There is definitely a change in the air here in Paris. The weather has shifted, signaling the end of the heatwave. Along with the warmth, it seems many of the tourists have left. The banks of the Seine are mostly empty. Even the main street on our little île, usually packed with visitors, is less chaotic.
I took a couple of hours last week to just walk around with my camera and just sort of revel in the fact that I get to call this place home for a year. It’s funny because real life happens here – we grocery shop, wait in line, walk to class, ride the metro, meet up with people, get irritated at slow walkers on the sidewalks, try to pick up packages at La Poste, cook meals, budget, get behind in responding to email, etc. Most of the time life is just that, mundane life stuff. And then there are these moments when I’m walking to class or making my way to a market and my heart will sort of skip a beat and I’ll think, “I live here.” I catch a glimpse of the early morning sunlight on shining on Notre Dame, or I turn down one of these narrow little streets lined with quaint shops and it just sort of hits me.
So, to take full advantage of having all this beauty in my grasp, I spent a couple hours just walking around. There is a definite difference in the feel of this city. In the past three weeks it’s gone from packed and bustling and hot to a bit more subdued. I walked through the Tuileries the day after fashion week ended to find it replaced with this:
I think that the contrast here is so indicative of what is happening in so much of the world. Fashion week, with it’s $29,000 Hermés Birkin bags, is followed by an employment fair. Puts fashion week into perspective, huh?
It rained quite a bit over the weekend, giving this parched city a much needed washing. And the smell of wet sycamores reminded me of my childhood. Such a warm autumn scent.
We are loving it here. Our study of French is proceeding slowly. We manage to interject some French words and phrases when we talk to one another and I am managing at the markets and even understood the woman at La Poste who said our package had not arrived despite the fact that we received an email saying it was at our local office. In class my tongue feels too big for my mouth when I’m trying to pronounce those guttural words. A part of me wants the French to convene their official language control committee and see if they can do anything to reduce the number of verbes irreguliers and maybe check into making the tenses a bit easier – I mean, really, who needs 16 tenses? I’m still having trouble with the present and the idea of adding the passé composé, futur proche, etc. is a bit overwhelming. Hopefully the fact that I learned those at some point in my uni classes will help. Outside of that, I do like the language and everyone in my class is very kind. Most of us seem to be a bit lost at different points and that’s reassuring. And I sure to love living here.