C'est la vie

One girl versus the world, my 4 month Euro-trip

2 Years: A Reflection

My job is to write. I tell the stories of clients, their successes and upcoming events in a way that journalists will also want to then write about them. I write about industry trends and best practices. I’m constantly at my MacBook, typing away, as, more often than not, Taylor Swift blasts in my headphones.

But as I am at that date, January 20, where I left to travel abroad 2 years ago, I think about the writing I used to do.

This blog was lively with the rants and rambles of me abroad. I went on and on, for who knows who to read along. I wrote a sentence every day in a journal I often refer back to, to help remember even the smallest details of my trip. I wasn’t connected to an iPhone or a computer, rather a pen and paper.

As I write day in and day out, I think about the pleasure I get while telling stories, using various words, large and small, in English and occasionally French.

When I lived in Paris, the sights and smells always amazed me. Each time I saw the Eiffel Tower, I gasped, more beautiful than the last time. Now, as I live my life in Philadelphia, I forget about these small moments. I pass City Hall on my bus ride, twice a day, every single day and I work directly across from the Liberty Bell and spend lunch strolling on Independence Mall. Passing tourists in awe of the history surrounding them but barely taking note. Why do these sights and smells not excite me the way they did in Paris? Is it because I’ve lived here for so long now or have I just gotten to caught up in the busy, working lifestyle, always checking my iPhone for client emails and Twitter notifications. 

But maybe it is time to make a change and enjoy the small things. Maybe all I need is a trip to a cafe to sit alone, read a book and just enjoy. Maybe once a year, I need to remember the Parisian lifestyle I lived and how that can transfer to a Philadelphian lifestyle. They may be hours apart, but I will do my best to keep them close.

IMG_0003_2

Thank You Mom and Dad

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

For giving me the world

For being the absolute best parents ever

For allowing me to have this insanely incredible experience

For supporting me in anything and everything I do

For continually answering my emails, which I average about 5 per day, with lovely and kind words. For always being there, whether it was a stupid question about minuscule things or if it was a banking problem, I could always guarantee an answer!

For raising me the way you did, I have met kids from all over the States here and I am so much more appreciative of my up bringing and the respect you have taught me.

Thank you for believing in me. For financially supporting me here as I worked to pass all of my French classes. Your confidence in me makes me even more motivated.

Thank you times one billion and I cannot wait to see you both SO SOON!

 

It’s official, NEVER coming home!

This morning I tweeted and said, “Paris, PLEASE, humor me with some sun and nice weather before I leave!!” and by the time I got off the metro to go to the Rodin Museum, the sun was shining!! I already visited the museum with class on my birthday but it was freezing and no flowers were in bloom in the garden so I knew I needed to return later in the spring! After I wandered around the gardens, smelled the flowers (literally) and played for a little, I headed to Colorvova, a fabulous Patisserie recommended by a blogger to see what all the talk was about! The space was simple and colorful, with cozy chairs and a great atmosphere, much different from the usual counter where you pick something and eat it on the walk. I enjoyed a delicious chocolate, peanut, speculoos tart that was heavenly! After I was charged up with chocolate, I headed to Ile Saint Louis, the other island in the middle of the Seine, behind Notre Dame. I walked along the Seine and enjoyed the gorgeous sun and  people watching! I wandered around the neighborhood, popping in and out of shops before continuing on to the Marais. I have not been to my favorite neighborhood in a while so I wanted to see it with the sun shining and flowers blooming in all my favorite parks! I grabbed a sandwich at my favorite spot, sat in Louis the 13th square and enjoyed everyone out and about in Paris! After lounging for a little, I went to Musee Carnavalet, one of my favorite museums in Paris to FINALLY see the gardens!! They were beautiful, tulips of all different colors were in full bloom and the garden was practically empty, so enjoyable! At this point, I realized my feet were really starting to hurt so I walked back towards the center of Paris to hop on a more direct metro and make my way home. Upon returning to my lovely apartment, I decided to map my walk from today, just about 8km! (things I am excited for when I go home, Google.com…no .FR and google maps being in units of measurement I understand!)

My day was just incredible! One of my favorite here so far, even though I think that I say that after everyday here! Lots of my friends still had a final today so they were stressing about their last test so I conquered Paris alone, once again, and kicked its butt and fell in love a little more!Image

Image

ImageImage

Image

Image

                                           Square Louis XIII, Marais

 Image

 

 

Happy May Day

What better way to celebrate May Day than wandering around on the Promenade Plantee admiring gorgeous flowers and extensive parks in Paris?!

Image

Image

Right before the down pour! No more showers, Paris, its May now!

Image

Image

Cutest ever.

School’s out for summer..and I am a senior!

I am finished, I conquered finals and can say I survived my academic semester in Paris, taking 16 credits of strictly French courses and I am so proud of myself! Reflecting back, I cannot believe that the end of the semester is here and I am officially done my school work!

It is crazy to think almost 4 months ago I was out for my last dinner with my family for so long. My mom gave me a card that said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

If you know me at all, which you probably do since you are taking the time to read my blog, you know I am the definition of Type A personality. I have schedules and schedules for my schedules and spontaneity scares me. This semester, when everyone told me to live it up this trip and that I deserved it, I always said thank you but not fully understanding what they meant. I now understand because I have learned so much about myself here, really enjoyed my self and “lived it up”. Although some things about me have not changed, I still wake up early, try to workout and do my homework, my outlook on life has changed immensely.

My mom wrote in my card, “relish everyday” and I can honestly say I did this. Even if I had a difficult day of classes or failed a midterm, I would do something for myself each day to make it better. Some days a pastry turned my day around, other days a bottle of wine or the always enjoyable walks on the Seine, eating a crepe and taking in the sites of Paris. It is easy to get comfortable in your life, I think I have been doing it my entire life but now I am realizing the power and truth of this quote. I have been out of my comfort zone daily here, being forced to speak in another language, trying new foods, meeting new friends and passing school at the same time! I can proudly say I did it; I conquered Paris and fell in love with it. I came in with an open mind, not knowing what to except but ready for the un sureness of it all and regret absolutely nothing.

As I head on my next adventure, showing Erin Paris then traveling Ireland, I am not saying bye to Paris, I am saying see you later. I saw a lot of the city but I still have lots to see! I got to do things once here, I want to come back and do them for a second and third time.

I am coming home with a new outlook on life. I am excited to rediscover Philadelphia and more about myself and live up everyday!

Image

                                                      my cozy desk!

Like Royalty

Today we ventured to play in the chateau of Fontainbleau! A quick trip and study break was just what we needed! Now back to studying, well before going out!

Image

Sorry Mom and Dad, I am moving. And rent may be going up…

Image

                                                      Looking up

Image

Image

                              When we weren’t being attacked by swans

Image

                                                   La galerie François Ier

Image

                                                         Galerie de Diane

Image

 

Last day of classes!

It is hard to believe yesterday was my last day of classes. It is harder to believe that I actually survived 12 weeks of intensive French courses (still need to take finals so I can’t get too ahead of myself)! The last day of classes felt like I was back in elementary school, the sun was shining and teachers were having a difficult time keeping the attention of students as we all looked out the windows to see our fellow classmates playing soccer and talking in the courtyard. My one teacher gave in and let us out early and my last class of the day went very quickly and then he said bye to us, told us to make sure we studied for the final but to enjoy the sunshine in Paris!

After, a few girls and I headed to a cafe by school and my apartment for happy hour to celebrate being finished! We cheers-ed to how far we have come, remembering our first day of classes and how the end felt so long and we questioned if we could do it! We celebrated being completely done French literature, my most work intensive class here and I remembered after the 1st class I was ready to march to advising and promptly switch out. I am glad I stuck it out with the course, I improved with each paper and my professor noticed, even though she still doesn’t know my name, and it feels great to have 4 four-page French literature papers under my belt! Our night out was incredible and I expected to wake up to rain outside because of the weather reports but the sun is shining at 10 am and it is already 65 degrees!

Sorry finals, I must go play outside when I still can!

Image

                                                           Taylor and I!

Image

                              Playing in the garden/ courtyard at school!

Image

 

 

Jardin Party

Today was a beautiful day in Paris, 70 degrees and sunny. After my first class, Mia, Kristin, Kelly and I headed to Jardin du Luxembourg to play and hangout before our literature class. 5 minutes into arriving, I decided I was going to skip my last literature class of the semester (we don’t have a final) and enjoy the garden instead (one of the best decisions I have made here!) Throughout Paris, it is constantly difficult to tell if you are allowed to sit on the grass or not, no signs, no indication, but you normally get yelled at! We finally found a big patch of grass in the sun with lots of other picnic-ers and enjoyed for about half an hour before park control came around, blowing whistles at us, telling us we could not sit on the grass! So ridiculous, so we got ice cream cones and walked around the gardens and palace! 

From the garden, we walked to Saint Suplice to see the gorgeous church and fountain (that finally has water in it) and from there we ended in Saint Germain des Pres! At this point, everyone went on their own ways, to go to class or to work on papers and I was left alone to wander the city! I was headed to a communications panel so I decided to just keep walking until I found it…about a half an hour and phone call to Mia later, I ended up by Invalides on a lovely patch of grass on the Seine eating a chanson aux pommes before the panel!

It is the small moments like this when I realize how much I love this city. I would never walk for 30 minutes instead of taking public transportation or driving at Temple or at home. I rarely enjoy the small things such as sitting in the grass of a park enjoying the sunshine. I rarely am totally disconnected, I never use my French phone and didn’t have technology with me. Just sitting, listening to the sounds of the city, the boats on the river and being able to see so many famous building with the turn of my head, it is truly incredible how blessed I am to be here and how much I am enjoying my time here. Lately, I find myself adventuring alone but these are some of the times I enjoy myself the most.  I am on my own schedule and doing what I want to do, really making the most of the rest of my time here!

Image

                   Exactly how I pictured Paris: Picture perfect

Image

                                                Palais du Luxembourg!

Image

ImageImage

Image

                                                            Saint Suplice

Side note: the communications panel was great! It was at the American University of Paris and featured different bloggers and social media specialists! It was nice to go to something pertaining to my major instead of learning about a painting from the 1500s and see a different outlook on social media, in a different country. I got to meet a great bloggers who I follow closely on Twitter and get great tips for my blog as well as my social media presence, something I am always looking to improve!

 

Keith Haring, The Political Line

Image

Today I traveled to the Musee D’art moderne de la ville de Paris for a special exhibition of Keith Haring. The line moved quickly and I made it just before the doors closed for the evening (10-6pm Tues- Sun and 10-10pm Thurs). The exhibition featured paintings of Haring’s that address the political world, themes such as the individual against the state, capitalism, religion, mass media, nuclear threats, racism and sex, AIDS and death. Keith Haring was an artist as well as a social activist in New York city that did not hide the fact that he was gay and empowered others to do and believe what they wanted, regardless of the “rules’ of society.

The exhibition went through the different themes, including paintings, sketches, graffiti pieces, statues and chalk artwork. Haring showed some of his work but most of his works were found around the city, attached to light poles, in newsstands or chalked onto blank panels in the subway. Over 5,000 of these drawings were found around the city from 1980 to 1985, he considered it all art and art for everybody to see.

The exhibit was well worth the wait and the 5 euros I had to pay to get in (discounted with my student ID). I learned about Haring in my high school art classes and created projects based on political issues in his style and to see so many pieces right in front of me was awesome! The exhibit just started this past weekend so I hopped on the chance to go after class before leaving Paris but it is open until the 18th of August!  The modern art museum was also very cool, sitting right on the Seine with a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower, it was a great, sunny day to wait in line and see a new museum!

030

“The public has the right to art. The public needs art. Art is for everybody”

014

018

019

Polaroids of his life

026

“Art becomes the way we define our existence as human beings”

031

Auto portrait, “I’m glad I’m different. I’m proud to be gay. II’m proud to have friends and lovers of every color. I am ashamed of my forefathers. I am not like them.”

Sundays like a local

Image

                                                                Opera Garnier

 

Well maybe not totally like a local, but close enough! Sundays in Paris and all around Europe mean that a lot shuts down by mid afternoon, so you must rise and shine and get your day going on the early side!

Kelly and I have been trying to go to the Opera for a while now and decided today would be the day! We made our way there in the morning, very excited to see inside (not see an actual Opera!) The building was absolutely stunning, the staircase was immaculate, the ceilings were to die for and the hallways were simply out of this world. So gold and elaborate  just like the French love! Inside the auditorium was beautiful as well, the ceiling was different than I expected, a little more modern and pastel-ish than the rest but gorgeous nonetheless. 

After the Opera, we headed to meet Breah and Claire at the Bastille market! A very famous outdoor market in Paris that is always crowded when it opens on Sundays! It was a perfect day to wander around, joining all of the Parisians to get produce and such for the week! I picked up some oranges, apples, peppers, strawberries, some dried fruits and other treats for very cheap and soon my reusable bags were heavy and full and I fit right in with all of the locals around me! All around Europe, well the places I have traveled, I have noticed that people love their outdoor markets and I am becoming quite the fan as well! I love the constant screaming of “1 euro, 1 euro, ohh mademoiselle, 1 euro!” and fitting in in this city that can seem so big and overwhelming the majority of the time! 

With not too much time left in Paris, I am enjoying living life like a tourist, eager to see everything but also like a local, enjoying the small things that are truly special to my new neighborhood and city!

Image

                                          Ceiling inside the auditorium

Image

                               In the main stairway in the lobby

Image

                                                         Inside!!

Image

                                                     Casual ceilings

Image

                                     Some gorgeous flowers at the market!

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.