Firstly, the past few weeks I have been feeling extremely anxious and pressured by the expectation to make the most out of this experience, to make the most out of my time here, to profite-bien! I am seized by the plenitude of cultural events in Paris. Let take for example, theatrical shows:
“Avec près de 300 spectacles par semaine et 130 salles, Paris est incontestablement la capitale du théâtre. Elle offre un éventail très varié de pièces, des plus classiques aux plus avant-gardistes, pluridisciplinaires, sans oublier les spectacles pour enfants et adolescents.”
300 shows/ week. How could one consume all that (?!)… How can i aaaaaa aaaa aaaaaa gluttony !!! Just theatre alone! There’re cinema, gastronomy, poetry, ateliers and a and b c d e z!
Now I’m very curious that how could this be made possible for a city? How and why Paris is the way it is today?
I am overwhelmed! There are just simply so many things to do, to see, and I am suffering from FOMO (fear of missing out) for the first time in my life! Maybe because I was used to the uneventful peaceful life in Walla Walla. So, I read through a myriad amount of flyers and booklets and websites and put things on my calendar and ended up locking myself in the confined space of my room at the weekends stress-eat and regret about how much fun I could have out there. I guess I would just miss out. If I were in Saigon, I wouldn’t care this much. I read Rose Heising’s blog and in her most recent post, she also mentioned the difficulty to not say yes to things, to find the balance between social and individual time. The goal to travel to all countries has been more of a burden than a thrill and I think I need to re-evaluate my goals. Travelling takes so much time to research and money, and I’m the kind of person who wants to save as much as possible, in fact, to do things most efficiently. Bref, I make efforts now so that I will not have headaches in the future and end up having headaches for making too much efforts. What irony!
Secondly, I LOVE MY CLASSES AT IES ABROAD. All the professors are so learned, so sensible/ sensitive, so subtle, so well-humored, so expressive, so genuine, and care so much about what they are doing, one is so unapologetically politically incorrect *star*. Most of the time what is being taught does not matter as much as who is teaching it because I learn so much more from the people themselves, from their approaches, their choices, teaching, and communicating styles, the ways they present and carry themselves, their characters. Awesome bosom, good time good time. In fact, what could be better than studying Art History in Paris? We had physical and intellectual workouts 3 times a week in the Louvre, d’Orsay, d’Orangerie, Centre Pompidou, Musée du Cinéma, photography foundations. I couldn’t be more in love! And the staff, they are just as dedicated. I appreciated the activities they organized, big and small, to motivate us to stick to our goal of improving our command of French and also to step out of our comfort zones in the process.
Here are some tips:
If you are here for a year, get the Navigo Carte Imaginaire R Etudiant– 350e for unlimited metro, bus, train ride all year.
I also recommend Tang Frères the Asian supermarket in district 13 for groceries because products are so much cheaper there (and I find things normally I cannot find elsewhere). Please DON’T go there on a Sunday morning. I did last week and it felt like a festival to this Vietnamese kid, but only for once, you would not be able to move an inch trust me it’s super crowded on Sunday. It seems like all the Asians in Paris come here on Sunday! My extended family!