Ma Vie Parisienne

Bonjour! I'm Kayla, a junior in college spending a year studying at Sciences Po in Paris. This is a personal blog to keep my friends and family updated on my adventures abroad. Enjoy! :)
Picnic under my fave bridge #baguette (at Pont Alexandre III)

Picnic under my fave bridge #baguette (at Pont Alexandre III)

Who knew the inside of Opéra was so gorg  (at Opéra Garnier)

Who knew the inside of Opéra was so gorg (at Opéra Garnier)

Davidge family selfie with the Eiffel!!

Davidge family selfie with the Eiffel!!

Stained glass, anyone?  (at Sainte-Chapelle)

Stained glass, anyone? (at Sainte-Chapelle)

There’s still so much of Paris to explore 🌸💜 (at Musée Rodin)

There’s still so much of Paris to explore 🌸💜 (at Musée Rodin)

Look who’s in Paris! #sistalove

Look who’s in Paris! #sistalove

#fbf to Fall Break in London to see #abgt050 with @mjkski11

#fbf to Fall Break in London to see #abgt050 with @mjkski11

Lipstick stain on my café crème #paris #beingartsy (at Quartier Latin)

Lipstick stain on my café crème #paris #beingartsy (at Quartier Latin)

Dat sky doe #Paris #sunset

Dat sky doe #Paris #sunset

Spring has sprung, and it is beautiful 🌸

Spring has sprung, and it is beautiful 🌸

The Little Things 3/10/2014

I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that Paris has truly started to feel like home. I have made little adjustments recently that make me feel like I know the city a lot better, and have made me fall in love with it even more. For example, on Friday afternoon I took the bus home instead of the metro. I have only taken the bus a few times in Paris because I am much more comfortable with the metro routes. However, the bus is so much better because you actually get to SEE Paris as you’re getting to wherever you need to go. The route from Sciences Po to my apartment goes through the cute winding streets of Saint Germain-Dès Pres, across the bridge on the Seine River, from which you can see the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, and right in front of the Louvre! Who knew! As I was riding the bus home, I couldn’t help with smile at amazement and gratitude that I’ve been given the opportunity to live here.

Although I haven’t been eating out at restaurants as much this semester (for money-saving purposes) I do treat myself to French baguettes or croissants a couple times a week at the boulangeries on a street near me. My favorite thing to do for lunch now is to grab a cheese or two from the supermarket and a baguette from the boulangerie. It’s cheap, easy, and just so French! Also some days on my way to class I’ll grab a pain au chocolate, warm straight out of the oven…yum.

One other thing, just last night, I decided to take an evening walk because still quite warm at 5 PM. When I set out, I  originally planned to go to the terrace of Galleries Lafayette to watch the sunset, only about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. When I got there, however, I noticed that the department store was closed. I thought about just walking home, but decided instead to walk to Place de la Concorde and then to the river. I got to the Seine just after the sun had set. The sky was still orange and pink, and in the distance I saw the beautiful silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. I took a very peaceful stroll down the river and then walked home. It was such a relaxing evening, and I decided that on weeknights that I don’t have class I’d like to make evening walks a regular thing.

These little adjustments in my daily life have had a big impact on my general happiness here. It’s the little things that make Paris truly feel like home, and it’s the little things that are going to make it so hard to leave in June.

Bisous,

Kayla <3

This city has been my home for 7 months, but still every time I see the Eiffel Tower it takes my breath away.

This city has been my home for 7 months, but still every time I see the Eiffel Tower it takes my breath away.

So here’s a glimpse at what I saw in the sky on Saturday, March 1st in Tromso, Norway!! An Aussie friend I met at Oktoberfest invited me up to Norway with him for the second half of my spring break to see the Aurora Borealis, and I’ve got to say, it was pretty flippin’ cool! We had to take two tours, as we did not see the lights the first time around. However, the first tour was still a very cool experience. We were in a group with only 6 other people: one German couple, one Romanian couple, a guy from Hong Kong, and our guide, who was also a professional photographer. We all piled into his van, and he began the tour by telling us that the weather forecast didn’t look too good that night (it is essential to have clear skies to see the aurora) and asked if we were all willing to take the risk that night to chase the lights. We all agreed, and set off on our adventure.

He drove us around the Tromso Fjords at dusk, a group of islands off of the mainland of Norway. Every once in a while, our tour guide, Roy, would pull over to the side of the road and take his camera out for a test shot to see if he could see anything in the sky, then get back in the car and keep driving. After driving for an hour or two, we all got out and tried to take some pictures of the sky. It was very cloudy so we couldn’t see anything with our naked eyes, but the cameras picked up a little bit of green in the sky. It didn’t look like the clouds were clearing, so we got back into the car and ended up driving all the way to the Finnish border!! We stayed there for a while, and even with my two long-sleeved shirts, two pairs of pants, snow boots, gloves, a scarf, and a huge jacket, I was still freezing. Luckily, Roy had snow suits for us all, so we got nice and bundled up. It started to snow lightly, and I realized at this point that we probably wouldn’t be seeing the lights that night. Roy started a campfire on the side of the road, and we sat around it cooking meat and fish. Even though we weren’t looking up at an amazing aurora, it was still a very unique experience to have a campfire in the snow in Finland, I must say!!

The next two days, my friend and I enjoyed the scenery in Tromso. One day, we rode a gondola up a mountain on the mainland, and from the top we got an amazing view of the whole island of Tromso. The next day, our last full day in Tromso, we walked to a new part of the island we hadn’t been to before, went to the acquarium, and took our chances in signing up for another tour. Even though the forecast said it was supposed to be cloudy, we figured we might as well try and take the chance to see them, since we had come all the way to the Arctic to do just that. Luckily, just after we signed up for the tour that would take place that night, the skies started to clear!! By the time we boarded the bus at 6:30PM, there was barely a cloud in the sky. I don’t think I have ever been that happy/relieved to be able to see a sky full of stars.

In this tour, we were in a much bigger group of about 150 people. It wasn’t the same personal experience that we had with our guide Roy, but I cared more about just seeing the lights. We drove an hour out to the guide group’s base camp, and on the way there they screened a video about the Northern Lights. I learned a lot about the Myths/Folklore about the lights in the past, as well as the science behind why the Northern Lights appear. It was really interesting, and made the trip more worth while.

When we got to the base camp at around 7:30 PM, there was already a huge arc of green light running across the sky. The peak time for the Northern Lights activity is between 11 PM and 2 AM, so the fact that we could see something so early was a very good sign. Over the next several hours, the lights got brighter, and literally danced across the sky. It seemed as if every time I looked down and then back up again, the lights had changed. They were mostly green that night (the most common color) but with hints of purple and red as well. There is a scientific explanation behind each color, I can’t remember it exactly but it has something to do with how the particles interact with the magnetic shield surrounding Earth. Anyways, it was definitely one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had.

Coming into this year, I would have never pictured myself flying all the way up to Northern Norway to see the Aurora Borealis, but that seems to be the same case with a lot of the trips I have taken. My attitude with trips this year has been…well you only study abroad once, so why not? However, I am about 99% sure I will moving back to Europe after I graduate from UC Davis, THANK GOD, so I can do all of the other trips I had in mind for the year but didn’t have time for!

That’s all for now,

Bisous!

Kayla <3

Good to be home :)

Good to be home :)

Clear water and blue skies. This place is beautiful. #nofilter (at Tromsø)

Clear water and blue skies. This place is beautiful. #nofilter (at Tromsø)