February 2014


Le Matin

Posted on Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I discovered something about myself during my junior year of college that was, initially, difficult to admit. Living in an apartment complex filled with other college students who begrudged the early hours of the day, who groaned at the first sound of their alarms poisoning the air, I admitted, finally, that I might be a morning person.

I came to the conclusion in rather a roundabout way.  Tired of attempting (and FAILING) to work late into the night like my peers, I gradually fell into a routine of going to sleep whether or not my homework was finished, and waking up early the next morning to finish it.  Where in the late evenings, I'd strain my eyes to read every line of text (read: Facebook status), and force myself to finish analyzing each image (read: Instagram post), the mornings were a completely different story.  As sunlit rays snuck through the slats of the blinds in our living room on Villanova's west campus, I happily finished the work that had seemed so impossible the night before.

The more I accomplished, the more I grew to love the optimistic silence of mornings.  Waking up and doing things, or even just having extra time to make coffee or breakfast at home, became something I looked forward to, though I'll admit it felt like I was kind of "doing it wrong". Wasn't this the kind of thing I was supposed to start appreciating when I hit 30? 

It's certainly not always true. I'm more than capable of sleeping all day, well past noon and onwards, if the night before has been a bit of a late one. But, in general, I find that there's lots of things worth appreciating about mornings - as I discovered all those years ago in the living room of the affectionately nicknamed Spaceship, waking up early can be worth it.

Now that spring is on its way, the sun is finally rising at a reasonable hour. During the winter, it's close to nine o'clock in the morning by the time the sun lazily appears, and it's only half past four when it calls it quits. As you can imagine, winter's short and depressing days mean that once the seasons start shifting, moods are improved noticeably. This morning, noticing that the sun was beginning to rise as I got out of bed, I decided to go for a run to the jardin des tuileries.. And I'm so glad that I did.

One of the main differences between Paris and New York is that Paris sleeps. New York, in my limited experience, is moving always in all directions with people from everywhere doing everything.  It's intoxicating, it's exciting, it's truly something incredible and worth treasuring about that special place. Paris, though, ... sleeps. Shops are closed by eight, and aside from some exceptions, bars close at two am. Though the street lights stay on, the Eiffel Tower light turns off at two (too often serving as a reminder to GO HOME AND SLEEP NOW on weeknds!).  The city becomes sleepy, quiet, calm.  It was into this calm that I ran this morning, and it was really exceptional.  New York's energy is exceptional too, but in a different way. The calm of Paris in the morning is something worth experiencing, if only for the buttery boulangerie smell permeating the air on every corner, the Seine floating lazily on by as though stretching its legs for the day. The Eiffel Tower, without its yellowy nightlight glow, seems sinister on the horizon until the sun rises, finally, welcoming Paris to the daylight.

The stillness and calm of Paris this morning, though thousands of miles from that living room in west campus, reminded me so much of the same quiet optimism of mornings that I first fell in love with years ago - and it feels so good to rediscover. When I Instagrammed the picture above this morning, I wrote beneath: "This morning, running along the Seine was so calm. It felt like Paris was all mine."  What I failed to grasp, though, is that Paris, and my relationship to it, IS all mine. Sometimes it just takes waking up early to realize it. xx 


17 February 2014

Posted on Monday, February 17, 2014

Time to sweep the dust from this space and start using it again, I think. What do you think of this design?  I'm not convinced that it will stay, but I wanted a change and this will do for now. 

The past few months have been busy busy busy, but I've missed this blog. Never one for New Years Resolutions, this year I set myself several Birthday Resolutions at the end of January, among which a new resolve to return here more frequently.  It's important to me, and if it's enjoyable for you than tant mieux. Among other birthday resolutions: enjoy more delicious things, homemade and otherwise, see more new places, read, be more grateful. So far, I'm trying my very hardest with each.

I signed up, in a weird moment of spontaneity last autumn, for my first organized race. The race is in two weeks' time and though training for it hasn't always been enjoyable, it feels nice to accomplish goals, to stick to promises, but mostly to move.  Finding balance in life is difficult, but I think I'm coming pretty close and it feels so good. Paris is a beautiful place for running, even on the greyest of days and during the toughest moments of a run, the city manages to encourage me. Yesterday, an old man in a charming hat and cane bowed when he saw me approaching on the pavement, towards the end of a particularly challenging hour.  He cheered me on and patted my back as I passed, my step quickening with his encouragement.  Little things like that make it difficult to not enjoy life, don't you think?

The weather has been behaving extraordinarily well this year.  Far from the normal bone-chilling temperatures, the skies have been blue and the temperatures have been mild. While everyone back home is freezing to death under the polar vortex, over here there are hints of spring on every breeze. Days are getting longer, temperatures are staying in the high forties, and Parisians are hopeful that we've avoided, somehow, the usual terrible winter. I'll knock on wood, though, because I wouldn't be surprised if winter suddenly arrived at the end of February and stayed through til June..

Over the next few weeks I've got lots to look forward to. This weekend I'm bringing a good friend to Dublin with me for the first time. It's always fun to show people around somewhere you love, and I'm hoping that she'll enjoy discovering somewhere so very special to me. One of my closest friends from home will be arriving for a long stint in Europe in the beginning of March, and I can't wait to have a little piece of my heart come a little bit closer to me. Very special visitors, among them my parents,  and exciting travel plans mean that March will fly by, and I have a good feeling that warm weather won't be far behind (I'll knock on wood again, just to be sure).

These days are busy, and they're uncertain, but  they're certainly optimistic. I've still got lots of things to figure out but at least I'm enjoying the process.. Most of the time.

I'll leave it at that for today, as I have some frustrating red tape issues to clear up and some potato leek soup to get started... but do watch this space. I'm resolved to be back soon! (In the meantime, you can see what I've been up to via instagram here.) A très bientôt xo