Spring break is over, and sadly the work load pre-midterms has taken place of sight-seeing Paris. I found staying in Paris to be very enjoyable as well as relaxing. I didn’t have to stress about miscommunication barriers in other countries, the hassle of going to the airport, or even making itineraries packed full of things to do. Instead, I decided to let myself be (gasp) lazy. I slept in, watched some Netflix, and wondered about Paris with some of my friends from IES who stayed in Paris. I have to say though, this Spring break was a bit different than I expected, or at least the transition back to school has been. I finally feel at home in Paris, with break my daily routine was completely ruined and put aside. It wasn’t a problem for me to sleep in and not go to school. What was more of the problem weirdly was becoming a tourist in my own city. Yes, I just called Paris my home city, because that’s how it feels for me. And I realized that not everyone that is studying abroad is fortunate enough to feel like this. I really feel at home here. That being said, it was odd to go from having a daily routine of being expected to do a tasks of activities (aka homework and outside visits) to seeing Sacre Coeur and strolling casually by the Eiffel tower as if IT IS NO BIG DEAL (it totally should be, but somehow I have become de-sensitized by its magic).
During Spring break I also noticed a trend while at tourist sights. Now please, before I go on know that I am genuinely a nice person. But, I’ve found myself in this mind state of hating tourists. Sure, at the end of the day I’m probably considered one also, but the French don’t know that. As far as they know, I’m French. End of story. I have no idea why I hate tourists. Maybe it’s them speaking in English, or the selfie sticks that are so obnoxious, or maybe even the fact that they are so slow to get onto the metro. I’ve even found myself spotting the tourists-especially the American ones- with ease. I try to make it a game to spot how many American tourists I can find on the metro every day. Today it was two. One was wearing a democratic pin, and the other was an American women who smiled at me and said excuse me.
Speaking of smiling and other signs of affection. I’ve found myself in an odd predicament. I am fortunate to have some of my family visiting Paris. But something seems to be haunting their arrival. No, I haven’t gone wild in here in France. What I’m worried about is how to great them. I’m so used to doing the bise that hugging as become foreign to me. I have no idea how I’m going to greet my own family now. There must be something weird, and I have no idea what I have this re-occurring image of me standing awkwardly attempting to bise my Mid-western hugging family.
I’ve also found myself smiling and talking to strangers less often than I would back at home in friendly Minnesota. On a typical day in Minnesota (when it’s over 30 degrees), I will say hello and smile to anyone I pass by on the street. Here in Paris, this is not the case. Fortunately I was aware of this beforehand. Now, if I see someone smile or say hello to me, I give them the “what the blank is wrong with you” stare. My rational: I do not know you. Please do not talk to me let alone smile at me. Usually my headphones are the antidote for this. But somehow, I found myself questioning if I had become the “stereotypical rude French person”. On my daily walk to school I find myself passing by many homeless people. Unfortunately I see these faces every day asking for money. It pains me to see anyone in a predicament like this, but I am a student that can’t afford to help out every homeless person that appears every other block on my walk to school. I want to help out, but I don’t have the funds. So I look away, and even worse tune them out. It sucks. And it’s even worse on the metro. Today three men came in at separate times explaining their life stories to the train cars explaining that the homeless shelters for tonight were already full and that they had no place to sleep for the night. I find myself in this predicament of tuning people out now, even if they’re asking simply for directions because I automatically assume that they’re asking for money. It’s hard, but I’m trying to find the middle ground of not being naïve and believing that everyone’s intentions are good while also being kind and sincere to others (especially to those who need help and are in need).
Finally, I want to end this blog post on a more positive note. I want to talk about blogs. I find it to be so fascinating to read other people in the programs blogs. The things that they experience, their likes and dislikes, and rants have been fun to read. It’s weird that in addition to face-to-face communication, I have their own blogs as another way to get to know them. Unlike college back at home, people don’t (generally) blog about their experience. Maybe freshmen year, but generally it doesn’t happen. I love the whole concept of writing, reading, and swapping information back and forth to one another in our own personal blogs. Yes, it might be a tad weird every so often by the idea that someone actually reads what I wrote. But I guess at the end of the day there’s a reason why this is called the world wide web. So here’s to another week full of adventures, hating on tourists, and getting back into my daily routine. I had a great spring break, and feel like I’m in a mini-shock right now that it’s over and that I’m back to the hustle of school. But I’m going to try and keep this sight-seeing experience up. I’m in Paris and I want to profit from it as much as possible.
PS: I decided that in order to profit Paris as much as possible to get a Pass-Navigo again. Don't judge. I feel fabulous with it. It was a struggle at first to recharge it (my 50 might have been taken away at the machine, but the metro people were nice and helped me out). I've learned my lesson last month and have decided that Pass-Navigo is the way to go. Here's to more exploring!
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<div> My name is Sabrina Kennelly. Currently, I am majoring in French and Communication Studies with a certificate in International Journalism. My interests include journalism, learning foreign languages, communication studies, social media, photography, and of course traveling! </div>