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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Expectations

I never wanted to go to Disneyworld (even as I child, I didn't like children too much), I was never impressed by vacations to the Caribbean (I really don't need to tan, and fish kind of freak me out), but, I have dreamt of coming to Paris since I knew what France was. And now, I am here.

I was so excited to get a break from Barnard and Columbia, and study at LA (THE) Sorbonne. When I stepped off the plane I was expecting smoky cafés, long walks along the Seine, and most importantly, an intellectual and artistic stimulation overload. What I got was smoke-free brasseries (new smoking indoors ban), long walks to the metro, and sadly, a lack of blatant inspiration. I was shocked, dismayed, I felt cheated. I wanted to write a memoir of my exploits in Paris that rivaled Hemingway's A Moveable Feast or Breton's Nadja, but instead of meeting great literary figures or mysterious lovers with adorable psychiatric problems, all I got was a bunch of French 20-somethings who dance Techtonik.

I spent the first couple of weeks sulking and searching for a place to move away from the creepy host family that I was placed with. It took me about a month and a half, but it was worth it, and once I settled into a more comfortable place, I started to notice all the great things around me, the things that I was not expecting. I realized that Techtonik music is actually kind of fun, that it's nice to come out of a café or club not smelling like smoke, and that the crazy, closes-at-1 am French metros make for some pretty interesting adventures. But the best thing that I realized was that I can't have Hemingway's, or Breton's, or even Lauren "The Hills" Conrad's Paris, I can only have my Paris. Expectations can really taint an experience, and once I let go of my anachronistic idealizations, I had all the inspiration I needed.

1 comment:

Narth Mallus the Reginald said...

Expectations I think are double edge swords. I use to be a firm believer it not getting my hopes up. If you don't you don't have to worry on getting that hard let down. But in matters of foreign affairs, I am unexperienced. Is a place more its people or its people's works?