I'm in PARIS everyone! It is absolutely gorgeous here. I'm in love :)
So, where did I leave off?... Christmas break was very nice, but now it's over. It was so great to spend time with my family and friends before I jet off across the Atlantic. Anyway, so my flight left Pensacola on Tuesday the 9th and I arrived in Paris on Wednesday the 10th. I have never been on a plane for so long before, and it was tough sitting still for 7+ hours. But I did manage to sleep a little, and none of my luggage was lost, thank You Jesus. The Charles de Gaulle Airport is absolutely ridiculous. At least I was fed on the plane, or else I would have been extremely cranky. There were just so many people all around, everyone trying to navigate a luggage cart and there was so much construction, too. I didn't catch a ride to the FIAP with the NYU group flight, so I grabbed a taxi. My driver spoke no English, but at least I had the address written down so he could read it. As we were driving into the city, my tummy started feeling a little queasy. About 10 seconds later my driver hands me something. It looks like a piece of candy, and at this time my mind is finally working and I remember how to ask "what is this?" in French. He tells me it is a piece of candy (duh Erica) and it tastes like a cough drop. But it really helped my tummy. Of course, I did totally ignore the don't take candy from a stranger rule, but oh well. People are friendly.
The next few days here in Paris were pretty much let's get used to the city and hearing French all of the time and learning to navigate the metro. Which is absolutely amazing, by the way. It is so clean and efficient. Paris is actually a very small city, so you can actually walk everywhere. And there are so many metro lines, like 14 or something like that. Je crois. And the run in every direction possible, so matter where you need to go you can transfer like that. Transferring is so easy. No matter where I am, I know that all I need to do is go to any metro station and I can get home. Plus the trains come all of the time. I've never waited more than about four or five minutes.
My host family I live with is absolutely amazing! They are the nicest people ever. It's an older couple with three grown children. The weekend I moved in (Saturday after I landed) two of her kids surprised her for the weekend, and one of them has two grandbabies. So cute. Anyway, I moved in on Saturday morning, which was great because she picked me up in her car. A note on cars, by the way – they are all extremely tiny. Like a regular four-door car is about the size of a PT Cruiser. And a two-seater is about the size of a go-cart. The two biggest cars I've seen in Paris were two American cars (surprise surprise), one was a Trailblazer and the other was some type of Ford. And they were huge for Paris but still smaller than they would be in the U.S. Anyway, this host family is so nice. I have my own bedroom and my own bathroom (praise the Lord!) and my own entrance into the house. They actually live just outside the city of Paris in a suburb called Boulogne Billancourt. It is very safe and very residential. Plus it's like a ten minute metro ride, so door-to-door time is about 20 minutes. I can use their kitchen and eat dinner with them, I can call the U.S. for free (!!) and they have wireless internet. Although my computer is not cooperating at this point, it is still so great. And now, drumroll please... my rent is a mere 450 euros per month. Oh yeah. Praise You Lord God for being my Provider, now and always.
Friday night a bunch of us went to the Latin Quarter and went to a bar. First we got totally lost, and they we ended up walking by the Notre Dame. Gorgeous!! It was so amazing to see it in person, finally. Of course, I didn't have my camera, but oh well. It's not going anywhere. On Saturday Dominique came to pick me up at 10:00, and I totally slept in until 9:00. Yikes. I mean, I don't even remember turning off my alarm or anything like that. She drove me through the city and showed me all of the famous buildings. We drove down the Champs-Elysees and it was so cool! Later in the afternoon Iva and I walked around the city and I bought a black coat. I finally bought one, and I've worn it like every day. I love it. Sunday I walked around the city with Halley. We met at the L'arc de Triomphe (!!) and walked down the Champs-Elysees. How amazing. And it was such a gorgeous day, too. We just spent like four hours just walking around the city and talking. I love it! Everything here is so beautiful and so old and so famous.
Monday was our placement test to see what level of language class we belong in. After the test I had academic orientation. There are two classes that I really want to take at the University of Paris: History and Film and American Literature in the South. How cool would that be!! And both classes are in English, yay. Not like I could ever handle a non-French class taught in French, no way. Especially not at the University of Paris. Yesterday was the first day of class, and it was quite interesting. I always get so frustrated in French classes because I can never understand what anyone is saying. However, my French comprehension has vastly improved in this past week. It has gotten so much better. Now I can understand pretty much anything anyone says to me in French. Obviously if they talk a little slower than normal. And something I'm finally able to put into practice is that I don't have to understand every single word, but as long as I understand the gist of what they are saying I'm good. I had to learn that while taking French at NYU, and now I get to actually live it out.
I just love Paris. I'm having such a wonderful time. I truly am.
Okay, so this was the "this is what I'm actually doing" entry. Next entry will be how I'm feeling and that type of entry. Plus I'll start my long, long list of the differences between French life and American life. Pretty big so far, and I've only been here a week.
I miss everyone! I love you guys! P.S. I love mail, so let me know if you want to write me and Ill give you my address. And even if you don't want to write to me give me your address and I'll send everyone postcards.
Quote for the day is:
"Paris is the city in which one loves to live."