The imagination of being somewhere is far more different than being there. And yet, when I arrived in Paris, it didn’t occur to me that I had just step foot into another country’s soil. I was having complications with my luggage and trying to get that all sorted out. It hadn’t hit me yet. I reached my home for the next three weeks and it still failed to hit me. I’m usually very good with going with the flow and it takes a bit for change to actually sink in where I then realize that this is my reality. As I started walking the streets, it felt like if I was on a movie set. We hopped on a boat that started cruising down the Seine River and I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time. That is when it hit me like a train. I was no longer in Fullerton. And that is the moment I first saw Paris.
It was night time, and I felt like a little kid seeing Disneyland for the first time. The feeling is so unimaginable and absolutely jaw dropping. I was in awe at the sight of the Eiffel Tower especially during the night time. Every night as the hour strikes, the Eiffel Tower makes the city light up even brighter. It’s lights flicker up and down and gives off this energy that I couldn’t help but feel excitment. This moment exceeded so many expectations I had. When you read about it, are being told about it, or seeing it through someone else’s photos, it’s not nearly the same as witnessing it for yourself. It is an entirely different outlook when you experience it with your own eyes. It is unquestionably beautiful. I knew at this very moment that I was in Paris, and I wasn’t at home. I didn’t want to be home. I was exactly where I wanted to be. The feeling of seeing Paris and living in Paris for the first time felt so liberating.
I can’t imagine not seeing Paris now. The metro is my favorite to observe and be a part of. I enjoy it because of the many different faces I will probably never see again. There are a variety of people on the metro. As soon as the doors open they file in like sardines. There are many different smells; especially those that come from French people. From my experience, they seem to smell good all the time. Encountering French people has inspired me to speak French and learn about their lifestyles. The language seems complex but I’m so eager to learn and communicate. I have become very curious about the people and how they interact. Some of my interactions have varied. I have encountered rude French people who yell at you to get out of their grocery stores for closing time. Then you get a very nice, romantic French man who ask you to marry them for being beautiful.
I have encountered the cold, the many people from different countries, and the locals that walk the street. My most used words are, “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur,” “Merci beaucoup,” “S’il vous plait,” “Parlez vous Anglais,” etc. I try to get by but I really wished I knew more. My body is still adjusting to the cold weather, unlike at home where it’s nothing but perfect all the time. You really take it for granted when you realize that the world around you is much different than your own. As for the people from different countries, you don’t get too much of that back home. You find a lot friendlier and outgoing people to venture off with in Paris. As for the locals they assume you are from their country and start a conversation with you in French. I think it’s due to the diverse people that live here. It looks a lot like back home except they all speak French. If I spoke French, I could get by being one of them but since I answer to them with “Parlez vous Anglais” their persona changes and you can tell they have a different perspective of me.
Paris is a city of patience and time. There is so much to see, even if it’s the same view. There is so much detail and history to everything this city has to offer.