Lets start off with the Metro...where anything can happen.
Every morning I am squished in between what feels like a million people, and everyone plays the game of the stare-off. You scan all those around and take in all the interesting faces. Some are holding babies, some are texting but most are reading a book or a newspaper. Sometimes poor people yell through the car asking for money and come around to collect it. Sometimes military men, casually carrying AK-47's (okay I know nothing about guns...but the REALLY big ones) are just chilling next to you. Probably every day, I make awkward eye contact with at least one person.
Classic story: So, Alyssa and I were waiting for the metro car to pull up and I say something encouraging and put my arm up for a fist pump. I see this guy in the metro car across the way just staring at me...I think, "AWKWARD" and wait for my fist to be pumped. Alyssa gets the motion, and fist pumps me. Then, I look back and the guy is STILL staring at me. My next thought is "CREEPY!" and I look away. But curiosity killed the cat, and I looked back one more time, and HE IS STILL STARING AT ME and this time he gives me a big smile, almost laughing as the car pulls away.
The streets are pretty cool here, because they are full of little shops. Each with a very specific purpose. The opposite of Walmart, okay? There are: boulangerie's, brassieries, creperies, fromageries, boucheries, l'epiceries, pharmacies etc. You get the point right? The little resturaunts are really cute, with the menu's posted to the door which is super helpful actually. You know what you are paying before you decide to walk in. My favorite are the brassieries because there have tables outside on the street, where everyone sits, drinks, smokes, and enjoy's themselves. And these places are packed. I mean, seriously, not to be offensive, but no one seems old here. Like even the "old people" look young, stylish, with life flowing through them.
My Host Mom has the most chic style. They call is "tres chic" or "tres elegant" ru "tres classique." I mean who doesn't want that style? Right now, I am actually sitting on the couch watching French News and she is rocking the black and white skinny jeans, and a light tan cardigan. It's miraculous! Seriously, I have noticed that I haven't seen one person that resembles the classic nerd stereotype.
Another thing that I love, is the fact that it never matters that you are lost, because BAM, oh look there is another historic monument on this corner. Oh and over there, that's the Pantheon. Or oh hey, that's the Louvre. I mean, I pass the Notre Dame every day to get to class, and now I am so used to it that is like I am passing any old building. That doesn't seem right?? Right??
And you see all kinds of cultures here. Just in my French class, there are 2 girls from Japan, 2 from Korea, 1 from Mexico, 1 from Chile, and 1 from Canada. And then you got the boring Americans, haha! It is interesting to find out why each person is in Paris. Three of them are Sisters for the Catholic Church and I have been asking about what they do. They are each part of different congregations, with a purpose of making the world a better place. They each do specific things in the community. It is a different way of thinking, especially with my mission in mind.
(Guys, the girl in the middle is Mitsuko. The CUTEST women I have ever met in my life. She just finished our class. She called me "Hawaii")
One of the Sisters, named Joan, decided when she was 30 to join her section. She had to do 2 years of studying straight, 8 years of temporary vows, and then she finally made her final vows. Vowing three things: 1. Chastity 2. Poverty 3. And something to do with giving everything to the church. So no personal belongings, no bank account, etc. I mean that is the definition of dedication! Can you believe that? She got elected to run parts of her section all over the world, and is now trying to learn French. It makes my 18 month contribution seem really small haha!
And lastly, I wanna give a shout out to all the fun people on the program with me. It is so fun, and guess what...they ACTUALLY LAUGHED AT MY JOKES!!! Now, that is the test of a cool person:) My close friends call me Tatum...but say it like this:
TA (like La, La, La, La, La)
TUM (like the word Tomb)
This is how all the French people pronounce my name if that helps. It's hilarious.
So, do you all wanna meet the troops?
Hayley--she sits by me everyday in French class and had to deal with the smelly poo fiasco!
Also, just got her mission call to Chile!
Shelly--or the awesome possum dream interpretor
Melanie--fashionista that can pull off orange sunglasses!
Whitney--super fun and is getting married a few weeks after we get home!
Alyssa--just got her mission call to Mexico, leaving December 18th!
My Krista!! She is always up for a Party!
Outside of class, just chilling around the only boy....practically. (There are two, but I only ever see this one haha)
His name is Landon, and is actually way cool. Today, we made fun of him for eating baby-food.
Alyssa and Noel. Oh my, Noel is awesome. I nicknamed her "Carry" because she only brought a carry-on for the trip! Crazy huh?
Rachel is in the back. She has the cutest laugh.
Little Miss Linda. Always a burst of fun energy.
Chilling at Notre Dame
Natalie--we are going to Italy together at the end of the program.
We all do fun things together and silly things. For instance, yesterday, my friend Krista and I, danced in front of a random man playing his guitar on the street and threw money in his guitar case. I have never done that before. I felt so weird, but it was liberating and funny. His name was "Johny Goody." Look out for him when he becomes famous.
I hope this helps you all picture what my daily life is like here. Every day is an adventure in it's own way.