You cannot visit London and not make your way to Paris. It doesn’t work like that and is completely un-natural. Paris is literally 2hrs away by train and even shorter by flight. During my Euro tour, these two cities were a must and literally the two main destinations.

I’ve always thought of visiting Paris in the winter time. Pictures and aesthetics wise, it just made sense in my head. Also the foodie that I am, I was eager and very excited to visit the cuisine capital. Paris is the capital of France. Just like London, it is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion,  and culture. Known for its major landmark like the Eiffel Tower and the 12th-century Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, the city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.

These attractions are all around the same area and can be visited all in one day which was exactly what we did. I was a bit skeptical visiting France. Everybody who I knew had visited Paris or France in general, said they would never go back for various reasons. The traveller that I am, I kept an open mind and was ready for whatever this city had to offer.

As soon as we got to Paris, it was a whole different world. Unlike London which was a bit more calm, Paris is exactly like New York with the fast paced, hustling and grinding lifestyle. We were also warned about pick-pocketers as well as conmen. Also the fact that it was a whole new language, we kinda felt small and lost at the same time. By ‘we’, I am referring to my travel buddy and my best friend Natalie (Future blog post).

This time round, we got a hotel room mainly because it was cheaper. If your not aware, most Things in Europe are small but very cute. Meaning, our hotel room was more like college dorm room but fancy. Come to think of it, it was actually very comfortable but when your used to getting Airbnb’s, it is very easy to notice that lack of ‘home feel’ that one longs for when traveling or staying at a Hotel. 

At this point in our trip we were pretty exhausted. We had already visited two countries in one week and caused major havoc if you know what I mean (Germany and England). Paris is one of the travel places you need to have a purpose. You cant just visit and go with the flow type of vibe. All the major attractions are very close to each other and can be visited in one day if planned strategically. 

Gauging everything, I must say Paris was really good to us as a whole, apart from the few mishaps that really turned me off and made me understand how one can hate it at the same time. The friendly customer service that were used to here in the states is one thing you should not expect. Actually being American in Europe is not as fancied. We are considered arrogant and entitled. I remember we came across two other american girls Roya and Emma originally from Florida who faced discrimination trying to get into a club because they were not french or did not speak french. 

Another thing that really stunned me about Paris was the language barrier. Being a major city, you would think that most people would speak english. Not only the fact that its such a touristy destination but its only 2hrs away from London. Unfortunately that was not the case. But here comes the part that really shook me. Food was a disaster. Every restaurant that we went to, the food was tasteless. I am talking about no seasoning whatsoever and don’t get started on the lack of hot sauce every where we got food. (Ofcourse this was not the case at the African restaurants) it was literally an epidemic. During the entire trip, we were either eating at African restaurants which were absolutely amazing or fast food spots.  For France which is known for their top-notch culinary schools, I was pretty disappointed to say the least. 

Its sad to say that the only place we found ourselves completely at home in France was our very last night in Paris. As you know I am a firm believer that when you travel you have to experience the night scene just as much as you would with everything else when exploring your destination. Its all part of the culture. All in all, Lets just say that night we partied till dawn and missed our train. Call us party animals but baby that night was everything. Without getting too much into it, check out my highlight story of Paris on Instagram. 

Paris it was nice..till next time. 

American Oxygen 💨🇺🇸🇺🇸

It really is very interesting how America does impact the rest of the world. I mean I have always been aware of the influence that America has, especially being a super power country but never imagined it to this extent.

I cannot even count the number of times I have been asked my opinion about the current ongoing elections. Who I want to be president, how I feel about Trump or Hillary and last but not least if Obama has done a great job while in office. First of all, I do think Obama will remain as one of the coolest president ever. Not only did he make history as the first black president but he did bring our troops back home and came up with a health care plan that’s really been affordable (Obama health care) and among many other things. I don’t want to go on a tangent because I can go on and on but let’s just agree to disagree in case you feel otherwise. But all in all, know your politics before travelling abroad because believe me, you will be tested through the many conversations you will bound to have.🗣👥👤
Let me start off by how automatically the stereotypical perception that everybody has about America or Americans. Immediately it is assumed that you have been to every state. One question you’re bound to be asked is if you’ve met any celebrity. As Americans, we are very patriotic and take pride in everything that we do or own. Well, the rest of the world is very aware of that too. In my experience, everywhere I have gone including liquor stores or even restaurants, I am always automatically offered the American beer or wine brands and if it’s a fast food restaurant, I am guaranteed that the burger will taste just like in America. The only thing I can attest that is not a stereotype but a fact is that Americans can be very loud. We stand out in everything that we do from how we dress to how we interact.

Also the fact that everything is usually compared to America. In most of my classes, everything that we learn is usually compared to America especially when they are referring to the western world. One thing which I simply can’t wrap my head around, is how the dollar has such a gigantic influence even when other currencies like the pound or euro have a higher value.

Everyone including other international students who are also here for study abroad that I have met, the conversation ends up being all about America. From politics to celebrities. To my surprise, some people tend to know more stuff that I even feel ashamed not knowing about. For example, when I say that I from the states, I am always asked what part or what city. In return I always feel bad and rude because aside from asking where there are from, I cannot proceed with the conversation. This is due to the single fact that I don’t know their politics or even geographically where a specific area would be if I was to ask.

 I am taking a class called ‘HIV and Aids from a South African Perspective’ and it has been very eyeopnening. it’s just sad how we as Americans or other developed nations sometimes tend to forget the privilege that we have being in a developed country. We are not aware of how accessible and the influence we had on the anti-retroviral  drugs when they first came out compared to the rest of the world especially the developing countries. Mind you this is just an example of one of the many things that we are either closed minded on or just haven’t bothered to find out on our own.

I guess what I am really trying to say is that we have to be all rounded as Americans. Unfortunately while our education system does not necessarily teach us about other countries compared to the rest of the world, we have to take the initiative to learn a little bit of everything especially if you want to travel around the world like I do. Before you travel make sure you take some time to learn about the environment of your destination. Because this will come in handy when you end up having conversations with locals and trust me, you do not want it to be a one sided dialogue.

Taste Buds 🇿🇦😝☕️

One thing about South Africa is the pride they take in their rich food culture. Being the foodie that I am, this is literally heaven for me. I thought I was going to lose weight but weightloss is seeming to be more of a future goal than a present moment.

With everything relatively close distance to each other. One cannot miss a coffee shop or some type of local restaurant in whichever direction or street you walk to. Apart from the famous Mcdonalds found on main st,  They barely have corporation based chain restaurants which I think is great because it promotes and encourages local small businesses. 

This morning while walking to get registered for classes, I came across a cafe by the name “TasteBud” which is a food pantry and Eatery. 

 It’s literally a classy, preppy cafe that mostly exudes brunch and coffee vibes☕️. Meaning, all the good stuff that you can think of that falls into the brunch food category. They also happen to serve a lunch buffet with a different menu everyday. ​

Also the staff is very friendly and welcoming which to me has been the best  customer service so far since I have been here. Like most cafes, they have an outside patio where one can enjoy their meal in the beautiful weather. 

 I am definitely looking forward to more Stellenbosch foodie adventures which I will keep you guys posted.