December 5, 2014 (Day 318)

Hello! Again, I am so sorry for slacking so badly! Over the next couple days i’m just going to touch on a few things that have happened over the last couple months. I figured I should try and break it up just so it is a little easier for me.

First off! Went to Amsterdam a few weeks ago and had a marvelous time! What a beautiful city it is! I had no idea it would be so nice and that the people would be so friendly. Right when we got there, we met up with a family friend of Roni’s. He told us some sights to see and when to the best times to see them were. One of the first places we went to was the Anne Frank house. It was really a sight to see. So much history took place in such a small house. The first thing that struck me about the house was it’s absence of furniture and lack of human presence. It simply looked like an empty house. Apparently Otto Frank (Anne Frank’s Father) decided that after the war was over and the Nazi’s were forced to return belongings to the people (the belonging’s that were left anyway), he decided that he would rather leave the house empty as it shows a lack of people where there should be people. It is an homage to the millions of Jews that died from that war. The house did feel empty and eerie from that I think. We were also there at night. The other thing I remember very clearly was right after you go through the bookcase, you are confronted by a staircase that is almost the same slant as a wall. I could not believe how steep the stairs were. We watched little old laddies barely being able to climb the stairs. I found that most of the stairs throughout the whole city were very steep (not as steep as the Anne Frank House stairs, but still.) Very moving to see the original place of so much history.

The next morning we woke up bright and early to see the parade! Sinterklass was doing a parade through the streets of Amsterdam to welcome the start of Christmas! I don’t know a whole lot about this tradition other than kids make lanterns and receive gifts, and the older crowd paints themselves black and hand out candy. Apparently they are Sinterklass’ assistants and go down the chimney to deliver gifts and such. Anyway, it was very cool, they did a boat parade in the morning, and then an actual parade in the afternoon where Sinterklass was on a horse riding through the streets! Roni’s family friend had a daughter that we got to watch the parade with. I think it made it a lot more fun because she was pretty into it with all the candy ‘n all.

Other than that, we mostly just walked around, shopped, took pictures and ate a lot of street food. The street food was INCREDIBLE especially compared to Paris. They have foods of all sorts, from sushi to Mexican food, Hamburgers to crepes, they had it all. It was a great time! Ill be sure to post some pictures. :)

Another phenomenon that has been rattling me lately is that I don’t feel the need to pee myself every time I enter a store now to either order food or a drink or buy clothes or whatnot. I feel confident enough in the language to at least get by with buying what I need to, asking price, sizes, colors, what type of tea, hot or cold; I can get by with that. It feels good to be able to have mini conversations now. I feel like I have a unlocked a secret passage way that I couldn’t go down before and i’m finally getting to explore all it’s nooks and cranny’s. I have finally found my niche hear and learned that I can lead a totally normal life outside of the united states. I can study here, take evening classes, join a gym, learn instruments, etc. I know now for when I come back that everything I can do at home, I can do here.

Today, i also had a nice little conversation with one of the cosmetology girls named Armonie. It is so good to talk to people that don’t know any english. It pushed me much harder, especially when you don’t know the word for something and have to figure it out through other words and phrases. There were quite a few times that we didn’t understand each other today, but we muster through it and just laugh it off because in the end, it’s nothing vital and the whole point is to just have a nice conversation with someone. Though, it is strange to hear myself speak French. I kept asking if I was making any sense and she kept saying yes, but I don’t know how sincere she was being. I thought I sounded like I was just jumbling words together, but somehow she figured it out. I think at this point, I know a lot of little phrases and quite a few words, but I need to take a class again and be forced to write essays and short answers in French that forces me to think through all my thoughts on paper and make them into coherent sentences. Because right now, its jumbled words, messed up grammar and unconjugated verbs… It makes me excited to come home and go back to studying.

It’s late and I must sleep. Another post by Monday!!!

Goodnight and bisous!

-Presston

October 16, 2014 (Day 269)

Wow, that number of days that I have been here is getting really large. O.o It’s really amazing how long it feels i’ve been here, which I suppose I have…

Anyway, again, sorry for not posting very much. I’m going to make it a point to post more.

So, it’s October! The last few weeks have been really fun. Haven’t done very much other than say bye to a few friends. The problem with working at this place is that everyone leaves within only a few months. But i’ve been lucky to be spending the last few weeks with Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. We’ve been having a blast meeting people from all over the world, from Holland to England, Italy to Russia, Spain to Japan, and everything in between. It has been incredible to see people’s reactions and connections to the story. Countless people have come up to Jack either speechless or full of excitement just from the site of him. He has recieved so many hugs and gifts from guests. It’s truely been an incredible experience. One French group in particular arrived to see Jack and seemed to just be a fairly standard meet-and-greet. After a few individual photos, a girl with bright orange hair emerged from behind one of her friends and made her way toward Jack. She arrived just next to him. Jack complimented her striped pants as they matched his and she just shook her head yes and then asked if she could give him something. She reached in her pocket and pulled out a bright pink envelope. With trembling hands, she gave it to Jack and asked him to look inside. It was a hand-drawn design of Jack, and then she burst into tears. Well, Jack understood, of course, that she just had a strong connection to his story. But for some reason, Jack wasn’t connecting the French in his brain with his mouth or ears. The girl cried a little and said a few things, but Jack was kind of speechless. In the end, she gave Jack 3 hugs and 3 kisses, and considering no one even gives him one hug usually, it was a moment that just really stood out. That was a moment that i’ll never forget.

I spend a lot of time with a lot of different characters at Disneyland. I was hanging out with Queen of Hearts one day, and this adorable French girl in an Anna dress came out of the crowd to see her. She said a few things and then asked for an autograph with the biggest smile and “S’il vous plaît.” Ever. She was only about 3 or 4, and Queen more than admired her manors. She gave her an autograph and a picture. Then Queen kneeled for a hug and a kiss goodbye. As the little girl was leaving, she didn’t quite turn around all the way, she just kept saying “Trop belle!” and “Votre robe est trés jolie!” Which mean, “too beautiful!” and “You’re dress is very beautiful!” Queen simply couldn’t handle how cute this child was. So they said goodbye and I thought that would be the last time I would ever see her, like most of the kids I see while i’m with the characters. But two days later, I was with Jack and guess who we saw! I told Jack how adorable she was and he was delighted to see her. She was very excited to see Jack as well and greeted him with the same grand smile. They didn’t talk a whole lot, but Jack had the biggest smile I had ever seen on his face. She also gave him a hug and a kiss and said goodbye, but of course, Jack was about a fraction of a second away from grabbing her hand and leaving along with the little girl and her mother. They would have had a grand day in the park all together.

Anyways, those are my two soppy stories from this week. It has been a lot of fun to hang out with Jack and I hope I will be with him when my parents come! :)

Otherwise, nothing really happens around here outside of Disney. We’re working on Christmas parade reps. We watched last years online last night and it is about 1/4 the size of the one from Disney California. Needless to say, i’m not that impressed. I’ve decided today that i’m going to start walking around the park after work and writing down things I think need to be fixed or changed or added and take them home with me. Maybe there can be someone I can talk to back in California about how this park is just about being run into the ground. Apparently they have a lot of plans for just after the first of the year, but I will be back home by then. Can’t wait to hear about them at least and maybe come back and see them again one day.

Oh, and I bet you’re all wondering about my French. Well, again, i’m around British people all the time. But I for some reason started talking to one of the French cosmetologists today and we had a good 15 minute conversation today almost completely in French. She was just calm and repeated things I didn’t quite understand. We talked about how no one in all of europe (or so it seems) has there Halloween costume picked out. I told her it’s annoying because Jack keeps asking people and they just answer, “I dunno.” Halloween is in a week. I understand it’s a really English thing, but this is the 21st century. It’s all changing and Halloween has made a debut in France. But still a lot of people don’t celebrate. She said it was because French people not only don’t plan what they’re doing for holidays until 3 days before, but also don’t really like to celebrate holidays. She finds it annoying as well, and I told her it’s just sad because even a holiday like Valentine’s day is blown up and celebrated so much in the United States. We love celebrating and we don’t care who’s watching. We don’t find ourselves “too cool” for celebrating big like the English do. A couple of my English friends have told me that English people think they’re too cool for a lot of things. Including Disney. They said Disney wouldn’t have done well in England because English people are “too cool” for it. But anyways, Halloween’s only really a thing in the states. After that, she complimented my French and thanked me for trying to speak french. She asked me where I was from and everything and I understood her way better than I thought I would. She asked me about my studies and what I did before Disney and I understood her. I could just feel excitement welling up inside me. She thanked me for trying to speak French and not just coming into cosmetology just asking for what I need in English like most of the Brits do. But then, of course, more people in the world know english more than any other language. Chinese has the most first language speakers because China is densely packed, but everyone knows English. She said she understood, but we’re in France and they should try and speak their language. And then I asked for her name at the end; it was “Léo(something)” I couldn’t make it stick in my head it was so French. But really good moment, i’m really grateful that happened. Really made me realize that I know way more French than I give myself credit for.

So, everything’s going well. Nothing too special other than anxiously waiting my family’s arrival!

And sorry (but not actually that sorry) I am using this blog as a diary as well as a way to keep you all informed. So, sorry (but not actually sorry) for the detailed descriptions of everything. :) THANKS

That’s all for now! I’ll keep you updated as it happens! Love you all and see you in 85 days!

Bisous,

Presston

September 18, 2014 (Day 241)

I promise that it isn’t that I forget this blog is here, it’s just that I am constantly busy here. Which is good, right?

So, I suppose the last time I wrote was the 15th of August. A lot has changed more or less since then. I’ll just give you the brief version as to not bore you. My roommate, Joe, moved out on August 31st, leaving my vulnerable to receiving a new roommate at any time. Me and Joe got along just great. We had the same schedule and completely respected each others property and sleep. We had tea almost everyday after work with our friends from down the hall, Dannie and Ash. Dannie also unfortunately left at the same time as Joe, leaving both Ash and I slightly uneasy. It may sound exciting to some, to meet someone new and and get to know them over the last few months of my time in Paris. The problem was that, people are showing up on as short as 3 week contracts to work at Disney for a prince that likes to spend a lot of money at Disneyland. He commisions a show every year and Disney hires hundreds of new people just for the couple of months. My fear was that I would be stuck with a roommate for a few weeks, they would leave and I would be hanging from a thread again. I’ve heard too many horror stories with roommates at Pleiades, so I decided to move out. So now I live on my own in my 17 m^2 apartment and I am absolutely loving it.

I started using this grammar book that a friend recommended to just keep up on studying French and it has been an absolute blessing. It’s very helpful and very methodical. I look forward to opening it everyday and reading the lesson. I highly recommend it to anyone who is wanting to learn French.

Photo on 2014-09-18 at 00.19

And that’s what the cover looks like. I don’t know what i’m doing, it’s late.

I just got home from Berlin yesterday! It was an absolutely incredible trip. I saw so many things and just to be in the city was absolutely amazing. My first impression of Berlin/Germany was being completely lost in a place that I didn’t speak a lick of the language. I wandered around for an hour or so with no sign of my friend Miriam anywhere. We finally found each other at the first place I was. The next day, we did quite a lot. We visited the Jewish Museum. That was really interesting. I didn’t realize that there were thousands and thousands of German Jews. I thought most of the Jews were found outside of Germany when Hitler invaded other countries. There is so much history leading up to Germany in the 30’s that was really interesting to learn about in this museum. Most of the time in schools, we just learned about WWII, but never the hundreds and hundreds of things that surrounded the war and caused so many terrible things to happen. I could go into it for hours, but i don’t have the time at the moment. Definetly visit this museum if you have a chance. I thought it was really interesting too that the museum wasn’t a WWII museum; it was literally a “Jewish Museum,” all about their culture and their history. I think the one thing I learned from the museum and from my friend is that Germany really does feel absolutely terrible for their past. Even now, they learn about WWII every year in school. Walking through the museum, my friend hardly read the posters because she already knew so much about the war. And, Germany feels so bad about their countries past, that their lack of nationalism has caused them to not want to wave their flags in their homes. Up until maybe 5-10 years ago, Germans didn’t wave their flags for fear of looking too prideful in their country and be accused of being a neo-natzi. The reason I think this is really sad is because it could have been any country. If Hitler sweet talked his way into control of Austria or Italy or Spain or somewhere else, the blame would have been put on that country. But it wasn’t the country that did it, it was the people in the country at that time. There were many Germans against what happened, but they were simply outnumbered. I also think it makes me angry that they are learning about WWII every year, to teach kids that this shouldn’t happen again. But like I said, it could have been any country. Germany should not have to suffer even now for what happened 70 years ago. Yes it happened and it should be remembered OF COURSE, but why are they living in oppression even now. If Germany has to stress anti-war education, so should other countries. It could be anyone.

After the war museum, we went to the east-side gallery. I got some great photos there  of the remaining pieces of the Berlin wall. It was so surreal to be in a place where so much history took place less than 25 years ago. The wall is extremely tall and must have daunted people in their dreams for years. They had some pictures of what it looked like in the 60’s and such. The amount of barbed wire and wooden barriers and such is absolutely incredible. We also saw Checkpoint Charlie, where the Americans, Brits and French had tanks pointed directly at the Soviets, who had tanks pointing straight back. One just waiting for the other to fire. They were like that for 24 hours at one point. If you don’t know the history of Berlin’s east/west situation, look it up. It is absolutely fascinating. We walked a little on the east side of Berlin, which is still a somewhat poor, run-down area. It’s a bizarre city really. But up and coming. They are still trying to redistribute the wealth among the east and west side I believe, as well as trying to make the east look more like the west. Later that night, we went for a drink at a local pub and my German friends showed me some of their favorite beers. First of all, AMAZING beer. Not too sweet, not too sour. Secondly, about 1/4 of the cost a beer in Paris would cost. I need to go back to Berlin for a beer tasting session I think. As well as find these beers in the states. And the second day, we didn’t do much other than sit by the “Spree” ( I think that’s how it is spelled) and talk and enjoy that perfect weather. It was a wonderful trip, just what I needed.

But getting home. These are the kind of things that make me want to return home ASAP. First, my plane was late. We ended up leaving an hour after we were supposed to. “Ok,” I thought, “no problem, I can still make it home on the train no problem.” I was wrong of course. I got back to the airport to find the first of three trains I needed to get home was out of service. So I had to take a bus, which was crammed to the brim with people trying to find a way around the train situation. Finally got to Paris where I had to take the Metro to a bus station. I caught the first night bus I could home which got me home at 2:45 in the morning. I should have been home no later than 12:30. But the airport staff decided that even though the train was down, they didn’t need to increase the buses or anything like that. Everyone will figure it out for themselves. In America or in England, if there was a public means of transportation that was out of service, another means would be offered. So, if the train is out, INCREASE IN BUSSES. Every 10 minutes instead of every half hour. People probably got home WAY later than I did. It makes me crazy sometime. But still a good trip and I made it home safely. :)

Sorry for the long post. This is why I need to post more often. Happy readings! And I would love to hear from any of you via e-mail or post! My mom has my new address. I’ll be coming home in just 100 days or so. See you all soon!

Bisous,

Presston

August 15, 2014 (Day 207)

GEEZE have I been SLACKING. 

Sorry everyone. I have been very lazy about not keeping up on blogposts. I really am regretting that now as this was going to double somewhat as a diary. So lets recap, shall we?

I’ve been back in Paris, working for Disney for almost 2 months now. It’s been a very interesting experience seeing how both parks under the same name work completely differently. Both parks work differently for different reasons, but the main thing that each are trying to work with is labor laws. There is no end to labor laws in France, making it very difficult for them to try and run like any of the American parks. Not to mention the difference in work habits. But, all in all, I really love working for a company that I am proud to say I work for, in a country that I adore so much. 10533086_10203633990001694_627132627913696778_n

I’m currently living in the Disney dorms that they provide for us. There are 12 buildings in all, and they are basically just small apartments. They are small, but enough for 2 people to live comfortably in. I have lived with a Brit from London named Joe, and we have been getting along great. When I first got here, I swear most of the English people around me were speaking another language. Some of their accents were so thick and harsh, or lazy and slurred. A girl in my formation comes from a region in England called Liverpool, making her a skouser (i’ve been loving learning all these new regions and accents from places in Britain.) She has the thickest English accent I have ever heard. When we were still just getting to know each other, I was constantly asking her to repeat herself, or ask what she meant by a phrase she used. I swear she wasn’t always speaking English…. But, i’ve started to catch on to the different terminology and accents and such and it is SO cool. The English i’ve met are so stereotypically British most of the time, it makes me laugh. We were talking about the difference between British humor and American humor; you wouldn’t think there would be that big of a difference only because were both English speaking and have so many ties to each other. But they make jokes all the time that I just don’t get why they’re funny, and the other half of the time, they make jokes that are the funniest i’ve ever heard. They say they get our humor because of media. They watch a lot of our American tv series and movies. They get our humor and hear our accent all the time. My roommate is cast in a show right now in the Disneyland Pairs where they do a little show and then a meet and greet after. He doesn’t have to, but he puts on a southern American accent and it’s better than mine. It’s cool to hear how people from around the world have their eyes on us. When I was living in America, I never thought about the outside world too much. I thought about what was happening in New York and in Los Angeles. I thought about what national disasters were happening and about the latest celebrity gossip, but I never really thought about outside the American boarders. It makes sense, since we are a very large country, but I really see the lack of American’s knowledge with what is happening around the world right now. We just have so much happening all around us all the time. But being in a country like France, you’re forced to hear and see things that are going on around you because there is constantly people passing through. It’s just something I will try to stay aware of when I return home.

I live in the 5th zone from Paris, meaning it’s about 45 minutes via train outside the city. It’s not the closest place to me, but it’s doable to go on days off and what not. We’ve gone in for days like Bastille day and “La Fete de la Musique.” Both were astounding times in the city and great to see how a different culture likes to celebrate. While we were watching the Eiffel Tower light up and dance around to dramatic music, us loud americans were trying to take a photo together, and we were being a little loud. We got shushed multiple times by some French people. We probably should have been more quiet, but lots of other people were talking and making noise, but we were making the most noise I suppose. ANYWAY, they were trying to focus on the beautiful music and enjoy being proud of their country in such a dramatic way. Americans would have definitely done something more party oriented. I love where I live though, even if it isn’t in the city like I wished. 

I’ve been learning a lot of roles at Disneyland and helping a lot of friends out. My day that I felt the best about myself was when I was helping Tigger out in the parade. The very first day he learned that choreography, they put him out to do the whole parade. I wish I could reenact how comical to see him wandering around without a clue of where he was supposed to be. It was all just jumbled in his mind I suppose, and he froze and forgot everything. When he got off the parade route, he was tired and grumpy and just felt like crying for feeling like he messed up the entire parade. But he didn’t. He cooled off and kept his chin up. He got to try again a few days later, and he did it absolutely perfectly. He was so bouncy that day and really enjoyed feeling confident in the choreography. He came off parade route and looked so proud and accomplished for dancing a whole parade with no problems. That was a fun day for both of us. And now, i’ve been getting to help out some other friends like my green army friends and pirate friends. I hope I have a day with them soon and i’ll post pictures of course. :) Off parade route, I got to help out Beast (Belle’s Prince) a couple weeks ago. That was a really fun time as well. Not much more I can say about it other than it was a good day for Beast and Belle. 10557326_10203520407682207_462257770540275344_n

My French is coming along alright. Like I said, i’ve mostly only met Brits since being here, so i’m speaking English 95% of the time. I have a couple French friends as well, but we usually speak English as well. I’m hoping once I get to spend more time with Beast, i’ll get the chance to speak with guests more and practice. I am really frustrated only because in my department, everyone speaks some level of English. Most of the costumers will speak to me in English even when I want to practice. But i’m trying to speak to them in only French even if they speak to me in English. It kind of helps. :3

Anyways, that’s a little of what’s been going on. I hope to hear from you all soon and i’ll try to start doing one post a week. :)

Have a great Friday everyone!

Bisous!

June 17, 2014 (Day 148)

“Welcome back!!!”

I’ve heard that quite a few times over the past couple weeks. It’s hard to believe I have only been home 4 weeks! It feels like it has been much longer. It feels almost as if I never left. The only way I can describe this short interlude and how it felt on me is as a sort of purgatory. I have been caught between two great loves of my life, and it hasn’t been easy to sort out which one I like better or understand better or fit in to better. Both, of course, have their pros and cons. And wow, what a hard life, being stuck between living in Southern California or living in Paris.

My life is obviously so difficult.

Home is good. Southern California has always been my home, and will be for at least a while longer. I’m comfortable there and I feel safe. I’m in my element and I can talk to people whenever I want without fear of mixing up words or sounding like a child when I speak. I can walk into a restaurant not afraid I am going to order the live snails or something. People understand me in SoCal and I understand them. It’s my second nature. I can live without having to think about it every single day. The beaches are beautiful and warm. Beach towns and american coffee are things I missed the most while in Paris. But then I think of how much I miss Paris; more specifically how much I miss being surrounded by art. SoCal doesn’t have the art like Paris does. It doesn’t have charming bistros and beautiful buildings. It doesn’t have the energy that Paris has. I yearn for that energy and the effect is has on me. Paris will just always have a piece of my heart.

But it is a struggle even still. Paris has great attributes about it; such as fantastic amounts of art and history literally dripping from that city. You will never find a place with a more interesting history (in my humble opinion.) You could spend an entire lifetime trying to learn and understand the centuries of history that came from this city, not to mention what a huge role it plays in world history. It has such a charm and beauty to it that you will not find anywhere else. The streets of Paris have always felt safe and (for the most part) welcoming no matter what time of day/night it is. And, not only is there a vast history to Paris, but there is also constantly new art and history being made there, making it not only appeal to the old souls, but to the younger generations as well. The French culture just seems to make sense to me. The way they go about their day and what they value versus what Americans value, the French have a completely different view. They have and appreciate real things. Real relationships, real buildings, real food, real emotions… It’s all there. Americans can be very shallow and not look for a relationship past a drinking pal or just a brief friend. Once you make friends with a Frenchman, you are bonded for life. You can’t back out of that relationship, no matter how hard you try. I try to understand what I can about their culture, but while I was there, it was hard to adjust to this completely different way of culture and life, not to mention the language. And so what if I want to drink a coffee while walking, could you stop with the weird stares, PLEASE? Or if i’m a little loud on the metro, or wearing tennis shoes instead of suede Michael Kors? I’m not an alien. I’m just American.

So, I guess, I appreciate the French and I love their culture, but I think I will always be an American at heart, no matter where i’m living. Southern California will always be my home and maybe one day Paris will be too. They both make me feel safe and comfortable in their own ways. In the end, I have two homes. California and Paris will both always have a piece of my heart, teaching me to enjoy the moment that i’m in and appreciate the good while i’m in one, and look forward to the good that is to come.

May 6,2014 (Day 106)

Awesome day! Had a french teacher at the school that the kid’s I babysit attend, teach me how to make a boat out of paper. She was very sweet and asked me where I came from and stuff. She explained all the instructions in French, and I actually UNDERSTOOD. Also, most of the day with the kids I babysit, I actually understood what they were saying to me! It was a very good day to understand soo much and be able to respond. :)

May 4, 2014 (Day 104)

Bonjour tout le monde!

How is everyone? Good I hope! I have been great as well. Very busy and so many things have happened since we last talked! It’s hard for a non-writer to keep up a blog like this. But I really have been trying.

Spring break was probably the biggest event to take place over these past few weeks. We started on a train to Rome. We left at about 2:30 in the afternoon on a wonderful first class journey from Paris to the north of Italy. It was beautiful scenery and a smooth journey. I wish we could have stayed there for the whole journey, but instead we had to transfer trains. The second train was a complete opposite from the first. Instead of mounds of space and a beautiful window seat, I got put in a room with 5 other Italians all facing each other in our little 6 person pod. People were yelling at each other (in Italian) and trying to sleep and trying to open a window or what not, and I just sat there with the most understanding and careless face I could manage (didn’t want to look like a complete tourist.) It wasn’t the worst train ride ever, but I probably got an hour and a half of sleep that night. We arrived at 6 am and went straight to the hostel to drop our things off and get our day started! We did all the normal touristy things and really had a great time! We spent sunday (Easter) at the Vatican for mass. The pope spoke and I got to hear him speak! He is so cool. Mass was really incredible even if I didn’t know what was happening most of the time. We made some american friends while waiting in line who ended up sitting behind us during mass as well. There were something like 150,000 people at mass the Vatican that day. Way too many. Monday, we headed to Sorrento. We spent our time lounging around on the beach, eating gelatto and sea food for all meals of the day. Not a whole lot to do there, but it was so relaxing and reminded me a lot of home. The water was crystal clear and the sun was so warm. It was one of my favorite places i’ve ever been. Next was Florence. We saw the Duomo of course and spent some time shopping at the leather market here. It was really beautiful and again, one of the coolest places i’ve been. Last was Venice. We didn’t do a whole lot here except ride in a gondola with a man who would say, “Hello, sorry, excuse me…..” When he was trying to tell us some history about the city or something. He sounded like he was going to yell at us for something, but he ended up being very nice. Great time there as well, even if there wasn’t a whole lot to do either. We had thee BEST gelatto here. It was from somewhere called “Cà d’oro.” It was so good that we had it 3 times in 2 days. Worth it. For our trip back, we took a sleeper train. It was actually quite nice to be able to spread out, and lay down. We also didn’t have to go through any security lines or wait 2 hours for our train to leave. I much preferred it to flying. And in fact, I only took trains all week and I didn’t spend an obscene amount on travel. I highly recommend it.

By the end of our week, I could not wait to return to Paris. Could not wait to get back to familiarity and to not traveling everyday. It was the greatest morning ever, stepping off an overnight train and seeing Paris under the rain again.

Anyways, school is coming to a close now. We only have one more week and then finals. It really started to set in today how much I am going to miss living here, in Paris. Yes, yes. I am coming back technically, but I will not be living in the city. Yes, I will be close, but no I won’t be living in the hustle and bustle of it all. It makes me very sad that my friends from here are leaving as well and that I really don’t know the next time I will see them. I have grown to love them a lot and going through this journey together has made us just that much closer. I know that they are incredibly sad to be leaving this beautiful city as well. I have never had the chance to live in a place that I have felt so much of a connection to. I know Paris like the back of my hand at this point. It really does feel like home. Paris is my home and she will always have a piece of my heart. I’m going to miss the crowded sidewalks and the stinky metro, the cold/windy days and the dog “treats” in my path. I’m also going to miss lazy sundays with friends and visiting a new museum everyday. I’m going to miss street performers and aspiring artists. Paris can not be described with just a few breif descriptions. It would take a lifetime to try and understand how this one city has brought hope and joy to so many dreamers young and old. I will miss it.

2 more weeks until my flight. Lots of mixed emotions. À bientot! :)

-Presston