Thanksgiving in Paris
Tristan and Christine
Merry upcoming Christmas, resplendent familiars. I've been about: Paris, Madrid, Sevilla/Matalascañas, Madrid. I'll write about the others later, and about Paris now.
Paris was another alternately fitful and pleasant trip. Happiness in friendship and proximity and conversation and strange beautiful civilization, but fretfulness in that I lost a little money, a little time, a little myself in those twisty underlabeled streets.
The night before my flight I thanksgiving dined with th’ program, and left from the restaurant to the airport. My flight, see, left at 5:45 am, and the metro closes sometime after one and doesn’t open until six am. I thus had to choose between taking a pricey taxi or sleeping in the airport, and since I had chosen said ridiculous flight because it cost less than 40 euro roundtrip, and the taxi would have cost about that much, I opted to sleep in the airport.
I was in good company! Students were sleeping all over the terminal floor, sprawled over their luggage. There were two girls sitting barefoot on their suitcases, a circle of boys playing poker; there were hippies with huge backpacks. I heard snatches of all sorts of conversations I couldn’t understand, as well as Spanish and English in several accents. A friend of mine was taking the same flight, but since his spanish-girlfriend-with-car was driving him, he didn’t arrive until four something. However, amazingly, a girl from my Religions class showed up with a group of friends. They’re from the Canary Islands, and have nice breathy/chewy accents. We talked and napped hard on the floor, and when we awoke, we’d been attacked by leprechauns?
Irish people are the only tourists more obnoxious than U.S.Americans, but because I’m US and they’re them it never bothers me.
Anyway, I took a shuttle to Christine’s pretty neighbourhood—the shuttle costs more than the bus, but it drops you off at your specific address. I mean, it's supposed to. They dropped me off several blocks away, in the drizzle, directionless with my luggage and complete inability to even pronounce the name of Christine's street. Chrstine was in class, thus not answering her phone, and ummmmm I had forgotten what it was like to Not Speak a language and have no translator. In fact, I haven’t really even had that experience. In Germany, Mexico, Spain, I’ve had enough of the language to ask where and when, and to at least be able to pronounce place names, and in France I’d had Hannahla to translate. Here I was just lost.
So I wandered weepily, eventually found a map, and found my way to, at least, the café in front of Christine’s house. It was cosy and lovely, soupy and bready and coffee. Christine called me—oh joy—and fully aware of the adorableness of her own life, told me to kick open the gate and climb in her window. Déjà vu is a french term, mmhm. So I did, and she’d left dark chocolate and loving notes on her bed. I had also brought her chocolate, but I busied myself with her candy and clothes.
Christine’s room, no matter where on earth it is, is always a favorite place of mine. There’s a blurry photo of me, in homage to the one she took of herself the same mirror.
It’s a lovely house, and her host mother and sister (japanese one…didn’t meet the french one) are smart sweet people. We had a wonderful second (for me) Thanksgiving dinner. Christine cooked huge amounts of delicious food, and Tristan provided that traditional thanksgiving chicken. Isabelle, who speaks English and Spanish and I think German and uh French, provided excellent dessert, and (I’ve forgotten everyone’s name, so we’ll go by nationality) Japanese Sister, British Friend and I just ate and radiated light.
The next day Twistan-Chwistine had class AGAIN (they’d already skipped enough that they couldn’t skip to hang out with me, tut tut) so I went the REALLY STUPENDOUS Picasso Museum in Maret or Marat or something like that. It’s gorgeous. I think it contains his personal collection, so, scrumptious.
I then got lost for three hours trying to get back, but I got back. We ate cheese and bread and went to a weird electronica concert along the Seine, v. fun.
The next day we went to Piere Lachaise, the huge famous graveyard, and did not see Gertrude Stein’s grave (or Jim Morrison’s). We talked about death, grief, pomp, piety, fear. We spent too much time in the graveyard and for the rest of the trip I felt like the perpetually blackjacketed parisians were in fact mourning [what? paris past?].
Christine was cute the whole trip
But Tristan and I remained unapologetically unphotogenic
They were good to me, good to me, and I left happy and well fed and dazed and my laptop charger in Christine’s room.