Monday, October 12, 2009

je suis parisienne!

Map of the Paris Metro
My stop is the Cite U, 4th stop off the Blue line heading directly south from the Ile de Cite (the island). For class, I get off at Luxembourg.

I have a countdown going on my mac dashboard. Currently, I have 66 days left until I fly home. I remember when the ticker still said 96! Anyhow, my numbered days remind me how quickly i've adapted. Examples of my progress:
  1. Bringing an umbrella EVERYWHERE. Especially lately when the weather is so whack. Also in my purse: metro map, compact grocery bag (they charge for plastic bags at a lot of the grocery stores- very smart.), scarf, and camera. 
  2. Knowing the metro system like the back of my hand. Okay, I'm not THAT great (yet), but I can pretty much get where I want to go via the shortest route without reference to the metro map anymore (except once in a while). I have all my routes memorized- including all the stops in between, and a good idea of where all the other ones will take me. Off the top of my head, I can list you all the stops on the RER B in Zone 1 and names of the stops off Tram 3. Not that that would mean anything to you. 
  3. Knowing where to get on and off the metro- literally. As in calculating the distance of how far down the platform to walk so that when I get off, I can do less walking to my exit (especially useful when rushing to class/carrying groceries). 
  4. Finding my way through the underground metro system automatically- I hardly look at the signs because its become so familiar. And some of the stations are like little underground mazes. I need to be careful with this, though, because sometimes I'll get on the metro, and then remember 2 stops down that I need to get off in one stop. 
  5. "Pardon," "Oui," "Merci," and "d'accord" are reflexes similar to how we say "excuse me," and "thank you" in the states- I didn't even really realize this until last week, when I accidentally bumped into a guy with my umbrella and blurted "pardon" without even thinking about it. I hope switching back will be smooth when I get home. 
  6. Speaking in French. Although its still hard to understand native speakers (they talk SO fast), I'm getting better, and I can usually understand most of what they're saying and request for help. 
  7. I've also become better with numbers-- those used to give me such a hard time!! I mean, why say "quatre vingt dix sept" when you can say ninety seven? That pretty much translates to "four (x) twenty (+) ten (+) seven" = 97 (omit the math signs, but in my head thats how it breaks down). Why not "neuf sept" or something LESS of a mouthful? 
  8. People ask me for directions- in French! Like at the metro stop and to the bathrooms at the Sorbonne. And I know how to respond (with the correct directions)!
  9. Mastering the art of walking on cobblestone. Did you know, that the most comfortable way to do it is to make sure that the front pad of your foot hugs the cobblestone so it fits the contours of the front part of the arch in your foot? But I still don't like walking on cobblestone- you need to constantly watch your step so you don't trip. I don't know how the ladies in heels do it-- I marvel at their skill. I don't think I'll never be THAT good!

I am on my way to becoming a well-seasoned Parisian (or maybe i'm just adapting in my own weird way). How sad that all this knowledge will become useless once I get home. 

On a completely other, nonrelated note, I saw the CUTEST golden retriever puppy walking to class today!! She was a little bigger than Bartholomew, maybe, and she was the fluffiest little otter walking along on her leash! I wanted to take a picture but she was on the other side of the street :(


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