Paris is always fun, but things are so different. I love the adventure and figuring out a new way of life, but it is a challenge to say the least! Last week (I’m writing this late), my 4 apartment mates and I finally all went out for the day together for the first time! I had been dying to visit Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement, so we headed that way. We took the bus for a more scenic view, and I’m so glad we did. The metro and RER are great and quick, but when not in a hurry, the bus is a great way to see all around Paris. For example, we drove through the red-light district of Paris that I may not have gone to see on my own, but it was interesting to drive through. We made it to Sacre Coeur, but didn’t have time to go inside. I’ve been before, but I definitely want to go back to go inside instead of just take pictures outside. We walked about 10 minutes to a square that I’ve known as Painter’s Square, but I’m not sure what the French name for it is. It’s the cute little area with artists set up all in the square selling their artwork and painting portraits. It’s surrounded by cafes, so we ate in the area. I will definitely go back for a relaxing meal in an area perfect for people watching! We left to go to the last day of orientation which was pretty uneventful. That evening, AUP hosted an open mic night near campus, so we went to see what students would be willing to do on stage in order to receive a 10euro Starbucks card. When we got there, they had a keg and free beer. NOTHING like orientation in the States. Everyone just hung out and drank and got to know each other. The actual performances were alright, but we left at intermission (where more beer was served for free), and went to the Eiffel Tower. It’s so close to our school, so we figured we’d go see it lit up at night. We ate nutella crepes and drank espresso at a nearby cafe before heading back. The next day, one of my apartment mates and I were finalizing our Belgium/Brussels travel plans, and I realized I booked the wrong train. I seriously checked so many times before booking, but I had trouble navigating the French website…. so oops… The price of the train had now doubled and I couldn’t switch it, so I started seeking other options. I found a bus company called IDbus, with a trip from Brussels to Paris for 29euro. In hindsight, I should’ve booked that in the first place considering it’s just a 4 hour ride and super cheap. That evening, we went to Laduree, the fancy macaroon and pastry place and it was delicious but packed and expensive. That was pretty much the extent of last week, but I kept a list of weird things that made me laugh (some, not at the time) about being in a foreign country.
Bees- there are bees everywhere. The French don’t seem to mind and just let the fly around, but the land on your food and start picking at it or in your drinks. It’s ridiculously annoying. The other day, I was trying to eat and there were like 3 bees on my food and I couldn’t get them away. It’s the little things that I find most annoying.
Men on scooters- I can’t help but laugh every time I see I grown man in a business suit on a scooter. I don’t mean motorized scooter, but like those razor scooters we rode as little kids. They’re all dressed up just pushing along down the road. I need a picture of this because it’s hilarious.
Unlocking my door- This is such a joke. The keys look so strange and it takes me about 15 minutes to open the door each time. Last time, I almost went to get the neighbor to help me, but considering I don’t know how to have any conversations other than ones that involve food, I knew it’d be an embarrassing game of charades.
SIM Card- My French SIM card didn’t fit, but it was super close. It was just cut pretty roughly, so I decided to file it down with a nail file. It was just really funny to see all of us in the apartment nail filing our SIM cards so casually.