I’ll be honest – Paris intimidates me. The food is intimidating, the language is intimidating and the fashion is intimidating. I’ve never been to Paris, and though guidebooks and internet travel sites all advice to just relax and be polite and friendly, it also full of not-so-nice stories about the French – not to mention the heaps of information on Parisian fashion, culture and tradition, which, I won’t lie, scare me a little bit.
“Fashion” and “What People are Wearing” in Paris are the main things that worry me. I’ve never been truly fashion-conscious before, but, this IS Paris we’re talking about, and I’m a bit concerned about looking like a complete tourist, not to mention being potentially ignored by waiters/shopkeepers for my characteristically un-Parisian look.
Part of my European vacation is Italy, which I’ve been to before, so that part doesn’t scare me at all. On my itinerary is Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan – half of which I’ve already been to (Rome and Milan), so I’m excited about that, more than anything else.
When I think of Italy, I think of warm lazy summer days, easy-going people and wonderful art and architecture. Whereas when I think of Paris and France, I think of chic fashionable people clad in black, wines, cheeses, fancy food and everything elegant (not to mention expensive).
With only a couple of weeks to go, I’ve visited so many internet travel sites advising me “What to Do,” “Where to Go,” and “Where to Eat” in Paris, but lately, I’ve become obsessed with the little things about the city – how to get to the hotel from the airport, the best ways to go around in the city, how and where to buy metro/bus/train tickets, how to use metro/bus/train tickets, where and how to do laundry, and host of other inconsequential things I really shouldn’t be worrying about.
Another stress causing activity: Trying to learn French and Italian at the same time. Luckily they are closely related, but since I’ve chosen to focus on French more than Italian, I fear that I won’t have enough time to really study Italian. I know I really shouldn’t be stressing out over my French and Italian as I will mostly likely be too embarrassed to use these languages when I get there and just use English anyway.
I feel so overwhelmed by all the information available in books and online, yet I feel that no matter how much I read, I will still forget to do something important.
Despite all my preparation paranoia, I am very excited about spending almost a month in Europe. Plus the fact that every day that I’m in Europe means days I won’t be in front of my computer in at work – and that alone is something to get excited about!