Thursday, August 23, 2012

Power to the People

That's right everyone! I MADE IT!!! I made it to Paris all by myself like the big girl that I am. The road here wasn't too bumpy but there were definitely some interesting occurrences. Immediately after my mom and uncle dropped me off at the Air France terminal, a slew of interesting and eclectic people began to grace my presence. Let's just say, if you were to put them all together in one place, it would be the motliest crew of all time. These strange yet wonderful people will help guide us through my journey to, and my first day in, Paris. If you don't really care how many times I went to the bathroom before getting on the plan or my train ride, that's fine. But I advise you continue on even if just for the people I encountered.

Going through security wasn't too bad. I'm a pro at it by now and I have a good system going. In front of me was a man whose only carry on item was a boogie board. He must've been going somewhere nice! After security, I decided to pace around the terminal a bit and make some last phone calls. I tried to separate myself from most people so as not to disturb their joyous wait for their planes, yet a man wearing a shirt that read "YEAH BUDDY!" decided to sit rather close to me. His choice. I'm sure he enjoyed my conversations. I then, of course had to go to the restroom a few times before boarding. During one of my visits, I was washing my hands and suddenly noticed a nun standing next to me. She looked great. As I was sitting at the gate, they started making some announcements. They say the announcements in both French and English which is much appreciated. They started calling some names of people that needed to head on over to the front desk. You've got your French names, some American names. But when the lady with her French accent, over the loud speaker, attempts to pronounce an Japanese or Chinese name? I lost it, but quietly to myself. Once on the plane, I settled in and pulled out the Air France magazine. To my surprise, the state of Montana was the cover story. Whatever they're doing over there in Montana that makes them worthy of the cover of Air France magazine...keep on keepin' on.

It was smooth sailing once I arrived in France. It took me a while to find a bathroom, which was rough, and after customs, which is scary. As I was heading into the ladies room, a finely dressed monk appeared from the men's room. Maybe he and the nun talked and wanted to make sure I was safe. Oh so proudly, I made it on the train heading to Paris. The first stop was the other terminal in the airport and, lucky for me, a man with an accordion boarded while playing "Happy Birthday." His second piece was one that strongly resembled a rendition of "Aloha, oy." Whatever he was playing, I was into it. He was on the train behind me and I didn't want to be all tourist-y and turn around and look, but COME ON. I was given a train ride to Paris set to a live accordion soundtrack. (This is where the motley crew ends, but pictures are coming!) I then debarked the train at the correct stop and lo and behold, my dorm neighborhood was right across the street.

I'm staying at a place called La Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. It houses international students and each building is themed to a different country and that country's style. I am in the building called Collège Franco-Britannique, a little combination of French and British. I entered the room and was not surprised by the size, which can be viewed below. Sorry (Mom) about the mess. I haven't slept in about two days and haven't had a chance to unpack yet.

What I was surprised by, however, was this sight.

To the right of that elevated mini room is my toilet. To the left, my shower. I still have yet to get inside as it's quite a small space and let's be real here, I'm a little scared.

After the room exploration, I made a new friend from Canada and we walked around running some errands. It's absolutely beautiful here. It honestly looks like a movie set. It's so unreal to me. Those little chimneys at the tops of the apartment buildings are just so cute. It's probably going to take a while to adjust to everything but I'm feeling good so far! Tomorrow is the first day of the Welcome Program at my school, Sciences Po, so things will hopefully start becoming more clear and I can make tons of new friends. Bonsoir!

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