I will say right off the bat, over the course of my first month in Paris, I have done far less writing than I initially expected. I assumed I would be wandering around aimlessly, scribbling away in my notebook. Passing hours in solitary contemplation of profound questions. Who am I? Where am I going? and the likes. Go figure, this has not been the case.
Rather than spending time alone, I’ve spent much of my time surrounded by my new study abroad peers. I’m not nearly so much of a loner as I claim to be. The first two weeks of study abroad felt like the beginning of freshman year all over again. Everyone, overly-inclined to make as many new friends as possible, so as not to eat lunch alone or spend Friday nights in solitude, stuck mostly together as a giant, hyper-enthusiastic American unite.
I remember the night of our welcome dinner at Bouillon Racine, in particular. After an excellent meal (cappuccino of foie-gras, duck confit, maple syrup crème brûlée), many of us wanted to go out for drinks. It was our first Friday night in Paris, after all. But, it being our first Friday, nobody knew quite how to proceed. The result was amusing. In a grand display of comradery, we made our way through the 6th arrondissement streets in a flock of nearly twenty. It was inclusivity to the point of impossibility. But the good intentions were certainly there.
In addition to spending less time alone than anticipated, I spent little to no time contemplating my purpose or place in this vast and deeply complicated world. Instead, my time has been split between the fervent exploration of various Paris sites, classes and physical/mental decompression in the form of back-to-back episodes of Portlandia on Netflix. With little contemplation came little reflection. I believe this was all part of the understandable adjustment to life in a new country with entirely new people.
Now, four weeks in, I find I am getting my bearings. I’ve spent some time one-on-one with new friends. I’ve gotten a feel for the layout of the city. I’ve even managed to spend a Sunday (today) just taking it easy, not feeling guilty for taking a day off from the vibrant metropolis ever-looming just outside my window. Or at least not too guilty.
There is nothing original in saying Paris is an amazing city, but I’ll say it anyway. I feel happy and lucky and excited to be here. My semester is off to a formidable start and I intend to keep it that way only with one little change—I’m going actually start blogging.
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<p>Haley is currently a student from Penn State University working towards a degree in English and a minor in French Studies. She loves reading, coffee, dancing to live music and exploring new places but she also enjoys biking, face painting and being out doors. Haley's dream job is travel writing.</p>