"As for the people of Paris, they are mixed but not melted. A strong display of personal identity reminds us that the individual cultures are to be celebrated, and accepted where they can not be understood. Civil discourse is an art form (a well-regarded on at that) that pairs thought and action. People protest here, and it is meaningfully done. Rather than repressing inner concerns, the French populace finds means to relieve themselves of civic passive aggression. Yes, young guys fight in the streets after succumbing to alcohol, always at hand, but they don't use weapons: they are bruised but not broken. Call it what you will, but I'll call it respect.
Exposure is what leads to respect, and it is perhaps the most important gift we can take away from the ideas of urbanism. Disregard is all too easy when you never cross paths with starving immigrants or wayward travelers. Standing face-to-face, sharing in our joys and our appreciation for beauty: you cannot deny our shared humanity."
A quote from an article my friend/ex roomie/life partner had sent my way a little while ago. I was reading it on the train ride back from work to Paris and decided that when I looked up from the paper, everything around me was a bit re-arranged. In a good way, and in a small way, but a new perspective nevertheless. It warranted some sort of written acknowledgement; something perfect for hmmmm...i dunnno, a blog.
Only being in Paris for a relatively short amount of time, there are endless amounts of well, everything to absorb. These range from politics, language, food, people, architecture, why the hell every country just doesn't get shit straight and make a universal electric outlet, more, and even more...and alas it is all too difficult to absorb or even begin to grasp. Sometimes, you need the help of other people's views, other people's stance on what is going on around you, to understand, in agreement or not, what you really think. Although this article gave me a new, slightly clearer prescription as which to see Paris, it made me think, above all else, about the way we help one another see through our times.
In my case, I have received numerous emails, facebook posts, skype chats that include thoughts from philosophical stimulation down to a simple idea for a recipe. But they are all serving the same purpose in my life... to help. Helping remember who I am, comes from these emails, these people, these family members, when I am being thrown a new culture and language and it seems impossible to make sense of the coffee in front of me, let alone myself. Reminders usually come from Christina and my family by means of new health findings, exchanging of dinner ideas, and ancient stories that are reminiscent of what once was and what those stories have created. From Megan, I am often pushed to view events and people from a new perspective, given the tools like this article to jump out of routine and take sight of the new that happens daily, the amazingness and continuous new that is easy to look past everyday on your same route to/from work. From my Schmoopies on the East Coast, I am continually reminded of what is to come and the joy of planning and spontaneity play ensemble. And my new friends, in Paris, who discover with me what is changing and unchanged in the beautiful city that I am so lucky to drink coffee in everyday. And the list goes on and on.
But, yes, they all help. And without them I would never see how much closer I have become to people, in some ways, by being even farther... Because it is, in fact, these people who wake me up everyday, who allow me to see more Friday ahead of me than simply metro, train, bus, school, and return. These Americans who allow me to see Paris. And sometimes its just a link to an article, or a chat, or funny picture. But I guess I just wanted to say thanks. A semi long rant.... just to acknowledge and say merci.
Paris at night. Like a flippin painting.