Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Nice Day

This morning started off nicely with sunshine, scrambled eggs and toast (don't need the carbs).

My American Breakfast

Much better day today than yesterday. I woke up and kissed the new day which was filled with possibilities.
I wrote down my new Action Plan and got started right away.

My new basic Action Plan: "Finish 2 Projects each Day."
Taking baby steps now, this is a doable plan to get me back on course from aimlessly drifting for the past month since arriving in Paris. Now I have more Focus, direction, and purpose. I cannot turn my back on the realities of life; things I must accomplish for my own true purpose of living. Next I will work on ENERGY.

After I finished two projects, I went to the side streets of Paris, to get my hair twisted, then met a friend for drinks and dinner...ate too much Pasta...carbs, carbs, carbs.... Too tired to blog any longer...will continue tomorrow...

Drinks with a Friend in the Ritzy, Fashionable 16th Arr

Pasta Pa Pa has THE BEST Pasta dinners in Paris

(first Italian Restaurant I've been to in Paris)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Here We Go Again

How can I be unhappy in this place that I love? This is the question I ask myself today. I know that I am not going to be happy every single day of my life here in Paris, so I have decided to look at these times as a little rain on a day in my life.

Most days, I am more than happy...beyond happy, even when doing nothing more than walking down the street, I can hardly keep an awkward smile from my face. Most days, I have enough joy inside to keep the city of Paris lit all night long.

But today, I could feel the shadow of unhappiness following me down the street and back to the office early this morning. "You're such a loser, why didn't you finish the project yesterday? Why are you up so early trying to get a head start on yesterday's failure?" Unhappiness pestered me.

As I entered the office, it seemed like a lonely place to be this morning. Yes, it was beautiful, clean, well organized, nice furnishings, quite with the bright sun shining in the windows, but Lonely. Full of colors, books, plants and lovely things, but Empty. How could some place so beautiful and bright, full of things feel so Lonely and Empty when I arrived? Was it just me? I wondered as I stood still at foyer and looked around. Before I could close the door, Unhappiness managed to step inside and stand right beside me. I opened the windows and ignored him. He stayed with me the whole time.

A co-worker arrived who is also working on the project I needed to finish, but she didn't stay long. She seemed happy although she shared briefly that her morning was going terrible, she had forgotten a few things and on top of it all, she could not get her laptop to work, so she did not bring it with her. I heard some of what she was saying, as I tried to focus on getting my part of the project completed. It was as if she breezed in with the wind and was gone just as quickly. She stayed 1o minutes after explaining her terrible morning, then said she had to leave and would work from home.

I was alone again. Unhappiness stood over me after she left and asked, "Why can't you be like her? She's so much smarter and better than you. She doesn't have to stay here trying to get her work done. You're not good enough for this job."

I finished what I needed to do in a few hours and after emailing out the finished projects, I left early. As I walked down the street, I looked around and noticed that Unhappiness was no longer with me. He must have taken a nap at the office, thinking I would still be struggling with the project, but I figured it out early and was able to leave.

So now, as I am about to go to sleep, Unhappiness crawls into bed next to me and whispers, "You really need to get on the ball. You've been here over a month now and you haven't done one thing towards accomplishing personal goals." He's right, but I'm not going to let him sleep next to me tonight, so I get up to write...

My life is split, and one side of it has been neglected. My own corporation needs to be re-organize, my own properties in the U.S. need to be manage with leases that need my attention, accounts that need to be reviewed. Ongoing issues with attorneys, that still need my attention. (All a part of re-organizing my crippled real estate holdings, still on life support of the failing economy) I've turned my back on my own company in the U.S. and have given most of my attention to the reflection here in Paris. Unhappiness has arrived to remind me of my own stuff too. I can live my Dream here in Paris, but I can't ignore reality, which seems like the easy option sometimes.

I won't sleep with unhappiness tonight, instead, I will replace him with an Action Plan for tomorrow. "Action-Man", yes! that's who I'll sleep with tonight and wake up with tomorrow. (How's that for spice...Benny?) Together we will take care of my business in the U.S., my responsibilities here in Paris and we will also take a step towards turning this Dream into reality, the Divine Idea given to me a few weeks ago that is waiting to be accepted by my soul will soon become my purpose for being in Paris.

So I suppose this visit from Unhappiness is like the rain that must come to water the plants to give life. Unhappiness gets me out of the sunshine and into the shade which is also where I need to be sometimes, but not all the time. Tonight, I welcome the change and challenge away from happiness and bliss, it is a part of my life. C'est la vie. That's life...even with a little unhappiness.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tueday - The Boss is On Vacation

Tuesday Part I. Get Up and Get to Work

This morning started off in a way that has become normal, my phone rings, lets just say more than 2 hours before I was intending to get out of bed. Caller id says it's my boss, but she's out of the country, so I wonder, is she back? Does caller id work when you're calling from another country? It's too early for my brain to figure it I just say "Hello?"

"Good morning Florence." followed by a few lovely words describing the wonderful vacation she's on. My work day starts, as she begins the conversation, "You know those scanned documents? They were not sent out before I left; we need to email them out to our clients today." "Remember Mr. X, we need to get him in touch with Mr.Y in the U.S. since they will both be in Paris next week", also, "M is looking for extra keys to property N, so you need to get in touch with O to get the keys over to property N.", and "Please call Mr R and tell him to get in touch with me today about Mrs C to discuss her contract.", " T called me yesterday wanting to pick up a check for project Z, but we since were not able to connect before I left she did not get the check, so I need you to get in touch with her and let her know I will take care of everything when I return", "Also remember, the email you sent out to Mr T yesterday?" uh, I reply as I start looking for a pen to take notes. "Uh, Mr T? Yeah, yeah, I remember....", "Well, go ahead and let him know that I am out of the office and I will be back next week." "Don't forget to have Mr R call me, it's really important..."

Oh, and one last thing, she says just as I am finally getting ink to flow from the pen after frantically scribbling circles on my notepad, "You'll need to go to the office this morning, but not right away to prepare the files for Project Y., and once you're finished, go ahead and place them in the outbox and I will get them when I return." "How's the website project going?" she asks.

Isn't she supposed to be on vacation, sitting on a beach on a wonderful island, doing nothing? I wonder. "The project is going fine." I lie. I can't get any of the software to work, besides that, I've never used the software before in my life, and the learning curve is huge. "The property manager is also coming by the office today to give me more training." I tell her, disguising the anxiety of meeting up with him in person. "Oh great!" she replies. I ask, "Are you having fun?" "Amazing!, Here..., I will take a photo of the view with my iPhone and send it to you...Okay, gotta go, Thanks for everything." she replies.
The photo, taken from her hotel suite on a Greek Island, instantly pops up on my computer....I sigh...
Photo from Adrian's Vacation in Greece
And my morning begins.

I shower and make a cup a tea before taking the metro to the office. During the metro ride, I feel like a real Parisian commuter since I am actually on the metro so early in the morning, surrounded by business suits, leather briefcases, dresses, designer handbags and shoes, people reading,.. real working people. I feel like one of them as I drag my wheeled laptop case down the street through the Maris and to the office.

As soon as I get to the office the phone is ringing..."Adrian Leeds Office, May I help you?" Questions, requests, demands, inquiries, recorded messages, and French!?...who knew? How will I find time to get everything done? How does Adrian find the time? Her office is always impeccably neat and organized, I try to keep it that way. Before I know it , it's almost 2 in the afternoon. I have a training session scheduled with the Not so Mr. Friendly in Paris Manager. I wonder if I will see a new side of him in person?

Tuesday Part II. Afternoon Training Session - Property Management

2PM on the dot, the intercom buzzer rings. "Hello?" I say. "Management." is the reply I hear. No need for names I suppose, so I buzz him in.
"Since you obviously cannot learn via REMOTE...I am here to train you again, turn on your computer." he says as he walks through the door and past me. Oh, this is going to be great, I think...Hello to you to.

"Okay, Lets start. Book an apartment!" he demands as he sat next to me. I start typing the name of the apartment website in the toolbar, but before I can finish, he immediately snaps, "Just click on the Homepage! Geeze, if you don't know how to book the apartment, how can you possibly...." he didn't finish his sentence as he rolled his chair closer to mine, I could literally feel him breathing down my neck. "Which apartment should I book?" I asked. "Any One!" I click on one owned by Adrian, but then changed my mind and clicked the back button to select another one. Obviously another mistake in training. "Why did you click the back button, you should know by now that all the apartments appear on the next site, you're wasting time, just pick an apartment." he says just as I look back to see him rolling his eyes.

He makes me nervous and flustered, I need to get up and away from him to breath, so without thinking clearly, I make up an excuse. "Excuse me, I have to go...uh, wash my face, uh, I mean wash my hands, uh, I'm going to get some water in the kitchen." I didn't care if that did not make sense, I didn't want him to know why I got up in the first place. So I left to take a break. When I returned, his chair is further away now. Ah, he's giving me some breathing space. "So how's your vacation planning with your friend going?" he asked as I return. What does he care, I think as I reply, "I can't go now, because it conflicts with your vacation." "Oh?" he laughs, he literally laughs a wicked laugh, "Well, I am so sorry to hear that. Please tell your friend that I am sincerely sorry to hear that." "So sorry, that you'll change your vacation dates for us?" I ask. "No." he says smugly.

During the training session, my mind was a blur, was this really the reason I moved to Paris? Do I really want to work this closely with him? He's so mean to me. Why does he yell? He makes me want to cry. I know he has a good side, because I've worked with his good side last year. Why is he so serious now? So I ask him and he says, "I want to make sure you get this. You said you want to do it, so you're going to do it now and you're going to do it well. This is serious business and we can't mess it up by f------ around." "Okay, I think you're being a little mean, but I understand." I said. "Good, we'll continue on Friday at 10AM. I have to go now." He picks up his briefcase and leaves.

I start working on the website for a few more hours and then I leave. Too exhausted to attend the 6:30 PM French-English conversation group. I march to the metro, blending in with the crowd of other "real working people" on the sidewalks and heading home after a full days work on a Tuesday.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Planning a Vacation and Broken Promises

Outside the Metro at Opera today

Yes, (my new friend) invited me to go on vacation with him...out of the country. "Are you going to go with him?" asked 9 of my closest friends. "Yeah, I am." was my standard reply. "WHAT?!, Are you CRAZY?! You don't even know this guy!" was the standard reply from 9 various friends at different times...

Today he and I met at the Opera Metro, to walk to Starbucks to plan our vacation, followed by dinner plans, but first I had to confirm a small scheduling issue. I promised Adrian I would help with Property Rentals when the company property manager goes on vacation next month. I need to know what his exact vacation dates were.

I promised my new friend I would go on vacation with him, during the last two weeks in August which are the only weeks he has available for this vacation.

I send a text message to the property manger to ask for his exact vacation dates. He replies...the last two weeks in August.

I'll have to break a promise to my new friend...Maybe my friends are right; maybe its a bad idea that's really not meant to be...but I think I'll wait until after dinner to tell him. We have coffee at Starbucks and stop there to use the wifi. My friend eagerly pulls out his laptop to show me where we are going to go and start scheduling reservations for our vacation. I want to wait until later to tell him that I won't be able to go with him. Why am I so afraid to tell him the truth? I can't delay.

He glances up from his laptop..."Uh, I have something to tell you...." He looks up, with the most pleasant look on his face, as if he's waiting for me to say, "I love you." or something really nice like that. How can I disappoint him? "Uh, I can't go on vacation with you." I spurt out the words, almost sounding like a question, waiting for his reaction. He stares at me as if he doesn't understand my English. Why does my heart start beating so fast? What am I so afraid of? "I uh, promised Adrian I would help her with the properties when the manager goes on vacation, and I just found out that he is going on vacation the same dates you have planned...I would only have two days to go on vacation with you...see..." I pulled out my calendar to show him the dates and hoped that he would stop staring at me, blink or say something.

He starts typing briefly on his laptop again, not saying a word then slams it shut on his lap. Still not saying a word, still staring at me in an icy way. So I ask lightly, "Where were we going to go anyway? Where were you planning?" "What does it matter to you now? You cannot go." he replied coldly, ending the conversation as he quickly shoved his laptop in a bag beside his chair. He leans back in his chair and asks with a puzzled look, "What do you want from me?" "Uh," I replied with a puzzled smile. "Nothing ."

"Ramadan starts on the 21st of August and it's over the end of September plus 6 days. During that time, I cannot see you, I cannot call you, I cannot think about you. So I will have to wait until after September to see you again." he explained for an unknown reason, then he smiled a very pleasant smile.

"Come on. It's time to go." he said as he reached for my arm, but never touched me. "Are you taking the metro back to your apartment or the bus?" he asked, followed by "I'm taking the train, I'm going to see my mother." I said, "I'm taking the metro." Immediately knowing in that moment, we were not going to dinner as planned.

As we crossed the street, I told him I was sorry we couldn't go on vacation together. He replied. "It wasn't meant to be." Then he kissed me on both cheeks and waited for me to go though the gates at the metro.

Inside Starbucks...Yes, Starbucks Coffee Shop.
On the way home, I stopped at the market and bought some cream cheese, vinaigrette, green beans and crackers for dinner. I ate alone, but it was nice because I could eat as many crackers and cheese as I wanted knowing there would be no more broken promises today.

Tour de France - Finish Line

Tour de France is over...It was so nice to turn on the news everyday to see which beautiful countryside the athletes were peddling through.

Sunday, they peddled through the finish line...right in my "neighborhood" on the Champs Elysees. The winner (a very young) Alberto Contador of Spain. Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, came in third overall...Lance will always be my hero!

Alberto and Lance taken by my co-worker (Julie)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Typical Saturday in Paris

A typical Saturday started off with me rushing to the metro to make it on time to the 11AM Parler Parlor conversation group:
I made a little extra effort to look "nice" today, since I had a few meetings scheduled afterwards. Unfortunately whenever I take the time to look more "feminine", others seem to take the time to notice too....(is this a French custom with men in Paris?).

As I was rushing to the metro, I noticed a man about half a block in front of me; he kept looking back as I rushed in his direction. Every few steps he would walk, stop, turn and stare, then keep walking...stop, turn around again to stare at me, then kept walking. I finally caught up to pass him in a brisk walk...he looked at me just as I was next to him and started a conversation in French.

The timing for him was perfect as we were just at the corner where the walk sign turned red. I had to stop. I glanced at him, pretended not to hear a word and stared angrily at the "do not walk" sign for making me stop. I did not want to look friendly. He leaned over my shoulder and asked, "Do you speak English?" He smelled good...fresh, like he just stepped out of the shower. What could I do? I looked to make sure his right hand was not inside my purse, (since he was standing so close). And I replied, "Uh, yes." He said, "I would like to talk to you." I looked at the do not walk sign and thought, I would like for you to turn green NOW! Ah, it must have picked up on my vibe; it immediately turned green. I pretended like I did not understand his English.

He walked right beside me as if we were a couple asking, "May I talk to you?" "I would like to talk to you." How do I answer a question like that? Obviously we were going to the same metro station, "Okay, talk." I snapped as I walked even faster to cross the street. "Where are you from?", "Do you live in Paris?", "Where are you going?" "I would like to see you again." "Do you live alone?" "How can I see you again?" "Do you have a telephone?" I rushed down the steps to the metro, he was still by my side...just as we reached the bottom step, the doors of the metro were closing.....just his luck. I was stuck, 6 more minutes until the next train, waiting on the platform with him by my side asking more questions.

He was very friendly and polite, but how am I going to manage time with him when there's not enough time in my days already? In those 6 minutes of his questions, surrounded by his shower fresh scent, I took the time to look at him again. He wanted to meet tomorrow. I asked, "Where?" He said, "Do you know Mc Donalds at Gare de Nord?" Ahhh, straight to my heart....did he really say Mc Donalds? I had to laugh. What could I say? (if you've been reading my blog, this should be a no-brainer). I said, "Yes, okay. I will meet you tomorrow." He was happy as he quiclky wrote his phone number on a piece of paper and asked me to assure him that I would call him. I said, honestly "I might."

The train arrived, he followed me on and sat right in front of me...smiling. A musician followed us on the train and began to play music. I took a picture of my new friend and the musician. His stop was three stops later, as he got off he said, I will see you tomorrow. When the door closed, his fresh scent disappeared and my mind was clear again. I could see my intentions. I immediately sent him a text: "I am sorry, I can not meet you at Mc Donalds. Thank you."

"Meet me at McDonalds." - Obi

After the French-English Conversation group....Lunch with Adrian. Topic of discussion: "Pay Attention to the Big Picture in Business." Lesson in a nutshell: Make decisions and take action as if this were your own company. Don't wait to be told how Adrian or other mangers would do things...take control, take the best action for the bigger picture, not just one detail! Make the connection of Point A with Point B in your brain...Pay Attention!
Bonus session: Pay attention also to the intentions of the men you meet.

Cozy Corner Lunch at a Cafe

Pompidou Cultural Center - Just outside Cafe

Pompidou Center

Next it was off to meet my friend Luc, (from Fete de La Musique night...the one who led us into the roit) for a few hours more of French conversation.

Small Island off of Pont Nuef

Luc is French. Spending time with him practicing French is a great way for me to improve my French....but did he have to pick such a romantic spot to practice the language?, or could it be that (for me) any place in Paris, practicing French with a French man is romantic? I'm sure he is not interested in dating, which is a bonus for distractions in learning the language...except the beautiful scenery.
Do I really live here in Paris? Is this really my home now? I wonder as the tourist pass on les bateaux (the boats), occasionally waving at "the locals"...and this really real? is this really my life?

Luc writing: "On dirait qu'il va plurvoir" (It looks like it is going to rain)

Next, I promised Faraid, (my elevator hero...the man trapped in the elevator with me a few weeks ago) that I would meet him for tea at 5:30. So after a few hours with Luc, it's back on the metro to meet Faraid.
Faraid is Muslim, very attractive but says he cannot date a woman who drinks alcohol. I am a woman who drinks alcohol. Too bad...for him. Oh, I'm sure he cannot date a woman who is not Muslim either. Too bad again, for him...again.

Tea with of his favorite places
Faraid wants to plan a vacation together. It seems like a perfect idea to me since I am not interested in dating (at the moment) and he cannot date me...should be fun, with no strings attached right? Adrian says "Watch out!...wake up!" Faraid says he has "good intentions". I hope they are not good intentions to make me a sex slave on a barge in Morocco. But that would make an interesting blog huh?
Monday, we will pick a place to go on vacation...
Leaving the Tea House, as we crossed the street, I had to take a quick picture of a family of four in the smallest family car I've seen. I wonder if they are a French family from the country, in the city on vacation?

Cute Family in a Cute Car
...and this concludes a typical Saturday in Paris.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Typical Work Day

Someone asked me to describe a "typical" day for me in Paris. I tried to explain that no two days are the same. Something different happens each day and no two days have ever been the same, similar or even "typical" since I have arrived.

Today is Friday...This morning my phone rings, it's my boss, Adrian; which means I did not sleep in until my normal 10AM.

"Hello, FLORENCE! I can't find the documents you scanned last week! Where did you file them after they were scanned ?! I need them. We need to get the filing completed!...Do you think have the documents in the stack of papers you took with you? I can't find them. Do you know where they are? I need you over here, I need you in the office. Can you come over today?"

"Uh good morning. Let me see if I have them..." I replied. "What you think you have them with you?!?" she asked, excited at the possibility. I looked in the clear plastic folder I had with me. "Uh, no, I don't have them here..., I'll be right over to help you find them...." I assured her.

That's how my Friday morning began. That's not a typical morning, because each morning like I said is unique....and exciting. I guess I could say it is a typical "un-typical" morning.

I showered, stopped by the wine store to pick up a bottle of wine to take to Adrian, since today she is also completing the official paperwork on another great real estate deal, then I jumped on the metro and headed off to the office.

Since I usually have my camera now (for Kristin), the only follower of my blog brave enough to post comments and admit she actually reads my crazy blog and tells me that she cannot read the blog without photos...I've taken a few pictures on my way to work.

Who actually takes pictures on their way to work? Sometimes I think there's something seriously wrong with me, but I'm not going to worry about that too much right now. There are important documents that need to be found...besides, the main reason I blog is for my own kind of "therapy" I will eventually recover from taking pictures on the way to work....

So, Here they are, a few pictures on my way to the office....

French Lunch Hour

Always faster to take the quiet back alley...

Back on the main street...past the little sidewalk shops

Align CenterThe View from My Desk at Adrian's Office

"Here's the file where the documents should, look through these...I've looked through them a thousand times already...You didn't find them at your apartment did you? " she said, dropping the files in my lap as soon as I sat down. "No" answered. "I didn't think you had them." she said worriedly.

I opened the first folder, turned two pages and could it really have been that easy? "Here they are." I said as I handed a stack of stapled papers all in French to her. But then I doubted myself, everything is in French, how the heck can I tell this document from the I took it back to look at them closer....besides, she looked a thousand times, it couldn't possibly be that easy for me to find them.

"What?!" She glanced look. "That's it! Let me see...Yes! Oh my God, that's it!" A flood of relief washed over her face. Wow, it really was that easy. I really can read in French...(the name of a company....)

"Here. Congratulations!" I said as I gave her the bottle of wine. (A Rose from Provence) Her face lit up..."For me?!" "Yes, you signed the official documents this morning right?!" "Yeah!" She replied with an excited smile she couldn't hold back, followed by, "I bought you something too..." "For me?!" I asked. "Yeah, it's on the front table by the door."

Peanuts! My face lit up. Unsalted Asian peanuts! I'm always eating all the ones she has stored in her pantry when I come to the office to work. I promised her two weeks ago, that I would buy her more. She bought me a brand new bag! My very own bag! I don't know which is better the pancake mix she gave me for my birthday or the big bag of peanuts!!

I spent the next few hours scanning, sorting filing and listening in on conversations as she wheeled and deal her next business ventures via teleconference. She is truly an amazing business woman, boss, mentor, friend, etc. Only God could have arranged for me to be working so closely with a woman who is living my dream (of living in Paris) and working my passion (Real Estate).

I could not have planned a better typical, un-typical Friday (workday) even with the best Daytimer or Franklin Planner notebook available.

Have a great un-typical weekend.

President Obama

On the newstands this week...

I remember the day last year when Adrian and I filled in our absentee ballots at her office and walked to the Paris post office to mail them off...


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Little Girl and My Best Friend's Visit

"Hey Florence, I read your blog all the time!! Will you mention my name in your next blog?" were the first words from Little-Girl's mouth when I saw her. I call her "Little Girl." Why? because she's so cute and adorable, just like a little girl. Who is she? My best friend from elementary school's - younger sister.

"I don't like to mention other names on my blog." I explained to her. "Well, then can you tell every one that you love me? You can mention my name, I want you to write my name in your blog! Will you write my name?" She asked with the same excitement that a child asks for a new toy on Christmas.

"Okay Victoria P. I will write your name in my next blog." I promised her. Her face lit up with the most adorable smile. She was satisfied.

Me and "Little Girl" Victoria P. "I Love You...Little Girl"

Today my best friend from the 6th Grade, Athens Greece (many, many years ago) and her family were stopping through Paris and spent a few hours visiting. It always seems as if no time has passed since we last saw each other. Our fathers were stationed in the Air Force at Hellikon Air Base, Athens Greece together. We have kept in touch ever since, through the good times and the bad.

Marilena, Victoria "Little Girl" and Mr E. (their Dad)

For many, many years Marilena has been my childhood friend, almost a sister and sometimes my THERAPIST! We've known each other since running away from boys in elementary school, running towards boys in High School, attending college, graduating from university, Military for me, Corporate World for her...

She knew me when I got engaged to be married, un-engaged and almost engaged again. She's coached me through melt-downs, break-ups, career transitions and moving to Paris...every step of the way, she's been there...

We've spent summer vacations in Miami, weekends in New York and attended the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the pouring down rain in New York City, returning to a wonderful Greek-American Thanksgiving Day Dinner prepared by her mother who is missed now every single day. (Heaven will now have the best stuffed grape leaves ever on Thanksgiving Day...I just know it!)
Marilena , Victoria and Mr. E. are like family....

Me and Marilena (High Maintenance)

"Florence, Do you have any shampoo?", "Where's your hair conditioner?" "No, not that kind, I don't want Pink Oil, I want Mizani...", "Do you have an extra towel?" "Do you have any Q-tips?", "What about perfume?, I need some perfume." These are only a few of the questions that poured out from my best friend Marilena, before I replied, "Uh, you're a little high maintenance...?!" The questions stopped just as I told her, "No, you cannot use my toothbrush!" She's high maintenance, but I love her anyway....

A Beautiful Family

A Beautiful Day in Paris

Marilena and Victoria "Little-Girl"

Today, we only spent a few hours together during their whirlwind tour of Europe, but they will be back for a few weeks this fall. I can "officially" announce now, the guest room is ready! Which actually, literally means the "top bunk bed" is ready for visitors. Hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wednesday Afternoon in Paris

Here are another few reasons why, I love living in Paris. I woke up this morning...10AM, the usual time I get up without an alarm...or earlier if Adrian happens to call.

This morning just after I made my coffee, the phone rang. It was Adrain, we needed to discuss advertising, and other small things since she's finally going to take a real vacation next week. A co-worker and I are going to completely "make over" the apartment make sure you take a look at the before: (feel free to make a reservation if you're planning a trip to Paris soon) Anyway, so that was my "morning staff meeting". Work?! I love it!

I decided to go to Carrefour (my Wal-Mart equivalent shopping) in the area of Saint-Denis (a little like the ghetto, but I like to visit every now and then because there are lots of Africans and I blend in well with my sista's and brotha's) I went to pick up a few things for my apartment.

The reasons I love Paris,

Unexpected Gospel music (in French) filled the air of the shopping square

A small flea market along the shopping square just outside Saint Denis Basilica Cathedral
(in the background)

With the gospel music filling the air, I had to walk to towards the Cathedral to take a closer look...

Saint Denis Cathedral

Saint Denis Basilica Cathedral stands on the site of the Gallo-Roman cemetery with the tomb of Saint Denis, thought to have been the first Bishop of Paris, who was martyred circa 250AD.
This place of pilgrimage was built in the 5th century. Pepin the Short was crowned king here in 754( info from the brochure I picked up)!

The Five Atrium Windows

This Cathedral became one of the most powerful Benedictine abbeys in the Middle Ages. Most of the kings and queens of France were buried here from the 6th century onwards.

Abbot Sugar's stained glass window were spared during the Revolution, but later were damaged and reassembled in the 19th century. Absolutely beautiful light fills the room.

Why I love Paris? The metro was delayed, so after I finished shoppoing, I decided to take the bus back to my apartment.

Inside The Bus

Outside the Bus

Okay, once on the bus I realized I was going in the complete opposite direction of my neighborhood, so I got off at a random stop, crossed the street to get on the same bus number going in the opposite direction.

The tree-lined street was so beautiful, and just as I was about to stand in the middle and take a great photo...the bus came from around the corner, so this is the best I could do.
This bus was also going no where in the direction of my neighborhood, so I got off at a metro stop, the metro was still delayed but two very friendly French women helped me find my way back to neighborhood on the right bus.
That's just another thing I love about Paris, the transportation system is amazing, if you know how to use it and it's easy to find a few friendly people to help.
Tomorrow, a friend I have known since I was in the elementary school is passing though with her family on their way back to NY. There's never a dull moment in Paris...just one more thing to love about living here!

Adventures on the Paris Metro

Paris has one of the best (if not the best) public transportation systems in the world. The only time I think of my car back in the states is when my sister calls to remind me that my 17 year old niece wants to drive it, or my mom calls to tell me she just washed it....

Every ride on the metro is like a little adventure from point A to point B.

The outdoor stops make me really feel like I'm in Paris...

Cute puppet show with funky soul music inside one of the cars

One of the only times I've actually dropped a few coins in the hat!

This day, the metro was stalled, lights were out and I almost panicked as I thought I saw both sides of the walls closing in, but thank God it started to move again after a few short moments.

A typical walk along the metro platform

I think it's strange that no one really talks on the metro...except me...until my friends say, "Shhhhh". I used to ask, "Why, am I talking too loud?" Then I realized that no one was talking at all...except me. Most of the time the entire car is just looking at me. So now I just read a book or don't talk at all. I still love it anyway.
Last week, I saw a real live high fashion model on the metro. She was very tall and amazingly thin. Her legs were the size of my arms. She stood right in front of me and I could see her bones protruding at her joints. She did have an exceptionally beautiful full thick head of hair that almost touched her elbows.
She was very pretty, even with little makeup on her face and her clothes looked effortlessly chic. She wore a simple cream ruffle layered silk spaghetti strap dress that stopped just above her knees and a royal blue short cropped sweater that hung slightly off her bony shoulder. Her shoes were green strappy gladiator style sandals, with straps that went up her ankles and 4 inch heels. I thought, Wow! She looks great in green shoes! Who wears green shoes?
But she was so amazingly thin as I looked at her, my stomach started to growl....really loud! Still no one was talking or saying a word, just my stomach. I don't know if people were looking at me or her...Have you ever seen anyone so thin that it made you hungry? Thank goodness, my stop was next. I got off and bought a sandwich at the boulangerie.
I will always love riding the metro in Paris.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Day with Adrian

Who blogs about their boss? I know it seems strange, but I really am lucky to be working for an amazing woman. She does not mix business with "play" which is something I admire.

This afternoon we (me and another co-worker) met in the office with Adrian for business and more training. The more I work with Adrian, the more I admire the spirit of a true entrepreneur. Many people are losing money, faith and hope in this economy. Adrian uses her mind, body and soul to figure out ways to succeed in an economy where most people have fear. I see in Even though faith is something that cannot be seen.

One of my co-workers outside the office today

I see that Faith is what moves Adrian. She shared with me today, that I must have faith and not try to force things to happen. She told me to have faith, allow opportunities to open up and "Let the cards fall where they may." She said that without so much as blinking an eye, as I tried to explain my stress of trying to figure out which resident visa, work permit, and permanent apartment to choose or work towards.

In my life, I don't let the cards fall where they may. What if one or two hit the floor? I must stop them from falling on the floor. Or what if some are turned upside down? I try to catch them and turn them the way I want them to be, or what if I don't think the cards are suppose to fall in the first place, I try to hold them all together...but it's so much work, so much stress, so much moving around, and in the end, when I try to arrange the cards they way I want them, I'm not satisfied. I'm not truly happy, so I open the window to let in a cool breeze and all of my efforts arranging the cards are blown in different directions. And in the end, they still fall where they may.

I realize now that it's so much more easy, natural and truly joyous to let it all go. It's so much easier to live life without trying to force anything.

I've also learned from Adrian, that it's easier but not all easy and sometimes there will be a struggle. But when we are not pushing our own agenda in the end there's a reason for the struggle, a lesson, and a gift waiting to be recognized and accepted. Sometimes the gift is overlooked and missed, but there will be others. Adrian is a person who recognizes the gift of so many opportunities.
This moment, right now is really the only moment we have in life. I am learning to enjoy every moment as it comes along. I am learning more and more how to "Just Live."

Beautiful moments are everywhere - On the Seine with Adrian

I could not have planned a better place to enjoy dinner this Monday evening

Life is so much better when I don't force anything, but just let the cards fall where thy may.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Paris Plage - First Day of the Beach

Today was the first day of the "Paris Plage" (Paris Beach). For July through August, sand is loaded onto the banks of the Seine to create the beach along the road and river from Ile St. Louis to the Jardin des Tuileries. No cars, taxis, buses or motorcyles for now.

The summer beach is created as something to do for the Parisians who stay in the city during summer (20 July till 20 August) since most leave the city for vacation. I am looking forward to my first quiet "August" in Paris.

Walk, run or take your scooter...but head for the beach today!
The sand feels cool between my toes as I snap this photo!

The view form the beach - Pont Nuef
There are many types of boardwalks and seating set up along the Seine

Sitting on the beach sand in Paris...does it get any better?

Sand and Umbrellas...what more do we need?...uh, You..of course!