“No, it’s not further, I can’t be any further. I’m not going to further places but a different one. Paris, France!”. I talked to my Mom over phone. It’s true and I just reaffirmed with myself that I can hardly be any further than where I am now, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Thirteen hours time differences between Madison and China, where my parents live, means almost exactly the distance covering halfway through the globe. Two end points connected through the earth’s core. A slight move towards either way would be nearer. Then, Paris will be somewhere near for my Mom, she can expect to Skype me without mistaking the dates.
Yes, I’m going to Paris. The name of the program Paris Spring sounds rather provocative. La Seine, la quais, la pluie, la chanson. Mais, non. Don’t let imagination reign so easily. I’m trying very hard to guard against the places where patches of impressions might have readily slipped in.
It’s true that everyone has a list of things to talk about Paris. Midnight in Paris? The Movable Feast? Fashion? Art? La Cuisine Francaise? La Tour Eiffel? The strike? The humor? The list can go on endlessly. Paris is itself a rich and handy repertoire for conversations. For this reason, my Mom knows where I’m going as she says that it’s a place famous for its luxuries and perfumes. My Dad knows it too: workers enjoy good welfare and unions are strong. When I told my friends that I was accepted into the Paris Spring program, they immediately came up with their versions of Paris: the macaroon, the foie gras and so on. It is how we talk about places we know something about.
What about me then? Do I know Paris?
Mm, not much, I guess, and that’s why I’m going there. I’d like to see it as one unknown place in a different part of the world where millions of people live their everyday lives. Their life is the backdrop of Paris, not the other way around. I’m sure that I’ll have my own story of Paris to tell when I’m back.
Before I go, there’s Christmas here in the U.S even though finals come first, and then I’ll be back in China for the Spring Festival on January the 23th, and then Paris for spring. Mom, maybe I am going further.
For me, life is always like a palette in that you mix and experiment with your experiences as you do with colors and studying abroad is the color tube at hand. In this way, a true global trotter has to be a good painter too!
Je t’attends, Paris!