Was that really two weeks? Are we really leaving in two days for Rome? It seemed so much longer when I was back home, looking over the calendar at our packed schedule. “I’ll have plenty of time to see other cities on the weekends,” I thought. “I’ll be so tired of Paris by the end.” But here I am, wondering if there’s any way I could just stay here for the rest of the program (of course, as soon as I get to the next city, I will abandon this thought completely). I don’t know how I’m not going to walk to the metro every morning and get pain au chocolat at that one bakery with that sweet but sassy lady who makes sure we practice our French when we’re ordering. I don’t know how I can leave that one restaurant on our street where we’ve been so many times that the owner comes over to say bonjour and shake our hands when we visit. I don’t know how I can say au revoir to the Seine, and the twinkles at night.
My first day in Paris wasn’t ideal. I missed my flight, and thus missed the first day of orientation and the first day of getting to know everyone. I missed the comfort of being met at the airport. I missed most of the instructions other people received (like taking your apartment key with you even if you’re just going down the hall because apparently, the door locks behind you). And most importantly, I missed the one day of rest permitted to students to get over their jet-lag. So I spent a sleepless night in a cheap motel with stiff blankets in New York City, and then I was off for a long flight the next day, arriving in Paris at eight-thirty in the morning, which was a half hour before class orientation was to start. But it wasn’t long before I found out that I was beyond lucky because my program was full of intelligent, humorous, spirited peers and wonderful advisors.
If you’re a prospective student to this program: don’t expect to get any rest. At all. You’ll be running around (we literally walked twelve miles in one day) from exciting place to exciting place, but it will be worth it. You’ll be exhausted, but it will be a good exhausted. At some point, I just accepted that I would get barely any relaxation time, and that was okay. I know I can sleep all I want when I get home in a month. On the other hand, don't feel bad for setting boundaries for yourself. If you push yourself too hard, you aren't likely to get anything rewarding from your experience. For my first night, while everyone was out, I unpacked, took it easy, and went to bed early. The next night, I climbed the stairs of the Eiffel Tower. Pace yourself. That's all it takes.
Also, there's no reason to be afraid to do “touristy” things. Last Friday night, I went to the show at Moulin Rouge. While we did sit at a table with two other English-speaking couples, it was a fantastic experience. Dance is dance is dance, no matter who it’s for or where it’s performed. As long as you learn something and absorb what's happening rather than simply taking pictures and saying you were there, every experience will be worth it. We went to Disneyland for our final Sunday in Paris. Most of the attractions were similar to the ones in the States, but we enjoyed ourselves, we bonded, and we got to hear Mickey Mouse and the Disney princesses sing in French. That's all that really matters.
I will be sad to leave Paris and all I’ve discovered here. But I’m ready for our next adventure. Au revoir, Paris-- you will always be my first.
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<p>Hello! My name is Kyra, and I'm a Writing Major at Ithaca College. I am more than ready to fall in love with these beautiful European cities - Paris, Rome, and Madrid - this summer, and I hope that my blogs will let you fall in love alongside me. Get ready to be tested, as there will be many challenges to overcome on our journey together. Hang on tight, and enjoy the ride.</p>