Life works in mysterious ways and the story of how we came to meet one another, to create Send Love from Paris, is just one of those pleasant and unusual anecdotes that cannot be explained. More than 2 years later, I’m still bewildered by the alchemy and how it all transpired. Some things in this life can only be described as serendipity.
I first met Alessandra at what is now Café Maraje, at 10 rue Monge in the 5ème, near Jardin des Plantes. It was early 2018 and I had recently flown from small-town British Columbia to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. I had made a determined resolution that this year was going to be different and had booked my 14-hour flight to arrive in Paris on New Years’ Eve. The plan was to celebrate in style, but reality had me falling asleep on a strange couch in Montreuil, shortly after midnight. At least my intentions were good.
My first month in the city was exciting and difficult. I had few friends, spoke no French (at least not what anybody in France could understand), and was unreasonably crippled by anxiety. I took up residence at a place with a corner sign that read Maison Papier and had all but one friend, who quickly proved to be unreliable.
I struggled with uncertainty more than anything else during this time and the only thing that gave me comfort was my long walks into the inner city, stopping frequently along the way to marvel at the graffiti that I came across. At the time, there was something truly mysterious about Paris that I couldn’t quite grasp. It was if the city were hiding something and it were up to me to divulge its secrets.
It really didn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion that I needed to make some friends. I was on a traveller’s visa, in the city with a limited amount of time before I would be continuing on to Berlin. I decided to search for groups or meetups that I could attend, if only for an hour of conversation with some interesting people.
And that’s when I found it: Coffee and Tarot. Perfect.
I quickly scanned through the description of the Meetup and knew that it was exactly what I needed. At home, I was frequently having my cards read and it was a familiar routine that I was definitely missing while travelling. I reached out to the group’s host and promptly received a reply with a confirmation.
“Looking forward to meeting you on Saturday!”
I remember being the first to arrive at the café and was a bit unsure if I had the right place. I had been given clear instructions to meet at the long table in the corner just beside the window, but saw that it was empty. I took a seat facing the interior of the café and quietly sat with my cappuccino. Mere minutes passed when suddenly a blaze of red hair swept into the seat across from me.
“Bonjour !”, the woman trilled cheerfully. “Je suis Alessandra”.
Six of us assembled at the corner table for the Meetup that day. I was lucky to be the first to have my cards read. I remember the vague nature of my response when I was asked what my question was. I also remember the sudden flash of revelation as the message channeled through . Even after returning to Paris more than a year later, and reconnecting with her for a second reading, she could remember my cards from that day.
“Yeeees ! The sun ! It was powerful ! But what happened ?”
I told her about my travels, the adventures, the romance; relaying the events that had transpired after that day, before my difficult journey home and my fateful return back to Paris. I asked her if she was into astrology and when she told me that yes, she also read charts, I knew that we would be good friends with lots to talk about. One afternoon we met for coffee at the Royal Turenne in Le Marais and in the midst of explaining my current fascination with combining writing and design, she suddenly stopped me, her eyes wide with excitement.
“Wait ! What does your handwriting look like ?” I paused, suddenly made curious by the question.
“Um.. It’s really… good, actually.. Why ?”
She remained calm, though with contained excitement. “I have an idea that I want to present to you. Let’s meet again, right here. Same place, in a couple of days.”