let the Paris countdown begin

Today, as I was eating yogurt, I noticed that the expiration date on the Chobani container was September 12. At that moment, I realized that on September 12, I will be 3,624 miles away from my home walking the streets of Paris (maybe eating a nutella crepe? Or wearing a beret?…who knows). And even though I bought my plane tickets at the beginning of the summer and have been communicating with my host family, it hit me just today when I saw this expiration date that I am leaving soon. Really soon.

So I thought it would be an appropriate time to start making a list of the things I want to accomplish (besides the typical touristy activities) while I’m walking, talking, laughing, learning, writing, and eating my way through four months of study abroad in Paris.

Here’s what I have so far:

1. Engage in some good old fashioned Parisian people-watching while sitting at a café sipping some sort of hot beverage and eating a croissant
2. Lounge in the grassy area behind the Eiffel Tower and lose myself in a good book
3. Eating more nutella crepes than recommended
4. Walk through Paris at midnight in the rain (Midnight in Paris style)
5. See, taste, hear and feel Paris the way Ernest Hemingway did by visiting where he used to live with his wife, Hadley, as well as all his favorite cafés where he used to hang out with Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the whole crew of literary geniuses living in Paris during the 20’s
6. Go for a run along the Seine River and have a picnic there as well
7. Visit the house and garden of Claude Monet
8. Visiting Le Marché des Enfants Rouges (the oldest food market in Paris, built under the rule of Louis XIII around 1615)
9. Go to a wine tasting
10. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the top of the Arc de Triumphe, the top of the Notre Dame, the top of the pantheon, and the top of the Pompidou Centre
11. Get lost while exploring

And the inspiration for the last item on my bucket list was drived from this quote I read while flipping through the pages of Paris: The Collected Traveler- An Inspired Companion Guide (Edited by Barrie Kerper)

“Paris is a city that might well be spoken of in the plural, as the Greeks used to speak of Athens, for there are many Parises, and the tourists’ Paris is only superficially related to the Paris of the Parisians. The foreigner driving through Paris from one museum to another is quite oblivious to the presence of a world he brushes past without seeing. Until you have wasted time in a city, you cannot pretend to know it well. The soul of a big city is not to be grasped so easily; in order to make contact with it, you have to have been bored, you have to have suffered a bit in those places that contain it. Anyone can get hold of a guide and tick off all the monuments, but within the very confines of Paris there is another city as difficult of access as Timbuktu once was.”

-Julian Green, Paris

12. By the end of my time in Paris, I want to be able to say that I have lived as a Parisian. I want to be able to say that I have laughed, eaten, studied, strolled and experienced Paris the way the locals do. I want to be able to say that I made contact with the soul of this great city.


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