Moving In

Officially into my dorm! My mom left earlier this morning and even though we have unpacked at my dorm and all I stayed with her in the hotel these past few days. I thoroughly enjoyed her being here and was such a huge help, especially after surgery and all. It was pretty emotional the past 24 hours though, knowing I would be going so long without hanging out and seeing her. For the past 2 months I lived with her up until I left because my lease was up so we got to do everything together. I am officially off on my own now, 4700 miles from home. Bittersweet to say the least. I experience a wide range of feelings from happy to even sad, nervous and beyond. In a lot of ways even though I am 23 I still have those times where I just do not want to grow up am I right? The best things in life are not easy though and it is always worth it.

For the most part I have everything in my room set up and it feels quite a bit more like home but still have some more to get as well. I basically have a bed, a desk, nightstand, lamp, phone, Internet cable, small closet, small fridge, bathroom and shelves. This is all in a cement room from floor to ceiling and a huge window on one wall. The only part is that I am backed up to a busy street so I would not want to have my window open at night for fresh air because it is a little too loud. Tonight I hung with some of the friends I have met in the Cambodge House and we talked for a few hours. Earlier this evening we all went to church and that was an experience! Actually reminded me a lot of the churches I have been to in Kansas because it was very musical and almost rock-like. Surprisingly most of it was in English so I was not expecting that! Went to dinner with a friend and came back to the dorm. Now it is around midnight, the Super Bowl just started and I am missing it! Not the same not being in America but I will definitely be keeping tabs on it. Since my team is out I am going for the Broncos! Hope all my fellow Americans back home enjoy the evening and just be safe πŸ™‚

Tomorrow I have quite the list of things to do. First things first, open a bank account. Once I have done this I can get a sim card for my cell phone and have International service. I must say that will definitely come in handy seeing as how right now the people I meet we are all just massively messaging each other on Facebook and not having WiFi puts a damper on that as well. I also need to get a Navigo pass which is a monthly pass for the trains and metros, since you literally ride that a few times a day that will be useful. Probably need to finish my paperwork for school tonight or tomorrow, not sure when that will happen because there are just so many requirements! Grocery store is also on the list for tomorrow so I can make some dinners here and have snacks in my dorm. Big thank you to my dad for shipping my French birth certificate when it came after I left! Now I can apply for a housing subsidy and hope for some money back for living expenses, Paris is pretty pricey!

A couple more things I have learned that is different over here, get used to me sharing this because I learn something new everyday lol.

Coke is served with a lemon
Most cars are electric here and they actually shut off when stopped at the stop light
On Sundays taxis are 20% more expensive
Sundays you also get in free to museums, me being Erasmus I always get in free
The grading system here is 0-20 if you get 10-20 you pass and >10 is fail

All the extra tips I could think of for now, just a little update on the life in Paris!

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Mom and I at Arc de Triomphe yesterday πŸ™‚

Talk to you soon
Kels

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Life in Paris

Thus far… Spent the last couple of days in Orientation for school, I start on Monday. Also been getting acquainted with all the other ERASMUS students, well not all because there are about 200 of us at this school. ERASMUS is just another word for exchange student basically. Today we did a tour of the Seine River, it was freezing but a bunch of fun! I met another American, makes me feel for at home but everyone is seriously awesome. Each day I am surrounded by people from literally ALL over the country. I have met Brazilians, Mexican, Korean, Sweden, Finland, England, Czech, Chinese, Canadian, German, Austrian, and so much more. It is crazy to have conversations with everyone and just talk to them about their home life and get to know them. Having never been out of America I honestly know more of how big and small the world really is. I am just so lucky to be able to have this opportunity, my life is forever changed.

So I thought it might be fun to kind of list some things that I personally have experienced in the few short days I have been here. Definitely a totally different lifestyle then America. I absolutely love it so far and I find it so fascinating that there is so much that is different and getting to experience all of this keeps things very very interesting πŸ™‚ Remember this is just from my perspective though!

-It is true, ice is not served with drinks
-In order to get around you either walk everywhere or take the train (metro and RER) and on the trains to get to one place you usually switch trains more than once
-Motorcycles, gopeds, mopeds and all of the above own the streets here (pretty much no “illegal” traffic laws here)
-everyone wears scarves and I mean everyone
-there is no iced tea here just hot tea (I will greatly miss my favorite American drink)
-never be in a hurry to eat and run because eating is a social outing, the servers do not work for you
-businesses usually take from 1pm to 3pm for lunch everyday
-work days typically start around 10pm and last til 6pm or 7pm
-servers are paid good so tipping is not necessary
-Parisians drink wine at every meal
-Bread is offered everywhere
-French meats are a lot different than American meats, coming from meat country that is difficult
-Everything is a la carte
-It is true, Paris is huge but everything is small, even restaurants and stores
-It typically is cloudy during winter so it is a pleasure to see the sun
-A lot of bars and clubs are open until 5am or even 8am (going to have to get used to that)
-You can drink on the streets
-Almost all Parisians smoke
-Most people do speak at least a little English, I try to speak French to start so I can at least practice but they can spot the accent and usually respond English
-French is such a beautiful language, I hope one day to be able to speak fluently
-It is really a challenge to go off of a paper map, I am good with directions and got lost multiple times already (WHICH WAY IS NORTH DAMN IT lol)

I am sure that will be an ever changing list but just to give you a little taste of Paris for those of you who have not been here! My mom is still here until Sunday and tonight we spent this evening at the Eiffel Tower for dinner. What a beautiful beautiful place πŸ™‚

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More to come later on this weekend! Bon weekend πŸ™‚

Kels

Day 1 in the books

Mom and I have now been up for well over 24 hours so it is an early bedtime tonight but not before I share the adventures! The flights to Paris were really good. The 8 hour flight was a drag because I did not sleep a peep, too excited and anxious but I watched some good movies, thank you Delta for the free OnDemand! After sitting that long my butt hurt really bad too so that was some of it, I now have a flat a#$ (sorry grandma and grandpa) ha just kidding guys like that would happen. We arrived in Paris around 8:15am which would be about 1:15am Central US time. That part was pretty uneventful except for the awesome bathrooms they have!

We decided to take a taxi to the hotel, since I cannot lift anything and we had 5 bags, including my mom’s bags people, it was just easier on us. It did take an hour to get there but traffic was not that great, I assume people heading to work and all that early. Checked in smoothly, I have decided my all time most used phrase is “parlez-vous anglais?” That means do you speak English. Usually I got a “Oui” which is yes or “un peu” which is a little so that made things easier. I am definitely here to learn French and discover the culture but today with no sleep and this huge new place 4700 miles from home, I was a little intimidated. However my French did improve this evening since our server did not speak much English so that was fun! My mom cannot seem to make the switch from English to French she was saying “Excuse me, please, thank you and sorry” all day HAHAH! We got such a kick out of that and lots of laughter πŸ™‚ I will tell you it is hard to make that switch in language though.

People always told us even though you will be tired from the jet lag the first few days try and stay up. Well that was a fail. We checked in around 10am and were sleeping by 10:30 BUT we woke up 2 hours later so it was just a nice mid morning nap and honestly that has kept me running all day. Hungry, we went in search for restaurants around the hotel. Found one a couple blocks down that intrigued us so we went inside and just people watched, ate of course too! By the way the most exciting part is this

20140129-212226.jpg this is the view from our hotel room! How magnifique!!!!

We came back to the room and decided to go check in to my dormitory and take my bags there. That was a hassle! When we arrived to CitΓ© Universitaire we had to walk through out the campus and find it. After we found Maison du Cambodge (Cambodia house) we got checked in and headed off to my room, or so we thought. Could not find my room, come to find out there is a “secret” hallway, not really I was just had not gone that far to check. Well we then tried opening my door and I swear it was dummy proof and we could not even get it! So once again I headed back downstairs to tell them something was wrong with my door. Turns out something was wrong with my key so phew I can read directions! We got in finally and let me just tell you, I bet my room altogether is as big as my bedroom when I had an apartment lol. Trust me I was expecting small but I got XXS. No actually it is just fine! Mom and I started unpacking and got things situated to help give it that homey touch and it is great! I forgot to take pictures so I will upload that later this weekend. By the time we got all of this done, travel time take up a lot of the day here, we decided to take the train back to the hotel because my hotel is close to school so I wanted to get familiar with how I would be transporting daily. If anyone has been to New York you know how confusing the train system can be. Well we are in Europe now and trains are on steroids, they are everywhere. That took some time to figure out but now that we have done it I think it will be a lot easier.

Today was like an initiation I feel like lol. I cannot quite wrap my head around this new reality of mine. I assume with time that will sink in. Tonight we went to a lovely, small Italian restaurant across the street from our hotel. Let me just say I am a pizza fanatic and this trumped anything I have ever ate! My mom ordered a bolognese and that was amazing as well. For dessert we had tiramisu of course!

20140129-222823.jpg BEST PIZZA EVER

20140129-223021.jpg And for DESSERT πŸ™‚ mmm mmm

Tomorrow I will update on things I have learned about France that is completely opposite from the US. Might read some interesting things let me tell you lol. Catch you on the flip side! Orientation for school starts tomorrow.

Kels