Saturday, June 11, 2011

Au Revoir: The Final Post

I've been back in the states for about two and a half weeks now and it's finally time to write the final chapter of my study-abroad saga. When I started this blog, I did it to serve the dual purposes of recording my experiences for my friends and family to see and also as a way to organize my thoughts and process the significance of my various adventures. I read back over it today and it was amazing to see how my perception of the world has shifted so much in only about 5 months. To close, I thought I'd do a Q and A sesh with some questions that I've been asked since I've returned home and some questions that have been lingering in my own mind about my time in Paris.

What was the first thing you did when you arrived in Paris?
The first thing I did, after going to Accent and meeting up with the rest of the USC peeps, was to walk around the Bastille and then at some point we wandered across the Seine...I just remember how in awe and grateful we all were...I almost walked into a lady because I was so enamored by the architecture.
What did you hope to gain from your study abroad in Paris?
I wanted to learn more french...I remember that in the beginning I wanted to be fluent, which seems hilarious now haha. I also wanted to learn more about French culture and to travel and to know what it would be like to be an exchange student.
What did you miss most about the United States?
 I missed my friends and family, obviously. I also came to realize how much more nice and laid back most Americans are in comparison to a lot of Parisians. I also missed decent Mexican food haha. Weird, I know haha.
What was your most "glam" moment in Paris?
I had my fair share of "glam" moments in Paris but my favorite was the night I went to see the ballet Copèlia at Palais Garnier. I was wearing a purple silk BCBG dress and I was with Lindsey P. When I left the opera it was surprisingly warm so I just walked around for a while and then I took the metro home. When I walked up the stairs to get to the street level a gust of wind caught my dress in just the right way and blew up a plume of purple silk while I was walking out of the metro and I remember being happy and thinking how cool the night had been.
What did you think about the guys you met?
I met a lot of cool guys abroad, it's hard to make a general statement. I feel like I grew up a lot and learned a lot. One thing I feel I can say about "European guys" is that it's refreshingly easy to know how they feel about you. No awkward friend zone in France.
What is your favorite tourist attraction in Paris?
I really liked the Eiffel Tower, I don't care how boring that sounds. Beautiful during the day, even more beautiful at night. Beautiful close up, Beautiful far away. From the top, you get an amazing, 360 degree view of the city.
Who will you miss the most?
I'll miss my madame, she was really cool and I learned a lot from her. In general,  I met a lot of really interesting people that I only got to spend a few hours with in some cases, but it was a good lesson in just letting life flow through you and enjoying it for what it is instead of trying to grasp on to things.
What's something you consider to be really important that you learned from study abroad?
I learned that when I need to be, I am extremely competent. I can live in a foreign city and be okay. I can get around by myself. This was my first time abroad, so for me it was a major achievement.
What's your favorite memory from Paris?
My favorite memories of Paris are the various amazing spring picnics that I had with the "crew". My favorite spot was Invalides. Just chillin and playing ultimate and shocking the french ppl with my female athleticism.
What's something that you learned about French culture?
 I learned that many French are ,"Reverent of the past, hesitant about the present and afraid of the future". History plays a big part and they're not a big fan of a lot of change or things that we would consider "progress" from an American perspective.
Are you fluent now?
Ha not quite. Though if I had to quantify it, I'd say I'm about 77% fluent.
What did you really like about your host university, Sciences Po?
I liked that we had a cute little courtyard garden, and that we got free copies of Wall Street Journal Europe haha. I liked the location of the school and I liked the majority of my professors. I liked that there were a lot of international students there.
What did you really dislike about it?
This is no fault of ScoPo, but I'm not a huge fan of the French style of higher education. Not a big fan of formulating problematiques and such. I dont have any major complaints about Sciences Po, I learned a lot there and I felt lucky to be there (most of the time haha)
What surprised you most about your time in Paris?
How quickly it would pass, how much I would be able to do in such a short amount of time, how much and yet how little I know about Paris somewhere so foreign can come to feel like home
What do you miss most about la vie parisienne?
Walking. I miss being able to wander around and find interesting stuff. I wish we had more walkable cities in the U.S.

Thank you to all of my friends and family, to everyone who gave me positive feedback and encouraged me to continue blogging. I'm glad that you've enjoyed my blog and I've certainly enjoyed writing it. I hope that this blog has been informative and perhaps humorous, maybe even educational at times. Thanks again for following me on what has certainly been an amazing time in my life. :)

À bientôt for now...

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