Last summer I was fresh out of my sophomore year. I wanted to see the world, and the first opportunity to do so arose through my high school. It was my first time traveling without my family, a week in Normandy, a weeklong family stay in Orleans rounded off by a serene week long dream stay in Paris. I would be traveling with ten other students I had scarcely ever seen, but half an hour into the seven hour plane trip would become hilarious traveling companions.
Paris, the final week of the trip is hard to put words to. I got about three hours of sleep a night in the hot, muggy, smoke-filled hotel room, but I didn't care, I ran off the adrenaline of being awe-struck every day and a lot of diet cokes. The beauty if Paris is that it is such a diverse city. In the hot day, it is sandy cobblestone streets perfect for pondering each paint stroke of The Coronation of Napoleon in the morning, then eating lunch in the shade of a nearby park and watching the swans lazily float on the small pond. Then when the sun goes down, Paris becomes alive with lights, hanging on the corners of hundred year old buildings, pounding Discotheques. There were streams of young people running about the streets with boundless energy, while others skulk around street carts in corners, their feet seeming to drag as much as the cigarettes barely dangling on their lips. It is truly the city that never sleeps, and I was immersed in every second of it.
I remember walking around the Latin Quarter one night with my temporary family of sorts, three older far more experienced guys and three girls of similar stature. I noticed a grand fountain forming the corner of a cobblestone square wedged somehow in between endless pizzerias, bars, upscale restaurants and clubs. The young generation of posh French lounged along every open ledge and dancing in the square. They were passion-filled but poised in every movement they did, and I was unequivocally jealous. In comparison, we Americans seem sloppy and full of rash expressions of emotion.
Since my return, I settled back down into a routine, after sleeping about 24 hours strait. The friends I made in France I rarely see now, but when I do there seems to always be an exchange of glances, a wordless moment of reminiscence that few others could understand. I know this essay was not particularly factual. I did not detail every chateau and every museum I visited, but I hope I conveyed the romance and adrenaline that succumbs you in Paris. Now, a year later, I see myself as a far more matured, slightly romantic, poised, yet passion-filled young women. In the end, France turned me, a softball playing, and party-loving tomboy, into a lady.
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