A day in the life of Rose Mancuso

Rose Mancuso

A day in the life of Rose Mancuso

Psychology, Bard College
CUPA Immersion

Last summer, I arrived in Paris to study abroad from my native New York City, excited to spend time with my French family and to enjoy another high-octane urban environment. And yet, I couldn’t have expected the transformation I am experiencing in this city I’ve always considered to be my second home.

I’m drawn to cities because I always wake up with a whim, and there’s always a way to animate it. I find myself constantly cramming something new into my agenda, which is gasping for air at this point. On one day, I might be in the courtyard restaurant of La Mosquée de Paris, drinking mint tea after a relaxing facial in the cultural center’s hammam, while the next I’m standing under the Eiffel Tower catching my breath after a run along the Seine. But I’m not a runner and that was my first facial––Whims!

I often wish I could take pictures with my eyes. Especially here in Paris, to take it even further, I wish I could snap pictures of how things make me feel. I usually think about this around all of the beautiful parks I rush to with my journal in tow when the sun comes out, the gardens, the historical monuments, the sweet sight of signs swinging from storefronts and balconies and cobblestone streets and flower shops next to cafés. Even the gray-cast sky and the rain have their charm, garnering looks of playful exasperation shared between strangers shaking their heads and their umbrellas inside. Life in Paris is always beautiful; even the most mundane parts of my day bring me great joy, like dropping into Asian “traiteurs” for a coconut pearl whenever I pass one.

A typical day in my life might include attending a knitting class, playing team volleyball, and doing volunteer work in the park near my apartment. With CUPA we go to the opera, the orchestra, the theater, and dance performances. I frequently go to art exhibits, and travel on weekends to places in Europe I’ve never been to before.Nothing makes me happier than creating art. This semester, I seized the opportunity to take a ceramics course, each day coming home smeared in clay and dust, smiling from ear to ear. Last Fall, I took a painting course at Atelier Foranim; from the very first day, the studio became my sanctuary.

I like to block out large stretches of time to study, preferably somewhere I can order a sweet reward. Last semester, my friend Ester and I discovered just that, a café on a street corner in Belleville called ‘Le Barbouquin’. I still drop in weekly from opening until closing. The only thing more charming than the huge windows, velvet armchairs, and book-lined wall is the owner, Yohanna. Every time I come in, she greets me by name and shortly thereafter by order. Once I hear “voilà mon coeur” and take my first bite of banana bread, I become an academic weapon under her roof. I may or may not be there right now!

The greatest part of studying abroad for me has been belonging to multiple communities; cultural, artistic, athletic, benevolent, and hopefully more to come. This year, more than ever before, I’ve felt consistent motivation to get involved, and I believe I’ve kick-started what will be a long journey of continuing to do so. Being exposed to so much novelty in so little time was frightening at first, but it quickly began to feel empowering to digest. Now, every day feels like taking it a step further and handling it a bit better.

There’s a quote from an autobiographical book called Travels by Michael Crichton that I think best describes how studying abroad is the ultimate bolster: “Often I feel I go to some distant region of the world to be reminded of who I really am… Stripped of your ordinary surroundings,your friends, your daily routines… you are forced into direct experience [which] inevitably makes you aware of who it is that is having the experience.” It’s been a pleasure to meet myself in Paris. I recommend that everybody come and do the same.