Bonjour mes amis,
Today I slept. a lot. I feel a little guilty, but I blame the jetlag. so, voilà. Anyway, I went on two excursions, separated by a nap. Yesterday I definitely explored in the wrong direction, because today I went the other way, and ooh la la. My first mission was to purchase a french phone so I can make calls to nouveaux amis, and also because I needed an alarm clock or a regular clock besides my computer. Katrien told me Rue de la Roquette (pronounced: Rockette) had an Orange store (Orange is France’s largest cellphone service provider) and that I could buy one there. So off I went. I walked the length of the Rue and not only did I find an Orange, but also a starbucks, a subway, and a smoothee/soupe store called wanna fruit? Yes, I most certainly want fruit. Starbucks was a little disappointing because I realized I can not order my favorite things because they do not have “lait soya.” Alas. So before buying the phone I just went exploring. I walked to Place de la Bastille, which is the old location of the famous Bastille that was stormed during la revolution française, and then down into the 4th arrondisement. I got pretty turned around and didn’t really have a destination in mind, so I just wandered for a while. When I officially thought I was completement perdue, I was suddenly right back at Place de la Bastille. Émerveillant. Anyway Place de la Bastille was pretty busy today, there was some sort of strike going on in front of the Opéra. Railworkers is what I hear, but I am not sure. Mostly this consisted of lots of people sitting/standing around outside the building with the scattered sign, and policemen chillin’ making sure everything is safe and hunkydory. There was also a vendor fair, aka lots of tents selling wares à la the Union Square Christmas Market. So I wandered through the fair just for giggles and then decided to go buy my phone. I bought my phone, en français, and now I have a tiny red flip phone that tells me the time. violà. I then tried a new supermarket (finding the perfect supermarket is like finding a perfect pair of jeans, and must be taken seriously). I am specifically looking for somewhere that sells soy milk. I did not find soy milk, but I did find lait ecrémé (skim milk: difficult to find en France), and perrier in cute little cans, and I also bought salt. The quest for soymilk continues, but my kitchen is happy for now.
Groceries in hand, and tired after a two and a half hour walk, I came home for a little nap :). And now, I have an alarm clock to wake me up from naps! After my nap I went back out, this time with a mission: ice cream. The most famous gelato in France comes from Berthillon, une maison de glace on l’Île St. Louis. L’Île St. Louis is an island in the middle of the Seine full of little shops and restaurants and beautiful houses. This trip was a rampant success. Not only did I have some lovely glace au café in the most adorable little cone:
but I also decided the house in which I would like to live for ever and ever:
It comes with lovely views of the Seine and un jardin in the back. C’est parfait.
Anyway, I went in some stores, walked about the seine, sat in the garden in front of Notre Dame, ate my ice cream, and then walked home. Je l’ai aimé
Anyway, it’s 10pm here now and it isn’t even dark. I love that. I have lots of thoughts about New York and Paris and how they are similar and different. Mostly I keep thinking about how difficult it is for me to see Paris like a Parisian. I read an essay by J. Baldwin on the discovery of what it means to be American in my anthropology class last fall (THE ROAD). He commented that he never felt like an American while in America. He always felt like he needed to get out, to travel, to cover distance, but as soon as he went abroad, he began to identify himself as an American. His identity was only defined by immersing himself into the “other,” in this case, a new culture. That always made sense to me in theory, but now that I am here, I can’t stop thinking about how true it is. I am not overtly “American.” I do not wear college t-shirts or jeans and sneakers all the time. I do not live on a ranch or farm or drive a pick-up truck. I am not neurotic or culturally ignorant. But nonetheless, I feel immensely like an American (specifically a New Yorker?) as I walk about the streets of Paris. Interesting how that works.
I’ll leave you with the view from my Parisian window: