A rollercoaster of a week

Bonjour!! This week was super crazy busy and, unfortunately, I did not have time to go to a concert. I experienced many highs and several lows this week during and between everything I was doing. On Sunday, after being in my home stay in Paris for exactly three weeks, the cat decided she liked me!!! It is very exciting for me, but now she lets me pet her and play with her, and it makes me very happy. Often after dinner, I will spend ten minutes with her, getting in my daily dose of cat.

I had my first big assignment due on Wednesday, so I spent Monday and Tuesday afternoons at the center where we have the classes we take through our program. There is a little library at the end of the hallway, so I holed myself up in there while it was raining outside to get my work done. On Wednesday, for my art history class, we had class in the Musée d’Orsay, which was so much more enjoyable than class in the Louvre. Based off my first trip to Paris, I already knew that I liked the Musée d’Orsay better than the Louvre. There was no line to get inside, so we were not late for class, and there were significantly fewer people in the rooms where we were. There was a nice amount of noise from background conversations, but I was still able to hear the professor when she spoke.

After class on Wednesday, I went and got lunch, but after that I went home because it was raining. As I was in bed, with no homework to do, that was when my emotional state reached the lowest it has been since arriving in France almost a month ago. My first thought was to blame it on the rain, as it has been raining for almost two weeks, but I really think that it is related to living in the city. Now that we have settled into a routine with classes, this trip no longer feels like a vacation, and I am not sure I want to be here. I hate seeing buildings surrounding me in every direction I look. I feel trapped and I miss the openness I am used to. I miss driving my car, and I miss the open roads. I miss being able to see the mountains and the ocean. I miss the trees and the stars and the silence I have become accustomed to experiencing all over New England for the past twenty years.

After Wednesday, though, Thursday was a very good day. After class, I took the RER out to Maisons-Laffitte to babysit a four-year-old boy. Every week, I will bring him to Pony Club and speak with him in English. The city itself was fascinating. I got off the train, and at first glance Maisons-Laffitte looks like a normal city. But then you drive less than five minutes down the road and you reach the forest. The city is also known as the « cité du cheval » and it was very clear why. Once you enter the forest, horses have priority on the roads, and there were so many trails for people to ride through in the woods. I brought this boy, Hugo, to Pony Club, and it was really not what I was expecting. I was expecting a couple of kids riding ponies in a ring and I was just there to accompany Hugo to and from the barn. Rather, there were seven children between the ages of four and six. They all came with a parent, who then held the lead rope and walked alongside their child’s pony for half an hour. We went into the forest and walked the trails in the woods, and we also walked along the road some. For the most part, Hugo’s English abilities were limited to « Hello ! » « Horse ! » « How are you? » and « I love you. » I am very interested to see if spending a couple hours with him every week will improve his vocabulary. I am very excited to be able to do this every week because this afternoon was exactly what I needed to get my mood and mindset back on track. Being around the ponies and walking in the woods felt like home, and it made me very happy and calm.

I spent all day on Friday doing homework because we had an excursion this past weekend to the Châteaux de la Loire, but I will write about that in the next post, in addition to next week’s concert. This blog is getting increasingly more difficult for me to write as I find myself further and further immersed in living and thinking in French. Anyways, that’s all for now! À bientôt!!!

– Mg