June 9th, 2008
Are you ready for how disgusting my life is?
Two nights ago, I spent the evening eating crepes and gazing upon the sparkling Eiffel Tower with two of the most beautiful girls in France. The next morning, I wandered the rooms and corridors of the Palace of Versailles, former home of the ostentatious and luxurious King Louis XIV. Soon after that, I had lunch, which consisted of my favorite food in the entire world, Crème Brulee, at a quaint but classy café in Paris, followed by a short tour of the Louvre, where I introduced myself to Mona and Venus, informing them that I would be back before summer’s end to spend more time with them. From here, we trekked the famous Champs Elysees stopping at the fancy designer stores (our favorite was Louis Vuitton) and concluded at the Arc de Triomphe. Envisioned in my head was this perfect bag- spacious, malleable and yellow- and promised myself if I found something resembling this satchel in my head, that I would have to buy it. Much to my surprise, while walking past the Promod (which is not yet in the U.S.) on Champs Elysees, I saw this bag hanging in the back display. Curious, I inquired about the price, convinced myself to get it. Receiving more change than I was anticipating after purchasing, in broken French I tried to explain to her that the purse cost more. She shook her head and informed me that it was half off. There were no signs (I could have definitely translated that bit of information) but you can imagine my elation. A renewed sense of energy abounded, and I could not help but recall our discussions in International Finance; I am truly an American because I am fulfilled by consumption. Have you ever noticed how simply buying something, whether it is a new pack of pencils or a prom dress, gives you satisfaction? The ratio of our spending to saving as compared to other countries is astounding, and yet the rest of the world depends on it. For the sake of our economy it is in our best interests to save more and spend less, but how does one factor out such a huge aspect of our culture? It would be like telling the French to stop smoking.
Returning to the hotel, I made my first MacDo (That’s the French slang term for the Golden Arches… similar to the American “Micky D’s”) stop of the trip, but stuck to the French cuisine. Le Croque MacDo- the McDonald’s version of the classic French sandwich Croque Monsieur- is something I will most definitely miss upon returning to the States. Snacking on that while walking back to the hotel, I realized I was walking a line between fantasy and reality; it does not seem like that big of a deal- the magic and the history of the hallowed grounds around me can easily be ignored. I must make a conscious effort to not allow these elements to fall to the wayside.
Preparing for the evening out in Paris, and anxious to explore the historically bohemian, artistic neighborhood of Montmarte (home to the renowned Moulin Rouge) we were disappointed that the show had sold out, but secretly relieved to save the €99 it would have cost. (At the time, the exchange rate was $1.5777/€.) The evening took us to the Latin Quarter, near Sorbonne University where we met some fellow Americans. What a bond a common language is! This only furthers my desire to become multi- or even bi-lingual.
I took a much different approach to this trip than my classmates; Knowing that I have been granted the gift of having well over a month to explore the city, I was less proactive in “seeing the sights” and more apt to understanding the geography and the Metro, and catching up on some much needed rest. Tuesday and Wednesday we are having our Midterms, therefore devoting my entire Monday to studying. I guess I should have studied more on the long bus rides, but finishing my new favorite book, Atonement, was much more appealing. As they say in French, C’est la vie!