You’d think as much as I’ve traveled, a month in Paris as a writing student would come easy. OK. Maybe not the student or writing parts; that still has me worried. But a seasoned traveler morphing into Parisian life for a month, I should be able to do that, right?
Three days into it, here’s what I’ve discovered.
(By the way, sorry. Having sworn I’d never do top ten lists when I started this blog, I’m breaking that oath.)
- Despite my initial impression, “Solde” is not a group of St Germaine boutiques offering beautiful and diverse Parisian goods. The deals and bargains, however, are amazing.
- The Metro stop Jussieu is only convenient if, after 45 minutes of purposeful wandering from the exit, you find yourself somewhere other than the opposing exit.
- Bonjour, merci, si vous plait, and au revoir, if used strategically, can be sufficient vocabulary to successfully negotiate a rudimentary retail transaction. Until the sales clerk tells you the price. In French.
- There is no quantity of French vocabulary to successfully negotiate an early morning croissant transaction when your smallest currency is a 50 euro. Just deal with it; you will be admonished. In perfect English.
- My hips are too wide for most tiny cafe chairs. The croissants are not likely to help.
- No matter how hard I try to pronounce street names and Metro stops, I’m wrong. And there’s typically someone nearby to point that out.
- Wine really does go with everything, even eggs. (So do frites, but they are like crack. Not even once.)
- Okay. Maybe once.
- When people stop me on the street and ask for directions, in French, I can’t offer a whit of assistance. But I’m thrilled they think I can.
But most of all,
- There is no greater privilege than to study writing in Paris in July.
I’m already scheming to figure out how to get back next year. Maybe by then, I can speak a bit of French.