look, i wrote an essay

23 Sep


This summer I went to France with a little program called the Oxbridge L’Academie De Paris, which plopped me in a sort of boarding school for a month in the middle of the city with about 180 other teenagers from all over the world. I took two classes, a major and minor, which respectively turned out to be Psychology and Fine Arts. The classes were challenging and surprisingly fun- we went all over Paris learning Freudian dream theories, drew the Pont de Neuf, and discovered the beauty that was the city. But in the time I had outside of classes, I wandered, my appetite still not quite sated. It took time, but I fell in love with the city. It became a home-away-from-home for me, helped me practice and improve my French, opened its arms to my curious eyes.

The reason Paris speaks to me so intimately isn’t because of all the hype surrounding it, isn’t because every person and their mom has heard of some marvelous romance that’s taken place there, isn’t (well, okay, it kind of is) because Oscar Wilde lived there for so long and wrote so eloquently about it.

It’s because of the nights, when the city starts to calm and the lights slowly start to turn off, one at a time. It’s because of the days spent in the Luxembourg Gardens watching businessmen take a few minutes out of their day and play a round of pettanque. It’s because of the rainy days, the rain forming puddles in the street that promptly get splashed into the faces of screaming teenage girls. It’s because of the Metro, loud and crowded and somehow communicating a sense of homeliness- like it wants you to be there, waiting for your station, praying that the unfortunate tone-deaf busker with the accordion and the cup of coins will please stop playing those same four chords over and over again. It’s the fireworks over the Eiffel Tower on Bastille Day. It’s days spent picnicking at the Champs de Mars. It’s eating the best macarons in the world while walking down the Champs d’Elysees. It’s sitting in an unnamed park by the Opera drinking bubble tea and waxing poetic with your friends. It’s eating falafel in the Marais.

It’s all of these reasons and more. I try to enlighten my friends, but they shake their heads and discount my feelings. I explain the feeling of running down Rue Vavin, baguette in hand, searching for a place to sit and sing- I explain the way the sun looks from Montmartre, effervescent and not quite real, but all I get is nods. Thusly I’ve come to the conclusion that my Paris is just that- my Paris- and no one else’s Paris will ever be quite the same.



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