Sunday, 25 September 2016

ONE WAY TICKET TO PARIS


I have a one way ticket to Paris. Well, I did. I used it. But it's a cool thing to say.
Yep, I moved to Paris a few weeks ago now and I can honestly say it's been the most stressful, surreal, amazing, emotional time of my life. I can't actually believe it's only been a few weeks, it feels like I've been here for months now. 
Incase you didn't know, I'm studying History of Art at University Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne in Paris for a year as part of an Erasmus exchange programme. I started studying last week but I wanted to arrive earlier so I could settle in, figure my way around and mainly find somewhere to live before Uni started.
So now, I am living in Paris. 
Scary but exciting times.

However with every day that goes by, I'm feeling much better about my life here and the feelings of fear are being replaced with feelings of excitement. But, the first few days, all I could think about was the fear. I was completely terrified. It has been my dream to live in Paris for as long as I can remember and, years ago, as soon as I found out you can study abroad that became my dream too. So, when I arrived in Paris, my dream was suddenly a reality and that was (and still is) very hard to comprehend. Instead of dreaming and romanticising my life in Paris, I had to live it.

I'm not going to lie, it has been very hard. Especially the first few days while my mum was with me. I was very stressed, scared and overwhelmed and I cried a lot. I didn't know if I could do it. I had nowhere permanent to live and I would soon be alone in a huge city. Well, I had one friend with me who honestly saved me. She told me how she was feeling and it was a lot like how I was. She arrived in Paris before I did and reassured me that it get better with time. It's a big step so of course it was going to be hard to adjust.
The past few weeks I have been feeling a lot stronger and I fully believe now that I can do this. Obviously there are still a lot of hurdles to get over, but at least they're feeling like hurdles rather than mountains. I have found a beautiful apartment in Saint Germain de Près (no idea how that happened) which I am sharing with an English girl who is lovely. I mean, I can't explain how lucky we got finding this place. If you've ever lived in Paris, you will know what the housing situation is like for students. Studio flats are incredibly expensive and normally shoved at the top of the building, about 7 floors up, usually with no lifts. The rooms itself are tiny and you normally have to walk down a corridor to use a toilet. I still can't believe that my flat is actually my flat. I mean, we even have a balcony. Anyway, I'll be posting an apartment tour soon, so more about that then.
*taken just after signing for our flat and we went exploring our area and consequently found out we were living ten mins away from the Louvre*
I still can't believe I'm living in Paris for a year. I don't know when it will hit me that this is actually my life now rather than a dream, or if it ever will. That doesn't mean to say that everything has happened as smoothly as it would in a dream, somethings have been a nightmare, for example, finding somewhere to live, opening bank accounts, sorting out my university timetable. But, thankfully, all that is sorted now. All the serious, adult things like that made it seem much more real. Especially as when I was sorting them out, I hadn't started university so I was living the Parisian dream. I had a Paris guidebook and a lot of free time so spent my days exploring and getting lost in the city, going to museums and galleries, visiting the landmarks and falling in love with Paris. Now, I have started university and still spend my time doing that when I'm not in lectures. I have a lot more contact hours than I did in my first year in York which is hard to get used to. Also, all my lectures are in French which is much harder to get used to. I have learnt French all throughout my school life but I'm still nowhere near fluent. Not yet anyway. Obviously one of my main reasons for coming to Paris was to become fluent in the language and I feel like I'm understanding more and more everyday but for now, I'm going to have to settle with understanding half what the lecturers are saying and spending a lot of time going over my notes, listening to my recordings of the lectures and trying to fill in the gaps.

Wish me luck.
me and my beautiful new city
Obvs my blog is going to feature a lot of Paris posts from now on, after all, the main reason I started this blog was to have a way to document my year abroad. So, I just wanted to make a brief post about my first few weeks in Paris and everything that has been going on. 
Thank you for reading and I hope you come back to hear about more of my parisian adventures.

Niamh. x

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