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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Sunday, February 25, 2024

Kate in Paris: In spring

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I know the same cannot be said for Medford, where the weather within the past week has fluctuated between 60 degrees and sunny and 30 degrees and snowy, but spring seems to be drawing imminently closer in Paris. While spring does not officially begin until March 20 this year — the day on which the sun will be directly over the equator as it moves into the Northern Hemisphere — the past week has given a taste of what the season is sure to bring here in Paris. Afternoons spent strolling public gardens and people-watching from cafes seem to be in my future. 

I once heard a quote about springtime in Paris that I searched for once again when the sun began to shine out from behind the clouds this past week. “When Spring comes to Paris, the humblest mortal alive must feel that he dwells in paradise,” Henry Miller, a famed American novelist, wrote. I’m sure I’m not the “humblest mortal alive” that Miller has in mind; after all, I’m a 20-year-old studying abroad here for the semester, but his words resonated particularly strongly as I exited each metro station this week and was met with a burst of fresh air and sunlight rather than the gust of wind and frequent gray sky to which I had grown accustomed. 

There’s that special excitement that comes with the first few warmer days of springtime that is universal. I’ve experienced it each of the past two years at Tufts — those March days when your friends text you “Prez lawn??” after class and you get your meals to go and eat them outside on the grass. In New York, too, early spring meant evenings where the sun began to set later and later as I made my way home from track and field practice each day and when I swapped winter coats for something lighter. And I felt lighter, too. 

I can’t wait to see what spring means here in Paris. I think I’ve slowly started to tease out that new definition. This week, I’ve felt that springtime energy as I made my way through the Jardin de Tuileries for a solo afternoon walk, ice cream in hand. I sat chatting with a friend in metal chairs at the Luxembourg Gardens, marveling at the hoards of Parisians (and tourists, surely) reclining and soaking up those first rays of sun.

I thought a bit of what it means to be in a “new” place during a time of transition. Surely, one might think that the novelty of Paris would have worn off somewhat now that I’ve been here for more than two months, but this change from winter to spring is once again reinventing the city for me, as well as the place I am making for myself in it. There is a new excitement in the air and a new ease with which I find myself navigating my day-to-day life. I feel increasingly confident in my spoken and written French, and the snail-like spiral of the city’s quarters is cementing itself in my mind alongside the maps of Medford/Somerville, Boston and New York City. I can already tell — spring here is sure to bring something special.