The first time I visited Paris as a young girl I fell in love. They say it is "the city of love" and it was the city itself that I fell in love with. At that moment my dream of one day living in Paris began.
Now, 32 years into my life, I have made the dream come true! At the same time I am writing a book from this beautiful city in my attempt to fulfill another lifelong dream.
I hope you will enjoy following my journey!
16 May, 2011
Weeks of Days
The past few weeks of days have been nothing out of the ordinary.
I wake up upon my own free will and stretch in the bed I have learned to love. I climb out of bed and open all four doors to my terrace pulling back the shutters listening to them cling, clang against each other. I step outside to check the weather even though most likely it will change by the time I leave the house. I soak in the soft Paris air.
Inside I pop a mug full of water in the microwave while I choose my poison for the morning: early grey, mango passion fruit, fruits rouges. While I let my tea steep I make up my bed and take a seat on the couch, tea cooling on the little “Paris circa 1575” map table. I pull my white Mac up onto my lap and get ready for my morning email from my love whose is over 5,000 miles away. Perfect way to start my day.
After a relaxing morning I prepare to explore/enjoy/peruse all that this Paris life has to offer.
Quiche Lorraine by St. Estauche
Perhaps lunch with a friend at a café for a quiche or croque. Maybe just a walk on my own to Les Halles where I will window shop easily for hours. I must stop at a bridge of course and take in the slow current of the Seine and the always packed tourist boats of Paris - rain or shine. I let the wind brush through my hair and I smile.
From inside one of the many courtyards
Walking on the familiar streets I take every opportunity I can to duck into the private courtyards when someone either slips out or has haphazardly left the door open. These courtyards are everywhere, hidden gems in the city that too me represent a private world for those privee to them. My friend Jeff first introduced me to them as we passed by one he had the code to (“through an old friend who used to live there”, he explained). Exiting the busy streets you can pass into a quiet world to find off the beaten track cobblestone and dense foliage in the form of vines that wrap the buildings like a Christmas gift. There isn’t much to see usually. It is simply a courtyard/entryway for the lucky tenants of the apartments that surround it. But to me they are often like a secret garden transplanting me in another time in another world. So when I have the opportunity I always sneak in acting as though I know where I am going. (A trick my Dad always taught me. “Act like you know where you are going and you belong there and 9 times out of 10 no one will question you.”) Thus I have witnessed at least 15 secret worlds so far in Paris.
I venture on walking lackadaisical when the streets are nearly empty. When they are busy I walk with the purpose and determination of any good city gal.
My day continues. I may stop for a street sandwich; the viande hache is my favorite! Or perhaps just a Nutella Crepe. I snack on my treat, whatever it may be, and take side streets that have eluded me on one of my many trips down this street that leads towards home. Yesterday I discovered where the hookers with the big boobs hang out. There must be some under the table guide to find the hooker you would like here in Paris: like big boobs? – head to Rue de Tracy (sorry sister but it is true), like Asian women? – head to Blvd. Saint Denis. I find it odd that the police just pass them by seemingly without a thought.
I stop then, almost everyday, to pick up what I need from the market: bottled “Source de Pins” water for .21E, fresh veggies to cook that night, fruit for the morning (that I am desperately trying to teach myself to eat), and other miscellaneous “stuff” I need for home. I go through the long checkout “caisse” as usual which is less stressful than it used to be. I have gotten quite skilled at the “pack up my stuff while I pay routine”.
In a short 4-minute walk I have left the Monoprix market and arrived home, punched in my code and headed upstairs.
I have begun a game with myself, which I do keep in practice. IF the lift is resting on Floor 0 when I arrive I am meant to take it up to Floor 5. IF not however I am doomed to power through the 6 flights of winding stairs not matter how many groceries I may be holding. Lucky for my legs the lift is rarely on Level 0.
Today it was which brought a smile to my face and relief to my lungs. I pack myself, 2 pink grocery bags, and my purse into the wood paneled walls of the confined box that will take me the rest of the way home. Arriving at my floor, “France telecom” the elevator speaks to me as the doors open. I then open the gate to the cage that lets me out. 3 turns of my old school iron key and I am in.
The next part of my day begins. I turn my writing desk towards the open doors, bring Mac to sit on her warped wood that I hope I didn’t cause, pull the wicker chair up and get ready to write.
Often times nothing comes to me right away. I stare out at the buildings opposite mine and think, let my eyes drift to the cloudy or sunny skies. Then I put fingers to the keyboard and start to write. I don’t really know what it is I am writing at first. I just let my hands start to go. After a few hours and a few breaks in between I hit the save button and close Mac up. I won’t read it again just yet. It may be junk or it may be brilliant. I won’t know yet so I put my “work” down for the day.
The nights vary greatly. Some nights I meet with friends for quiz night at The Thistle, or a get-together on Pont des Arts. Tonight I will be attending a Toastmasters event, Tuesday a friendly apero with Internationals, Wednesday a picnic on a bridge, Thursday perhaps stay in and cook a great meal and read a book. The days carry on.
It occurs to me that perhaps my days aren’t ordinary at all. That in fact they are just as I had always hoped, EXTRAordinary in every way. And I am grateful!