Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dear Diary...

There is this boy & this girl
that sit on the tin roof
right across my window
every night.

He likes her.
Because she flicks her cigarette ashes the right way
wears the right shoes with her dress.

She thinks he is
and likes the way he
tosses his hair.

They are flirting
through smoke and on top of tin.

It makes me think of you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Today is a Sunflower.

My days in Paris are now numbered, making my afternoons a bit more appreciated and my excursions more valued. In the build up of going home from a long stay, one always tends to find themselves feeling more reflective on the quality of time spent & pensive about lessons learned.
I am currently in said stage.

I have learned that Paris can be one of the most magnificent places on earth; full of aesthetic beauty, historical influences, cultured youth & moments you can only dream up. I have experienced the most beautiful way to enjoy a meal, the way to tie a scarf, what wine goes with what dessert, how to trek throughout the city in heels & how to assimilate to the point where I get asked directions in French.
But I have also come to realize that a place is only as beautiful as the people who frequent it. The French are a very majestic breed; very proud of their city, of their Republic & their pontification of attitude they project to the world. Surrounded by the right, home grown, down to earth people I have chosen to collect around, these attitudes are appreciated from afar, are dissected at the dinner table & has it's best parts written down in journals, ready to be rework & tried out back home.

I came to Paris to try and find out more about myself; to try and figure out who I am when I am alone in a foreign city, speaking a language I do not know all that well, living with people I have never met. To seek out the person I am when my best friends & family are not around to sharpen me, to build me up & to bounce ideas off of.

Being here has made me realize, more than anything, not necessarily the person I am, but instead the type of person I want to try and embody.
The days are filled with introspection (sitting in parks & cafes, watching people interact & conversations being had it is hard not to watch & think) so the time spent has had unassailable value the life of my mind & the nature of my maturation. I, for the first time in my life, am able to look at my life objectively & be excited about the path ahead & the plan the Lord has for me.

And I am forever excited that He took me to Paris to
teach me who I am & to show me who I want to be.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Today in Paris it is Fête de la Musique.

All over the city today, bands, artists & symphonies play music all day and every show is absolutely free to the public. It is wonderful. There is classical music playing in the Luxembourg gardens, reggae playing in the street & this little Cuban group playing outside my window on the corner.

C'est magnifique.

Today Hannah, Bree, Skyler & I went to the flea market or Marché aux puces

This market is one of the largest in the world. It is so vast that they have not only made a website for this little flea market but advise people to buy maps before hand in order to see the bits they want.

Today we stumbled across the Antiques.
It was the same feeling as finding money in your pocket. I
Gold chairs, dusty paintings, jewelry from every decade, sepia photos, vintage Hermes, tablecloths & camera lenses, five story bird cages, India bowls, Moroccan goblets, classical records, men's tuxs & tails: everything was hidden in this little world tucked away in the corners of this neighborhood.

Happy, happy day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Packages & Profitérols

This afternoon, after class, I got lunch with my Aunt in the 16th.
It was absolutely perfect.
My Grandmother took her in as an exchange student when she was twenty visiting from Paris and ended up staying in Washington for close to thirty years. Now that I am the twenty something traveler, she has extended the invitation and offered me an apartment for my week stay after the trip is up, gave me the secret street of Paris and taught me the best way to eat profitérols.

I have been sick these past few days and immediately when I opened my mouth, she curtailed our route to the cafe to make a stop at the pharmacie for some medicine. She was the type of french women you spend your life trying to embody.
The whispy short hair, the European hand gestures, the never ending entourage of cases, holders & leather bound what-not's & the subtle purse to hold it all perfectly in place.
Meeting her for lunch was like visiting the sister who moved to New York and got famous only to find her disarmingly warm affection stayed the same.
The afternoon was the color of a rose.
The day progressed and only to get better with JoJo, the twenty eight year old "romantic" who decided to expound on the love of his life whom he met online to the entirty of line 2 Porte d'Orleans.
Jojo, as he clearly stated many a time, did not want our money, he wanted our ears and our sympathetic hearts. I do not know what for. Maybe the feather earrings in his ear and the telephone wire cord he had tied around his head as a headband. Or maybe the gameboy strapped to his body was what we were supposed to be sympathetic towards.
No money though.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Les Fleur de Soleil

Something about being abroad , you learn to love the things you never noticed about home (like how Americans can be spotted miles away not matter how hard they try and assimilate), willingly gain new and romantic ways to tailor your daily routine ( waking up ten minutes early so I can get on the metro with the blind piano player) and how you have a notebook full of things that read:
black leggings and Chanel shoes.
Leather jackets.
Cafe sans creme.
Get better at taking a shower with a washcloth
Note to self: when purchasing a bag, make sure it can fit a baguette
Going to a place to learn a language has really helped me understand language in general more. The world today does not speak correctly, on a whole. Are sentences may have proper grammatical elements (subject, verb, direct object) but we no longer speak the language, any language, like it was intended.
Our conversations are exchanges of words that have been chopped and shortened, sounds run together because it takes to long to enunciate and the etiquette of being polite to those above us, in age or rank, or those who are unfamiliar is now passed up and snubbed because it, well it takes to long to say "Thank you"
"Thanks" is now savvy.

That takes all of the fun out of the spoken language.

I once got a letter that quotes this:
"the written word endures, the spoken word disappears; and that is why writing is closer to the truth than speaking"

I would love to read what you have to say:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

un dimanche à Paris

These were all snapped along the way during my first week in Paris. The last one is my most prized because it is the little cafe where I frequent. It is about two blocks from my apartment but it is two seconds from my heart. It is called Cafe Martini. And I love it.
It was started by two brothers, the one who works in China bought it and the other stands behind the bar correcting your pronunciation and perfecting the foam on your Kriek cherise. The inside is bare sand stone decorated with a line of twine where customers have attached their pictures by clothespin.
The chairs are red and the conversation is animated.
Dark wood floors and low lamp lighting makes any single table occupant feel that they should be writing a book, editing a memoir or finishing up a weathered paperback bought on a side street for a couple of euros.
The doors are windows that are perpetually open and the narrow cobblestone sidewalk is the table sitting next to you.
The menu is handwritten on elongated black boards where "n's" are written backwards and "m's" have three and a half humps.
He calls you his forever friend and you are eternally grateful for the extension of edearment.

It is hard being an American in Paris. The action of being American is not the difficult thing; there are Starbucks & name brands if you look closely, menus can be translated and everyone is eager to practice their french. Stereotypical aloofness between the French to Americans is easily avoided if the latter makes an effort to speak the language of the former, and pride in a society so celebrated is bizarely endearing. The real discomfort is how easily you can get by without trying.
There are few places you actually have to speak in a major city: eating and asking for something (whether it be directions, a price or a stamp). Waiters, after asking you what you would like, are hired to listen to you and the desired order that follows the question. After hearing my accent that is very obviously not french, nine times out of ten, they will speak back to you in English. While I understand that maybe they are excited to practice their English, I want be expected to speak the language of the country I am in. Cultural emersion.
Madame just made me cheesecake.

I love the French.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mon deuxième jour dans l'amour...

Today was my first full day in Paris.
Yesterday I arrived at around 13h00, met my host family & walked the Rue de Rivoli for three hours trying to stay awake.

I have fallen in love with the Parisians. Not just what we as Americans make them out to be (their petite frames, their perfectly pursed lips, their genetically gifted knack for fashion), but the way they live their lives. Life is a series of moments for the French. Meals are not something to "drive-thru" or eat quickly, it is a sacred time among friends who are like family at places that are like home. Missing it is a taboo and taboo's are never vogue.

What else can I say? The moments I have here are...formidable, ils sont précieux.

Fabrice, my host father, came out to the balcony by my room this afternoon and told me he had a petit suprise for me. He leads me to the living room and he has, laid out, his home made sangria and tai food from around the corner and we proceed to sit on the floor by the balcony window and talk about the life of Paris, the difference between it has from the states and what it is like to travel as a young person.

He told me my french was good.

I have yet to come down from that high.
It is the best feeling when a natural speaker of any language has complemented you on your dialect.

Ah, le vie en rose.
A Bientot!