I recently bought a poster that has a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it. Below the tower, is a woman running wearing a red coat. Everything on the poster is black and white except for the coat. Looking at the poster it reminded me of my late summer trip to Paris.
When most people hear that you’re going to Paris, they immediately put their tourist cap on and become green with envy about how you’re going to the city of love.
You either fall in love with city, or with some majestical Parisian boy who would serenade you during crepe dates and showers you with poems that have “Je t’aime, mon cheri,” scribbled all over.
For me, this was not the case.
Paris to me is a fresh start. It’s more of an escape because I live in Canada.
It always feels fresh when I land in Charles de Gaule airport and everyone is speaking a language I rarely hear. A lot of my family members live in Paris, or at least the suburbs of Paris. So when I’m there, I get to see all of them and feel the love.
European people have this interesting obsession/fascination with North Americans. They literally think we have everything. I can disagree with this easily, but after being in Paris for a while you tend to understand how they think.
For example, with my cousin Emma. She knows all the words to almost every popular urban radio song but her is English is literally sounds of struggle. (Sorry Emma, this is payback for that phone conversation you had. Yes I heard you).
When I see the fascination the youngsters of Paris have with North America, it amazes me. Simply because it does not mean much to me – it means so much to them. They are trying to fit in to a culture that is pretty amazing but it isn’t everything and it isn’t them.
For me, the idea of the American dream has been completely fetishized over time. It’s not real. For them it’s the ultimate goal. It’s almost as if once they’ve fully grasp the lifestyle of a North American, they’re automatically well rounded individuals. It adds as a plus to the European flare they naturally possess. With some good eye catching facts I could even argue this to be true.
But if it is true, that just takes away from what North Americans or non-Europeans admire about the Parisians. The entire class and sophistication associated with them gets blown into one dollar bills given to strippers on bad nights. Essentially their worth is severely diluted.
Whenever I think about Paris, I think about the amazing times I spent there. I think about how happy my mom is to see her family. She has this glow on her face and her face lights up when my aunt asks her to help around the kitchen.
It’s not so much doing housework but it’s more about being around the people you grew up with — the ones that helped shaped you to be the person you are today. Then when I think about how far away she is from everyone, it’s almost like my mom’s cup is never full. It’s always half filled up because her people are so far away from her. I mean, she has her own immediate family but sometimes you just want to feel more at home.
Home is not where you sleep. It’s being around people who represent your sense of comfort.
That’s why I love Paris. Not because it has beautiful architecture, great cafes and one of the best fashion districts of the world, but because it’s home for me. It’s where my family is. It’s where I get to hear all the stories of my mom growing up and where I received so much genuine love from people who have known me my whole life through pictures.
For a long time, I couldn’t write this post. As soon as I landed I knew I needed to write about my experience to Paris but for some reason I couldn’t write about Paris as the Paris everyone knows and loves. I guess that wasn’t my Paris. My Paris is my family that lives there. They’re more than the glitz and glamour everyone thinks of when they visualize Paris.
I wanted to end off this post with a couple words in french but since French grammar is a satanic game I’ll leave you with a video of my trip.