Oh la la. Who could have imagined that after piles and piles of paperwork, hours of meetings, orientations, reading packets, pamphlets, appointments and applications that the day would actually come that I had been planning for for so long? After doing all of my demarches to get my French visa (remuer ciel et terre), applying for all 3 or my study abroad programs, getting my passport and 4 kinds of insurance (‘cause France is just like that...) and finally after making 10,000 copies of everything, I was ready to go (except for packing all of my stuff for 1 year, 2 climates, and 4 seasons in 2 bags, and of course, I did that at 5 in the morning on the day I was leaving for Paris...2 days after my sister's wedding haha)
Of course, my mother was a wreck and my little sister probably thought we were going to Disneyland or something, but finally I said goodbye to my family for a year and got on a plane begin my adventure. It is like magic or something. Sometimes I forget I'm in France, but then I look around at the lake and the Alps, all the crazy awesome Frenchies everywhere and I have to think to myself, pause for a minute and say “Oh my heck, I'm in France. The blessed land of cheese and wine, the home of the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, a bunch of awesome people (who all speak French, imagine that!) who really are nice, despite the snobby stereotype, the Alps, l'amour, art, bakeries, and cafés.”
If you ever want to feel fat, just come to France. Everything is smaller here, seriously. And I'm not saying it is a bad thing, but the rooms are smaller, passage ways, parking spaces, the people. I swear French girls are so skinny because they smoke all of their calories and only drink coffee and burn all of their calories shopping or something...but whatever their secret is, it works. Even on the French old ladies, they definitely still have got it going on. If I were going to rewrite the famous sound of music song it would be "These are a Few of my Favorite Frenchy things" and it would go like this:
Fromage (cheese) and vélos (bikes) and bakeries on every corner.
Smart cars, and Paris and no public bathrooms (joke...I really hate that one)
Walking all over and taking the metro,
These are few of my Frenchie favorite things.
No air conditioning, people smoking everywhere,
people who treat their dogs like they are their children,
eating nutella with a spoon, bread with every meal,
markets, bisous, and musées (museums) and stinky European B.O.
and pique niques au parc.
(And just today..listening to Debussy in the rain)
Being in France for the D-Day Commemoration, the fete de la Musique, the French Open, Bastille Day (the 14 Juillet), the Tour de France, and of course the funeral of Michael Jackson, has been so awesome. (That is a joke. But it is surprising what a big deal it was here...and of course in the U.S. it was a ridiculously big deal.)
Study abroad is the best thing anyone could do. I'm learning a beautiful language, getting to know this beautiful country and making fun friends from all over the world already!