I met the others at Rue de Saint Sauveur. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous.
Leaving my home I had felt confident, but now I was questioning everything. What if I’m overdressed? I wondered. What if I’m underdressed? What if I don’t get in because I’m not wearing heels? What if I was supposed to bring my ID card with me? A million questions started going through my head as I exited the metro station. What if I can’t find them? My last concern was evidently unjustified: standing right by the entrance station was a group of Greeks conversing vigorously. I noticed Loukia among them and waved:
“Elena! Hi! I’m so glad you came! Everybody this is Elena, she’s here studying jazz. Elena this is Nikos, Giorgos, of course you already met Alexandros, this is Stephanie, and this is Alex, we call him Alex for short, so as not to confuse him with Alexandros. Alex is the one I told you about, the one who’s studying music at the École de Jazz. I’m sure you two will have a lot to talk about, and this is Valeria. Valeria and Giorgos our dating, but Valeria used to date Nikos. But don’t worry it’s not weird or anything. You know how it is, right?”
All I knew is that it was a lot of information take in in 15 seconds. I shook hands with everyone, already certain that I had forgotten most of their names.
“Hi everyone, I’m Elena. Thanks a lot for inviting me to hang out tonight. It’s very nice of you. It’s actually my first night out in Paris.”
“Forget about it”, Alexandros said. “You are one of us now.”
And within the next hour it was so.
We went to a bar called the Experimental Cocktail Club. Two cocktails in, and a lot of stories later, it felt as if we had been friends for years:
“So Elena,” Alex said, “Are you excited about your first day at the School? When do you start?”
“I start on Wednesday”, I replied, “And yeah I’m excited, but also really nervous. Mostly because my French isn’t that great.”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s quite an international school. I’m sure you’ll fit right in.”
“So what other nationalities are there? What about the teachers, are they all French?”
“It’s quite varied, but the staff is mostly French. There’s this one teacher, Picard, you are going to love him, the guy is absolutely mental…”
The conversation flowed on, and next thing I knew it was 1 a.m.
“Oh!” I said glancing at my watch, “I need to guys if I’m going to make it in time for the last metro.”
“You live near Bonne Nouvelle right?” Loukia asked, “It’s not far from here by foot.”
“Hmm, well I need to go in any case, lots to do tomorrow.”
“I’m going to leave now too”, Alex said. “If you want, I can walk you home.”
“Really? You don’t mind?”
“I’m going that way too.”
“Okay then, great.” I said my goodbyes to everyone and headed out with Alex.
Stepping out of the bar I felt the crisp summer breeze on my back. It was quite refreshing after being in that small crowded bar.
“So, which way do we go?” I asked.
“Actually, I have an idea for a short detour, if you are up for it. It’s something you just have to see.”
“Hmm, why not? I’d love to see more of Paris by night.”
We walked through the narrow maze-like streets talking about Paris and home. He told me about his life here in Paris, and I told him all about life Athens. I even told him about Cephallonia, where I went every summer to visit my grandparents. Will Paris ever feel like home? I wondered. Will I ever speak about it the way I speak about my home?
“So, here we are”, he suddenly said, looking at something behind me.
I turned to see what he was looking at. It was majestic, golden, grand, and shining brighter than the moonlight: the Louvre Pyramid. I felt at lost for words. I simply stood there, gazing at this grand spectacle side-by-side with Alex.
“It’s really something, huh?”
It wasn’t home. But, it was definitely something
By Elena S.