PARIS LIVIN ~2nd Week

As an official blogger or “bloggeur” in Paris, It is my duty to write a second post. What better way than sitting alone, listening to “Claire de Lune” in my boyfriend’s flat, near the center of Paris, on a rainy day. Crossing the threshold into this blogger’s setting will hopefully consecrate everything that I write, speaking the truth and nothing but the truth.

Tolstoy talks about being a lover of truth in the introduction to War and Peace, I believe. He talks about prizing the truth and that his only goal was this. So much more eloquently said by him, I would like to carry out that sweet sentiment into the cyber realm, where everything feels a bit more casual, and a little less romantic.

This week was a handful of ups and downs. Well, mostly ups. The down was at the very end of my week, and so it is still poignant to me. The week started like this: an American girl walking almost giddily on brisk Paris mornings, looking around her like an anxious spy, trying to read the stories of others, looking to find a character that could really entertain her imagination. Hovering near the boulangerie and asking herself the “million dollar question” : A croissant or pain au chocolate?… And nearly falling into an adrenalin rush after initiating “boulangerie conversation” with that first “bonjour”. I’m always simultaneously imagining how well I am fooling the Madame at the counter, and if she is curious about why I am here or my adamancy about speaking French. I will enjoy this anonymity while it lasts. One day she and I may be friends. Okay, that’s pushing it… At least, the kind of friends that look forward to regularly greeting each other with “boulangerie convo”… So a few more visits. By the time I arrive at the office, I am singing to myself tunes of “how lucky I am to be here.”

Maybe you are asking then, ” What gives you, Sheena Marie, the right to self pity by the end of your week, in the city only some people dream about, all the while having a boyfriend that only some people dream about, and an internship that only some people… ?”

Still sorting this phenomenon out, as I have such high expectations of myself and experiences, but I just know my mom “hit it on the nail” with her unprovoked note to me on facebook.

“Love you…You sound tired…Is France kicking your butt? It will get better I promise!
Remember every new situation is hard at first and you are taking on a new everything…
Hang in there… My Sheena can do it!”

Thanks mom, Rousseau and Voltaire have nothing on you!

La Vie en Rose?

First week in Paris as a “working girl.” That is, I’m not a tourist this time. I am an intern. Traveling in the dark underground smelly metro for nearly two hours a day. Often crowded, and hard to come by a seat in the direction of intent, as not to become nauseated (although I still do become nauseated). Surrounded by people who seem mostly discontent or disengaged completely with this part of their day (except for the happy South American man playing the guitar for “des pi├Ęces” P.S. How did he get here??), or one might ask if they are unhappy about all parts of their day… Just trudging through it. A sense of walking through trenches comes to mind. Anyhow, this is not the Paris I had concocted in my head the year and a half prior, when my beaming bushy-tailed self first set foot on the glorified hexagon, longing for promises to be kept of : love, cuisine, beauty, and a profoundness that was beyond the depths of the sea (that only heirs of Rousseau and Baudelaire could offer). Believing that I, too, like the 1954 film, Sabrina (with Aubrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart), would utterly change, with a paradigm shift and a new wardrobe -maybe (not willing to cut my hair). Dreaming that every “Frenchy” I ran across would be enamored by my “lack of American accent” and my charming enthusiasm for their country, and “Oh how different I was from every other American they had met” (in a good way). Or rather, I was hoping to abandon my association with America altogether. On the flip side, however, If came off as “too Parisienne” it would not be different enough to be appreciated, so I just wanted to be like 39% Parisienne, the part that gave me that alluring mysteriousness, elegant red lips, and spicy amber undertones of Coco Chanel perfume. I was lineage of Zeus, perhaps. While my experience wasn’t completely devoid of such scenes (in some cases it went above and beyond), It would prove itself to produce much more depth and rough edges than any romantic film could have prepared me for… over my next two visits. Now, being the second one. Reality does indeed come back to say hello or “bonjour” from time to time. I am still not sure how I feel about that. Mixed feelings, but game for the adventure… one to base a novel off of.