a few days in france


A Terrapin in Paris
Volume I, Issue I
16/1/2010 Not even a week….

Right now I am sitting at the “café” of my hostile waiting to move into my apartment. Mostly everyone has moved out, and my roommate Alex and I are calling a cab in a half hour. We debated taking the metro, but with almost 150 pounds of suitcases each, it would have been interesting to say the least. Alex goes to NYU but is from Park City, Utah. I was initially nervous that I would come back with a New York accent instead of being fluent in French, but many if not most of these kids in this program are out of state: San Antonio, Philadelphia, LA, Indianapolis, DC, and yes, even Arkansas (don’t ask me what city). But they have one thing in common: They are all well-dressed; I would say they rival the fur-clad French old ladies. I feel like even all the clothes I got for my internship last semester are subpar. NYU sounds a lot different than Maryland. Sweatpants are a no-no, sport fans are limited to rooting for the jets and giants (though one girl told me their cross-country team is national champion), another didn’t even know their mascot, and the boy-girl ratio, like this abroad program, is like 1:20. Most of the students have been abroad before, but I suppose to an extent you have to have some love of travel to be able to consciously ship yourself away to another country for six months. Lots of kids that are visiting students as well: Colgate, Vanderbilt, Tufts, Ithaca, BC, U San Francisco, Clark etc. No one really knows each other (esp the NYU kids) so it feels like we’re all in the same boat.

Enough about NYU, let’s cross the pond to Paris. It is rainy today but still fun to explore.

Ahh oui, mon appartement. It is quite nice; it’s in the 11th arrondisement (neighborhood) near the Marais, an artsy district. 2 bedrooms, pull out bed in the couch, living room, speakers to hook your iPod up to, cable and internet. Lots of room for vistors! (hint hint) If you have ever been to my house, the kitchen is the size of our pantry. It’s nothing like the apartment I had at school. But because my landlord is American, we have an unusually large frigo. Can’t wait to go grocery shopping! Alex and I are going to try to cook as much as possible—which should be an interesting learning experience for me considering all I can make is stir fry. Julie and Julia part II, anyone?

I found a training buddy to run the Paris marathon with! Complete luck. I never would have guessed another college student was as psycho as moi. Very few runners around here, and with lots of streets and cross lights I will have to venture to nearby parks, hopefully in better weather. I went with Liz and her roommate to the Centre Pompidou on Sunday, which was interesting to say the least. Not quite your Monets and Chagalls. But the Pompidou does make me appreciate modern art more, some of it is cool, the rest of it is weird but it forces you to have an open mind. (isn’t that the point of the experience?)

Still jet lag. I usually don’t have this difficult of a time adjusting.

Classes at the NYU-en- France center, a very cute campus in the 14th arrondisement, do not start until Feb. 1, but we do have an intensive language course for 2 weeks. All the professors are French, therefore it is no coincidence that all my classes will be the same. I feel lucky to be able to take part in such a well-known and well-run program. This certainly will not be a slack-off semester, but certainly less stressful (my grades do not transfer to my UMD transcript, phew!). Not very surprisingly, I placed into the lowest group of program II, which is for students that are not beginner or intermediate. I already feel more comfortable since arriving, but still after almost 7 years feel like a beginner.

Funny mistakes I have made (written in English)

My friend Emily had just ordered a coffee and I did too.
Barista to Emily: 2 Euro and 70 cents
Me: Two Hundred and 70 Euros for me as well?
Barista: Umm no that would be too much

Buying my French phone:
Salesman: is it okay if I leave it in the box?
Me speaking Franglish: Ya Ya (in blatant American), ca marche. (French for that works or that’s fine)

Waiter as he was bring us our bill: What country are you from? (Quel Pays?)
Me- thinking he was asking us how we were paying: umm bills? To Alex: How do you say cash in French?
Waiter: Angleterre, Etats-Unis…?
Me: Oh he’s asking us where we’re from…Oui, Etats-Unis

A bunch of girls came over on Saturday for a potluck dinner, though most people were too lazy to make anything so just brought wine… I will save my crazy adventuresome stories for later (Oh wait, I have none yet)

Ps- my mom takes full credit for the title.

A bientot!
Amanda

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