Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Happy me! in Paree (Paris)

This weekend marked two months of my arrival here. How did I commemorate those two months of living in Germany?

I took a trip to Paris with some friends.

Well, okay, we planned the trip and it just happened to be this weekend, and I wouldn't throw some sort of celebration just for being here. That would just be silly.

It was such a change to spend a weekend in Paris, even though it was only 2.5 hours away by high speed train. I feel as if I'm starting to stumble settle into German life and am getting my bearings (well, for the most part). There are many rules, laws, customs, etc. here to follow, but (for the most part) they make things very orderly, safe, and (usually) pleasant.

I am becoming accustomed to living within those parameters (they're not bad, just different, and can sometimes have a steep learning curve) and am starting to shift my brain toward working within the  German language.

Then we took a trip to Paris.

My poor brain! I know a few phrases of polite French but was unable to conjure up most of them when needed, or if I did conjure them, the phrases ended up being half in French, half in German in my head so I just spoke English instead because none of it would have made sense. I'm grateful that Spanish took a back seat for this trip. I think my head would have split if I had four languages bouncing around at once in there.

In addition to the language mess, I also felt totally overstimulated by Paris.

People thinking nothing about littering, en masse? Eek! Why aren't people sweeping the streets in front of their houses?! (In all fairness, though, it has to be super hard to keep stuff clean in such a populous city that's also teeming with tourists but has a finite number of trash bins). Oh, and the snogging and carrying on! Yeck. I'm so anti-romantic, but I could imagine that even mushy people would get sick of seeing people kissing all the time. Yes, Paris is romantic, but don't block pedestrian traffic to examine your loved one's tonsils, please!

There were things that I really have been missing, as well. Holy crow, there are stores that are open past 6, 7, or 8 pm? They are open until 10 pm? GASP.  They are open on SUNDAY? THANK GOODNESS!!!

FREE TAP WATER, and I didn't even have to ask for it (usually I don't dare)?? I almost cried tears of joy.

It was fun comparing notes with my friends, who are both not from Germany but who are living here as well. They've been here longer than I have and also felt culture shock. We had a great time, but were all happy to be returning to our orderly environments in Germany. It feels peaceful after the hustle and bustle (and PDAs).

This trip wasn't a roller coaster but we did feel as if we had ridden the carousel a few too many times.
Across from the Eifel Tower, on the bank of the Seine.

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