Posts Tagged 'travel'



C’est Pas Possible – But That’s No Problem!

Lake Alesario, a local's favorite

Phew. I – we- have survived September. Visitors, foiled travel plans, new writing gigs, MFA deadlines (it’s mid-semester!), strikes, terrorist threats. I mean, wow, I’m a pretty calm person, but it was a month to almost send me off-kilter.

But now it’s October, time to sit back, relax, settle into….seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

No wait! That is not at all the positive take was going for.

I was talking to my friend recently, he from the land of the famous Fall Foliage in the States, and I said, yes, I used to really love autumn, too. And why don’t you now? he asked. Light grows dimmer and everything’s dying? I ventured, as I stared at the Paris rain.

Hmm, attitude adjustment much?

Wait. Here is a big, bright sunray coming your way. Amidst all the hoopla of September I completely forgot to tell you anything about Italy.

Italy! Just saying the word releases my stress.

Wedding guest getting cozy at Lake Garda

You might recall that I was originally thwarted by strikes when I tried to go a few weeks ago. Two days later, though, I was back on a plane that actually flew to its destination.

Can I tell you – instant love? Even though my leisurely trip had turned into a packed itinerary – 4 days of moving from one place to the next – I couldn’t have felt more at ease.

Why? Two words: no problem.

See – and I’m sure I’ve brought this up before – the first response to anything in France is no. Not “no problem”, but “no.” C’est pas possible. And that’s kind of funny, because actually, wait, LOTS of things are possible! Yes, I’d say MOST things are possible!

Continue reading ‘C’est Pas Possible – But That’s No Problem!’

Soggy Strike

Paris CDG Termial 2E 06

Dear readers,

Right now I should be in Italy, walking along the banks of Lake Como with my friend Simone who grew up in the area.

Instead I’m sitting in my uncomfortable writing chair (must do something about that) in Paris wondering just why I put up with France sometimes.

See, there was a huge national strike on Tuesday. Yes, yes, nothing new. It’s la rentree, everyone’s back, might as well go on strike.

Fine. My flight was scheduled on Wednesday. I checked Easyjet’s flight before leaving to make sure it was still on. Yes, it said. Planifie.

Only, when I get to CDG airport, the flight was not planifie. Not planned at all. A great big annule, in fact. Wait in line to rebook. Unhelpful ticket agent who does not want to tell me why the flight is cancelled. After about my fifth time asking, he finally says, quite haughtily, well, Madame, there was a big national strike yesterday.

Yes, yes, I’m aware, I said. That was yesterday. And today is today.

But let’s not belabor the point. When can I get out of here?

Oh, Friday? As in, not tonight, not tomorrow, but in 2 days from now? Oh, and you do not want to pay me for the expenses of my fruitless trip out here? Right. Ok. Do you think I should go now, before I reach across the desk and strangle you?

Continue reading ‘Soggy Strike’

This American Life

Palm trees in the city: a view from Governor's Island

The April I first vacationed in Paris – the one where I lived in a Sorbonne professor’s top-floor apartment near the Gare du Nord; the one where I met a Frenchman and experienced a coup de foudre; the month, that really, changed everything – I told a friend that I felt I had just lived an entirely different life.

You have, she said.

I feel kind of like that now.

It would be impossible to encapsulate over three weeks back on home soil, but I can tell you I feel different. There are reminders of who I used to be here, pieces of myself I’ve lost, aspects of my personality I want to regain.

As beautiful as Paris is, and as much as the (mostly invented) image of the bohemian writer may appeal, it is really here that I feel free.

Washington Square Park in bloom

I’ve appreciated having my loud laugh celebrated, rather than scorned, random smiles from strangers on the street. I saw a 70-year old man tattooed from head to toe, made friends in line at Trader Joe’s.

Paris has become home, but it wasn’t until I stepped back here that I realized I’ve actually been holding my breath, that the discreet city has quieted me. Sometimes you have to leave the country of “c’est pas possible” for the land of “yes we can.”

99 cents: the American dream?

Perhaps I’ll provide little snippets of my adventures over the coming weeks, because really, it’s hard to sum up. New York embraced me. Vermont invigorated me. From the buzzing city to a little hotbox of creativity, I am nearly full to bursting with inspiration.

Today New York celebrates its version of Bastille Day on 60th Street.

I think I’ll wait for the real deal on July 14 when I will just have arrived back to Paris.

Despite what I’ve been saying here, I’m looking forward to going back. I’m packing my smile and renewed strength with me, though. I prefer who I am in America. Can I be that American in Paris?

Belleville in Brooklyn

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The Joys of Travel

Often, adventure lies in the journey itself.

Like a roadtrip in Mexico where we set off without destination and ended up diving from high cliffs into a turquoise sea, sleeping on a white-sand beach, and stumbling upon a haunted house (we ran away as there were haunted people inside, too).

Or in Ghana, where my guidebook’s only accommodation recommendation for a certain region was to find the “Jesus Reigns Supply Shop” and ask the owner, Michael, if we could stay at his place. (He wasn’t there, but the two workers we met kept us stuffed on sweet mangoes until Michael arrived to whisk us away on his motorbike. He and his wife’s little B&B turned out to be a nice respite).

Sometimes, though, you just want to get to where you’re going.

For my trip back to the States, this was the aim. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans.

On a good day, the drive to Charles de Gaulle Airport takes 30 minutes, though we always leave over an hour for the inevitable traffic jams. The airline had already called early in the morning to inform me that the flight had changed – I love (read hate) how they’re allowed to change any thing at will up to the last moment.

Even with the delay, it became a race to the finish. After over an hour and half stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, a mad dash off the highway to find the nearest RER train station because it was obvious I would miss the flight if I stayed stymied amongst the cars, a worried wait in the Aulnay sous Bois station as it began to rain, I made it to the airport and through all check-in and security procedures with 20 minutes to spare.

I was seated next to 15 young Russian children for the next 7 hours.

But I made it, and I remember why I come back home:

My niece, the cutest little girl in the world.

The hardest thing about being an expat is being far from family and friends. So you soak up every last second with them, say grace for the time spent.

I stayed with my sister and her husband in their new house in DC (congrats, homeowners!) and my above-noted gorgeous niece. My mom came up from North Carolina.

At the end of the weekend, I couldn’t imagine how I ever thought these few days would be enough. (No matter how long, it’s never enough).

But then another travel mishap to distract me. A tardy cab, an asshole driver, a missed bus, a long wait in the hot sun.

But now I’m in New York and it’s all okay again. My last trip here was something of a heartbreaker. I felt like an outsider to a place I had once known so intimately.

This time I’m more prepared. I accept that I am a visitor, that Paris is now home. But I’m visiting as I lived here – with an open wonder. This great city helped shape me, taught me to be who I am to the fullest.

I’m on 95th street on the West side and found it a good omen to pass this building on my block:

Sans Souci. Without Worry.

I’m adopting that motto.

Until I fly up to Vermont on Monday, that is. (Third trip’s a charm?)

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On the Road

I know I was gushing positivity about Paris just yesterday, but today I’m leaving.

Well, just for the weekend. Sometimes it’s good to get away.

So, if you’ve come here looking for Faux Pas Friday, (first, thanks!), I’m afraid that my faux pas is not having one to share with you this week. I’m on the road (erm, on the train) as we speak.

But won’t it be fun to see what new rules I might break in a different region? Upper Normandy, here I come!

In even more exciting news, I have a guest post appearing any time now on another cool travel blog. Only it’s being posted on US time so it’s not up yet. I’ll post it for Tuesday TIPs when I get back.

Aren’t you just dying to know more about this guest post? No? Well, ok, I’m still excited.

In the meantime, have a great weekend. Here’s where I’m going, not in a word, but in an image:

Etretat

I doubt Etretat will be this clear when I get there. The volcanic ash from Iceland is apparently heading towards France…(yikes!)


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.

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