In many ways I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s begin with this.
The flight to Paris was easy and uneventful. The only part of my commute that gave me any trouble was getting off the Metro at Châtelet les Halles and finding myself stuck in the postmodern hell of an underground shopping mall that I could not figure out how (despite at least a thousand signs pointing to an exit) to get out of. Once I rediscovered daylight I had no idea where I was, so I lugged my suitcase around until I saw the Centre Pompidou, from which I got oriented and then made my way to the apartment.
I went to the market, did a little unpacking, and then met my colleague Mary at her apartment, which wins every award for “the apartment I envision in Paris when I envision an apartment in Paris.” We snapped these really awful (mine not hers) photos taken from her studio overlooking the Seine.
My apartment has a view of some perfectly nice garbage cans, which I now realize is the difference between online shopping and knowing a wealthy gay Georgetown couple with multiple vacation homes, which I have added to the list of things to which I now aspire.
Mary and I met a wonderful Parisian friend of hers for dinner – we chose an outdoor market not far from where I am staying in the Marais, where we snacked on bread, cheese, and charcuterie. All in all, it was a perfect first evening back in Paris.
Since then I have met some other really lovely people, colleagues, guest lecturers, and friends Mary has bumped in to by chance on the sidewalk. We welcomed our students on Monday, and on Tuesday I taught my first research workshop sitting in a circle in the Luxembourg Gardens.
The schedule in these early days is action packed. In the span of roughly thirty six hours we had three course lectures, two guest lectures, and attended three performances. It’s been incredible. So far we’ve seen modern dance by Maria Munoz; “What I Heard About the World,” a collaboration between mala voadora-Third Angel; and Carminho, singing Fado, as part of Chantiers d’Europe 2013.
And of course, there’s more. Where Paris is concerned, there always is. But for now, this: