The Glamorous Parisian Life of Food Poisoning and Wet Paint

It’s been about a month and mom said I haven’t blogged, so I’ll see what all I can remember from the past few weeks! About 3 weeks ago, I headed off to London to meet my friend from Ole Miss studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. My flight was continuously delayed, but I finally arrived there around 9pm.  Getting from my plane to Mary Parker was a breeze, which showed me how much studying abroad has helped me directionally! I am normally AWFUL with directions. For example, when I started driving, I didn’t even know how to get to my house that I’d lived in for years.. once it took me 2 hours to get from Clinton to Flowood.  Lots of tears in the middle of Jackson.. anyway, now that getting around new cities is the norm for me, I think I’ve come a long way with my ability to find my way.  I also used to be a big chicken about calling people and talking to strangers, but since I have to do it in French daily, I have no problem in English. I was able to see the courage I’ve gained when I was in London! For the weekend, we got to stay and The Cavalry and Guards club in Picadilly.  Mary Parker’s sister’s boyfriend is in the Cavalry, so we got to stay at this place that is just for Cavalry and guests.  Apparently Prince Harry frequents there (he’s in the cavalry) and we even talked to the mean who “deals with the queens problems.” This was a big step up from our sketchy airbnb rooms in Berlin and Brussels.  Saturday, MP and her sister went to a cat cafe in the morning. Yes.. a cafe they made reservations for 6 months in advance where you dine with cats! During that time, I wandered East London and got a feel for the city in a not so touristy area. Then we went to all the main sights like the London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Harrod’s, and things like that. Overall, I loved the city and thought it was really cool! The only thing I didn’t like was how crowded it was. I think the tourist attractions are a lot more spread out in Paris, so the crowds are rarely awful in any one area. The main London sights were all so close that the crowds were frustrating, but the city as a whole was fun. And I loved speaking only English! That night, we went to an Italian restaurant then had wine at a bar. We decided to head to bed around 12, so we could explore Buckingham palace early the next morning. Well… plans changed. I woke up about 2:30am, and every hour after that, with food poisoning. Food poisoning always sucks, but in a foreign country in a hotel bed, it really sucks. I knew I had to check out the next morning even if I couldn’t fly back (since I was only staying there as a guest of someone in the Cavalry who was leaving), so I was super stressed about how/when I was gonna get home. I didn’t even have a phone charger or working phone since I was out of France, so if MP left I was gonna be at a loss. Luckily, the sickness stopped at about 9, although I felt absolutely awful and nauseas all day. I took a cab to the airport since I couldn’t walk around and sat there all day. Luckily, I made it home that evening without throwing up on any passengers, so that’s a plus! But my chances of meeting Prince Harry and joining the royal family were gone. Oh well. No more fish and chips/lasagna for me for a while!

Other than that, life in Paris has been great. School is easy, so I have lots of time to explore. I finally went in Notre Dame and fed the pigeons outside. If you know my love for animals, you know I loved that! I still need to check out some museums, but I always seem to find other things I’d rather do. My French is improving, although I am humbled everyday by some embarrassing thing I say or do not know how to say. I love life here though, and my mom is here now which makes it even more fun! I love helping she and her friends around and recommending my favorite things! It was so so sweet getting to see her and enjoying the pumpkin bread and cookie dough Oreos she brought me. She knows me so well!

I went to Brugge (Bruges), Belgium with my mom and her friends, and that was super fun too. We just took the train for the day, and the weather was phenomenal. We did a horse carriage ride through see the city, ate lots of chocolate and waffles,took a tour of a beer brewery, and took a canal tour. The city was so quaint and looked like a little fairy tail town. The canals were beautiful. It was a perfect day trip! It was also the first time in my life that I’ve ever been “waffled and chocolated out”. Surprisingly though, the more I travel, the more the French people appear to be the friendliest. Not once have I had an issue with the French being rude (except the Chinese takeout lady but she’s not even French so whatever). Everyone is beyond nice. I did not feel that way about everyone in Brugge, but then again I don’t know any Dutch so maybe they didn’t like that. Brussels, Belgium seemed to have nicer locals, but maybe my little bit of French made a difference. (they speak Dutch in the North like Brugge and French in the South like Brussels). I still can’t get over how good the chocolate was! mmmhmmm.

Humbling experiences:

1. One day, I was headed back from studying and really needed contact solution. You can get it at pharmacies, but you have to ask the pharmacist. They keep it behind the counter for some reason, and I have NO IDEA how to say contact solution (it’s solution pour lentils, I now know). It’s too random of a word. The pharmacy near my apartment does not have English speakers, so I knew it was going to be interesting. I went in and tried for English anyway by saying, “Bounjour! Parlez- vous anglais?”. She said no.. so the charades began. We were both back and forth pointing to our eyes and making squirting noises as she brought me eye drops and eye medication. Charades wasn’t working, but I finally saw the stuff behind the counter and was able to point. In the moment, it was embarrassing; in hindsight, it was funny. I also paid 22 euros for that bottle! It’s $3 at home… I hope they gave me a bottle of gold or something.

2. Literally right after the above incident, I headed back to my apartment. As I’m walking to unlock my door, some type of maintenance worker starts speaking to me in French. In French, I tell him I don’t speak French, but he keeps talking. I don’t really know what he expects from me since I don’t know what he’s saying. So I awkwardly turn around and spend forever (as usual) unlocking my door. Then the guy lets out a gasp, and I look and I have paint all over me. I’m going to assume he had been trying to warn me of the wet paint all along.. but I missed that. In French he was telling me how to get it out, so I hurried inside to wash my stuff. It’s been about 3 weeks and I am still picking white paint out of my hair. I’m not kidding. That’s some serious paint.

3. I don’t know why the French have buttons you have to press before opening every door, but they do. I was with a friend at a French guy’s apartment and decided to leave before everyone else at about midnight. I head downstairs and I cannot, for the life of me, find the button to leave the apartment building. Some homeless people were outside watching me try to get out, and that was embarrassing, so I pretended to be waiting on a friend. I kept staring at the door looking for the button.. but I didn’t see it. I finally texted my friend (when I got service because it wasn’t working which was stressing me out) and told her not to send the guy down but just to tell me where the button was. Of course, the French guy comes down anyway laughing at me. The button was on the handle.. honestly don’t know how missed it. I had never seen one there but it was pretty obvious. Still embarrassed by that..

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