This all sounds somewhat negative, and I am not having a bad time at all. In fact, the most down I've been for the past 6 days is right now, and that's more because I'm getting sick than anything else. I've been keeping it at bay, but I think the hour of truth has come, and it's going to involve some serious exhaustion and sore throats. But I'll buy some Vitamin C, and I've been taking echinacea even though my roomate sent me an article from the times this summer in which scientists proved that it does absolutely nothing to prevent the common cold.
Tout va bien. Things are good. Really good. I'm staying with some great people in a funky little apartment, and the 8 year old girl who's with them sometimes told me my French was good. (She's the daughter of the gent, haven't gotten the whole story yet, and if I asked it would probably be a mistake because I wouldn't understand all of it and then they would expect me to know in the future) I am not anywhere near fluent, but I can communicate, and that makes me overwhelmingly happy. All of this does, actually. I want to just say the word "Paris" and leave it at that, and while it's a pretty strong word, using it as the sole description of my experience is somewhat limiting and impersonal.
So then, what is so great is negotiating the metro, ranging all over the cities for the littlest things. Being here and having it be so much easier than I ever anticipated, particularly when it comes to people and my ability to talk with them (this is in English too, mind you -- remember what I said about big groups of girls?) This weekend there seemed to be music everywhere I went, which sounds overly romantic when I say it but was really just cool. I got off the metro and found an entire chamber group filling the tunnels with music; I passed a man playing a piano with the front removed so you could see all the hammers and strings; I came up from the metro at Place de la Bastille to find it filled with hundreds of people, dancing and drinking and smoking. It was the end of the Techno Parade, which was 6 hours around the city of big buses filled with dancing people and DJs. It started (and ended) at the Bastille, which meant that when I got there, everyone had been partying all day. People were all over the central monolith - when I upload pictures I'll post the good ones. If you walked around, like I did, you ran into all sorts of overlapping beats and had to avoid all of the gyrating people. It was so fabulous; it sounds cheesy to say, but there was such good energy there, like a less hippie, citified, celebratory drum circle. Actually, probably like a rave, but I wouldn't know.
In sum, things are going swimmingly. We had a language test this morning and have orientation stuff for the next couple weeks. Then classes at université begin. A whole new level, but if things continue to go well... then I guess it will all be okay.