WE ARE SO GOOD TOGETHER.

Well, if a miracle occurs within the next eight days, I shall be settling into my apartment in Paris as you turn your calendars from February to March.  You know when everything’s going really well, and you’re almost afraid to be happy because you feel as though maybe you’re not entirely deserving of all of this happiness, and you’re convinced that something must go wrong for balance to be restored to the world?  That’s me right now.  Who knew being a well-traveled 20-year-old with dual citizenship could ever be a disadvantage, eh?

While I anxiously await this long overdue security clearance, here are some photos of the Parisian life I was living last year and that I hope to be living again very soon.

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Métro. Boulot. Dodo.

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Can you tell I had a cold?

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One of my favorite sights.  Everything in this picture.

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Tame Impala!

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So happy.

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Bisous.

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Ils sont tous des cons de toute façon.

This week and next week are midterms et du coup, I don’t have much time to write one of my usual posts. I’ll post a few pictures though, they’re worth a thousand words, right?

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Bisous.

Moitié fille, moitié femme.

First birthday abroad, and mon Dieu, was it good.  I picked up my birthday package my mom had sent me, but waited to open it until I had more time.

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Madeline stickers ❤

Wearing the newly purchased sweater that I found in a store behind Place des Vosges, I took ligne 6 to school from Pasteur to Raspail, a half hour earlier than usual so I could squeeze in a petit déwith Ruthie and German before class.  We went to Le Petit Broc, just down the street from school.

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Smiles all around.

The day passed comme d’hab, and then around 19h Ruthie, Molly, and I went to our favorite restaurant, Krishna Bhavan.  It’s a vegetarian Indian restaurant just off of Rue Saint Jacques near Saint Michel.  I can’t remember the number, but the street is Rue Galande.  If you’re ever in the area, GO HERE.  The food is absolutely amazing and the waiters/waitresses are très gentils.  Now, I’m the kind of person who, once they find something they love, will eat/play/listen/watch/do that thing until they don’t love it anymore.  As Amir Blumenfeld says, “You know, it’s my nature to take things too far.  Some people love me for that.”  Anyway, after ordering the Aloo Channa Masala one night with a side of riz nature and a mango lassi, there was never any need to look at the menu from then on.

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Once we were stuffed and feeling extremely obese, it was time to head back home and put on our best dresses for the surprise birthday night out that the girls had planned for me.  We parted ways, freshened up, and regrouped at Saint Michel.  They lead me to this Latin club/bar/j’sais pas quoi in the Latin Quarter (surprise).  First thing I see when I walk in is naked (minus very small pairs of underwear) male waiters serving fruity alcoholic drinks to thirsty women.

After a few drinks, I look over to the bar to see Ruthie giving one of the waiters 20 euros.  My stomach fell out of my ass at that point. Despite being under the influence, I knew exactly what was going on.  Now normally at this point, I’d feel the anxiety kicking in and I’d be begging Ruthie to ask for her money back – BUT, as I’ve said before, Paris was a big year for me in terms of overcoming my social anxiety.  I say “overcoming”, but that by no means is to say that I no longer have social anxiety.  It’s still there, I carry it around with me every day.  Some days are worse than others, some days are better, but being abroad really helped me learn how to deal with it and to stop it from controlling my life.  So, with my newfound confidence, I just went with it, and twenty minutes later I was being lifted into the air by a very muscular half-naked waiter wearing a pair of orange zebra-print glasses.  (These glasses somehow ended up on my bedside table the next morning when I woke up.  Don’t worry – I pretty much just stole the waiter’s glasses.  #noragrets).

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Hair completely frizzed from the heat in the club, the remains of carefully applied lipstick, but clearly still très contente.

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Yea.

I feel like every woman’s got to do it once in her life.  I guess after 19 years it was my time.  Happy 19th to me!

Bisous.

Direction Étoile, prochain train dans une minute.

I grew up in a very small town in Michigan.  Calling it a ‘town’ might even be too generous – I think it was technically just a ‘township’.  Anyway, it stretches across a vast three miles, and one thing you won’t ever see is any form of public transportation.  No taxis, no buses, and absolutely no underground train system.  Oh, I’m sorry, I lied.  There’s the little bus that takes the old people to and from the local retirement home.

In the months leading up to my big move to Paris, I tried to familiarize myself with Paris’s metro system.  After a day or two of copying what I now know are the RER lines (i.e. not actually any of the 16 metro lines that I would end up using daily), I gave up feeling overwhelmed trying to navigate this intricate maze of underground trains.  I had had experience with metro systems before (London, New York, Milan), but those were only during short vacations.  I wasn’t actually living in the city and in no way did I have any of it memorized.  Also on these vacations, it was usually someone else who took the initiative to guide the rest of us and I just tagged along, rarely taking note of where we were.  So naturally I was worried that it would take me months to understand the complicated ways of the Parisian underground.

Turns out, I’m a natural.

Within a week I was metro-ing alone, no longer using a map or the Paris metro app on my phone.  French people would even stop and ask me for help with directions!  I will admit that on more than one occasion I did accidentally give wrong directions to lost metro users, but I probably never saw them again.  I hope.

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I was living in the 15th arrondissement.  My metro was Pasteur (and I guess Sèvres Lecourbe as well, but Pasteur was a tiny bit closer).  I loved this location.  If you enter through Pasteur, you have access to lines 6 and 12.  Line 6 is, in my opinion, the best metro line.  It’s “une ligne aérienne”, which means it occasionally comes above ground, revealing the most gorgeous views as it snakes between les rues de Paris.  The journey between Pasteur and Passy is truly magical.  Especially the seconds between Bir-Hakeim and Passy as it goes over the Seine and you get the most amazing view of la tour Eiffel and le Sacré-Cœur way off in the distance.

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Line 6 will get you to the Eiffel Tower, Place du Trocadéro, and the Arc de Triomphe.  Whenever I was feeling upset or depressed, I would take line 6 from Pasteur to Trocadéro and walk down from Place du Trocadéro to the tower, and then walk next to the metro all the way home.  It was a beautiful promenade that never failed to lift my spirits.

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The only thing that annoys me about taking the metro is this: no one smiles.  If I’m talking with a friend and start laughing, people start dishing out the dirty looks.  I usually just respond by saying “C’est pas interdit de sourire, hein…” and then they piss off.

Compared to metro systems I’ve used in other cities, Paris’s is definitely the most user-friendly.  Everything is signposted, the trains are almost always on time, and the lines are color-coded !  Line 6 is a cute mint green color : )  New York’s metro is the absolute worst, hands down.  Uptown, downtown, express trains – what??  Using the Paris metro was a treat after using the New York metro.  Just don’t be alarmed if you see a group of homeless people camping out at the bottom of the stairs in Montparnasse, or a man peeing against the wall, or a drunk guy spitting up on the back of a metro seat.  The smell can also get pretty intense.  But BESIDES all of that, I love the metro !

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Damian in Paris’s oldest metro station.

I also mentioned the use of buses as public transportation.  While in Paris, I probably took the bus about six times.  I steered clear of it because the bus routes just seemed way too confusing (same reason I didn’t want to learn the metro lines), but I think when I go back to Paris I’ll use it more.  When you take the bus, you’re above ground and can actually see where you’re going.  Although I love the metro, I love Paris more, and it’s silly to spend half of the day underground when there’s so much beautiful architecture to take in!

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I’m also going to make use of the Vélib’s when I move back to Paris.  I only used them twice.  Once to sit and eat milk and cookies with German.  The second time I was riding on the back of German’s because I was breaking in my new shoes and my feet were killing me.  I do not recommend trying this – I was scared for my life.  Trust me when I say, there is only room for one person on a Vélib’.

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More pictures of the metro, cause this post needs it, right?

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André modeling.

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Empty metro…

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Andrew modeling on the other side of the tracks.

Bisous.

The List

You would think that after having lived in Paris for nine months, I would have checked off every item on my “Things To Do Before I Leave Paris” list.  Wrong.  I somehow managed to leave all of the big things until the last, I kid you not, week of my stay.  Things like going to the Musée d’Orsay, the Louvre, the Marmottan, and countless others.  Although, strangely, I don’t at all regret it.  I spent my last weeks doing other things and making amazing memories with amazing people.  And to be fair, I had already been to both the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre when I first came to Paris two years ago, but of course didn’t spend nearly enough time in either of them, as I was only in the city for literally 12 hours.

There were a few things on my list that I was able to check off, thanks to German and Mathieu:

– have one last crêpe at the crêpe stand in front of the Eiffel Tower by the carousel

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– take a picture with the “LOVE ME” graffiti on the Pont d’Iéna

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– film an OOTD in Place de la Concorde

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– visit the Père Lachaise cemetery

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– visit Rue Princesse (mainly because Ycare has a song called Rue Princesse)

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– climb the Arc de Triomphe

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– ride the shortest metro line (3bis)

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That’s Mathieu with his little Pink Floyd backpack!

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– take some photos of me and my then boyfriend, Mathieu

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– go to the first bakery I went to when I first came to Paris two years ago and order something in French (something I had been too scared to do the first time around)

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– picnic on the Champs de Mars

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Don’t look at the girl in front taking a selfie, but look at the couple in the middle who are just enjoying the hell out of this moment.

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– take a photo in a Photomaton booth in the metro

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– go to a typical French café

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Ended up going to a bunch my last week.

Paris was good to me.  I did so much, but I still have so much to do the next time I’m there.  That’s why I love this city.

Bisous.