21 September 2007

A Facebook message from Paris

Paris te manque

The French capitalize only the first word in book titles; I assume the same is true for Facebook message subject lines.

Paris was overwhelming for the first few days; now that I’ve been here for two weeks, I’m kind of used to it. I haven’t experienced culture shock so much as culture malaise, exacerbated by the fact that my only friends (acquaintances?) here are other American students from my program, for whom I feel alternately resentful and grateful.

My room looks out on a courtyard paved with square beige stones. The only plants in it are dwarf trees in terra cotta pots. It’s a beautiful view.

I live a block away from the Trocadéro circle, which is directly across the river from the Eiffel Tower. My daily commute to school involves a dramatic reveal of said tower as the train crosses the bridge from the right bank to the left bank. It no longer impresses me; it’s like when I was working on Park Avenue South during the summer and walked right by the Empire State Building without looking at it every day. The fact that I’ve gotten used to seeing the Eiffel Tower doesn’t say much except that I bore easily; I still haven’t found nice places to walk or sit without tourists swarming everywhere.

The good news: my one professor (we only take one class, on grammar, for the first three weeks) is young and intelligent and therefore infinitely attractive. I’m writing a food column for which I have free rein for my school paper. There are lots of beautiful things and people here.

But I’m certainly looking forward to the spring, when you will be here to inject some much-needed familiarity into my life.


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