With each day, I find myself falling in love with Paris. I only arrived on Friday, and it’s Sunday night, but the city is beautiful, the language is lovely, and the people are unique. Of course, my first few days here are not the same as what is to come. My placement test is on Tuesday, and classes start this coming Thursday, so I have been using these free days to tour (and study). But being able to explore what Paris has to offer has been incredible so far, and there is so much more to come. It hasn’t been all peaches and cream during every moment, but this is a wonderful experience unlike any other.
To give you a small taste of some of the more negative, and probably now funny, moments: my roommate and I took a Taxi (we spoke French to the driver!) from where we had an informational meeting to our home stay. However, the driver didn’t take us to the right place, and we sadly only noticed once he had driven away. There was a moment of panic as we realized we had been left on an unfamiliar street in a city we knew nothing about. We asked a French lady for directions, and were able to understand what she told us to an extent. We had to do quite a bit of walking, pulled out our maps a lot, and lugged our suitcases down the streets of Paris while receiving many strange looks. It also took us a good half an hour or so to find the right house once we had the correct street. This is one of the very few not-so-great experiences I’ve had so far.
However, the good completely outweighs the bad. Once we finally arrived, we met our host (which I shall refer to as Madame). Madame made us a lovely “typical” French dinner, with more delicious courses than either my roommate or I were expected. We had a chicken course, a vegetable course, a salad course, a cheese course, a sorbet course, and a fruit course, all accompanied by bread. It was SO much food, but it was all fantastic and very French-y. We spent the next day visiting the Musée d’Orsay (museum), the Seine River, and the Eiffel Tower. We didn’t go to the top yet, because it was closed, but that can be saved for another day. Some French men jumped in a picture we were taking, and were very friendly with the complements. We had a good laugh once they had left. Today was spent in Versailles (a huge palace and garden) and at Monet’s house, both of which were incredibly beautiful. I’m loving being a tourist, but also being able to semi (though not always successfully) blend in.
I feel like I’m being enlightened here. I’m learning so much about culture and how different people can be in different countries. I’m also starting to improve my French. Granted, my roommate and I had an interesting experience in a restaurant, where we essentially failed at speaking French and the waiter immediately switched to English, but I’m also having the opportunity to speak it more and more here, which is wonderful.
Anyway, my placement test is on Tuesday, and we will see how it goes! Soon begins my studies in Paris, and soon my French improves immensely! (J’espère…)