Currently I am on the plane from Paris to my layover in Charlotte, NC. I woke up at 5:30am to make sure I would not miss this 11am flight. Yesterday was my mom’s 50th birthday, so my coming home is like a present for her. I am happy to be going home, to familiar territories, friends and family; I cannot wait to enjoy my favorite home cooked meal. However, my heart is broken. I mean seriously, if you have been reading my blogs this should not be a surprise. I am in love with the French language, with Paris and leaving feels like I am leaving the love of my life. Lift-off on a plane always kind of shakes me, but this time I was completely distracted by the tears building up in my eyes. I felt so at home in Paris, actually, I felt better than that! I felt like I could accomplish anything. My dreams were made in Paris and I will never forget it. That famous line from Casablanca keeps playing through my mind, “we’ll always have Paris” and Paris will always have me.
My last week in Paris was great. An old friend of mine was passing through Paris and came to visit me. We picnicked in the Luxembourg Gardens and ate cotton candy (cotton candy in French is “barbe à papa,” which translates to, “dad’s beard” Ha!) by the Ferris wheel. We also visited the Moulin Rouge, which is still an active burlesque theater. It is on a street filled with other little burlesque theaters, sex shops and erotic museums. It was an interesting experience… Nonetheless, the Moulin Rouge is a beautiful theater. From there we walked up to Sacre Coeur and watched the sunset over Paris. It was a breathtaking sight. Also, my step grandmother came to visit me! It was so great to see family in Paris, we had such a great time. Though communication was complicated because I had no phone, we eventually were able to meet up for a day. We walked around the Eiffel Tower and I showed her around Saint-Michel (which is the street the foyer is on). Later that day we met up for dinner, we got all dolled up and she took me to this fancy restaurant that I would always see on my walk to class. A seafood restaurant that is super fancy! The menus were ipads and they put a little bowl of dry ice in all their entrees, so all their food had a mysterious fog surrounding it. I felt pretty cool.
Before I met up with her I made an appearance at the dinner the program was having. It was in a seriously authentic Parisian restaurant and I tried my first infamous Kir Royal. It is a drink with casis and champagne, the very “French” drink. Also, with the program, we toured the Catacombs. Oh man, Eastern State Penitentiary looks like a fun house compared to the Catacombs. There were so many real human bones! The Catacombs are underground tunnels beneath Paris that are just filled with walls and walls of skulls and bones from thousands of Parisians. The tunnels are stone, manmade tunnels, the ground is damp and there are all kinds of carvings on the walls that talk about death. It is a very eerie feeling. You walk for a bit through tunnels like that until you get to where the bones are. The first room you enter with bones has a warning sign engraved above it in French that says something along the lines of the dead will breathe into you once you step into this room. The bones are piled up very orderly, you can literally stare them right in the eye-sockets. It was a really cool experience and the gift shop had absinthe!
Also, I had a last meeting with my Parisian friend that I met here. Her name is Marianne and she is so awesome! She told my friend, Harry, and I to meet her at a place called “Miss Cupcake.” It was the cutest little cupcake shop on Montmartre and she goes there so often that the cashier was extremely nice and gave us an extra cupcake for free. I am going to miss her and my other friends that I made here!! I really hope they come visit me someday! My classmates were all really cool people as well. Last night we had a final super. We went to a touristy restaurant near Saint-Michel and after we all sat by the Seine with a few bottles of wine and just talked about how much we are going to miss each other and how we are going to try and visit each other back in the U.S. or in Sweden or Australia! It was a good way to say goodbye.
The first night I was in Paris I was delusional and jet-lagged and I sat by the Seine drinking wine with people who were strangers to me then but are now great friends and we drank wine and talked about what we were determined to accomplish in Paris. My last night in Paris was spent by the Seine, drinking wine with people who are now great friends of mine and we talked about what we had accomplished and how proud we are of each other. It could not have been more perfect. So this is probably my last blog about Paris, thank you for tuning into my blabbering about my adventures. I really do feel like a new person, like my life has been refresh. Je voudrais retourner à Paris un jour. C’est une bonne ville. Je suis tombée de l’amour avec Paris. Il faut que je practique ma français toujours. Je t’aime Paris!! Au revoir. (A bientôt!)
p.s. I have never been more content with myself. I got a B+ in my class at La Sorbonne and I know for a fact I have learned so much! Just a minute ago, while the stewardess was passing out the dinners I had to help communicate for the French couple sitting next to me. They do not know any English and I had to help them order. The stewardess talked to me in English and I repeated it to the couple in French and then they answered in French and I translated to the stewardess in English. The reason this is proof that I have learned a lot is because on the plane to Paris the man sitting next to me (that I mentioned in the first blog) was quizzing me in French to see what I knew (I asked him to) and I had no idea how to say Pasta. Low and behold that was the first word I had to translate for this couple. They don’t know, but it gave me the best feeling ever. I am truly so happy, la vie est rose!