My apologies for the late arrival of this post. It’s been a strange week with re-confinement and a new couvre feu coming into effect here in metropolitan France and.. everything else that is going on at the moment. So what better time to soothe your woes with a sweet little love story ?
New Years Day, Paris, 2018. The Grand Adventure begins.
The pursuit of love has surely sparked many a long-distance journey into unknown territory. Go ahead and ask any of the English speakers you meet who’ve decidedly settled into this wild city “what brought you here to Paris?” and you’ll surely receive one of two answers: I’m here for work or I’m here for someone.
In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve discovered that the answer “I came for love” was so common and had become such a cliché, that I decided I needed to find a way to at least try and take the story back when asked the same question (because trust me, I myself have been asked this question many, many times).
So whenever I was asked why I came to Paris I would simply answer cheese. Yes, I came here for cheese. Then, after receiving that predictable look of confusion, I would take that opportunity to launch into the real story of how I came to Paris. Because truth is, I really do love cheese, but am regrettably lactose intolerant. If it’s love that I have for French dairy, it is an unrequited one.
When I hopped my first plane ride over to the European continent, I had entirely different plans for myself. I never planned on settling into Paris for the long-term. To be honest, I had my sights set on Berlin for a number of reasons. I believed that I had a few prospects to check out. It wasn’t even until I was seriously planning a 3-month visit on a traveller’s visa, that my one and only contact in Paris suggested that I come and check out Baguette City first. So I did. I took full advantage of what was available to me as a traveller and spent 3 months in Paris exploring by foot, camera in-hand.
When I arrived in the city, I was completely entranced. Unexpectedly mesmerized. It was completely different and somehow more than I expected it to be. And though the sparkle of the place has admittedly faded just a little bit, I can still tell you exactly what it was that captured my heart and made me go from I want to come back to this place to I need to come back to this place.
I spent the majority of my first month in Paris alone and taking in the sights and sounds. I was fully engaged in my own independence and loved what I was discovering on my long, daily wanders into the inner city. It wasn’t until around the end of my first month here (which I spent living in Montreuil, just to the east side of Périph), that I received a mysterious message from an unfamiliar face on Facebook. Oooh, a Frenchman.. Ok..
At the time I didn’t have many friends in the city, so I was very curious to read what had been sent to me. I really didn’t know what to expect. When I opened the message, I was met with something very kind; an explanation that he had discovered my writing portfolio in an unexpected place, and that he had taken a genuine and very personal interest in what I was writing about. But what I found the most endearing was that he had taken the time to translate something I had written, from English into French. Then on top of that, composed a thoughtful message despite not knowing English very well, simply to share his thoughts.
I quickly messaged him back, no doubt in my mind. “Thanks. Want a grab a drink sometime?”
Hey, I told you that I came to this city for cheese. 😉