My first thoughts when I arrived were Do I know enough French to make it through this trip? and Wow! I’m really here right now! Similarly, I felt tired (because I didn’t sleep on the plane), excited about everything I was about to see and do, and nervous about how well I could understand the language. The first picture I took was of a band playing in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris. Visiting the gardens was the first thing we did, and they were beautiful (and it was the perfect “first thing” because I was tired and needed to stretch my legs).
This was my second trip to France, so there were a few things I remembered from before. For example, the bread is less sweet, so it tastes a little salty compared to American bread. Sometimes they serve Coke with a slice of lemon (the flavors go together pretty well, but I wouldn’t ask for lemon in my Coke in the US). There is also no air conditioning, which I missed for most of my week in Paris because the weather was warm, but it was a little chilly in Tours for my first week there (so I didn’t mind not having A/C then). Finally, I liked seeing the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Eiffel Tower again, but I didn’t like having to climb a lot of stairs to get to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Also, Notre Dame (obviously) looks different after the fire.
However, there were some things I forgot about (such as the tax is included in prices (which I like)), and some things that were new because this trip was different. My last trip was more “tourist-y,” but this one involves more experiencing daily life in France. For one thing, people have three-course dinners at home. I think it’s nice because dinner is later, and it feels “fancy”. Paper TV guides still exist (I think it’s because there are fewer channels). In addition, they air a lot of American movies and shows. Some of the titles are still in English, and some of the French titles aren’t direct translations of the originals (which is interesting to me).
I’m looking forward to the rest of my program, especially discovering (and rediscovering?) new cultural differences and practicing my French!