Bonjour tout le monde!
This post was originally intended to be a guest blog, but it seemed to be getting too long and seemed more appropriate for my own space. No fears, I will go back and post about all of the adventures I’ve had this spring in France as well as England and Scotland (quick summary: LOVED IT.) when I go home. However, seeing as I leave the country on Wednesday, this list seemed appropriate. As this blog might attest, there were lots of negative things about living in Paris/France including trials and frustrations on many levels, but it’s time to focus on a little bit of the good. So without further ado, here are 20 things I will miss when I touch down stateside next week!
1.) The smell of bakeries, fruit/veggie stores, and crêpe stands as you walk past. Absolutely heavenly, particularly if you are heading by during prime baking hours!
2.) My students’ reactions whenever I informed them of something that was completely new to their world perspective—for example, how much college costs in the USA, the fact that I can’t drive a stick shift (in the works, people), or how much snow the Midwest got this year. Just absolute shock and disbelief, always fun!
3.) Cheese. Yes, we import several brands in the USA that you can find in every supermarket here, and I will take advantage of that on returning. But there are just SO many varieties of soft, white, wonderfully smelly cheeses here for which I developed a particular fondness. (Much to the detriment of my waistline…ah well, worth it!)
4.) The beautiful pastry creations in patisserie windows all over Paris. I virtually never bought them, but they were truly stunning to look at.
5.) The gardens and parks. They are extremely well-manicured and lovely to promenade (or occasionally run) in—I live right by the Jardin de Luxembourg, one of the most beautiful, and often went running after working out in the Jardins des Tuileries—the MASSIVE gardens in front of the Louvre. (Yep. Casual runs in front of the Louvre.)
6.) Chuckling at tourists going nuts over things I have adjusted to seeing (but totally was going nuts over when I got here myself).
7.) On that note, seeing tourists who come here to get married—or at least take their wedding pictures. Or really just seeing ANY oddities in the streets like random performances, protests, and occasionally even an entertaining oh-so-French shouting match.
8.) My crossfit gym. Great space, great people, great (albeit often painful) memories. Reebok Crossfit Louvre, kiddos!
9.) Taking any metro or RER lines that go above ground and just sitting and watching the city wind by.
10.) The Christmas Markets. They really made the holiday season come to life, and it was then that I finally started to enjoy my time in Paris.
11.) Weekly weekend drinks with friends. Too many cocktails and bottles of wine were consumed, too many Euros were spent, but so many laughs and good conversations were had that I struggle to regret it. Non-alcoholic drinks too—chocolat viennois (aka hot chocolate with HUGE swirls of Chantilly cream on top!) is one of my new addictions!
12.) Continuing that, hanging out with ALL the Brits, all the time! Learned new lingo, heard lovely accents, compared our similar yet different worlds and fell absolutely in love with my group of friends here. Ils me manquent déjà!
13.) Getting into most museums for free because A) I am under 27 and a legal resident of a European country and B) even if I weren’t under 27, I’m a teacher in France, and thus have a free education pass. Score.
14.) Hearing French. I honestly do love the language, even if I’m not too fabulous at it most of the time.
15.) The never-ending list of possible things to do. In a huge capital city like Paris, there’s always SOMETHING going on, and even though I covered a lot of ground here, if I looked hard enough and asked the right people I’m sure I could still discover dozens more activities/places I never would have known about otherwise.
16.) The BOOKSTORES. Used bookstores are a huge thing, especially in my neighborhood, so you can go in and find both very old and new reads at incredibly reduced prices. You never know what you’ll find, so it’s always an adventure!
17.) Early morning runs, especially on weekends. Because Parisians don’t seem to function or leave home until about 10:00 AM…so I got to experience quiet mornings with all of Paris to myself.
18.) Picnics! The French know how to do picnics like no other, with good food and beautiful weather—and they do it in hordes so everyone gets in the spirit. It’s a surefire way to know that spring has come.
19.) Spur-of-the-moment sleepovers at various friends’ apartments. One problem with metros in Paris is that they don’t run super late, so if you all want to have just oneee more round of drinks, you’ll need a place to crash, which led to tons of nights of too many people crammed into small apartments, loving every minute. We also had excellent “morning after” breakfasts the next day. And excellent “let’s just sit around and do nothing all day after last night” days.
20.) And last, but certainly not least, views like these:
Thank you all for following my adventures in Paris this year, I shall continue to write about them retrospectively from home. And to those of you who live nearby, I will see you soon!