The Full-Court Press - International Edition
June 17, 2011
Hello Leopard Fans,
This is Samantha Jordan writing from Paris, France where I am studying for six weeks this summer. J'adore Paris and I am so happy to be here.
Of course during my stay I have had to keep in great shape for our upcoming season. Although I miss Kirby Sports Center and Fisher Stadium, the court I've been using this summer has an awesome view... of the Eiffel Tower! And my morning runs also happen to take me right past l'Arc de Triomphe and along the Seine River. It's so amazing that this is my scenery for my summer workouts!
At first, I had a much different idea of French people and athletics. It seemed that most of the people I would see on my morning run were American tourists. I also found out that many young Parisians don't play organized sports through their schools. Instead they have to join special clubs.
I gained a different perspective when I saw how they react to rugby and tennis. On the night of an important match during the French Open, my host family went wild in front of the TV. They were cheering and yelling for the tennis match the same way my family does for basketball games. And then the night of a huge rugby match also proved to me that the French could be crazy about certain sports. Walking home from the metro I saw that the Champs-Elysees was wild. There were people hanging out the windows of cars and out sun roofs screaming and cheering and waving flags. Cars were honking wildly and the police stood nearby with guns and shields.
That was another thing that was surprising when I first got here. I don't think I have ever seen a police officer's gun so visible, but since there are so many demonstrations that can get out of control here, there are sometimes several dozen officers standing by with huge guns to make sure things don't get out of hand. Although we don't typically have demonstrations like this in the US, they can be very successful. By protesting so many things, the French people have gained a lot of rights we don't experience in the US. My host family asked me if my parents would be going on vacation this summer and were shocked when I told them that my parents might take a week if they can find the time. Here in France, everyone gets four weeks off!
So I am still getting used to this great city. Some days it feels like the US... just in another language. Other days it feels extremely foreign. Either way I am loving it, and I feel so lucky to (at least for one summer) call the city of Paris "my home".