Friday, May 31, 2012
First of all, I guess I'd better re-title this blog, "Rochelle's Roost in London--and Paris", seeing that I am going to be ensconced here for the next six weeks.
But, that said, I came just a little closer today to becoming that elusive creature: une vrai Parisienne. And here's how it happened:
1. I tried out my rusty French for size after at least a couple of years and found myself having perfectly coherent conversations with the locals. Go me!
2. I went out in search of an adapter to fit French sockets and discovered that I needed to ask for "une piste electrique pour un system american". Succes! My American laptop, I-Phone, Continental phone and camera battery chargers are now happy campers in our new space.
3. I bought my first baguette traditionelle. (The corner boulanger told me that 'traditionelle' meant it has been "hand-rolled".)
4. I also bought some pate, some Roquefort, and ingredients to make a salad composee. I fixed myself a nice healthy dinner and finished off the way French women do: with the tiniest piece of Cote d'Or Dark Chocolate with Noisettes (hazelnuts)--which always reminds me of our French friend, Jacques from Normandy who loves it.
5. I became a flaneur: I took a stroll around my neighborhood in the area of Porte d'Orleans and discovered it to be delightfully diverse (racially) plus surrounded by parks.
6. I am loving my appartement Parisienne. It has great big windows that overlook the serene greenness of Parc Montsouris plus is right opposite a metro station. Lucked out big time location-wise! The park shall make a runner of me yet! And the proximity of the metro station will keep me flaneuring in the city, sans doubte.
7. I am occupying the garden appartment in an ivy-covered red brick building in the Fondation des Etats-Unis with broad marble staircases, wrought-iron hand rails and the sniff of old Paris about it. Yes, sometimes dreams do come true!
8. Meanwhile, inside my appartement, everything is brand spanking new--and smells it. From the clean fragrance of freshly-painted walls to the packaging of newly-installed stainless steel kitchen appliances and bathroom fittings. I am enchante!
Only downside is I do not have a telly! How will I view the Diamond Jubilee celebrations across the Channel? Guess I'll just have to find the time to nip down to the basement lounge to watch the communal telly. Bummer! On the upside, I do have a desk and it overlooks the garden! How lucky can one gal get?
All of this is like a sweet treat after the horribly-delayed Air France flight and a taxi ride that seemed to circumnavigate the entire City of Lights on the Ring Road before it dropped me to my new residence on Boulevard Jourdan. It was a grand relief to find myself safely delivered in a very Frenchified space with young folks all around me. Tomorrow, I shall investigate my new habitat from closer quarters.
I also made my first friend, albeit a 19-year old. Falak (Fal for short) is of Paksitani-Baghdadi extract, was raised in Virginia, has spent the last year in Dubai, and hopes to spend the next four months absorbing all things Parisienne. She is also gorgeous and I am seeing heads turn as we go by--and, mind you, that's here in Paris, where every woman looks like she stepped out of Vogue. She hesitantly asked if she could hang out with me as it is her plan to absorb the city like a sponge. I could not have found a better companion. Indeed I am very grateful for her fascinated company.
Tomorrow, we will go together to Denfert-Rochereau metro station to buy une carte mensuelle, a monthly pass for the underground system that will give us unlimited rides all over the city. Then, we shall survey the gastronomique offerings at the street market at Boulevard Raspail where the Barefoot Contessa has instructed visitors to buy a rotisserie chicken and potato pancakes. I intend to take her recommendations very seriously.
No doubt, that shall make me feel even more of a Parisienne.
Thanks for following me. It feels good to have reinstated this blog. I can now only hope my excited jetlagged mind will settle down, relax and allow me to sleep. It would not do to be late for my meeting with Fal at 9 am.