First Days in Paris

French Word of the Day: Arrondissement (air-on-dees-mon)- the 20 administrative districts of, each referred to by its number

I made it to Paris two days ago, but I only learned the password for the internet last night.  I spent roughly 9 hours flying, and 14 traveling altogether.  We were stuck on the runway for an hour in London because of the strike.  I barely slept, so my first day in Paris was spent sleeping.  Thankfully, Arnaud was there to help me carry my bags (and by help, I mean do it for me).  And Théo made me dinner, so nothing was very stressful.

I found out why they stole my aisle seat!  The strikes were because of the pensions everyone in France receives after a certain age.  I believe the age was 60, but they moved it to 62.  Everyone in France was protesting.  (To quote Théo, “I don’t know why they’re so upset because everyone is living longer.  It’s only two years.”)  They called it “Strike Day.”  Do I know how to time my arrival or what?

I’m getting better at French!  I understand everyone much better- either that or they’re speaking slower.  I know Théo is “dumbing down” his French (he said as much), but I did the same with English for awhile for his benefit, so that works for me.  I managed to hold a real conversation with his father (who speaks very little English) the first night I arrived.  It slowly regressed as I got more and more tired until I finally gave up and said, “I’ll tell you in a few months when I can explain it better” and proceeded to basically fall asleep at the table.

Despite that, he said my French had greatly improved since January.

I finally received my address for the next year.  It’s in the 9th Arrondissment.  That’s the Opéra Garnier one!  (The Phantom of the Opera opera house, for all those unaware.)  It’s just one neighborhood over from where I lived last time.  The description they gave me was more flowery than informative, so I just know I’ll be in a GREAT NEIGHBORHOOD!  WITH CULTURE ALL OVER THE PLACE!  THE BUILDING IS OLD, BUT IT’S BEEN RENOVATED TO BE HIP AND MODERN!  Are there kitchens?  Do I have my own room?  Will they be giving me food?  Do I have a curfew?  These are details that apparently are less important to know.

It’s only going to take me a half hour to get to school and I won’t have to change metro lines!  (I took 3 different lines last time, it took me 45-50 minutes.)  I’m very pleased about that.  Although, I oddly suspect it should have taken me less time…

Well, gotta go do some yoga and then explore Paris with one of the girls from the program.  I said I’d go with her around Paris because she’s a lot a bit nervous.  I’m taking her to the infamous Afterwork tonight (open bar for two hours).  She’s uber excited.

Pain au chocolat count: 1


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