19 February, 2011
The end of week 1!
It is an astoundingly beautiful, rainy, cold day here in Paris. A fact I find just perfect as it is officially my 2nd week in Paris. I sit here in front of my window looking out at the soft pellets of rain that cover my terrace. And I am happy.
This week I have been, figuratively, on mountains and in valleys. Taking on the first week was a job in itself. However I have managed to set up a french bank account, get internet in my apartment, learn how to skype and even met a few kind people. I study my french through watching french television with a dictionary in my lap. I am also learning so much from my sweet young neighbor whose apartment window is just opposite my terrace. We speak to each other, across the noisy street below, in broken french and english. But we are communicating and both of us learning more of the others' language. I have also met a friendly, even if a bit strange, Nigerian fellow on the street. I walked by and he spoke to me in the still foreign tongue I am eager to truly understand. I kept walking past until I heard, "English?" That stopped me in my tracks since I was craving human interaction that didn't make my head feel like it was going to explode.
We began to talk and he kindly offered to lead me to a shop where I could buy a charger for my computer (which alone is a long story). As we walked to le Place de Republique I rejoiced in the joy of simply having a companion to walk alongside of. Being alone every moment of the day, even when surrounded by so many people, feels like being held hostage inside of yourself. So I accepted his invitation to have a beer that evening, Valentine's Day. It was a nice time I suppose, all things considered. Knowing I was missing my boyfriend on this day of love he bought me a rose from one of the rose peddlers (it seems rose peddlers are staples in every city in the world). The rose is still blooming today, sitting here next to me as I write.
The rest of the week I experienced utter astonishment while walking down the many streets of Paris. I took turns that got me lost and reveled in the excitement of not knowing where I was. Being lost in a city, for me, has a way of making me feel completely...found. So the next day I got lost again.
While walking I am absorbing so much of the world around me and the world inside of myself. I feel the joy of discovering my feet on old cobblestone, which is new to me, and I feel the utter loneliness of being so much alone in such a big place.
I can hardly wrap my head around the idea that I have been here for 7 days, one week! A part of me feels like it may as well have been a year. I have gone through so very many emotions while I try to get to know this city. As I sat on my first bridge over the Seine I came to realize: there is a certain feel about Paris. I find it hard to capture in words. Its history is written on the intricate and aging stones of the buildings which most literally take my breath away. It is almost as if Paris is a living, breathing being. She kindly lets us sit with her and tread on her ancient body. Meanwhile she and I have only just begun to know each other, even though I have loved her almost all my life.
I will be kind to my new city as I find new roads to call my own. And I can hardly wait to discover where they may lead...