I’ve achieved so little this morning (even though it is only about 10am as I write this), and I can hardly stop walking around my newly fresh apartment after a weekend of spring cleaning. I did just get off the phone to Telstra, so to be fair, two hours were spent working on my deep breathing techniques while performing lunges with gritted teeth in and around the few spare square meters left of this little studio, now zinging with the scent of poisonous blue cleaning products and a candle named ‘Granade’ (translating to ‘Pomegranate’). Fitting as the ambient scent for a long phone call to the telco, I would have thought.
It’s been almost two months since I arrived, and the dust was beginning to gather so, much of Saturday and Sunday were spent whooshing down the supermarket aisles with my basket collecting things like ‘Canard de Toilette’ (yes, toilet duck is a universal thing), and a blue floor cleaning product that came with the promise of restoring the kitchen and bathroom tiles to their original order (with little stars that sparkle around the mop head while doing so)- all while making the apartment smell like a deep blue ocean. I’d probably settle for ‘lung busting poison,’ and the only stars I saw were the ones blinking in my eyes as I bent over too quickly, but it’s all clean nonetheless.
For those of you who don’t like the thought of using cleaning products the colour of a public swimming pool, I do have to add that this is my only sin and it’s very hard not to be environmentally minded in Paris. Every bin in the bin basement is plastered with stickers and passive aggressive notes about what and what not to put into them. I know these rules are obeyed because I ended up in one of these bins, white shirt, trousers and all, after dispatching my keys into one of them on the way to the airport last winter. It was the cleanest bin I ever did see and I am a stickler for obeying these rules. I also did a further bit for the environment yesterday by purchasing a tin water bottle (BPA free) with a vegan leather strap, to aid with my addiction to the Parisian water that has been through seven kidneys before it touches my lips- while reducing the amount of plastic water bottles I seem to be going through.
On the matter of clothing, I went out on Saturday and picked up two lovely skirts (les jupes). Not one to ever really expose my legs (I give a tease of an ankle from time to time when I roll my trousers up), I finally had a belated life epiphany that dressing like a seven year old could be quite liberating for my soul, and with that I came home with two skirts and spent the warmest part of yesterday bathing my stucco columns in the sun, over a bowl of crunchy vegetables, quinoa and kale. I know, that dish doesn’t really marry well with the thought of using bright blue Canard in the loo, but it happened. I’ve been craving crunch and sun for days and when I wasn’t pushing the vacuum cleaner followed by the mop, I was at ‘Judy,’ a really sweet little café in the 6th arrondissement – just a short walk from home via the Luxembourg gardens. Judy has all the things that I thought I’d never miss- including kale and quinoa and really delicious take away coffee, and I can feel it fast becoming an addiction.
Mercifully (or not), Judy sits on my path to Foundation Robert de Sorbon, where I will spend most of September through to December. I went to visit the Sorbon on Thursday and positively skipped out after a really fruitful meeting, where I paid my registration fee and left with a feeling of deep gratitude that the process wasn’t as hard as the website might suggest (similar to my visit to the French Consulate in Sydney in May- I’m still trying to work out why these people make their websites so terrifying).
With the arrival of August, Paris is quiet, reminding me of my visits in January where everyone seems to run away, leaving behind an aging population and hardworking young locals with jobs. It’s a pleasant time to be here, with the cafés emptier, the museums exercising a restored sense of calm and the streets easier to navigate. On Saturday night as I walked home, young people dined out on rapid conversations en français and mojitos and as I crossed the Pont d’Acole, the selfie sticks were out in lesser force and the tinkle of bike bells were complimented with a new type of silence as an almost cool breeze filled the evening air. The sun began to set and people took to day beds in the forecourt of the beautiful Hôtel de Ville where a big plasma screen was set up to project Usain Bolt’s final race.
As I type this, a song that I cleverly shezamed in a shop yesterday titled ‘Not Over Yet’ and sung by Zoe Durrant, plays quietly in the corner. While it might be all but over for Usain, I feel it is just the beginning for me as I head into a new phase of ‘Ma Vie A Paris.’
And finally, if you haven’t already found my tab dedicated to a few of my favourite things, I’d love you to have a look in the main menu where you will find this page, aptly named ‘Paris.’
Pictured: the leaning tower of books that was built during my weekend spring clean.