In Paris, one could easily become overwhelmed or lost without a little planning. It has happened to me many times. A couple weekends ago, I was going to a friend’s appartment in an area I did not know. As I was running late, I forgot to write down the address of my destination before leaving. I’d been sent a message with directions, which I unfortunately could not see without wifi. So after an hour journey on the metro, I got off in the general neighborhood of the appartment. It was a gritty area in the suburb Montreuil. With a vague notion of where I needed to be, I sought help at a gas station. The clerk was so kind and patient as I searched for the French words to describe my predicament. She was genuinely concerned for me. She drew me a map and steered me the right way. As I began walking away from the counter, the man behind me offered to drive me to where I needed to be. Although I wasn’t quite ready to accept a ride from a stranger, that was uplifting. The generosity offered to me defied the “French are cold” stereotype. The more success I have in approaching people, the more confident I become. By reaching out in moments such as this I connect with kind, helpful people. Interactions like these make me very grateful to be travelling abroad.
Archive for November, 2014
Yes, I have been “lazy” and I haven’t posted recently. As for today, for lack of anything very interesting, I’d like to talk about coffee. Seriously, there have to be a million different ways to drink coffee around the world. The European favorite is surely a simple esspresso. As a sugary, creamy coffee fan, that took some getting used to. But now I drink them regularly. It’s one euro or one euro twenty for a quick pop of caffeine. There must be a million different cafés throughout Europe each serving many esspressos a day…What a business!
Today I am especially tired and I keep thinking about my favorite energy boost. I had my coffee brewed in the pot, but I could have used more when I was studying at the library. My usual route to and from the sixième arrondissement where my school is takes me by dozens of cafés. In the morning, I take the bus from Vanves to the corner at the Alliance Française. While on the bus I stare out the window appreciating just how many cool looking cafés there are. Then in the afternoon I take the metro. The afternoon commute involves a walk to the line 4 metro, one stop to the Montparnasse station and a long haul underground to change to the line 13, and then a few stops to Vanves. When I am underground (gross) in Montparnasse for what seems like an hour, I always wish I could be sitting in one of the cafés on the streets above. Next time I will indulge, because there is no shortage of coffee in this city for sure. And that brings me to my plan for now: go to sleep and when I wake, hit a café!