By Abigail Lin
At the close of my time in Paris, it’s jarring to think about the difference between the Paris I imagined and the Paris whose streets I traverse every morning on my way to work. Just like I have struggled with washing machines, irons, and electricity, I have had difficulty finding the unconditional love for this city I was sure would come so easily.
The first day I left my apartment to head to the BU Paris campus, the sky was a muddled dim grey, peeling back the layers of black in the sleepy morning. It was 8:30 AM.
Shockingly enough, Paris rested under (a lighter) gray sky for the rest of the day – and then for another 3 months.
For every error in judgment regarding the French language, crisis in the home of my host mom, and flash rain storm whilst I’m out walking, there’s also been tulips in bloom in Tuileries Garden after a long winter, falafel tasting on the Rue de Roisiers in the Marais, and the reassuring searchlight of the Eiffel Tower after a weekend spent far from home.
But Paris isn’t just the Eiffel Tower. It isn’t the Champs Elysee, the Louvre, the Notre Dame. It’s the violent dark blue glow of the pre-dusk sky reflected in the glass café windows in Montmartre, distorted reflections of the corner bistro cursive on the sodden sidewalks of the Latin Quarter, crackling neon lights advertising peep shows behind lush drawn curtains in Pigalle.
After exploring arrondissement by arrondissement, pockets of Paris far from the Seine, and hidden passageways in between corridors of alleyways – I’ve found myself incongruously falling in love and will be leaving justifiably enamored.
It wasn’t long ago that I was a senior in high school, sitting in what I was to be sure to be my last French course ’till the end of time. I happened to glance over at the door and through the glass window, to see my friend Jason knocking discreetly. With the confirmation of my eye contact, he grinned sheepishly, and pulled up a poster for me to view through the glass that read: ABBIE LIN – MOI ET TOI – PROM?
Well – suffice to say, that wasn’t my last run in with French.
And like how my supposed last French class was never to be, I am sure that before long, Paris’ contradicting charisma will pull me back for more.