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Des Peu de Nouvelles de Moi 19/03/2010

Posted by brendan in Bienvenue à la Semaine de Fonctionnement, La Vie en Paris.
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As it has been almost three months since my adventures in Merry Olde England I feel somewhat obligated to offer a quick review of what’s been going on.

Paris is enjoying a veritable heatwave. This week the mercury rocketed into the mid-50’s which left me walking around the prestigious séptiéme in a t-shirt unnerving stodgy old French folk and confusing the shivering tourists. Spring is on the rise; birds have begun to populate the rooftops in great swarms serenading us with song until the evening hours. There is a sense of rejuvenation on the horizon, and possibly lower electrical bills, as a result of this seasonal shift.

The little plastic gas-chambers cafés and restaurants had employed to shelter their terrasse addicted wards have begun to topple. Congregations of revelers have resumed their positions in front of bars. Parks are filling up, fountains are flowing, everything is poised to embrace a life where the outdoors is no longer hostile..


Prior to this good fortune I had the opportunity to spend two weeks on retreat. Robin returned to the United States leaving an empty room and willing flat-mate. After four months of sharing cramped quarters the concept of space overwhelmed any troublesome aspects of temporary relocation. I could sit up until three staring blearily at the computer screen. Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to come across me early in my day knows these are not hours conducive to my brain functioning. The novelty of absolute freedom with my time was embraced, smothered, strangled and left laying on the floor.

During my trans-urban holiday with my hours and hours of space I managed to finally catch some sense of work rhythm. The idea has been that a couple gallery pieces published per month on Wired would afford my rent, while shorter articles and Vingt tidbits would augment my income. The end of 2009 was a desperate period of low morale and lower activity on the work front, leaving me in a state of despair. As promised by Keith, friend and editor extraordinaire, the spawning of 2010 did indeed mark a new era of fluidity. Staying in Paris suddenly seemed not only possible but necessary, a sentiment expressed by my mother.

La Lune au-Dessus du Rivoli

So it is official. I am staying in Paris. Of course now that the die has been cast work has become a snarled mess of sprawling projects, rewrites, requests for more information or images, problems and the entire Wired editorial office apparently out of town for weeks at a time. Fortunately I have located a store which stocks ramen, and I have been a faithful customer.

Somewhat related to the wonderful world of money is that I have been walking. Not my normal nighttime wanderings where every new turn leads to hours of lost adventure, but as a means of commuting. While I will say that Paris has the best transit system I’ve ever used I must also admit that it becomes expensive and tiresome. After some studying of maps and a great deal of faith I have managed to carve out reliable crosstown routes and, when time and weather allows, have been using them for commuting.

There have also been visits. Aaron and Shannon descended on the City of Light for ten glorious days of extravagance which crippled my ability to work but broadened my culinary horizons. My former manager Tom also made the trip, freshly free from employment and excited about the possibilities, although missing his cats terribly. I enjoy having friends come, especially because suddenly I’m not the worst French speaker in the room. There was also a creepy doll museum.

Attempts are currently underway to create a more manageable Vingt schedule to prevent my submitting ideas for events that will be over by the time I write them up. In between arguing with security at Musée d’Orsay and being led around by staff at Carnavalet looking for someone who speaks English there’s been milling around the apartment looking for a desk, table and chair, then trying to wrap my head around any number of things threatening to topple over and bury me.

I can imagine things being better, but things are pretty good.



1. vingt news - 23/03/2010


blaark - 25/03/2010

Just as soon as I get my carte bleue, I’ll be a velib riding maniac.

2. Jo Ellen - 28/03/2010

But please do it with a helmet!! So check out the Butte Chaumont and call Glenn and Valerie, si te plais!
Consider classes for a a month or two, if you are planning to stay…it will boost the rate of learning so much. Might be able to work out an exchange with someone who is working on English. I know someone there who wants to be a translator, as well as someone who is about to finish translator school (the first a young woman, French and niece of a good friend, lives in the 20th, the other Latina from San Diego, now married to a French guy lives in the 12th). Dude let me hook you up! Send me an e-mail if you want contact info.
Je t’émbrasse,

blaark - 09/04/2010

Helmet? I have yet to see one Parisian wearing a helmet. I think it’s against the law here.

Riding out to Butte Chaumont sounds brilliant, or just getting there however and eating lunch amidst the ghosts of history. Perhaps Glenn and Valerie would care to join me, if I remember their proximity correctly.

Classes are attractive but expensive. Once I’m resettled I can survey things a little more clearly and see if I can adhere to a weekly meeting with willing language partners. Wait, young French woman? The 20th is closer to me than the 12th, I mean to say.

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