Me + no summer job + very little income = staying in Paris the whole summer. At times I’ve felt quite bored, lonely, and homesick, but luckily a lot of my friends stuck around too. There are plenty of events all over the city, so I’ve not had a lack of activities. Beginning in September, I’ll have plenty of work and school to stress me out, so I’ve been enjoying the downtime.
4th of July
Last summer I left Paris on July 5, so I didn’t celebrate either the 4th of July or 14 juillet. I made up for it this year! My friend Kat had a little party at her apt, complete with hot dogs (that came with fake grill marks) and beer and apple pie. We drank mostly Heineken and Leffe, but we did have a few really expensive Budweisers for authenticity’s sake. €5 for 4 buds! Ugh!
For some reason, non-French people call this day Bastille Day, but French people refer to it as 14 Juillet (ka-torz zhwee-ay). On the 13th I attended a bal de pompier (Fireman’s Ball) in the 13th arrondissement. Each arrondissement’s fire department throws a big party around 14 juillet to raise money. It was a club atmosphere in the courtyard of a fire department, and with plenty of men in uniform (firemen and some marins, navy, too). Super unique and fun.
I also hosted a friend of mine from TAPIF. We met on the plane from DC almost two years ago and have kept in touch, even though she lived in Caen. It was fun to catch up and see the fireworks together! We joined a huge crowd of people set up on the street next to the Seine looking at the Eiffel Tower. We thought we had a perfect view, but when the fireworks started, everyone started running down the street – they were actually to our right and only visible between two giant patches of trees. Oops! Despite only having a view of 1/3 of the display, it was still really cool.
The Place de la République has been under construction and recently opened up. To celebrate, the quartier had several free concerts there in early July. I went one night with friends and discovered some new bands I liked (Tété had a song just for me). I also checked out a free concert at Hôtel de Ville. The headliner, Lilly Wood and the Prick, was great! The singer had a lot of stage presence, and towards the end of the show she got the entire crowd to crouch down on the ground, and then we all jumped up at the same moment and danced wildly. So fun!
Le Tour de France
This year was the 100th Tour de France! I was tired and hot that day, but since I live right next to the finish line, and Ashley was still in town, I had to go see a little bit of the action. There were so many people lined up along the Champs-Élysées that I couldn’t see the street or the bikes. Luckily there were huge tvs set up so I watched parts of the race that way. It was a fun ambiance and cool to be there in reality, but I think big events like this are better enjoyed chez soi (at home).
I invested in a guitar and a friend of mine has been giving me free lessons. I practice every day and I’m improving a lot! My forearm muscles are in pain but getting stronger by the day, and my fingers have gone from raw and sore, to peeling, to what I hope are permanent callouses. I love singing in choir, but I need a way to make music on my own. I’m lucky that I’ve had so much downtime to practice.
I’ve also been indulging in many a bottle of rosé to beat the heat with friends and I’m looking forward to a camping trip down south next week, so I can’t complain!