Paris Toute Seule

French Word of the Day: toute seule (toot soul)- all by myself (but not like the Celine Dion song)

I went to Paris almost exactly a year ago (and I’ve been working on this post almost as long).  These were a lot easier to write when I was a student with hours of free time.  This “real job” thing is no joke!

My Paris femme, Jenna, was studying there for her dissertation, and I wanted the chance to go and reminisce about all my old haunts without having to go to every single tourist destination.

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Obviously, my other goal was to have as many pain au chocolat as possible.  Which I did.

 

And what trip to France is complete without a proper crepe?

 

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I still managed to take photos of the classic places…

 

…But I was more interested in my old neighborhoods.  I spent most of my days wandering around them all and winning all the Fitbit step challenges.

 

And some wonderful friends.

 

I even got to see some family 🙂

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All in all, a wonderful trip!  And I wanted to go back before I’d even gotten on the plane.

À bientôt Paris!

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Many Thanks

French Word of the Day: inattendu (awn-ah-tawn-doo)- unexpected

When I wrote my last post, I wasn’t expecting anyone to actually read it.  I thought maybe two people would see it and that they’d both be related to me.  I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive comments, conversations, calls, texts, and emails.  They’ve meant a lot, so thank you to everyone who read it!

You made my heart go like this:

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That’s “soaring” in case the imagery is unclear.

 

Now I have a LOT of half written posts that need to be completed, so I hope everyone’s ready to revisit trips I took three years ago.

To be continued…

28e Anniversaire et 10th Anniversary

French Word of the Day: Le futur (luh foo-tour)- the future

I wasn’t sure that I was going to write this one, but I thought it was a good one to note.

10 years ago today, I had just returned home after a stint in the ICU.  At the time, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I had been in and out of doctors’ offices for the past 8 months, and now here on my 18th birthday I had evidence of my own mortality.  I had been prepared to think I was going to live and be young forever for at LEAST 10 more birthdays.

For that last hospital visit, the nurses worked very hard to get me out for my birthday.  (Nurses are seriously the best.)  While I appreciated them, I was pretty bummed on my birthday.  It was a Saturday and coincidentally also one of our high school dances.  I didn’t end up going to the dance.  My best friend Christine came over and hung out with me all night, but I was pretty bad company.  I was sitting and thinking about all the things I hadn’t done yet: learned French, lived alone, been in (romantic) love, gone to college, or even graduated high school…

I began wondering if I would ever be healthy enough to be normal. Time seemed to have stopped and put everything on pause.

But then something happened.  Time restarted.  I began to feel better.

It was everything.

I knew I couldn’t spoil things this time, so I decided I was going to push myself.  I finished all the course work I had missed and graduated high school.  I went to college.  I got a role in every single theatre production they had that year.  I got a lead role the next year.  I wrote a play and saw it performed.  I went to Ireland on a research project.  I traveled.  I went to France completely alone and not knowing a word of French.  I learned French.  I fell in love.  I graduated college in the top 10 of my class with honors and 2 majors.  I learned guitar (well, 3 songs).  I got my heart broken.  I got an internship.  I got another internship.  I searched for a job.  I got a job.  I tried online dating.  I stopped online dating.  I begged for a job I wasn’t qualified for.  I got it.  I did well enough that I got another promotion after that.  I fell in love again.  I got invited to participate in several friends’ and my twin sister’s weddings.  I got to see some of them become parents for the first time…

I remember thinking, “I made it!” when I was sitting at my college graduation, and I’m probably one of very few people who gets excited when I see a wrinkle or a grey hair.

There have been health scares in between those moments and I’ve been sick enough to need chemo, but nothing was ever as bad as that first time because I know now what I didn’t know then- that things get better.

It’s given me the courage to put myself out there, and for that, I’m grateful for lupus.  Looking back on the last ten years, there’s very little I would change.

I look forward to the next ten.

Here’s to aging!

April Fools an Hour and Some Odd Minutes Early

French Word(s) of the Day: imbéciles d’avril (awm-bay-seal dav-real)- April Fools

April Fools Day is not my thing.  I’m not good at thinking up pranks that aren’t illegal.  And if they were legal, I’m afraid to do them to someone for fear of retaliation.  I’m like the French: I surrender quickly.

But today shall be different.  I’m celebrating April Fools!  (Like an hour early.  Unless you’re actually in Paris right now, then I’m right on time!)

I’m going to probably be dragging out this Paris trip for the next year, but you don’t want me recounting my days.  All I do on a daily basis is work and watch episodes of Parks and Recreation.  Trust me, it’s better this way.

Sam showed us a taxidermist in Paris, only he wasn’t your typical “here’s your dead cat in his favorite position” type of guy.  Oh no.  He was an ARTIST.

If by artist I mean someone who takes the carcass of one dead animal and attaches it to another dead animal.

Oh yeah, he went there (if you please excuse the fact that these were obviously taken by an amateur who can’t deal with glass windows):

Winged Monkey Tortoise squirrel

Because of the winged monkey, I’m guessing he’s a Wizard of Oz fan.  I don’t know what the tortoise-shelled chipmunk looking longingly at a beetle would make him, but I’m going to go with “eccentric.”

These can be yours for over 100 euro!  I know, they’re a steal.  What?  You’re not interested?!

Ah what fools these mortals be.

Love the Louvre

French Word of the Day: fatigue (fah-tea-gay)- tired

I hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day.  I spent mine filing my taxes. (I can hear you all swooning at how romantic that is.)  It was true romance between Uncle Sam and me.  I wanted to leave him, but he told me that I couldn’t because he needed me [to give him even more money].

Valentine’s Day posts have become my grand tradition, mainly because “sparkly love hearts” is the most common term used to find this blog.  I even had someone search that term in Arabic.

For all you sparkly lovers out there, here you go:

sparly love heart

For my follow French enthusiasts, it’s Louvre time.

These Roman bros are just as excited as you are.  Check out the fist pumps:

Roman Bros

We’d had a late night before the Louvre, so we were not as awake as the above gentlemen.  We were channeling this statue:

Naked Statue

The people next to it are incredibly unimpressed.

Really, people just weren’t that interested in the art that day.

Check out the Mona Lisa.  Or don't.

I mean, that’s the Mona Lisa, and only about 5 people are paying attention to her.

I hope you all enjoy her huge wall.  It’s a such a big wall for such a small painting.  She also gets her own security guards.  She is truly the Beyonce of paintings.

But what about the other side of the wall, you ask?  You’ve always secretly wondered what was on the other side of that ridiculously large wall.  Well, I’m here to show you!

Titien "Portrait D'Homme"

Look how depressed Titien’s L’Homme au Gant looks (translation: Man with a Glove. Painters are super creative with names).  He knows nobody’s here to see him.  They’re all about Mona.  He’s so sad that he can’t even put on both of his gloves.  I mean, he doesn’t get security guards or a bullet-proof glass case.  What does a guy have to do to get some credit around here, anyway?

The Winged Victory was out for renovations, but we did get some Venus de Milo action.

Venus de Milo

The man behind me pushed me while I was taking this and then cut in front of me, so you will have to resort to Google to get a better view.

Don’t worry; karma got him in the form of a group of school children.

Sam and I managed to get everyone lost in the museum.  To be fair, many of the staircases are closed off for no apparent reason.  On the maps of the Louvre, it looks like there are stairs up ahead, but it generally turns out to be a wall that says “Do not enter.”  The museum’s cartographer is playing a cruel, cruel trick on all of the tourists.  Or developing the world’s best maze.

It took us 45 minutes to find an exit.  That’s potentially a problem if there’s ever a fire.  Not they ever have to worry about that; it’s not like paintings are flammable or anything.

But enough about fire hazards; this is a Valentine’s Day post.  I’m ending it with some lovers.

Painting Flirtations

Proof that musicians have been kryptonite for women for all time.

But let’s go for some real love action here.  Cupid is the reason for the season (or a guy who got killed because he was helping people get married- same thing).  Here’s the master of love with his lady love:

Psyche Revived by Cupid's Kiss

Love to everyone!

A Bunch of Dead People

French Word(s) of the Day: pierre tombale (pee-air tum-ball)- tombstone

Strangely enough, we spent a lot of time in cemeteries checking out the gravestones.

People would flock to Oscar Wilde’s grave to kiss it (while wearing lipstick so it would show, of course). Apparently someone didn’t like that, because a plastic wall has been placed around it since the last time I was there.

Oscar Wilde

Not that it stopped anyone.  His wasn’t the only tombstone with a sign of fans.

We had no idea why everyone was placing Metro tickets on Proust’s grave.

Proust

Other people thought we knew where everyone was, so they would stop at whatever grave we stood by.  Jokes on them that not everyone we stopped by was famous!

Not that it mattered.  We had someone ask us who Chopin was.

Jim Morrison Chopin BalzacSerge Gainsbourg

Parisian gravestones also go for a bit more of an artsy look.  Here were my two favorites:

Man coming out of a graveCats

Ricardo loooooooooved his cats.

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre Cemetary

The French get creative on their stones, but this tombstone intrigued us the most:

Fortune Teller

How does Christophe know?!?!?!

That’s the puzzle I leave you with today.