Lately, I've been getting some complaints that my blog is boring (Angelica). To remedy this, I've finally found time to breathe between inhaling flaky pastries to write a blog post for you all. How generous of me, I know. :-)
So far, Paris has really blown me out of the water. Last time I was here, for 3 days as a sixteen year old, I came, I saw the monuments, and I left with photo-perfect memories. Living here is another animal entirely. It's soooo different, like...a real city? Who would have thunk it?
I am absolutely amazed at how many young people are out and about...all the time. Day or night, there are huge groups of kids, in high school, or college-aged just loitering about, hanging by the Seine, or on bridges, or on street corners. Sometimes there is alcohol, sometimes not. My friend Justine says that this is partly because Parisian youth have lots of money and little supervision by workaholic parents, which make sense. I suppose rich American teens do the same thing, but inside family homes, since the police wouldn't look kindly on large public congregations of young people or underage drinking.
Paris also seems much more diverse to me than it did four years ago. Maybe this isn't statistically true, but since I'm actually living here, I have noticed all the ethnic minorities and their integration (or not, regrettably) into Paris, instead of monuments and palaces. It is interesting that some non-native French are considered completely assimilated, but others are not. Recent European immigrants or 3rd generation Black French do not seem to face the same difficulties as Arab immigrants, for example. All citizens are supposed to be considered French, and that's all, no hyphenated labels here (statistics on ethnic origin are not kept by the French Republic). But just because race and religion are officially ignored by the state, doesn't mean ethnic and religious prejudice doesn't exist. Whether the struggle of ethnic minorities in the suburbs is a class issue or a race issue, it's still a major problem in France.
But not all of Parisian life is troubling. Hardly. Trust me, this is coming from someone who just had dinner in the Latin Quarter, and then just swung by the Louvre for a few hours for FREE. I am just blown away and thankful that I am able to do such amazing things. In the past few days, I've ordered my first cocktail (a mojito, and just 1. Mojitos are very trendy in Paris, btdubs.), visited the most AMAZING department store (Le Bon Marché) that I've ever seen. I've visited the first of the trifecta of Parisian burial places, De Passy (Manet, DeBussy, Fauré). Pere La Chaise (Wilde, Morrison, Piaf, Chopin, Delacroix, Callas, Proust) and the Pantheon (Voltaire, Hugo, Curie, Monnet, Dumas), I'm coming for you. I've sat on café terraces or park benches with views of the Eiffel Tower, reading for class and sipping café crème, so happy to be in the most beautiful city in the world. Life is pretty good, here and now. I like it. Classes are great, and I love Sciences Po already. I'd like to branch out somewhat from our Northwestern-English bubble, though there are so many amazing people in my program! Justine has offered to invite me to meet her friends, who go to another grande école in Paris. I'm also considering where to go for Toussaint, a long break I have from school at the end of October. If you have any suggestions, let me know! Or if you know any good Parisian jazz clubs.
And as Blair Waldorf says, you can't let anything prevent you from jumping into the belly of the beast, which is Paris. Gossip Girl premieres tonight, I'm a little excited.
Also, there are new photos below. I'm not a photographer, I'm sorry, and I don't take many, but hopefully you can get some idea of what I'm up to.