Sunday, April 4, 2010

sunday swooning

ahhh long weekends. long weekends are heavenly, but even more so when you can walk for 20 mins and find yourself in luxembourg gardens, sitting on a bench drenched in sunshine that feels even warmer as it has followed small bursts of rain. i sat, with my dharma bums book bringing me to kerouac's world of rambles, meditation and the zen lunatics, and my mind wandered to that place that only good literature can bring you. that place where you look around yourself in a different way, appreciate the people around you in an unfamiliar way. it was lovely - the birds were singing, flowers were filling the air with new wafts of life and loveliness. pigeons rested at my feet, beautiful though mangled, several missing limbs but seemingly content to be sunbathing.

sunday already, though the weekend has been eventful; warrioring through it as i have been with the last few, feeling that my time here is soon coming to an end, wanting to enjoy every minute i can. friday night began with an absolutely astounding performance at opera bastille - a siddhartha ballet, and truly the most incredibly piece of dance i've ever seen. the costumes, the orchestra, the set made me think back to my own ballet recitals and blush a little at just how minuscule they were compared to this troop, this spectacle. then it was out to favela chic with some friends for some brazilian drinks, music and dancing. what started out as a low-key scene, with long tables of patrons eating, chatting and sipping on fresh minted cocktails, transformed into a sweaty fun night of dancing ON the tables, amazing vibes from everyone, enjoying the night's mayhem until the wee hours of the morn. saturday was a quiet night in, with my roommate having invited some of his colleagues over for dinner. it was nice, two little kids who were adorable beyond belief, and more french banter that i've grown to adore. today was a lazy start, followed by strolling around saint germain and finding the bench i gushed about earlier. tomorrow i'm heading up to montmartre - would you believe i haven't been to basilique du sacré-coeur yet? me neither.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the short version

strrrrretch. ok. so. since last we spoke, i: attended a vernissage, attended a swatch watch release art party, drank absinthe for the first time, lost my favourite belt, went to a magazine launch party, secured two working contracts, realized i have become a regular at several bakeries and cafes, realized i can speak fluent parisian, went to a strange industrial/emo girl wailing at a piano concert, was invited to a super posh cocktail at the canadian ambassador's luxurious flat complete with butlers wearing white tuxes and champagne for days, had a dinner party in the cutest apartment i've ever seen, saw notre dame and the louvre at night again, walked around the city for 5 hours straight and had my picture taken by half a dozen art students, visited shakespeare & company (overrated), went to a socialite's birthday party and rubbed shoulders with THAT crowd (whoa), made some pretty incredible friends, spent some pretty incredible moments, finished a huge paper i've been working out only to find out it might be published, went to the opera national and lost my mind at how lavish it was, toured around on the back of a bmw motorcycle, found out that my producing gig back in victoria is on for this august, was excited beyond belief for my two sisters, made some pretty profound know, typical week to week stuff.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday, lazy Sunday

...I know, I know. My blogging has been seriously lagging. I'm well aware...

This week was good, nothing out of the Paris ordinary, busy with work, etc. Had lunch out with a fellow Quebecois and a few other work folk at this quaint little restaurant run by, you guessed it, a philosopher. I'm sensing more than a theme with Parisian philosophers...if I don't come home, it's because I've decided to join the ranks, live on bread, cheese and wine in a loft in Belleville, write my heart away on a typewriter. Doesn't sound too bad, actually!

This weekend had been just lovely. Went out on Friday night to a friend's birthday party in Montmartre - met the most hilarious, gorgeous, archetype of a Parisian girl who kept me highly entertained all night. I wish I could have just put her in my pocket to keep her and take her with me, pulling her out on the metro, at work...any time I need a little pick-me-up. Instant friends; another theme I'm sensing from Paris. I really don't know what people are talking about when they say Parisians are snobby or cold. I've never met such genuinely kind and real people before. Sure the island is full of open hearts, but there's something different about people here...still haven't put my finger on it. But siiigh. I love it.

Spent the day yesterday wandering around the Marais, ducking in and out of old vintage shops, caught in the hustle of a Saturday afternoon which is pretty nuts, I gotta say. The sidewalks are completely packed, vendors on the street shouting prices, fish markets spilling out from storefronts, kids weaving around the masses on their scooters, the occasional couple kissing in the middle of it all. I honestly feel like I'm walking on a movie set anytime I go to the right bank on a weekend.

Last night a fabulous friend from work (she's an interpreter, Dominican, lovely and definitely my closest confidant in Paris) invited me to ANOTHER birthday party. A loft party waaaay out in the outskirts of town - very strange area, industrial, but the party was good fun. Lame music, but I'm not complaining! Got to dance, met some pretty interesting people, some of whom I also managed to share a cab home with thankfully...that would have been a pricey one, and a dodgy one given the nature of the area! Got home, crashed with a huge grin on my face, exhausted but satisfied.

Today it's a lazy kind of Sunday. A Billie Holiday kind of Sunday. A loads of coffee and maybe a movie or 2 kind of Sunday.

Monday, March 8, 2010

paris - in my heart for keeps.

well, it's official. i'm in love. i'm in love with this big, dirty, crazy, manic, pricey, devastatingly charming city. i know you're probably thinking, geez melissa, aren't you two moving a little too fast? you've only been seeing each other since january - how well do you really even know each other? well, i'm throwing caution into the balmy parisian wind in this case. i'm just going to accept that the heart knows no logic. and i'm going to continue this love affair, possibly for the rest of my life. does this mean i'm staying in paris? not necessarily. but does it mean that it has stained my heart for keeps? definitely.

i'm also going to admit that i'm quite proud of myself. ha! i've been working on this policy paper about indigenous languages as keys to maintaining and understanding biodiversity. i've been pouring over documents/articles/conventions/etc. well, today i submitted another draft to my boss...and she was very pleased. i could tell she was impressed, and it helped that she actually told me how impressed she was, how useful this paper has the potential to be...i sat there slightly stunned (blame it on university-induced-insecurity-of-all-things-on-paper). a little over a month left at work and i'm ready to give it my all.

spent an amazing weekend, just...amazing. the dashing dr.rewilder made a second paris appearance, and i did my darndest to be a decent tour guide. this time around, we did less typical-tourist things, and more crazy-posh-fun-real paris things. great food, great company, great wine..some mayhem, but mostly yet another weekend for the record books of the melissa life series.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Fevers and galas, oh my.

Saturday 'morning' - a steaming cup of coffee, and the lovely Cecilia Bartoli's operatic genius helping me start the weekend. The sun has decided to make a rare cameo, and I'll soon head out for a bike ride and some exploring. I still cannot believe February is almost over...scary to think of how quickly time is starting to pass me by.

Uf! This week! Well, I managed to somehow come down with a feverish flu in the middle of Sunday night, and carried on the fever and general feeling crappiness for most of the week. Despite it, I went to a conference all day Tuesday, in celebration of Mother Language Day. Met a pretty interesting prof from Victoria! Spent the afternoon shmoozing, which I'm fairly certain is my niche. Was invited to a gala on Thursday celebrating the Dominican Republic's day of independence - going WITH a Dominican girl made it that much cooler.

Work and the city in general continue to impress and inspire me. I'm really starting to get a feel for how life would be here. Most importantly, I feel myself going through growing pains of sorts - letting go of old ways of thinking and doing. Dreaming hot frenetic dreams, as if my brain is trying to help illuminate the process. Intrigued as to what lies ahead for me...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday scheming...

So, I know. I've once again been a bad blogger. But I it's because I've been too busy working hard and having a fabulous time, which are pretty great reasons! :)

The week at work was great, lots of new projects, helping out with a conference tomorrow and Tuesday, getting pretty tight with my boss. Would you believe, she's actually hired another intern to do the boring grunt work so that I can continue doing research and writing reports? Crazy!

I went out with a girl from work on Wednesday night, for a some wine and ended up spending hours chatting, drinking and eating, joined later on the in the evening by her lovely partner (ANOTHER philosophy professor, but who now works as a high end art dealer) The couples here are so interesting - the ones I've met are all power couples; both super successful, fascinating lives, lots of education between them. Or is that typically normal and I'm just meeting young professional couples for the first time? Hmm.

Spent Friday night in Belleville, which is fast becoming one of my favourite spots. It is honestly SUCH a different version of Paris than where I live and work. So incredibly diverse, a little grungy, still bohemian, still affordable, lots of charm but also not some place I'd feel completely comfortable roaming the streets alone at night. It's great!

Today I'm heading to the 13th, where there is a festival happening in China Town. Then, Marion and I are hopping on bikes, cruising around the Seine, checking out some of the old cemeteries, and finishing up with mint tea at the Mosque. Lovely!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

small waves, big city

it's hard to gauge when exactly you find a city's rhythm. when you stop needing a map to get around your own neighbourhood, or to know what direction you're travelling in; to know which bus stops are where; to know how the metro stations work and where they connect; to know which boulangier is the best for the cheapest. all these things accumulate over time, i guess. some faster than others. you live and learn, you explore and experience, and eventually things - no matter how huge and intimidating they first appeared - become...natural. it's slowly been happening to me and the process is just fascinating. how can we adapt so well? humans are just so intriguing, wouldn't you say? take me. i'm from a small town in Quebec - i didn't grow up in the hustle and bustle of a big city, but somehow i keep throwing myself into oncoming traffic and managing to keep up. i can work in a remote village of 50 people, but i can also keep up to this Paris pace, and in fact, i thrive in it. humans. so strange.

i'm continuing to make small waves at work...more potential consultant work lined up once the internship wraps up. and oh yes: i wrote a letter of recommendations to this task force at work about new ideas for partnerships and funding (i thought, what the heck. might as well try to get my voice heard while i'm here!); now i've been invited to join the task force and met with them this afternoon to go over our proposal....which we're going to present to the director-general next week. yes, i...lowly going to meet and greet with the D-G. my boss said that's usually unheard i'm stoked. and so is she. :)