A Massive Dose… of Calm Down

(part time princess)

            Paris is at my fingertips, but I realized much faster than my previous time in London, that I am still me. Paris can only be what I make it to be, if I choose to panic and freak out because I’m nervous about the different scenarios and situations that are in my future then that is what I’ll pull out of this semester. Just the same, I admire the way that most people, including myself, are able to put the negative memories or minor heartaches and panic attacks behind them and remember the silver lining of most every event of our lives.

However, I am really trying (after only recording a small amount of information, personal thoughts, and journal entries last time), to record the memories, mess-ups, laugh out moments, and awe-inspiring lessons of this semester. C’est le meilleur gardien du blog. (The best goal of this blog).

Armed with my study guides, study abroad folder, visa information, and all the Paris guides to life that I could possibly afford to bring with me, I was still very unsettled at our Paris orientation meeting on Friday morning. I was tired and although some of the information was a repeat common sense lesson from last time, there were many things that France just does a little bit differently than England does. You wouldn’t think that the 22 miles between France and England would make that much of a difference, but the languages and the locations, one being in Central Europe are quite influential upon the individual state of affairs. There are beaucoup de choses to do, see, and travel to, and lots of little things to remember along the way, but it really is one of the most privileging experiences that I have ever had the pleasure of doing for an entire year. With my bundled up nerves and a copious amount of water in my system that just did not seem enough, we headed out for a short lunch before returning for another part of our orientation meeting.

Lunch was petits sandwiches provided by our programme complete with “Coca-Cola Light,” (Diet Coke in the USA), “Coca-Cola,” and the ever-present, infamous “Orangina.” It’s literally everywhere here and it comes in a whole variety of flavours as well.



I tasted some of it, but it really didn’t satisfy my tastebuds at the time, so I opted for another copious helping of water. Jet lag, dehydation, jet lag, and more dehydration. I had to make that peristent three day headche go away!

It’s hard not to erase the American influence on the entire international world. Some type of potato chip was also being served at lunch and/ or with a une petite salade that I really loved. Since I was still a little bit hungry and off set in my eating schedule from home, I ate one a French apple as a part of my lunch. C’est incroyable! Imagine that it actually tastes like a real apple and is not all shiny like the ones in the states. I’m already staying here permanently! Yes, not just for any old reason, just for the French apples. seriously. 😉

I think that there may have also been a self-diagnosed Monoprix shopping spree that happened during that lunch as well as a little internet browsing as well. Those were both designed to distract myself and buy yet another thing at Monoprix. Yes I like to shop, especially in Paris. I’m only human and it’s this city….hope that you get that joke as well. Trust me it’s hard to reign in your shopping instincts here, but you must to keep afloat and truly live a fulfilling life here.

Armed with distracted nerves, we were then guided through an orientation of what living with our new French host families would be like. Yes, well this is where I started to panic suddenly, I was very red (or at least I felt like it) and I was having a little trouble breathing. This lecture was helping, as one of our directors, Jim, is incredibly nice and entertaining, but I was freaking myself out entirely too much as usual. Too much French to know, what if I greet them wrong?! Then I thought, they will probably hate me more than they already would because my French is so horrible right now. So I needed water and a trip outside of that room fast, not before I broadcast to the entire classroom and my director that I am experiencing a mild panic attack while I am turning fifteen shades of white.

Except that there was really nothing to be afraid of, my parents and the people that have raised me thus far in my life as well as the experiences that I have gone through have brought me to this exact point. Prepared me to be  happy even in the most disconcerting situations, to make the most of what I am given and to only pull the best from it. Who cares if I am horrible right now, in six months, the progress that I will make here will be incomprehensibly different than what it is now.

So it was Jim’s talk and my own self reassurance that everything was going to be just fine that made our Welcome dinner at the <<Bistrot du Coin,>> my first real traditionally French meal that much more relaxing and deserved.

(lauren conrad)

And I will live out my French fantasies and fairytales…because this city, no matter who you are or what you are coming to do here, it truly is magical. No doubt about it.

(part time Princess)


I wasn’t expecting…

I really was not expecting how difficult this whole experience would be for me. Bien sûr, it is wonderfully difficult, mais, it is quite hard not seeing the end result of all of this. So many hurdles to get through and anyone that knows me well, knows that I like planned out details, not the ones that just seem to be pop up whenever they want to. But I have to face the fears to eventually become the best person that I am truly capable of being. If that means struggling with French for now, so be it.

However, I do notice that I am improving in the short amount of time that I have been here, and on the positive side of things as well, I am running faster than I did back at home, back into my London running routine (maybe its that Eiffel Tower that I have to look at in the distance-key motivation pour moi) and the people in my programme are very nice as well. I had to remember that this was a different group from my London friends and that they are going to want to do different things and appreciate certain things while I see things from a different perspective. Just the same as last time, except that I am learning it much faster this time, which is much to my benefit. And appreciating the situation and the different people for who they are will make this entire semestre so incredibly fantastique! I really love how much everyone truly appreciates this city already and French culture, although they are  just USC juniors, they are already very mature and ready to take on the challenges of this semestre. Heck! They are better at dealing with some things better than I am and I have been able to calm down my talk about last semester in London because I don’t want to annoy them too much!

Leaving off from Thursday night, the longest day of my entire life so far and a supermarché dinner from Monoprix. My sleep was quite restless again and after one unrestful night in an actual bed (as opposed to a plane seat), I was experiencing a constant headache, but hey! who really cares when Paris is at your feet? That morning we were served a traditional European breakfast at our hotel, with the typical croissants, chocolate croissants, yogurt, cereal, lait, pineapple chunks, compote (see I told you that it was very popular here!), ham, butter, slices of cheese, bread, mini crêpes with choices of confiture, beurre, NUTELLA, and honey (miel en français). To drink a carafe of water, choices of café from the machine and juices. Of course, these were all choices, we certainly did not choose them all, but it was a difficult decision making process for three mornings in a row! So I made sure to mix things up every morning, even bringing my own fruit for some of the breakfasts as I love fruit for breakfast and that is not a very traditional component of their breakfast meals here in Europe. Who knew that one of the best breakfasts that you could have would be in a French hotel?! I mean last time with ACCENT London, the café au lait was fantastic, but really hmmm….I get hungry just thinking about it.

So you can drool too…here are a couple of pictures from Vicki’s blog from the same programme as me….

Although it’s been four days since I have last published a post, I am still in desperate need of sleep….ahhh my bed is very very comfortable and my head really hurts so more to come tomorrow on the last 10 days of Paris.

part time princess

Paris-A City of Light

More about Paris to come, but I thought I would share some favorite recent “blogspotting” searches of mine that are très Parisienne in their likeness:

Lauren Conrad:http://www.laurenconrad.com/post/inspired-idea-twinkle-twinkle

Un livre de recettes à Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Cheesemongers-Kitchen-Celebrating-Cheese-Recipes/dp/0811877663


Macarons à Paris: (Ladurée, Pierre Hermé) http://katiearmour.tumblr.com/post/15603457309


Mon petit déjuener:



A reminder of the amazing god of a man that we saw in the Métro once last semester (Francine, Courtney et moi). Reminds me of Tessa too with the appropo nail colour as well. I bet she would be able to tell me the exact colour. (:


(In honor of all the hype around le coup de foudre de Princess Charlotte de Monaco-sa grandmère était Grace Kelly)


Very Parisienne:


Un autre photo de Tour Eiffel (Yes, I am obsessed, I am allowed to be!):


Finalement, a pure Parisienne photo, posted by Tessa. Now how do I look like that-more ballet and yoga-s’il vous plaît :


Bonne nuit tout le monde!


Et Volià!

via taryn-davidson4

After arriving here on Thursday, January 19th, (I need to remind myself of the date somehow), and enduring that crazy day, things finally started to seem a little more normal. My adjustment period here has been quite shorter than the one that I experienced last semester à Londres as it was first time en Europe. I cannot even imagine what it is like for the  kids that are studying here with me and it is the first time being here not only in France, but in Europe. A round of applause is truly in order, you all are truly troopers of an extraordinary kind. The street signs are confusing here in Europe themselves so I cannot imagine what it would be like to see them on the sign on the side of the building for the first time and en français!

Alors…(S0…) as I sit here staring at my Evian bottle (they are much cheaper here…so I am not “Naive”) in my new home in the 1e arrondisement à Paris, I was trying to encapsulate the first five days of this trip in my head for one moment. Impossible! At least I’m doing a much better job than last time around with the journaling/blogging! See I learned something from that experience, well I learned a lot, and I have noticed that I have picked up the habit quite readily of referring to the Métro in Paris as the “Tube” like the one in London. It will come more naturally later I guess?

French is a really unique language, with a completely different way of approaching life that English rarely comes close to. Hence, there is word for that feeling that you get after having a lovely conversation with someone and you only think of the things that you wanted to say after the conversation is over. I needed a little help to remember it...”L’esprit de escalier” (French) The feeling you get after leaving a conversation, when you think of all the things you should have said. Translated it means “the spirit of the staircase.”  (source: Lonely Planet). In fact, every language has a word or phrase that simply cannot be translated entirely or  even beautifully and rightfully so in another language. C’est très belle pour moi!

So, the title of this post is a perfect example for that, as my host sister said “Do you have the word  “Volià” in the English language?” And frankly, “There you go” just doesn’t work for me, and with no direct translation “Volià!” does evoke more emotion. Only one of many things that I like about the French. And after my many years of French and not being to speak fluently, I am definitely having my children take languages early-four languages is good enough right? A little bit of French, Italiano, Spanish, English, okay… maybe lets throw in a little bit of Danish or Dutch or German or something…maybe even Portugeuse? Gosh they sound like the perfect candidates to be a Pan Am stewardess just like that show back in America “Pan Am.” It’s not the best show in the world, but its entertaining and fun and I actually kept up with it from the beginning- a big time shocker for me. And then I have to go study abroad again and make it hard for myself again bahahaha.

Well, I am off to eat a late dinner with my new host family, lots of good nourriture in my future! Actually describing vendredi entre lundi (Friday to Monday) will come soon! Bonsoir pour maintenant!

Lauren Conrad Blog

Lauren-Conrad Blog

Paris à nuit

I Wouldn’t Be Here If….

Well, there is lots to say and catch up on, which may require more than one post, but I need to get through some things first. For one being grateful for being able to be here, not only in Paris, but also studying abroad again. I could not have asked for a better year, but it is truly these things that I fear the most. I want to eventually become fluent in French at some point in the near future of my life, but the downfall experience that happens for me in the first few days of studying abroad is my own way of second guessing myself. I’m really trying, but there are a lot of emotions, jetlag and self-doubt being mixed into one pot.

I am going to post the typical study abroad pictures where everything seems delectable and the sky is always shining on the Tour Eiffel, but moving into a new home, speaking, reading, writing, and even eating (drinking too) a new language is quite the adjustment and different from my London experiences. Different people, different levels of adjustment and comfortable levels. However, I do have goals and I strongly want to stick to them. That is that. I know that this time for me, and not the French fluency aspect of it, it is truly mind over matter. Running doesn’t hurt either.

I truly would not be here in Paris without my family, they have really stuck it out with me on this one and I am quite aware that this kind of opportunity does not come along often and is quite amazing all at once. Life changingly so. I also have to remind myself that if I was fluent in French, it would be too easy to be here, I know that certain fears and challenges are placed into our lives for a reason. Again, I am not God though and so seeing is much harder than believing it. Not to compare my life to a Disney movie, but that sounds like a line out of “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen, but in all seriousness, as the director of Housing at my programme said “A closed mind means nothing.” Very true, right?!

As you can tell, I am not a woman of few words or thoughts, so I’m extending those trailing thoughts to another post for the evening! À toute à l’heure!

Who even knows where my sister would find this kind of stuff?

Translation Please

Bonsoir Everyone!

After reading my post from yesterday, I realized that for all the non-French learners that it might be kind of difficult to get through one post without a French-English dictionary. So if there is something that I write in French that is very hard to understand, I will just star* it, so the posts are not so difficult to read. Thank you everyone, I’m trying to practice my French here as much as possible so bear with me!

xo Ashley

Bienvenue à Paris!

Bienvenue en France!

Well it actually happened, I came to Paris for my second semester during my quatrième année in  university, after a fantastic semester pendant l’automne à Londres. It is still completely overwhelming, the people are different, but very beautiful and always in style no matter what they might be doing. Smoking un cigarette, drinking un café or even walking the streets de la Bastille where we are attending school for a part of the time as it is split between there and the Sorbonne! The time change and the almost two days of travel are still getting to me, although I was able to make a list of what has happened in the last 72 heures after saying au revoir to my family, friends, and dog back home.

  • I boarded a plane from LAX to Newark, flying then to Charles de Gaulle à Paris. (total trip time more than 15 hours).
  • Finished the Hunger Games Trilogy on the airplane-heartbreaking, but great series in the end!
  • After hardly any sleep on the plane, I lugged my two very big bags through two terminals and got my first french meal (Petit Déjeuner), un sandwich avec du poulet, des tomates et des legumes. Served with a double espresso which was quite needed as the next hours were spent waiting for the bus to take us to our hotel stay for the first three nights of our stay until we meet our host families.
  • We were received at the student center and ate a small snack of quiches, coca-cola light, orangina, et salades de légumes. Our directeur explained the basics of living in Paris and we soon were done with the meeting and went off to explore the Place de la Bastille. Walking along the Seine and then returning to grab a quick “supermarché” dîner de légumes et carottes râpées à Monoprix comme “Target” aux États-Unis. It was really yummy and I decided to food shop a little more à Franprix, comme Tesco pour mes amis de Londres. I looked at cheeses et yogurts, breakfast items, et fruits. C’est très interessante! I love exploring shopping, the gastronomy of each country that I hav e been in, and just trying to get as much done as possible!

That was the first 48 hours, although it felt like one really long day, but I really needed the sleep more anything after spending only a few minutes on the computer, looking at Katie’s blog à Firenze, et checking my email, I fell asleep at my computer…so it was time to shut down and cuddle with my Tiffany dog look-a-like from Harrods in London. À demain pour maintenant!

Des Ballerines d'Aeroport