Sorry for the extreme lack of updates lately. You will be seeing everything that I have been up to probably in a long line of posts. Today is crazy because it marks the day that I have officially been here for a month. It feels like both the longest and shortest month in my life. On one hand I feel like it should be about Christmas time already, but i still feel like a baby giraffe any time anyone spews french to me at an unbelievable rate. I’ve started to get some of my bearings and have had a few successful (and short) conversations where people did not automatically flip into English (If you’ve ever been to France, you will realize how big of a success that it), but just like a very nice British man pointed out to me in the market today, the “yeah”‘s, “huh”s and “wha?”s never really leave your vocabulary, which I am okay with.
Today was rainy and cold, and I was silly and thought that I would have time to buy boots when I got here. False. But we ventured through Paris around Hotel de Ville. Went to BHV which is honestly like a little (quite large actually) slice of heaven. Imagine if you took Nordstrom’s, and put a Home Depot under it. Considering that these are my two favorite stores, I was quite the happy camper. I was missing a hardware store like that, and as silly as it sounds, when I saw the Milwaukee tool section I felt like I was back in Kenosha with my family.
Thats enough of the sappy stuff. What is unique about our program contrary to many study abroad programs, is that we actually have school. Yes we go on trips and you will see a lot of awesome travel pictures, but we have school everyday from 9-5. Pretty much we fit what we would normally do in a full year into a few months so that we can travel and see all of these things. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Also what is unique about our program is that we actually interact with the students at the school. I know in many programs, and in years past, the study abroad students essentially rent space in the school, but the integration stops there. This year, we have a month long project with the French students where we are all mixed up and in groups. Now because we are just a group of 30 and their class is around 180, it means its 5 french students for every american. This makes designing super interesting. That said, my group is amazing and I am so thankful to have them, because they are both excited to learn more English, and to teach me french. The whole situation though is quite chaotic.
Now for what I was actually intending on posting, my day. After Hotel de Ville, we went to Centre Pompidou which was twenty times cooler than I ever expected. While it looks completely chaotic from the exterior, Renzo Piano (the architect) placed all of the guts of the building there in order to give absolute freedom for the interior. The product of this just massive amounts of space. I wish I took a picture of the interior, but the details are just as amazing as the space itself. The structure becomes the ornament, so much so that it ceases to be structure, which is interesting because often times it looks so cheesy. However, it just looks cool. There is no other way to describe it. In addition, there was an architectural exhibit in the basement that I am for sure revisiting.
After we got back, we thawed out just enough to go to the exhibit at our school. It is open only one night of the year, and houses what some say are original statues waiting for repairs from the Louvre, while others say they are plaster models from students the old Beaux Arts. Personally I just find it amazing. Not only do I get to see amazing sculptures (real or plaster) but it is in the stables of Versailles grounds, and consequently it is our school. Those three aspects just makes the whole thing just surreal. Its funny actually, my grandpa made fun of me endlessly about going to school in a barn. I think anyone would want to learn in this barn.