17 July 2013

Love Letter to Paris #1

Bonjour Tout le monde

We have just successfully finished our first week in Paris and to say it has been an amazing, splendid, brilliant and spectacular week would be an understatement.

I won’t lie, I did expect Paris to be special. I expected to be eating baguettes, cheese and wine while working at my placement. However, this is just the ‘touristy’ layer of stereotypes attached to Paris, and it's only upon living here do you realize there is so much more.

From the sun casting a magical glow over the city in a prolonged dusk to the way cobble-stone streets meander into the distance littered with buskers - Paris really does carry a unique and effortless charm.

But let’s start from the beginning

My Placement
You know how in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix there is that scene at the Ministry of Magic where the wizards and witches are walking on a mission, going through glass doors and security measures muttering something important under their breath before striding off to their respective offices? That’s what the OECD reminds me of and this is where I call ‘work’ for the next 6 weeks. However, I am lucky enough to intern at the Financial Action Task Force (which is independent from the OECD but located in the same building).

What is the FATF you ask? One of my colleagues said ‘ it’s the most important organization that no one knows of.’ Too right it is! The FATF is in charge of promoting the effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

I know what you’re thinking – sounds intense. But it’s fascinatingly intense. The OECD building feels like this world hidden inside Paris – where people with the most exotic accents swerve seamlessly through about four different languages and there seems to be something very important and official happening every single day!

Our amazing first Saturday.
From the budding young age of 14 I had an eccentric art teacher (the one who jumps up on tables and prances around) and since then Paris has been a BHAG on my bucket list (Yay for business reference). Our weekend started with a lazy stroll through a Jazz festival located in the middle of a typical Parisian park complete with lake, roses and cafes.

After a quick metro ride we found ourselves smack bang under the disarming grandeur of the Eiffel Tower and we couldn’t deny ourselves the opportunity to have an impromptu and oh-so-French Appertif under the afternoon sun. I thought this only happens on special occasions but as nightfall approached the Eiffel Towers starts slowly glowing an incredible golden hue and for a good couple of hours Paris is graced with an amazing contrast of the glowing tower against an aqua blue evening sky. Many photos and laughs later we bid the Tower farewell after which it spectacularly lit up in thousands of fairy lights before returning to its golden glow. I think it was then that I actually grasped the fact that I’m in Paris.

Upon editing this blog I realized it sounds like a massive love letter to Paris – which I see no problem with. So I’ll leave it here for Love Letter #1 and I’ll be back to tell you more about our classes, more of Paris and our time here!

Author: Anjali ( Or Anne-jolie as the French say, my name has never sounded so awesome).

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