Paris
I moved.

If you like these stories about my experience in Paris, visit my new tumblr page. It serves as my personal blog and contains links to my resumé and some published writing that I’ve done. As always, thanks for reading.

Sarah

Update.

Well. I have been home for about two weeks, and the novelty of it all is wearing off. I’ve seen people who I missed, and eaten at all the restaurants I missed, and spent time with my family. I’ve driven enough, seen enough trucks, worn enough T-shirts, had enough sales tax, worked enough, listened to enough of my radio station. Now, I miss France.

I miss France and its 90 cent baguettes, and all of the wonderful people who I met over there. My dad bought me a baguette at a bakery in Des Moines the other day and he was four dollars poorer for it. Why does that cost so much? I don’t understand. 

Yes, I am a little depressed. Why would I want to drive downtown for an eight hour restaurant shift, when I can walk outside to this giant river that runs through this one historic city and watch all sorts of weird people walk around. Oh reality, why do you have to sting so badly. 

Alas I will get over it. It is great to be in Ankeny with my family, it really is. And I will keep busy this summer with work, and summer reading and helping my sister get ready for her first year of college. I am working at a new restaurant in downtown Des Moines called Americana. It is a nice place, come visit! On Wednesday, I will start a summer student position at Meredith publishing. Stay tuned to my blog. It has been in a slight coma for these two weeks, but still lives. I’m planning where to go with it next, so keep reading. 

Last post from France.

Everything is packed, and I am still up of course, after getting back late from a dinner party and saying goodbye to people, and walking home along the Seine and past the Notre Dame one last time. Its three in the morning here and I don’t think I will be able to sleep before my shuttle at 5:50. I’m worrying about traveling again, and everything working out. I’m feeling depressed about leaving, but very excited to see my family waiting for me at the airport. If I don’t sleep, maybe I will be able to sleep on the plane, and then not be jet lagged tomorrow. We shall see. 

Either way, this is my last post from France which is quite sad. I will still update this blog, though. So stay tuned - you might get to hear about my trip home as I take an interesting route from Paris, France to Houston, Texas to Des Moines. Thanks for reading throughout the semester. I enjoyed keeping the blog, and its been a great way to feel connected to you, practice my writing, and reminisce about all the things that have happened on my study abroad experience. I will see you all soon!

It has been a busy weekend filled with friends and falafel. Yes, I’ve had falafel every day of the weekend. I will miss its availability in the Jewish district, and the special pita bread, sauce, eggplant slices on top, pickled cucumbers, and cabbage. There is really nothing better. 
Yesterday, I went to a picnic in the Luxembourg gardens organized by my friend, Camille. It was an end of the year picnic for lots of her friends before they all go to different countries for Sciences Po’s mandatory year abroad for third year students. There is a picture (above) of all the different picnics on one lawn in the garden. It was completely full of people, mostly students. We were even a tourist photo attraction and I will now be in many people’s Paris scrapbooks. 
The picnic was great for me because I got to listen to and speak French. While there, Lizzi and I met a French Sciences Po student named Kevin, who is spending his year abroad at Mizzou next year! I think he was grateful to make Mizzou connections ahead of time, and I know we were happy because now we will have our own little link to Paris next year at Mizzou. We have already taught him some necessary college campus slang.
After the picnic, I had to say goodbye to Camille. My sweet, beautiful French friend is going to be spending next year in Korea so I demanded that she send me regular updates and pictures. I am so excited for her, she is so brave and smart, but it was sad to say goodbye. 
Last night was spent at what is quickly becoming my favorite hang-out spot in the city: the Pont des Arts bridge. We gathered lots of our friends, talked and drank champagne and wine for a few hours. I have packed a little today and will finish this afternoon. Just got a call from my shuttle to the airport and they will be picking me up at 5:50 in the morning. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that time of day.

It has been a busy weekend filled with friends and falafel. Yes, I’ve had falafel every day of the weekend. I will miss its availability in the Jewish district, and the special pita bread, sauce, eggplant slices on top, pickled cucumbers, and cabbage. There is really nothing better. 

Yesterday, I went to a picnic in the Luxembourg gardens organized by my friend, Camille. It was an end of the year picnic for lots of her friends before they all go to different countries for Sciences Po’s mandatory year abroad for third year students. There is a picture (above) of all the different picnics on one lawn in the garden. It was completely full of people, mostly students. We were even a tourist photo attraction and I will now be in many people’s Paris scrapbooks. 

The picnic was great for me because I got to listen to and speak French. While there, Lizzi and I met a French Sciences Po student named Kevin, who is spending his year abroad at Mizzou next year! I think he was grateful to make Mizzou connections ahead of time, and I know we were happy because now we will have our own little link to Paris next year at Mizzou. We have already taught him some necessary college campus slang.

After the picnic, I had to say goodbye to Camille. My sweet, beautiful French friend is going to be spending next year in Korea so I demanded that she send me regular updates and pictures. I am so excited for her, she is so brave and smart, but it was sad to say goodbye. 

Last night was spent at what is quickly becoming my favorite hang-out spot in the city: the Pont des Arts bridge. We gathered lots of our friends, talked and drank champagne and wine for a few hours. I have packed a little today and will finish this afternoon. Just got a call from my shuttle to the airport and they will be picking me up at 5:50 in the morning. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen that time of day.

A little list for you.

I want to write a little bit about what I love about being in France. And since I’ve learned in my journalism classes that people like their information in list form, here goes.

1. Politeness: People actually say “enchanté” after meeting you. Even people my age. It’s rude not to say “bonjour” before asking a sales clerk a question. I’m going to miss people greeting me when I walk into stores, and wishing me good day and goodbye when I leave. Today, I went to a big picnic where I only talked to a small group of people. When someone left the picnic, they went around and kissed everyone goodbye, even if we had never formally met.

2. No faux politeness: Your dinner or afternoon coffee in France won’t get interrupted 20 times by waiters asking if everything is OK. Similarly, waiters don’t really chat to you while on the job, there is an aloof disconnect between waiter and customer. This means that service industry people won’t act like your best friend and then complain about you to their coworkers in the back kitchen (hmmm I’ve never done that). 

2. More general open-mindedness: I’ve noticed this especially on the issue of homophobia - there’s a lot less of it here. Guys are chummy, they hug, show affection and go out to dinner together. It’s not a big deal. Most of the Europeans I’ve discussed this issue with, don’t understand why a public figure or politician coming out as gay would affect their campaign or work. The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, is openly gay. 

3. Relaxation and friends always come first: Yesterday, I saw a bus driver stop the bus on the side of Boulevard Saint-Germain in central Paris so that a homeless man could come greet her with two kisses. Everyone picnics for hours. It’s great.

4. The French language: I love this language. It can be confusing when talking to new people whether you use the formal form for “you” or the informal form. But, it’s also a great way to know where you stand with someone. Calling people “tu” is so wonderfully informal and intimate, reserved for fellow students and family and friends. Calling people “vous” is a perfect way to show respect, for asking directions and for distracting strangers from any other annoying questions that I might have.

Lizzi and I met our friend Nick on the steps of la Grande Arche last night, in la Defense, which is the office-building, business district of Paris. I had to say goodbye to Nick since he left for a trip around Italy with his family today, and I’m leaving on Monday. 

La Défense is actually a little outside of the city, but its at the very end of the metro line so we could still get there. It actually felt like we were at the edge of the earth. Mostly because the buildings struck me as futuristic after months of living next to things like gladiator rings, tiny cafés and old train stations.

When you’re sitting on the steps of la Grande Arche, you can see the Arc de Triomphe in the distance. And when you’re on top of l’Arc de Triomphe, you can see the bright, white, 20th century version of it in the Grande Arche way in the distance. Here are some Google pictures of that connection since I don’t have a good one. It was meant to be that way when the Grande Arche was built. I’m sure the two arches love seeing past and future versions of themselves across the city. It’s like their very own time-machine mirror.