Dear Friends,

It’s been exactly two weeks since I landed on the European continent. Fourteen days, I’ve come to learn, is like fourteen minutes when in the company of great people, tremendous feasts, and nothing but time to discover the meaning of pleasure. What’s your pleasure, and when’s the last time you experienced it?

(*Dear Nutella, you’re my soulmate. Please rest on my lips.)

The course for which I’m registered at the TEFL Institute starts in two weeks, and I’m not quite sure what I’ll do when I have to wake up at 8am, put on “work-type” clothing, and sit on a seat that’s not a park bench. What’ll I do when I once again have to commute?

More than a week after arriving in Paris, I met my flatmate Z who, sadly, departs for New York tomorrow. I could say many things about Z: her sweet disposition, her fantastic sense of humor, her taste for adventure, but I’d rather discuss the fact that she can throw down in the kitchen. She has been preparing feasts that have not only satisfied, but knocked us out (literally, sprawled on our beds after eating). Feast your eyes on this:

BREAKFAST: Merguez sausage, fried Haloumi cheese, sliced tomatos & Lavash bread

DINNER: Roasted chicken, stuffed zucchini, mixed salad with chevre, and a baguette

* Okay, it would’ve been nice if I’d snapped the photo before Z, Tony and I devoured the chicken, but you get the idea.

And to drink, a bottle of Muscadet and cans of Desperado. A dear friend has coined Desperado “crack in a can,” because of the tequila content:

In between eating and napping, I frequent a park that’s less than ten minutes away, Parc des Buttes Chaumont. Friends, the park is humongous; there’re waterfalls, lakes, ducks, joggers, a few eateries, a bar, a suspension bridge, joggers, babies walking parents, dogs walking humans, too many pigeons to count, gazebos, and people that  could be observed for days. Of course I must tell you that I also take my napping “activity” to the green park benches… Is there anything more pleasurable than sleeping in the sun’s hands, with the wind whispering in your ear, ‘Rest, rest?”

* One of the the park’s many entrances.

* “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both;” but aha friends, here’s where I one up Robert Frost, my roads were green not yellow, and I can travel both, because there’s always tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.

* I wanted this little girl to teach me French, but she was busy chasing a pigeon.

* A man who wears a blazer to walk Lassie Jr., now that’s classy.

* She had the same idea as me, “Buy some fruit, walk to the park, spend many hours on a bench.” Check, check, check.

* Men in France run in the skimpiest shorts I’ve ever seen…. not complaining, just saying.

* I loved this couple and followed them at a discreet distance… they were at least 80 years old and walking hand in hand.

More park photos:

And that’s where I’ll wrap up. The things that have given me joy: meeting new friends, spending time with old ones, watching lifelong couples walking together, seeing new families doing the same, enjoying the fleeting sun, every second realizing that I’m truly blessed, trying to figure out the next step (okay that last one isn’t giving me joy but agina). It seems that obtaining a French work visa is even more difficult than reported, so in addition to job applications in France, I’ve applied to teaching jobs in other European locales, as well as Asia: Singapore and Japan. Cross your fingers for me, because my tourist visa expires in October…. and there’s no concrete plan after October.

Bises xx,

Valerie

p.s Only this moment, right now, matters.