Paris, je t’aime…

Paris is everything I could want, and more. It’s not the same city it was four years ago, but neither am I the same person I was then; it’s okay, though, because we’ve both grown in good ways, and we still complement one another very well.

I have to go to bed momentarily, to get a good night’s sleep for our first meeting in Paris about classes, but I’ll cover the highlights of this weekend.

I’m absolutely in love with my host family. Seriously. They’re the most wonderful people ever. And, by the way, I am Katherine or Katie mostly for the next year, because my host sister Solène has a friend named Kate, and Patricia never says it right, so the girls make fun of her, so she’s not even going to risk it with me. Which is fine with me, because I think Katherine sounds so much prettier in French than it does in English. More graceful.

I am in love with my host sisters too. I’m just going to start calling them my sisters – which is really fun to say, by the way, because it makes me feel like I come from a big family – because it’s easier, and they treat me like a member of the family anyway. Anyway, they’re super cool, and Rachel Ryan, I don’t know if you’re reading, but my sister Virginie, who’s also 22, reminds me a lot of you, so if you come visit, you’re going to have to meet and hang out. :-D And Solène speaks the most English of them, and can do the best American accent when we try to figure out if we know the proper names of things; she’s also the most excited and outgoing, always asking me to do stuff, so I’m really going to miss her when she leaves next week for school. Caro (Caroline), the oldest sister, just got back from vacation in Tunisia this morning, and took me out with her and her friends for aperatifs and dinner tonight, and it was seriously one of the most fun nights ever! I can’t even begin to explain. It took a little while, but pretty soon I just got to the point where I was just absorbing and responding and again they were always surprised when I followed, and it was super fun.

If anyone ever tells you that the French don’t eat a lot – especially the women – don’t believe them. It’s not true. I feel like I eat less than most of them, and I feel perpetually stuffed! But the food’s so good…

Hanging out with SBC people the last few days has been really fun too. I’ve made new friends! Because my friend Liz lives in my building too, so we hang out lots now, but we weren’t really in the same friend-group before, so I’ve spent a lot of time the last two days with her friends Jake and Emily, who are now my good friends. Emily and I have decided we were destined to become friends because she’s from Arlington, but was born in San Francisco, and, well, my connections to that are obvious. We have other ones too, but those are the most important for now. haha

Yesterday, Liz and I decided to explore and wander down to the river, where we met up with Emily and Jake at Notre Dame. The most exciting part of our venture was when we were walking down this boulevard and we see a few women standing outside funky clothing and makeup shops, and we’re like, huh, maybe they try to get people to come inside. And then we realize they’re really scantily clad and heavily made-up, and they’re like every hundred feet! We really wanted to document the experience photographically, but we were afraid to take our chances with the French prostitutes, since none had yet accosted us. We passed through unmolested, but it’s made for a great story ever since. What did you do on your first day in Paris…?

After we met up with Em and Jake, we wandered over to the vrai Berthillon for some fabulous ice cream, and then sat down at the end of the Ile St-Louis and hung out and felt vaguely like we belong here.

Later, met up with Alex, Laura, and Nick for dinner, but not before we wandered for a while. You guys, I have found my new favorite place on earth. Seriously, it rivals the Louvre. Shakespeare & Co. I am in love. I can’t begin to explain it, so I won’t try, but just know that it is booklover heaven.

Today, Em, Jake, Liz, and I went to see Little Miss Sunshine – which was hilarious and sad and endearing, by the way – and then we wandered over to the Tour Eiffel to hang out and take crazy pics and eat cookies and chocolate, grâce à Jake. And then back to the apartment to meet Caro to go out with her and friends.

Every night, Solène, Nini (Virginie), and I watch a few episodes of Friends. Yes, in English, with French subtitles, and Humbert (my host dad) gives us all a hard time, because I need to be learning French. But I promise him that I’m reading the subtitles, so it’s okay.

And now, to bed. Je vous aime!

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