Juliana Struve | Paris, France | Post 1
Notes on Paris
I cannot believe that I’ve been actually living in Paris for a week now. I feel like I’ve been here for so much longer. But of course, I know that the days will start to go by really fast—too fast, in fact—once my schedule is set and I fall into a routine.
There are so many things that I want to say about Paris, but for simplicity’s sake, I will only write about the two that surprised me the most.
The first is how quickly I grew to like Paris. I’ve found that moving somewhere and just visiting that place produce very different emotions at the beginning of each experience. I know that I really have to make an effort to adjust to this new place where I will be living for an extended period of time, and learn to genuinely like it—or else I will be miserable. Doing so takes time…or so I thought before I fell in love with Paris upon arrival. Maybe, though, I’m still just in the honeymoon phase of my relationship with Paris, in which everything is perfect and I am gladly willing to overlook certain things like the sometimes snobby and often cold Parisians and the fact that they don’t pick up after their dogs.
The second is how much I’ve been thinking recently about love. It is literally the biggest cliché in the book to say that the word for Paris is love, l’amour, or whatever, but everyday that is the word that keeps running through my head, and seems to be running through everyone else’s heads here, too. It’s the unspoken word on the street, in the fleeting moments of eye contact betweenyoung men and women on the metro. My life is absolutely perfect right now. The only thing that could possibly be missing, an amant. I keep telling myself, “girl, you need to stop. You have been here for a week,” but this city really seems like the perfect place to fall in love.
The problem is that I don’t really know how to read French boys yet. I mean for the most part they are so put-together and metrosexual that it can be difficult to tell sometimes who is straight and who isn’t. (A gay friend of mine who is also doing the Paris program mentioned this to me, adding sadly that most of them turn out to be straight). French boys also seem very demure, but then again, most of the French guys I’ve been observing have only been on the metro and in the street—stone cold sober, tired, and in the midst of their daily grind. So we will see how they act in the bars and clubs this weekend. Stay tuned…
I’ve found that there is a bit of learning curve when it comes to adjusting to life in Paris. Here are some of the lessons that my friends and I learned last night:
1. Bring your own bottle opener, because the only liquor store open in the whole Bastille neighborhood will not sell them.
2. Keep at least one hand on your bag at all times.
3. Avoid making eye contact with strangers unless you want them to come over and talk to you.
4. Plan out exactly how you are going to get home that night if you stay out later than the metro runs (read: know which night bus you are going to take).
5. Maybe the Bastille is actually better on Thursdays…