A breath of fresh air: getting out of the city

Big cities have a way of charming our souls. We can get lost in those big cities, feeling the weight of the endless possibilities. We may even start to fall in love with those cities, feeling captivated by it’s wonderments.

But sometimes, those big cities can start to feel like black holes of the everyday monotonous routine. We can feel trapped by it, instead of captivated by it. We can start to feel overwhelmed by the familiarity, feeling we need a fresh perspective and a sense of wonderment back in our lives.

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Enchanted by the Medieval wonderments of Provins, France

When we think of Europe, we most often think of glorious and romantic cities like that of Paris, or our minds are brought to charming little villages that leave much wonderment to behold. The everyday living in Paris is not all sunshine and romances my friends. Yes, there are beautiful parts and beautiful things in and about Paris. However, living an everyday life here is just that. It’s an everyday life. I spend more time underground, underneath the streets of the city than I do actually walking the streets of the city.

For my Toussaint break (France’s version of a Fall break), my friend Catherine and I decided to take full advantage of our Navigo Passes, our transportation passes that allow us to get anywhere in the รŽle-de-France region using buses, metros, trams, and commuter trains. Both of us finding ourselves in a financial bind and not being able to support large and extensive travels, we decided to go on mini day-ventures, trying to still make the most of our time here in France.

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*sigh*: Culture shock and Paris

The first time I attempt to actually give a comment/opinion/try my best to contribute to the class discussion in my compared literature class, my lack of interaction with actual French speakers is minimal, so thus, I stumble over my words, realizing that in some ways I’m forgetting how to speak French, thus making a fool of myself. Did my professor understand what I was trying to say? Most definitely not. *sigh* Well that was awkward.

It’s rush hour, and in trying to get home the man in front of me as I walk onto the metro train stops right in the middle, not realizing that there are about 20 billion other people trying to get on. They start to push me to keep going forward, but I can’t because said man is in the way. Before I can say anything to him though, they push me just enough that I bump into him and the dumbass finally realizes, that oh “yes, sir, this is fucking rush hour in Paris, so quit being a selfish asshole and move into the empty spaces.” *sigh* I hate metro rush hour.

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A small fish bumbling about in a very large pond: finding normalcy in Paris

Today marks a month (4 weeks) since I’ve been living in Paris. It feels both like a long time and yet not enough time since I left the United States.

Last night I was watching the movie Midnight in Paris (ever seen that?), and all I could think was “Wow, if only Paris was actually this romantic,” because let’s be honest, my first month here in Paris hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing as well as the fact that outside of the center of the city, Paris has many parts that are the furthest thing from romantic. In fact, they are just downright normal. That’s right. Normal. Nothing too exciting about a good majority of it. Some parts can even be slightly annoying/repulsive, like the piss-smelling metro at rush hour. For some reason, some locals refuse to move out of your way, even though you keep politely repeating “Pardon, Excusez-moi,” because you needing to get off at this stop is your problem and why should they have to move?

That’s what my life has been about this past month: adapting to my life in Paris and creating a sense of normalcy here, something that has turned out to be the not so easy thing to do. Paris is massive, and I feel quite the small, tiny, microscopic fish in a very large pond.

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