It is just one of those days. As usual, I've dressed wrong for the weather here. Again.
When I peeked outside my 7th étage flat this morning, it was sunny. Coolish but sunny. But I have yet to learn that a few hours here means the weather can turn and now it's like a monsoon. And my little shoes are soaked to the bones.
Now I'm freezing. How do you say "freezing" en Français? Merde! I can't remember. Froid? And I'd thought my French was getting good. But my French teacher asked me a question I just didn't remember today. And she was pissed! Said, "What? I have to speak in English now?"
Then my advisor hated my research paper. Again. 50 pages of writing and she wants me to start over from scratch. It sucks. I just don't get what she wants from me. And she expects me to just know. A big case of cultural barrier.
I wrap my scarf up around my face and muscle my way down the busy street, trying to keep the rain out of my face because it stings like crazy and not get my eyeballs poked by someone's umbrella. It's miserable.
I can't even feel my feet anymore at this point, but YES there's the metro. I swipe my carte orange rush down the stairs because I see my train and I really don't want to wait for the next one and damn it is packed! Fuck.
I wait a bit to see how many people get off and wedge myself in next to a bar. Not that I'll need it; we're packed in here so tightly, there's no danger of falling.
The tain reeks when it's packed like this. I'm convinved that's why they call Paris the city of love. Pheromones. It's hot down here, especially on the train. Everyone starts sweating and gets on the metro and magic happens.
Except that's not magic on my ass. That's someone's hand. Another Frenchman who thinks he's being sly on the packed train. I see your game, buddy. Careful not to make eye contact and still keeping a hand on my purse (in case he's a pickpocket), I scooch away from his hand. He gets my hint. Switches to holding the bar and inching his hand closer and closer to mine. Damn I hate rush hour on the metro. I keep moving my hand away from his, a little cat and mouse tango on the bar until I finally get to my stop.
Grands Boulevards. I like this stop because the walk home is interesting. I could take another train and get off on Cadet which is closer to my flat, but I'd have to change trains at Chatelet and that bites.
So I work my coat back on and my scarf and gloves and even though my shoes are still wet, I know I'm almost home. The walk from Grands Boulevards is lovely. I pass the best crepes stand in the whole city and contemplate indulging in one but I'm on a budget. Then my favorite boulangerie where the smell of baking bread wafts out and comforts my cold nose. Then the cute patisserie with the best marzipan I've ever tasted in my 26 years. Then the market, which I'm skipping today even though I need a few things, but it's cold and I'm almost home.
I make a turn at the pharmacy, pass the Indian restaurant and the internet cafe. As I cross the street at the Folies Bergères, I hop off the sidewalk and feel a little like Mary Tyler Moore. Then my cute little street: Rue Saulnier. Just a few doors down, the the mighty wood door to the courtyard. I punch in the code and heave the heavy door open with my entire body and hold the door open for my neighbor who is leaving. "Bon Soir." "Bon Soir."
Then I sprint through the courtyard to the 200 year old building, through the door, up l'escalier du mort (so named by my roommate) and my thighs are aching by the time I reach the top (per usual). down the little hallway to my front door.
|L'escalier du Mort|
Andrea (yes, my roommate's name is Andrea, pronounced like Andre) isn't home, so I settle my crap down, open up my computer, open iTunes and start a playlist of French folk music, and get ready for a night of writing. I go to our miniscule doll kitchen to make dîner pour une. As des pâtes with creme de chevre and les tomates cooks, I open my bedroom windows (and love that they open out the old fashioned way) a crack and let the smell of the rain waft in. For the first time all day I'm enjoying it.
I peek my head out a little and let my hair get wet so I can see the light from Sacre Cœur. I can't believe it took us a whole month to realize what an awesome view we have. It's breathtaking. I can't believe I live in such a gorgeous place.
|The view from my flat|
An IM pops up on my computer: Alice. Even though I'd been with her this morning, we'll probably spend the next several hours talking online and I won't get much sleep. This is the nature of our relationship. But it's comforting.
There are more and more days when Paris is kicking my ass. Why do I still love this city when it sometimes hates me so? I sometimes crumple at the end of the day and cry it out, consider throwing in the proverbial towel and going home.
Tonight is not one of those nights. Today was a challenge, but I survived. I played Paris once more at her own game, but at least I'm still in it.
Tomorrow I will wear better shoes and carry more layers since you just don't know what the weather will do. I'll study harder and not freak out when I'm put on the spot in class. I don't know what the fuck I'll do about my advisor, but it's just a paper and I'm in one of the most beautiful cities in the world so I won't let her ruin it.
I pull on my cozy socks that Lynnette sent me in a care package and settle into my small bed with my laptop and books. The sound of the rain soothes me and before I know it, I'm happy again.
Je suis heureuse.