I love visiting Paris. The three best parts are seeing the Eiffel Tower, speaking French, and looking at Monet’s paintings. I also really like the waiters. Ok, that’s four things. Cramming in Italian must be making me lose other skills. I mean, our brains have to get full at some point, right? Like when you can’t add any more songs to your iPhone?
It’s a joy to see the Eiffel tower. Not just up close. Everywhere you turn it pops up between buildings. (“Look, there’s the Eiffel Tower!”) The poor thing was supposed to be torn down after the world’s fair of 1890-something or other. Look, Italian has squeezed out my room for remembering dates.
Speaking French is a lot of fun because it reminds me I can do it. I can learn another language. And not just learn it a little bit. French is good and stuck in there. Sure there may be a few words that I have to ask about. This time the word I forgot was “cépage” (grape varietal). But seriously, if the worst thing I forget is “grape varietal” then I really can’t complain. I think Italian direct objects are taking over French neurons. (At least I can say “direct objects” in French.)
The truth is that Italian actually did start getting in the way of French. In the cab from the airport I started speaking French. But I kept using Italian words in the middle. And it’s not because I couldn’t remember the right word in French. It’s just that the Italian words kept jumping the line. Like my brain says I only get one second language. “What’s it gonna be pal? You can’t have Spanish and French and Italian. You think I got that kinda space up here? Nah. You pick one. One.”
We went museum crazy in Paris. We got the two-day museum pass and used it for the Louvre, the Orangerie, the Orsay, and the Rodin. At the Louvre we saw all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Rafael). I was really impressed to see “Liberté” by DelaCroix.
Turns out my friends really enjoy Impressionism. Or they’re very good at humoring me. So I kept leading them around explaining how it got started and which artists influenced which. Before the Monet geek-out trip of 2013 with my Mom, I knew nothing about Monet except that he had a twin named Manet. I’m still very thankful to my buddy Paul for telling me I had to visit the Orangerie on that trip. My explanations probably weren’t factually accurate, but they sounded good. I’m just going to blame everything I’ve forgotten on Italian. Wait till I get to Japan.
Another thing I learned back in 2013 is that the waiters in Paris are a lot of fun. This time was no different. They’re total smart-alecks. Don’t take them seriously, or you’ll be offended. We rolled with it and had a great time. They’re basically like my dad.
Speaking of smart alecks. A few of the ones from back home pointed out I was in the wrong country. I say, any country with friends like these is never the wrong country. It’s my sabbatical and I’m going to do it my way. So there. Seriously though, I ran into a couple of Italians who needed help finding the metro, so I got some Italian practice even in Paris. Ciao, y’all!