I won't lie: At first, it was slightly terrifying. I've never been here before, I'm totally alone and of course, I had heard all of the stereotypes and stories about rude Parisians who hate you for speaking English.
So I did my best to recall what I could from the whopping six months I spent in French class back in 2010. And besides "bonjour," the only things I really feel comfortable saying are "Where is the cat?," "I am going to explode," "Where are the toilets?" (very necessary if explosion is imminent) and "I love fries!"
But I've been determined not to look like the dumb American. (Oh wait -- just remembered I know how to say "I am American." We can add that to the list.) So I've been fumbling my way through food orders and fromageries (try asking for very strong Brie using nothing but hand gestures) and the local LARP store (which, yes, I did happen to find -- totally by accident, I swear).
And so far, the experience has been amazing. Yes, no one can understand half of what comes out of my mouth, and they all end up speaking English or pantomiming. But they're very nice about it. And I do understand what they're saying in French, but I sound like an idiot when I try to respond.
Anyway, I am enjoying myself immensely and want to remember Every Single Detail. Therefore, be warned: If you aren't into a shit-ton of vacation photos, you should stop reading now. End public service announcement.
Yesterday I explored the neighborhood I'm presently calling home, which is Père Lachaise/Gambetta in the 20th arrondissement -- not far from Ménilmontant and Belleville. I found a store that sells Eiffel Tower-shaped dildos (I know, I know -- I should've purchased at least three in multiple colors -- missed souvenir opportunity!), a fantastic cheese shop run by the nicest people (my goal is to buy a different cheese every single day I am here) and Le Baratin, which is known for a wine list focusing on natural wines and also has a killer three-course lunch for just 19€ (wine not included).
I started with the terrine ...
... moved on to the pork ...
... and finished with cheese. Which I didn't take a picture of because I pretty much inhaled it. (By the way, the toughest question in Paris: Fromage ou dessert? Oh, decisions, decisions!)
After that long, lazy, lingering lunch, I wandered through the Père Lachaise Cemetery for hours.
I failed to find Jim Morrison's grave, but there were so many other beautiful things.
And then I came home and stuffed my face with more cheese, plus some duck mousse and tomatoes. (By the way, I may be the only person to bring her own bread to France. Stupid gluten.)
(Also, side note: Isn't it dumb that this blog is named what it is and I can't speak French or eat wheat? Feel free to call me a poser in the comments section below. I'll accept your scorn.)