Or how I'm pretty consistently physically and mentally lost....
"It will get easier, the beginning is tough."
Relatively speaking, going from city to city is the easy part. Language to language on the other hand- has proven to be a bit more challenging.
Like Alanna (the other girl writing from Paris on this blog that I have yet to meet) stated: The Parisian metro is relatively easy to navigate. It's extremely similar to the T is Boston. While it was a little challenging in the beginning...navigating the metro, changing to the appropriate lines, metro etiquette (not making eye contact with shady characters unless you want them to approach you), etc. has become relatively easy. Once out of the metro, things get a bit more challenging. Paris is old...and kind of like DC (with its unnecessary amount of traffic circles), the roads have remained the same for a long time, and often were old cart paths like the roads in our American capital. Thus, they are sometimes painfully hard to follow. However, after 10 minutes or so of wandering in circles around a general area, one will most often find the road they are looking for. The beginning was tough, but yes, like people have said...this part did get easier.
While I don't necessarily feel physically completely lost all of the time, mentally is another story. I speak french. Well, some french. To be honest, I probably speak far less than I should given the amount of years that I have taken the language. Nevertheless, I decided that while I am here I would take only classes in french including one at Sciences Po (a very well respected university in Paris for Political Science, Law classes, etc.). I have since realized that it is a lot harder than I thought it would be. For example, I went to my first Sciences Po. recitation for my International Law class at the school last night. There are around 20 people in it. The TA was reviewing the lecture from last week that I was unable to attend (Actual NYU Paris classes started just this past Monday)...Honestly it was one of the most confusing things I have experienced. French classes apparently start out very theoretical. So reiteration of vague theory on International law + Rapid french + Me =mass quantities of confusion. Not to mention the TA decided to ask me questions about Law in the US- First of which I only mildly understood, and second of which I had no idea how to answer. Onto studying supreme court justice names and every law ever passed ever in the states, I guess. Embarrassment number one.
Embarrassment number two...My other classes are also in french, and are all taught by professors who have a tendency of speaking like they're doing live horse race commentary. A professor asked a question about French-African relations. I brought up and talked about the Battle of Algiers and its significance. The professor let me finish then says in french "Well, yes, that is important...but it doesn't have anything to do with sports." Sports? What? Apparently something was lost in translation.
Thus, hopefully like the physical navigating, speaking french will come easier in time...I'll let you know if it happens.
Oh, there is one thing harder than speaking, though....That would be mastering the bus system. Maybe I'll give that a go the last week of study abroad.
Hope you all are doing well, and are making it through any similar language problems you may be having.