Clivia Wang | Paris, France | Post 2

Clivia Wang | Paris, France | Post 2

The first month is a really interesting threshold in an exchange year. My sleeping situation is finally better, I have managed to not catch the cold that’s been going around the group (fingers crossed), and I have learned how to say “to go” in a cafe (suck it last-post-me). But I blame Paris for having so many must-see-places-in-your-life that I constantly feel like a tourist. The first time you go on the Eiffel Tower (not yet), the first time you go into Notre-Dame (not yet), the first time you climb all the way up on Montmartre Heights (not yet), the first time you lose yourself in Musee d’Orsay (encore, not yet). Yes, all these things I have consciously chosen not to do, because in my weird and possibly nonsense mentality, I don’t want to feel like a tourist on a three-day-trip-in-Paris, checking off lists of places of “interest” whether it’s really in my interests or not. Does not visiting these sights make me less of a tourist? I can’t say, but I know that at least in these definitive moments of taking selfies with Mona Lisa, or touring the Seine on a boat, I am more touristy than I would want to see myself be.

Maybe this is just to make myself feel more legit. But I guess this mentality is the result of my lasting desire of fitting in and being a Parisian. I wish I could communicate in French so much better, I wish I could understand everything in my class, I wish I have more French friends, I have so many wishes that I wish I could write here.

But enough of wishful thinking. Everything is getting and can only be getting better. If it took me one month to learn how to say “to go” in French (à emporter), oh-what-the-hell I’ll just finish my plate in the restaurant. Thankfully, in this month I have also learned how to say tap water (carafe d’eau) so I won’t die of thirst. A long the line of positive energy, I decided to list all the things in this month that went from not-yet to awesomely-done. Being a little anxious in Paris beats being a little anxious almost anywhere else. So here are my favorite moments in the past month:

  1. Waking up one Sunday morning not to an alarm clock, but to find a faint rainbow outside of my window.Macintosh HD:Users:clynstirfry:Pictures:iPhoto Library.photolibrary:Masters:2014:09:29:20140929-100011:IMG_2041.JPG(I promise it was so much prettier in real life.)

  1. Bought Bordeaux red wine and Coulommier cheese and had an after-dinner picnic at the Champs de Mars, aka in front of the Eiffel Tower. Met a group of Spanish friends and communicated in three languages while the Eiffel changed patterns of lighting. On my way back, a group of drunk French teenagers chanted and took their shirts off in the metro.

Macintosh HD:Users:clynstirfry:Pictures:iPhoto Library.photolibrary:Previews:2014:09:29:20140929-095632:hzFkH9S9QwqsLqgZAg69bQ:IMG_2118.jpgThe last shot before my phone died that night.

  1. Cooked dinner with my host brother after my host parents abandoned us to go to a friends’ house party. We bonded over French music in the ’60s and the deliciousness of my homemade pork chop soup.

  1. Permitted myself to go with the family the first Sunday I was here to a place I did not understand. It turned out that I was underdressed (I’m always underdressed in Paris) for an intensive session of church and a fancy family retreat out in what appears to be almost a forest! Aperitifs, entrees, plats, desserts, and of course of course all different kinds of wine… That lunch lasted 12pm-4pm.

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  1. Completed my first interview in French. Although a huge part of it was me humming oui, oui, voila, bien sûr, merci, merci, I (and my supervisor) did it, so now I’m working 15 hours a week (in French, hoot) at the Parisian office (walking distance to the Louvre, hoot) of an American Arts museum and helping with their library collection on American Art.

Macintosh HD:Users:clynstirfry:Pictures:iPhoto Library.photolibrary:Masters:2014:09:29:20140929-095752:IMG_1923.JPGShameless snapchat selfie after the interview.

  1. Enrolled in a French class with no class description or syllabus or even a decided professor. Went to the class and found out he is young and hot and mumbles.

  2. Almost finished “Antigone” in French during my everyday commute on the metro and feeling surprised at how much I can understand and appreciate a classic in its original language already.

  3. Discovered a super delicious kao-yu (fried-fish) restaurant and enrolled in its membership.

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  1. Approached by an old French man in a cemetery while looking for Maupassant’s tomb. We talked in French and he told me all the historical stories of other celebrities in the cemetery. He was alive during WWII, never officially learned English, and is auditing a class at La Sorbonne now. His son is buried in the same cemetery so he comes there quite often. When I had to leave he said to me, “Paris is a city young people should be emerged in, and especially a pretty girl like you.” This is not a movie; this really happened.

Macintosh HD:Users:clynstirfry:Desktop:IMG_1857.jpgOf course he’s in a suit and carries a history book in his hands.

  1. Found a scribbled line on the terrace of a room of the Senate while visiting during the yearly open weekend: Ici C’est Paris; Paris est magique (Here is Paris; Paris is magic) – although I was told later that Paris est magique is the slogan of a local soccer team.

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  1. Carried myself through the first month the first time I’m living in a country where I don’t speak the language well enough. Being self-supportive and obnoxiously forcing myself to learn more. Yes, of this I am proud.

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