I’m writing this post while lying in bed in my new apartment in Berlin. In this last week I went from a Junior studying like mad for my last finals and completely unmoved out of her Paris digs to a rising Senior ready to start the last summer of undergrad and totally moved into Germany. It was quite a ride, let’s see if I can remember all of it.
So I guess we should start with Monday. You may recall that that was when my Monster of a Medieval History test was, you know the one that had me spend weeks memorizing five centuries of monarchical genealogy. Well I needn’t have bothered, I did the document based question option which didn’t even have anything to do with kings (I managed to mention some anyway though, you know for context). The non document ‘question’ was on religious reformation from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, which in retrospect I really should have seen coming. The Gregorian reforms, which are those reformations, were basically the only thing the professors talked about in detail. I thought we’d exhausted the topic when the midterm was only on that subject, but apparently not. I also had a little oral examination to go with the three hour paper, which was offered to me in lieu of the normal half hour long presentations students make in class. Apparently the TA thought it was more similar to what we do in the U.S., it is not, but I still prefer to the other option. What happens is you go and you pick a piece of paper out of a hat, it has a subject on it and you have fifteen minutes to prepare a presentation (French for write a paper you will read aloud) with no notes. Then you give your ten minute presentation to the Professor and they ask you a few questions. My subject was the cult of relics which is probably one of the best subjects I could have gotten besides like, ‘tell me the story of the early Plantagenets’. And I think it went well, I didn’t know some of the answers to his questions, but I don’t think that was bad exactly because they were very specific. For example he asked me if I knew of any local pilgrimage sites and I said Chartres, which was right, and then he asked me if I knew which saint’s relics were there and I was like The Hell if I know. (It’s the Virgin Mary). In the end I think it went well, I don’t think I got stellar grades on it but I fell like I did good enough, which was what I was aiming for with all my University classes anyway.
Tuesday was spent writing and editing the theater dossier that was due on Wednesday. It was very boring. On Wednesday though, I virtually handed that paper in and treated myself to Bubble Tea since that made me officially done with my Junior Year. I also canceled my bank account and ran into my friend who was going to a nearby museum, so I tagged along and it was really cute and nice. Very photogenic, even for Paris.
It’s called the Antoine Bourdelle museum, he was a sculptor, and the museum houses a lot of his works in his old studio. It’s right next to Montparnasse, i.e. where I was all the time, but I never knew about it, or Bourdelle himself for that matter, but I can now say that I like his style.
The next few days were split between furiously getting ready to leave, and trying to enjoy my last moments in Paris. So I packed a lot, but I also got felafel, and hung around Notre Dame and Saint Michel, and went to the Louvre, and even walked home from the Louvre. It was nice to take the time and visit some of my favorite places knowing I wouldn’t be back for a while. It was a sweet goodbye.
No matter how crowded the Louvre is, you can still find rooms where you’re virtually alone. And no matter how often you go, you’ll never see everything, I only found this WING of tapestries on this last visit.
Friday was a big day since it was my last full day in Paris. Unfortunately, most of the day was spent waiting for the delivery man to take away the things I was shopping back to the U.S. Once that was done though, I headed to my favorite cafe in the Marais, Le Loir dans la Théière, and got myself their amazing Lemon Meringue tarte. It’s like six to eight inches of meringue on top of a normal sized piece of pie, even I can’t finish it.
This was both a goodbye and a celebration though, since Friday was the day I got to 1,000 followers on Instagram! I still can’t believe it really, it’s just so cool that that many people have an interest in seeing what I’m up to. And if you’d like to joins them, I’m Soirishcream on Instagram 😊.
From there I spent some more time soaking in Paris, notably in Place des Vosges. I feel like I visited Place des Vosges the day before I left for Christmas, so I liked the symmetry of that. But there were so many people there! In December I was the only one there.
But there have definitely been more people in general in Paris these last few weeks, and the amount of English you here spoken in the streets, and the number of people walking around with maps out has definitely gone up. ‘This the season of tourists. Not that there isn’t a single day where there aren’t thousands of tourists in Paris, now there are just many thousands.
After walking slowly and hanging out in parks, I finally met up with some friends for a farewell dinner by République. We went to a really nice little brasserie called Café Charlot, the food was delicious and it was nice to have a last proper French meal with friends. Next time I see any of them will almost definitely be in September when we’re all back on campus. That’s going to be so strange.
Then finally, Saturday, the day of departure. After rushing to Monoprix to buy a new suitcase because I still had entirely too much stuff, I was able to pack and relax with my host mom a little before leaving for the airport. She made me a galette, and we had ice cream with melted chocolate and it was very nice, and such a sweet way to end the year. I’m definitely sending her a postcard from Berling very soon. And then I came here, well, not exactly here, you can only move into these apartments on Sundays, so I spent one night in a hotel. I actually remembered this hotel from the last time I was in Berlin, it was literally across the street from where I stayed with my mom and sister after my course was over. Honestly going through Berlin and seeing these familiar places for the first time in two years is delightfully spooky and gives me the best kind of chills. I’m so happy to be back and I will definitely talk a lot about being here coming up. For now, I moved in to my apartment today, I think it’s possibly the largest room I’ve ever had. I think I have two roommates, with their own rooms, but I haven’t seen them yet. I spent all day unpacking, and skyping, and waiting like twelve goddamn hours for my Vlog to upload to YouTube. Student Internet is never the best, but this connection is truly testing me.
But I’m here now and ready for my summer to begin. I actually don’t start classes til Tuesday since it’s Pentecost weekend, so I can hopefully do some grocery shopping and some reorienting myself to the city tomorrow. It’s going to be a good summer. I’ll write again soon, til then have a fantastic week!