This past weekend I spent two days in “The City of Love”. Despite the extremely uncomfortable bus ride, and almost no sleep, I still had high hopes for the short holiday. Unfortunately, my hopes were about to be greatly disappointed.
I know, you’re probably thinking, “You’re in PARIS. How could it NOT be everything you were expecting?” And you would not be the only one in thinking this. Paris is a beautiful city, as long as you are looking up at the magnificent architecture on every corner. Look down where you are walking however, and you will realize that the streets, and even the very air you are breathing, is incredibly distasteful. If you’re lucky, you might even see a man peeing under a tree, as there is no law prohibiting it. The pouring rain, which rarely stopped during our stay, accented this environment even more.
Paris has a sense of aristocracy that I have yet to find in London. While London is very posh, but friendly and helpful for the most part, Paris is like that blonde girl in high school that you couldn’t stand because she always wore designer labels and looked down her nose at you. By Paris’s terms, I would be considered a peasant. My extremely rough and inelegant attempts to speak French and find my way around, was not appreciated or encouraged, despite the Parisians insistence not to speak English. While some may say that is just the “French pride” I consider it, quite frankly, just being an asshat. I won’t go into the countless stories I gained of both rude and very strange people, only that I have many to tell when I come back to the U.S. But, after all, that’s what this study abroad is all about: Stories.
In an effort not to completely hate on France, I found the Louvre and the food excellent. I could have spent all day in the Louvre and still have not seen everything, and the buildings had amazing statues and carvings, unparalleled to anything else I’ve seen. I’m sure that if one has the money, would could find plenty of things to do in Paris; the drawback is if you are poor, then there is nothing.
The bus ride home was a relief, and much more comfortable than the one going to Paris. Perhaps the journey there should have been my first clue. As I entered England, I immediately felt back at home; I am in love with the wide, green, rolling hills and the little farms and brick houses. When I stepped off the bus and into a taxi, the driver’s “Hello lovey”, felt like a hug. London has truly captured my heart.