One morning, I was sat at the dining room table across from my host mom. We both had out laptops out, typing furiously. She had her café, I had an empty tasse du thé. It was quiet in the house, with warm sunlight just beginning to stream through the front windows, and incessantly loud outside from all of the construction (the sound of scraping, cracking, and crumbling concrete will forever be imbedded in my mind).
From my left, I heard a kind of…screeching. I look over, and Héctor, the giant Maine Coon cat is stretched out on the red carpet, fully on his back. It is a beautiful moment—a highly underrated point in my study abroad experience; the two of us staring at this fluff ball of a monster in the early morning, trying not to laugh too loud.
One morning, as I sat eating cold (yet still delicious) boeuf bourguignon at the Bastille Market on Sunday morning, I started to think about the…evolution of my Paris knowledge. When I applied to study abroad, I was thinking less about Paris than about all the trips I was going to take from Paris, and that I was going to treat the city a bit more as a home base/touchpad than as a an adventure itself.
Now, I’ve been stressing over travel, and I’ve been able to get to some awesome places from Paris. I feel so lucky to hop on some planes and trains (less so automobiles) and gotten to places that I’ve always wanted to. At the same time, I found that, sitting on this cold little bench listening to the booming voices of vendors and the international mélange happening around me, I realize that I know where I am.
I mean, obviously I know where I am but it’s different because…because it’s Paris and I have succeeded in navigating myself without GoogleMaps and I knew which ligne to take (the 5) and I have made it and I am eating and I can tell any random passerby which way is North and…wow does it feel good to know.
One morning, after I’ve said “bonne journée” to my family and have made it out to the street, I find myself stopping at the corner patisserie to pick up a croissant for later. I head over to the grocery and pick up a little something for lunch, and then I am on my way to do everything that the day entails.
À toute à l’heure!