Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 1

It is 2:45 in the morning here in Paris,  and as I write this post in my super lovely and super chic Parisian apartment, my 1st day here will come to a close.

I still can't believe it, I'm here...I'm in Paris!!!  I think the mixture of excitement and pure exhaustion is not really allowing me to understand the gravity of everything.  All in all getting here was smooth and I could not have asked for a better flight.  I was in traffic for almost 2 hours to get to Dulles airport and I was worried I would be running late. But as God would have it, I got there, checked my bags (sidenote: the really nice lady working allowed me to go over the limit without any extra fees) and went through security without any hiccups.  I flew with Iceland Air because it was the cheapest flight I could get, however the downside is that they don't serve food, you have to buy it, and it ain't cheap!

I arrived in Paris around 1:30pm and after I collected my bags to go out the exit, my host family was there waiting for me.  I got to meet Little G in the flesh.  He was very shy, which is normal when a tall-big-curly-haired-black-girl you've never met before, is suddenly your new caretaker.  We drove to the apartment and during the drive I got to see bits of St. Denis aka "Africa Central" since a crap ton of Africans live there.  My host family treated me to a nice lunch at an Italian restaurant, then helped me unpack and showed me around the neighborhood.  My exhaustion clouded my better judgement, so I didn't bring a camera with me but not to worry, many more pics of mon quartier are to come!

First Impression of Paris:
1.) Driving is NUTS here!  Traffic is so bad (especially around St. Denis) and people drive so close to each other that I can reach my hand out and slap the driver next to me!

2.) Don't believe all the hype, not every French woman is skinny.  I have mostly seen a variety of shapes around the "normal" frame.  Obviously France does not have a huge morbid obesity problem, but not every woman is stick thin.

3.) When the sun goes down, I will assume any random trail of "liquid" is piss.  There are random spots that smell like je DETESTE ça!

4.) Constantly hearing French will be a skill I will have to get used to.  Today I felt like I could only understand maybe 1 or 2 words during a conversation.  I will try to enroll in some cheap French classes.

5.) I love all of the open air markets that are available.  Everything looks super fresh!

6.) Elevators...what are those?

I ended my first day with a midnight visit to the Eiffel Tower, which gave me the opportunity to ride the metro fr the 1st time .  My friend went with me to the tower but I took the train back by myself.  When I first saw it, I started to cry, it is so beautiful and is a structure that epitomizes Paris, it is truly a dream come true to be able to see it.  And the light show? FANTASTIC!!  Here are some pics form tonight:


  1. Welcome to France TTTB!

    All the best


    P.S. The traffic is NUTS here... and those trails of liquid.. don't investigate too closely!

  2. I somehow found your blog through another one. I love reading people's stories of living abroad so I'll definitely be following! :)

  3. Congrats on making it there safely! Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time is definitely unforgettable (as is the second, third, fourth... etc. though I suppose living in Paris it might be a little less exciting after a while ;) ). Keep working at the French language and you'll get there! Working with a family has got to help.

  4. Wow, this is soooooo exciting! I loved all of your observations, especially about the elevators and the traffic. SO TRUE!

    And seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time? Ah, that's always such a big moment. Your pictures of it are fantastic -- and you look AMAZING in that last photo. You're glowing!

    You are going to have such an amazing year and I'm so excited to read about it! And your experience will be so unique; living with a French family, being an au pair, and also living in a neighborhood that's more african friendly. I know exactly which area of Paris you're talking about and I kind of wished I had more time to explore. (I definitely saw all the hair shops there and was like, 'I'm in heaven!')

  5. So excited for you, can't wait to

  6. Congratulations and welcome to Paris! Saint-Denis is a diverse and interesting area, and you're not far from Paris.

    The University of Paris Saint-Denis (Paris 8) is a good university if you have enough time between work, taking care of the children, exploring France, etc.

    I wish you the best on your adventure.

  7. Congrats on the move to France. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to hearing more about your adventures :)

  8. You're SO lucky!!! To have a room and a host family? I wish I had that, but I'm stuck with a hostel...I just hope it's not as bad as it sounds. I arrive in Paris at 1 pm on the 28th! And I'll probably stay the night before I go up Nord.

    Those pics look amazing! I agree with Erika, you are GLOWING girl! You look so happy :D I'm getting all fluttery thinking about how I will be there soon too!!! Can't wait to meet you in person! Good luck with the French, and I wouldn't want to invest in classes yet if I were you. It's your first day, that's who I felt in Jonquiere Quebec on my first day, it's gets easier every day ;) Give it at least 2 weeks before you seriously consider taking classes. Watch kids cartoons with the little G! heehee

  9. If I were you, I would just immerse myself in the language. Classrooms are essentially going to do the same thing, but you won't necessarily learn all of the slang! Maybe that's just me. Which arr. are you staying in? Have funnnn! :)