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jet-lag, thunderstorms & Burgundy

Posted in Los Angeles, paris with tags , , on June 25, 2012 by ana

I’m back in Paris. I had the worst jet-lag when I returned and couldn’t fall asleep until 5 or 6 in the morning for most of the week. During one of those sleepless nights there was a beautiful, raging thunderstorm. I sat by the kitchen window watching the sky light up and sound as if it was cracking open. The storm made me excited about the summer. I love thunderstorms.

My trip to LA was both lovely and hard. It felt like I hit true rock-bottom after a year and a half of banging myself against things. It felt horrible but in the end something about it felt very grounding, like I was finally touching firm ground not some ledge on the way down. For the past month in Paris I had been dancing with my demons, and when I got to LA it became a full on brawl. I felt like my confidence was full of holes. I felt extremely vulnerable and shy, and then on the other side of that I kept beating myself up about it.

I drove around asking the same questions I had been asking myself in Paris. Was I so lost that I had to loose myself even more to find myself? What had I done moving so far from home! There were moments in LA were I felt desperate to find some answers. Moments when I felt old and like I had strayed from my path. There were also lots of moments where it was wonderful to be there. To see the people I love. To witness my best friends get married and see all our old New York friends at their wedding.

At some point towards the end of my trip when I was feeling lower than low something clicked. I thought- you are such a shit. You are surrounded by so much love. You have such good friends. You live in Paris. Why are you looking at all you don’t have and not celebrating all you do have. You are the only one that is judging yourself. And as soon as I thought that something switched, and I thought, what if everything is happening exactly as it needs to. What if everything is perfect just as it is. I don’t think I have ever internalized that thought as I did at that moment.

 

The whole time I’ve been in Paris my friend Karina’s words have rang through me. When we were 23 she said to me two things that I still think about all the time. One was, never forget who you are. The other, I think the key word right now is perseverance. For as much as I think about her words I forgot, for a moment, who I was but in forgetting I found a clearer version of myself.

I got on the plane with a plan and a Kinfolk magazine. My plan was to do a French intensive for the month of July, look for work as soon as that was done, and then go to the Cordon Bleu in November. On the plane I read my magazine. After reading an essay about an American woman who had moved to Burgundy and opened a cooking school I decided to email her. I told her I had been inspired by her story and asked her for work.

I got back to Paris with a renewed sense of self, with my curiosity back at it’s normal level, and feeling excited about this here adventure that I am on. Somewhere in the past week I remembered just why I had decided to move to Europe. I felt that feeling in my gut again that pushed me to it. I started to rejoice about being in Paris. It started to hit me that I live here.

Then I heard back from the school in Burgundy, and so it is that I now find myself packing to go there tomorrow. I will be there for the next five weeks cooking, gardening and being, as Brie put it, the all around kitchen au pair. I will be their intern in exchange for my own apartment, meals, and a bicycle to ride to work. I am beyond excited. Who knows what will happen next. The French intensive is still a priority but it will have to wait. Off I go! Small town, country roads, vegetable patches-I have been craving thee!

 

 

 

“She must find a boat and sail in it. No guarantee of shore. Only a conviction that what she wanted could exist, if she dared to find it.” ― Jeanette Winterson

Posted in paris with tags , , on June 3, 2012 by ana

Because my life isn’t very structured at the moment time feels like it’s moving at a different speed than usual. Things that happened four weeks ago feel like they happened months and months ago. Even things that happened a week ago seems further away than usual. This leaves me with the sensation that I have been feeling one particular way or another for a long time when in reality it has only been a short while.

I’m on a plane flying back to LA for Stevie’s wedding. I’ve been in Paris three months now. It feels like I have been there longer and at the same time this trip, which once felt so far away, arrived quickly and just when it was needed. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived like a student. The last month was intense. I feel neglected. I desperately need a haircut, a mani/pedi, and a scrub at a Korean spa. But that’s not the only way I feel neglected. I have been excessive and have neglected myself. Today, at the airport, I realized how much that excessiveness undermines my confidence.

It’s time to really dive into my life in Paris. This trip home feels like a perfectly timed interlude. So, lets just say these last three months were the prologue. I have seen and explored a bit of Paris but I need to do more. I need to drink the city in. Not literally, as I have been doing but indulging in its beauty and magic. It is time to make Paris my home.

Last week I went to see the Eva Besnyo exhibit at Jeu de Paume. Coming in from the Paris heat, into the cool and quiet space that smelled of traces of glue and wall paint, I remembered how often museums have felt to me like a church.  Specially if you find yourself alone in a room taking in something that speaks to you. As I walked through the rooms looking at her photographs I realized that until recently I had never taken a picture because I was seeing something. Most of the photographs I’ve taken I have taken with my my head more than my eyes.

After Eve Besnyo, I went upstairs and looked at some videos by Laurent Grasso. I thought the two exhibits played beautifully off each other. I sat in a room all by myself and watched a video about a hawk and its flight. I sat there and watched it twice and thought about the relationship between deep self-acceptance, inspiration, and expression. I sat there and thought about how beautiful and strange and difficult and lovely life is. I thought about the things I know I want in my life- a business, a baby, a man, and how the intense desire to expand creatively, to grow up creatively trumps all of it.

 

 

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always ourselves we find in the sea ~ ee cumings

Posted in paris with tags , , , on May 22, 2012 by ana

Lost in boy thoughts I yell to my roommate from the kitchen, “tell me not to write!”

“Tell you not to write?”

“Yes,” I say, “because I was doing fine but now I just want to write him.”

The moment passes. The desire to say I miss you, to say this is harder than I thought it would be is shut down by fear. This is a good thing. Staying away is a good thing. Doubt comes in the form of – what’s the point, to what end, and if I did write would he hate me a little for not letting it go? The next thought that follows is he has forgotten me and then maybe it meant more to me than him. But then I think I am too much in my head. I’m being such a girl.

All of this because as I walked up the stairs an image, an imagined image, popped in my head. Out of nowhere in my mind I saw him walking up the stairs to my apartment the first time we had sex. I sprinted up the stairs. I tried to leave the thought behind but it caught up to me as I read an ee cumings poem on someone’s blog. And then I remembered  walking home from the metro that day. The play between being excited and staying present, telling myself that there was plenty of time for the list of things I wanted to do- shower, brush my teeth, tidy the apartment, find music and have a few minutes to kick back and relax. Now that I’ve written it down, all those thoughts have lost their power and become a lovely moment and nothing else. Writing is amazing that way.

In the past couple of days the work, language, money panic has slightly subsided and I’m feeling more like myself again.  It still feels like I’m in the middle of a mid-October leaf storm or on the white water rafting part of the program or the free fall part of the jump but I’m starting to think, I can handle this. I’ve remembered a crucial bit. Sanity is always found in returning to myself. Somehow that got lost in the last month and a half of late nights, out-of-town guests and farewells. That has always been the answer or at the very least a big part of it.

It is also true that I would be lost with out my friends- the ones I can reach out to in the middle of the night if necessary. Still, the answer, my answer, is always the same- read, write, cut images and glue them on paper, cook (and now bake).  There has always been behavior, in my part that is less than healthy when things feel shaky. And it is also true that when I’m almost at the edge I find my way back to a healthier day to day. Yes, there is often now a sadness in the morning when I first open my eyes. That has been there since almost two years ago next July. But I’ve always been good at shaking it off with my first cup of coffee.

It’s raining in Paris. All month long brief stints of sunshine seem to promise summer but not yet, not yet, not yet. Things are slowly changing. French is opening up to me a bit. My ear hears words and my brain understands them without translating them to Spanish or English. More and more I feel trepidation when I write because it feels more exposing than it ever has. I suspect that is a good thing. I must be getting closer to what I need to be doing if it feels scary. And as Lili pointed out the other day lots of small changes add up to some big ones.

“At this time last year,’ she said, “you didn’t know what you wanted to do. You hadn’t decided to move to Paris. You hadn’t taken your trip to Italy. You weren’t even baking. Think of all the incredible things that happened in one year.”

And except for that momentary staircase flash and the minutes after, I’m having a pretty good day. Thanks in part to a Sam Shepard interview in the guardian, a commencement speech by Neil Gaiman, an essay by Anne Lamont, a paragraph about cake batter in Michael Rhulman’s Ratio, a bit of a conversation with Angelo Badalamenti about the sound of Twin Peaks that I listened to on Nicolas Jaar’s essential mix for BBC radio, two Mark Strand poems, a kitchenaid mixer, a batch (finally!) of really good dark chocolate cayenne cookies that leave behind a mellow heat reminiscent of a first kiss, and the realization that if all I want is just beyond my hand’s reach maybe I just need to put down my arms and walk towards it.

 

Posted in paris with tags , on May 18, 2012 by ana

Today, Paris feels hard and lonely. This week has been tough. I had a job at a famous bakery, and I lost it after two weeks there. I’m not completely crushed, and I’ve managed to pretty much ignore any bruises my ego feels, because it didn’t feel right for me.  This job fell in my lap and as quickly as it came it went but I learned and observed and got better at things that weren’t my strength. Maybe that is all I was meant to get from it. Still, there is a low level panic that permeates everything at the moment. I think I’ve hit a wall and I’m not sure how to climb over it.   A tiny part of me wants to run home but I’m not even sure where that place is anymore.

The other day I thought, I have no idea what is going to happen in my life, no clue, I can guess or daydream or hope. I can look at the past and see how I have always managed to make wherever I am my own but what will happen in the coming years I really don’t know. There are things that I want now that I never wanted before and there are things that I have always wanted that always seem to elude me. Somewhere between those two sentiments I hope lies the answer. The low level panic… Well, that’s just one big, unshakeable, nagging, almost imperceptible question. Can I do this? And by this I don’t just mean Paris or learning French. Can I create the life that I want for myself. And, of course, the answer is yes. But right now I feel vulnerable and shy and uncertain. I will arrive wherever I’m supposed to, that much I know, but in taking the step to move here I have opened my life up to more uncertainty. Maybe that is what I needed. Maybe that is where I need to make peace right now.

It is too easy for me to to romanticize experiences in an attempt to build a linear narrative around my life. I’ve been trying not to do that as much anymore. Paris has been cinematic and magical but it’s not perfect. It’s still the next day of my life and the next and the next. All the things that preoccupy me still preocupy me that doesn’t change with a move. I feel lonely at times but it’s the same loneliness that has always been there on and off through out my life. A loneliness that is appeased by spending time by myself.

I have made friends. I have laughed. I have danced. I had a sweet romance that I wish I could have held unto but couldn’t. Now that it is gone it hurts. In my head it is easy to let it go, to say this why it came into my life and why it left. I learned a lot. I got more than I bargained for, in a good way. That boy left an unexpected emptiness. I want to say that it was nothing. I wanted it to be nothing but I miss him, and I don’t think we will ever see each other again. It is better that way. And even knowing this, a part of me hopes that there will be an email or a text, a part of me can not conceive that we will never be together again but most of me knows that that is the way it is. I loved this boy briefly, openly, and as unselfishly as I could. The intensity was returned. I think it is easy to love like that if there is an expiration date and maybe it wouldn’t have been so easy to surrender if I knew that I could have him for awhile. I know that I learned a lot about myself in this experience, about how often I try to change and force things to be things they are not. I feel loss but I hope that soon that feeling will go away.

Walking to class today I thought, feeling loss is a way of still holding on. I can’t wait for the feeling to pass and become just complete joy in having had the experience. I can apply the same sentiment to so many other moments of my life particularly in the last few years. I have lit candles at the church by my house. I have done what I do best when my heart is squished- drank, smoked, written long emails, talked about it, and walked, and walked, and walked. Was it the boy or is it that I simply want love in my life, tenderness, laughter, warm skin beside me. A little of both, more the latter I suppose. I try to let go but I think I just need to sit with the feelings and try not to force them to be one thing or another.

A few days ago I walked to the canal. I sat by the bridge where we had said goodbye and tried to release the whole experience.  I sat on a bench and watched the water flow by. Quietly and methodically I read and erased every text he sent me. Some of them were beautiful. I said a silent thank you after I erased each one. When I was done with his I did the same with all the ones I’d written him, then I erased his number. I felt lighter.

I miss Stevie. There have been moments this past week when I would have given anything to sit in her sunny living room. She wrote me a beautiful email:

You’re also, deep down, a hopeless romantic.  Don’t lose that.  It makes you special because it’s not that phony, fairy tale version of what “hopeless romantic” entails.  I think hopeless is the wrong word.  Maybe it’s more of a magical romantic, like magical realism.  You’re an Allende romantic where love is real but capable of beautiful, magical things.

She is right about me and romance. I want to keep that but I also want to shift.

I thought this move, this year, was a leap, a moment of things taking off in a new direction but maybe it is simply a crossing on a bridge. I feel I’m growing up. The boy opened my heart in a way that I didn’t even realize needed to happen. I once read somewhere that when the “new” world was discovered entries in a ship’s log book said that after weeks and weeks, or however long it had been, for the first time someone saw a branch floating in the water. A few days later a bird. These were signs that land was close by but at that time they didn’t know to read it that way. I feel that when I left Leo it was the beginning of a journey, maybe not to discover a new land but something that had always been there. There have been branches and bright stars and hummingbirds but I have yet to reach dry land. And there have been moments when I thought I would drown. Moments, like right now, when it feels that all there is is water all around me and no dry land in sight. But maybe it is just a little further past where I can see at this moment or maybe I’m not meant to reach dry land. Maybe I’m just meant to look up and be constantly in awe of the stars.

We need in love to practice only this: letting each other go. For holding on comes easily–we do not need to learn it. ~Rilke

Posted in paris with tags , , on April 21, 2012 by ana

Oh, life. I have been in a weepy panic  for the last two days as a result of many things… money, language obstacles, baking frustrations, too much partying, glimpses of falling for someone.

Cleo came to town last week with her friend Rob. It was so amazing to have her here. We had so much fun. Spent our days walking around, drinking beer in cafes, going to Versailles. She met my friends, we cooked dinner, and went out to Candelaria. Every night was soaked in wine. Friday was so far one of my favorite days in Paris. I met my friend Charlie at the market in the late morning. We bought cheese, olives, white asparagus and babaganoush for a party that night. The day was sunny, a rare thing these days. I was hung over but happy. After the market I met Cleo and we went to Merci for lunch and the Isabel Marant sample-sale after. I bought a beautiful dress I can’t really afford. Charlie texted that this boy, a painter I had hooked up with, might come to the party. It gave me a small thrill. I had met him a few weeks before during an afternoon and evening of  frolicking, good music, and alcohol. We had kissed on the street late at night. A few days later he came over to my apartment. We had talked and laughed and rolled around for hours then gone for a walk by the canal.

Friday night Cleo, Rob, Iris and I  went to a few galleries with Charlie then went back to his house for the champagne blitz. I have yet to go to a party at his house where the night doesn’t end up being dusted in glitter.  The music was fantastic, the dim lights dusky with smoke, and the bubbly flowed and flowed. When the painter boy walked in I had such a nice buzz and felt girly and pretty. Cleo and Iris said he couldn’t take his eyes of me, and I was so giddy and a little nervous. I was happy that they met him because it’s always nice when your friends can put a face to your stories. I kept winking at him. We stood by the window, smoked a cigarette, and talked. Eventually the  party moved to some brief dancing in the Marais and  debauchery at the duplex. Everyone around seemed light and happy. It was crowded, and I talked with some cute gay boys from Brazil. The boy and I stepped outside and kissed on the street, where we had first kissed. At the end of the night we left in search of a cab and shared a ride with an English couple that had managed to hail the only cab around. We rode with them all the way to  St. Germain and back. It felt like we went on a little trip.  The boy told me some of his stories, one in particular was very sad. He had begun to tell me that afternoon at my house but had stopped. I think he needed to tell someone. In the morning I left his home feeling sort of undone.

Saturday, Cleo, Iris,  Rob and I sat by the Canal and had lunch then walked to a bookstore. That night more friends arrived, High School friends from Puerto Rico. One of them I hadn’t seen in at least ten years. I was so excited to see them but woke up sad on Sunday. Cleo and Rob were leaving that morning. I had barely slept in the past days. Lack of sleep always gives me a brief but intense (is there any other kind) existential crisis. My life has been feeling so sparkly and it hit me hard how transitory things are here as an expat. Most of the people I have met are leaving in the coming months. The boy, in an ironic twist of fate, is moving to LA in two weeks.

The day was cold and gray.  I got home after saying goodbye to Cleo and Rob and cried with my roommate Katie. I had wanted to cry when I left the boy’s house on Saturday morning but I was so dehydrated there were no tears to be shed. I had wanted to cry because Saturday morning there was more I wanted to say but I was too hungover and needed to get back to my friends. I had wanted to cry because it had been so long since I had felt sweetness and connection, since I had felt warmth and tenderness, and sometimes there is nothing like feeling someone else’s skin next to yours. And though I was ready to call it a day and turn myself in for a good night’s sleep I texted him that I knew it was complicated but that I wanted to see him one more time.

I walked  into his tiny garden apartment  knowing I would never see him again but wanting one more night.  In Spanish one of the words for sex is “polvo” which means dust or I suppose in the case of sex may mean to dust. It was a night full of magic dust. We listened to a radio station that played old vinyl records that crackled as Billie Holiday sang. I told him about my past loves and he told me more of his story. It is not mine for me to tell so I won’t share it here. When I told him about Leo and about Italy he said that I set fire inside people. That I had set one in him and that he hoped I found someone really good, who really loved me and could give me all I wanted. We talked about art and baking and writing. We talked about sex, love, learning French, France, Puerto Rico, Africa, and LA. We looked into each others eyes for minutes on end as if playing an unspoken game of blink. Is there a word for when your skin shimmers with electricity while engaged with someone? Surely there must be.

This boy and I are twelve years apart. We told each other it would never be and that we would never forget each other. And like an Erykah Baddu song he said,” maybe we will meet next life.”

“Maybe we know each other from the previous one,” I said.

“Yes, maybe,” he said in his frenchy English.

“I like that,” I said. “Some people come into your life for a brief moment and you never see them again but you carry them with you forever.”

“You already live in my mind and my heart,” he said.

In the morning he went out for croissants and came back with a bag of oranges. He made me juice. He said he couldn’t see me his last week in Paris because he was afraid we would completely bond. Now, writing this, I know he is right.

We had breakfast and talked more about art. He showed me the project he is working on. We took a shower, hugged tightly, and said goodbye. I left his house thinking I had just lived a Parisian dream. It felt perfect. A beginning, a middle, and an end. The afternoon at my house, a few weeks earlier, before I knew anything about him it had felt light and airy. Light and airy is what I wanted but instead it became one of those moments that surprise you, that you can’t quite understand. Why did I meet this person? I walked around for hours in the rain. Maybe hoping to run into him. I texted him that I was sad and that I would never forget him and he wrote back that he had listened to a Gainsbourg song all day and thought of me. That he was sorry that it had to be that way. I wrote back and said that it was perfect. That I just wanted to tell him he had touched my heart before he disappeared completely. And just as I did when I was 26 I cried and listened to a lot of Jeff Buckley. Of course it is hard to let it go, to not be shaken to the core by it. It was like a  movie.

I cried all day with Iris as we walked in search of a mixer for me to buy. I cried as we ate a cookie and drank coffee at Kookaburra, and she sweetly told me mine were better.  We met our friend Caroline for dinner. When I told her about my entanglement she said, “even though in our heads we know better it doesn’t mean somewhere deep in us we don’t wish it could somehow work.”

Italy had written me earlier in the day. And I had written back that it was truly, fully time to let go, that it didn’t do anyone any good to not move on. I told him he had been a great inspiration to me. He told me that meeting me had been important to him and that he would never forget it.

I vacillate between feeling so whole and happy for the experiences just as they are and wanting to keep them close, but holding on to things takes away the quality in them that makes them a celebration of life and turns them into questions and tears. Of course, the residual sadness has to be mourned but then it has to be allowed to swirl under the stars.

On the way home from dinner Iris said, you have been here two months and you have already had this beautiful thing happen to you. I think Paris is telling you that this is where you need to be. And it does feel like that. It feels like the one door left opened has closed so I can fully step into Paris. My brief French love reminded me of who I want – someone with an open, kind heart, an engaging mind, a great sense of humor, and massive sex appeal. This week from Cleo to my friends from home and everything in between helped me define what it is non-negotiable when it comes to my love life. I want someone who loves me just as I am. All the good bits and the not so good parts. Leo could never do that and Italy wouldn’t allow himself to fall into it. I don’t want to convince anyone that they should love me. I’ve never had to convince my friends. I want love to gravitate to me just as they have.

There is so much more that I could say but that is the gist of it. There are friends still here that I must go meet.  I needed to write it all down because if I don’t write my life is not the same. Our stories are better when shared.

~

 

“Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.” – Michael Ondaatje

Life in Paris

Posted in paris with tags , on April 3, 2012 by ana

Friday night I went to a beautiful dinner at Liza’s, a lebanese restaurant owned by a lovely friend of a friend. Every inch of the table was covered with small bowls of deliciousness- artichokes with lemons and peas, hummus with lamb and pomegranate seeds, sautéed bitter greens, lamb tartare, halloumi, fatoosh, sausages, lamb chops and tiny potatoes with garlic and lemon. Afterwards we went to Silencio. A  haunting boy and girl band from Seattle was playing on their tiny stage when we walked in. I sat on the steps across from them and thought, life won’t always be like this. By which I meant that life won’t always be so unplanned and lovely. Every day right now meanders and unfolds as it wishes too. The music was beautiful and I thought- I want to make beautiful things. I want to create a conversation about beauty and pleasure with the things I make. Then a sneaky anxious voice slipped in- I need to get a job. I need to speak French. I’m having such a hard time baking. I quickly drowned it with some dancing and champagne but it came back to bite me in the ass the next day.

I woke up feeling blah. Iris talked me into going to yoga. She made me coffee and toast. I was so impressed by the fact that she got home at five in the morning and was determined to go that I got out of bed.  We schlepped across town and made it just in time. It felt good to stretch and twist my worries away.

During class my friend and yoga teacher,  Marc, mentioned something I had said to him. Hearing it repeated back to me made me realize that in the 24 hour span, where my cookies didn’t bake quite right and the flavor was not as I remembered it, I had let go of my one rule of the game here in Paris. The rule that I always have to say YES.  That the only answer is YES.  YES because everything is brand new, because I don’t know anything, and because I have to say yes in order for anything to happen, in order to get anywhere. Any worry or obstacle is just as worthy of a welcoming yes as any sparkliness.

After class Iris and I went for food at Candelaria. After spending a perfect evening there, earlier in the week,  eating tacos and drinking margaritas with cute girls and gays I was really craving it. I really miss Mexican food. I’ve even dreamt about it since moving here. It was such a lazy, loungey brunch and I thought about how excited I am to bring Cleo there for a drink when she comes next week.

Once home I still couldn’t quite shake the anxiety and sadness. I get such pleasure from baking and such a sense of self. Not being able to do it well really throws me off and frustrates me. While on the one hand the ingredient dilemma is an exciting challenge, on the other it really shows my weaknesses. That’s not a bad thing. In the end it will make me better but for the time being it makes me uncomfortable. It makes me feel less. It’s funny how the voice of worth can sneak up at every turn.

In the end a talk with Iris about appreciating the fullness of the moment and an email from Bree:

You really need to not get frustrated and just practice practice practice. it’s sooo different in france, from the flours, to the temperatures to the water and milk and sugar. (seriously, go to london and have a black tetley tea w milk and sugar then try make the EXACT same tasting one here. PAS POSSIBLE.)

reminded me of the thing that I struggle with the most. To have patience with the rhythm of my life.

Dear Paris,

Posted in 37, paris with tags on March 28, 2012 by ana

When I see an angry little boy practically in tears, wearing a blazer and speaking a mile a minute, I think your children might just be the cutest in the whole wide world.

coup de foudre

Posted in paris with tags , on March 28, 2012 by ana


 

printemps

Posted in paris with tags , , on March 26, 2012 by ana

Friday was a gorgeous day. I sat by the canal and talked with a friend about traveling, about baking and how hard it is to find the right sugar and flour in Paris, about how much Parisians love American cookies. I told her how strange it felt to be American. Something I have always been but have never said I am. I am, have always been, Puerto Rican but here I am American. Here being Puerto Rican is not a nationality. As I walked up the stairs to my apartment I thought- I have never lived in a foreign country. Then I thought- ah, but you have, since you were 18 you have. Then I sat in the small nook of the kitchen window as the cat slept by the last direct ray of light. The pigeons stood still, perched on the chimneys across from me, and I looked at the sky.

Moving shakes things up. I always remember my dreams best when I sleep somewhere new. Changing position changes perspective. Leaving Leo gave me a sense of self I never had before. Leaving LA has made me aware of how full my life is. It is nice to swim in feelings of what I have as opposed to what I don’t, as opposed to what I want.  It is wonderful, it is productive to feel happiness with what you have. There is so little we can control in our lives. Our perspective and our efforts, that’s about it. I keep thinking about something my mom said recently. That life wasn’t so much about paying your dues but about contributing. Where you give your time, your love, your attention is where you reap your light.

When I first got here I emailed my old writing teacher Jack. Every few months he writes emails to his students meant to kindle a love of writing. His last email was about fact and fiction, writing and art, and Pina, the movie about Pina Bausch. After reading it I wrote to him and told him how much I enjoyed his “letters”.  We’ve been emailing about Paris ever since.  It’s exciting to correspond with someone I find inspiring.

Since moving I have been in touch with a lot of long lost friends dispersed through out the world. Some emails have been proper catch-ups and others a simple lovey touch-n-go. After dreaming that I walked past my friend James on a street here in Paris I wrote him. I think the last time that I talked to him was about twelve years ago. He wrote back: I’m glad we reconnected, in Paris. Hopefully we can reconnect one day in real life, with fruity cocktails, on a beach, in PR. The last time was on a warm windy night, at some party. I remember it. 

There was a time that I hung out a lot with James. He was my boyfriend’s best friend. He was Anouk’s roommate for awhile. We were so young and as he said in another email, but thought we were so old. We took ourselves very seriously in the way that art school kids tend to do.

I spent practically the whole weekend at Butte Chaumont- drinking wine with friends on Saturday and then Sunday with Iris listening to music and taking photos on her great-grandmother’s blanket. I had fun slutty-kisses with a cute Parisian late Saturday night and rosé by the Seine late on Sunday. The weather is making me think of NY. James’ email is making me think of NY. Kissing a 26 year-old is making me think of being 26 in NY. And all of it feels very weather appropriate.

 

 

Dear man smoking across the way,

Posted in paris with tags on March 21, 2012 by ana

I see you bought a bonsai tree in a heavy blue pot and tied it to your window railing with some string. Are you sure that’s a smart idea?