Saturday, January 7, 2012

First day

I thought it all was going to be such a hassle. I thought it would be more difficult. I don't know why but I imagined Charles de Gaulle airport bustling with French families and international businessmen trying at all costs to get to their destination. I thought customs would be a long line of half-asleep Americans and crying babies. I thought my bags were going to be lost and shipped off to Dubai. I thought the Cabernet from Napa I brought as a housewarming gift would break in my suitcase tie-dying my clothes against my will.

Instead, my flight arrived forty minutes early to an empty airport--of course it was empty, France is closed on Sundays. The customs officer smiled politely as he barely looked up from my passport and motioned me to enter the country. I even snagged a baggage carrier so that I wouldn't have to push my suitcases (which, by the way, each weigh as much as a chubby 6-year-old) all the way to the taxi line. And the cab driver only honked at another driver once! La chance!

So after a 55€ taxi ride, I found myself standing on the corner of Rue Chaptal and Rue Blanche, right smack dab in the middle of 9e arrondissement of Paris in front of a large green double door. I entered the building after punching in the code I was given and was greeted by my host family at the second set of doors.

M. et Mme. Auban are very French. A grey haired woman in her late fifties bobbed up and down like a teenage girl at my arrival. Her husband, a tall man with a thin grey mustache that stretches over his crooked smile, calmly took my alarmingly large suitcases and welcomed me into his home, a beautiful apartment built in the 1830s. The walls are all painted white and stretch for miles as they meet the high ceilings at the decorative panels. A chandelier hangs from the large living room. After that, Mme. Auban took the reigns and showed me to my new bedroom, a spacious room with a view of the the salon de thé across the street and the flashing tabac sign above the corner brasserie (I would call it a bar, but doesn't brasserie sound so much fancier?)

She brought me around the neighborhood so as to familiarize myself with the area before my official first day tomorrow. It's still hard to believe that I'm in Paris right now. I keep having to remind myself to pay attention to everything surrounding me. For now, I am jet lagged and I am le tired, so I think I'll have a nap.

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