Friday, 30 September 2016

My first month in Paris

@anapersinaru on insta

+ Paris, B.O. capital.
It might be the unusually hot weather or the stubbornness to transition to the fall wardrobe already but people stink of sweat here. There's at least one person on every street corner, in every shop or in your metro wagon and they really turn your stomach inside out - it's that bad. Hopefully the cold will freeze over the smell, we shall see. 
P.S - I can certify the smell has mostly gone by the end of September.

+ The French really are into sex. Specifically, the loud type and usually with windows wide open. I found out on a peaceful Tuesday evening when I was minding my own business and loud moans just echoed through the main courtyard where my window opens onto. Needless to say I took to snapchat to record the auditory ordeal I was going through, to the point where I was laughing so much I had tears in my eyes. It's now happened twice and I am praying for the autumn cold to set in so they close their damn windows.

+ Cèpes =  prized variety of mushrooms, used in French cuisine quite often and with a similar taste to Porcini mushrooms
 In my neverending quest of turning Parisian for 4 months, I bought a handfull of cèpes from my local market. At a student-budget-burning 35 euros per kilo, I payed 6 euros for my little paper bag and was already planning on using them the next day as a garnish for a polenta 'cake' thing. I was honestly looking forward to it so much and when I got home all I wanted to do was get dinner quicker on my plate. Lo and behold, no one told me not to keep cèpes sealed in a bag therefore in the 24h that they had resided in my fridge they managed to develop worms. Tiny tiny ones at that, that drilled little tunnels through the stems of my beloved and expensive mushrooms. I tried to tear the mushrooms appart and pick out the worm infested bits from the rest but I decided that it really wasn't a good idea to eat worms. Anyway, the mushrooms' country of origin wasn't even France, it was Romania.

+ Day 7 of my being alone in Paris. It was a hot sunny day, I had been on a tour of the Rodin Museum with my French class and then met up with Diana to walk around Paris. Since she's Erasmus unlike me, she got this activity calendar from her uni with events specially organised for Erasmus students to mingle and get to know eachother. Cue - awkward socialising! Anyway, there was an event on that evening at a brasserie type bar titled 'How to make friends' and I thought ok cool, let's go, maybe they'll have like a fun crashcourse and then we do speeddating type of a thing and then mingle? I don't know, when you're lonely and in a foreign country your judgement clearly suffers a bit. So we turn up, right? Bar is full, there are small outdoor tables where groups of 3 or 4 people are huddled around, everyone looks quite a bit older and they all speak pretty darn good french. The kind that uses 'mec' and other jargon quite freely and makes you think that it must be native. Long story short, it was a failed attempt so we got beers instead and sat by the Seine whilst the sun went down. On my way back home though, on the traditional route that goes past the Notre Dame and then the Hôtel de Ville, I passed an old man playing the accordion. I had seen him before, he was almost always there on the Pont d'Arcole, with a beard like Monet's, farmer denim overalls and a stare transfixed on the Parisian horizon stretching outwards towards the Louvre. His music though is hauntingly good, it's the classic accordion music we associate with this city, rhythmical and calm and I just had to mention him because he makes my evening every time I walk home. He is Paris. 

+ I can't speak for Tinder but ever since coming to Paris I have gotten ten times more random Facebook messages from Middle-Eastern guys who don't even live in Paris. Like, how did you even find me random Pakistani dude with his head photoshopped on a bodybuilder's torso?? And it's one thing pressing 'Ignore' on message requests and another to actually be approached in public. This used to happen quite often in Bucharest when I was younger (lol, because I'm an old hag now, clearly) so I've perfected my 'staring into the distance' avoidance tactic but nothing prepared me for what happened the other day. Basically, my friend was in a museum and I was waiting for her on the steps in front of the building, baking in the September sun and sweating my macarons off when I see this random middle-aged man veer towards me. 'Eh, he's probably lost or something' I thought. Wrong. He asks if he can sit next to me and since these were public stairs I was obliged to kinda nod in agreement. Commence, the 10 most awkward moments of my life!! He's asking me all these personal questions, tells me that he's from Georgia and that I should come visit and that he's love to get to know me while he's in Paris *crickets* I kid you not, all I did was look straight in front of me and kinda smile awkwardly and say 'Thank you but no'. It took him a good 2 minutes (!!) of complete silence to get up and get on with his day. 

+ Whatever cute summery outfits I plan for the day inevitably become a mistake as soon as I set foot in that bloomin' Rohan auditorium. I don't know if it's a conservation thing - for what, that beautiful concrete overhead? - or if they do it so we don't fall asleep in the dim 90 minute lectures but it is FREEEZING. To the point where I had to stop typing and put my hands under my thighs to warm them up because I was loosing sense in the tip of my fingers. The time it takes to warm back up again reminds me of that Attenborough documentary on the frogs that can freeze up completely and then defrost in spring... so glam.

+ However... I don't want to be an ungrateful little brat because I have to say I feel preeety smug walking around with my chic black and white 'ecole du louvre' bookbag and miss no occasion to flaunt my student card, the magical museum-fee-waivering device.


So, what have I learnt from my first month abroad is:

a) it takes time to make friends, especially if you live alone and not in a campus and that's ok
- don't be fooled by social media posts of your other friends, we're all lonely at some point ok? - 
b) be prepared to spend a lot of 'me-time' (which can also be a nice change to be fair)
c) food is soo overpriced in Paris. Finding cheap restaurants and meal deals becomes a part-time job.
d) there's a league of 'Angry motorbike riders' that likes to host parades in their hundreds and honk in central Paris for about 20 minutes straight
c) don't underestimate the power of Franglais 

1 comment:

  1. Just had a stalk of your blog and I love it, you're such a funny writer! Looking forward to reading the rest of your Parisien adventure :)


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