Thursday, June 30, 2005

Juin down, 12 more to go

Well, I have been in Paris for one month. It's been a crazy month full of landmark, wonderful things, but never have I felt overly excited or gotten the feeling that I am amidst something very important-- even when Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes atop the Eiffel Tower (I know-- even then).

But I am enjoying myself. Since I began school, I wake up every morning around (you might have to sit down for this one) 7 a.m. I shower, dress and do my hair all before going downstairs to eat breakfast with Roselyne (my host mom) and on occasion, her children. I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem for me to eat my muesli in my pj's, but they certainly don't.

Then, I am out the door and at my metro station (St. Sulpice) all before 8:45.
I get off the metro at Denfert-Rochereau by 5 til and walk a few steps to school. I am one of the few students who doesn't have to change trains and walk half a mile to get to class.

Rue Daguerre, the street on which I go to school, is a very lively, Parisian street; no tourists. The head of the street is closed off to traffic (even mopeds-- not that that stops them) and one can walk down the middle of fresh produce markets, seafood, meat markets, fromageries, gelato stands, lots and lots of bakery/pastry shops, boutiques, jewelry and even a vacuum store.

I am taking two classes this summer: French Grammar and History of Paris. Each class is two hours long and two to three times each week, my history class goes on walking tours of the city--which is an additional two hours outside of class :(. But the visits (despite miserably hot or miserably rainy weather) have been really amazing. We've seen any and everything you could imagine and our history teacher is a walking encyclopedia of Paris. He leads us down random out-of-the-way streets and if he so feels inclined, will open the gate of a private courtyard and give us a 15 min. lesson in the architecture of the surrounding buildings.

My grammar class has not been as fun, and I can't really say I feel like I am learning anything new-- except that I have built up a tolerance to incredibly high pitched sounds-- my teacher's voice is only slightly more audible (and slightly more grating) than bat sonar.

I don't know how I well I will finish this semester, and I am slightly less concerned with that than I am about moving once it is over. I really love the house and neighborhood I live in. I am situated between two churches: Saint Germain-des-Pres and Saint Sulpice, and at the top of each hour, I can hear both sets of bells ringing. I am walking distance from the Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens, the Seine, Notre Dame, some of the best shopping in the city, and Catherine frickin' Deneuve lives on my street! I really don't want to move, but alas, my host family will not be here for the rest of the summer.

It's been quite a month, I have learned that no woman in Paris wears anything larger than a size 9 shoe (shoe stores here rarely-- and I mean rarely, carry anything above a US 9), that it is perfectly acceptable to allow both your dog and your child to poo on the street, that mopeds always, always have the right of way, and that, unfortunately, a hot, humid day isn't really reason enough for the Parisians to shower.