... Your work may not be lost; that is where they should be.
Now put the foundations under them.
Henry David Thoreau
My Monday posts from now on will be dedicated to my Australian friend Julie, and her alter ego Ruby (Amelia Earheart). For the real-life adventures she lives every day...
The Paris Episodes start in March 1995, 6 months before the public transport strikes that brought the country to a halt, when a dreamy eyed Kiwi/Aussie girl who had clicked her Ru(g)by shoes finally landed on the other side of that well sung about Rainbow ... in Paris, France (not Texas, and not Kansas either ;-). WOW! A dream come true.
This random phrase from an old school friend still on the Sunshine Coast, Australia, is what first got me thinking:
'You live in PARIS? How GLAMOUROUS!' It must be sooooo much more exciting than HERE! You've really MADE IT!"To some extent, she was right - but not for the reasons she imagined!
Julie, along with Les Champs Elysées at christmas time, drinking the world's best hot chocolate at Angelina's, the glittering Eiffel tower and afternoons on the Ile St Louis eating icecream from Berthillon, what made Paris such an adventure, is all that I could never have imagined:
Yup! The frustrating, every day, not-on-holiday-but-living-here Grind (and no I'm not talking about some exotic French horizontal dance)!
- Tiny, run-down, expensive, bedsits with no kitchen, not even a shower curtain...
"That's IT? The WHOLE apartment? Wow! They never showed those in the movies I saw!"
- Dealing with feelings of powerlessness at not being able to help so many homeless people eg: the time I offered, in frustration, a guy the carrot I was going to eat instead of money, and the shock I received back when he flashed a 'frustrated' toothless grimace!
- Coping with going to work on the metro in the dark and coming home in the dark
(Metro Boulot Dodo, as we say in French)
- Dog poo! 'O Merde!' They made a film about this, do you remember?
- Conflicting cultural definitions of the words 'impossible,' 'efficiency, and 'today.'
- Confrontations and helplessness before that great mastodon which is the French Administration (which started with getting the visa in Sydney for that matter...)
- Being 8 months pregnant, dying for a pee, and never being able to find a public toilet I could 'fit' into!!!
Wouldn't have traded 'the Grind' for all the macarons in Ladurée... It's how I found myself! It's how I learned, thank heavens, that life is not a magic carpet... but a much richer tapestry with all the little plain threads holding those few silver and gold ones into place.
So RdV every Monday for the Paris Episodes and a wee giggle; 'cause, in spite of what my darling adoptive France mistakenly believes, you can laugh and work at the same time!
A Julie et tous, I hope this will entertain you and inspire you and even bring forth a few of your own tales... for where ever we go in the world, what ever 'exotic' country we live in, we can't escape from ourselves!
See you tomorrow for a cuppa with Silken Purse and hopefully a new piece of wooden inspiration if I can only get off this keyboard ...