Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My Sunday Morning in Paris


I am swaddled in a bright, touristy jacket, fleece scarf bundling me up, camera in hand, wandering around the 17th arrondissement snapping pictures of everything that inspires me. The police officer's shielded motorcycle, the sushi restaurant, the van from Champagne...

I wander into a small cafe and decide that it's small tables and windowed wall will make it the perfect location for my breakfast. I settle in and am pleased with myself as I manage my first conversation with my rudimentary French, and wait for my pain au chocolat and cafe au lait to come.

Before I left for the trip, someone had asked me what I was most looking forward to about Paris. My answer had been simple. I couldn't wait to just wander around the neighborhoods quietly with nothing but my camera and my journal, observing the day to day life of people in Paris. Interaction was not important to me - I preferred to simply blend into the background (as much as my clearly American attire and demeanor would allow), and drink in the nuances of a life that was seemed different from my own.

When my breakfast arrived I took a moment to enjoy the fact that it looked exactly as I would have pictured it. The pastry was flaky and warm, and the coffee and milk swirled together beautifully. This trip would be singularly responsible for getting me hooked on strong, bitter coffee. As I snap a picture of my food, I can't help but wonder if to the locals I look like a complete idiot, or perhaps a cute American on an adventure. I decide that I can't worry about that - the answer probably really lies in how I view myself, and at this point I'm not sure.

I sip my coffee, anxious to get all of the caffeine in my body to fight my Tylenol PM/jet lag hangover, and contemplate our agenda for the day. Part of me is excited to finally get to see the Eiffel Tower and Montmarte, while the other part of me just wants to keep doing exactly what I am doing for the rest of the day. I realize that hitting the tourist spots is the price you pay for being a first time visitor. Perhaps on my next visit I'll be able to give into the luxury of just being there, but for now it is time to pay my dues and see the sights.

My coffee is cold. Time to pay the bill and set off. The perfect Parisian cafe experience is over, for now. I'm sure there will be more in my future.


Blogger Troy said...

so cool! yay she's back...but boo she's not in paris anymore.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Leah said...


Oh, also? I miss you at work. TW's already taken your desk and we have a new TA starting on Tuesday. His name is Phill. With two "L's." Boo. He's no Rees, that's for sure.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Lanahan said...

Did you go by yourself? How long were you there?

3:58 PM  

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