Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

So, yesterday was pretty much a big win for me, in terms of things accomplished. I bought groceries, picked up a letter at the post office, went for a nice run and hosted a lovely and quasi-elegant dinner party for three friends. I even did the whole stereotypical French thing and had an afternoon, post-lunch coffee in a café just down the street.

It was a good cup of coffee; tiny, strong and perfect. I had my notebook on hand and was writing in French, trying to feel the whole atmosphere of the place, the French people, the moment, when I noticed the music chiming in overhead. It was an Alanis Morisette song.

I was in France, in Paris, in a café, drinking a cup of strong, black coffee, writing my musings in French, as the angry 90s rock-pop queen told me about all the things she was thankful for in that strained, emotional voice that made her famous.

It was a strange moment. A weird juxtaposition. I already knew from past experiences that Europe really loves American popular music, especially bad American popular music — witness my road trip in Bavaria in the summer of 2008 to a soundtrack of 80s-tastic music selections on the local German radio — but it was strange to find myself in such an iconic French moment and yet still have it feel familiar. I mean, Starbucks doesn’t even play Alanis.

It’s times like this, or the poster in the metro advertising “Pas Si Simple” (It’s Complicated), or the jazz radio station eagerly playing selections from the upcoming release of “La Princesse et la grenouille” (The Princess and the Frog, which I WILL be seeing in French); all these things show how connected this foreign place is with the home I have left.

And as I edge nearer to actual purpose here in Paris — meaning attending actual classes and having actual things to do — I’m finding certain little things more familiar and other certain things stranger than I thought I would. The French language has really permeated my consciousness quicker than I had imagined, but at other times it feels and sounds stranger than ever before.

Food here, which has mostly been things I prepared in my lovely kitchen with the help of my landlord’s cat, Flocon (Snowflake), also feels familiar, although I had quite the trip yesterday to try and assemble the ingredients for my fatoush. It is also hard to buy groceries when most of the stores CLOSE for a two hour lunch break, as mandated by the government. True story.

Given actual responsibilities and a dictated schedule, things might fall into place more smoothly. But right now, I’m in a weird, inbetween place, wandering around doing things without any end goal in sight.

I’d like to start doing something else soon, please.

“I want you to try to help yourself,” Sad Brad Smith, “Help Yourself”.

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