By Abigail Lin, Staff Writer
As I’m sure many of you are experiencing this summer, getting out of bed every Monday to Friday to schelp myself to my internship is undoubtedly the hardest part of the job. In Paris, I would reward myself simply for waking up in the morning – on time or not – with a gorgeous buttery croissant from the corner boulangerie, reveling in the delicate pastry’s apparent apex of warmth and overall exquisiteness in the morning.
Memories of my stint in Paris come back to me in bursts: the lazy, lingering lunches at cafés for as long as I pleased to stay, the second-hand smoke that resulted from sitting outside at such cafés, the mandatory greetings uttered upon entering and leaving a shop. Picnics where the bread would be the first thing to run out and the remaining cheese the next, the store-bought pudding cups in impossibly fragile and petite jars of glass, the satisfaction I felt when inventing a French sounding word and then realizing it was indeed real.
At the close of our semester abroad, us BU Paris Internship students were forced to attend a mandatory end-of-semester workshop. Mostly, the professors were warning us against reverse culture shock. In typical Parisian fashion, we scoffed, dismissing the idea as ridiculous. It had only been four months, after all.
Yet, when I walked into my local mall’s food court but a couple weeks later, the reverse culture shock was all too real. Dollar hamburgers on fast food menus! A small soft-drink from Wendy’s being 16 times the size of a typical European espresso! PEOPLE IN PAJAMAS! Quel horreur.
Mostly, I miss the challenge of simply stepping outside the confines of my bedroom. To communicate my intentions, personality, sense of self, to my host mom, boss, and teachers in a different language was the ultimate test of my will and self-confidence. I miss learning des petits trucs every day about French culture, politics and strangers. I miss the humbling feeling of being a curious, wide-eyed student of Paris, France and of the world.
But above all, I miss baguettes.