The First Time I Saw Paris
After a short four days spent in London, I hopped on the Eurostar and headed to Paris. My close friend, Kiana Noble, and I had been using public transportation continuously while in London so after getting on the train in Paris we thought we would give the Metro a try. Lugging our huge suitcases, carry-ons, and backpacks up and down the stairs of the busy terminals was exhausting, especially considering I was also struggling with an intense cold. I’ll admit my first technical moments in Paris were not the most joyful but everything quickly turned around once I stepped above ground.
After struggling with my suitcase up a rather tall staircase I stopped on the street to catch my breadth and that is when I really first saw Paris. As cheesy as it sounds, I was actually amazed by what I was seeing. It seemed like a dream. Kiana was busy asking a metro staff member for directions so I had plenty of time to take everything in. I stared at all the endless line of pretty white buildings with black balcony banisters and thought, “wow, the novelty Paris themed bath towels at Target are not joking”. I watched two girls greet each other with the classic double cheek kiss and smiled because I loved how French it was. I smelled the air and was impressed that city air could still smell fresh. Looking up it is just as beautiful as I imagined, looking down however is a little different. The sidewalks are not quite meant for dragging a large suitcase on. I also had unfortunately discovered that the French do not pick up after their dogs after stepping in a smelly gift left for me on the street. Kiana and I were a bit turned around while looking for the CEA study abroad offices so we walked down the same street a couple times but we managed to find our way there after roaming around the city for about forty minutes. The CEA counselors were a very pleasant and friendly welcome and after spending a week full of public transportation I was ecstatic to hear that they had a driver who would be taking us to our new apartment. I learned so much about French driving in the short drive to my apartment. The streets were tiny but out driver sped through them somehow knowing that no other cars were going to try to squeeze down at the same time. Pedestrians did not have the right of way and a couple times my heart jumped because I thought we were going to hit a Parisian crossing the street. The cars merged from all different directions onto the same street and while Kiana’s eyes and mine were wide open in the back seat, our driver was cool and calm like he could do it in his sleep. Our apartment was adorable, I was expecting it to look like a dorm room but it looked like a home, furnished and decorated with pictures of birds and French sceneries. The view out the window was my favorite part, white buildings with black banisters; I get to wake up to this everyday?! The rest of my first day in Paris was filled with much needed naps, grocery shopping, and watching Netflix, which might seem like a boring first night in Paris, but it made me feel right at home. Taking the time to just relax made me feel right at home.
This is my first time travelling outside of the States so I have been trying to really take in every moment I spend abroad. I’m sentimental so I want to remember moments, I keep reminding myself to stop and just absorb everything. While my first day in Paris was filled with not so fun circumstances like heavy luggage, way too many tissues, dog poop, and naps, I still look back and feel good about it. It makes me happy remembering that moment I first came up the stairs from the metro. Paris is beautiful, I am going to like it here.