Posts Tagged 'community'

Borderlands/Home

Taxis and books, 5th Avenue, New York

Happy Bastille Day!

It’s been nearly three weeks that I’ve been back in the States and it’s been a great time. A beautiful wedding weekend in Brooklyn; the bubbling creativity of my writing residency in Vermont; a quick trip to DC to see family.

I’m now back in New York in a large apartment in Washington Heights, overlooking the Hudson River and hanging out with wonderful friends.

Am I home?

Well, home’s a funny word, you know. Walking the streets of New York I almost feel homesick for the city – which is strange, because I’m here!

When I was surrounded by so many amazing writers in Vermont, I also felt at home. Having so many people who understand and love the same things I do was such a gift. I am still riding that wave, but also mourning. It was hard to go.

My adorable niece!

Then family! My adorable niece who grows by leaps and bounds each time I see her. My mom who gives the best hugs, my sister and brother-in-law who are such fun.

Really, I look for community wherever I go. I guess the people in each place – they are my home.

As for where I actually live, though – yes! That is also home and how happy I am to say that it’s Paris.

I have a post over on the wonderful blog Pret a Voyager about my tiny pocket on the border of the 11th and 20th arrondissements. Here’s a taste, then head on over to read the rest if you like what you see. Anne has been featuring a tour of Paris by each arrondissement, so you might want to check out the whole series!
* * *

 “Borderlands (A Tiny Pocket of the Twentieth)”

It seems fitting where I ended up in Paris. People become passionate about their postcode, as each arrondissement has its own personality. Without falling into the trap of postal prejudice, certain quartiers do draw different demographics.

I’m most definitely a girl of the Rive Droite, and of the East. I started in the nineteenth – which will always hold a special place in my heart – but for the past three years I’ve lived right on a border. My mail bears an address of the 11th. I literally walk across the street, though, and I’m in the 20th.

Street art, 20eme

Straddling these two neighborhoods seems almost symbolic, as I’m so accustomed to having my feet on both sides: I’m torn between France and the US. I’m a New Yorker who grew up in the South. Living in between, claiming both – these feelings are my familiar.

Of course, the 11th and the 20th are hardly opposites – nothing that dramatic. Both are far from the tourist crowds, local haunts are many. These two neighborhoods slip one into the next.

The 20th is the scruffier cousin to the 11th, more populaire, more mixed. Cheaper rents mean it’s home to many immigrant populations, as well as anyone on tighter budgets. No wonder that many artists find their ateliers here, too.

This starts the spiral of gentrification, though. Because where the artists go becomes cool, non? The twentieth holds an inherent tension, then – between a tougher edge and hip trends. I’d say it’s still a mostly positive tension, an energy that animates, but it’s always something to keep an eye on.

Still, I can’t speak for large swaths of the 20th. Most days I stay faithful to my tiny borderland – I don’t have to venture far to find interesting things.

Keep reading over on Pret a Voyager….

Advertisements

Travel by the Books

Before the Reading (Upstairs at Shakespeare & Co)

Hello all,

I’m pleased to report that my interview with writer Janet Skeslien Charles that first appeared on this blog was republished in a neat online literary journal called Travel by the Books.

Literature + travel. What could be better?

Feel free to check it out again if you’d like.

Speaking of travel and literature, it’s my last full week in Paris before flying off to the States for a full month. So I’m leaving my hermitude behind for a bit and getting out and about the city before I leave.

Notre Dame and Blue Holiday Tree

Tonight my friend Christine Buckley read at Shakespeare & Co, along with Michael Scott Moore, who wrote a book on the history of surfing. And guess who I sat next to? Janet Skeslien Charles! Paris is starting to seem very small – in a very good way!

The creative crew pointing to the chalkboard announcing Christine's reading. These are all fabulous women.

This was a really great evening that gave me warm fuzzies (wow, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually used that term before!) for just that reason: I feel more and more like there is a community of creative folks that I’m getting to know. I love showing up to events and knowing people, meeting friends of friends, and then we all become friends.

 

After those first few years of struggle, it’s so wonderful to feel that I have a place here. Paris can be a lonely city. Beautiful, but lonely. When you cross over though, and really start to find your people, everything changes.

The reading itself was interesting. I can’t say I’m much of a surfing aficionado, but the first author took us behind some of the cultural history of the movement in France, Germany, and Cuba. (Who knew? Apparently France has the biggest surf scene in Europe).

Christine then read part of her essay in the Best Women’s Travel Writing 2010 anthology and an excerpt from her memoir-in-progress about her Vietnamese family. (She has also co-authored the book Slave Hunter: One Man’s Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking).

Christine is a hoot. Her essay about finding herself in the middle of Vietnam when she spoke barely any Vietnamese was hilarious. With an old dictionary in hand, she surmised that her Vietnamese name either meant “beautiful velvet” or “lovely young antler.” The misunderstandings continued from there.

Continue reading ‘Travel by the Books’

Thank You!

Hello, friends!

I just wanted to thank you all for making my birthday so special. I was truly blown away by the number of nice comments I received. I am so grateful for you all – I feel as if I’ve gained a wonderful new community by starting this blog. Thank you for sharing the ride with me!

I promise a full post soon (perhaps even a Faux Pas Friday, as even on my birthday I managed one!), but for now just wanted to send a quick note of appreciation.

More soon! Bon weekend!

THANK YOU

Bookmark and Share


paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

Share the love!

Bookmark and Share

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,996 other followers

Follow siondayson on Twitter


easyJet Holidays Paris City Break
Expat Blog website
Expat Women website
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Checker
Worldette – Ignite your travel life, make a difference, have fun!
© 2010-18 Copyright Sion Dayson ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: