My Visa! Now it's all starting to feel real...
(Please note that I was told not to smile by the workers at the Los Angeles French Consulate General, hence the frowny pic)
This visa may look like an ordinary piece of shiny, government issued identification to you, but to me it represents a long, arduous journey. A process rife with lengthy email exchanges between myself and the Paris rep at my university's office of overseas studies, my first solo trip on the LA Metro to get various forms notarized, and many pleading texts and phone calls in which I begged my friends and family to drive me in the rain to the LA Consul General for my Visa appointment. More than the pain, however, this Visa represents triumph. For someone who barely got her college applications in on time, this represents a major feat of organization and time management which, frankly, I wasn't sure I was capable of before this whole process. Go Zee.
In addition to my passport, two other items have become symbolic in my mind with my prep for Paris:
|A beautiful journal given to me by my friend Stephanie|
|An awesomely comprehensive guidebook that I won at a Sciences Po orientation meeting|
The guidebook, Let's Go Paris: The Student Travel Guide , is literally one of the most useful books I've ever read. Not only to does it tell you what documents to bring, but it also warns you about which sketchy metro stops to avoid and where you can get delicious chocolate mousse at a prix fixe. It even gives suggestions as to what to bring your host family as an appropriate "thanks-for-letting-me live-in-your-house-and-murder-your-language" gift. The book suggests Girl Scout cookies or "noncommercial US honey." Girl Scout cookies would be a legit gift ( I was a Girl Scout myself, after all), but I think they're out of season, and honey is just...boring. I was thinking perhaps a bag of good, ole' fashioned South Carolina grits (non-southern peeps: google it.) My sister suggested an American staple: the snuggie. It's definitely a gift that symbolizes the U.S., though perhaps not in the best light...I'll keep you guys posted on what I decide, and feel free to hit me up with any suggestions!