Paris is a city for the senses, and it has awakened mine in so many ways. When I first arrived in Paris, in the summer of 2008, I spent the summer running around the city, exploring (I thought) everywhere, tasting (I thought) everything, meeting wonderful people, immersing myself in the daily rhythm of the city. When I went back in the summer of 2009, I saw many more places, tasted many more things, met many more people, and felt a little more part of things. When I go back next year to write my dissertation, I hope to find that I’ve only scratched the surface of everything that the city has to offer, and to continue to find my place in it.
Paris is by no means perfect. But it’s a pretty wonderful place to spend months (and, with any luck, years). My experiences there have penetrated my daily ways of life in many ways, from my complete snobbery in all matters baguette and cheese and pastry, to my appreciation of how smoothly American systems work compared to French ones, to a more balanced understanding of my own culture and cultural context.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. Bon appetit!