I figured that was an appropriately cheesy title for my end of the semester post. 🙂
Last Thursday I officially finished the Goucher Paris Program, completing a major requirement for my major. It feels amazing to have finished, but a little scary because it makes me think about the future even more. I know what I want to do, but no clue how to go about doing it, but I’ll figure it out. Anyway, here’s a little recap of my last week.
Last weekend I spent most of my time working on my internship report (rapport du stage), presentation (exposé) about Paris and the cinema, and procrastinating. Last Monday I had my last day at my stage, unfortunately there was a quiz so I didn’t get to have one last restauration class, but I did get to help correct some work done by the second years, talk with some new interns, and just enjoy l’atelier for one last time. That night I handed in my rapport du stage and had my last class with Marie. We learned about different French accents, ate some chocolate, and just talked about the last couple of months. Tuesday, we went to la Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand for an exposition of Raymond Depardon, a photographer who spent years taking pictures of small town France. The work was amazing, and I highly recommend everybody googling him for a look at his work. 😛 We spent some time in a café so that Eliza and I could do our exposés. Everything went well, so that by Tuesday afternoon I was completely free from homework and major obligations. So free, that I slept until 4pm on Wednesday. I guess three and a half months of running around, always having something to worry about, finally caught up to me. Thursday I had my last Paris-France-Paris class in the morning. We had our last lesson and then discussed what we liked and disliked about the class. Looking back, it was a very interesting class, I learned a lot about Paris, French culture, and just history in general. After class we had a little get together at IFE for our GPP group. We ate some good cheese and bread, and just relaxed after finally finishing everything. I had to leave half way through to head to my stage for their Christmas party. It was really nice to talk to everybody outside of my internship and classes, I ended up staying longer than I thought I would. I’m definitely going to try and visit l’atelier next semester and keep in touch with some people there.
Thursday night was the Foyer’s Christmas dinner. So, we all were served a candlelight dinner of couscous and chicken while listening to Moroccan music. After dinner there was a concert with Moroccan music, and we all ended up dancing and having a great time. Most unique Christmas dinner I have ever had, but it was wonderful. After the concert, we headed to a friends room for Pengpeng’s going away party. As the year ends, more and more people are heading home or away to do other programs. It one of the sad aspects of living in a foyer and studying abroad. It’s also why I’m really glad that I’m staying another semester, at least I don’t have to be the one saying goodbye for a while. And thankfully Pengpeng’s studying in England next semester, so she won’t be that far from us.
Friday night I went to La Bellevilloise with a friend to see a concert. It’s an amazing building, with multiple performance spaces and a restaurant. I also now feel I can safely say I’ve seen what Bobo (bourgeoise bohème) looks like (bobo is the french equivalent to hipster).
Saturday I spent the day at the Louvre with the group looking for mummies and some star trek reference. A good way to take advantage of the -26ans free tickets. That night we went to Mains d’oeuvres, a cultural center on the edge of Paris where Eliza did her stage. Mains d’oeuvres was celebrating it’s 10 birthday, so there was a huge party with lots of music. We thought we were all special because Eliza got us on a list to get in for free, little did we know that every person slightly involved with the center added their 10 closest friends to the list as well. So, when we got there we had to wait in this mass of people, worse than the metro at rush hour during a strike, I literally had no control where I was going. Luckily we all made it into the building with little trouble. We listened to some good music, danced a little, and headed out before the metro closed for the night.
Looking back at these past couple months, it doesn’t necessarily feel like four months in Paris. It feels like four months in an amazing city, with great friends, and new experiences around every corner, but its not necessarily Paris City of Lights, City of Lovers, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and the Seine. I guess I view Paris in two ways. My days spent at museums, the Eiffel tower, Bateau Mouches and all that touristy stuff, and my days spent staying out late dancing and walking home after the metro closes, watching the Big Bang Theory with friends crammed on a tiny foyer bed, staying up late during Ramadan and becoming addicted to mint tea, walking to my stage every morning and learning all the short cuts.
I’m not sure if I could pick a favorite moment or event from this semester, but here’s some highlights.
- Our first couple weeks here, staying up late with friends and learning how to become comfortable with French.
- Every time we played Assassin, including the time when we had to use our Navigo cards.
- Hearing Abba being played on the pan flute in the metro.
- Dancing until the early morning in a boat on the Seine.
- Just hanging out in the foyer waiting to prank Rabi for his birthday.
I could list a million more things, any time I hung out with friends, any new experience, but those ones were particularly important for me.
I thought I was gonna get all philosophical with this post and dissect my time here, but I think it’s better to just leave it as is. I am so glad I chose to study abroad and that I chose to stay in a foyer. My classes and stage improved my French and taught me things I could have never learned back in the US. My time home, here at the foyer, hanging out with friends, well my French has definitely improved, I’ve had the most incredible experiences, and thank goodness for skype or else I would never dream of leaving these people in May. I can’t wait to see what the next semester brings.
Joyeux Noel, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays everyone! I’ll try and keep updating during the break as I hopefully use the time to really explore Paris and maybe France a bit. We’ll see where the New Year brings us. 🙂