Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Paris, je t'aime

By the time you read this I will have officially been here a week. And what a week it has been. I still don’t feel like I will ever be rich, stylish or elegant enough to quite fit in here, but I love it nonetheless. There’s always something to see, always a market, a festival, a concert, or just interesting people to watch on the metro. I spent most of this weekend out and around with no company but my iPod, and as I browsed the antiques market, the used bookstore, the camera store (currently on my 4th lens cap for this Nikon), the transportation festival (weird, I know, but I saw some Seussian bicycles and the world’s first hydrogen-powered plane) I had that wonderful “all is right with the world” feeling. And now, grab-bag tidbits…

*Dorm life is still going pretty well. My only complaint continues to be the lack of soundproofing; I would be sleeping now if my neighbor weren’t watching TV. The showers aren’t bad but remind me of camping (push button, and no control over temperature, although it’s the perfect level of warmth anyway). I’ve seen a few other people’s rooms now and there’s a surprising amount of variation in size and furnishings—I have even more appreciation for my new, huge desk and shelves.

*I hear the Canadian house has en-suite bathrooms in the bedrooms and a gym. By my previous logic, this would mean France loves Canada more than anyone.

*I attended a director’s “screening” of an independent Zombie movie called “Zombies of Eureka,” composed entirely of no-budget music videos strung together from the local music scene of Eurka, CA. Strange but oddly amazing—you can find the full length thing on imdb if you’re curious. Why did I go? It was the first of many student activities in the “rectangle”—a room with a ping pong table, couches and a flatscreen in the basement, which apparently hosts weekly movie nights, open mics, and bar nights. Yummy. Can’t wait for the French semester to start and everyone to move in.

*I caught a glimpse of my mysterious musician neighbor in action in one of the basement practice rooms. Apparently he’s a she, and it’s a clarinet, not a bassoon.

*I used the kitchens for the first time this past weekend to make dinner with some GA Tech undergrads. They contributed most of the food, I brought the wine and cheese (because when I had to limit myself at the grocery store, those were, naturally, my priority items).

*One of the other grad students, Stephine (pronounced Stephanie, but she goes by Phinn) also lives here, about a floor below me. She showed up at my door this morning at the ungodly hour of 11am, beaming enthusiasm as I struggled to shrug off grogginess enough to be social. Morning people sicken me.

*I’m “auditing” the undergraduate preliminary language course (although still fully participating, oddly). The course itself is pretty useless, but I’m learning about the center and meeting a few people. Everyone has had as much trouble with housing as me, and we’re all equally frustrated with the lack of communication/organization, and impatient for formal introductions when orientation starts this Thursday.

*There are approx 200 students at the (adorable) NYU center, in the heart of the chic 16th arrondissement. 150 are (really impressive) undergrads doing a study abroad semester. 30 are Freshman in this intensive international liberal arts program they have going, of which many seem to be from diplomatic families. 18 are in the graduate program—4 in my literature track, 4 in the language and civ track, and 10 in the education track. 2 are boys. It remains to be seen if either of them are straight, but if the undergrads are any judge, signs point to No. I think the idea of France must be threatening to American masculinity somehow (not that I have any objection to the happy mélange of strong women and queers that my field seems to consist of).

*I love my iPod, and listen to it on the metro and sometimes while I walk. I have songs from the Amélie soundtrack on every playlist now, and when they come up on shuffle as I’m strolling across cobblestones my heart flutters a little (and I feel like a total dork, and am glad none of the French know what I’m listening to).

*Yesterday I met up with a friend from the Tunisia program, Brittany, for dinner in the Latin Quarter (9 euro three-course menu!) and today I went out for a Kir aperitif with a few girls from the program. Ahhh, living in a city.

*It takes me 40 minutes to get from my door to the NYU center, including walking and metro time. Not bad. The route, line 6, takes me across the bridge for the best possible view of the Eiffel know, just in case I need a reminder of how awesome my life is on the way to school.

1 comment:

  1. I am so jealous. Though, to be honest, life isn't looking so bad. Except for the bit where my cat is recovering from being hit by a car/corrugated iron fence/whatever actually did the damage. She's not telling. Also, the bit where James' mum is in hospital with a broken back and wrist. However, it means I get to go live at her 14 acres outside of town and spend lots of time with her and the dog and my horse. Looking forward to that, and waiting for her to get out of hospital.
    Hope your school year goes well, sounds like it should be interesting anyway!