February 15, 2008

This is how you imagine me in Paris

Posted in Daily life, Exploring tagged , , , , at 3:01 am by Lauren

At about 6:30 pm, I realized that Wednesday was as close to a perfect day as I would find in Paris.

I had woken up early to start my new job. On the way there, I passed Jack in the street, with Michael on his shoulders. Michael sported a huge grin that seemed to say, “Look! This is a person I know and like!” I know how he feels. (Or, I know how I project him to feel. Surprise!) Running into people makes me feel like I actually live there. Pinch me! A couple of weeks ago when we had dinner at Mimi and Jack’s the first time, we exchanged waves through the metro window at the Sevres-Babylone station. Tuesday I ran into Eugenia (a college friend who’s studying at Sciences-Po) at the corner of Rue de Rennes and Rue de Sevres.

A few minutes later, I was in the third floor apartment above La Nature A Paris (the organic restaurant – of all places) drawing flowers and chatting in English with five-year-old Rafaela. We spent the next two hours coloring, and she spoke far more English than I expected on my first visit. Drawing flowers became drawing royal families and their castles and then cutting them out and creating a whole back story for a puppet show. Oh la. Two hours passed quickly, and Rafaela was disappointed to go to the centre de loisirs. (At which point, she engaged in some really frustrating behavior to annoy her father, who I felt bad for. Eek. It didn’t seem like normal behavior for her, though, based on how she’d acted with me and how her father reacted.) 

So, despite a little discomfort for me at the end, I labelled my first day on the new job a success. Time for some shopping. I visited several stores on Boulevard Saint Michel and bought nothing. I crossed the square in front of the Sorbonne and found a panini shop on a side street. Then I wandered back towards home with a steaming goat cheese panini. Along the way I paused to take pictures or to warm myself in the sunlight. I stayed on roads behind Boulevard Saint Germain (my usual route) and found buildings and shops I didn’t know were just a block off my trail. I felt free and independent, as I stopped mid-sidewalk or squatted to take just the right picture without paying attention to the passers-by around me. Here is a dog’s eye view of a Velib’ bike station:

Velib bike station

As I walked back onto the island, I stopped at Berthillon and got a double scoop of ice cream – pear and turron. (I always get two scoops so I can order pear and try something new.) The turron translated fabulously into an ice cream. Instead of emerging on Rue des Deux Ponts, I wandered down past the church and turned in front of the school. Someone had spray-painted a bench turquoise and purple. I wondered why and snapped a picture.

Bench Ile Saint Louis

Around 2:20 pm, I left the house to walk to babysitting. The walk was as refreshing as my wandering earlier had been, and though I left myself only 40 minutes to get from my apartment to Agnes’ place, I felt that my pace had been slow and leisurely the whole way. The three hours with the babies passed quickly with minimal tears and plenty of baby giggles. Afterwards I did some more shopping on Rue de Rennes, picking up the black sweater I referred to in another post.

By the time I arrived home, I was ready for a big bowl of cereal. But my day wasn’t over yet. I left at 8:30 to meet Agnes, Ping, and some other international ex-pats for a late showing of P.S. I Love You (which was cute, made me cry a bit because I am a sap, and featured Denny from Gray’s Anatomy and Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer). We emerged near midnight, and I took the metro home via Cite. The elevator at Cite feels like teleportation to me, but this time I ruined the magic by timing its ascent through the silo and felt each of the 13 seconds. Still, I decided the day was a success. Thanks, Paris.

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