Beginnings / Tourism / Travel

Metros and baguettes and cheese, oh my!

Can we start this post off with a Britney Spears reference here? That okay with everyone? Yes? Good.

Oops, I did it again.

I fell off the face of the earth. Or at least, as far as the blogosphere goes. I know, I know…I promised this time would be different! Where are the posts about Omani culture? My program there? Where are the pictures of the magnificent Sultan Al-Qaboos mosque and the Empty Quarter desert, where are the tales of linguistic struggle and friendship? Where are the travel advice and hints?

Well kids, I got sidetracked this summer…by homework and socializing with Omanis and some wonderful Americans, mind you, so it was for a good cause. Things got to the point where every day, after I had my 7 or so hours of classes and went to the gym for 2 hours, showered, and ate dinner, I had just enough time to do homework (or uh, occasionally do something other than homework requiring homework to be done furiously the next morning) before bed…and then Ramadan hit and all of our schedules were turned upside down anyway.

So where am I now? What’s going on?

Currently, my dears, I am sitting in my tiny, closet-sized apartment in Paris, France. As I’ve mentioned before, I am participating in the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) for the remainder of this school year, more or less. I will be assisting with conversational practice in English classes for French students, and for me I believe the majority of my students will actually be about 18-20 years old going to a community college/technical institution, with a few classes of normal high schoolers who will be younger.  The school I teach at is actually in a town called Cachan, just a few metro (well, RER B, but we won’t pick at specifics) stops south of Paris…but I decided to snag myself this little apartment in the 5th Arrondissement, or neighborhood/district in Paris, because I want to live within the city so I can experience as much as I possibly can in the next 8 months. Is it more expensive? Undoubtedly. But worth it? I certainly hope so…

I’ve already been here close to two weeks, trying to adjust (my French is atrocious) and find an apartment, open a bank account, and deal with other technical aspects of my new job. While I will probably write some blog updates about those processes for any future assistants who happen to read this and need some help, I don’t want to cram everything into a monstrously long update for right now.

So, instead, I’m going to just share some of the sights I have witnessed around Paris with you all right now.  To be honest, I have just “stumbled” upon quite a large amount of the things to do and see in Paris from walking around on my way to other places or ambling along. The only two real destinations I’ve had so far were Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, although I have yet to climb up the tower so I’m sure I’ll be back there. So at the end of this post I’m going to dump some of my favorite photos on you that I have taken so far, with minor explanations in the captions here and there. I’m sure I’ll give more detailed coverage of them later, when I actually get my tourist on.

But wait! What’s that you say? You still want to know what else I have been doing in my travels? Well good news friends! Since I’m so hopelessly behind in updates, I’ve decided to bring a Facebook trend to wordpress, and participate in Throwback Thursday. Every Thursday (or as many as I can/until I run out of things to say) I will pick some photos from a past trip (order is probably not going to be a thing, so you can expect anything from Peru to Turkey to Ireland to Oman) and write a little about what I saw, ate, or did that made it worth posting about.  So there you have it. A little solution to my personal life chaos.

And now for the real deal…PHOTOTHON! (Note: As always, click to enlarge photos…the landscape-oriented photos in particular lose some sharpness when they get downsized in the previews, so click to see all the glory!)


Left side of the Sacre Coeur church…a church I find particularly beautiful just because it’s a breath of creativity in the sea of stark and gothic Western European cathedrals.


There is a beautiful, peaceful little park I managed to stumble upon behind the Sacre Coeur completely devoid of tourists, full of hanging-vine covered walkways, benches, and fountains. Utterly peaceful spot in the middle of an otherwise overcrowded and loud area.


Candle offerings burning peacefully inside the Notre Dame Cathedral.


One of the doors leaving the Notre Dame cathedral bathed in the light of sunset. For some reason, the billions of tourists who couldn’t seem to let GO of their cameras inside the building all completely ignored these elaborate masterpieces on the way out.


A carousel across the river from the Eiffel tower, all lit up for night rides.


I will make the assumption that this photo does not need further explanation.

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