Just a kid at the Sorbonne...Back to School


For the first time, going back to school didn’t completely freak me out.  Maybe it was because I knew more or less where my classes were or because I knew what to expect.  Maybe it was because I was just so happy to head back to some old fashion book learnin’.  Or maybe it was because, unlike last semester, people actually talked to me.  Moreover, people knew me. 

Today’s classes were entirely tolerable, even enjoyable, because I had people to talk to.  A Russian girl introduced herself to me, immediately bonding with me on that whole foreigner thing.  The girl from Tokyo that I met last year gave me the standard French bise, a kiss on each cheek.  She’s eternally jealous that I lived in New York and we discussed our Christmas vacations.  There are about 5000 foreign students out of just over 18,000 at the Sorbonne Nouvelle.  We are quite the force to be reckoned with apparently, a sort of mini-UN delegation.  And since we’re all in the same shoes, we are a little extra nice to each other, I feel. 

That said, I had just as many, if not more surprisingly friendly greetings from French students.  The French guy from lecture last semester mouthed a cheerful yet silent, “How are you?” in English across the class.  A French girl from my seminar asked how I was doing and told me about the rumor that grades from last semester would finally be posted soon, as if it were some sort of secret that she wasn’t supposed to share with just anyone (P.S. grades haven’t been posted yet…).  And I even rode the metro home with a Parisian girl from last semester’s English class while talking about our respective projects for our degrees.

Need Crayolas...
All of the sudden I don’t feel like such a foreigner at all.  While the Japanese girl was talking to me outside of class, her friend walked up to her and they did the bise, and she introduced me.  “Oh you,” she said, “I always saw you in lecture classes las semester.  Nice to meet you.” 

Rewind to last semester where it took weeks to count even two stable contacts in class.  Now I feel like a superstar, in my own exaggerated, inflated-sense-of-self sort of way.  But let me have it, just for today.

Anyone else have those moments where you don’t feel like a constant weirdo anymore?