NB: I will be including photos I have taken throughout my time here from now on. I am not the best photographer, but I have decided to work on improving my photography skills (by enlisting the help of my friend and photographer extraordinaire, Janey). This is of the Roue de Paris at the end of the garden of Tuileries next to the Musee de Louvre.
Someone should stick me in the chokey like Miss Trunchbull did to Matilda to teach me a lesson about slacking on my posts. I guess I can't really blame myself - I hope you don't either - because every day is a constant spiral of activity and new experiences. It is hard to catch my breath sometimes, let alone sit down and gather my thoughts enough to reflect on recent events in my Parisienne life.
Well, the coolest thing that has happened to me in the past week is that I have solidified my plans for spring break! My "study abroad BFF," Kortney (iamlivingamoveablefeast.wordpress.com), and I are going to be schlepping ourselves to Prague and uncovering everything that the Czech Republic has to offer. Beer, hearty & meaty meals, and medieval castles? I am so there. Not to mention, there is an old Cold War-era underground nuclear bunker that has been turned into a quirky night club. I am going to be creating so many memories, it's hard to believe that my brain has enough space to store them all.
It has taken almost three weeks, but I think it is safe to say that I have comfortably settled into my life here. I have my group of friends (or 'salopes') that I surround myself with, I have the art of feeding myself down, and I am definitely beginning to get a grasp of Parisian night life. It is definitely different, coming from a college town like Boston, where everything is catered towards students, but still closes before the party even had time to develop. In Paris, the fête doesn't even start until after midnight, yet the Metro still closes around 1:30am! This is France's way of saying: "You either go hard, or go home because, here, we party until the sunrises and the Metro starts running again. D'accord?"
Hey, at least it's safer. Walking around the streets of Paris at 3 a.m. is a sketchy proposition. As Ted Mosby's mom says, "Nothing good happens after 2 a.m." I can attest to that - one of my many interesting late-night French encounters included a strange man frantically chasing my friend, Janey, and I into the Metro station, propositioning us for a ménage-à-trois with him for 50 Euro. Come on, man! No one is that cheap! (Kidding, kidding)
Every day here is like another step into adulthood - I am learning things, whether it be the easy or the hard way. A lot of times, it's the hard way. Like thinking we were buying bottles of alcohol for under 2 Euro, when really we just read the price tags wrong and they cost 10. Or being nice to a crepe-maker man just because he makes the absolute best crepes, so much so that he gives your group of friends his number, and then complains to you that you didn't text him when you return to his creperie because you cannot live another day without his crepes with Nutella (#awkward). Or even getting fined by the RATP police because you didn't read the fine print on your Navigo monthly public transportation pass about attaching a photo to your card and, with my luck, being singled out during one of their random checks. Such is life as a foreigner. There has definitely been a fair share of these...unfortunate times, but I value each of them as much as the good because I learned.
To be honest, I now understand how foreigners feel when they are in the US and I sometimes (heartlessly) laugh at them and their mistakes, the solutions to which seem self-explanatory to me. But, being in a country where you aren't fluid in the language, the culture is different, and being ripped away from the comfort of having Mommy & Daddy help with everything (although, they still try to do their best from across the large pond), has catalyzed my maturation.
I'm still far from being a true Parisienne woman, but I am definitely a few steps closer to being a self-reliant adult.