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I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, filled with family and friends, fuzzy sweaters and pjs, hot chocolate and pie. Our family celebrated in Houston this year and now, I get to finish up this post I started a couple of weeks ago…

When I travel somewhere, I make it my private mission to blend into the look and feel of the local culture. I like to find out the not-so-publicized cafes and streets to wander. The unspoken rules and faux pas. The fashion, foods, and habits.

This is what makes Paris so incredibly interesting.

So pedestrian and so particular, the Parisians are fascinating to study. And as long as you know a few key things and phrases, you could play the game too. Here are some of the most important lessons I learned, read (and plan to bring back with me) from our trip to Paris:

Paris Lessons Collage

 

1. Red lipstick is awesome. If you know me at all, you know that I don’t wear a lot of make up. Like, for my whole 28 years of life, I’ve never truly owned lipstick I used more than once. But while on this trip, I started noticing something. Even if tired and rushed, dressed up or dressed down, a lot of these women wore red lipstick. So I decided to give it a try — I dropped into a pharmacie, butchered my way through “je voudrais…holds up lipstick,” and gave it a shot. I liked.

2. Let’s wear all black. This is similar to fashion in New York and personally, I prefer it. Layered textures and fabrics, loose and tight, the Parisians wear a lot of black. And then, accessories with a splash of color. Or a stunning gold statement piece.

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It turns out that the French don’t like turkey that much.

In fact, while we were in Paris over Thanksgiving, we ate pig intestine, duck, and fish instead. (The intestine was a result of not speaking French). And because of how tickets and timing worked out, I was able to explore Amsterdam a little too.

Y’all, Amsterdam is one of the most well-designed places I’ve ever visited. Sans serif everywhere, with bright and modern colors. Kind of like an Ikea. And the pedestrian-heavy streets are covered with bike riders. So many bike riders. I arrived early Monday morning, so people were just starting their week and peddling through town. It was amazing to just wander about, taking it all in.

Amsterdam

 

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Wow. Have you been incredibly sick recently? In a foreign city, without an international calling card or anyone recognizable around you? Well, that has been my last few days. After leaving the dorm, I anticipated spending a few days enjoying the city by myself. But instead, my little sore throat decided to turn into a fever-driven infection.

Amidst fever sweats and dehydration, I skyped my parents and set up a doctors appointment. Ugh. I feel much better now (and I have some drugs to keep my happy), but I did have to miss out on attending service at Hillsong. This said, I was able to get healthy enough to use my last two days exploring. I ventured out to Borough Market, aka one of the best food market I’ve ever been to, I saw an “off-Broadway” musical, went to a few museums and even captures one day of sun! Dear London, next time I come — please don’t make me sick.

London

My NYU course has come to an end and all my new friends are heading away to the airport. Over the last few days, we did a bit more exploring — we spent time down by the river, saw Tower Bridge, Camden Market, and a few assorted sculptures.I’m glad to be staying a few more days though, since there are more sights and foodie places I want to explore. Hopefully this weather won’t get my sick though! I think I may lose my voice. Or perhaps that was the karaoke singing the other night.

London