I’ve never known I was closer to home than when I was flying back from Paris, France to Dallas, Texas, and found a SkyMall magazine in my seat pocket. Granted, I was flying high on Dramamine and a Jim Beam and Coke, but I could have sworn I had died and gone to aeronautic heaven. America, I’d missed you: Who could have forgotten such knick-knack paddy whack pleasures still exist?
Perusing this catalog of crap is almost like the joy I felt as a child picking out a gross (144 pieces) of worthless birthday party favors from Oriental Trading Company (…the name is for real). I was in deep, puppy-sick love with the materiality of shitty goods. Mmm, first world buying power, you taste so sweet.
The nervousness! The intrigue! The walking into wrong classrooms! The first day of school is often exciting — the academic world rushing to welcome you in all of its charming geekiness.
But F all that optimistic noise: today also ushers in a whole year of hard work and late nights. Which is why lately I’ve started to think more and more seriously about time travel and astronauts.
As a stand-in for Slope Day, and as a pre-celebration to the most important holiday of my year (my birthday), I’m seeing Beyoncé do her thing at Bercy Stadium on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th for all of you gringos). RING THE ALARM! It will be a veritable fiesta.
I’ve been thinking about this show for a long time — nearly my whole semester — because I’ve had the tickets since December, and five months is a lot of delayed gratification.
(By the way, if you think I was over-zealous in purchasing early, you know the tickets would have sold out if I didn’t pounce. Regardless of the French’s stereotypical snootiness, I’ll be damned if they don’t wanna get down with B, too.)
My boredom and lack of schoolwork has inspired productive new heights for my Internet identity.
Yesterday morning, as I was creeping on M.I.A. and Diplo’s Twitter cat fight, it suddenly dawned on me that I was no more than a no-good creeper, since I don’t know either of them … and since I didn’t even have a Twitter to call my own. So, while surfing a website to which I didn’t belong, reading M.I.A.’s comments, like, “u r a [“c u next Tuesday”] get a grrl,” was when I realized: today would be the first day of the rest of my Internet life.
I would get a Twitter.
Like people, there are tourist traps of all types, colors, shapes and sizes.
For example, a restaurant that is sparsely populated with native speakers but that also touts a near-perfectly translated English menu is a sure low-grade tourist trap. If you have just ordered “crude ham with broiled cheese and salad green,” you will be paying too much for that croque monsieur, monsieur.
This past week, my boyfriend visited me during Cornell’s spring break, and so I celebrated as if it were mine, too (SPRING BREAK 2009!).
Maybe it wasn’t as buckwild as Cancún would have been, but we did do a lot of touristy things, as one might expect. The most shocking and disappointing realization to come of these was that the Louvre kind of sucks. Like, really.
This semester, I’ve learned all sorts of practical things — one notable example being that a two liter bottle of soda costs significantly less than its 20 oz. cousin. I’ve also learned that drinking straight from a two liter bottle in the metro either labels you: a) drunk; b) cheap; c) low-class. Often I’m only playing the part of two out of the three stereotypes, but anyway.
One of the most important things I’ve learned from my abroad experience thus far (God, I am so sick of calling my time abroad my “abroad experience”) is that an American like me has to start making substitutions for all sorts of consumer products and services that I have come to readily take for granted at home.
So I’m living in Paris for the semester — the “fashion capital of the world” — yet sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a horribly warped version of the years 1997-2001. Let me give you two loosely held-together examples, embellished with my biting wit and sarcastic quips. All set?
The first is that Parisians have gone bat-shit crazy over Razor scooters.
Last Tuesday in Paris, I was at last psyched and actually kind of proud to be an American. After spending nearly two weeks trying hard to cloak my accent and telling all the lecherous dudes that I was vacationing from South Africa because I wanted to experience the cold (and no, I’m really not interested in grabbing a cup of coffee with you), January 20th might have been the only day during my whole abroad experience that I am allowed — and almost encouraged — to speak in full-blown American English (i.e. pronouncing all of my R’s).
This Thanksgiving, I was thankful for a lot of people, places, things, vegetables, animals and minerals. One thing I wasn’t thankful for this year was TV. And no, I don’t mean in general, because you should know that I freaking love the boob tube and will watch it, like, non-stop when I gots da time. The programming this Thanksgiving, however, was hardly the cornucopia I am used to.