Yogurt reminds me that I’m not a tourist

After months of doing close to nothing, I was beyond excited when I woke up for my first day of school. A half hour before my alarm went off, I couldn’t wait any longer and jumped out of bed with those eager first-day-of-school butterflies in my stomach to which only nerds can relate.


I followed the girls who also live in my homestay as we navigated through the busy morning commute of the Havre Caumartin metro station and out onto a foggy Boulevard Haussmann. I was trying to act natural but probably looked more like a deer in headlights, staring at everyone and everything around me, taking in my surroundings as if it was the oxygen I needed after staying under water a second too long.


How can I describe my school, Education First, without making it a description? (Descriptions are boring.) Here are some highlights:

  • You can start any Monday of the year.
  • There are different levels based on one’s language proficiency.
  • Everyone’s young.
  • They organize trips throughout Paris, France, and Europe.
  • That’s pretty much it. I promise I’ll explain better in the next post, but I guess if you want to learn more now you can google it!


After an introductory presentation from the activity coordinator and a tour of the school and neighborhood, in which we were taken to the terrace of the Galleries Lafayette for our first of many stunning views of Paris, we had the opportunity to start class, go home if we were tired, or take a tour of the Seine on a bateau mouche with other students, an activity organized by the school. Since I’m going to be here for another seven months and I was already starting to make friends with the other students, I chose the bateau mouche – an open-air boat that tours the Seine, attracting tourists from all over the world who hope to grasp even the slightest bit of the beauty of Paris, if they’re lucky maybe even capturing a photo or two that expresses a fraction of that beauty. Getting off at the Trocadéro metro stop, none of us expected the magnificent Eiffel Tower to be towering overhead. But there she was! We made our way across the lawn and to the bateau mouche. Afterwards, we ate crêpes on the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower – obviously.


In addition to all of these Parisian clichés, I also took action to establish myself as a true Parisian (or at least a New Yorker who has convinced herself she could ever really become a true Parisian). I bought a Metro pass, a French SIM card, and groceries. As one of my goals in moving to Paris for the year was to become more than just a tourist, I was pretty satisfied after these seemingly small errands, knowing smugly as I road the metro home while afternoon faded into evening that tourists do not buy a two-week supply of yogurt for their fridges.



 vocabulaire quotidien: emploi du temps – schedule; I learned this word after one of the staff members at EF asked me multiple times if I had my emploi du temps, to which my only response was a blank stare while my brain shuffled through flashcards of vocabulary words I’d stored away since 6th grade. “Point du pont? What’s a point du pont?” Finally I looked down at the class schedule I held in my hands and saw written at the top emploi du temps hebdomadaire. Ohhhh…évidemment, j’ai eu mon emploi du temps!

  2 comments for “Yogurt reminds me that I’m not a tourist

  1. Hannah McCloud
    April 27, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    I am truly inspired by you. I’ve been to Europe 4 times, each as a tourist, and every time I’ve longed to stay, to be more than a tourist, a local! Reading your story inspires me to pursue that!! Thank you!

    • julfreudman
      April 28, 2015 at 12:12 am

      Thank you Hannah!! That really means a lot to me. If it’s something you want, then only you can make it happen!

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