The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Paris in the springtime

Me Talk Funny
 Paris in the springtime
Paris in the springtime

Paris in the springtime

At the corner of Rue de Chevreuse and Boulevarde du Montparnasse there is a small, though extensively stocked, costume shop run by a funny old man with kind eyes and a laugh so enjoyable to hear that the locals, Americans and French alike, often mistake him for some jolly Bavarian.

For as we all know, the French, forever serious, must close the blinds and lock the back door before cracking a smile or uttering even the slightest chuckle.

But this man, surrounded by fake wigs, Chirac and LePen face masks, magic wands and big red noses, laughed and laughed all day, and in hearing him laugh, you laughed, too.

Just down the block, at the corner of Rue de Raspail and Montparnasse, there is a sandwich/pastry shop that is responsible for the slight belly now present on my once girlish figure. We called it “The Mean Lady Shop,” for the three women who worked behind the counter are the French version of the Soup Nazi. They were the holy trinity of unhappiness. Of course, they were not unhappy all at once: they took turns.

On Mondays, the older lady, resembling the love child of Gerard Depardieu and Patsy Cline, would not look any customer in the eye. She would simply nod at someone and grunt some unintelligible French phrase expecting whomever it was to understand that it was his turn to place an order. On Tuesdays, the younger girl, not much older than myself, threatened to break a baguette over your head if you took any more than two seconds to decide what you wanted to eat that day.

And the third lady, commonly referred to as the Wicked Witch of the East, took care of the rest of the week, yelling at you if you didn’t have correct change, mocking your pitiful French accent and, in general, probably responsible for the overcast sky.

Thus, in the span of one academic year, my entire view of Catholicism changed. God, once a wise old man with a flowing white beard, transformed into a strange little Frenchman who sells Dorothy costumes and Mickey Mouse ears. And the devil, once a man painted red with a serpent’s tongue, now resembles a middle-aged woman with a demi-baguette in one hand and a tropezienne in the other.

After crossing the Vespa-infested waters of Rue de Raspail, as well as a few other careful maneuvers, one would eventually reach Claire de Lune, arguably the greatest producer of Nutella-banane crepes in the free world. Many days, after long hours of class and only moments before dinner, I would inhale one of those lovely crepes in a matter of a few moments.

My host mother, like all mothers, tackled me with tissues as I entered the apartment, cleansing me of that sinful Italian chocolate spread.

So that was my life for almost one year in the beautiful city of Paris. To be honest with you, I was scared to come back. I had grown so accustomed to life in Paris that I thought that I might not be able to function in Dallas anymore. And I still miss Paris.

I miss the costume man, and the mean ladies at the end of the block and all the terrible Columbia students who stuck their noses up at us because we went to some Southern school. I miss my cute, little host mother who loved her golden retrievers more than her own children.

I miss my host father and the way he flirted with his wife by making fun of her cooking. I miss the rain, and the gardens, and the small, smoky bars where you had to take turns sitting down, and the thrill of catching the very last metro and not having to take a cab.

I miss everything.

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