That’s how long they said it would take to feel the transition from my life back home to my life in a new and exciting city. Three weeks until I felt comfortable with my host family. Three weeks until I started missing my real family. Three weeks until I understood the metro and could walk around without using a map at every turn. Three weeks until I felt like Paris was my new home.
Yesterday was my three week mark and I disagree with the timeline that was set for me by CIEE. Maybe I just got lucky, but I feel like I transitioned before three week mark came. I felt comfortable with my host family one week in, understood the metro at two weeks and Paris felt like it could be home the day I arrived. I do miss my family when I think about them, but I don’t feel like I need to go home to Atlanta any time soon.
In three weeks I have made friends I will have for a long time to come, if not for life. I have gone on trips using the thundering and intimidating RER trains. I have eaten a kebab every day for the last four days. I have laughed until my stomach hurt and walked until blisters formed. I have indulged in whispering conversations with random french inhabitants on the metro and I rode a bike through the winding and confusing traffic of Paris. I have stayed extra stops on the metro past my intended destination just to listen to the traveling performers and hold on to the beauty of their wailing voices as the notes of “No Woman, No Cry” swim past me delicately as though they were being painted by the artists themselves.
In three weeks I have fallen in love with a city and fallen into a routine of never-ending admiration for the life swirling around me. I have had my breath taken away as I stared up at one of the million beautiful buildings or the cloudless blue sky on a crisp fall day. I have bid farewell to another full day as I sat on a rooftop with friends watching the sun disappear behind the apartments of the 7th. I have watched the lights of the Eiffel Tower illuminate with a glorious shimmer as though the tower itself is a Parisian lady dancing alone in a spotlight for all the world to revere.
It has been only three weeks and it has already been three weeks.