As I nervously stepped onto the plane, I had no idea what to expect. I was anxious and nervous. I worried about silly things like how I was going to manage to get my 70lb bag to my apartment, and not so silly things like what would happen if for some reason they didn’t allow my 17 bottles of insulin medication through customs. But once I arrived, everything just seemed to fall into place.
My apartment is a cozy studio apartment close to school. It can be a little lonely, but in many ways it is absolutely perfect! I wasn’t expecting a single studio apartment, but I was very welcome to the idea after living in a similar apartment in Colorado. It has everything I need, and a beautiful little balcony overlooking a courtyard and Parisian apartments. The key is strangest thing I’ve ever seen. I love it. Plus, it is just a quick walk down the street to all my classes. I was welcomed into the apartment with some pastries and fresh fruit form the market. I’ve made it a custom to keep these items around start every day with. Then, every night before I got to bed I am reminded of the dream I’m living, I cannot see Tour de Eiffel, but I can see the spotlight flashing across the sky.
After passing out from what felt like a coma, I felt very welcomed by the President of the academy, Peter, who invited me to a fashion show with some other students. Little did I know, it was men’s fashion week in Paris. Peter was very nice and escorted me to the first show. On our way he gave me a quick tour of some of Paris’s many monuments. In that 5 minute cab ride I saw: Tour de Eiffel, Arc de Triomphe, Rodin’s Thinker, Pont Alexandre III, the President’s Palace, and countless others. I met some students from Delaware that were studying for just a month at PAA for their winter break. It was nice to meet friends so quickly. Oh! And on our way from one show to the next, I turn around and stumble upon the Louvre Pyramid.
Everywhere I turn there is something beautiful to see. With so much to do and see, I wasn’t expecting Paris to be so wonderfully small. After the fashion shows, Peter took us all out for a glass of champagne – a perfect ending to a whirlwind of a first day. I have been here for a week, and already I have said to myself multiple times “this is the best tasting food I have ever eaten!” The boulangeries and patisseries (bakeries and bakeries specializing in pastries, respectively) are often my sinful indulgence.
The colors and smells and flavors are incredible. Luckily my diabetes has been well under control, and I have been able to try everything. But I don’t know how these Parisians stay so thin, because it is not uncommon to see the locals running around munching on a baguette, or taking a few home. Maybe it is all the walking? Bread is also served at any restaurant. I went to a Cuban place with my new Delaware friend and was surprised to get some slices of French bread with my Cuban pollo – but, hey, I wasn’t complaining!
I have been spending my free time just wandering aimlessly. The beauty in everything is astounding. All of the architecture is enchanting. It is prominent, sophisticated, and proud. I am anxious and excited to be more acclimated and comfortable with this beautiful experience I have been given.
Michael is a student at Colorado State University studying at Paris American Academy during the Spring 2014 term.