“My name is Taicheng Jin, and I am a Hamilton student majoring in Government and minoring in French. For me, Paris has all that the traveller demands. Whether it’s the hustle-bustle of a modern city and or the solidarity of its cultural heritage, throughout my time in Paris, the city has revealed its charm to me in unforeseen ways. At the risk of regurgitating the clihés, I dare say no traveller can miss the glimmer of Versailles bedazzling each passer in the autumn sun. Yet it’s the petits bonheurs quotidien that makes up a piece of this city. It’s the cordial « monsieur » at every turn of a staircase and the familiar smell of ammonia (aka drunk people) in the Paris metro.

I had furtively rejoiced at my double identity, both as a tourist and as a student. A course schedule that combines art history and cinema as well as literature, allows me to gain multidisciplinary connaissance. I am able to study a form, a movement, a school of belief through multitude of iterations and proliferations in disparate spheres. Paris is like a living catalogue, waiting for people to rustle through its pages.

Extracurricularly, I began foil fencing and took on a babysitting job to ameliorate my French as well as learn a bit about French parenting style. To delve into some classical nudgets, I attended concerts at the Paris Philharmonic Orchestra, and was fortunate enough to see Christoph Eschenbach conduct. Living with a host family allowed me to see Paris from the point of view of a parisian, their cultural norms and attitudes.

Now that Paris has become a part of me, I forget until the sweeping beam of the Eiffel piercing through the misty night sky reminds me that I am only a passerby. But I saw Paris adorned and unadorned, and moreover the rest of France. And years later when I think back, I will be sure to cherish the memories of the rolling hills where never ending cypress trees stand tall against the mistral wind and the bay of Arle where Van Gogh had hidden away the brilliant stars.”

[Photo courtesy of Taicheng Jin]