dimanche 26 août 2007

i'm here


Bonjour tout le monde! I'm not lying in a ditch somewhere. I'm okay. I apologize for dropping off the earth for a couple of days and if I worried you, but I got here in one piece, pretty easily, and all by myself. I'm a big girl now!

My parents and Cherilin came to the airport with me which was nice. My flight was pushed back, so Cher and I had a McDonald's breakfast which was surprisingly good. My parents didn't cry or anything, but I did. And I said, "I love you" to my parents and to Cher, and I never say stuff like that. My family isn't really like that to say that stuff. We usually show our love by doing stuff or making fun of the person, so it was sweet. Not sweet in a blonde surfer saying "sweet!" sense but you know what I mean.

I also called some people that meant a lot to me: my parents, to make sure they know that I got through security okay; my brother, to let him know the same thing especially since he didn't get to see me off; and the boy I left behind, because I wanted to tell him some things before I left. I miss you, Ben!

The plane ride wasn't too bad. I didn't eat the whole way, which is what I usually do on long plane rides because the turbulence makes it bad for my tummy. So I think I lost a pound not eating and lugging my luggage across Paris. Fortunately, I had one checked-in luggage, my carry-on backpacker's backpack, and a tote bag. Not too bad. I heard others who lost luggage or who took a ton, but I just took the essentials.

I took the RER train (which is like th BART for you SF peoples) into the 14th arrondissement where I'm staying temporarily at the Cite Universitaire. It was a nice train ride--lots of countryside and then lots of the city.

Saw some peoples from SF, and we checked in together. My room is nice in an old building that reminds me a lot of Cambridge. My roommate was in French club with me back at State. She's super cool and has been here for the past week so she knows her stuff.

I've used my French when speaking to French people. If they notice my American accent, they usually go to English, but some have been nice and have spoken mostly French to me. I get mistaken for being Arabic. My friends and I went out to eat in the Latin quarter, and I used my French to order. He knew that we were American since my friend broke into English after speaking French. But when I ordered, I did so in French. He said I spoke well! It was nice. A real self-esteem boost for me.

It didn't hit me that I was in Paris until I saw the Eiffel Tower the first day I arrived. I saw it, and it was smaller than I thought--tv and movies always romanticize cities by making them pictoresque and larger than life. But it was small, cute, and it hit me that this will be my city for the next year. I'll walk these streets, use the metro, finally understand what French people are talking about when they pass me on the sidewalks. There's only one reason that makes this trip, this year in Paris a bit unbearable, but this could not have been a better time.

I haven't been too culture shocked or anything. If anything, I feel the same things here that I felt when I first moved to San Francisco. Except the language barrier and the ultimate survival instinct. I've been living off 10 euros a day eating a baguette with cheese a day and drinking water. And it feels good knowing that I can live like this temporarily because I know my money situation isn't too great, and there are more important things to take care of.

I feel that my time here will be amazing and educational, and that I'll learn a lot about myself and know what I'm capable of. But I'm not expecting some sort of grand change like Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina character. I'm not going to make this a film or romanticize any of it. I know I want to, but real life isn't like that even though some events make it feel that way. That's my stance right now, a couple days in, but we'll see how it is later.

I've done a lot of things already: sat in a cafe and drank coffee; boat tour along the Seine; went grocery shopping at the local supermarche; walked in the nice park across the street. These first two days have been absolutely packed with things to do! Just so you know--the coffee here is effing amazing! Now I know why they call ours "sock juice".

Just so you know, my posts will be infrequent since I'm trying to figure out the basic essentials. Here are some things that'll be keeping me busy:

--opening a bank account
--getting a cell phone
--getting around Paris

I'll post as soon as things are going more smoothly. A bientot!

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