The End of May, Part Two


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The Tour Eiffel – June 7, 2010

With the best of intentions, I hoped to post this at the beginning of last week, but it turns out that it is happening now, just as we are about a week and a half from the end of  June. On the good side of that, I have been busy this past week, and have even more about which to write, and that means this blog is working to the ends for which I started it: to find a deeper, broader life for myself here in Paris. What it also means is that I have less and less time to write and post. Thus is the never-ending blogger’s dilemma: when you have time to write, there is not much to write about, but when you have a lot about which to write, there is less time to do so. It’s a pickle, ain’t it. 🙂

At any rate, without further ado, here is Part Two of The End of May.

I realized, of course, as I was writing this post that it should really be called The Beginning of June (and is now, with situational irony, being posted at the end of June). Ah well, May ended on a Monday and then the rest of the week was June. It all blends and blurs, doesn’t it. To catch you up, if you don’t have time to read the previous post, I wrote about the various adventures I’d had with some of my friends here in Paris. I wrote about my friends with much gratitude. I am sincerely grateful for the friends I have made here so far. I realized as I was writing about the things I had done in those final days of May (and the beginning of June, too) that friendship has really been the best thing about living in a city like Paris. I realize this is pretty much true of all cities and places where we live and breathe and have our being. It is often (and so it should be) the people who are with us and share our lives that have more meaning than any famous museum, pastry, or monument.

Did any of you ever see the movie or read the book Into the Wild? I saw and loved the movie. I remember the ending of the film, for which I will just give the barest details here in case you have not seen it and don’t want the ending spoiled. The protagonist, “Alexander Supertramp” aka Christopher McCandless, writes in a journal of sorts (in the margins of Dr. Zhivago, a little research turns out), “Happiness only real when shared.”

Photo found at mykdh’s tmblr page: Things I Love – January 15, 2010

It is the grand lesson he learns in the story — the moral, if you will.  I find that in my life this is absolutely true. I think one of the reasons I had so much trouble the first year I lived here in Paris was that I really did not have many people with whom I could experience Paris. It’s really not as much fun for me to visit museums and cafés and monuments by myself. It’s just a lot more fun when you have someone to hold your hand, really or metaphorically, while you see and do things. Sure, I have had to “man up” and find my own Paris cojones and get out there to see and do things on my own. I just like it a lot better when there is someone else to do things with.

Second Anniversary

While writing the above and thinking about how much time I have been here, I thought I would let people know I passed the second year mark of living here in Paris on June 4, 2010. If you are new here and want to know how it is that I arrived in Paris, you can check the story out here: Paris: A love story. Now that I am beginning a third year here, I wonder what changes and adventures are going to meet me in the coming year. It’s been a trip. A long, strange one. But a good one, too. Happy Anniversary to me and Paul and Paris. I hope for many more good years together.

Melanie, Blogger from the UK — Sunday, June 6

To continue where I left off last week, I was writing about the various things I had seen and done with my friends. Most of those friends I have done some things with before, but this part of the post is about a new friend.

Back when I was writing all about my trip with Tess to Versailles last December, I ran into a wonderful blog dedicated to Marie Antoinette and other royals from the 18th century. The blog is called Kill Them All, God Will Know His Own and is at madameguillotine.org.uk.  Melanie is the author of this incredible blog. She and her family came to visit Paris during the first week of June, and they made time to get together with Paul and me on Sunday, June 6.

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Melanie, her husband Dave, and little sons Felix and Oscar (named after Oscar Wilde — isn’t that wonderful?) had an indoor picnic with Paul, his two kids, and me and then we went walking around the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. I love to show people “my park.” In fact, we had planned to have a picnic in the park, but a thunderstorm that morning saturated everything with a drenching rain, so I invited them up to our apartment where we snacked on picnic-y foods around our dining room table. We then went around all of the popular things to see in the park, wore out little Oscar (he’s the one sleeping in the stroller in the photo), and then parted ways so that Melanie and her family could go check out the final resting place of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVII at the Basilica of Saint Denis.

More of the photos are here at this set of mine in Flickr, and Melanie’s post about her visit is here. She also has posts of the other days she spent in Paris, too, so check those out for some vicarious travel and beautiful photos of Paris.

If you enjoy French history, want to know more about French history, or more about Marie Antoinette, you must visit Melanie’s site. It is amazing. She has also written and self-published a piece of historical fiction entitled The Secret Diary of a Princess. It is a fictionalized account of Marie Antoinette’s late childhood and early adolescence when she was being prepared to become the Dauphine, the wife of the Dauphin, or Prince Louis XVII of France. To order a softcover copy or a downloaded version of the book, visit Melanie’s Lulu site here. I bought a copy from Melanie while she was here and I am looking forward to reading it. I have peeked inside the book and it looks really good. After just having finished the Antonia Fraser biography of Marie Antoinette, I am eager to see how Melanie incorporated events into the fictional diary.

Speaking of the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, I read a really good post on the park at the Hôtels Paris Rive Gauche English language newsblog here: Parc des Buttes Chaumont. There are some fantastic photos of the park, as well as information about things to see in the park. Check it out. Also, if you want and need more information about events and places to see and do things in Paris, the newsblog is one of the very best. I regularly read the HPRG site to find out what is going on in and around the city. Put it in your blog-read lineup — you won’t be disappointed.

Tess — Monday, June 7

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Two weeks ago, the lovely Tess, one of my first friends here in Paris, and I decided to go and have a picnic on the Champs de Mars. It was a lovely day, sunny and fairly warm, which has been unusual so far this spring, and as we move into summer. It seems that since April we have been having one sunny and warm day to three or four of cool cloudiness and rain.  I have been wondering if this summer will ever truly get going and stay warm and sunny. I’m ready for it.

A couple of notes on the photo collage: the center photo in the right column is the Trocadéro Esplanade. It usually looks something like this:

Trocadéro Esplanade

Or this:

Trocadéro Esplanade

These two photos were taken a year ago when my oldest son visited me.

What it looked like on Monday, June 7 was this:

Trocadéro Covered for the World Cup

Crazy how they can cover all the fountains and water up, huh!

This is a set up by FIFA to televise the games to the public. Adam at Invisible Paris has written more about the free televised games here at his comprehensive World Cup Post. I think it would be good fun to see a game there. I read in the paper that for France’s first game against Uruguay on June 11, about 5,000 people showed up to watch. Looks like at this point in the competition, France will not advance to the second round. Too bad. The US has one more game: they play Algeria on the 23rd of June. Then we’ll know which eight teams move on to the second round before the quarterfinals. I’m not sure who I am going to root for after that point. I guess we’ll see who makes it.

My only complaint about the day with Tess was that the tchotchke-sellers and Romani beggers were out in force, worse than I remember from the previous year, when I was on a picnic with my son on the Champs de Mars. It got pretty annoying. It was still special to have a little picnic with Tess underneath the tower, though. More photos are here.

Allison – Tuesday, June 8

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Allison is one of the women with whom I had a picnic in the Bois de Boulonge a few weeks ago.  She got in touch with me and asked if I would like to go out and about with her. I took her around the Parc des Buttes Chaumont, up to the Parc de Belleville, and then down to Place Fréhel and the rue Dénoyez, which is a journey I have blogged about before, most recently when Paul’s mom was here in April. We had an excellent time walking around together. Allison is a really intelligent and interesting person, and I really enjoyed talking with her while we explored.

It was about six weeks before this visit that I was last at the rue Dénoyez. Already the walls had changed, yet again.

Do you remember the Atomic Mouse with the Asplody Head?

Atomic Mouse

This is what is there, now:

New Graffiti

It’s a constantly-changing canvas.

I finally figured something out, too. This whole area is very close to where I used to go to yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga Paris

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I adore Ashtanga Yoga Paris. Tucked into the upper NE portion of the 11th arrondissement, where the 10th and 20th meet up, Ashtanga Yoga Paris (AYP) has been a haven for me.

Here is AYP’s location (2) in relation to the rue Dénoyez/rue de Belleville area (1):

The address is 5 rue Morand, Paris 75011. Class times and other information is available on the website.

When I realized that the Métro Couronnes was just a short walk down from Métro Belleville on the Boulevard de la Villette, I asked Allison if she wanted to see where the studio is located. She was up for it, and when we got there I was surprised to see the entrances to the building were all open, so we went inside I got to take some photos of the beautiful, Japanese-garden-inspired courtyard. There are two small studios for practice, one on the second level above the ground floor, which is also the home of Gerald Disse and Linda Munro, a husband and wife team who are owners and chief instructors at AYP. The second, larger studio for practice is located on the ground level.

I have been a little sad of late as Paul and I have taken an intense look at our money situation, and have decided some serious “retrenching” is in order, just like it was for the Elliot family in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. What this has meant is giving up my weekly yoga sessions. A book of 5 classes is 55€, which breaks down to 11€ per class, which is actually incredibly inexpensive for yoga in Paris. However, this is 50 more euro a month than we can spend on such things right now. There is a community class taught by teacher trainees that is only 5€ per class, but I will be honest: it is at 12:30 pm on Sunday afternoon and I like to be lazy on Sunday mornings/afternoons. I realize that this community class is not a bad compromise if I am missing yoga too much, and it is a good price for a little yoga assistance. Then there are the free videos that Gerald and Linda have posted on their site with Sun Salutations A and B, as well as other videos for yoga routines. FREE, and viewable on the computer, so I could keep up the practice at home. Have I done it yet? Nope. But this is one of the reasons I started with the Monday evening beginners class over a year ago: I liked the time of day for the class and the group energy I felt when I went. I was motivated for an evening class with several people in it. The class got me out of our apartment. I liked hearing Gerald use French for the lessons. I really got to know and learn words for things like “left,” “right,” and “bring your head to your knees.” Very handy, the first two words! Not so much the “bringing my head to my knees” expression, but you never know. Might come in handy someday.  Heh! 😀

I know. Retrenching means compromise and creativity, and I am whinging here. I could buck up and either get my ass in gear and do yoga at home, or I could squeak five euros and a couple of Métro tickets out of the grocery budget to join the yogis and yoginis on a Sunday early afternoon. But I had grown accustomed to my routine, I enjoyed it, and it made me feel good. It’s not easy to give it up right now. So I felt like moping a little here on the blog.

Here’s to brighter days and financial improvements so that weekly yoga at Ashtanga Paris Yoga will be possible once again. In the meantime, if you are reading this, like yoga, live in Paris, and want a really nice bilingual yoga community to join, please get in touch with Ashtanga Yoga Paris. I know they would appreciate your participating in the life-changing practice of yoga with them.

Visiting Elizabeth Bard: Finding Inspiration — Wednesday, June 9

Almost two weeks ago now, I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Elizabeth Bard, author of the book Lunch in Paris and writer at Elizabeth Bard. Elizabeth posted about our meeting here on her post Tea & Sympathy (June 10, 2010).

We shared some muffins I’d made and took with me to her home, and Elizabeth graciously wrote about how she enjoyed them.

Carrot Muffins from Elizabeth's blog post

(Note: Part of this is taken and edited from a little note I sent to Elizabeth after we met, which summed up my feelings about the meeting, just in case she’s reading this and thinking “Hmmm, that sounds familiar.”)

Getting a chance to sit and talk with Elizabeth about books, writing, life, how we came to Paris, and how it is to make a life in this city was very inspirational to me. I felt very encouraged that it is possible to be a “regular girl,” write, and be published. Not to say that Elizabeth is merely “regular.” In fact, I can tell she is a dedicated, hardworking, driven person and this is extraordinary to find in people anymore, don’t you think?

Anyway, it made me feel good to get a chance to talk to someone who “did it.” Someone who went through that process of finding her voice and her story, writing about it, and then setting about getting that story published. She did it and and came out the other side of that process with something bound, very readable, and acclaimed. I don’t know if I could think of anything in life that would make me happier to have accomplished: to write and publish a book. It’s like knowing someone who actually made it to the end of the rainbow, to Nirvana, to the Promised Land. Yeah, I know: she still has to get up and work everyday, she is still a wife and a mom and changing diapers after publishing a book — so I am not too airy-fairy about the whole thing. But I do feel encouraged and inspired by having had a chance to sit and talk with Elizabeth on a rainy Paris afternoon about our lives as women and writers/readers/lovers of life.

New Friends

Just this past week I have been out and about some more. I met up with Allison (see above) and Amber again on Wednesday, June 16, and we went to the Musée Carnavalet, walked around the Marais, and ate at the famous falafel place, L’As du Falafel (the “Ace of Flafel”), at 34 rue de Rosier. It’s been written up in the New York Times (“Paris: L’As du Falafel” December 31, 2006) and is included in David Lebovitz’s page “My Paris.” This cracked me up, though:

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It’s recommended by Lenny Kravitz! So you know, you HAVE to go because Lenny says so, haha!

I could not eat the falafel. They prepare it with chickpea AND wheat flour, so no go. I had the Shawarma: some roast turkey and lamb, spiced and served with cucumber, tomato, roasted eggplant, and what I think was shredded celery root. It was served in a pita, which I could not eat, but I had a fork and could eat the filling, which was stuffed in the pita pocket in such a way that it acted like a bowl. If you are someone that is super-sensitive to gluten, you may want to skip this place, but if you can handle a little cross-contamination, then it may be worth a shot to try the Shawarma. It cost 7 euros. A regular falafel is only 5 euros.

I really enjoyed the Musée Carnavalet, too. For one, it is free, and free is great with our retrenchment project. Two, it is Paris’ history museum, focused on various eras of Paris history starting from the Medieval times with paintings and artifacts from the centuries to show Paris’ development as a city. What was really special to me was seeing the artifacts from Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis XVI from the time when they were imprisoned before their executions.

I won’t share more here, but I uploaded photos into a set on Flickr: The Musée Carnavalet, the Marais and the Hôtel de Ville.

I also met another nice couple this past weekend, a Frenchman (Matthieu) married to a really nice Chinese woman (Joanna). Joanna contacted me via Expat Blog the day after I joined the network! She wants to work on her English as she and her husband hope to move to the States at some point. We had coffee and conversation at a Starbucks in Les Halles on Saturday. I very much enjoyed meeting them both. I also went to a little concert in which Paul’s son performed in the town of Courbevoie. He plays guitar and sings, and he writes his own songs. He and his friends, a keyboardist and a drummer, did really well for it being their first rock concert, ever! We were proud of him for getting in front of people and working so hard. He is an excellent guitarist and songwriter — he writes really good lyrics in both French and English. Who knows. Maybe he is a rock star in the making.

Finally, I was fortunate to meet some very special and dynamic blogger women on Friday evening at a blogger’s meetup:

Meet Leesa, Brigitte, Dawn and Me -- photo from Leesa's blog

Leesa, on the far left, is the bloganista at News From France. Brigitte writes at Pretty in Paris, and Dawn at Notes from Noëlle. Carolyn of My Sydney Paris Life hooked me up with Leesa, who introduced me to Brigitte and Dawn at the picnic we had on the Seine in the 5th arrondissement, just upriver from the Musée de la scuplture en plein air, at the park-like Left Bank quai where other picnickers were relaxing on concrete stairs shaped in half-moon semi-circles.

I had such fun meeting everyone, including other friends of Leesa’s and Dawn’s parents and in-laws. It was a great time! I posted more photos at Flickr here: Blogger Meet Up – June 18, 2010. Leesa has a couple of posts on her blog about it, too, here, here, and here (that last post has a few more photos of me at the event, too, if you want to stalk me there).

How does my garden grow?

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Speaking of stalks, check out what my garden was doing earlier this month. The onion plant I have sprouted a flower! An onion flower! I had no idea there were such things. My mint and lemon thyme is growing like mad — they are already probably twice the growth as in these photos. The garlic (see this post for more on the garlic) bit the dust, though. It wasn’t looking too good, kind of getting dry in its stalk yet also sort of rotten-looking at the base. I tired to remove the dry leaves and the whole stalk came apart.  It has not sent up a new shoot or anything. The bulb is firmly rooted in the soil, though, so I have left it alone. Everything else is growing pretty well, though.

What’s up next? I have been tagged by two bloggers, Tanya in Transition and Traveling Amber, so I need to hop on their tag questions and write stellar answers for them. Who knows what else will happen this week… The last couple of weeks have been full of activity, and if this indicates a trend, I am going to be a busy chica. In fact, I not only got a little worn out from doing all that stuff with my friends, I am worn out writing about it. I guess it is time to stop.

Be well, everyone.

Over and out.

An Alien Parisienne

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Categories: Blog Friends, Ghetto Paris Living, Museums in Paris, Paris Adventures, Paris Beauty, Paris Blogging, Paris Dining Gluten-Free, Paris Friends, Personal Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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29 thoughts on “The End of May, Part Two

  1. Lauri

    Oh Karin, how I love your writing and your photos. I can live my dream life in Paris through you. I’m happy to read that you’ve met so many wonderful people and continue to experience the ins and outs/nooks and crannies of your lovely city. Happy 2nd Anniversary!

    • Hi there, Lauri! Good to see you. 🙂 As always, I am happy to provide the vicarious living. I really have realized that this blog — letting it interact with my life and vice versa — really does help not only me, but other people who want to see and feel what it is like to be somewhere else! I love seeing that on others’ blogs, too, so I don’t know why I do not put 2+2 together in my head and realizing that my blog does the same for others as well. It’s beginning to sink in, lol. 🙂

      Thank you for reading and for the anniversary wishes! 🙂

  2. Hi Kiddo….am out in the “bunker” here avoiding the summitt mess that is Toronto right now..have lots of time to read this blog…will go over it all and comment at will….from a first glance I’d say you are keeping yourself very busy and meeting new people all the time…wish I had a yoga class near me..it’s something I’m very interested in but unless it’s walking distance it’s hard to get motivated to drive somewhere after work and dinner….but you’ve inspired me to look into it….

    talk later….”from a secret hiding place somewhere”

    • Hi Deb!

      I’m cracking up, thinking of you in the super-secret bunker. It’s very spy-thriller-movie kinds of stuff. 😀

      The meeting people thing is a recent and growing development for sure, and it seems to have a kind of momentum. It is interesting for me to observe it via writing about it here.

      I think what I like best about yoga is the state of mind I find when I do it. It focuses me, strengthens me, stretches me, and relaxes me all-in-one, and not only on a physical level, but a mental one, too. I’ve also come to appreciate a more pure form of the Ashtanga style, too, which I have come to like. I first started to do yoga from the Living Arts videos several years ago. I did enjoy those for home practice, too.

      See you later, alligator! 😀

  3. Hello Karin , thank you for you lovely comment left today.. I have lots to blog about.. Paris and Montreal, will do soon.

    How wonderful that you are now enjoying Paris .. with so many friends, yep I am the same I prefer to do things with people , not all the time, but walking round and sightseeing is good, even finding a new cafe ..

    I was really happy to see a photo of you and my friends .. Isn’t if funny that I know Leesa, Dawn Barbara , Brigitte and Carolyn …. thank you for sharing your wonderful meet up with us 🙂 take care Anne .. maybe we will meet one day too.. x

    • You’re welcome, Anne! I very much know what it is like to lose the blog mojo and also to have a lot of people with whom you like to maintain contact, but then it has a period where it feels like too much, too. I think anyone who has blogged for any period of time knows what that is like, so we all have a great degree of understanding.

      It is really cool that I clicked with your friends, too! What that means is that you and I will, too. 🙂 So, I really do hope and think we will connect one of these days very soon. It is nice to have a wide circle of friends.

      Take care of yourself, too, and see you again!

  4. “I really did not have many people with whom I could experience Paris. It’s really not as much fun for me to visit museums and cafés and monuments by myself”

    Bingo, this is why my life is sooo less adventurous today than when I was in my twenties. I poked, proded and explored, but eventually got bored with it all because the discoveries and expiriences never got shared with anyone. Now along comes the internet and I’ve not the resources of those days and I long to expirience and share what I know is out there.

    I love the collage of Melanies visit because it highlights those small moments in grand settings and thus become more special.

    How do the changing walls at rue Denoyez set with you views on art? If something speaks to you and conveys a message that you believe everyone should expirience, does it bother you that it may be gone in a week or two? Remember that picture I posted of the men who wrote poetry on the ground with water? All of this speaks to the perminence of our lives and what we hold important.

    Routine is easily reinforced when there is some sense of duty. If you were to invite a yoga buddy or two (as your place is very small) to join you for the internet yoga at a certain time every week (and if there is internet, space accomidation thei could happen at their place or even a rotation of locals) and this would be both a routine and an obligation to continue the routine.

    Yoga has been recommended to me by so many to reclaim what age has taken from my body and also to help focus my mind and yet I am still hesitant.

    Paul’s son should set up a Myspace page with mp3’s and a vid or two and see if they can start a following. This route can lead to interesting things on its own or let them know if they are simply another “garage band”.

    I thought I had posted pictures of wild onion flowers that had sprouted around parks last year (although it was when I was having problems with another camera so they didn’t turn out well). It is one of the first wild edibles I learned to recognise as a kid, so it is a mixed joy to find them because they are also not indigenous.

    • Hi Ken!

      Yup. Happiness is indeed better when shared. I guess the lovely thing about the internet is that you can vicariously share these things and we can “do” things together via photos and comments/writing like this. It is not always a great substitute, but it is one that can help. Sometimes I think about what it would have been like to be here 25 years before, with no internet to speed the relationships up… People have done it, of course — there is a long history of expat life in Paris and somehow people always connect with one another. I like how the internet speeds this process up, though, even if sometimes it chains me to the computer chair.

      I’m having fun with the collages, and will probably keep it up! I worked a lot on making them when Sam (my kiddo) was here this past summer, and I guess I had forgotten how cool they can be. I’m glad they are working.

      Yeah, I remember your post about the water poetry. I think that the evanescence of the graffiti art on rue Dénoyez is part of the statement (kind of like the whole “media is the message” thing). I like that it is always changing because it makes the whole process dynamic. Plus then there are people like me who are photographing the works periodically, so they are preserved in this way. I think the whole thing about it as “art” is way cool!

      That is a great idea about internet yoga! Hmmmmm… Gonna have to think about that one some more and see if there is a way to work that one out. As for you, just dooo eeeet. 🙂 It helps a lot when you are beginning, in order to be in alignment and not hurt yourself, to go to a class with an instructor, if possible. I think the next best thing is a beginning DVD. The next best thing is the video link I posted. You can also find basic instruction online for some gentle, beginning poses.

      I told Paul’s son the very same thing! We have been trying to work on that…The neighbor downstairs was going to help us record, but then his microphone broke and we could not record Boy Child’s songs. Maybe in the future…

      I can understand the bittersweetness with the wild onion. I’d forgotten you had posted them! Since going online and seeing more onion flowers, I realize I have seen varieties of wild onion before. There’s just one more thing on my list of “Things I Would Like to Learn” list: botany. So many things, so little time.

      Be well, Ken, and thanks for all your good comments!

  5. Ah, you lucky thing living in Paris! This post was seriously made for me – I love Paris, I love Into the Wild and I just adore Marie Anotoinette. Last time I was in Paris I unfortunately missed out on visiting Versaille 😦 But I suppose it’s not going anywhere. Also, nice pictures of the Eiffel Tower! PS. I totally agree with Lauri..I’m now going to live vicariously through you!

    • Good to see you here, Brittany, and I am so glad that the post touched on a chord for you. 🙂 No, I don’t think Versailles is going anyplace soon. 😉 It is definitely a place worth seeing, in my opinion, at least once. I’m glad that you, too, will find some vicarious living here on the blog. 🙂 Thanks for coming by and see you again soon, I hope!

  6. Hi Karin! Loved the post. Yeah, I’m always in a Paris funk (that’s what I call it) when I’m here as D is usually working. This leaves me on my own for long periods of time and, while there is so much to do/see in Paris, to do it on my own is not much fun.

    But yeah, Paris cojones…I certainly am growing a pair and will probably need a pair of Nice cojones too. (Good thing I have a large purse or where would I put all these cojones?)

    • Hi Tanya! I’m laughing at “Paris Funk.” It’s true, though! Not something that I think a tourist or sometimes visitor thinks about. Not always, but often, people come to Paris *with* someone, and while I do know of solo travelers who have come to Paris and figured things out/gone to see sights by themselves, I know that people do feel the experience is better when shared. When you are in Paris, if you want a buddy to check some things out with, just let me know.

      About the “cojones” thing — what I pictured in my head was you with the big purse and — you know those ugly things that some folks in places like Oklahoma and Texas have hanging from the tow bars on their pickup trucks? (“Truck nuts.” Like these. *shudders* They are so horrible they are kind of funny, I think. Ugh. *giggle*)

      Hmmmm. Maybe I should have written something like “I have to wear my big girl panties when it comes to Paris.” LOL.

      Anyhoo — if you ever want to work on growing a pair on a walkabout of Paris when you are here, just let me know via the blog, mmkay? 🙂

  7. ” there is a long history of expat life in Paris and somehow people always connect with one another”

    Actually ex-pats often find each other and help sooo much in aclimating. This was true when the ex-gf went to Dominica. While english was spoken there, the culture was different enough for her to really rely on ex-pats to help her adapt. I think se spent more time at the ex-pat bar (the Cornerstone if anyone goes down there, it really is a great place to spend time downtown at the capitol) that she did home or work ombined. Eventually there will b special bonds formed with the natives, but it is other foreigners that understand exactly who you are and what you are going through.

    • The whole expat community is a bit of a double-edged sword. Sure, it helps a ton to have others with whom to share common experiences and advice, and is a necessary part of overseas living, IMHO. I also know that expat communities can interfere with greater integration and exploration of the host culture, creating a kind of clique that can have negative consequences, too. Like anything, there is a balance involved. It does seem that I am getting guidance from the universe, though, in running into the people with whom I am supposed to run into, and for right now, that seems to be other expats. I’m cool with it, for the time being. I believe that if the situation needs to change, it will!

  8. I know you were going for the overall message here, but the mental image of comparing the untouched wilderness too the mean streets of Paris is giving me giggles (Into The Wild)

    • LOL. Yeah, I guess there is a bit of irony with that, isn’t there? I dunno, though, survival is survival!! 😀

  9. I know this is such a tiny, tiny part of your post, but I saw the movie “Into the Wild” and all I could think of was, “What a moron!” He gave away his money and caused his parents to worry horribly. Oh, the glamor of poverty! Except all he had to do at any time was call his mom and dad to be rescued. Spoiled rich kids who dabble in Real Life because they think it’s more authentic annoy me.

    Other than that, yes, it is more fun to share happiness. I have traveled alone and with others and usually, it’s more fun to travel with others. Alone, there’s nobody to share your memories.

    • I know this is such a tiny, tiny part of your post, but I saw the movie “Into the Wild” and all I could think of was, “What a moron!” He gave away his money and caused his parents to worry horribly. Oh, the glamor of poverty! Except all he had to do at any time was call his mom and dad to be rescued. Spoiled rich kids who dabble in Real Life because they think it’s more authentic annoy me.

      Hee hee hee hee hee!

      Hi Gold Digger! Yeah, I know what you mean. Alex/Christopher is definitely of that ilk of Idiotic 20-something, for sure. I’ve met a few of the type you mention (the spoiled kids who dabble in real life) and it is true, they are annoying. The idealistic entity that still resides in my head, the one that got stuck at 19, admires Alex/Christopher for his balls-to-the-wall pursuit of his dream and his adventuresome spirit. The 40-something woman in me wants to smack him upside the head and holler, “What the f*** were you THINKING, you spoiled brat!” and also knows full well that he would not listen and probably just roll his eyes and call me “old.” I get you. Heh!

      I’m glad that you have my back on the part about the fact that travel alone is more, well, lonely. 🙂 Thank you for your input about that.

      I’ve been to your blog for a quick skim, and my first response is “Ohhhhh!! JUICY!” and I hope to catch up a little there! Very interesting stuff!

      Thanks for commenting on mine. 🙂

  10. Bravo, Karin! I can totally relate to the god-I-need-to-blog-but-I’m-also-here-to-live conundrum. I’m happy that you’ve been out and about, enjoying Paris and friendships old and new as I feel like that is exactly what I’m missing right now. Merci for the honesty and the lovely thoughts. And continue to amuse-toi!

    • Hello, Sweet Freak! It is really nice to see you here, and thanks for reading. I’m happy you enjoyed being here. 🙂 I’m glad you can relate to the blogging conundrum — it is a never-ending balancing act, isn’t it. I was just reading your blog, and it looks like you have been out and about quite a lot, too! It does seem to come in waves, though — this week has been totally quiet, just me and the washing machine, lol. This weekend is going to be busy again, though.

      Now I have to go back to your blog and see if I can find Kristin Scott’s eye. 😀

      Take care!

  11. Yeah, you never know when “bring your head to your knees” might come in handy in French! LOL

    I do yoga at home and it isn’t so bad 🙂 But I know what you mean, what works for you is what works for you.

    • Hello, BJ! It’s good to see you here, and thanks for commenting. Yeah, you never know when certain vocab might be of use, can you. I admire that you have been able to do yoga at home. I know it is just a matter of shifting my priorities a little, and I would be there, too. But like you say, when you find what works for you and it WORKS, it is hard to change. Oh god. This means I am getting OLD, doesn’t it. Heh!

      Take care and see you again soon (I need to check out your blog, too! I’m sure there are some lovely photos waiting there for me. 🙂 )

  12. Carole

    Wow, Karin, you have been busy! Eventually you will be able to hire yourself out as a tour guide to the off-the-beaten-path areas of Paris!

    Hopefully I will check out the free yoga videos. Thanks for the info!

    P.S. How do you say “bring your head to your knees” in French? Always looking for new expressions to shock people with. 😉

    • Hello, Carole! It’s nice to see your comment. You are such a faithful reader. Thank you. Yes, it has been busy since spring arrived. I have actually thought about becoming a kind of tour guide! I think it would be kind of a kick to do that. There are a lot of people that do so already, so there is well-established competition “out there” but I would love to be the girl who shows people weird places, you know? I need to get some more French under my belt, though.

      Your welcome for the yoga stuff. I really appreciate Gerald and Linda so much, anything I can do to bring some business their way feels like good karma to me. 🙂

      Okay — I had to look it up on Google Translate, because I really did not know how to write what Gerald was saying, haha! GT says this: “Apportez votre tête à vos genoux,” but I remember him saying something like “tête à la genoux.” Now you know — shock away!! 😉

  13. Pingback: Ten Questions Tagged, Times Two « An Alien Parisienne

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed your pictures and walks in Paris. I have never been to the Parc des Buttes Chaumont – the reason is that when I went to Paris, twice a year for decades, it was to see my mother and help her, so I stayed close to her area. Now when I go back I tend to go to the places where I used to live like the 9th, or where she lived – the Marais – or I went to school – the Sorbonne area. But next time I’ll try to visit some new places. I have my trips planned for this year but maybe I’ll go to France next spring, we’ll see. I’m sorry your spring has been cold I wish I could give you some of our warm weather; luckily the rest of this week is going to be cooler, just in the mid 80s.
    You say expats find themselves easily – well in large towns maybe, but here in Cobb County (northwest of Atlanta) I do not know where any French expat is hiding, but I have lived here for many years and have not found any yet….Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Thank you, Vagabonde! I think it is very true that folks tend to stay in their own neighborhoods. I know it is true for me in Colorado, too — there are places I have not been to and unexplored places in the Denver area that I did not ever visit, even though I spent the better part of 30 years there.

      For your future trips, now that you have so many connections from blogging, hopefully you can meet up with people in other places and have them introduce you! I know it would be a pleasure for me, so if you would like to know the area around the 10th, 19th, and 20th a little better, I am your girl. 🙂

      It has definitely warmed up as of this week. *wipes sweat off brow* I knew it would, eventually. *fans self* 😀

      Yes, expats find one another easily in large cities. I cannot imagine living in a small town in the States and being an expat! Well, on the one hand, one would have to just dive in and experience the authentic life there, but on the other, it must be a lonely time. I guess if you think about the relative sizes of France and the US, and the relative populations, too, any French expat would be harder to find! There are fewer of them spread across more territory! But maybe if they are meant to find one another, they will. 🙂

      I love your blog, so it is always a pleasure to visit. Thank you for coming to mine, too.

  15. Hi Karin! I’d read this wonderful post before but am only now finding my way back to comment — such a fantastic description of your ‘epic adventures’ in Paris 🙂 You have an amazing way of sharing your activities and yourself — a great voice, as they say.

    Anyway — good on ya for all of it — and a belated happy second anniversary to your blog! Love all the photos — will definitely check out Melanie’s impressive-looking blog — and your carrot muffins look soooo good. I really like gluten-free muffins from Muffin Break here in Sydney – yum. (Except I don’t like raisins in things but plain muffins – yum.) Very cool you had lunch with Elizabeth Bard in person! and also that Paul’s son is a talented musician.

    Trust you’re out there living the life — totally relate to the blogger’s dilemma in that regard — and am eagerly looking forward to the next installment.

    Cheers and enjoy.

    • Thank you so much for writing this: “You have an amazing way of sharing your activities and yourself — a great voice, as they say.”

      Achieving a clear “voice” is something I hope for, something I have tried to cultivate, so to know it is working is great validation and makes me feel really good. Thank you. 🙂

      I’m glad you had fun following on the journey and that it gave you things to follow up on (like Melanie’s great blog…). I hope that you are getting settled back in after many travels… I know you have a lot on your plate before you to figure out, so good luck on that, too. (I’ll be in to check in on your blog in just a bit…)

      Yup — still out and about end enjoying things, and in the middle of another epic post now, as a matter of fact, heh! So it will be soon. 🙂

      Cheers back atcha, Carolyn.

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