Adjusting to a new city is a funny thing. I began as an extreme tourist, taking pictures wherever I went; I felt guilty when I stayed in my sister’s cozy apartment when it looked like a snow-pocalypse (special thanks to her for this term) outside; I’ve spent way too much money on yet another baguette, just because even at the most random of bakeries, it’s probably one of the best ones I’ve ever had.
A few weeks have gone by, and my life has become pretty much the same as it would be back home. Classes have started. I’m trying to eat like a human again instead of allowing myself way too much cheese and bread. And I’m getting back into a routine.
But there are those days – or even just moments – when it hits me: I’m in Paris. The guilt comes rushing back, and I have to go out and do something cultural! Well, yesterday was that day.
We went to the Rodin museum, which we are vowing to return to after the snow clears away from the supposedly fantastic garden.
We stumbled upon (literally, because of the sheets of ice that covered the snowy sidewalks) Invalides, a war museum that started as a hospital and living place for war veterans.
Then came Notre Dame. It is absolutely one of those places you can go to 25 times and have a different experience each day. The last time I went, it had just gotten dark. This time, the sun-touched stained glass meant something so much more. The building, itself, is art. But the art inside the museum makes it, in my opinion, the most beautiful building in Paris.
Lastly, we clung onto the railings of the Bateau Mouche in attempt to avoid getting hit with snowballs from bridge-crossers, afraid of consequently falling into the Seine. (I’m Madeline, but there was no Genevieve around to grab me from the icy currents. No way was I getting close to the edge.)
All in all, it was the perfect day to relieve me from any guilt I had that morning. As I sit here and debate which countries I have to visit over Spring Break (can I make it to my list of 12 European cities before the end of my time here- and money for that matter?!), I still get a feeling of amazement that I’m here.
I’m not meaning to brag about my European adventures. But it’s making me realize the beauties of studying abroad. When you’re a student, you have a “home” in the university abroad that you attend. You have people to go to to ask about health insurance and suggestions of bed bug-free hostels in neighboring countries. It gives you time to focus on getting all of the sight-seeing you can without worrying about the nitty-gritty. The opportunities are endless, and to have that stability is a comfort in the midst of what could be much more stress.
The rambling will now end, but the amazement and utmost blessed feeling will continue throughout my months in Europe. And if I ever get tired of Europe, all I have to do is look to the left while I’m on my bus on my way to school. All of my friends agree; a glimpse at the Eiffel Tower is the most grounding, reassuring picture.