Yesterday we got up for another day of orientation. Bethany, one of my roommates, and I walked to campus together, unfortunately getting slightly lost, but still mostly on time. During a long break I sat and talked to a few of the guys on our trip (there aren't many) and was surprised to find out that they're definitive "frat guys". Entertaining, at best. I had lunch with a bunch of really great girls who live at Cite Universitaire, a residence hall across the city, at this great corner cafe. After a dull housing session, we all returned home. Later in the evening Bethany & I visited Cite to hang out with the girls that live there. We just hung out and talked but it was cool to see the residence hall they live in (the outside is gorgeous) and see another side of town.
Today was the last day of orientation. CEA bought us all sandwiches from a bakery which we took to the National Archives courtyard across the street to eat. The National Archives buildings are so pretty, I feel so lucky that I could have lunch there every day if I wished!
After some good conversation with a girl in the program who goes to WSU (Go Cougs!) we all boarded a tour bus to see the city. Our bus driver was hilarious, making fun of herself, her accent and pointing out all her favorite spots. Of course, I'll have to go back and really see everything, but it was great to finally see the sights after having been here a few days without a glimpse of the major monuments. We saw Notre Dame, the Seine River, Napolean's tomb, Champs-Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, the Sorbonne and University of Paris, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Montparnasse, and probably a dozen other things I cannot remember. I snapped a few shots from the windows (most of which are on Facebook) but cannot wait to go back to take more!
After being here for a few days without really seeing the definitive Parisian landmarks, it finally hit me today where I am and what I get to experience for the next four months. Being thrown into a place so big like this, its hard to really get the big picture of what is going on until its literally shoved in my face. Driving through the city today, seeing the major monuments, that is when it finally hit me. Someone took the wheel (literally) and said, "Here. This is where you are. Do you get it now? Good." I am so grateful and blessed to be here, I really couldn't ask for more!
On a less cultural, but equally historic note, I had my first legal drink tonight! My final roommate, Sami, moved in for good today now that her family has left and we were ready to go do something. We weren't sure what was around so we stumbled into a small restaurant/bar and each grabbed a drink while talking and getting to know one another. I think we'll get along really well, and the mojito was delish!