Je marche dans les rues/Le Bon Dieu dans ma poche/Je marche dans la grande ville/Et je n’ai plus froid/La terre est mon amie/Et je suis toujours un étranger/A la gare internationale. -Raphael “Adieu Haiti”
So it is official: I no longer can call Paris my home (thus the name change for this blog). After leaving Greece, Alana and I returned to Paris to get luggage before heading to London. My last few hours in Paris were perfect and depressing. Alana went about her errands and I went about mine. I went to my neighborhood in the 5th to say goodbye one last time. I went to my cafe, Le Saint Medard. My waiter came and took my order: a Monaco (aka the best beer mixed drink ever invented. Recipe: blonde beer, grenadine, and limonade) and a chevre (goat cheese) salad. When he brought me my Monaco he asked (in French): Are you British? Me: No. Him: American? Me: Yes. Him: Where are you from? Me: California. Him: Do you speak Spanish? Me: No. Him: Why not? Me: Because I studied French. Him: (Laughs). At least people don’t think I have an American accent. But when he brought me my salad he said: “Pour ma belle americaine” (for my beautiful American). I think this was the perfect last phrase to hear from a French man and way to end my stay. I finished my food (a very long lunch) then went and got gelato and took an extended stroll in the Jardin des Plantes (all the while remembering how everything had looked six months earlier). I will always be an American (thank God) and I don’t mind the belle description.
This abroad experience was one of the best and most intense, frightening, interesting, uncomfortable, challenging and fun experiences of my life. Waking up everyday and not hearing any English, all of my classes and work in French, babysitting, teaching English, and taking a French university class, yet in retrospect I wouldn’t have had a less crazy or busy life because I learned and always saw and heard something interesting wherever I was. It was hard to say goodbye to Paris. I really think that it is the best city that I have ever visited in the world and I feel extremely blessed that I had the chance to live, learn and just be there. You might leave Paris, but Paris does not leave you.
So enough with this sappy rubbish (as the Brits would say), let’s talk London. I have been in London for seven days now and have seen sights, started taking class (so much reading, but in English = so much faster) and have seen Boy George sing “Harma Chameleon” (more on that story later). I am going to post a few photos of London and call it a night soon. Expect more stories soon. Top of the night to you (because what is exactly is the top of the morning?)
And a quick note on this photo, remember when Hugh Grant said, “I think I love you” in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral well that was on this promenade: