lawyer from Argentina, and she’s beautiful! It is also interesting to me how she and I only have French in common, so if we communicate, we communicate in French.
I’m realizing that the days are slipping away way quicker than I would have thought. I want to make the most of my time here but I also don’t want to put a ton of pressure. I’m starting to wish I was staying longer, as I’m sure most people do, and really starting to wonder about my possibilities of studying abroad again or finding work abroad in the near future. I am so happy in a place that operates in a language other than English. Of course I love North Carolina, and UNC, but I also know that I want to improve my French speaking and that’s something that isn’t going to happen the way I want it to if I am still in the US.
Another thing that has shocked me is how normal it feels to live here. I have to keep reminding myself that this is Paris… France… not Chapel Hill, not Raleigh, not North Carolina. I wake up in the morning and the same sun is still there, and when I walk to class I get hit by the same drops of rain. As much as there are huge differences, it’s just another city where people live. All of these places that I romanticize in my head do have great qualities to them, but they are also real and tangible in a way that I never realized until I actually experienced one.
Small funny anecdote of the week: I had been wanting to bike around Paris ever since we did the bike tour our first week here. So, one day before class I bought a pass to use the bikes you can rent for a day to try it out. I used one of the kiosks to grab a bike and set off. I knew how to get to class, but I didn’t actually know which roads had bike lanes and which roads it was okay to bike on the side walk. A really nice French man noticed how utterly lost I must have looked and pointed me in the right direction after I told him I was looking for Blvd Raspail. There is a huge roundabout on my path to class, so yep, there was me, biking in the middle of a circular sea of cars. I’m not even an experienced biker. Also, it started pouring rain half-way through the roundabout, so by the time I made it to class I looked like a wet dog. Anyways, I made it! It was fun, but I’m going to have to map out a better route before I do it again, and make sure that there is no rain whatsoever (which may not be possible).
Last thing before I end this ridiculously long post: I miss talking to everyone from home. I love not having internet because, as we have talked about in class, it allows me to be more present in each moment I’m in and actually experience each part of my day. That being said, I feel like I have no idea what is going on in the lives of my friends and family! Just wanted to say that I miss you all and look forward to catching up if the internet permits. 🙂 Trust me, the only reason I would ever leave this place is to come home to you guys.