First impressions are stressful when it comes to meeting people.
Saying the right thing, not having food stuck in your teeth, appearing to be seemingly put together — it becomes quite the hassle.
But, when you meet a city for the first time, there is no pressure.
Paris opened up her streets to me and I, in return, did not have to worry about impressing her.
Arriving at my home for the semester, tucked away in the 17th arrondissement, it was a surreal feeling to see sights I had only seen on postcards.
Needless to say, Paris has me swooning for more.
Of course, first impressions are often followed by the getting-to-know-you phase, which at times is less romantic than the initial meeting.
That moment hit as I got down from the cab, attempting to find a gap between tightly-packed cars in order to reach the sidewalk and avoid oncoming traffic.
That challenge was followed up by the “how many large suitcases and moderately-sized humans can you fit into an elevator” game.
But, it’s Paris.
Any little hiccup in the day was triumphed by the fact that I can see the Arc de Triomphe from my apartment.
The gorgeous window displays and packed market spaces easily beat out the rainy weather.
Every Parisian smoker exhaling a puff your way can be deflected by focusing on the sound of French conversation.
Even a confusing metro map can be decoded and provide clarity.
Despite my initial anxiety of having to carry on a conversation, I have successfully stumbled through an entire day of speaking solely in French with my host.
Native French speakers, as I’ve witnessed it, appreciate the attempt. Even the cab driver noted, “Speak French, it’s good for you.”
As people, we’re meant to adapt, to be mobile and overcome what is foreign to us.
At the end of the day, I am willing to be a little lost and sound like a foreigner if it means I am within walking distance from one of the most famous French monuments.
I think Paris and I will get along just fine.
Follow columnist Anu Kumar on Twitter @AnuKumar23.