i see paris

Anytime I told someone that this trip to France would be my first time in Europe, people were surprised. Is it that surprising? For the general population, probably not. But maybe because the New York population itself is more international, and those I interact with are more traveled and more privileged, so a trip to Europe for the first time at my age is surprising.

But there’s also something about architecture and architectural education that prioritizes learning from history (especially Western history), which makes a trip around Europe to see classic examples of “good” architecture almost a prerequisite. This means that every architect I know (and almost every one of my friends) has been to Europe—often as part of an architecture school study abroad program. I never did study abroad during undergraduate studies, because I just wanted to graduate and move on. And in graduate school, I got sent to Mumbai and Beijing (two cities of burgeoning architectural scenes with some pretty fascinating urban issues) to host workshops—and India and China are two of the few countries I had been to before. But somehow, until arriving in Paris this afternoon, I had never set foot in Europe, not even for a layover!

So yeah. Now I’m in Europe, here for my grand tour … of France anyhow. I’ll deal with the rest of the continent later.

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let the non-relaxing vacation begin!

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I often say I’m busy, which is true, but it’s not entirely accurate. You see, I do have stuff to do, but it’s not really so much in terms of quantity, but its timing really, really sucks, so I am stressed out beyond belief. Today is the start of my vacation to Qingdao, I’m sitting here in the airport sleep-deprived and a bit nauseous, and the only thing I can think of is: I really should have brought my laptop with me, I’ve got work to do!

Oy. Here’s hoping the hostel has good wifi. Things were busy but manageable last week, they just kinda snowballed in the last few days. I probably should stay at home and be a good little worker bee, but here I am at good ol’ PVG anyhow because I need a vacation. I did pack a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to connect to my phone, which should make finishing work a bit easier, but … oh who am I kidding? This is going to majorly suck. What a depressing way to start a vacation.

And it is absurdly early. I hate mornings. Bah humbug.