Studying in Le Cordon Bleu Paris is unquestionably one of the best and craziest experiences I've ever had and dreamt to have! I have completed my course and returned home. I miss school and Paris terribly now!
In Paris, I gobbled up huge chunks of cheese as if I were eating slices of apples, consumed enough sugar to give me diabetes but still managed to lose some pounds because of the intense walking and whisking of 500ml of cream and 8 egg whites by hand every other day. Also climbed over balconies just to make it to school on time! Of course, I also got a little overenthusiastic and practised French
For the first time, I did not feel like a tourist in another country. I really was living in Paris! Did I visit La Tour Eiffel? Well, not exactly but I passed by it. Did I visit Michelin restaurants? No, but I ate at amazing bistros and cooked for myself with the freshest ingredients straight from the open market just 5 min walk from home and the Bastille market. Did I line up to buy Chanel bags? No, because I did't have the money. I was already the happiest and proudest fellow on the street carrying big bags of fruits, veggies, seafood, meat and baking ingredients and utensils! Did I get the best view of the fireworks on 14 July at the Parc du Champs de Mars? No, but I did go to my French neighbor's party and together we ate, drank and watched the fireworks on his terrace from afar, donc, c'est pas mal (not bad)!
Oh, and for those who always have the impression that Paris is a city of love- Did I fall in love with a romantic French man? No. I just got flirted at on the train, at the information centre, at the open market and randomly outside Hotel de Ville while I was sitting on the edge of the flowerbed looking clumsy searching for my phone in my super big bag. Sorry to disappoint.
Of course, there're also many times when staying in Paris and studying in LCB weren't that glamorous. Every day I spent substantial amount of time doing household chores. I had to cook, clean the stove, clean the sink and dishes, clean the bathtub, wash and iron the endless pieces of uniform to get rid of the butter stains, chocolate stains and egg wash etc. Getting a French phone with Internet access was a pain. Long lines easily taking you an hour of waiting, if you're lucky. It wasn't easy but I was happy. I felt joy living alone, felt life was meaningful in LCB and felt free getting lost and wandering aimlessly along the old, beautiful cobblestone streets in Paris.
Apparently, reading John Wood's Leaving Microsoft to Change the World before packing was a wise move. Very relevant, hugely inspiring and also strongly encouraging. "If there is something you want to do, do not focus on the obstacles. Do not ask for permission. Just dive in. Don't let the naysayers get you down."