One month has passed since I arrived in Paris – a fact still incredible even when I typed down these words. When I went to the metro station this morning, about to use my Navigo pass as usual, the machine told me it was no longer valid. Suddenly I recalled that August has come, whereas my July Navigo pass has already expired. I find this particularly intriguing, for before all it was this extremely trivial detail that reminded me of the month passed. Once this notion has been activated, however, my entire surroundings came alive. The huge posters alongside the corridor at the station all essentially read, “Jusqu’à la fin du juillet !” I could still recall how excited I was when I passed them the first day here. Spoiled by the rich cultural activities Paris, I supposed. Now these once enchanting opportunities has become obsolete. A bit sad yet also amazing how time flies.
Another student at my homestay will leave on August 6, roughly a week before I move out as well. Last week we sat down together at the table, sharing the wonderful dinner our host mother has prepared, and all of a sudden the idea of leaving soon struck both of us. For her it was perhaps even more pressing given only a week left. As a will-be photographer, my roommate has long found Paris her paradise. Yet up till then, she told me she has never done much “tourist” visiting. Nameless roads and cute boutiques has “distracted” her way too much. “Absolutely the same,” I nodded (except that I am nowhere near a photographer).
Strangely we both got this feeling that to visit as many scenic spots as possible, a month seems too long in that it spoils us with the luxury of time. Grateful all the same for not having to hurry, I did feel less incentives to spend entire days out traveling around the city. Yet when the stay comes to its end, my tourist impulse revives and agitates me with every minute passing. Dragging out the travel guide stuffed at the bottom of my suitcase, I realized there are yet so many spots that I have not checked out. Tour Eiffel and Musée du Louvre as two most representative must-go places remain intact for this trip. Even though I has twice visited Paris before, I am certain at my current age they would be renewed and enhanced surprises for me. If for the past month I was busying myself with French and “exploring the real everyday Paris,” I suddenly realized they have now turned in to literally must-go places.
Thus today after class I hurried to Tour Eiffel. One crucial mission is to send out postcards for my family and friends from the post office supposedly located at the south entrance of the tower. Only in this particular post office was a special post stamp featuring “Tour Eiffel” available, and I had hoped to make my postcards slightly more unique. Unfortunately, I was there only to find out that the post office has been closed for several months. Even the yellow mailbox has been wrapped with tapes and a paper notice saying, “This mailbox is out of service for security concerns.” I tried my best not to overstretch the potential dark implication behind “security,” for my friends traveling in Pars roughly a year ago told me the post office was well open then. Looking around one can easily spot several police officers in their heavy black uniforms, and of course with their cars nearby. Somehow in the warm afternoon sun, I felt like a shadow has never truly quitted Paris since last November. At that moment I was extra grateful for being able to lead on a relatively carefree life here, for there must have been numerous people standing up to the lurking threats and protecting our everyday life from them.