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. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Philosopher parties and Feist sightings

It's Sunday...and the sun is shining. I'm just finishing breakfast before I head out into the city, so unfamiliar in this bright light. This weekend has been fantastic. Saturday was a bit of a write off spent in bed, drinking coffee, eating food all day and watching a Woody Allen movie marathon. Pas mal!

Friday night's party with Parisian philosophers proved to be quite amusing, ridiculous, hilarious and generally just fun. Picture this: tearing through the evening streets on the back of a motorbike until we reach an apartment in the 13th. Enter the room, and there are stylish, interesting looking people milling around, books everywhere, an older man in a wheelchair (who was a pretty well known writer/philospher before suffering some kind of stroke and now cannot speak a word), champagne, wine, food everywhere, people smoking, laughing. It's someone's birthday, my roommate's niece, but I'm being grilled by his other niece. Within 3 minutes she knew my whole life, I don't even know her name. She eventually warms up to me, and keeps her eye on my champagne glass, making sure it was filled, mixing me drinks, offering me food, etc., the rest of the night. Great hostess.

I stand around as slowly but surely all the guests take their turns introducing, kissing cheeks, oh where's your accent from? Fast forward to late night, where a group of guests, honestly caricatures from some French film, each more hilarious and quirky than the next, surround me, having realized that I look remarkably like...Feist. Ohhh sing us a song! We have a celebrity in our midst! Etc etc. The drinks were flowing, the conversation was flowing, and eventually I had to call it a night...or early morning, and head home.

I have a souvenir from the night, or actually two: one, a book written by one the philosophers I met at the party titled "Dispositifs/Dislocations"; it's apparently impossible to understand - a mixture of poetry, the analysis famous works of art, literature, and music (the guy is apparently a complete genius)...but I'm going to take a stab at it. The other souvenir is the incessant phone calls I'm receiving from a French professor (also a hybrid shark/wolf, dangerous and sleazy) that I naively gave my number to earlier in the night, while trying to be nice. Sigh. Ah well, he'll get the picture.

Friday, February 12, 2010

auto vs moto

siiiigh. What a week!

I'm sitting at my desk, in my gorgeous Parisian room...Billie Holiday crooning me into a state of relaxation, aided and abetted by the glass of Côte du Rhône by my side, along with a platter of fresh baguette, two different types of extra stinky cheese, a few dolmades, hummus, and smoked almonds. A lovely little snack, if I do say so myself.

Funny commentary: auto vs. moto (to be said in a French accent, for optimal rhyming pleasure)
You know how in Canada, when people have road rage, it's typically tense, heated, irritated, occasionally violent, and brings with it a general sense of malaise? Well, here...and I'm saying this as a pedestrian, the way roadsters express rage is honestly...comical. They yell at each other alright, but with exaggerated bravado, complete with ridiculous gestures and pulls of the face. They follow each other tauntingly, but harmlessly, provoking each other slightly, and always with a sense of humour about it. I watched a fella on a moto argue with the drive of an auto well into the light change, both adament about their right of way, the other person's insolence, etc. They swirve, somehow not colliding, somehow not running people over as they rush thru red lights. Pedestrians yell, they yell back, drivers not even involved yell back. Needless to say, I'm just glad I stick to the sidewalks and metros; though these both come with their own complexities and nuances, which perhaps I've delve into some other day, some other post.

So, it's Friday. Another week gone, somehow. I've started a report on linguistic and biological diversity, which is extremely difficult to navigate given the direction it needs to go in - but I'm feeling pretty confident that it's going to be convincing, useful, and will hopefully rock the socks off the conference it's going to be presented at. *Fingers criss-crossed*.

Off to a party tonight, and hoping to weather cooperates (no snow today, and the SUN actually came out!) Planning a pretty low-key weekend. Hoping to go on a picture taking mission, so that I can start visually documenting some of my life here. For all you guys know, I could be in Paris, Texas working on a ranch!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm a Pisces magnet's official. Now, those of you who don't believe in astrology, ya'll can skip ahead to the following paragraph. But I need to pay homage to the Piscean forces at hand in my world. Let's briefly trace the it has been quite recent: FIRST! My tortured artist Toronto flame; really my initiation into the dreamy pool of the Piscean existence. THEN! Adam and Kim, the Kwakwaka'wakw couple that I work closely with, and who have adopted me into their family - BOTH Pisceans. THEN! Two of my fellow graduate students (my cohort was only comprised of 5 students) that I incidentally got along super well with - both Pisceans. My wonderful island friends Tina and her dreamy partner Ian - both Pisceans. Then I get to Paris, meet the dashing Dr. Rewilder, he's a Pisces (shut....up). I meet up with this amazing girl who my island friend got me in touch with, and who is fast becoming my Paris partner-in-crime - she's a Pisces. Today I was talking to the fella I initially stayed with when I arrived, and asked him if he was a Leo (he was being a little high maintenance) and no....he's a Pisces.

So. I don't know. Maybe I just investigate more than the average person, but what the what? It should be noted that Pisces, a fellow water sign, is basically my most compatible friend/mate/what have I guess it's a good sign (ha!) that they're entering my world at a rapid rate.

Anyways. I digress.

So, it's officially still winter in Paris. This morning I walked to work in the snow! I didn't mind it too much, but I was getting pretty excited about the whole heat rising, springtime flirtations that seemed to be transforming the city. But alas. I'm not complaining (I'm never allowed to complain while living in Paris); it was kinda neat to look out over the snow-swept city from the bathroom at work, which if you recall has the best view.

Worked on the French edits on the atlas again, then scurried off to a meeting on "Education for all", which was short but pretty interesting. The remainder of the afternoon was spent editing and brainstorming with my boss (who is just so damn awesome). It's really something to be working somewhere that welcomes the big ideas I'm prone to have! We have half a dozen projects cooking, and meet fairly regularly to prioritize. It's fun - it keeps things exciting and inspiring. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday synopsis

Yes, I know. I'm not the best blogger. As one of my self-proclaimed "fans" pointed out, I've been slacking. Alas, this happens in Paris!

The rest of the week wrapped up nicely. Lots of great projects, finished up a briefing for a biological diversity indicator report - it was pretty great to have been assigned something so, well, non-interny! It was tricky see, we're trying to provide support for linguistic diversity having a positive influence, enhancing even, biological diversity; which is easy to argue for, but difficult to provide tangible proof for. Needless to say, the ethnoecological restoration/language revitalization project that I've been working on is a relatively successful example of this, so we'll see what the big kahunas at UNEP think.

Friday night was phenomenal. I met up with Marion, a lovely Parisian girly that knows plenty of my island family, and we went to an experiemental, fusion dance class in a restored church just off of Quai d'Orsay. Well...let's just say that I managed to find the hippies of Paris (obviously). When we first arrived, I admit, I was pretty hesitant. A bunch of people flailing around to music, no structure, etc. Marion and I couldn't even make eye contact, we were laughing so hard on the inside (and occasionally the outside) It ended up being loads of fun, once I just let go and got into it; kind of a mixture between yoga, intentional dancing, and well...rumpus room! The funniest thing was that after the class was over, all these free-spirited hippie dippies slipped back into their uber chic Paris threads! Hippies in disguise.

We then hopped on the metro and went to a great little bar in Belleville - I hadn't been out there yet, so I was pretty stoked. Immediately noticed that Belleville is rougher than my area - I think the heavy stench of urine in the metro station gave it away - but it was also kinda nice to get away from the posh 15th and 7th arrondissements. We got to a bumping bar just off a main drag, squeezed into a table with our elbows literally rubbing those of the neighbouring tables, and cozied up for some girl talk, people watching, and hot mulled wine. Sigh. It was lovely. Wrapped up the evening with late night Chinese food, then literally ran to catch the last metro. Thankfully they run till 2am on the weekends!

Yesterday, I slept in. Mmmmm....I will never take this beautiful act for granted again. Spent the day watching movies and relaxing, as it was raining and I was just spent from my week and the night before. Wandered over to the bakery for a delicious almond croissant, climbed into bed with steaming hot coffee, and .

Today I'm thinking of hitting a museum (maybe the Museum of Natural History), or perhaps just strolling around the Seine. Meeting up with Marion later to go to the cinema (finally going to see French!), then it's back to the grindstone tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mid-week musings

Mid-way through my 3rd week, and I can barely comprehend how quickly time is passing!

Last weekend's lovely adventures are still providing steam, and I'm ingesting this week voraciously (with breaks for café crèmes and "occasional" correspondences with my partner-in-crime turned pen-pal). Being in such a stimulating place in my life - professionally, culturally, personally - as given me an unprecedented momentum, which I'm now focusing towards that neglected manuscript sitting, gathering dust and glaring at me from my shelf (i.e. my thesis).

My motivation has been greatly inspired by my brilliant and really pretty awesome sister's completion of her dissertation! If she can finish that monster while teaching a class, writing articles and chapters, and doing everything else she somehow manages to do, then dammit! I can finish mine! I figure I have about 2 weeks of work left on it, but that in relative terms to living and working in Paris...well, I'm going to hammer away, bit by bit, and hopefully hand in my final draft before I leave.

It's starting to get mild...spring is slowly starting to court the city. The cafés are starting to spill onto the street - the skirts are getting shorter, the evenings longer. Wow. Springtime in Paris! Bring it. I've never been this excited about life. Everything is falling into place. Work is amazing. Paris is surreal. I'm meeting fascinating people daily...What is this life? How did I get here? Do I have to leave? Sigh.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

3 bottles of wine, a Russian waiter, a Rewilder and a French Canadian walk into a bar...

...Wow. Let's just say this weekend has propelled me into a whole new dimension of Paris. It was a weekend of firsts; first meal at a French restaurant, first time riding the metro (I know, I know), first one-on-one with the Eiffel Tower (sorry LJ, but don't worry, I didn't go up), first museum outing at the Musée d'Orsay, first time experiencing Montmartre and Pigalle...I'm deliciously satiated with how much I've been moving and shaking these last few days. I guess that's what happens when you're the "local" guide for a "gringo" ;)

The biodiversity conference wrapped up on Friday, and we have a few weeks until the launch of the International Year of the Rapproachement of Cultures, as well as International Mother Language day. The new web page on language revitalization that I'm working on should be up and running for the launch, which means I will be a very busy bee this week!!

Have I mentioned lately that I love Paris? Sigh.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

a little Armenian vernissage.. What a day! Long day at work, complete with more edits and proofreading, and some interesting prospects for the future...not going to say anything as I don't want to jinx it, but let's just say things are opening up for me already.

My boss invited me to join her at a gala - the vernissage of a prominent Armenian artist (incidentally, my boss is Armenian), and so unprepared as far as duds went (luckily I had gussied up slightly), we sauntered over to the main building, drank champagne, ate hors d'oeuvres, and mingled with the Armenian elite. On my way home, I stopped into a little cafe a few doors down, had a glass of wine, and watched the daylife quickly melt into night before heading home for the evening.

Week 2 is almost done. Here's hoping the weather cooperates for some weekend adventures. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Catching up...again.

Back home from work, in from the cold snap that's hit the city. Cold, I say in relative terms, of this is nothing compared to the winters I experienced most of my life, but cold compared to the balmy winters of the coast.

This week, let's see...where to begin. Monday was a packed day, with lots of fun, interesting projects at work - I finished some language name edits on the 3rd edition of the Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger that has now been set off to be printed. I still can't believe I've had any part in this project, as their 2nd edition was the first academic book I purchased while in my undergrad. It helped spawn this passion of mine, and to think that I've come to the point of being directly involved still just...amazes me!

After work I rushed off to meet my uni colleague who's been pursuing a fellowship in Luxembourg and was in Paris for a conference. It was really nice to see a familiar face in this unfamiliar city, and we chatted away to wine and coffees on a street-side cafe. I then jumped on a city velo (you pick them up and drop them off in various locations - honestly why doesn't every city offer this service??) and it was pretty lovely to cruise down Paris evening streets. The cobblestones make for a pretty bumpy ride, but who's complaining?!

Yesterday was again a busy day, and a tame night spent guessed and chatting to my roommate about everything from tattoos, the forestry industry in Canada, to philosophy.

Today was pretty great. I was sent off to attend an afternoon of conferences on biodiversity in the main building to take notes and report back. It all felt very official and I admit I felt like kind of a big deal. Ha! More like a tiny minnow in a million seas, but you catch my drift. I was supposed to venture out to experience Montmartre at night, but am completely exhausted (still having trouble with this going to bed early AND waking up early - I'll figure it out eventually). So instead I'm going to eat, chill and get ready for tomorrow. Huge day coming up! End of weeks always seem pretty intense in my sector. :)

Also wanted to express my general stokedness on a few things: one, my Mom has decided to run in the Athens marathon next October, in celebration of the 2500th anniversary of the marathon! Yup, that's my mom. Also, my sister had a great interview with one of the uni's she's applied to, and so my fingers are crossed around a baguette for her! ALSO, my scorpsista should just be landing in Fiji, where she's about to endeavour on an amazing loveadventurefest with her dreamboat. Warms my heart, all of the above.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Mary Poppins neighbour, and other musings

So, I'm sitting here in my room, watching a movie after a strenuous day of...watching movies, and I just had to blog about my very strange downstairs neighbours. The sitch is, from what my roommate has told me and from what I have heard, that the woman (who is apparently not the sharpest tool in the kit) has this notion of raising her child in this strange, as he calls Mary Poppins manner; this basically means they sing...badly...and all the time. Now, I have nothing against singing, but...they sing Christmas songs. All year, and seriously all day. And on Sundays, they wake up at 8am and sing church hymns before going to church. This may not sound weird to you, but it's pretty damn bizarre to be listening to Il est né le divin enfant, while you're eating breakfast...or dinner..or reading. Anywayssss...just a little tidbit.

This weekend was very low key, although I absolutely reveled in being able to sleep in...something I see now that I took for granted just 2 weeks ago. On Saturday, I took my time, had delicious coffee and set off to explore the area around Bastille, and further west into the Marais. It's such an easy route to get there by bus, and the transportation services here are seriously amazing. I arrived in this massive square - to my right, the Opéra national and hundreds of people just milling, running, laughing, smoking, chatting. It's such a vibrant part of town and SO different from what I've grown accustomed to in my area. Lots of trendy shops, Paris teens and goths, which incidentally, are like carbon copies of Canadian teens and goths but with a little ne sais quoi. Ha!

I strolled around a side street I had heard about that specializes in thrift stores and overall interesting fare. Mostly I enjoyed window-shopping, clunking down on old cobblestones and smelling delicious crèpes sizzling from street vendors..the occasional waft of chestnuts crackling over makeshift stoves; succulent and complex aromas tickling my nose with each street corner I would pass.

I stopped into a cafe and had a sinfully tasty hot chocolate, scribbled in my notebook for a few minutes, observed the people; I had obviously wandered into a tourist...won't say trap, but a cafe heavily frequented by tourists....which isn't bad, except on the wallet. But as I had quickly learned that if you sit at the bar, the cost of a drink is almost half as when seated at a table, I got cozy on a bar stool and enjoyed my drink. I didn't stay long though..oooh no. When you only have weekends off, it really kicks you in gear to make the most of your outings. I must say though, that I'm looking forward to not feeling that sense of urgency to walk fast, see as much as possible, go go go..I haven't really meandered....sat at a cafe for more than 20 mins. Mind you, the weather hasn't really been meander-esque, so I'm thinking that might have something to do with it.

Anyhow, all is well but I've noticed that since writing this blog, people haven't been contacting me as much. Is that how this goes? But I also want to hear about YOUR lives, so keep that in mind and send ME updates too! I also have a cell phone and a land line. And well, it gets a little lonely here all alone, so don't be strangers!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Mais oui, jeudi!

I think I've finally shaken the last of the cobwebs in my head and wrapped myself around the notion of waking the mor...ning? Who knew! It's actually quite nice. There, I said it. Today was just...great. We had a conference call with an organization we're working with in the Middle East, and as I sat in the conference room and occasionally and casually glanced through the floor to ceiling walls at Paris and that gorgeous tower, I couldn't hide the massive grin that kept creeping up. My supervisor and I are getting along famously and she's already subtly suggesting me for future work. I had such a focused day today, that all of a sudden it was past 6 and I traipsed on home, passing by my local (read 3 doors down) boulangerie to pick up a fresh baguette and come home to indulge in a nice glass of wine. C'est la vie, et la vie est belle.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Catching up

Right...I guess the point of this blog is not to let too many undocumented days slip by. Let's catch up, shall we? So Monday marked my first day as an intern. The whole experience, the building, finding my way around, not having met my boss yet, drinking 3 espressos...let's just say I was a tad trepidacious, overwhelmed, slightly terrified, but mostly thrilled. Spent much of the day running around, meeting everyone in my sector, learning the ins and outs of our floor, walking to the main building a few blocks away to get my badge. Did I mention there's a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower from the washroom? Did I also mention that from my office I can see la Basilique du Sacré Coeur?

The projects I'm working on are incredible, and perfectly suited to my interests. I couldn't be happier..well, wait. I guess if I was being paid, I'd be a little bit happier...but seriously, this is pretty fantastic.

Yesterday my roommate bought us tickets to the Opéra Comique, where we saw a hilarious rendition of the Fairy Queen, scoured for French celebrities to no avail, then whizzed back to the apartment on his moto as I soaked up the night air, and saw the Louvre for the first time. I would highly recommend seeing it at night; from the outside, at least! Such a long day though...I was out and about from 8:30 until past midnight - but such is life in a city that buzzes such as this. Today was tame - worked alone mostly, did groceries (there's a great shop right around the corner) and relaxed. What will tomorrow bring...I wonder.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Settling in sit down to nice meal, beautiful bottle of Bordeaux, fresh baguette and extra smelly cheese - this is the life. The last few days have been quite mellow; trying to shake the jetlaggy cobwebs from my head, starting the explore Paris, flirting with the Eiffel Tower but not quite going all the way with her yet, drinking copious amounts of espresso, eating fresh everythings, fretting mildly about starting work tomorrow.

Today I moved across the 15th, my new neighbourhood, and into my new apartment. It is absolutely lovely, and I'm definitely pleased with my decision. Living with a fantastic and fascinating philosophy professor in his enormous, stylish, 3rd floor walk-up, in a beautiful bourgeois ancien building. It's within walking distance to Luxembourg gardens, the Latin Quarter, and many other gorgeous little hubs, and it's also a 10 minute walk to work. I think it's safe to say I have scored...big time. I roamed around a little, finally unpacked, and am ready to face tomorrow...the most important day I can think, maybe ever. We'll see.

Friday, January 15, 2010

It begins... I am. In Paris. For 3 months. It's finally sinking in. All of the build up from being offered the internship in August, to putting it off until January, to putting off the completion of my thesis and degree, to shifting my life around and finally...I'm here.

Arriving in a city like Paris is indescribable - it has already been so thoroughly constructed in your mind through countless songs, films, stories, paintings, dreams. To arrive is to blast through the ideals or images you have conjured up in your mind, only to find that not only does it surpass them, the city itself, in real time, in real life, transcends them. It slaps you across the face with its authenticity, its grandeur, its relentless array of cozy cafes and bakeries, its cobbled streets, its feisty and painfully stylish citizens, its buzz. A buzz, like the accentuated and intensified tremors of a normal city's vibrations; the vibrations of a vibration, as if everything is alive and waiting to grab your eyes, your ears, your nose.

Walking around my new neighbourhood, I hit the ground running. Walking fast, walking hard, peeking at my map but of course hiding it, because no one wants to feel like a tourist in Paris. I want to feel like I live here, I know where to go. It's a careful act of deception, because I had no clue where I was or where I was going, and I do admit I got turned around more than a few times. The important thing is that I didn't get lost, I didn't get irritated, I just found myself and kept walking.

Looked at a lovely room in a lovely apartment with a lovely Parisian philosophy professor, got the key, set to move in on Sunday. Returned to the B&B I stayed in last night - got seriously hooked up, owned by a friend of the family, lovely man, amazing place and location, 3 terraces, private shower in my room, fireplace, secure, etc etc etc. Ends up he's willing to harbour me for the duration of my stay...which means I went from having no home yesterday, to having a choice between 2 absolutely fantastic homes that somehow I have to choose between. Sigh. It's a tough life.

I have the weekend to explore and play, then it's to work on Monday. I feel like not only have I started a new chapter in my life, but it's an entirely new book. I haven't felt this exhilarated in...well, ever.