I've been in paris for just about 2 days now, though it feels like more! That's because everything is happening very quickly.
I got to my homestay in the beautiful 15e arrondissement just around noon. My host-mom, Louise, is fantastic. She's so sweet and welcoming! She even took me to the métro to load my Navigo (pass) card and then on the metro to show me where my orientation was to be held! Dinner last night was amazing, and I had my first Paris baguette. I did not completely pass out last night, but thats only because I took a power nap after I unpacked my room.
Today I had my orientation, which was neat because I got to meet the other people in my program. We learned a lot about the city as well as all of the opportunities we have during our stay. The best part: we got an UNLIMITED pass for the Louvre. I can go whenever to just hang out. I can't even believe it!
Then we took a boat ride on the Seine. It was absolutely incredible. We saw everything from the Louvre, Le Musée D'Orsay, le Grand Palais, and most importantly, la Tour Eiffel:
Aprés ça, my friend, Jennifer, and I went shopping! My itty bitty shoulder bag is not enough for touristy things, and I didn't bring another pick-pocket safe bag. So we jumped on the first metro we found (because we got a little lost on the rive droit) and headed to les Halles - which is a big commercial shopping center. They have everything from H&M to Zara and a lot of little shops and cafés outside the centre.
I actually just got finished with dinner, and I'm ready to crawl in bed, but there are some things about the French I should share.
The metro system in France is beautiful. By beautiful I mean really easy to use, because it's actually not that pleasant look at. Probably better than New York, but just about on par with D.C. There are 14 lines (Just metro, there are 5 train lines and many bus lines as well) throughout the city which means there is a metro stop just about every 500 meters. What's also great is that you can buy a metro/RER/bus pass which is called Navigo. Per week is about 20 euro and per month it's just about 62. BUT unlike D.C., with this pass you can ride an unlimited amount on times during that period. With a single fare card being 1,70, I am saving and endless amount of money given how much I've used the metro already.
The other thing is that on some trains, you need to unlock the doors when the train comes to a stop, they don't all open automatically which is a new and scary thing. Also if you're on the kind of train, and you don't open the doors before the train is at a complete stop, people get very impatient. People step off the train before it's stopped all the way. It was a little embarrassing today to stumble off.
Dinner in Paris is a production. Today we started dinner at just after 8pm, and did not clean up the table until after 9:30. My host-mom loves loves loves to cook. Yesterday we had beef cooked in onion and some sort of marinade (the French like their beef veryyy raw), and today we had shrimp cooked in olive oil and some kind of vinigrette, salsa, and rice. After we finish with the main part of the meal we talk and talk and talk and thennnn we bring out the cheese and bread. After that we talk and talk and talk more.
Alright, I just ran into a problem with my french phone, so I've got to go!