It has been two weeks since I have been in France and I have yet to master the blending in concept. Learning the French culture has been overwhelmingly intriguing, but as the days progress its almost impossible not to notice how much I stick out like a sore thumb. Coming from America, I am use to seeing/dressing up in multicolored clothing and letting my natural Afro breathe freely. Therefore, I felt individuality was universal and decided to do the same in France. Surprisingly, my appearance snapped heads, left people puzzled, and led people to ask where I was from. I found it quite amusing that people would take time out of their busy day to stop and question my existence, but even more welcomed into Paris by their admiration and honest respect for my individuality.
Aside from my failure to blend in with the french, I am pleased to share my experience navigating/exploring Paris. Sunday our program leader decided to break the 20 of us dancers into 4 groups of 5 for a scavenger hunt around Paris. Each group received a large packet of riddles/ places to look for, and take a picture of its site. We all ere given three hours to complete the scavenger hunt and of course, we all thought it would be a piece of cake, since we’ve been touring Paris everyday the previous week. Boy were we wrong! Looking up the riddles and using google maps to help prepare for the hunt did not serve much of a benefit to any of the groups because most of the sites were still hard to find with GPS, and the GPS constantly glitched when we needed it the most. I was assigned group four; the group with all of the strong personality leaders. At first, I was positive that our egos would prevent us from working together, but the universe disagreed with my assumption. Instead, we worked well together and in the end earned more points than any team in all the years of the program. All of us were in shock and awe with the results, considering that all other teams used the metro system to navigate, while our group pushed our aching bodies to the end because we decided to walked the entire hunt. Aside from reaping the benefits of our win, the group and I appreciated our choice to walk because it gave us more time to appreciate Paris’s beautiful architecture, the beautiful Seine that flows through the middle of it, and its natives who are super helpful/ eager to share their culture with foreigners!