Ten Years Ago…
… I was on a plane with my mother, flying to Paris where I’d be spending the next year studying at ESCP.
I can’t believe it was ten years ago.
The day after we landed, I had to set up a bank account, sign a lease, and set up my phone and other utilities. Yes, all in French.
At school, all of my classes save one were in French. A few classes had group projects and I got to feel that proverbial last-kid-picked-in-gym-class feeling when people (understandably) reached for other partners before engaging the wide-eyed foreigner.
Most of the time, I had no idea what I was doing.
I was making mistakes constantly. I was being corrected constantly (but nicely! My classmates would tell me not to worry about my French because my English was “so good.” There was a bit of a misunderstanding about my origins and many thought I was Dutch.)
“Oh, I’m American.” I would say.
“But you are so quiet!” they’d respond, unconvinced.
During my second semester, I started to feel Parisian. I bought bread daily and was even on the government dole (yay, Socialism!).
I’d learned not to take myself too seriously. I’d learned to slow down. I’d learned to love good food and to always follow dinner with coffee. I’d learned the location of the tiny store near the Hotel de Ville that sold phone cards at the best rates. I’d learned of the Ozzie bar where we could go for cheap drinks and English conversation.
I’d fallen completely in love with Paris.
Spending the whole year abroad seemed crazy at first. Looking back, it flew by. Paris holds such a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to share the city with Will.