6(ish)pm:

So now you can see a bit of where I live and a bit of what I look like when I’m going to a play and am proud of an outfit. 

Gonna try and see Tartuffe ce soir at la Comédie Française, but only if I can get a cheap ticket. 

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

midnight(ish):

Ok so Tartuffe! Saw it. And I think I’ll be super glad that I can look back and say “Yeah the first play I ever saw in Paris was a Molière show at la Comédie Française.” The set and costumes and lights and imagery were all brilliant, but I understood absolutely none of it. I saw a One Yellow Rabbit show in Calgary this spring that was all in German, but with subtitles and I swear I think this might as well have been German or some other language that I know absolutely NOTHING about. I kind of expected to at least pick up on something after taking 6 years of French immersion, but nope. I mean sure, I recognized words, but it seemed like I missed the key word in every single conversation that happened onstage. It’s an absurd feeling, watching a play and having no idea what the hell is going on even though it is going on right before your very eyes. There was an old woman behind me with her grandson, and before the show they were discussing the program and the woman was explaining some of the characters and plot to the boy. I tried to eavesdrop on them in order to learn something (having done no research in advance), but as the theatre got fuller and fuller, I found it harder and harder to hear them. 

The theater itself was incredibly beautiful and I got so excited just walking in and knowing that there were actors preparing behind the red curtains, that it was opening night, so there were probably lots of spouses and parents and friends of the cast and crew in the audience, and that it was raining outside, which can truly mean nothing but good luck on an opening night. It was also my first time going to a play alone, which I kind of loved. I got to have the experience all to myself.

The walk home was also totally amazing because Paris is not scary at night. I mean it is in the usual who’s-lurking-around-that-corner way, but there’s so much light that it really isn’t so bad if you keep your purse close and your eyes open. I got to experience rue de Faubourg Saint-Honoré toute seule and sans intimidating-fashion-lady-stares. It gave me a chance to really feast my eyes on some of the most gorgeous garments I have ever seen. I also got to experience first-hand why so many places in Paris smell like urine. It’s because *drumroll please* people URINATE in the street. I saw, not one, but TWO men on two different streets peeing in a corner. Gross. 

Anyways, enough about urine. Enjoy the adorable pictures of me and bask in my impressiveness for taking on French theatre even though I (apparently) don’t understand the language at all. 

09.20/21.14

I knelt before the brilliant works of Salvador Dalì today

Sometimes in galleries and museums, I find myself worshipping and feeling like a churchgoer. I cried for Femme à la tête des roses, and knelt at her feet because I really don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything so tragic and beautiful. And beautiful doesn’t even say it! There aren’t words that can say it. Or there are, and I don’t know them, or can’t find them. This sculpture was everything. The gallery was very interesting as well, because the whole place is full of some of Dalì’s work, and the works of a lot of other artists under the influence of Dalì. Kind of an ultimate tribute to him. I’m no expert on the great artiste, so one thing I hated was the sometimes deceptive descriptions of the pieces that made me think Dalì made something he didn’t, or vice versa. Other than that though, it was marvellous.There was also a wall where people could write/draw-in funky markers-whatever they wanted. I wrote THANK YOU DALÌ in turquoise. Uncreative, but I was overwhelmed and in the process of worshipping.

image

Femme à la tête des roses 

Above is the tear-inducing beauty that Salvador Dalì graced the world with in 1981. This photo doesn’t do it justice at all.

★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

I don’t have a lot of insightful thoughts about what it feels like to be here today, which I think is good, because maybe it means I’m a little more present here than I was just days ago. Tomorrow I think I’ll see a play and enjoy the sunshine in the park while it lasts. 

Yesterday I picked up the youngest of the girls from school, and on the walk to the school some serious clouds rolled in. There was thunder that echoed through the streets, and it got so damn hot right before it rained. And then it poured. We ran home with fat, heavy raindrops falling on us. The little one seemed distressed, but I laughed the whole way there. It reminded me of running through the rain on grad night with Katy, Dom, Maxime and Jess, and running through rainy Montreal with my sister this summer when we got completely lost one afternoon. I’ve had a lot of good rain-runs. When I told the little blonde angel that I absolutely love the rain she called me folle. Touché. We were totally drenched or trempé when we arrived back at the apartment. So we put on some dry clothes and played pirates, and then soccer in the courtyard when the rain stopped. Rain makes everything better and it’s nice to be back on good terms with Paris.

09.19.14

Le Petit Monceau

I think I found my place. It is a cafe. Perfect for writing. I can walk there. There are always paper sugar wrappers on the floor. There is a GIANT hole in the leather booth seat. There’s weird, tacky, dusty decorations everywhere. It is right next door to the school where the girls go. And the man who served me today is a complete angel. He gave me one of those rare, charming-and-not-at-all-creepy winks when I came in. And in a very animated fashion he discussed the news with a woman who was comfortably standing-not sitting-at the bar, newspaper in hand. I had a café au lait. The best part about the whole visit was when I went up and paid and said au revior, he said “bon journée, avec pleine de courage et un sourire, heh?” I smiled and agreed. Pleine de courage et un sourire indeed

I made this silly, whimsical Paris Bucket List on the plane ride here (crazy to think that was almost 2 weeks ago). On this list I wrote be a regular somewhere. I sincerely hope that Le Petit Monceau is the place for that! Up next: learning the name of courage-sourire man!

Today also:

  • it is hard to speak in a disciplinary fashion - when necessary - in a language I don’t speak fluently. 
  • there was a man in the park wearing hot pink glasses frames and now I want some just like them.
  • there was a movie or something being filmed at Parc Monceau this morning! 
  • Instead of using an iron (don’t got one) I heated up a pan on the stove and used that! 
  • Went on a total wifi adventure this evening and STILL couldn’t manage to skype with Soph successfully. Ugh. Although I have learned that if I sit by the door with my computer on the floor, the connection is stronger. 

Goodnight world. 

09.16.14

Today I’m a grown up. 

I bought a houseplant to keep my other houseplant company! I went to Office Depot! I opened a bank account! Cleaned my studio! 

Grown up. 

So a 4€ cactus and  scotch tape are apparently all I needed to feel like a valid member of society. Who would have thought. As predicted, the dark clouds cleared quickly, and I’m cheerful-ish again. Today was errands and laundry and cleaning. I bought some wall goo to hang up some pictures, I figured out the fancy french washing machine. 

Good things.

And tomorrow: Modern Art Museum of Paris! (http://www.mam.paris.fr/en)

I’m très excited. 

09.15.14

Trigger warning: TEEN ANGST

I saw on a post on Tumblr about “girls crying on public transit” once. I remember adoring it and thinking it was absolute girl power and absolute poetry. I think a lot of things are absolute poetry. Things that aren’t even actual poetry. Today I cried in the middle of a street, which is very similar to crying on public transit I think. rue Rembrandt to be exact. The tears streamed freely and with plenty of mascara in tow. They were the tears of a girl crying out for friendship in a place where she has none. I sat down along the sidewalk, head in hands, and I thought to myself that being caught in this compromising and vulnerable position would be The Worst thing to possibly happen. I was wrong. That was not The Worst. The Worst was when I was caught mid-apocalyptic meltdown and then ignored. The woman who saw me stared straight into my bloodshot eyes, and actively made sure to walk in a small semi-circle around me like she didn’t want to catch my highly contagious case of homesickness. 

I want someone to sweep me up here. Preferably an eccentric old French woman who can invite me to tea and introduce me to her Paris. Because Paris is a city that belongs to people like her, not phonies like me. Before I left Calgary, people romanticized my future, and I resented them for it. What I didn’t realize was that I was doing it too, but in a more destructive way. In my head, the unconventional and difficult was going to be poetic and gritty, and worth it. But in this moment the park that is just as full of life as it was last Sunday is making me feel invisible. I mean sure, someone found me interesting-looking enough to draw here once, but that is a thing of the past and no one can see me today. And why in the world do I care so much about who sees? This is cyclical sadness. And as quickly as it arrived, it will pass. 

I miss Calgary, my sister, my room, my friends. I miss knowing what streets are where and how to get most places. I miss fast wifi, and the times when we all had endless amounts of free time to exchange poems in Caffe Beano and talk about the future. I miss the clean slate of the Prairie, and how easy it is to fill with art. I miss seeing my mom’s face each morning, and I miss my dad’s brilliant advice. 

So here I am, learning lessons that everyone in the entire world either has or hasn’t learned. Too self-aware to be immature, but too immature to be mature. 

09.14.14

Day 7 in Par(is)adise

Today I went to the Louvre for the first time in my life, and it was totally overwhelming and wonderful. It’s still warm out, and it’s still Paris, so the place was packed with tourists. For that reason my favourite part was the French Sculptures because they’re all in a room with high ceilings far away from the Mona Lisa. I developed a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude as I walked through crowds of flashing Nikons and stared at Venus de Milo and saw only whoever was posing beside him at the time. For me, the visit was about absorbing as much of the place as I could. I didn’t retain a lot of information, but I ran my hands along stone railings and placed my fingers in the rivets in pillars. I gently touched doorknobs and imagined how many ancient hands had turned them without ever knowing that they would one day be handled with great care by a girl wearing doc martens and an expression of complete awe. I truly feel bad for tourists who go to the Louvre because it’s a thing ones does in Paris and then spend the entire time plotting how to get to the Mona Lisa, posing for pictures with artwork instead of actually looking at it, and buying very very expensive food that is completely within their comfort zones. There, I said it. Take a look around with your naked eyes instead of looking through a lens, people! I overheard a 60-something British woman say to her granddaughter that there was a time that you could just walk in to the museum. No lines, no maximum security for my girl, Mona. I YEARN FOR THAT TIME. But I suppose that à la fin du jour, the Louvre is a magical fairytale land no matter how many people hoot and holler and take pictures. 

To walk to the Louvre from the apartment I have to walk down Rue du  Faubourg Saint-Honoré. I’m convinced it is the most fabulous street in the entire universe. There are three Chanel stores, and security guards in almost every shop. The clothes are beyond dreamy. J’adore the line of men’s Dior suits and dress shoes that are all black with white polka dots. And OHMYGODVALENTINO. I felt utterly underdressed, and my jaw is tired from dropping so many times. 

This post is kind of direction-less. I don’t have a point to make. I just love museums and beautiful, unattainable clothing more than anything. Oh, and writing letters home is very comforting and nice. And One Direction’s new song is great. And I bought a Zebra plant (aphelandra sqaurrosa). 

I ate breakfast in the park today. I had a pain aux chocolat from the boulangerie on the main floor of our building (apparently this is not the best one in the area. But I figured I’d work my way up and start with this one). I sat on a bench with my apple and my pastry and my poetry book open on my lap. I didn’t write anything. I just people-watched. A man walked up to me with a small flyer in his hand. Something about a choir audition from a while ago. He told me he’d done a “petit dessin” of me on the back (above). He gave me the drawing, then took it back saying he should probably sign it. So he did. Then he handed it back and then he was on his way. I swear to god this place isn’t real.
09.08.14


I ate breakfast in the park today. I had a pain aux chocolat from the boulangerie on the main floor of our building (apparently this is not the best one in the area. But I figured I’d work my way up and start with this one). I sat on a bench with my apple and my pastry and my poetry book open on my lap. I didn’t write anything. I just people-watched. A man walked up to me with a small flyer in his hand. Something about a choir audition from a while ago. He told me he’d done a “petit dessin” of me on the back (above). He gave me the drawing, then took it back saying he should probably sign it. So he did. Then he handed it back and then he was on his way. I swear to god this place isn’t real.

09.08.14

PSA: I have a fancy camera and I have been taking fancy pictures with it, but I don’t currently have a way of putting them on my computer. I’m going to look for a card reader/USB thing tomorrow maybe. I tried today, but most places here are closed on Sundays. Thus, (decent quality, but not remarkable) iPhone picture!
In other news, I actually left the apartment today! I still took a nap and was essentially unproductive, but I also went outside and walked around on 2 separate occasions. From these jaunts outside I learned a lot. And saw a lot. In Paris the scenery is as rich as the food. Usually I feel like if I don’t speak I can pass as a local except for the fact that I’m always looking up, around, and in every direction I have time for.
Outing no.1 made me acutely aware of the fact that arc de triomphe is HUGE. And it is situated in an intersection where *12* roads connect. Commonly known as la place de l’étoile (because the 12 roads make a star, with arc de triomphe in the middle), the whole thing is insanely busy and beautiful and ENORMOUS. I bought some things on one of the streets that make up la place de l’étoile (pineapple juice, yogurt, shampoo, nail file, pistachios). And thus concluded my first outing. 
For round 2 I was more alert having just napped. I went to the park  near the house. It is called Parc Monceau and it inspired the haiku above. It also produced the pink flower above. I really really really loved sitting against one of the trees on a hill in the park and watching everything happen around me. There were people everywhere. Along one of the paths two beautiful women smoked cigarettes while playing cards on a bench. Many people were jogging (Parc Monceau has a perfect jogging path that is approximately 1km around). Some couples lazed in the grass, and a lot of families and groups of friends just sat around chatting. The air was hazy but not unpleasant, and the 6:30pm light was warm and gentle. Heavenly, n’est pas? I wrote a poem in the park. It was inspired by the feeling of being on the cusp of belonging to somewhere. Paris is not my city yet; I don’t know the secrets, or the culture. So here it is:
ACT ONE (tentative title)
joining the cast of honest players
looking for
not finding
a piece of the recent past
uncombed grass
kept short by feet
I look like you
but, trust me, I’m me.
I’m homesick, but I also really love my surroundings, so that helps. So does the fact that the family I’m staying with is completely lovely. Tomorrow is my first day of actually doing school pickups and extracurriculars (basketball tomorrow=first time on the metro. eek.) and bedtime. It should be unforgettable at the least. 
09.07.14

PSA: I have a fancy camera and I have been taking fancy pictures with it, but I don’t currently have a way of putting them on my computer. I’m going to look for a card reader/USB thing tomorrow maybe. I tried today, but most places here are closed on Sundays. Thus, (decent quality, but not remarkable) iPhone picture!

In other news, I actually left the apartment today! I still took a nap and was essentially unproductive, but I also went outside and walked around on 2 separate occasions. From these jaunts outside I learned a lot. And saw a lot. In Paris the scenery is as rich as the food. Usually I feel like if I don’t speak I can pass as a local except for the fact that I’m always looking up, around, and in every direction I have time for.

Outing no.1 made me acutely aware of the fact that arc de triomphe is HUGE. And it is situated in an intersection where *12* roads connect. Commonly known as la place de l’étoile (because the 12 roads make a star, with arc de triomphe in the middle), the whole thing is insanely busy and beautiful and ENORMOUS. I bought some things on one of the streets that make up la place de l’étoile (pineapple juice, yogurt, shampoo, nail file, pistachios). And thus concluded my first outing. 

For round 2 I was more alert having just napped. I went to the park  near the house. It is called Parc Monceau and it inspired the haiku above. It also produced the pink flower above. I really really really loved sitting against one of the trees on a hill in the park and watching everything happen around me. There were people everywhere. Along one of the paths two beautiful women smoked cigarettes while playing cards on a bench. Many people were jogging (Parc Monceau has a perfect jogging path that is approximately 1km around). Some couples lazed in the grass, and a lot of families and groups of friends just sat around chatting. The air was hazy but not unpleasant, and the 6:30pm light was warm and gentle. Heavenly, n’est pas? I wrote a poem in the park. It was inspired by the feeling of being on the cusp of belonging to somewhere. Paris is not my city yet; I don’t know the secrets, or the culture. So here it is:

ACT ONE (tentative title)

joining the cast of honest players

looking for

not finding

a piece of the recent past

uncombed grass

kept short by feet

I look like you

but, trust me, I’m me.

I’m homesick, but I also really love my surroundings, so that helps. So does the fact that the family I’m staying with is completely lovely. Tomorrow is my first day of actually doing school pickups and extracurriculars (basketball tomorrow=first time on the metro. eek.) and bedtime. It should be unforgettable at the least. 

09.07.14