Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Parisian anticipation

The days leading up to leaving are always an interesting mix of feeling both prepared and completely frazzled. This feeling eases with time and lessens in intensity with experience.

In about a week, I’ll be in Paris, France. In some sense, I feel like I understand Paris.
There are countless films, pieces of art and music, and a fair number of themed restaurants that ooze an idealistic picture of romance, beauty and sophistication.

Having grown up on the eastern side of the world, Western culture feels foreign to me.
Granted, I’ve lived in the U.S. for 11 years, but because my childhood was based in Tokyo, Japan, and defined by an Indian upbringing, the eastern side of the world automatically feels more familiar at times.

Anticipating the unfamiliar, I turned to the Internet.

I learned about the arrondisements, or districts, of Paris, each with its own vibe and flavor.

Researching popular restaurants, cafes, museum free days and free Wi-Fi spots has put me a bit more at ease, though every Parisian fashion blog has me questioning the quality of my wardrobe.

Of course, the language barrier can’t be ignored. I have studied French since I was in high school.

I figured I should just take the plunge into the I-need-to–have-a-regular-conversation-with-this-real-French-person stage of learning a language. Here’s to hoping my accent doesn’t give me away too quickly, and I don’t fall into a manhole because I failed to read a sign. But if I do, there’s an app to help.  

As I stare at my large black suitcase and think about how I am going to fit four months of my life into a neat package, I am looking forward to an adventure. To people watching on park benches, to wandering without a map and awkward, stumbling conversations in French.

I hope to learn a thing or two about the Parisians, the city’s landmarks and hidden treasures, and overall sense of culture.

I hope you stick around to see the adventure unfold.

Follow columnist Anu Kumar on Twitter @AnuKumar23

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