I’m writing this message from my hotel room, here in Paris. I’m staying on the east side of the river, the more historic section at a small hotel called Hotel Jardin. According to my friend Phil, this is the most desirable location in the city for many Parisians. My mom and I arrived in the city two days ago now, and we fly out tomorrow. I’m having such a good time that leaving tomorrow is difficult for me to accept. I, however, will be going home. I took a free ride for this trip, accompanying my mom on a business trip. For the past two mornings I’ve had breakfast with mom and her two of the higher-up workers for NRG (My mothers company). We sit eating meats, cheeses, croissants and pouring our coffees. I listen to their conversation around business as I plan for my day.
This is my vacation, but for my mom, her stay in Paris is all business. She was able to spend a day off from meetings when we first arrived. Her and I visited Notre Dame, walked along the Siene and spent a lot of time at cafes, drinking espresso, talking, and indulging in French foods. Up until now, this city (and Europe at large) has only existed in my imagination, as I’ve carried around images, memories, of countless movies I’ve seen taking place in this city. During high school, I began to explore my life long passion in film in more depth. Up until then, I’d find all my movies at the theater, on television or at the movie store. Around high school, Netflix and Blockbuster online rentals grew in popularity, and a whole world of film I’d never had access to, opened up for me. Around this time I fell in love, particularly, with cinema from two countries: Japan and France. I began exploring French films from the late 50s/60s, part of the “French New Wave” movement..a period in film history where French movie critics decided to channel their knowledge of film and film history into their own creations. That period set the tone in film for a lot of the American films that emerged in the 60s. While I loved the style of the films of that time, I also was mesmerized with imagery of Paris and the culture.
I’d forgotten about Paris and Europe, setting my sights on Asia, but it’s come back in my life. While in Seoul, I met a guy who’s now become a good friend of mine, named Phil. He’s living in Paris, and as of yesterday, we were able to reconnect after our first meeting in Seoul. Not surprisingly, our first meal was Korean, right around the corner from Phil’s apartment, walking distance from the Leouve. Soon enough, we’re drinking Soju together, and reminiscing about time in Korea along with Phil’s friend from London. It’s funny, on my second day of three in Paris, I had Kimchi Jigae and Sushi for dinner. Today, I’m eating nothing but french foods.
I’ve had a nice, yet brief, introduction to Europe…this isn’t only my first time in Paris, but the continent at large. Last night an eccentric bouncer described me as a rookie here. I said, “yep, I’m new to the court” as the topic of basketball preceded his comment. I hope to return someday, as I find the culture here a refreshing change. While Phil describes life her as far from easy, I can see both sides…the reality of life in Paris as a young person, not fitting in with the romantic fantasy of our collective imagination, as well as the reality of the cities complexity, history and beauty. I can see both perspectives here, but I’m lucky to have this opportunity to get a brief glimpse into my friends daily life..Yesterday, I was able to visit Phil’s small apartment, and climb up to his rooftop, overlooking the city and a lit up Eiffel Tower.
It’s been an interesting and fun stay so far. I’ll be sad to leave tomorrow but I’m sure I’ll return some day.