Well, after a long day of travel and fighting valiantly against jet lag, I've made it! I am in Paris, at The Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, in my own private room overlooking a beautiful French park and Boulevard Jourdan. I can honestly say I am living the sweet life right now.
Of course, today has been somewhat of a struggle. Between an eight hour flight with the world's heaviest luggage, the longest wait at the baggage claim, to the slowest taxi driver on this side of the planet, having to remember how to form sentences in French, and showering in a douche where you have to constantly be pressing the button in order to keep the water running, I am definitely beat. So, I find myself in bed at 8 p.m. (or 20h00, if we are trying to be French), with plenty of time to reflect on the day that just passed.
The main thing I observed: I am in desperate need of brushing up on my French. Conversations can get uncomfortable when you are always looking up, trying to rack the Rolodex in your brain of French vocabulary buried under an inch of dust. I need to get on this pronto if I want the fatigue of formulating sentences to disappear. But, I am loving being immersed in this language, having it reverberate in my ears. It is so beautiful and musical! I cannot wait to just be able to rattle it off my tongue without a second thought.
Making friends was a lot easier than I initially thought it would be. While it was never a primary concern, it definitely was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I might spend my first few days alone in a foreign country with no support system. Luckily, I have connected with a few girls on the trip staying at the dorm with me, adding a certain umbrella of comfort over me as I explore my new home. This is definitely one of the things that has made this drastic transition on my first day enjoyable - being able to laugh with friends who have the same concerns as I do. It makes me feel a lot less clueless.
As I sit here in my bed, exhausted, I still feel like I am itching to go out and explore Paris. There is so much to discover, more than I can cover in four months, and I can't wait to do it. Every second, the mental scroll of things I want to do is expanding and I feel like I am never going to cover everything I want to do. It is making me somewhat anxious because I have so many expectations for what I want to get out of this trip and I am afraid I am going to disappoint myself in the end. I'm just hoping that this very early feeling will propel me forward to be the best adventurer I could be.
Tomorrow is going to be my first day on Paris' public transportation - although, the Tramway is eerily similar to Boston's T - and my first day at BU's Paris Center. Every new thing I learn, even the most basic thing like how to buy the monthly Navigo pass, is an exciting milestone. I can't wait to add more facets of Parisien life under my experience belt tomorrow.
But, for now, I am going to read on my iPad until I drift off to sleep, dreaming about the baguettes I will see, the art I will ponder, and the culture I will soak in each and every day I'm in Paris. I cannot believe I'm here!