January 31, 2006

The quiet things that no-one ever knows

There are places in this city where you can feel the space and hear the quiet. There are places where the people are not, and where town planning has come up with wide streets and open sqaures. On each corner is a structure that is carved with love and gazed upon in adoration.

I have started to realise that in the last couple of weeks I am choosing the places I go because of how they are, not what they look like. When I want to be relaxed, I go to the Parks, or the river. When I want to be away from people, I choose the backstreets of the Left Bank. When I want to be reminded that I am lucky to live where people want to be, I go to the ninth and mix with the throng of tourists and Parisiennes.

How many secrets can one city hide?

January 30, 2006

Baby, it's cold outside

Paris has been below the point of zero for a few days now. Sometimes it is so cold that the sky is brightest blue and sometimes white coulds blot out every colour the sky could have been. On Friday the school kept the children inside because it was 'too cold'. It made me laugh as I thought about the full body snowsuits that the kids used to wear in Poland.

There is no snow, but the fountains are all icing over and people are clicking their cameras in wonder, me included. In the Jardin du Luxembourg, the usual Sunday walkers are wrapped up so tight that you can only see their eyes. I have to admit that my heavy pink tweed coat suddenly does not feel so heavy.

I am back to my student days of thick woolly socks and hot water bottles in bed. Even though my apartment in teeny tiny, and should therefore be easy to heat, the windows are from the 15th century or something and so let in more cold than they keep out. I will be waiting for Spring after these cold nights. Still love the crisp, sunny Winter days though.

" Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself"
George Bernard Shaw

January 28, 2006

The hours slip away

Just when I think I know something, it seems to slip from my grasp. D and I spent the day together day, we met at lunchtime. You will be hearing from her soon as she has agreed to be my first guest blogger. I didn't want to be outside today. Didn't want to leave the quiet chaos of my messy apartment, but wanted to see D so outside in the cold I trekked.

The hours have run blurry today. And now the day is done. What did we do in this time away from work? Already I can't remember, I just know that we started to love Paris all over again. The sky is milky white and there is a tension over the whole city and the cold fog moves slowly down. The fountains are frozen over and the city feels serious.

Even through the white, there is a dignity to the place that surprised me a little. Maybe I mistook it for Parisienne arrogance a few months ago, but now I know better. My time here is a series of highs and lows, but only when I stop to listen to the noise do I hear the silence. Paris has always been here and she always will be. I found a little settled feeling today when there had been none.

"Everything has it's wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content"
Helen Keller

"When you thought that it was over,
You could feel it all around"

January 27, 2006

A different point of view

I was walking down Boulevard St Michel this morning on the way to the Metro when I stopped half way down. On Fridays, I normally get the Metro to the lower school, but this morning I decided to take the bus. I got the 63, a bus I never normally take.

It took me over an hour to get here this morning, but it was very much worth the time. We drove through the back of the 6th and along the river. We went past the Asemblee Nationale where you could see the Place de la Concorde across the way. The road was busy and there was plenty of sitting in traffic, but Paris is relaxed when you are on a bus and not worried about what time you arrive where you are going.

Funny how one little change can make everything seem less routine. The days are getting lighter and it is easier to see in the day light.

"Never write about a place until you are away from it. That gives you perspective"
Ernest Hemingway

"There are many ways to be free. One of them is to transcend reality by imagination, as I do"
Anais Nin

January 26, 2006

In Paris now

There is a blog ring that I check every day called www.inparisnow.com. It is a daily selection of blogs chosen by Laurie and put together in a sort of mini newspaper way. I have even been honoured enough to be on there myself a couple of times. All the posts on there were written by people who now live in Paris.

The thing is that the other bloggers make me feel a bit like a tourist. Some of the posts are about actual French politics, or French pop culture. I am still in the gaping open mouthed at the pretty buildings stage. I feel like I should be more invested in France as a nation, their historical and cultural heritage. When all I really want to do is figure out when I can fit in another trip to Gallerie Laffayette to snout through the remnants of the sales.

I like reading the blogs brought together on this site precisely because it makes me think that I do know something about life in France. Being English there are many stereotypes that we hold the French up to. Some are ridiculously true, and some are surprisingly false. The point is that all this has to be re-learnt. When am I going to fit in the time to learn about 'culture' and stuff when I have to go shopping?

January 25, 2006

Tree hugging hippy

I have become obsessed with the trees that line the streets of Paris. Every branch is stripped bare and casts shadows on the floor as the light filters through. I like to stare at the sky through the branches, it makes me think that soon the bareness will be gone and things will all look totally different.

If I look closely, I swear that I can see the tiny brown buds of next Springs leaves getting ready to push into green when the time comes. When the sky is brilliant blue, you can almost believe that Spring is just around the corner. The Trocadero Fountain was frozen this morning though, so I won't hold my breath.

Maybe I am spending too much time in the Jardin du Luxembourg, but I swear that I can sense the change day by day, week by week. The weather is that sort of wild, bitter cold that bites your face when you are outside. I love it, it makes me feel awake.

"The love that lasts the longest is the love that was never returned"
William Somerset Maugham

January 24, 2006

Hot Fuss

I read an article once about a single man. He was talking about how when you live alone you do every tiny thing for yourself. If you put something down, you have to pick it up. If you want a sandwich you have to make it yourself. He explained how he had stayed at a friends house for the weekend and when she woke up first, she brought him a cup of tea in bed. The gesture made him cry.

When you are so used to being independent, and people do little things for you, it can be totally overwhelming.The gifts that I recieved and the fuss that people made meant that I rarely knew how to react. Lucy gave me the most beautiful diamond earrings, they seemed just too special for me to have. D and L put so much thought into what they gave me. They remembered things from ages ago, things that I had forgotten.

The storm has passed and everything is calm now that I am in my 30s. I am left with cards on the table and wrapping paper clogging up my kitchen. It really was not so bad after all. It was made perfect by the phone calls, the white chocolate and raspberry muffins, the red wine, the roquefort, the surprise, and a million other little things.

"Not just sometimes but always,
I know what I know"

"The day is breaking, we're still here"
The Killers

January 23, 2006

Now breathe

Now that I am here I notice that the feeling of being thirty is like a little hole that was filled with fear and now is empty. It feels like today is swimming in front of my eyes, making everything a little blurred. Paris has been kind and the sky is cobalt blue, the sunlight bounces off everything and leaves a hot pink glow when your eyelids are closed.

I can't think about what I want for the next thirty years because it all comes back to the movement in the end. I can't make any promises to myself because I have no idea where I will be give minutes down the road. I only hope that I remember to enjoy it. I hope I remember to stop and feel grateful for the chances I have taken, the things I have seen.

Tomorrow will be the 24th of January, and really, what was all the fuss about? I only believe that this one felt different. To be the sort of person for whom flipping between Poland and France is an option means that it is within me to make the big changes. There is too much navel gazing, but you need that so you know how big to go. You need that to know what will be worth the struggle and what you should cut free.

I cut thirty free, it came back in the end, so now it belongs to me.

(Early Sunday morning Tai Chi in the Jardin du Luxembourg)

January 22, 2006

Come and gone

How strange and beautiful this feeling is. To imagine that so much life has been lived, so many things discussed, seen, loved, eaten and felt that there is too much to write.

K and N have come and gone but left behind a memory of our friendship that burns stronger than it did before. They treated me like a princess, the special birthday girl that is seeing something big that they too have seen. I feel safe and warm inside our friendship and know that things are better in the world because they are there.

D and L have come and gone too, another afternoon spent doing things that calm and excite at the same time. The routines that we find ourselves in means I can exhale, I feel no pressure when they are there. They just notice the little things, want to make tomorrow special, like a 30th birthday is. I have no idea of they understand that just being there, just wanting something special for me is all I need.

Life flows on and I have a whole mass of new photos to prove it. As the day of the 30th birthday approaches, I find that the knot in my stomach is tightening. It seems less important now that it is nearly here, but the pressure is on to make some decisions. I opened Joannes gift a day early. It was the Idlewild album I have wanted for ages. I have listened to it over and over again.

"You said something, you said something stupid like
Loves steals us from loneliness
Happy birthday, are you lonely yet?"

"That if my words were clearer
Then maybe I would know what I'm trying to say"

January 20, 2006

Sans Metro

There are many amazing things about the Paris transport system. It is fast, it is efficient and you can get anywhere in the city you need to go. The only problem is that when you are on the metro, the price of this efficiency is feeling like a rat in a tunnel. I much prefer the bus.

When K and N are here this weekend we will spend more time on the bus than below ground. Most of the beauty of Paris comes from the winding rides past apartments and supermarkets away from the main tourist sites. Pick a bus, sneak a seat and start gazing out of the window I say. I like the 82 and the 72. The 82 is my work bus and goes from the Jardin du Luxembourg to the Trocadero. The 72 goes past school and follows the river down past the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre. These will be my choice suggestions when we are planning our day for tomorrow.

It is Friday morning and this week at work has been begyond horrible. I have never felt so tired and nervous. Bring on the blue weekend sunshine and the cool crisp January air. I am ready to start my birthday countdown, get me away from work and into the heart of the city of Paris.

"It takes a long time to grow young"
Pablo Picasso

"Life is a mirror and reflects back to the thinker what he thinks into it"
Ernest Holmes

January 19, 2006

Rapid Eye Movement

One of the people who reads the blog regularly said that I needed to pay some further attention to the subject of settling in. Having been thinking about how Ally is getting on in Frankfurt has brought me back to where I started in considering why we all make these massive moves.If there is a romantic or professional link it already seems to make more sense, but for a lot of us it is the adventure.

As we move through the years the desire for adventure fades and the need for rest kicks in. We want the excitement, but need a warm soft bed to go home to every night. I know that I am not content to sleep on peoples floors anymore. And so I picked a place, packed my bags and got on the plane, with a lovely furnished apartment at the other end.

In both Paris and Warsaw, the aim was to feel at home. Always giving myself the option to go, and having the itchy feet to go with that means that I will never really allow myself to feel settled. I am always looking for something else. The moment of being settled has slipped from me, because I have intrinsically chosen not to settle for anything.

Does anyone know what being settled is? Are you settled? Are you restless? Is settled a state of mind, a person or a place?

"You might have succeeded in changing me,
I might have been turned around.
It's easier to leave than to be left behind,"

January 18, 2006

The Paris Files - Le Seine

Anyone clever would realise that as my birthday is at the end of January, I am an aquarius. I love the water, and nothing makes me calmer than being in or being near water. For the third and final Paris file I am going to slip back to my first week in Paris, August 14th was the day I arrived.

The city was green and stupidly hot and every day that I searched for an apartment was a nightmare. All I wanted to do was jump in the river. If you start from Notre Dame and go down the steps, you can walk along the waters edge all around the Ille de la Cite. If you start on Boulevard St Michel, you can skip the Ille and walk all the way to the Tour Eiffel. It will take you a while though. If you don't want to walk along the waters edge, walk along the side and look through the old books and postcards of the stalls that line the streets.

Living in Paris never gets any better than a walk along the river on a steamy summers, or bright winters day. If I had the choice I would leave the crowds of people behind in the Louvre and go and remind yourself why writers and artists have never failed to be inspired by the French capital. I can see why they love it myself, although I feel like I am living in a guidebook writing these sorts of blogs.

I have finally done it. On my 30th birthday, after school, I am going to walk along the Seine at sunset. That will be my perfect Paris moment.

January 17, 2006

See you on the other side

For those expats who have moved there is in the middle of the craziness a moment that cannot be named. The first days of a move are the hardest. The beginning weeks are filled with missing people and places you have left behind. We spend more time than we realise working out where the buses go, or where you can get the bread and milk that you want when you want it. We invest in our new surroundings and usually find as much frustration as we do pleasure.

Somewhere in the middle of all this we become settled. I have never been able to pin point that moment. When does it occur? When do we go from stranger to resident. When does feel like your new place is something you are part of and not apart from?

Maybe it is the first time you are truly relaxed slipping into your new bed. The first Sunday when you feel that you can laze around and not have to think about seeing or finding something new. I wish I could say what that moment was, because then I could tell Ally that it would come soon. I could tell her that soon she will love Frankfurt like it is home. I could hand her the moment, and tell her, this is what settled looks like.

"If only I don't bend and break,
I'll meet you on the other side
I'll meet you in the light"

"Silence is golden when you can't think of a good answer"
Muhammad Ali

January 16, 2006

The Paris Files - The sixth

A walk around the sixth and fifth arrondisement is a fabulous way to spend a sunny weekend afternoon. Being away from most of the major sites means that if you get off the metro at Sevre Babylon and wander around near Boulevard St Germain you feel like you might just be discovering a different Paris. Every building looks like a work of art hundreds of years old.

Most of the time the French voices outnumber the foreign ones and this can be a real treat anywhere in the city, feeling like you are where the normal people are.This is very much my area. It is where I live, C and B live, where L, D and I meet on a weekend. It is simply, gorgeous Paris. It is no wonder that Satre, Simone de Beauvoir and countless other writers and artists lived in this area. It is spilling over with life.

The other thing that makes me never bored of this area is the fact that each street has a different character. You go from cafes and bars to snooty shops. You go from fashionable Parisiennes to a little man carving carrots as a novel way of busking. It can be quiet, it can be busy, but it is never dull. I can't wait to take K and N here this weekend.

January 15, 2006

The Paris Files - Saint Chapelle

This week I will be posting my amazing things to do in Paris files. This weekend Ally and I have skipped about the city and seen and done things that we have loved. I have snapped away with my camera and to do any of these places justice, I have to tackle them one at a time.

High on my list of things to do since I arrived in Paris was to go to Saint Chappelle. It is a small chapel inside the grounds of the Palais de Justice and is famous for its breathtaking stained glass windows. Ally and I found that we were in the area and decided to pop in and have a look around.

It costs 6,50 and I am not going to lie to you, it's expensive. You walk through a little souvenir room, in itself a gorgeous space and curl up a spiral staircase into the chapel. The most beautiful colours filtering through the winter light makes it hard to know where to look first. As with the Sistine Chapel, there is a lady shushing everyone which adds an air of mystery and wonder to a place already filled with both.

Good advice would be to take ten minutes to sit and look at the light. Better advice would be to not get annoyed by peoples whispers and the flash of cameras. I would think that this would be a great addition to a birthday weekend in Paris.

January 13, 2006

Taking up the challenge

I have decided to take up the challange offered by a Zeebah made comment and give advice on what one should do during a fabulous weekend in Paris. Ally arrived last night and I zoomed to the Gare de L'Est to get her straight after school. She is here until Sunday and is spending the day by herself while I am at work. This evening we have plans to eat at Cafe Soufflot and go shopping to Gallerie Lafayette and get some bargains.

On Saturday, we as yet have no plans, but I am going to make her do something fabulous. If we only had one weekend in Paris again, what would I make her do? What are the things that I love most about living here? What did I love most about visiting here? These are two very different things, and so I feel in a unique position to give advice on what might make a trip to Paris extra special.Although if you are relying on me for sage advice you are in more trouble than you can imagine!

This will take the form of great things to do in Paris that you would not get round to if you focused on the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysee type stuff. Examples include: A walk around the last flower market in the city. Going across Paris to find the best pain au raisin that France has to offer. Going to see an independent French film in a tiny cinema in the Latin Quarter. So here goes nothing, Ally and I will try our best to amuse you and find joy in random wanderings. I wish you all 'Bon Weekend',and will let you know how we get on.

"Novelty has charms that our minds can hardly withstand"
William Makepeace Thackeray

"I awoke and at times birds fled and migrated
that had been sleeping in your soul."
Pablo Neruda

January 12, 2006

Settling for it

There is a theme running through life at the moment. Ally is coming this evening to stay for a few nights. K and N are coming next weekend and Jo has booked a weekend to come and stay in March. I am very lucky that I these people care enough to get in plane and come and remind me of what living in Warsaw gave me.

I miss Poland. Sometimes it is hard to understand if I miss my friends, work, the language, the food or if I just miss my life there. We romanticise old realtionships, imagining that they were something that they were not. Is that what I am doing with Warsaw? Sometimes I think that I can never imagine myself back there. Sometimes I think that it is the only place I can imagine myself.

"But I can't help the feeling
I could blow through the ceiling
If I just turn and run"

Twinkle, twinkle

As with all the grey days in Paris all I want to see is some light.

"Old times" never come back and I suppose it's just as well. What comes back is a new morning every day in the year, and that's better.”
George E woodbury

"but we both know a change is coming
coming closer sweet release"
Jeff Buckley

January 11, 2006

Planning to turn 30

D and I sat and had coffee again this morning in the little cafe that we go to near school. It is on Avenue de President Kennedy and was apparantly the place that was used in 'Last tango in Paris'. We talked about many things as always and the topic turned to my 30th birthday celebrations, which is a week from Monday.

I have mentioned before that I am not sure how I feel about turning 30 and instead of looking forward to my birthday this year I feel like I am in a swirl of thought. Maybe being 30 means more to me than it should but it feels like a milestone that I am not ready to pass.

When I decided to come to Paris, the thought crossed my mind that in twenty years I could be proud of the fact that my 30th year was spent in Paris. That by the time I turned 30 I would have lived in different countries, spoken different languages and travelled and seen things. I have done these things to some degree, but turning 30 has not given me the sense of accomplishment that I had naively imagined. Instead if has filled me with the idea that there is too much amazing stuff in the world to fit into one lifetime.

Maybe I will stay in Paris or maybe the ants in my pants will get the better of me. Maybe on my 40th birthday I will watch the sunrise over the River Ganges. I just made my stomach churn writing that last sentence. What celebrations are fitting to start the next thirty years? I think that all I need is a special Paris moment. Going to see Oscar Wildes grave at Pere Lachaise, going up the Eiffel Tower or afternoon tea at Fauchon. Can anyone give me suggestions of classic Paris? What gift of experience can I give myself to always remember on my birthday?

"All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much"
George Harrison

"All life is an experiment"
Ralph Waldo Emerson

January 10, 2006

Why I love my new camera...

I was happy that my new camera arrived at Christmas. As with any new technological equipment, I threw away the manual and started playing. I have become a camera geek. I wanted to show pictures of the places and things that I have seen in Paris and I carry my camera everywhere, ready to take snaps.
I have already got more photos than I can post on my computer so I wanted to show my parents that their gift has been used well. I love taking pictures. I like just snapping away at anything that catches my eye. I like the idea that when I read my blog in years to come it will be a real trip down memory lane, like a box of letters and photographs, but without taking up the space in my already crowded apartment.

A sparkling Eiffel Tower with a few blurry drops of snow.
The rooftops looking out from the Terrace at Gallerie Lafayette.
The afternoon light in the Jardin du Luxembourg.

Once more with feeling - L'Olympia

There is always such a strange air of expectation when you go to do something for the second time. Everything is weighted with what you thought of it the first time round. I think this is true whether we are talking about flying in an aeroplane, visiting the dentist, walking to work or going to see Jamie Cullum play live.

L managed to snag us free tickets and backstage passes again and this time we had more than half an hour to get ready. We arrived at L'Olympia to find that the venue was bigger than last time and this time we had seats and a fabulous view of all the friends that we had made last time. We kept smiling at the sight of the guitarist and saxophonist, remembering how much we had laughed and danced on their last visit.

The evening ended not with crazy dancing till dawn, but with Table Tennis and red wine. It was muted and it was in this way that I realised that expectations make something into that which it is not. We had an amazing time. The set was brilliant, he played everything that we wanted to hear, almost. To see the crowd go so crazy again was a real treat knowing that out of everyone, we got to go backstage and chat to the people that everyone else adored.

The night ended and so the morning has begun. We are all tired and don't want to be at work all over again. This time we have all had some sleep, but the way that these nights lift you up by bringing you into the light, means that it is so much harder to step down to the ground again when the starlight mixes with the daylight.

"Please just leave me right here on my own
Later on you could spend some time with me
If you want to, all at sea"
Jamie Cullum

January 09, 2006

La Tourelle

I walked down to Boulevard St Germain and waited twenty minutes for the number 86 bus. I passed the Bastille, watched Nation slip past my sight and before I knew it I had crossed over to the other side. Last night I went to meet J and see his new apartment. He no longer lives in the exculsive 75 postcode which indicates Paris proper, he is now officially outside the peripherique.

We all met at La Tourelle, a shiny bar at the edge of the Avenue de Paris. I loved the lights and decoration inside, and was happy that the owner told me that my french was excellent. We thought about what it was like when we all arrived and laughed at stories of our settling in period. The group that was there were those of us who arrived at the same time and were all living in the hotel together.

It was nice to be so far away from the madding crowds. There is no-where to go in Paris that feels normal, no-where to go where there is not a guide book recommendation ahead of you. Out in the suburbs, on the edge of the city, it feels like a town. All the Christmas decorations still twinkling outside the supermarkets and hairdressers. Still Paris, but different.

"Saying nothing sometimes says the most"
Emily Dickenson

"Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices"
Jean Paul Satre

January 08, 2006

The Dragon

L and I met yesterday at a place that we have come to love; Lilis on Rue du Dragon.
In my newly aquired persona as photographer of arty things, I got my camera out yesterday to take a picture of the cakes in their gorgeous lined up glory. I had just started to snap my first picture when the dragon behind the counter shouted to me that I was not allowed to take any photos. No only did I delete the photo, but she then accused me of having taken two, not one and proceeded to scroll through my pictures. I have never before been involved in industrial espionage in the world of coffee and cakes, but it would appear to be very cut-throat to have provoked such an amazingly rude reaction.

After silently vowing never to set foot in there again, L and I spent the rest of the day wandering and shopping. We got the escalators to the terrace at the top of Gallerie Lafayette and took pictures of the misty sunset with Eiffel Tower small in the distance. The weather was cold, but the shops were piped with moist warm air which made us play the coats on coats off game every time we went into a shop.

Now that my phone is connected again I spent the evening on the phone to Jo first and then my parents. The whole of my family is dancing with excitement about our trip to Canada. My parents have booked the flights and are in the middle of car hire and finding a place to stay. My middle brother is getting married in Nova Scotia and it has become the start of what will surely turn out to be the National Lampoons Candian vacation.

"Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other peoples bad manners"
H Jackson Brown Jr

"Look, I'm not an intellectual - I just take pictures"
Helmut Newton

January 06, 2006

La rentree

The French have a word for everything. La rentree is the term given to the time when you come back from your holidays and start back at work. This week at work the air has been filled with bisous, the two cheek kiss.

Other blogs that I read have mentioned the winter blues kicking in at this time of year, but I have already had mine before Christmas. January seems full of promise. My head knows that as the shortest day of the year has come and gone, so the darkness is starting to slowly fade away.

I like the idea of la rentree. It seems appropriate we recognise that changing from holiday to work mode is a bit of leap. The French are experts in seperating home and work, they know which one is the more important. L and D have made promises that this year they too will look at which should be the priority.

My re-entry into work is complete. And now that work has begun in earnest, so can looking at what work has to offer me. Am I happy in Paris? Am I happy at work? This month my goal is to answer these questions. Are there any changes coming your way?

"Change starts when some-one sees the next step"
William Drayton

"You can neither win nor lose if you don't run the race"
David Bowie

January 05, 2006


I am reading a book that I am enjoying tremendously. I got it from the Canadian bookshop down near the Quai St Michel. The shop has high stacks outside of second-hand books that you can rifle through and find what you want. Each stack wobbles when you try and move something from the bottom. I like it there, the owner is friendly and you can get books for only a few euros, English language books are very expensive in Paris.

My friend K, in Warsaw, reads very different books to me. Of course there are genres where we overlap, but she likes a lot of history stuff that I get bored with. I like novels, especially contemporary childrens literature, and I am steadily making my way through the classics. When we talk about books I am amazed by her intelligence. I am in awe of the calm that she exudes through what I regard as complicated topics. I am excited that her and N are coming so that I can hear about her latest literary loves.

I have read a great deal over Christmas, some books that I have adored and some that I have found lacking. But it has reminded me of how much I loved bookshops in the UK. They are my favoutite places. I always used to have a little stack of brand new books next to my bed waiting their turn to be picked up and pondered. I loved the fact that you can buy penguin classics for just a pound, Dickens, Bronte, Austen. I need to get back to my Canadian bookshop and start rifling.(By the way, the dates are set and in August I will be rifling through bookshops in Canada for real!)

"Books are for people who wish they were some-where else"
Mark Twain

"The wise man reads both books and life itself"
Lin Yutang

January 04, 2006

The view from my street

Just in case no-body believed me about the grey skies in Paris here is a photo to prove it. The weather has been like this for too long now. But I think that the Eiffel Tower makes up for it.

When I come out of my apartment every morning and turn the corner onto Rue Soufflot, this is what I see. The time of year means that it is this view, but in the dark. The photo was taken on my way home from work. By the time I get home some nights, the Eiffel Tower is sparkling like it does on each hour.

My home phone is off at the moment so I feel a little bit far away from everyone. It is funny how much I rely on my chats with friends from Poland and the UK. Ally and I have kept up our once a week phone calls since she went back to Oz and soon she will be in Germany and the time difference will be much better for our gossip sessions. I have not enjoyed having her be so far away.

January 03, 2006

Strolling in the afternoon

C and I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday strolling through St Germain. We met at Lilis on Rue du Dragon and ate banana nut bread while catching up on our Christmas holiday news. It is good to be back in Paris, and as I sit here at work blogging, it is nice to be back in the routine of work too. Coffee with D and L this morning, each is rested and ready for some enjoyment of living in Paris.

Strolling through St Germain, C and I wondered why life is not always full of moments when we can wander. Work, laundry, cooking and amillion other mundane things get in the way of being truly relaxed. This year we have promised to enjoy each others company and to enjoy Paris.

The mornings are still dark, but January makes winter feel different to December. Everything seems a little more fresh, the air a little bit sweeter. As I slide unwillingly towards my 30th birthday, I have a feeling that everything will be Ok in the end. I am ready to love Paris, ready to see it with D and L and feel amazed by the things that I have not seen. L and I decided that a trip to Versailles, a trip along the river and a visit to Pere Lachaise are among our weekend activities. I have my new camera. Time to see Paris through a new lens.

"My favourite thing is to go where I have never been"
Diane Arbus

"There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction"
Winston Churchill

January 01, 2006

Pie crust promises

1 - To fall in love with Paris
2 - To feel overwhelmed by a new place
3 - To find a job that challnges me and makes me want to go to work in the mornings
4 - To drink more water and eat more vegetables
5 - To not spend so much money
6 - To learn French
7 - Not to dwell on the cliche of what I should be doing...

Bon AnneƩ

As always, the weather reflects the mood. The greys skies of Paris never help to take away the reflective navel gazing that goes on these days. New Year makes us want to change things, make promises and feel that things could be so much better for us this year than the last. Reality never lives up to the 11.59 countdown. The next year starts, and the resolutions slip away from us as quickly as they were made.

Me and Maria stood outside the Pantheon to watch the Eiffel Tower glitter in the clear night sky. We felt hopeful and tehn there was nothing. New Year is a family time in France apparantly and there was none of the joviality that I felt last year spending New Year in Warsaw.

Despite the certainty that my promises will be broken, I will make them anyway. The only thing that lies between me and the grey skies is the knowledge that January will melt into February, Spring will follow winter and the world will seem sunny again.

What are your New Years resolutions? Will things change for you this year as you hope they will?

"O, wind! If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"
Percy Shelley

"For every promise, there is a price to pay"
Jim Rohn