Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dreams about Paris

Good news! My Visa came through! This means that I need to head back to D.C. (once I'm home) to get my passport stamped.

That being said, I did have a dream last night about going back to the consulate - well, nightmare is more like it. I dreamt that my mom and I went back into D.C. and were going back to the embassy compound, but I hadn't made an appointment - so I wasn't going to be let in. Also, we were going in at around 6pm in the evening, which it long past the visa office's closing. Overall it was a really stressful dream, and I woke up sweating.

This is not my first dream about going to Paris though. In the first one I had, I was at home in Virginia and there was an hour and half before my flight was to leave and I had not finished packing. In the second dream I had, my flight landed in an African country for my layover. I don't remember the country, but all the restaurants were Arabic, which means I couldn't read a damn thing. I called a friend back home, who had been to this airport and asked her what I should eat. Then another friend of mine drove up in an enormous iced truck, that wasn't actually cold inside but was more like an RV.

If you couldn't tell, I'm kind of worried about the process of actually getting to Paris.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Visa day (yikes)

My mom and I headed into D.C. this past Wednesday to apply for my French visa. Normally Americans don't need visas to enter the country, but I was required to apply for one since I'll be there for longer than 90 days. The day would have gone off quite well if I hadn't forgotten some important things.

1. No one can come into the embassy but the person who has the visa appointment. So my mom had to wait outside the complex, and I was a nervous wreck going in.
2. I forgot to copy my driver's license, so I had to go back to the front gate to get it, make a copy and go back to the window (after the lady got upset with me).
3. People who work in any bureaucratic system and have no power to change it are not the most pleasant people.

So after I almost peed myself in the waiting room, afraid that they were going to send me home and that I'd have to come back another day (which would have meant flying back to Virginia another day) I left with the process complete.

This is my I-just-had-to-deal-with-a-foreign-embassy face:

We then took a walk around Georgetown, and found this really cute place to eat. It helped ease my need to drink heavily. 

Once I had calmed down it was actually a good day. Got to enjoy some time in the city and at home. Most importantly my paperwork is in, and I'm just waiting to hear back from the embassy. Then I'll have to head back into D.C. to get my passport stamped, but hopefully I won't be able to screw that up too badly.


See! It was eventually a happy day!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"Paris is always a good idea"

Planning for this study abroad actually began in January of 2011, so it is hard to believe that now I am about two months away from takeoff. Paris has been my dream for a long time, and I'm lucky enough to have people in my life that are so supportive of me in all of my endeavors. When I was trying to decide what I wanted out of study abroad experience, I called my mom. I was debating between several programs, and trying to determine if I wanted to go for a semester or for a year. She asked if the year program would be possible, and it was. "Do the year", she said, and I haven't looked back since.

My mom actually grew up in Ecuador, and studied abroad in the United States for year when she was 15. So she knows what it's like to travel and love the culture that you come into. I am so ready to have that same experience. Maybe one day, like her, I will find my home in the country I have adopted, rather than the one that I was born into. 

I will be spending my 9 months in Paris studying at L'Institute Catholique, a beautiful and historic school at the heart of Paris' 6th Arrondisement. It is located mere blocks from the Luxembourg Gardens, the Quartier Latin, and St. Germain de Près. I'll get to spend my days studying (and not studying) in the most beautiful places in the world. 

L'Institute Catholique de Paris

In the next few days I have an appointment with the French consulate to apply for my student visa and then this adventure can really begin. À nous deux, Paris!

"America is my country, and Paris is my hometown" - Gertrude Stein