FRANCE, Day 2: Sunday, 2014-01-05

By Tammy and Abby

Today’s journey began with a trip to the immigration museum. After descending the métro at the Porte Dorée, we were first greeted by a beautiful golden statue along with the facade of the museum, an intricate relief of various French colonies.


After a brief moment in the lobby of the museum (in which we gawked at the gorgeous, fresco-walled auditorium) we walked upstairs to the actual museum). The experience was complete with an interactive tour starting with a series of maps tracing the evolution of immigration in France that progressed to personal artifacts of immigrants displayed in multicolor glass cases.

Notable exhibits included:

Christina’s personal favorite, a series of photos depicting vans laden with luggage before the big move. The weight of an entire family and their culture rested upon a single vehicle whose wheels were sunken into the ground due to the sheer weight of the luggage. Mr. Lowell insightfully noted that the sunken wheels represented the reluctance of the immigrant family to leave their home country.

A stack of six bunk beds with 40 colorful bags hanging on the sides. Margarita remarked that while the ascent represented the journey of immigration the descent represented the loss of cultural identity.

Another exhibit consisted of three tv screens. The first one displayed a conversation between a grandmother and her daughter, the second one between the daughter and her own child and the third between the grandmother and her granddaughter. Through the series we saw the gradual dilution of culture due to immigration and assimilation.

We then returned to the FIAP for lunch via métro. Lunch was rather uneventful save for Rachel’s unsavory discovery that the meat she had been eating was actually lamb and not beef.

Our post-lunch adventures began with a discussion with Nadia Hathroubi Safsaf, author of Immigrations Plurielles, Témoignages Singuliers. Her passion for telling and transmitting stories was clear as she answered our questions on how she went about collecting information for the profiles that make up her book. As we learned, her deep desire to change the public image of immigrants and immigration in France was born when she was a girl and saw her parents being treated differently or without respect because they were immigrants.
Nadia finished meeting by giving each student and chaperone a copy of her most recent book, La Longue Marche des Beurs pour l’Egalité.

Next up on our Global Investigator menu came a workshop led by Tara on how to effectively “one-on-one” with someone. After a demonstration with Mme. Schryver, during which we learned what inspired her love of the French language and how she ended up at Castilleja (ask her about it! It’s fascinating), we were released into pairs to “one-on-one” each other. The exercise, which essentially required each of us to drill down to the core of our partner’s being to find what drives her, turned out to be easier than expected and incredibly interesting.

We learned of Yasmeen’s desire to shed a more positive light on Islam in America, Sarah’s goal of ensuring that doctors value their patients’ well-being over their paycheck, and Jolena’s wish to share the joy of self-expression through dance. The discussion was enlightening and empowering, as discussing and sharing our passions helped each of us better know ourselves and each other.

To finish off a long but scintillating day, we took the Metro to the Crêperie St. Malo, a charming Bretagne-themed restaurant on rue Montparnasse (a street that was, incidentally, lined with crêperies). The delicious crêpes were accompanied by a lively discussion of the nonexistent population of stray and wild animals in Paris (les animaux errants ou sauvages), prompted by Danielle’s observation that Paris seems to oddly lack a thriving squirrel (écureuil) population.


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