I’ve Seen Paris in Her Sweatpants

After a month hiatus, the Girl Who Jumped is back! I think I needed a short break, but let’s face it: I can’t live here without constantly contemplating all the strange Parisian idiosyncrasies.

I still haven’t completely accepted the impossibly complicated organization of all things administrative here nor do I think I ever will. Could someone please explain to me why in order to receive a student discount for an ear piercing I couldn’t simply show my student ID card but rather would have had to fill out an entire stack of papers? The giant poster outside the store advertising 15% off for students was honestly pretty misleading…by the time all the paperwork was filled out and everything had been processed, I probably wouldn’t have even been a student anymore! You think you have one thing to sign, but then they end up demanding your life story, written with exactly 374 words per page on 27 pages, plus locks of hair from all four of your grandparents and a sample of blood from the neighbor living down the street who can testify that your intentions are legitimate.

I don’t really understand how it was completely normal that when my friend was taking a bus home late one night, the driver stopped the bus midway along the route to take a 20-minute coffee break.

Also, vegetables don’t really seem to exist here, unless of course they’re smothered in sauce alongside a hearty piece of meat.

And why haven’t Parisians learned to pick up their dogs’ droppings yet?

There are no French equivalents to the words quiet or cheap, and the literal translation of wand into French is “magical baguette.”



Although there will always be these things (and countless others) that I will never understand about Parisians or the French language, I’ve adapted myself to the Parisian lifestyle, more than I sometimes even realize.

I knew something had changed in me when the teller at the post office told me they didn’t have any stamps left and wouldn’t have until later that week and I walked out not finding anything strange about the conversation.

I would now never be caught eating or drinking in the streets, unless for some reason I wanted to be viewed as an uncivilized rogue.

I don’t even want to think about what I’ll do when I go home and there’s not a baguette with literally every meal.

This French conversation is now completely natural and normal to me:

“Ça va?”

“Ça va! Ça va?”

“Ça va!”


Maybe Paris and I are like two lovers who just moved in together; I always had an image of her in my mind, a magical, romantic, idealized Paris, and since I’ve moved here I’ve seen things that didn’t exactly match the picture in my mind. And yet, just like two people who live together, I’ve learned that seeing Paris for who she truly is hasn’t made me love her any less but, in fact, more. It’s as if I think Paris is still beautiful even after I’ve seen her in sweatpants (which is saying a lot since no true Parisian would ever be caught dead wearing sweatpants in public here).

And so, the Girl Who Jumped is back to give you all a taste of Paris…from the view of an American girl who’s dreamed her whole life of living in this gorgeous, ridiculous, incomprehensible, magical city.



  1 comment for “I’ve Seen Paris in Her Sweatpants

  1. Jeff stein
    February 7, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    Nothing is ever as it seems. That’s what makes love all the more special.

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