Bonjour a tous!
So, for the few people who were actually reading my blag and want to read about my experiences, I want to say I’m really sorry that it has been over a month since my last update. I have had the intention of getting my blog completely updated for about 3 weeks now, and every time I sit down to start, I start working on a million other things.
I realize now that maintaining a blog while studying abroad was a huge job to take on, and anyone who might want to do the same type of thing needs to realize how much work it takes to try and keep it updated. I do want to try and get it up to date and try to post more advice and tip posts as well, but it might take me a while. Sorry! :(
I have been extremely busy (obviously) with school, my exploration of Paris, and my moments of complete laziness. I have a ton to tell you all about, with about 20 different posts in my head right now, and I will do my best to get those up soon. Up to this point, I have tried to keep things somewhat in chronological order, but at this point, since I’ll be writing this so long after they actually happened, I might not remember exactly what all I did. So, I’m thinking instead of recapping by the week, I’ll probably just kinda outline significant events or days when I visited certain places, and try to keep it as close to the order in which it actually happened as possible. I’ll also try to start posting more general advice and need-to-know stuff for study abroad students as well.
For a quick update on everything that has been going on in my life and why I’ve been so busy, I’ll start with school..
School has kept me pretty busy, and a little stressed. The classes are not particularly difficult, all of mine are for international students and somewhat “dumbed down” and the work isn’t really that intensive. The problem is actually caring about school! When you are in an amazing city such as Paris, where there is SO MUCH to do, it can be really easy to forget that you are here for school, and it becomes somewhat of an afterthought. I spend 3 hours straight in each class, (on Tuesdays I have two classes so 6 hours straight) so when you come home, you don’t feel like working on homework, you just wanna watch Netflix and plan trips. I’m usually really tired by the end of the week and with a three day weekend each week, of course I’m not thinking about my homework then either. On the weekends you just want to run around Paris and hang out with friends. Then, all of a sudden you realize you have a presentation, midterm, written assignment, etc., all in the same week.. I mean, so far I’ve been able to get everything done, but I’m always procrastinating to the very last minute, and the quality of my work is about half of what it is back home. #Pass/Fail, am I right??.. But seriously, I’ve never been this underachieving in school in my life! I’m just trying to do what it takes to pass the class and get the credits, because the actual grade doesn’t really matter to UNM, and won’t affect my GPA, it will just be pass or fail.
Other than school, I’m trying to do as much as I can to discover Paris. I recently made the realization that I’ve already been here almost three months, and hardly have any time left! I made a list of all the things I still want to do in Paris, just off the top of my head, and this is what it looks like:
(the highlighted stuff is what I’ve done since I made the list) And this is just what I could think of, if I ask people or go online I would find a whole other page worth of things that you “must do” in Paris.. there is seriously SO MUCH TO DO HERE, I know I’ll never do it all and will have to come back someday, but I really do want to make the most out of my experience.
When I first got here, I thought that I was going to be able to travel all of Europe while I was here. I knew I was dreaming big, but I was hoping to try to visit Italy, Spain, England, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece Sweden, Amsterdam, etc… I know people here who have done all that and more while they were here, it’s all so close, right? Well.. I’ve pretty much had to drop any plans of traveling outside France at this point because there are not enough weekends, and not enough money to be able to do all that! The other realization that I have made is that I think to get the best experience in Europe, you should really try to be here for the full academic year. I don’t know if I could have made it that long being in a serious relationship and so close to my family, but I really do think it’s the best way. In some ways, I really wish I could stay, or could have been here since August like some of my friends. When I arrived in Paris, I had to take some time to get used to being in a new city, going to school here, and being on my own (or at least away from my family) for the first time in my life. I didn’t even leave Paris (besides going hiking in the suburbs) for the first month and a half of my stay. It’s hard to figure out how to plan a trip, at least for someone like me who has never really done so, and then there’s the cost. Enough said. Which brings me to my last realization, which is that you cannot embark on a study abroad trip without having saved your own money. When I decided to study abroad, I was in a place in my life where I couldn’t find a job, and had a significant amount of credit card debt. I knew it wasn’t the best idea to go live in one of the most expensive cities on the planet while I was in that position, but I also didn’t want to give up the opportunity of a lifetime, and I didn’t think it would work for me to go any other semester. So, my parents agreed to pay for it all (with the stipulation that I bay them back) which, aside from a $1000 scholarship I received from UNM that got blown in the first month, is how my trip is being financed. I’m so thankful that they are paying for my AMAZING experience, and I know they want me to do the things I really want to do, but I couldn’t ask them to send me the amount of money it would take for me to go to all the places I want to go.. I’m already asking a lot. So, I just decided to stick to Paris, and France itself, planning to go to Lyon, Strasbourg, (maybe a quickie to Brussels, Belgium), and my spring break trip, Provence and the French Rivera! Stay tuned to see if I figure out how to do all that!
One big trip I did get to take, though, was an amazing 10-day trip to the UK! I went to London, England, Edinburgh, Scotland, Glasgow, Scotland, and Dublin, Ireland, with a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher. I went with a couple American girls I met in one of my classes. It was an incredible trip and I had so much fun, but I will write individual posts with pictures for that!!
I’ve also been busy planning something else, after my family dropped a bomb of happiness on me telling me they were coming to see me!! I never thought it would be possible due to the insane amount of money they are spending on my being here, but hey, a little debt never hurt anyone right? YES, they are coming to see me at the end of May, my mom, dad and both sisters! It will be a little strange because they arrive the 24th of May and leave the 30th, then, my scheduled date to come back to Albuquerque is a couple days later on June 2nd. Ah, I am already sad at the thought of leaving here.. (Don’t tell Julian or my Grandmommy I said that!) Anyway, I have been busy trying to plan out an itinerary for when they come, so I can try to show them Paris in just 6 short days, and get one last look for myself before I come home!
My last big piece of news is that I was able to see the love of my life.. the musical artist who I have adored since about 3rd or 4th grade, live in concert!! I’ll keep it a surprise as to who it is until I post about it, but anyone who follows me on any form of social media will know who it is ;)
So now you can see that I’m trying to juggle school, exploration, vacation planning, and many other things, as well as keep up a blog/diary, so it gets tough, but I’ll do my best to get it updated in the next couple of weeks, and hopefully someone will read it after I put in so much work! ;)
Anyways, please bear with me, and just know I am absolutely loving it here!