2015 Summer Caitlyn Heter France Paris Temple Summer

The Longest Days Ever.

I’m gradually adjusting to my new time zone, and trying to eat at regular intervals. On my first day I forgot to eat lunch, and on my second day I slept through breakfast, but today so far I’m doing well! I’m sitting by the big window, writing, waiting until the French news comes on. I’m told by my host family that the reporters are very articulate, and that listening to the broadcast may help me learn.

Yes, today I’m sitting in the apartment doing very little, on what may be my only day off for a long time. Friends of mine from Temple are going to see some tourist attractions today, things that I saw during my previous visit to Paris. The catacombs are very cool, and I definitely recommend going…but since I’m a bit claustrophobic, I really have very little desire to see them a second time.

I feel guilty for not going out on an adventure this morning, but the last three days of travel and tourism have left me completely exhausted. I don’t intend to make it a habit, but today is supposed to be the hottest day of the week (which has been a scorcher!) and I felt I had earned this day off. I’m hoping to make plans for tonight when it’s cooled down! And so, here are some updates and observations.

After the TSA broke my watch, my flight was delayed. After that, we sat on the runway for about 45 minutes doing nothing but waiting. At last, we began our 6.5 hour flight, during which I slept for maybe 1-2 hours. So after a total of about 12 hours of sitting in the car, sitting in the airport, sitting on a plane, and sitting on a bus, I was rather glad to be on my feet. At least until I saw all the stairs.

The metro here is, in most places, only reached by long trails of escalators, tunnels, and MANY stairs, and I still think the layout makes no sense because last night I had to go in a big, unnecessary triangle to get to my destination. This less-than-direct system made for long and uncomfortable travel from the airport with my two suitcases. I think I actually pulled a muscle in one of my arms, because it is still sore.

Ah yes, from getting lost, to exploding soda, to taking the wrong bus, my first two days here were far from smooth sailing. But between those things happening I ate something delicious or I saw something really beautiful, and I can always go to those memories to feel better about how my stay is going. During difficult moments I try to remember what an awesome thing I’m doing, being essentially on my own in Paris.

From the roof of the Foyer, where many Temple students are staying, countless landmarks of Paris are visible.
From the roof of the Foyer, where many Temple students are staying, countless landmarks of Paris are visible.

Also, I don’t know what it is about Paris but the sun shines here from about 5am to almost 11pm! The summer days are so long!

It has been unbelievably hot, and I’m told that some elderly people and some children have died here because of the heat. To me it’s strange; at home, heat waves cause only mild concern in areas with older homes and people. That’s probably because there are so few places in the US where air conditioning is not commonplace.

Although there isn’t air conditioning in the apartment (only stores seem to have AC in Paris) we do leave the windows open, which allows a nice breeze to come through for most of the day, making the heat pretty tolerable. There are no screens in the windows–I can stick my head out and look around as much as I please. At home in the U.S. all kinds of bugs are attracted to the cool indoor environment, but I’m really not kidding when I say I’ve just now, in this exact moment, seen an insect fly into the window for the first time since arriving.

I do see a lot of birds outside my bedroom window though, and last night I actually had a dream involving a terrifying bird invasion. So I’m feeling a little paranoid about my open window… It’s ok, Félin will protect me.

Félin, possibly my favorite cat ever.
Félin, possibly my favorite cat ever.

For now, au revoir. See you in a few days for the next post!

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