Where Are We Now?

We are ending our first month in Paris and, with plans to make a change next week (more on that later), maybe it’s time to take stock. What is it all about, living away? Why is the ex-pat life so appealing, especially to artists? Hemingway wrote wonderful stories about his Michigan childhood as an adult  living in Paris. His sad and lovely Paris memoir was also written from the distance of time and  place – he was in Cuba (or Tahoe?), any way, far from the City of Lights. It’s about getting perspective, but also freedom. Picasso couldn’t be Picasso in repressive Spain. In fact, there were more foreigners amongst the great modernist painters living in Paris in the first two decades of the 20th c. than Frenchmen, for much the same reason.

Monument at the Bastille, symbol of freedom.

Monument at the Bastille, symbol of freedom.

Strangely, we work so hard to build up a life, to root ourselves in a workplace and a community, to create the ties that bind us to family and friends, and then it is such a blessed relef to cut loose and head off. Being away we confront the Other. His ways of living, of eating, of talking, of buying and selling. His past.01fe8edf691c04bd7f482e1633800f667bb71c09c501fa1bbc6ea8d03831047d6a16b26ef06e426061f10198ff44886299c0dbbc9245f491df9923619a273e_00002014154d20f9e4600aba5d45113ce25c962809fc8c0018eeb319fdaa0f5dd27be93192facc38e0581817a01f51b3f3c23423507b0c249a8c700a2180bb3e13d

We mostly admire what we see, and feel different from the Other. We are always thinking about that.  So, we are also confronting ourselves.

It’s us, but we’re already a little different. We have different routines. I stay in bed in the morning and Alan reads to me while we sip coffee. We have finished an excellent history of Napoleon by Paul Johnson. 01ca3806226041f822b6c8feede8810de90b1eda49 More than ever we are learning everyday. Today, for example, I learned that restaurants are a French invention, one more gift to us of the French Revolution. How is it I didn’t know that? And little things – yesterday I learned to reboot my “Dartybox”. That was scary. So, this sense of constant challenge, of being slightly off all the time is both the challenge and reward of living away. Two more months will bring more adventures and more lessons learned, I hope. 013c8afb921a44b6372197984a50cc70eb5beab31d013262a5a00d1085b62501ad136c99072130786a4c01b1cd929e727cb4379823db2b4111d46ac9934667019b13efe057bbc95ac9c0a5905b525752b7314d60

Please come along.

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2 thoughts on “Where Are We Now?

  1. Christine, what a beautiful blog. Lovely photographs and lovely musings. My first trip to Europe was to Paris, many years ago, and there is so much I fell in love with. There is a sophistication to daily life, such richness in the architecture, wonderful markets and too much food, and the churches and the art, and oh, marvelous memories of my first trip with Daniel. Deep sigh. Enjoy every moment!

  2. Hi Gail. Your encouragement is really appreciated and your memories of Paris, too. I’m glad you like the blog and will be thinking of you as I write. The photos all come from my iphone 5, best little camera I have had. Daniel may be interested in upcoming posts on St Emilion and Bordeaux. I will definitely make an effort to visit this area again. Loved everything about it.

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