March 2, 2013 · 7:54 am

And so February comes to a close, as does my first full month this side of the Atlantic.

First of all, can we believe it’s March? Spring is coming. Wowza.

March will be a very hectic month for me, in the best way possible. Aside from this weekend, it looks as though every single weekend this month will be devoted to travel. Four trips booked: three out of the country, one within.

Also, my parents have booked their trip over here! They’ll be coming the first week of April and I am so beyond excited. It’s particularly special because my mom did her own study abroad experience here, and neither of my parents have been to Paris in about twenty years. We talked about maybe traveling somewhere new while they’re here, but I’m glad we settled on staying in the city. There is obviously so much to do and see here, and while I adore traveling and experiencing all these incredible new places, sometimes I have to remind myself that I live here and should give myself the opportunity to do just that.

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I’ve obviously shown plenty of pictures, but I haven’t really used my words.

Some {random} thoughts:

  1. Being terrified on arrival was a totally normal occurrence. The first few days were a huge adjustment- I didn’t really know anyone else in the program, it’s a new culture, jetlag, figuring out where I’m going to live, etc.- but I quickly learned that many of my peers were totally in the same boat. I’ve since made some really great friends and totally feel at ease in the city.
  2. loooove Paris, but I miss New York. Which is also totally fine. Paris is fantastic and beautiful and dreamy and I’m having such an amazing time here, but New York is my homebase and I occasionally get a little homesick for it, particularly when...
  3. The metro here closes at 12:30am (1:30 on weekends), and most stores are closed on Sundays (and often Mondays too). NYC is a city of convenience. Dammit, if I want takeout at 3am then I’m going to get it. Things are a little different here, but after some initial eye-rolling I’m starting to not only accept that it’s just the way of life here, but to really see that it’s pretty great. One of the things that New York does to you is ingrain this constant sense of urgency, but it’s really nice to slow down a little. When I don’t have errands to run, I can walk aimlessly and really feel like I’m exploring my new home (even though, sadly, it is all temporary).
  4. The fashion. Oh, the fashion. Kind of fitting, since FW is in full swing here. Paris is one of the best places to people-watch, particularly in my neighborhood, which is kind of swanky and full of old money and expats. The women here dress impeccably. Fur, in particular, is huge- I’ve seen coats of every shape, size, and color on every age. Beautiful heels and boots at every hour of the day. And I love the idea of beauty here: simplicity. Everyone clearly takes very good care of herself. Often the only makeup to see is a classy swipe of red lipstick, and skin is flawless, but not in that plasticky way that often pervades certain areas of the States. There truly is a celebration of age, and it’s beautiful. It also helps that the average retiree here looks phenomenal.
  5. The food. I’m not going to dwell on this too much, because it is what it is. Being vegan is obviously no walk in the park. But I’ve never gone hungry here because of it, and I’m not letting it stop me from experiencing the fresh, fresh, fresh ingredients that France has to offer. If nothing else, I pick up my 50 cent baguette and some fresh jam on the way home and dig in.
  6. The wine. This deserves its own paragraph. Ohhhh, the wine. The other night, we found a bottle of Brut for 2 euros at the discount grocery store. It was kind of great. There are wine shops here like there are Starbucks in the U.S., and it‘s easy to find inexpensive bottles here that do not taste cheap in the slightest. A really nice quality wine usually ranges from 15 to 20 euros, but these kinds of bottles are often on sale at 5 or 7. I’m no sommelier, but we’ve been doing well with our wine. I may have to smuggle a few bottles back.
  7. I’m a museum fool. I’ve been thinking about featuring some of the exhibits I’ve seen here since they’ve generally been phenomenal. There are also some museums that I’ve gone to which are kind of off the beaten tourist path (which is a great thing) and are really special, that I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the city. One of them involves ceiling to floor Monets. Being a student is also really awesome, because I can get into most museums and cultural spaces for free. I went to Versailles last weekend and the total cost of the excursion was 3 euros: the price of my metro ticket home. Also, our university is really wonderful about sending us on amazing cultural events (also for free!)- I went to the opera on Tuesday, and will be spending a weekend in Provence in two weeks, for example.
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  8. All in all… I’m so blessed to be here. I know I am so incredibly lucky to be able to spend a few months just experiences the world like this. It’s so hard to believe it’s almost halfway over- we have midterms coming up! It’s been particularly easy in the past few days to get bogged down with planning my summer and academic career over the next two semesters but I just need to breathe and focus on the incredible here and now.
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