Monday, 23 December 2013

Comme ci Comme ça

There's been a lot of soul-searching in my life lately.


I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this, so bear with me.


I'm leaving Paris.


I knew I'd be out eventually, as so many things do come to an end. Work permits expire and your welcome mat gets yanked out from underneath your feet. Sure, staying is an option, but I don't want to, even having a bit of a laugh when it was suggested. I mean, it's a lovely place to live. Much less stressful and hectic than New York in so many ways, and just so pleasing on a sunny day. I always felt a bit wrong bitching about living here except with other expats who are going through the same thing, and then it just becomes a gripe fest. I mean, so many people dream of living in Paris and want to, so I feel a bit wrong criticizing their dreams and being a downer about the whole thing. It's a beautiful city.


It hasn't been easy- pretty much everything we did has been a struggle right out of the gate. No one makes it easy to live here. Also, mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles.


I've met a lot of nice people. I've made some friends, but no one who I would consider to be close or anyone I would do anything other than party with. Truth be told, almost everyone I could consider a friend has already scattered around the globe as their permits run out. I've also met a lot of pretentious assholes, but you'll find those not exclusively in Paris (although it did seem to attract them like flies here). But overall, it's been lonely. It's hard to be someplace where you aren't fluent in the language, even after years of working on it. I'm still lost in conversation and all those odd expressions that don't translate at all. It has not been les doigts dans le nez "fingers in the nose", or easy, as one might say.


I went to buy a baguette at the bakery down the street the other day. From the bakery that I tend to buy bread from on most days. I asked, very clearly, in French, "Un tradition, si vous plait!" and the woman, who I buy bread from daily decided to mock my accent in a rather mean fashion. Which is just a rotten thing to do. I glared, she handed me the bread, I will not be back. The locals here can just be kind of mean- this is by far not the first time I've been mocked for attempts to communicate, but for some reason this especially annoyed me. They don't really care for outsiders, and they are threaten by anything or anyone that is not here to carry on tradition, and I felt that way from the get go. The more French I learned, the more I wish I didn't hear. I think this is what keeps Paris from being anything else but Paris- a provincial attitude when it comes to foreigners. While I've had plenty of people be patient and kind and helped me, they have been few and far between.


The chance to travel, to see a part of the world I wouldn't have time or the ability to see otherwise. That totally made it worth it. I loved hosting and entertaining friends here. The museums and parks are unbeatable. Picnics! Oh, how I'll miss sitting around with a bottle of wine and some cheese and lazing about on a lawn with friends. My diet in summer here is picnic. Everyone should picnic more.

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Also, I will miss that this was my breakfast on most Sundays:

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That's very good. That makes me tear up a bit thinking about how that is no longer an easy option. Very few of my Sundays will now be spent wandering the Marias, eating falafel and faire du lèche-vitrine, and that is just enjoyable.

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It's a touching, romantic city. That is, until you step in dog shit because Parisians refuse to take responsibility for themselves and their canines.


Some other thoughts: My skin has never looked better. Between the fact that I've gotten very little sun damage and the amazing amounts of skin products to slather on every chance I get, my skin is gorgeous. I've gone through several tubes of red lipstick. I've been inspired by the way the women here dress- less makeup, more stylish chic clothing. Showing cleavage is just too brassy and trashy for the Paris crowd, but legs are fair game all the way up. Wear your hair long and messy, never perfect, but perfectly just so. And never, ever leave the house in anything other than your best. None of this sweatpants and no makeup when you are out to run errands. And, whatever you do, don't work too hard an put any extra effort. The minimal will do, with plenty of long lunch breaks to keep your stress level down.


The movers came, packed up what little I have here, and sent it off to a new place. Which, I don't quite know where yet, but it will make it to the correct country I'm sure. One good thing about shipping things by boat is you don't have to give them a delivery address for a bit.


I am ruined on wine and cheese, and I can't even bother eating bread once I leave. T'is the hazard of spending too much time in Paris

I'm headed into the ether for a bit, which means there will be crickets invading my blog. I'll be back eventually, I just don't do really well writing on the road so I don't bother trying. I'll be here and there before settling for a new adventure anyway, and I'll tell you all about it when I get there.


A true fact: saying "Adieu" means a final goodbye. "Au revior" is more appropriate to say to someone on a day-to-day basis. So if someone is saying Adieu to you that you are likely to see in the future, they are basically saying they don't want to see you again as long as you are living and breathing on this earth. Harsh!


Adieu for now, Paris. I can't say it's been great, but it's been an experience that I wouldn't trade for le monde.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

My Name is for My Friends

A bit late to the party, yes, but I got kind of misty-eyed at the passing of Peter O'Toole last week. "I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony."

As Groucho once said, his name is a double phallic, which always makes me giggle. But anyway...Lawrence of Arabia might be one of my favorite films ever. It's really only appreciated if you see it on the big screen, as it was meant to be seen. I was lucky and saw it at the Zeigfield, and even though I had seen it before, I felt like I really experienced it for the first time. It totally inspired me to ride camels through the Sahara desert last year.


His legendary stories of drinking and debauchery with the likes of Richard Burton, Peter Finch, Omar Sharif and Richard Harris are always worth looking into. “I did quite enjoy the days when one went for a beer at one’s local in Paris and woke up in Corsica.” Take that, kid who ended up in Paris.

Some of his other movies were fantastic too- he claimed that he and Burton were drunk through the entire filming of "Becket", and they seem to be having a riot.

The world just seems a little less fun without him.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Holiday Paris

Paris has been stepping up her game in some unwinable tacky war lately. I walked past Notre Dame the other day and was astounded by the tree out front, which was just covered in lights in a way which made it look like a volcanic eruption science project gone wrong. It didn't even justify a picture because it burned my retnas so badly.


The lights! The Christmas markets! The unexplainable animatronics! The neon! It's just weird. They love Christmas here more than anything.


But, oh, so sparkly.

I've been spending a lot of time out, mingling with the crowds. Unlike NYC where everyone gets stressed out and sick of Xmas, they really seem to love this time of year here. I mean, foie gras and Champagne are everywhere, people gather and party a lot, and it's almost impossible to walk down the street without crowds darting to window shop as everyone goes all out to decorate and put on an impressive show.

WED_2392 WED_2481 Perhaps for the first time, but a non-Parisian was honored quite visibly on the side of the Eiffel Tower lately: WED_2468 WED_2474 WED_2495

It almost gives Las Vegas a run for its money.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Postcards from London

Walking around London is just lovely. It was blustery and cold along the river, but I love the fact most of the museums are free here and despite the fact that it is an enormous, sprawling city, it's a great place to walk around. I feel like it's more New York than Paris in some respects, especially the really decent ethnic foods you can get on the cheap.


You can just spend all day hopping from one museum to the next, if only to get the sensation back in your be-gloved fingertips.

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I have been to London a few times in the past, and even from ten years ago, the place seems changed. They seem to be embracing the new much more readily than most.

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I walked on back to the fantastic Borough Market. With a pastie in hand to keep the mitts warms, I browsed the various cheese and vegetable stands.

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France has me so spoiled on markets. It's nice to see other cities stepping up their game.


The days here in winter are short. Like, over before your coffee is cold it seems.

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But, oh, there's a real chinatown too? In love, I am.


That settles it.