A few years ago, I wrote this while travelling in Paris:
Paris, and what I am currently thinking about it. . .
1.) I am writing my thoughts in a list, because I have lost all ability to think clearly and numbers give a facade of organization to my chaotic stammering sentences. This is a preface.
2.) I think I could be happy alone in Paris with a journal and my i-pod. And maybe unlimited money. That last one would make it much more comfortable, although it may not be necessary.
3.) My ankle strap sandal scraped my heel and the stap of my bag chaffed against my sunburn when I took the metro-stairs at hyperspeed thismorning, but when I stepped out into the morning, I got a deep breath of the layered Parisian air. . . and felt amazing. On my first visit, I didn’t like the air here. It felt too busy. Now, I think maybe the blend of cigarrettes, sweat, perfume, bakeries, dogs, machismo and mayhem has grown on me. It’s like a cross between a scent that would make your nose wrinkle and one that might make your eyes shut in pure relishing delight. And, amazingly, now, it smells good to me.
4.) Some people travel and they leave home behind. Others carry it with them. While I find nothing wrong with keeping home close in your heart (in a sentimental, internal kind of way), it can be a weighty bag to tote around all day and makes navigating the narrow streets quite fatiguing.
5.) People are lovely everywhere I go.
6.) I have probably said it before, but the blatant sexuality and gender confidence of French culture always surprises me. Men are handsome, in a casually affected kind of way. Women are beautiful, dripping style everywhere they go, like they’ve just emerged from some fountain of Class that Americans constantly look for, and they just can’t help themselves. While I think many people in the US are constantly looking at one type of person and finding them beautiful, people appreciate the natural beauty of the opposite sex, and there’s no age limit or body type that really limits beauty.
7.) On the same note, men do not respect personal space and any sort of eye contact can be construed as an invitation to breach all kinds of personal space boundaries.
8.) I love being American. Sometimes I like being an American tourist, but mostly I just find the whole attitude of Americans as tourists to be fairly ignorant and self-centered, even if well-intentioned.
9.) The best of a culture lives in its language.
10.) I am indeed sunburnt, the soles of my feet are pretty sore and I have probably gained like 6 pounds from eating so much! I wouldn’t trade all of the exquisite days/experiences, but I think whoever said that traveling makes you appreciate going home more was right. I will be glad for the luxury of healthy food in the pantry, my big supply of aloe and my soft bed.
11.) So far, French people think I speak french well. Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
12.) Homeless people everywhere make me sad.
13.) I know, I know. Why are we still talking about Abby’s random Parisian thoughts? Don’t worry, I’m wrapping it up.
14.) When you come here, eat the Macarons. Drink a cafe au lait.They’re worth it. And don’t smoke just because you’re here. That’s dumb. What happens in France doesn’t just stay in France, and if you smoke, it will very possibly be staying in your lungs.
15.) I hope I fit into my bridesmaid dress when I get back, yeeesh.
16.) I love the musée Rodin. Rodin’s sculpture is like the epitome of raw meeting smooth. It’s perfection smoothed out of a hunk of rough nothing. I like Degas’s paintings for the same reason I like Rodin’s paintings, and tapioca pudding for that matter. The textures are incredible.
17.) Everyone who is thinking of travelling to France. Honestly, Paris is gorgeous. Go. Do it. But once you have, go to the real France. Because Paris is only 85% real France. Maybe even less. You can appreciate all of its wonderful cultural wealth and experience all of its depth and breadth. You can speak French in Paris and eat French food in Paris. But it will only take you so far. And then you’re just in a beautiful, historical, hotbed of culture, which is incredible, but not quite real.
18.) That is all. I am going to take my french playlists for a walk now.