Sunday, January 30, 2011

1st day in Paris!

All good things come with time, says my father. I guess that's true in this case. After about a 27 hour delay on my flight from Newark, I finally arrived in Paris! At Newark, I met up with four other kids from my program - so at least I wan't alone living in the airport for 2 days. Our flight Wednesday night was delayed 6 hours because of plane traffic, then a power outage, then snow and after midnight the airport was shut down altogether. So we slept at the airport and finally got booked on the same flight we were supposed to take but on the next night, which got delayed again because of plane traffic, but finally took off. We were beginning to call our adventures "Study Abroad: Newark." In the meantime we did meet a lot of really nice French people waiting to fly home. We got some tips of places to go in Paris, practiced our French and realized that the French know a lot more about American government and pop culture than we do.

So after not really sleeping for two days and being penned up in an airport, arriving in Paris was like arriving in paradise. Our little group split up as we are staying in different dorms around the city. I took a taxi with another girl to my dorm, Foyer Didot. The foyer is in a cute, somewhat lively neighborhood somewhere between Montparnasse and rue Alesia. My room is like a typical American dorm room except that I have my own bathroom and there's a lovely view of a park in the square next to my building. From my friend Vanessa's room, on the other side of the building, there's a view of the Eiffel Tower!
View from my window!
After dropping off our luggage, we set out to meet up with the rest of our group. Unsuccessful at finding them or contacting our program director, we did a bit of our own exploring. We went to le Jardin du Luxembourg.  Then crossed over the seine to Île de la Cité and saw the Notre Dame cathedral. Then we walked along the Seine on the right bank and walked around by the Louvre. Tired and freezing, we started to head back to the dorm. We stopped for some chocolat chaud in the St Germain-des-Pres area, found our way to the metro and then came home. Some pictures from our adventures:

Fountain in le jardin du Luxembourg
Le Palais du Luxembourg
Le Jardin du Luxembourg

With Vanessa in front of Notre Dame

So French!
View of Ile St Louis
At the Louvre

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Le début

A few months ago, Cornell welcomed Frank Warren of PostSecret to campus to give a presentation. If you’ve never seen it before, the site is a collaboration of postcards revealing secrets anonymously submitted by readers worldwide.  Somewhat of an art project, a creative and emotional outlet, the blog is enormously popular and the Cornell event was sold-out. The site is updated each Sunday with a new set of a dozen or so secrets. I frequently find myself crawling out of bed Sunday morning, only to return right back to bed, laptop in hand, groggily checking for the new post. Having followed the blog for a few years now, I was psyched when Frank came to talk at Cornell. After the presentation Frank sent a message to all of the attendees, linking them to an archive of postcard secrets, previously unpublished elsewhere. In the midst of this archive, I found the following “secret.” I read the words on the card, stared at the map in the background and found that someone else’s secret was the same as my very own. “I have no clue where my life is going…but I can’t wait!”
A secret scribbled on a map of Paris
While I have no clue where my life is going, I do know where I am going next: Paris. Soon I will be off to Paris, spending my Spring semester studying at the Cours de Civilisation Française de la Sorbonne through a program with SUNY Oswego. I was drawn to Paris by its richness of culture, good food and a chance to improve my French. I looked at programs in other countries and found myself scanning maps of Europe determining how far each city was from Paris, which would definitely be on my list of places to visit. At the stroke of the P key in the google maps’ search field, Paris would automatically fill-in due to frequency and repetition of searches. I had the realization that instead of merely visiting the city as a tourist I could, in fact, live and study there for the semester! And so off I will go to Paris, the city of love and lights.