Although it's a description I have tried to fight off my whole life, I think it's safe to say that here in Paris, I am straight up spoiled.
I was initially upset that I had to abandon my romantic idea of living in a single apartment in Paris and choose the homestay option instead. But then I had to use the same logic I use for most things here and question- when else in my life would I be able to live with a French family with both luxury and ease?
Still, the first few days were tough. The language barrier was a bit thicker than I anticipated, and my normal social life routine had to be very different. With about 25 students in my program and only four living in the dorms, meeting up before doing anything can be annoying. But really, I have another year waiting for me back in Madison of house parties and just bumming around the apartment with my roommates.
So I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started to actually see what I get to come home to every night. I live with a posh, older woman (who has sexier brown boots than I do) in a very classic, beautiful apartment supplied with antique pieces and six bedrooms and my own little fireplace and my own huge armoire (where I can store all my unsexy boots.)
I gave my "Madame" a photo book of Chicago and two UW mugs. The first night we went through the entire book together and she was so impressed by the skyline (my heart strings were pulled, twisted, and snapped right off.) She asked how many floors were in the Sears Tower, and I didn't know, but I looked online and tried to bring it up the next day at breakfast. I thought my French was somewhat coherent considering I translated every word ahead of time. But after I said, "I researched on the Internet and found out that the Sears Tower has 108 stories," she replied with, "Oh wow! Did this happen today?"
But my Madame is a great lady with five kids (all moved out) and sixteen grandkids. She won't let me put dishes in the dishwasher, and there's even a cleaning lady who comes once a week (don't you dare judge my abroad life.) My Madame's son and his two kids were over one night, and I loved them. Well I actually hardly interacted with them, but they could piece together my broken French, so I wish they were around more.
I live walking distance from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Elysees. I pass a market on my way to the Metro in the mornings, and today I will hopefully (but doubtfully) venture on my first Parisian jog down Avenue Foch.
In case you are rolling your eyes at this post, remember that I am not bragging about my life, because this is not actually my life.
And to be honest, the best part of it all is having the company of someone who, before I leave, will always wish me a bonne journée.