In this blog post, I would like to illustrate how my life in Paris differs from my life in Ithaca.
The dining hall near my dorm in Paris has decent, but sometimes bland food. The meal includes a protein (like chicken or fish), a vegetable, and a grain. I miss Cornell’s dining halls, as they serve a much greater variety of food, and the food itself is of higher quality. The milk at Cornell is also wonderful, and I have yet to see milk at a dining hall here. However, the cafeteria meals here are cheaper than at Cornell, as they are only 3.25 euros.
Outside of student food though, I have enjoyed meals a lot. A little more than a week ago, I attended a cooking workshop run by EDUCO. I am not talented at cooking, but our instructor told us very clearly how to make the food. For the entrée (which is the French word for appetizer), we put figs and blue cheese on bread and then cooked it so that the blue cheese melted. For the plat (or main dish), we made chicken that contained Comte cheese and was surrounded by bacon. We also cooked zucchini. For the dessert, we made a plum tart. The meal was delicious, and while we were eating, my fellow students and I engaged in fascinating conversations with our instructor. French meals are longer than American meals, as French people tend to take more time to talk and enjoy themselves at lunch or dinner.
In Ithaca, nature was a critical part of my daily life as a student. In my freshman year, I walked by a waterfall everyday on my way to class. I also participated in a Cornell Outdoor Education PE class that allowed me to backpack in the Finger Lakes region. The summer after my sophomore year, I swam by the waterfalls in two state parks, which was amazing. The nature in Ithaca is a calming force when a tide of academic stress hits you at Cornell.
In Paris, I cannot swim at state parks or walk by immense waterfalls. I do sometimes miss being surrounded by nature. However, I have found a good alternative: parks. One of my favorite parks is the Jardin des Plantes. The first time I visited the jardin, I entered the area of the park that contains a forest, and subsequently got lost. I wandered around the trails and eventually decided to walk on a circular path that led to a gazebo. The path was very secluded, and sure enough, I ran into a couple kissing. I kept on walking, and found that the gazebo was not accessible to the public. It seemed that the gazebo only served an aesthetic purpose, but I would have liked to sit inside it. Nevertheless, I eventually exited the forest, and visited the central area of the park, which contained a beautiful array of flowering plants.
In Ithaca, I have not taken enough advantage of the art in the area. This is partially because I have a very rigorous course load, but also because I don’t make engaging in art a priority. I have visited the Johnson Art Museum, but only briefly. I also attended a very engaging play at the Kitchen Theatre Company that was a prequel to Peter Pan. I would like to do similar activities in the future.
In Paris though, I have seen art more regularly, as I have visited a good number of art museums. Awhile ago, I went to the Louvre to see its exhibit on art of Asia, Africa and the Americas. I gazed at art made by the Aztecs and other Pre-Columbian American civilizations that I was learning about in my history class. Paris has allowed me to see real-life examples of what I’m learning about in class.