Pro tip: for you kids studying abroad in an EU country, you can get free admission into basically every museum in Paris, along with some hefty student discounts pretty much everywhere else. This turned out to be particularly helpful when we had 45 minutes before the Louvre closed–you feel so much less guilt when you just go to take a coupleselfies with Mona Lisa and then spend most of your time taking pictures with the pyramid outside. Not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything…
Speaking of spending time outside of the Louvre, this goes out to all the illegal street vendors who harassed us there and at the Eiffel Tour. Rima figured out how to say “what you’re doing is illegal” in French, which then just made them awkwardly mock her.
I did the best I could behind my significant language barrier and proved to be no help when Rima was called Lady Gaga not once but twice by two different people. I think her leopard print coat definitely had something to do with it. Très, très bon.
I still can’t decide which night was better: our last night in Paris or that one night in Geneva.
The last night in Paris, we met up with some friends on the BU program who were also in Paris and ended up in this tiny fondue place in Montmartre that serves wine in baby bottles.
It sounds weirder than it actually was, though that was certainly helped by the hour spent beforehand at the neighboring bar that had glasses of wine for €3.
There were also issues with some sort of reservation, but Rima was the French knight in knitted leopard print, arguing with the restaurant owner. So, we not only got seated, but got free drinks and enough charcuterie to make your head spin. I somehow managed to spill wine on myself despite the baby bottle situation (I did take off the top because it was still weird), but the drinks, company, and cheese were top-notch.
Then there was our one night in Geneva. We stayed with my aunt who lives there and who took us to this big Christmas party that was being held in some swanky hotel. Apparently last year’s fête had been a blast, so we put our best dresses on and cabbed it over. The performer for this year’s party was a Lady Gaga impersonator, but it was awkward because she actually just looked like my friend Emily wearing a kimono, sunglasses and red lipstick. Go figure.
The people watching was also top-notch. There’s a sizable ex-pat population in Geneva, many of whom are from Eastern Europe and really go all-out with their feathers, sequins, skin-tight dresses and gold lamé. Good stuff.
So folks, this is the end. There’s still five days left of my abroad experience, but most of it will be spent packing, “studying” and crying into the nearest pint of cider.
It’s hard to explain what exactly I’ll be crying about. Sure, London is awesome, but it’s been far from my favorite city that I’ve visited this semester. The first half of the abroad program sucked, for the record, and it took a long time to get over my initial culture shock and subsequent FOMO.
I think the thing I’ll miss most about my abroad experience will be the opportunity to travel. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit eight different countries (not counting layovers) and have some truly incredible experiences. Though I have to say I never did get to ride on the back of a Parisian boy’s motorcycle through the streets of Paris a la Lauren Conrad on “The Hills.” But I have a friend who did.
As published on the Daily Free Now abroad blog Dec. 8, 2013