I have now officially lived in Paris for one whole month! Throughout the time I’ve lived here thus far, I have gradually adapted to the Parisian lifestyle. For starters, the apartments and living spaces are much smaller and more compact compared to American homes. One thing that I found myself struggling with at the beginning was doing laundry. A typical Parisian home only has a washer, no dryer. Aside from that, the washer cycle takes at least THREE WHOLE HOURS. Doing laundry is a serious production here, after waiting for the completion of the wash cycle, which feels like forever, all of the clothing needs to be hung on a drying rack. But since that is the extent of my concerns, I honestly cannot complain!
Each day as I walk around Paris, take the metro, or just sit at a café, I notice new distinct aspects of the people and my surroundings. For instance, Parisians dress extremely conservative compared to Americans. Black is the color of choice. If you want to blend in with the Parisians, I would definitely recommend wearing darker shades of color. Of course, that is a general statement, but I find that Americans dress way more causal than Europeans. During a night out at a club, girls my age in the U.S. would be seen wearing skin-tight mini dresses, whereas Parisian women are always dressed with class, typically wearing an outfit with either stockings or skinny jeans, and a blazer.
A huge differentiation between the two countries, which every college kid is highly fond of, is the lower drinking age. In France, and most countries in Europe, the drinking age is 18 in comparison to the drinking age in the U.S. being 21. I can walk into any bar or club here, in Paris, and not be carded. This is a great perk, because it is very typical of Parisians to enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner. As far as the party scene, the residents of Paris do not get quite as rowdy as Americans. Yes, they like to have a fun time, but Parisians always depict a sense of composure and poise no matter where they are.
In my opinion, Paris is a city that has just about everything going for itself, from the gorgeous monuments, to the delectable dining options, along with the simplicity of public transportation, and endless quarters to explore. I could never find myself bored here because no matter where I go I discover and learn something new about this fabulous culture. I can slowly see myself evolving into a Parisian more and more each day. Although I am American at heart, it’s satisfying to know that I do not stick out like a tourist in this foreign country, even though I do have an unreal obsession with baguettes! And the journey continues….
Sina is a current student at University of Tampa studying at American University of Paris during the Fall 2014 term.