The first time I went to France was the summer after my junior year of high school. I was part of a two month summer immersion program that concluded its journey through France with a few days in the big city. My main memories consist of a waiter who yelled at us in comically exaggerated Franglish “DO VOUS LIKE ZE SHNAILZ” when we ordered escargot, discovering my intense fear of heights at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and subsisting entirely on pain au chocolat.
The second time I went to Paris was at the beginning of a summer-long Eurotrip (or “EuroTripp” – get it?) with my older sister and our friend. In the course of five days the airport lost our luggage and we slept in a public park, our hostel was robbed, and I managed to get so jet-lagged and sick that I threw up on a high-speed train at Gare de Lyon. Which doesn’t mean I was unable to appreciate the train; it makes the Chicago L Train look like a slug drowning in a vat of maple syrup. Still though, you really come to terms with your priorities when you decide you’d be willing to sell your EuroRail Pass and your firstborn child for a good ol’ fashioned hamburger.
And yet, despite it all, I love Paris. Being on top of the Arc de Triomphe at sunset is ten thousand times better than those kitschy posters you tack on your dorm wall, the Centre Pompidou makes me wanna drop everything and become a (homeless) modern artist, and there’s something comfortable and beautiful about speaking French without having to think before every sentence. So, like any liberal arts major with a thorough background in planning, I have decided to make a list of goals for my time in France.
#1 Do something new/cool/photo-worthy in every single arrondissement
There are twenty of ‘em so I can’t waste any time.
#2 Make five unbearably stupid (yet not life-threatening, hopefully) mistakes
When I visited the Eiffel Tower a young boy scammed us and stole our banana ice cream…which was right next to my wallet and passport. Close call. That, however, is not exactly the kind of mistake I hope to be making.
#3 Learn to navigate the city
As someone who regularly takes a taxi to my house (where I have lived for 20 years) and Google Maps my way around my school, I am no whiz with directions. Here’s hoping I don’t go all Amelia-Earhart on you.
#4 Do something I would never do/could never do in America
All within the confines of international law, I assure you.
That’s it for now, feel free to follow my journey and laugh WITH me as I detail my slip-ups and hijinks. My host mom listed “wistiti monkey” under siblings if that’s any indication of how awesome this semester is gonna be. Here’s hoping the third trip to France is the charm, 15 more days!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Clancy Tripp is a junior at Claremont McKenna double-majoring in Literature and Film Studies with a minor in Gender Studies. In the past few years she has lived in Indiana, California, Washington D.C., and Chicago studying and working in arts and literacy education. Good luck keeping her in the same place for more than a year. True to form, she will be spending the Fall semester in Paris, France where she will spend as much time as possible with local French children, explore every arrondissement, and sample every pain au chocolat available!</span></p>