Have you noticed the on-set of the love marathon yet? If not, give it a couple of days before the world turns red amid the general surrender to red roses, red hearts, and red wine. For the single hearts out there, 14th of February may be a bit of a drag (and a consumerist reminder of the downside to riding solo). Here at Apéro we have agreed on an interesting idea: being in love doesn’t have to be with someone, it can be much more than that. So we sat down and a wrote a love letter to the city of Paris.
With my move to Paris, I uncovered the true meaning of bureaucracy. If before I thought only of croissants, the Eiffel Tower, and Edith Piaf, Paris made me realize that I am barely equipped with the necessary survival skills. So I learnt French in record time to be at least able to navigate the corridors of various government structures. Like that was not enough, I then came along to discover the true meaning of loneliness. I had no friends, no wait, I had 2 – my ex and our shared cat. But you know what, Paris? Five years later I am still here. I am pretty fluent, I’ve made great new friends, and I have co-created this project! Of course, had I know back then the kind of efforts I would need to make to be happy, I would have weighed the decision of moving here with much more consideration. No regrets though: Paris, I love you for having made me stronger.
No regrets though: Paris, I love you for having made me stronger.
Our relationship with Paris is centered on the principle of tolerance. French clichés were never part of my dreams – it just so happened that I moved to France for studies 6 years ago. Back in the day my knowledge of this country was limited to the content of a Russian TV show called “Tour de France”. At the beginning, in spite of the language barrier and difficult studies, I loved everything about Paris – I criss-crossed it a thousand of times, marveling the city’s beauty. But then my rose coloured glasses broke and I saw all its defaults.
But then my rose coloured glasses broke and I saw all its defaults.
My first time in Paris happened 6 years ago. I came here without any prejudice and with no pre-planned impressions of what it should be like. Maybe that is the reason why Paris has opened up to me in the exact same way that I love it today: a little bit rainy, with houses weathered with time, with laced iron balconies, and small bakeries, whose whiff of freshly baked bread is impossible to resist. I remember that explorer spirit, with which I wandered around the labyrinth of empty streets in the Latin Quarter. I remember my amazement with the Sakura tree bloom in the gardens of the Cluny museum. It was that trip that turned upside down my plans and made me arrive to where I am today. The city of my dreams – my Paris! The move was followed by some 6 very hard months, which I spent alone, with no friends and no family. The city was the only one that kept me company. I spent all my free time wandering around, discovering new museums and exhibitions. I could not stay still at home – and that feeling is still with me today. If I am not outside, I miss Paris. I wonder what colours the sunset is today. I debate whether or not it is warm enough to read a book by the Seine. Yes, Paris has its own problems, with which you meet face to face on a daily basis, especially if you are a foreigner. But is it that important when you get so much daily inspiration and energy from the city you live in? With Paris I have learnt a simple truth: love is to look beyond imperfections.
With Paris I have learnt a simple truth: love is to look beyond imperfections.
I love Paris! Most of all, with my stomach. The cream-filled profiteroles, almond croissants, and cheese fondue – can anyone blame me? Something else I love about this city – the feeling of constant holidays! As you stroll by, you can be sure to glimpse a beautiful monument at the end of the street (a special mention to the Haussmannian architecture ideals!). But the most important gift of all that Paris has given me is the feeling that I can be whatever I want to be.
But the most important gift of all that Paris has given me is the feeling that I can be whatever I want to be.