Wanderlust. I’ve been living in a state of it for some days now and I suppose this might explain where I’ve been.
Traversing the streets, promenading the rues, soaking up the pastel hues that bathe the city in evening sunlight – all while staring at people newly tanned and back in Paris after months in the sun down in the south. I’ve also watched a lifetime quota of romantic films at night time- stories filled with hope and love and tragic endings. My eyes are foggy at all times because the days are just so beautiful here that I want to bottle them, and the evenings so warm that I can walk the Seine until well after the evening meal- that I skip because I’m too busy being a hopeless, tragic, fuzzy flâneuse -just living in the moment and with a heart newly captured in my self titled blockbuster, aptly named ‘The City That Stole My Heart’.
Ok, so that’s out of my system.
Paris has been gifted mountains of sunshine after a the weather Gods delivered a wobbly start to August. I now have three umbrellas in the umbrella section of chez moi after being caught in the rain (sadly not with a lover who also enjoys a pinocolada), and the last week has been postcard perfect with sun, and warmth and only a little bit of stickiness.
On Saturday, I ventured out in a rather odd choice of outfit that isn’t in keeping with my usual uniform of white/navy/pondscum green, opting for a bright green frock that I picked up in India earlier this year – a shade of green almost exactly the same as the City of Paris rubbish bins. Teamed with a pair of raffia lace up pumps, I headed out for an evening walk where I found the river littered with boats filled to the brim with eager selfie stick wielding humans desperate for ‘that shot’ (I know the feeling- sans selfie stick) and skaters flipped their boards on its banks while families raced by on bikes and scooters. The plethora of pop up bars that have made their way to the edge of the Seine for the summer, were filled with young people enjoying a crisp beer and conversations in rapid Français.
In my lime green frock I swooshed across ponts, snapping every view while my heart did little backflips and airpunches- I was really feeling it and the light (which heavily influenced my mood), was indescribable.
In the supermarket later that night, a little girl marched up to me and asked ‘what on earth is sour cream?’ after being sent on an errand by her Aunt. I happily dragged my marmalade/avocado/salad filled trolley and the child to the crème fraîche- telling her that Auntie would be grateful for this tub. Sticking her tummy out in a way that I also did at ten (and still do at 38) she proudly announced ‘I’M making pudding tonight- all by myself’ before adding ‘and by the way, I REALLY love your dress’.
Today I was back in my uniform of white shirt, white trousers, raffia pumps and with the added bonus of newly washed hair. Lunch was spent with a wonderful person who used to be my boss but has become a great friend, accompanied by her daughter, as they spend three precious months together in Europe. We chatted and laughed and enjoyed pastries at the end of lunch, with the waiter saying to Judy ‘I prefer you,’ a statement to which her daughter and I responded in unison ‘we do too’.
I’d lugged my basket to the post office earlier in the day in anticipation of a parcel for which I’ve recieved two notices in the last 48 hours- it’ll be ready tomorrow the lady advised (where is my friend today, I thought). Later in the afternoon I visited Dr Hiesse (who inoculated me for India earlier this year) and I left with a copy of my medical records after her secretary printed them off, in preparation for my visit to the visa office later this week. Almost home, I took a seat on the statue de Danton, and responded to emails that had come in this morning from both the Red Cross and the Sorbonne.
As I sat on the edge of the statue I could hear an American delivering a spiel to a stranger, but I wasn’t really concentrating as I tried so hard to get my email to the Red Cross ‘just right,’ before I twitched and sent it to them littered with mistakes – square into the ether with that ‘whoosh’ unique to smartphones. ‘Oh shit and bugger’ I said quietly, before having a quiet, reassuring conversation to myself in my head. ‘Excuse me, do you speak English,’ the American asked as I recovered from my fumbles. I advised that I do, very well in fact, before he added, ‘I thart you’re Pareee-Shen.’ ‘No, look I’m not, I’m actually Australian but for the time being I am living here,’ to which he added ‘oh, you’re a Fraustralian’. Probably more ‘frustrated‘ I laughed.
Tom missed his flight to Japan last night and is now ‘roughing’ it on the streets of Paris until his new flight to Tokyo leaves on Friday- an expense that has ‘flattened him broke’ and, as with dark chocolate and all food, I added a pinch of sea salt to his story. A film is in the pipeline, one that is imagined and drawn – not written, because writing gives too much away and if we were to give it all away, nothing would be original. Tom, in a pair of quite enviable Nikes, explained that he was from New York and each night for the next five days, were to be spent sleeping at the airport with his freshly minted ticket in hand, and the days within the périphérique of the city, fundraising for the days that followed the nights, in this five day saga.
I quite enjoy meeting Toms, and I listened intently as he explained that Ghandi had it right with his shift to isolation, adding that money isn’t everything- as much as he needed money as he roughed it in Paris. ‘Let me buy you a coffee,’ I said, and with that I was with a bearded, Nike wearing New Yorker sitting on the terrace of an ‘oh so typical and heavily populated Parisian cafe’ as he explained his need for complete silence (and a couple of euros), in a world that he has created sans technology, on the eve of a trip to Japan to pitch his film to Sony.
I explained my thoughts on ‘shared isolation’ where we can do everything in our power to live an ‘isolated’ existence, but in a world where we are so connected- particularly online, there is no escaping reality (especially in huge cities like Paris and New York), and I wouldn’t probably look that great in a toga anyway. My coffee was strong, so I went on to add that I think that if we include people in our moments of isolation through sharing our experiences, we are more likely to be understood than if we were to disappear off the face of the earth, and with this realisation comes a kind of comfort craved in moments of loneliness and perhaps, misunderstanding. Tom had told me that he felt all questions from his past were loaded and heavily objective, and that his energy was better spent rejecting people who he’d previously known and who he thinks, really don’t understand him.
I minded his bag as he used the loo at the cafe, and when he returned I handed him a fist full of metro tickets before telling him that if he missed enough flights to Tokyo and saved the money he was spending on return trips to the airport on the metro each day, spending it rather, on a hostel in Paris, he might find himself really enjoying his life ‘en seul’ where anonymity is key, but where the light, the colours and the smells are all overwhelmingly beautiful.
In fact, too good not to share.
And in closing, I think the little girl in the supermarket is going to go a long way in life by the way, or as Tom would say, BTW.
Pictured: the beautiful Seine taken in one of my many, warm fuzzy moments.