Day 22 & 23 – Night Walks

Hey there,

Something I haven’t done often since being here is night walks around the city. It’s truly the city of lights, but, being a single woman, I also want to feel most safe so I usually head back to the apartment as soon as the night sky floats overhead.

Because of European Heritage Weekend, night events were happening around the city. And because of a visit from my Canadian cousin who’s here for work, I had another opportunity to go to the Eiffel Tower and see her glow (something I wouldn’t have done on my own because I don’t like the “vibe” in the tourist areas surrounding the Eiffel Tower, especially at night).

It’s not that I’m afraid of this city at night. I have never felt unsafe in Paris other than in the 18th and 10th (the 10th only in the evening), which are areas I just avoid. And the reason for feeling unsafe in those areas is just because when I’m alone, the migrant men in those areas get very aggressive. It’s unnecessary attention – and possible confrontation – that I wish to avoid. If I were with someone else while there, they wouldn’t be a bother. It takes just a pair to deter behaviour. But I still avoid walking around at night simply because I’m extra cautious. Trauma will do that to a person. But, again, there hasn’t been a moment where I’ve felt unsafe. And I’ve walked around my own neighbourhood and into the 4th at night and felt perfectly at home and comfortable.

I did only a little bit of writing the last two days, and it’s private. That’s something I wish to change in this upcoming week.

Life continues to be an endless supply of motivation, inspiration, and happiness. I feel like I’m walking on clouds…

xo
C

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Day 20 & 21 – La Vita e Bella

Hey there,

I got a substitute position with the International School of Paris.
I’m doing a “trial run” of a philosophy lesson for another International school on Monday.
I was contacted by my favourite expat magazine to provide them with article ideas.
A friend contacted Fodors Travel & Tourism and told them to check out my blog.
I’m getting paid to write blog articles about stuff I love (fashion).
I’ve booked my next adventure to Annecy, France for next weekend. It’s called the Venice of France. It has water and mountains so you can imagine how thrilled I am.
I feel great: happy, healthy, beautiful, full of life.
And I still have time for me, for this city, for my relationship with this city.
What is this life I am living? Is this real?

Something wakes within me as the sun rises, hitting the beautiful blue rooftops that I see from the window of my apartment. Something I can feel deep within my core. Something that escapes through my fingertips and flows down to my legs and calls me to move forward and onwards and towards what most invigorates me, what most sets my soul on fire.

Sitting at the Seine’s edge, I was moved to tears. I am so happy. I don’t remember the last time I was so overwhelmed with complete grace and appreciation for life. Each day I feel it more and more. Each day I admire this life that I am living by stepping outside of myself, observing, feeling gracious, and then heading back in deep so I don’t miss a second.

I am so unequivocally grateful for the life I’m living right this moment. Everything I’ve ever done, every lesson I’ve learned from mistakes I’ve made, every struggle, every success, has lead to me being here, right here. Who I am in this moment is all that matters. Who I’ve been is just a memory. Right now, as I write this, my heart swells with gratitude and life is beautiful and I am swimming in happiness. 

I forgive anyone who has ever wronged me. How happy I am right now is the greatest revenge I could ever give them. And it comes from a place of compassion. So the whole universe wins.

If I take back anything with me from Paris, let it be this: may I carry with me the spirit of this city that endlessly inspires and moves me, so that lust for life exists no matter where I call “home”. 

I am so completely and utterly in love with this city and how it’s made me feel. Paris, you are truly mine, but my darling, I am yours, all yours. I will always be yours. May my steps along your streets move you in such a way as you have done for me. These days will never be forgotten. You will be the song I sing till the day I die. I am endlessly grateful that I got to love you like this, in this new way. You’ve written your name on my soul and I belong to you.

And it’s true what they say: Paris comes alive in the Fall. The way the sun hits it, illuminates it, the less busy streets, the colour changing leaves, the cool breeze… it’s a different experience of Autumn, and it’s a season that suits my Paris.

xo
C

Day 19 – Let’s Get Lost

Hey there,

 

Today I let myself get lost in my neighbourhood and, as usual, discovered corners of it I never experienced in my last 18 days, here. There is always something new. There is always some beauty hidden if you take a moment to look. And then I got to thinking about the whole concept of walking without a purpose.

I mean, I walk around my neighbourhood, take streets I’ve never seen before, let myself be drawn in by some artwork or a shop window and then take another corner that’s new to me, and eventually my intent is to head back somewhere “safe” and “familiar” (to my apartment, for example, or a landmark I recognize).

It seems that no matter how many new streets I take, no matter how many turns in opposite directions that I wander, I always end up back on a street where I’m like, “Oh, right, I’m just straight up here!”

And isn’t life like that? We go on these paths, these journeys, where we are searching for new experiences, discoveries, memories, we want to take risks, discover ourselves, get lost in the abyss, but then our paths always end up where we are meant to be. Our paths always bring us home.

And by home, I don’t mean a physical building that your family lives in (but it could be!). I mean where our soul calls us to be. I mean where life is set up to bring us the most joy.

I think it’s important to have goals and dreams in life and to work at them. But I think getting frustrated when things don’t work according to our timeline is a complete waste of energy.  If we give ourselves over to life, the fates, God(s), the universe, we will eventually end up where we are meant to be. Eventually, something will feel familiar (a path of opportunity) and our fear will vanish and we will run down it and appear just where we are supposed to settle.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe in chance. I believe in purpose. I believe in fate. I truly adhere to the idea that there is a reason for everything. And I find it’s a lot easy to live a stress-free life when you give yourself over to that idea, when you let the universe take hold and show you reason, teach you lessons, force you down uncomfortable paths, and eventually bring you home.

Paris was meant to be my home. I believe that with every fiber of my being. I struggled with coming to terms with when exactly the universe would make this happen, but I’ve come to understand now that it was meant to be at this moment in my life. It was meant to happen when it did. I was made to wait for it so I would appreciate it and the experience it is bringing me even more. I was taught patience by the universe because it understood that patience is the mindset of French living. And I was made to wait because everything worth gaining in life takes time, takes a hard fight, takes risks.

I don’t know if I’ll be in Paris forever. I am so happy here, and each day I’m filled with the zest for life that you hear the French have. I get it. But right now, I’m not going to take a single day for granted. I’m going to soak in as much as I can from this experience, this (possibly) temporary chapter in the story of my life, and I’m going to let life take hold.

Where it takes me next, I welcome with open arms.
I’m ready to explore any unknown path.

And I’m just grateful.

Not many photos today, but these were taken in and around my area. And I finally found a decent Indian food place (Indian food is my favourite)!

I’m in awe that tomorrow I will have lived here for 20 days…

Where do you think life might be taking you, next?

xo
C

Day 17 & 18 – Silent Film

Hey there,

Not much to share:
– I had a phone interview for a philosophy teacher position, and I have an in-person interview/meeting on Thursday
– I traversed through the Passages of Paris, today: these are 19th century covered passages that were once main shopping districts. They’re still shopping areas now, but much quieter (except the cafes at lunch hour).
– I got a haircut: a “French cut” for this Parisienne

C’est tout. So I’ll be silent, and enjoy the photos (which I’ve annotated). For a few bibliophile friends, a few will look very, very familiar.

xo
C

Day 15 & 16 – Passions & Versailles

Hi there,

I cannot believe I’ve lived in Paris for 16 days.
I also cannot believe my request for a bank account only got approved yesterday (IT TOOK FIFTEEN DAMN DAYS). Moving onwards…

I wrote this last night but I genuinely have no recollection of taking out my phone to do so (I just saw it when I woke up this morning):
Every word I write from these fingertips, from the tip of the pen on the page, is saturated with TRUTH. Not an ounce of the inauthentic exists in my writing. If you’ve heard my words, I’ve meant my words.

Much like when Hemingway sits in a cafe and admires a woman from afar, I fell in love with a woman rather quickly and wrote this:

I think I am in love:
Her breathy thank yous
And the way she stares into your soul when she talks to you

And makes you feel completely alone with her
In a crowded cafe
And her pursed lips show
Interest and
Concern and
Sincerity and
Perfection
And her ability to make your existence feel valid
In mere minutes of conversation
And the smoothness of her graceful neck
When she tucks her hair behind her ears
She’s beautiful and unique
And spectacular and a dream
And I want to grab her face
And press my lips gently against hers
And have our tongues
Intertwine
So I can savor that breathiness
In a new way:
I think I am in love.

Yesterday I went out for a bite and a drink with my neighbour Anise and it was the most natural and authentic and fun conversation I’ve had in a long time, with a woman I was just meeting for the first time. Truly like a connection I haven’t felt in ages.

Today: I went to Versailles. I have been to Versailles before; last time was either the first or second time I went to Paris (2010 or 2011), and considering how close it is to the city, I decided it was time to pay another visit.

Versailles, as a city, makes me think of Oakville. It’s Oakville and Paris is Toronto. Beautiful, a lot to offer tourists, quiet, cheaper to live but still immensely expensive, and a downtown where everyone knows everyone.

In regards to Chateau de Versailles, my sentiments remain the same: the apartments are nothing to swoon over unless you’re into that kind of thing, the Hall of Mirrors is historic (that’s where the Treaty of Versailles was signed which ended WWI), and the gardens are spectacular and worth the trip.

I’m obsessed with the movie ‘Midnight in Paris’, so I couldn’t help reciting the script in my head as I walked around the gardens…

I took a lot of photos. I did some writing (babbling):

Is loneliness a condition that stems from an inability to love time with yourself (meaning there is also disconnect in understanding and loving yourself) or does it come from an innate human condition to have human connection and affection?

I think I only felt lonely the first three days of arriving here. And nights are lonely for another reason: I’m used to a bed full of fur-babies.


I think when I come back to Canada, even if it’s just after the 3.5 months, I am going to be unrecognizable. I don’t mean physically (though I have noticed my eyes are getting greener – is that what happens when you’re endlessly happy and free?), I mean spiritually. I am transforming, elevating, discovering myself and my existence on this planet, becoming a better version of myself every single day.


I think I’ve discovered the secret of Feminine beauty in this city: it comes back to simplicity. It is effortless. And they carry themselves with the impression that they simply don’t have an ounce of concern for what you think and feel about them. I like to believe I’m the same in that sense, in regards to my own confidence. My confidence is not ego-driven but energy-driven. I don’t have time to invest energy in worrying about the opinions of others (on how I look physically). I only have time to invest in lifting myself and making myself feel – on the outside – like the woman I feel on the inside. 


I never walked back home. I didn’t want to walk in a city that left me so uninspired. I found walking tedious and exhausting and even to pick up something just down the street, I would opt for my car. Getting to my destination the quickest was my intention. I was rushing through life the way North Americans always do. I didn’t see what there was to savour… other than hours I spent in a bookstore, of course. There, I allowed myself to get lost, to be immersed into aisles and ideas and moments and silence.

But here, other than the occasional metro hop, walking is how I get around and so I wander. And I’m forced to take everything in: where exactly I am, what beauty surrounds me, how my legs feel from the endless movement, how my breath moves within my chest, what my secrets are hiding right before my eyes, what secrets I need to chip away at so that they may be revealed to me… 


If I eventually choose to grow old with someone, I want to be with someone who inspires me in the same way that Paris (and the surrounding area) does. I’m not asking for endless conversation or a pseudointellectual with the need to prove themselves through pointless banter and self-praise. But the mere presence of them, the energy they exude into the universe, is one that inspires others to know them. It’s an energy that encourages others to be a reflection of compassion and passion. I don’t think I could settle for anything less.

I want to look into eyes that give me the same rush of the heart that I get standing at the top step of the Chateau de Versailles, as I look out to the endless garden. I want to feel their breath along my neck, and feel the same as I do when Paris winds caress me there: complete freedom, and yet a sense of security and a feeling of home. I want their touch to feel as safe and as invigorating as each step in the Jardins du Luxembourg makes me feel.

But I also want to do the same for them. When they are with me, I want them to feel a greater sense of purpose in the universe. And I want my energy to endlessly fuel them, lift them, elevate their spirit. 

For if we are not constantly bettering one another, what is the point? 


I then wrote a passage about being a tattooed and tiny female in Paris. But it’s not something I want to share, here. It’s for me.

Thanks, as always, for reading. If you have a question about Versailles, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

Which photo is your favourite?

 

xo
C