Bonjour à tous! I have been in Paris for just about two weeks now and haven’t had much time to breath, let alone write about my experience due to all the orientations, intensive French classes, homework, tours, and weekend soirées. But the time has finally come, and I have beaucoup of things to talk about!
I am living in Paris for this semester with a lovely French family who does not speak ANY English- pas un mot. When I first heard this, I thought to myself, this must be a mistake. They must speak at least some English. Nope. Needless to say, this language barrier has led to several instances of miscommunication, which have turned out to be quite comical.
On the morning that I arrived, my host sister asked me if I wanted to have breakfast. I wanted to respond by saying: “No, thank you. I ate on the plane so I am full.” Naturally, I directly translated this sentence into French, which was a mistake. The direct translation of “I am full” is “Je suis pleine.” Little did I know, that actually means “I am pregnant.” It does not mean that you are full with food, but rather full with a child. So, my first coherent sentence of my long-anticipated study abroad experience in Paris translated into: “No, thank you. I ate on the plane. I am pregnant.”
Sometimes, you just have to laugh at times like these. My host sister sure did.
After reflecting on the situation I am in, however, I have realized what a blessing it really is. It is challenging me in ways I have never been challenged before, which is one of the reasons I am so passionate about the idea of studying abroad. Although daunting in more ways than I can write, my experience in Paris thus far has forced me to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I think this is an invaluable lesson to learn.
In addition to getting to know my host family, I have spent the majority of my time this week in my intensive French class, doing homework at cafés, touring the Louvre, visiting La Sorbonne, trying to register for classes, and becoming a master of the Parisian metro system (no offense to the New York subway system or the Boston T, but the Parisian metro system is the best; it is SO efficient and easy, even for someone like me whose sense of direction is essentially non-existent). And, I might add, I have done all of these things while trying to look as chic as the Parisians do (I’m afraid this needs a bit more work though!).