Velos et bateaux

Bonjour a tous!

It’s been another wonderful week in Paris.  I still love my job and my coworkers and feel myself getting closer to them every day (it probably has a lot to do with the fact that my French is 1000x better now than it was when I arrived, meaning we can actually have conversations).  I had a bit of a setback last week, as I caught some kind of stomach virus and had two days of delirious fever dreaming. This was also my first opportunity to practice my medical French vocabulary in what amounted to a baptism by fire, as I could barely think in English through my temperature but had to speak to the doctor in order to get prescribed medication.  I think I was successful, as whatever I said got me the medicine I needed.

My travel experience to date has been rather limited, with the exception of a two week volunteer program in Spain I participated in when I was 15.  This program was one of the best experiences of my life, and I made some of my best friends from all over the world at this time. This past weekend, I visited one of those friends in Holland, the land of bikes and boats.  We went to Amsterdam, Amersfoort (his hometown), a picturesque fishing village, a beachtown which was unexpectedly nice for what I had in mind of a Dutch beach, and the Hague. It was so nice to see an old friend, and nice to confirm my belief that Dutch is a silly language that nobody needs to learn.  I have, however, never in my entire life felt so short as I did while I was there. I’m 5’4, which is average height for a woman in the United States, but in Holland I was at least a head shorter than everyone else everywhere we went no matter what. My friend is 6’5 and he wasn’t the tallest person anywhere we went.  Someone in a bar conducted a transaction over my head as if I was a counter because I was so short I didn’t pose an obstacle to him- this was probably the furthest out of my comfort zone I’ve ever been, somehow. Amsterdam was absolutely beautiful as well, it was such a liveable city, and seemed like somewhere people could build lives and have families.  It sort of reminded me of Philadelphia in a very self centered American way. I will also be visiting another friend from that same program after my internship ends, this time in Dublin (and by extension the rest of Ireland, because the European standard for what constitutes something being ‘far away’ is a joke and everything in every country is within driving distance of everything else in that same country).  

I chose Paris for my internship country because speaking the business side of the French language was incredibly important to me.  I want to work in the humanitarian NGO field when I graduate, and to do that, you must speak French. I also loved what I knew about French culture- the romance, the Eiffel Tower, the history, the bread- and knew that I wanted to experience living here at least once in my lifetime, and thought this would be a perfect opportunity to do so.

Until next week!

Madeleine

IMG_4880