i've found that when living in a foreign land,
unsure of the day to day and what to expect next,
it's the little things that really define the experience.
here's a collection of some 'little things' that either made my day,
or seemed a little to much to bear.
there's a guy in my classes who is so shy,
super talented, and just precious (like put in your pocket precious- he's tiny).
he's not confident in his english, so he doesn't talk much or respond to conversation,
but has asked permission to sit across from me in class so he can practice his sketches for his senior collection. (how fun to be a muse!)
last week we traveled to a museum visit for class & while riding up the elevator to the 5th floor (in silence), he suddenly started singing a late 90's destiny's child song in perfect english.
i was so taken aback i started laughing out loud. it made me so happy.
money can't buy happiness, well sometimes it can:
paris is crazy expensive. the cost of living is very high, and being a student ensures you don't make millions. therefore, i never really splurge on anything and live very minimally (which is fine- i live in Paris!) but i did buy myself a doormat and a tiny little cactus with red blooms that i found in a fluer shop by my house. they were little things to make me feel more at home. one night i got home, took oliver out for his walk, and when i came back about 15 minutes later, someone had stolen the cactus off my enclosed window ledge, and someone else had taken my doormat from INSIDE my building. i was so sad. i dramatically texted my friend saying that it was 13€ of happiness i'll never get back. sounds so stupid to say now, but when you have little, the little things matter.
cheat to win:
i've been really struggling with having a kind heart here and not being begrudged that so many of my peers are so young and stupid rich and have no concept of money or a budget or needing to work hard at anything. they drink and do drugs and party all night & can afford ridiculous supplies for class. none of them care about their grades or doing homework, and i'm so bummed out by that. i can't figure out how they're all passing and having the time of their life.
last week, we had a big exam in one of my favorite classes. i studied for 6-8 hours to memorize about 15 hours worth of lectures. during the test, several other students said they forgot paper and needed to type it on their laptop (which incidentally had all their notes too), others had tiny squares of paper with all the answers on it taped to the palm of their hand. essentially EVERYone (ok, most everyone) was just straight cheating. now i know in the long run, my character will make a difference & you can't really 'cheat' at life and in real jobs, etc. but man, that sucked. thinking that they'll get better grades for cheating. the next day, the girl that was cheating next to me came up to me in the hall to complain how 'unfair' it was that other students had their laptops open and could have just copied the answers from their notes. i looked at her so puzzled thinking "you're mad that they cheated easier than you?" but instead i just said, "yeah, some people huh, no integrity.."
catch me if you can:
on my walk to school, i pass several primary schools and kids walking with their parents to class.
one morning the cutest little french boy was pleading with his dad to race him on the way to school. the dad looked exhausted and kind but was politely telling him, no- not today. the little boy looked so blue, so i turned to him and said, "un, deux, trois" and took off running down the street, full speed. he started squealing and running so hard after me. i let him beat me to the corner (in his defense, he was really fast for a little kid). seeing how happy it made his son, the dad swooped him up in his arms and started jogging down the street, tickling him- looking back to yell "Mercí" at me as they continued to school.
$150 worth of junk:
my sweet mom is the best lady. she'll ask me on the regular if i want her to send me anything. last week, i thought of all my leather scraps at home and embroidery floss (that here costs 3€ a piece) and asked her if it would be cheaper to just send mine. she of course agreed and then threw in some jewelry and my favorite ratty old pair of boots. i came home to a slip that my package was at the local post office & i was SO excited! i quickly ran there before it closed and then faced a disaster. the lady at the register was telling me I had to pay 52€ to pick it up! whaaaat?! why? i was pleading in French. well, because of how the customs form was written (materials, thread, boots, handbag) it looked like i was importing goods and had to pay french taxes on the insured value. I tried to plead that it was just art supplies and old shoes from my house, but to no avail. and so i conceded and handed over my credit card. i was exhausted and sad and it was pouring rain outside and i just couldn't stop myself from crying. it was not cute. like wiping my snotty nose because i was trying so hard not to cry. i couldn't get out of there fast enough. so embarrassing. i think more so because the french are so emotionless & historically, i haven't been a 'crier' really. i think i've cried more in the last 2 years of my life than in the previous 26 combined. just feeling not as strong i suppose. regardless, i now have my favorite boots, that i've bought twice :/