12.15.2014

Merry Christmas | Joyeux Noël

Christmas in Paris

While experiencing winter like weather in Paris (brrrr) and feeling like I'm about to see my first ever snowfall in the city, I've gotten whiplash gazing to and fro at all the ways Christmas dots the landscape. There's barely any sign of Santa but instead lots of shiny ornaments and pretty festive garlands and my favorite - glittering string lights on Christmas trees and bare branches, spreading across side streets and grand boulevards. The decor is actually more subdued than what I'm used to in the States... but it's really so lovely. No doubt c'est Noël and everything is aglow in the holiday magic!

So the countdown begins... are you ready for Christmas?

I'll be traveling across the Atlantic to spend the holidays with my family (yay!). See you again in 2015!... Joyeux Noël et une très bonne année | Merry Christmas & a very Happy New Year to you :)

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12.08.2014

The Paris Apartment | Home

Paris apartment
Paris apartment
Paris apartment
Paris apartment
Paris apartment
Paris apartment flowers

We emptied the last plastic bin the other day, and with that final gesture of unpacking (10 months later), the feeling of being home finally and truly sunk in.

So we invited the family my husband has known since his childhood for a little housewarming combined with a celebration of two birthdays. And all at once, the apartment we moved into - our physical address, our dwelling place, where we keep our things - unfolded into the space where deep lasting memories are created and we could at last comfortably call home...

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11.30.2014

Au Revoir November | Paris

Paris Rue Mouffetard
Paris Rue Mouffetard
Paris Rue Mouffetard
Paris Rue Mouffetard

I tend to pass this roundabout at the foot of Rue Mouffetard almost everyday, very often on my way to somewhere else. But the other day, in the blue glow of morning, under a light drizzle, it felt like I was jolted awake to stop and look around me, and to then look again. And not get caught lost in the landscape missing the details,...

If November in Paris had to be defined in photos, this is what it would look like to me... outfitted in a  glistening gauzy gray, cozy in its position between the sleepy floating golds of Fall and the hushed pearly pull of Winter.

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11.23.2014

Words & Le Mot Juste: Dépaysement

Paris shop window
Paris black and white
Paris Montmartre

Dépaysement [day pay eez manh]: disorientation or the unsteady feeling of being displaced,
in unfamiliar surroundings, away from your origin (or simply a change of scenery)


Looking back at my recent posts, I appear to be a hopeless tourist in love. And admittedly I am… Paris is Paris, and by her very nature she draws you in even when you’re too busy looking down or away.

Behind the scenes, however, I have experienced moments of extreme dépaysement - that feeling of tumult after moving from your home country to forge a new home in another. It's the mental and emotional exercises I've been going through during this time of change and adaptation, to feel understood and comfortable and connected. It's the twinge of dislocation I feel when my boys talk about missing friends and family and asking why there wasn't a real Halloween. It's all the why's and other big and small things that make up settling in and settling down somewhere new where the society thinks, acts and talks differently. It's being forced to bend your brain, adjust your perceptions and figure out who you truly are, what really matters and what you believe about the world, for real.

My husband and I joke that living in France makes us feel at times like we're muddling through during the Middle Ages and made to believe we're the ones who need to evolve. As if the country's long and arresting history is weighing down on us. Believe it when you hear that the greatest assets you can have here are patience and a sense of humor. Lots of it, easy to access and then some stocked away for when you get depleted.

But we realize this is all because we now live in another context, another culture, another world. The differences are more pronounced some days, but at some point we'll hardly notice them... that's when the differences will cease being good or bad, they'll simply be differences. And we'll discover that in what makes us dissimilar from our new neighbors lies our similarities - the preservation of customs and need for certain freedoms for example.

My feelings of dépaysement or homesickness are not of the I-miss-home-so much-I-want-to-go-back kind. Not at all. I'm grateful for every second I'm here and get wistful at the thought of leaving. It's just sometimes when everything feels like a foggy reality that I long for no more guessing or confusion, where things are familiar and easy… this is when whispers of wisdom echo in my head "but life is not meant to be familiar and easy." Ah yes, yes of course.

I know there’s not much to complain about living in Paris. Transitions take time and I accept that...with a glass of wine in one each hand  ;)

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11.16.2014

La Tour Eiffel

Paris Eiffel Tower
Paris Eiffel Tower

Of all the different angles and perspectives of the Eiffel Tower, my favorites are the ones where she seems to appear out of nowhere, like she's playing cache-cache (hide-and-seek) with us, we turn the corner and then there she appears - larger than life and immensely beautiful,... but more approachable ;)

Do you have a favorite view of La Grande Dame?

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