Thursday, October 4, 2018

My Tiny Corner of Paris

WOW I can't believe I've been here for over a week already! But also, it feels like I've been here for so much longer. I've been meaning to get on here and update everyone, because I've been getting so many questions via Instagram about where I'm staying and what it's like so far! Plus, last time I was living abroad, I found that keeping my blog was a really great way to document the year and keep track of all the ups and downs and twists and turns! It's always fun looking back on those posts to see how I felt at any given time. Of course, I was also 18 years old at the time, so that makes a big difference, too! It's kind of like looking back through your diaries. There are some things you remember so vividly, others you'd forgotten entirely, and still others that you can't believe were such a big deal at the time. Regardless, it's cool to look back though your own eyes, but at a different stage of your life.




ANYWAY. I arrived in Paris last Tuesday, so I've been here about 9 days. I'm living just west of the actual city of Paris in a town called Neuilly-Sur-Seine. Even though I'm not *technically* in Paris proper, I'm so close I might as well be! It only takes me about fifteen minutes to walk to the Arc de Triomphe, which is at the end of the famed Champs Elysées. From there, the entire city is at my fingertips! Every morning, when I walk to the train, I can see the top portion of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. It's absolutely unreal. Sometimes I feel like I'm floating in a dream, like this can't possibly be real life. But it is and I'm here and it's amazing!





So. Neuilly. It's a really lovely town, and pretty much an extension of Paris. The buildings are all that beautiful, old, classically French architecture. You know, the kind you see in those mass produced prints that you can buy at HomeGoods and Target. Except here, it isn't mass produced, and it's real life! This town has some hustle and bustle, but still feels homey and suburban, to an extent. There are kids rolling along on their skateboards or scooters up and down the sidewalks, lots of little shops selling houseplants or antiques or produce, and plenty of cafes and restaurants. One thing is for sure: the people here have money. You can feel it just walking down the streets and looking up at the residential buildings. Then you see the massive, beautiful schools and there's no doubt. Plus, any time I tell anyone where I'm living, the first thing they always say is "Wow, you're so lucky! That's where the rich people live!" It's true, I do feel very lucky to be here!




A lot of people ask me if the program is providing our housing. Unfortunately not, so we are each responsible for finding our own accommodations for the year. Again, I definitely lucked out. I found my housing before even arriving in Paris, which I suppose is pretty uncommon. I have an arrangement with a family here in Neuilly, where I am essentially nannying for them in exchange for my apartment, which is just three floors above theirs! It's a tiny little studio, but it's so charming and has everything I need, along with a stellar view! I recently found out that these small spaces on the top floors of buildings like this were probably maids' quarters way back when the buildings were constructed. Mine does have it's own bathroom and a little kitchen, complete with a small fridge, microwave and hotplate. It's super simple, but I absolutely love it!




The family is just wonderful. The two parents and three children are all so kind and very welcoming! In the afternoons, I go and pick the youngest one up from school, help her with her homework, and accompany her to her theatre and dance classes (a girl after my own heart!). I speak English with them, so that they can practice and improve their speaking skills. Sometimes I have meals with all of them, which is always a treat! While I am so happy to become a sort of part of the family, it's really nice to be able to have my own space, as well. I had host families when I was an exchange student, and at 26 years old, I am so glad to be able to be autonomous while living in Paris!




Sometimes I really can't believe I'm here. I am so happy to be in Paris, living out this crazy dream. I've fallen in love with this city a couple times before, and I have a feeling I'm about to do it all over again. I am so grateful God brought me here and has had my back as I adjust and settle in. He really is so good! Well, I have so much more to tell you all and I will be writing again soon! Have you lived abroad before? How did it feel at first?

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