Monday, August 31, 2009

from NC to Paris

When you first get to Paris, it's surprisingly easy to forget or not truly realize in the first place that you're really in a new city, in a new country, on a completely different continent. When I was taking le Car Airfrance from the airport, I kept falling back into the idea that I was just on my way to someplace kinda new but not astonishingly so. It was like I was just going to Boston or NYC–definitely different and great places to be, but still the same country, with the same language, etc.

But after you see all the curvy streets and smart cars and signs in French and beautiful old buildings, it finally starts to hit you. And it's fantastic. The average bakery is in a building more intricate and beautiful than most of our historic monuments. And there are French monuments everywhere! But people just hang out there, reading their books, making phone calls, jogging––there were tons of joggers when I visited the Château Marly with my host family (who only went there to walk their dog).

It's just a completely different standard, but it's an upgrade.

As an example, here's a picture of some people just playing with their children in a square next to one of the oldest churches in Paris, the church of Saint-Germain-des-Près:

It's simply mind-blowing that there are millions of people that get to live in a city like this for their entire lives. And I don't say that to suggest that they don't appreciate it––they do––but because there's just no place like Paris in the US. We certainly have out own enviable monuments and buildings, but they're beautiful in a way that's not more than 220 years old or so. Coming here has completely changed my perspective on the foundations of a country and its culture, and I've only been here for three full days!

À bientôt,

Ramsay Leimenstoll
Parsons House
Comp. Lit./Jewish Studies

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