Permanent Living and My "I live here" Moment / by Hannah Harley

Bonsoir! It's getting pretty late here in Paris, but the days are so packed that it's hard to find time to write the activities down!

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Above: Tour de Eiffel, detail

I'm going on Day 5 in Paris, so there's been a lot going on in the past 4 days. I spent my first 3 days wandering around the 8eme, Montmartre. It's a thriving tourist attraction with Sacre Coeur and Moulin Rouge, so finding a cafe to sit and read in wasn't difficult. On Sunday, I ventured to the artists' fair on the Butte du Montmartre, the hill where Sacre Coeur is located.

After I finally got over my jet lag (okay, I'm pretty sure I'm still jet lagged...), I moved into my new and permanent space. My first experience meeting my roommate was her passed out on her bed, me awkwardly apologizing for waking her up, dropping my stuff off, and heading out. We've since become friends, trying to navigate Paris like the locals.

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Above: The reflection of our view through the window, a portrait of my roommate

One of the reasons for my silence has been due to my broken computer charger. I went to the Apple Store under the Louvre, bought the wrong charger (under their advice), returned it (thanks to their kindness), got the right charger (woot woot!), no problem! But it did leave me without my computer for a couple days.

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Above: Jardin du Tuileries

I've been fortunate to have had a lot of free time to explore the little streets, cafes, river walks, etc. Paris is a lovely city, especially away from the hectic tourist areas. I can't share too many images from my excursions, simply because I'm photographing in film and even occasionally, I'm not taking a camera with me. Quelle horror!

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Above: Tour de Eiffel, detail

For anyone that's seen the recent the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a good quote from it: "If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.” Paris is so beautiful, and I'm loving discovering it myself. Don't worry -- I'll do my best to capture it and bring it to you. But first, I feel like I need to understand it better. And wait for these little treasured moments to stop being so constant.

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Above: Jardin du Tuileries, adorable couple at the end of the tree aisle

I've met some delightful people here with my program, but I'm so excited to take classes. My French has improved, particularly my accent. It has been difficult adjusting to the differences in culture (The showers only run for 30 seconds at a time. You have to press again for more water, for example.) But it's been such an incredible journey thus far.

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Above: Jardin du Tuileries

3V2A9395Above: Eiffel Tower, unfocused

3V2A9188Blue skies out my window, Paris

Today, on our way back to the Foyer - Residence Hall from dinner following a quick trip to the Eiffel Tower, I had my first I LIVE HERE moment. Not that I know the city or even the area I'm in, but I was familiar with a metro stop, the one before, the one after, etc. All of a sudden, I felt comfortable. Sure, I'm not sure how to ask what time a restaurant closes, but I was knew that metro stop. Something was FAMILIAR. And after everything is new and foreign to you (except the Starbucks, McDonald's, Subways.... I have yet to become that homesick), it is incredibly relieving and wonderful to become familiar with something.

There's oh so much to update you on, so much work, so much to share! In time!!

So far Paris has been a magnificent city. The people are some of the kindest people I've encountered. Sure, the French are not known for the friendliness, but they have been positively upbeat, pleasant, helpful, etc in all my dealings with them.

Until later, mes amis!

Merci!

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