After a wonderful summer in Turkey and all over Europe, and then back in the US for several months of fall to visit friends and family and make some money, I have started what I like to call “The Great Europe Adventure, Round 2.”
As you all know, I spent my junior year abroad in Paris, studying at the Sorbonne and just generally living up the Parisian life. Now, I’m back. This time, however, I am jobless, homeless (but for the kindness of some lovely Brits whom I didn’t know two weeks ago), and somewhat aimless. This time, Paris seems far more cruel and inhospitable than it did last time; no one wants to house us, because we are foreigners and therefore don’t have all the million papers that French landlords like to have (I learned yesterday that this is because it is pretty much impossible to evict a renter in Paris, even if they don’t pay you for months, so it makes sense that they like to have all the assurances); no one wants to hire me, because I am American and not a student and therefore not staying for a long time (read between the lines here). Not to mention that it is also rainy and freezing, which started immediately upon my arrival, apparently. I believe a conspiracy may be at play here.
In spite of it all, however, Alfie (my intended future roommate/friend of Willa’s who also wanted to move to Paris and recent Oxford graduate) and I have found numerous things for which to be thankful (or, as we like to say “Parisians to be Thankful”).
First and foremost is peppermint hot chocolate. You laugh, we cringe, but Starbucks’ peppermint hot chocolate has long been one of my favorite things, and has honestly been a godsend during the last two weeks of our struggle (Alfie arrived two weeks before I, to begin searching, during which time I gallivanted around Oxford with James).
Second on the list (a very, very close second) is the wonderful contingent of friends we have found here who have literally saved our asses and our pocketbooks by letting us crash at their places since my third day here. These are all lovely Oxford kids on their years abroad, and I cannot say enough good things about them. They are quickly becoming good friends and partners-in-crime of ours, and I really can’t think of how to properly thank them for their generosity; without them, I would probably have had to go home to California by now, simply due to the drain of having to stay in hostels all the time.
Third comes the cheap bread. Who doesn’t love a good baguette? Alfie loves them more than most, though, and for the first week, I believe we probably consumed about 3 or 4 a day. We’ve cut back on that, fortunately, but he still gets at least one pain aux raisins daily. I am trying to be disciplined, with moderate success. It’s hard when you’re constantly being beaten down; amazing cheap food/bread products seem like such an acceptable way to console oneself.
So, armed with these three things, we are setting forth to conquer Paris in the coming months. If you have any suggestions, ideas, connections, or anything else that may help us out or enhance our experience, please let me know. In return, I will be regaling you once again with my tales of grandeur and la vie internationale, should you choose to listen.