A Travellerspoint blog

Ciao, preggo, abrazzo, bacio

An unexpected journey to Milan for the unexpected

sunny 12 °C

Back from a weekend in Milan. I must admit the journey there was a little unnerving for me at first. I sat at CDG with a cup of tea looking around me and thinking 'you must be nuts, this is crazy' and felt very queasy but at the same time I figured what the hell, I'd never visited Milan anyway, so might as well. Worst case I check into a hotel or something. Thankfully I bought my own ticket to secure that right for myself. So there I am sitting at the airport, my little trolley I took as carry-on, a first timer for me after travelling with 52 kilos over the last 10 months. Felt good actually to travel light! All around me are a mix of couples and single businessmen on their way to Italy, doing business, drinking in the comfort of their laptops and I, just looking around and outside the window at planes landing and taking off. Everyone going somewhere. And where I was going.

If I was in shock at my actions until that point, I was even more taken aback when I sat in my seat on the plane, alone, waiting for takeoff and hearing the safety instructions. Does this guy realize what I'm doing for him!? Getting on a plane to visit someone I barely know. I love to travel and taking off is part the only way to do it, that I get, but it's got to be worth it and for something I want. At that point, I didnt know either. Before I know it, the engines were hot and taking me up 30,000 feet. From the heavy, gray skies I transcend to the blue horizon and the sun beside me for an hour and a half. A completely different world. I'm sitting next to this French guy who is so concerned with his work, he needed wine to keep him even more in focus (or not?), as if this were a day-long journey and couldn't put on one smile. Funny enough, Lufthansa had a magazine issue dedicated to travel writing and fulfilling our passions - something I could identify with.
I hit the last page and we're already descending in Milan. Perfect.

I promised myself that I would do it like a local and I did. Free of 'baggage claim', I breeze through the "Arrival" hall, past the "Car Rental Pick Up" I had visited once in the past on my last business trip here and off to the Malpensa Express. I am very ashamed to admit that my Italian is bruised after so many months of Castellano but I dont give in. I make my way with my rusty Italian at all costs. The train is a 45 minute ride into town and around me are only "ciaos" "preggos" "abrazzos" and the like. I was loving it. Once I got to Cadorna station it was time to master the masses on the metro. The very thought of possibly getting lost or having to speak Italian was a thrill for me. I did it like a pro, got out of the station and walked to the address of this person's house. After the codes and keys, I enter the apt and there I am. Finally there. Unbelievably there. I look around and there is no mistaking this bachelor's home; playrights, enthusiastic CD collection, backlit flatscreen, comfortable loveseat, mini office space, cups in the sink, all complete with a man's bathroom and bedroom. I liked it. It was cozy. I made myself at home as I was told but I was restless so I went for a walk to discover the surroundings - still not knowing whether I might need the friendly services of the neighborhood. I made my small share of friends and came home. Twenty minutes later he arrived. I opened the door and there we were: two mere strangers standing face to face but feeling like we'd really missed one another. In one moment, I was caught in mega liplock I couldnt have imagined to be better in my imagination.

Anything I will add after that is an abuse and an injustice to the use of words. It was a lovely weekend. I experience the locals' side of life in Milan, ate well, drank sans remorse, met his friends and enjoyed every moment. It was all organized to a 'T' by some force up there somewhere; even the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny. Milan really isnt something I expected to see. It's a laid back, big village kind of feel, everyone is nice and friendly, no one is rushing anywhere, low key but high class, hidden gems tucked here and there that only locals know. It was very relaxing as a matter of fact. Duomos always seem to captivate me and its exteriors were magnificent. I felt like a child again, discovering an unknown city, everything is new to the eye. It's a thrill and a high I can't get from anything else.
And lots of things new to the heart. Careful treading though, I must admit. Its so tempting to want to let yourself get carried away again and you find how quickly it is to feel amazing after experiencing unpleasant lows. It was all such a pleasant surprise that really shook me inside. The connection, the conversation, the intrigue, the interest, asking questions, getting to know, observing with an adult's eyes, life in living color, as it is.

We headed to a conducting session at a theatre hall just outside the center of the city, in a high-tech looking, new neighborhood. There I was in the middle of a rehearsal room, sitting on a chair on the sidelines, watching these professional musicians play Mendelssohn's 4th symphony and it took me back to when I was 15 and had to wake up on snowy Saturdays because my piano teacher would pick me up to play in the citywide band... unfortunately for me, not on the piano. Rather, the trombone. The dreaded instrument whose name I dared not mention for years after that. I hated it - hated practice, carrying it, taking it home, pretending to exericse at home, being called on to play solo - all of it, but knocked' em dead somehow in school concerts. Anyway, this time, it was great to sit back and listen and also, to watch this certain someone play a game of puppeteer with the musicians, trying to get out the right emotion from every single string, every single note. It was moving and very intriguing! Someone with that kind of passion is always an inspiration. Basically, I spent the entire afternoon and evening among musical geniuses, drinking beer and 'pam pam pam'-ing away to the beats and scattatos of the symphonies they conducted. Nothing close to an ordinary Saturday, I must say.

Sunday came and we went for a nice brunch, again and just chilled. I really needed it although really, I came with no expectations. We said our own 'ciaos' and 'preggos' and 'abrazzos' and shared 'bacios' and off I went to board my chauffeur, Malpensa Express, leading me right back to the airport. As I was walking away from the building, I felt a little tug that reminded me of a feeling I once had not too long ago...about 1.5 years ago. It's nice to feel it again - and somewhat scarey at the same time.

And here I am, back in Paris, on a chilly night, around 0 degrees, sitting in a beautiful pink living room, wearing my pink ballerina slippers that keep my feet warm. I'm glad I took this chance for what it's worth. I felt very good. I dont want to say that it has turned my life around b/c I'm against 'drama' and 'drastic' combinations, but it did change it in a way I still have yet to discover and understand. All of this is a part of something completely new in my life and integrating this experience only makes the ride so much better and more interesting. No idea where this could go, but would be interesting to find out.

On the flight back, I felt proud, poised and good with myself for going out there and grabbing what life is offering me.
Ciaos, preggos, abrazzos and all.

Posted by enoura 15:19 Archived in Italy Tagged adventure italy milan journey stranger Comments (0)

When it rains, it pours

Let the water in

snow 0 °C

And so, came the day of the big event. In the Uggs I gave in to and recently new release of my hair, I ventured to the museum to set up all the odds and ends of the event, all in French, a first-ever for me. As I was working, I couldnt help feeling a sense of freedom that I'm finally doing something I enjoy.

If there had been a camera, you would've seen me giving orders and running the show in the high school and university French education I acquired but never thought I would utilize too much - struggling from time to time but getting by. After four hours or sorting, setting, piecing, arranging and testing, the site was ready and I went home to cater to my own self. I brushed off a new dress out of the closet, picked up the French suede 'bottes' and pouted the lips with 'some rouge'. I started the day just another girl and came back to the museum like a real madame. It was the first time, in a long time, that it felt very good to be in my own skin.

I brushed shoulders with ambassadors, presidents, founders, madames, counts and countesses during the evening and had the great pleasure of speaking with many wonderful people. As I sat behind the video projector and laptop, making sure all ran smoothly, I scanned the room with the corner of my eye and saw how everyone was faced forward and at full attention. The images of our endangered world were strong and impressive and I allowed myself to look around at the people around me and be thankful that I could be a part of this. I'd really always wanted to leave the world of high-tech behind and do something important, something that could help the world somehow in some way, any way. I even took on community work at every job to try and fill the void I always had. Sometimes what you wish for really happens.

Aside from the mix of languages that could be heard around the event hall, it was as if we were in fact transported to another world. Beautiful Cambodian dancers swayed to the melody of a sacred chant, inviting the gods to bless the ceremony that night. The costumes, the makeup, the music, the symbolism; all of it was just very special. And then, the ten of us team members once again entrusted in my decision and we headed off to devour some filet mignon and real French fries alongside Bourgogne wine at my favorite place. I was already feeling high just from having the event go so well, but seems it was not enough; we continued to toast a great night at Matisse.

In the middle of mix-n-mingle, I found a seat between two gentlemen and a conversation was struck up among us crew of 10. Somehow I found myself engaged in great conversation with one. Before I knew it, I was being asked out - to join him for a cigarette and a talk. Huh? As it was literally 0 degrees out, I kind of hesitated but figured what the hell, it's only 5 minutes. So I head out, feeling the eyes of my crew behind me. It's freezing. he wraps his Balenciaga scarf around me. We talk, we laugh, some people come out and smoke beside us. After about seven minutes of conversation I really can not remember the contents of, I received an invitation to Milan. He moves fast. 4 minutes later I am being kissed. Did I mention he moves fast??? The scene was ridiculously typical French: streets of Paris, winter, cold but crisp, dim street lights and a red heater over us giving the whole moment an awfully nice glow. Somehow that damned Argentine stays close in mind and I found it hard to accept the ways of the Latins with the Italian's compliments and the blatant request to 'see me again' and 'come to Milan to visit'.

A girl like myself, I had to refuse the offer to take me home because the whole thing was just too much - even for me! Five days later, I have a ticket in my hand to fly to Milan within 5 days' time. I dont think all this is really registering right now. Can someone who doesnt know you already miss you? Whatever this is, that night was definitely a first. Did I not end my last entry with a feeling that another trip is on its way?

The ending of the event has allowed me to kick back and relax the last few days and I've been driving around Paris, hanging out in the 10th indulging in delicious Indian food, meeting new people and loving the holiday feeling. Along with this new life, slowly but surely I am doing a total restock of my mobile wardrobe. Anyone from my 'previous life' might not recognize me.

Thursday night, I went to a gallery opening with friends that celebrates the architectural project by Christo, one brilliant man who uses silver nets to create a remarkable sense of light, space and design among nature; this time, along the Colorado River in Arizona. All around us were some noted Parisians from the art and fashion world, all mingling and sipping on champagne, and an ex minister popped by to check off another social duty task and took pictures with the artist. We headed off to an after-office party that while packed in some of the best looking people I've seen in a long time, obliged us to back-and-butt rub way too much with every person, without one spared centimeter. I walked home admiring every stone on the ground, every Haussmannian building around me and the walk over Pont de L'Alma overlooking the Eiffel way past midnight...the upside down leg of lace in a upside down nocturnal position.

The Grand Palais set up a cute puppet show on display, each doll the product of a different fashion house. Pretty cool but I was more focused on the wonderful hall, picturing a walze with gowns and tuxedos dancing in celebration of some Christmas soiree. When you look up at the ceiling, its like candy hanging above you...bunches of grapes, carved drapes hanging down, rolling around and tied in bows, flowers popping up in full bloom. Thanks to the narcissicm of France's past kings, we can enjoy the splendor of self-love and vanity passively these days. I saw an exhibition presenting the works of De Nittis - an aritst originally from Napoli who, upon his first entry into France, claimed to have found his real home in Paris, right at Place de Madelaine and never left.

In an attempt to keep my head above waters, I ventured on a rendez vous for coffee yesterday that ended up two hours long as it snowed outside and we continued in the evening to a dinner party - day to night with the same prospect who I met two weeks earlier at the very same cafe where we met up. Different from the former in every conceivable way but no less appealing. Smart in a very different way with a very different life. This one on the contrary did not take the bull by the reins nor did he follow the carpe diem rule aggressively, which I mostly respect above anything else. But I suspect it's the mannerism of true French conservatism with this voyager. What the hell, I have to enjoy the ride. From the moment I met him he appeared to be an exact twin of someone else I know and just before I went off to meet him I found myself wondering whether I was in it because of what it was or because somehow he reminded me so much of another that I had an irresistible need to kind of relive it, perhaps do things differently? I dismissed all that because after all, it is not relevant. People are their respective selves and shouldnt be compared.

From the collection of captains, lawyers, pilots, sales directors, artists - all from different countries, but one striking similarity: they are all Latin! And I woke up this morning, looked up and a collage of memoirs popped up in front of my eyes, against the creme colored ceiling was one word: December. Why is it that most of the greatest affairs of my life took place in the month of December? Just before the end of the year when I have to make resolutions?? Speaking of which, it is exactly 2 years to meeting him. 720 days of butterflies, heart-racing nervousness and question marks...and I believe that is more than enough time to give someone. I'm not digging, just reflecting now because I have nothing in my hands. And its really better that it remain this way. I'm done with believing the 'pretty empty' words conjured up in his head and transmitted via stupid email and skype chats.

Closure, progress, whatever. Feeling like I can somewhat control the direction my life can take from here on. I may not be a Viking that can take on the seven seas, but in my little river, I'm riding the waves fair enough in the meantime. And a new destination is around the corner.

I bid goodnight with lyrics to one of the most endearing songs, Moon River

Moon river, wider than a mile
I'm crossin' you in style some day,
Old dream maker,
You heartbreaker ...
Wherever you're goin',
I'm goin' your way.

Two drifters, off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see
We're after the same rainbow's end
Waitin' 'round the bend ...
My huckleberry friend,
Moon River, and me.

Posted by enoura 15:27 Archived in France Comments (0)


on the 'push and pull' of life

semi-overcast 13 °C

London greeted me in a sweet little home in Swiss Cottage, round the corner from Primose Hill, a celeb off the beaten track spot - none seen. It was a house out of the cute English films with a petit jardin, kitchen lost somwhere in total 90s, a photo with Prince Charles on the bookshelf and cozy Parisian furniture. Having a family home in London is real nice.. just a very different vibe from life in Paris.

Seems I am on a series of 'checking in to change the scenery' - last week Belgium, this week London. Bruges and Knokke were great getaways... loved it.

My arrival to London left me without a moment to spare. The city is completely decorated with Christmas spirit, shimmering lights, blinking strands of little white bulbs and Santa popping in here and there on the rooftops. And I was on a race to see it all. And I did. Everywhere you go, red, silver, green and gold take center stage. Harrod's and Harvey Nichols's storefront windows are incredible, out of a fairy tale.

Thursday night we went to Chisou, a great Japanese restaurant in Knightsbridge, accompanied by friends from across the Middle Eastern side of the globe. The food was a delicacy - sushi that melts in your mouth, tempura to worship and seaweed salad that looked like a bowl of freshly cut flowers you almost didnt want to touch. As with most outings in London, they tend to end rather early and we found ourselves on a hunt for an open pub - werent too lucky.

Friday was a Buenos Aires reunion with a friend I met back on the Polo fields of the Argentine suburbs. Seeing one another dressed in clothes other than the ones packed for our trip was enlightening! We seemed to look so different and obviously put together. Time also did its thing and makes you look more experienced - which is what it felt like. Dunno how to explain it. Buenos Aires felt like light years away as we walked through Hyde Park on a gorgeous sunny day and updated one another on our lives. A completely different stroll in the park. Who would have thought that 7 months down the line we would be in another place, at another time, looking back at all that's passed. It's always so intriguing how time does its thing - just breezes past you. I visited a close cousin of mine whose home really is great - great kids, great house, great couple and great people and it felt endearing and optimistic to see a household that works despite all frustrations. Makes it all look worth it and totally possible. We had an express Shabbat and just hung out. Of course, we put our heels on and four single women made their way to Hakkasan, a 2-day old restaurant that was totally booked and delicious. As I believe London is the most un-user friendly city in the world, I have no idea where I was and cannot say. We continued on to another great place for champagne and delved into deep conversations on life. It was a great pleasure to be surrounded by intellectual, fun people.

On Saturday I caught dusk falling upon us at only 4PM. How utterly depressing but locals seem to be used to it. Heading off Notting Hill, we warmed up to Italian food at Meditteraneo - every other word totally unnecessary. Family duty tends to hit me from time to time - got a call from mom who really needed to vent on petit feuds. For some reason, it made me feel so guilty that I am away, far and pursuing my own life...like I just left. But I have indeed, haven't I? Had to switch myself out and enjoy the moment because all this time, I've been trying to take the burden of responsibility that has been on me for so many years since my dad's passing. I just have to do that right now. We were invited to a private party at Anabel's - only the most legendary soiree venue in London. It was wonderful - felt like a million bucks and danced till 3:30AM as if I had not a care in the world.

Sunday - Selfridge's. Any girls heaven - complete with a visit to the 'shoe gallery'. Really, I cannot complain. I enjoyed every minute and finished off the weekend at Jak's - a locally known cafe/restaurant that took me all the way back home and made me feel like I was sitting in my grandmother's kitchen. Not one museum or gallery this time around - unless window browsing counts?? Really, I'm ashamed but I forgive myself.

On the ride home on Eurostar, which by the way granted me an upgrade both ways, I had the luxury and time of looking back and absorbing the weekend just entered into my history. Once again I found myself surrounded by beautiful, smart and funny women who are worldly and talented...and all single. And then, when I looked again, it made me think whether living this kind of life of independence, leisure and self-sufficiency makes it impossible to find family life or whether its just dependent on who you meet. I have two sides of the spectrum, beautiful talented single women with great apartments, partially owned, and married cousins with familiies and well settled. Is there a balance? Where is it? What do we need to compromise on? Are we willing to make that compromise? The question of single parenthood also came up this weekend and I dont believe I would be willing to do that. I think every child ought to have and know a mother and father. Everything else after that is uncontrollable but I dont believe it should be the job of one person nor do I feel it fair for a child to miss out on having two parental figures. It's a job for life and while someone's gotta do it, why do it alone? Just some open thoughts I guess, but they are not far fetched from where I'm looking and the people around me.

During this whole time, a certain someone has made a reappearance with messages I could only have wished to receive. And I find myself thinking, is this what I want for me? Do I really? Being away from BA is making me feel just how far it is from me as I start to build another life in another country, once again, far off on the other side of the world. I haven't forgotten - but I guess I have moved on. Whatever he says is just words and I told him that - action is key. Sometimes I'm very tempted to fall back on the thoughts and feelings that have followed me the last months but I look long and hard and see something that isnt feasible, real or worth the investment of such energy anymore. I dont know how I feel about all of it - some days I'm nostalgic and others, I just can't be bothered any longer.

Work is looking good - the big event is coming up and only 5 days away now. Simply incredible how time flies. I'm VERY excited, can't believe I'm making this thing actually happen and I really feel this is an opportunity of a lifetime that I've been given. I sometimes sit back and think 'is all this really happening?' or am I just in a long, unending dream and I'll wake up in my 2X3 office space? But it's not. I'm here in Paris. Not feeling a home yet but sometime soon. I've been thinking about that recently.. about how I would love a place of my own to decorate, about how all this might seem unstable to potential love. But then again, whoever wants something goes to the ends of earth to get. I did. Then again, I have been permanently diagnosed with a travel bug. And it's for life.

A new destination is coming up... I can feel it.

Posted by enoura 14:39 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

You've got to learn

rain 15 °C

So the initial entry was on October 10th, almost one month ago. I just havent had a chance to write but it's okay - it means I've got news.
The project I'm working on is going very well and moving forward - the big day is coming up soon. I've done my first print production here and it was so nice to be able to go global and implement my work experience elsewhere for once, for real. It's exciting to be involved in all of it even though I haven't yet visited the country in topic. But maybe soon, which means, refreshing the pages of my passport again. Not surprising! I was thinking how I wrote "change location, change luck" in my journey East to Europe from the U.S. It's very true. You never know what any decision holds and what doors it may open, and close behind you.

And funny enough, although I didnt plan on being here at all, I found a personal entry from 2009 on my expectations for the year and I didnt
remember "living in Paris" on the list. And here I am. Can it be that sometimes we really do manifest our unacknowledged thoughts in life? And last year I told someone that I had a job offer here and I was considering it. It was half true but I wasnt considering it just yet... I wanted to see/hear his reaction. And now, here I am. I'm really here.

We have to do the things in life that we really want to do. We have to, no matter what the outcome is.

A good friend paid a visit last month and through her I met some wonderful people who have become my friends, changing the way everything looks for me here. It feels more comforting and pleasant and fun to get to know new people and places I haven't been to. I've been enjoying Sunday afternoon teas, Friday night dinners in the restaurants of Saint Germain, kicked back at the cinema for mid-day matinees with sweet & salty heavenly popcorn, strolling the streets late at night, warming up to after-office coffees, falafels at the Marais and window shopping sessions discussing everything and anything that comes up while we gaze at clothes that our pockets can not currently afford. But one day soon.

In place of romance that isn't on my menu recently, I've learned to divert my thoughts and my eyes to splendid works of art on display in museums across the city, in the artistic touches of the buildings and the ways in which the water of the Seine flirts with the city lights above, creating reflections that dance on the surface for kilometers. And I, a devout, follow the flickering and lose myself in the sight before me.

I haven't spoken to my family back home too much except for emails. I can't avoid the feeling that I need to live my life right now and to experience things and learn what it is I want to do. On the bus this afternoon, the guy I work with offered me to continue the project after the event we're focused on, and mentioned that I should think how I fit in with the company rather than the other way around. First off, I have never, ever been told that. Second, no one I worked with ever let me feel I was in a give & take relationship and third, never have I had to discuss the very question. But it was good to do so because I will need to make decisions very soon. I try to envision myself renting an apt, buying things for my home, doing laundry on an ordinary Tuesday and starting a new life for at least one year - but I dont yet know where. It's nice to be a global nomad but I also don't want it to be translated incorrectly b/c its easy to draw the wrong conclusions. I just need more time before I know. And what if, for once, I just let destiny do its thing? Is that bad? After all I am here by choice already - must count for something.

I realize that I can't be in Paris and dream of Buenos Aires. It makes no sense whatsoever. It's not fair either - to anyone. If I make a decision to stay, then I will need to focus on being here, and I will need to hold off on any such plans to return to South America for a good 6 months. I need to think about it because I'm not ruling it out. It's a good location, close to NY, close to home and accessible to the best cities in Europe. It is far from BA but perhaps, for the time being, this is right. I might need some space and time away right now. That city holds both, a lot of opportunity but also, empty promises right now. And I can't live on those any more.

Every night for the last month, the nights have not passed without a dream - every night! About many different things but somehow all related. Can't believe that my head is still working even when I'm asleep...

The whole round of emails left a 13-day silence after I inquired about the pilgrimage. Not surprising. I got a reply confirming, it was an amazing experience along with a link to 410 photos of the trip and of course a "How are you doing". Exactly 15 minutes earlier, a friend informed me of a girlfriend no-more. Not surprising. No girlfriend. I knew there must have been a reason for the questions. I gave myself 7 whole days to reply and viewed the album about 6 times in full (almost). Instead of the hard knock truth I wrote a half-version on how wonderful the pics were and that I'd actually like to talk so we should catch up on Skype. I tried 3 days later with a little 'bonjour' only to get no response. Two days ago, I gave it one last shot and straight away my intuition kicked when I asked if he was scuba diving, incinuating lack of response and turns out, such a destination was actually a day away for a business trip in a beach-city - damn it, why do I do that? Why does it always kick in at the wrong time, when I dont really need it? And then "where r you?" - AGAIN!! That same stupid question I dont understand. I offered to show the Eiffel tower on video - he replied 'hold on'. I waited 20 minutes and left to go out to a birthday dinner. I mean, I am baffled by it all! All I know is that my heart was racing.

Alexander Graham Bell invented one cool effing device to allow people to communicate with one another, much better than the two tin cans and string we used as kids. Better than email. Better than FB, Skype and any other mode of communication we use today. The Phone. Why dont we use it? Why cant we? Why is it so hard to pick up the phone? Why do we hide behind screens and words? One might say the same of this blog but I just want to share a human experience, one experience among the trillions of people on earth. But I also want to hear a voice. That's the truth. I dont remember what people's voices sound like - only in my memory, and even with my really really good friends. I dont remember his voice. How wonderful is it to get a phone call, even if just for a moment or two. I dont think there is anything better. And I think I might adopt this new policy with the people in my life. Shouldn't we talk to one another rather than think about every word we choose when we write an email? It's almost staged and so thought out so we can never make a mistake or give something away for fear of making ourselves vulnerable. I contemplated calling him but I stopped myself so many times when I recalled how disappointed I had been and how I've got to learn to just forget and walk away from things that aren't working. And the fact that he hasnt decided if he's in my life or not and vice versa, there just can't be a half-way here, no more. And it means I have to decide because he obviously can't.

If 'carpe diem' is going to mean anything in my life since it was last told to me - that morning in the Arrivals hall at Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires on March 10th with the taxi voucher in my hand, the early rain falling outside and an equal amount of tears I was fighting so hard but did not let me breathe or swallow them down with a BIG question mark hovering over my head - then I should learn to implement. Seize the day and trust as little as possible in the future because all that is unknown. After all, I am in Paris and nothing should stop me now.

Posted by enoura 15:13 Archived in France Comments (0)

Citizen of the World

sunny 20 °C

With 2 passports, 5 spoken languages, 3 foreign books at my bedside, which I read devotedly every night (one chapter per book per day for the sake of lingering), my laptop from NY, Italian music playing on my iPOD, a Duty Free Shopping bag from Beirut containing German-brand makeup and a heart full of dreams spanning this earth in directions, I am more than a Pilgrim. I am a wanderer, a globe trotter and more than anything, a citizen of the world.

Sunday night, the last line of my previous entry read “I’m going to try to make history this week. Something has to change.” Well, I did. Follow up pays off. I landed a project with a prestigious heritage fund, coordinating an event here in Paris in less than two months. Dignified work. Important missions. And paid. It feels good to accomplish that and it’s nice to wake up in the morning with a goal and things to do. It’s going to be interesting and I hope that it will open more doors in the very near future. I'm excited about it, although right now, it's mostly the research phase. First euro-paid job - DONE.

A good friend is in town from Tel Aviv, after returning from a trip around the world, selling her house in Amsterdam, shipping her things and making "Aliyah" to Israel. We met on Monday at noon, outside the Opera metro station and hugged for 5 minutes without saying anything. I really missed that and it was so good to be in the presence of a good friend again! We spent a gorgeous day enjoying tea (8euros at Cafe de la Paix, to be avoided at all costs!!), went window shopping on Rue St. Honore and had lunch at a little corner sandwich joint with the locals. Afterwards we had a mini siesta on the freshly cut grass at the Tuileries gardens and some more cathcing up. It was so nice out, the sun lured us to Notre Dame and we indulged in special treats at Cacao & Chocolate on Ile St. Louis, sat on a wall overlooking the Seine and hung out again like teenagers. So much fun and looking forward to a night out tomorrow and Friday for a day in the Marais. I’m getting used to Paris life and the splendid views, there is so much to see and do although people are somewhat still a challenge here, despite the fact that I speak French pretty well and get by perfectly on my own. Geting pushed and shoved sometimes is a little annoying though and a little 'sorry' would be nice from time to time - Friendliness is not a forte though food certainly is.

There is something about living in different places that gives you something more than what "grounded" people might have. My travels and life in various countries makes me very exposed to things, learning all the time. I recently made the acquaintance of a new friend who is part French part Ivory Coast, beautiful, well educated and very, very worldly. There is something you can't deny, there is nothing ordinary about this kind of life. It is extraordinary in many ways. Even though the geography changes, bringing with it unstability to many degrees, I'm finding it so important to learn to be stable and grounded inside. To know and be sure of who you are no matter where your home is, temporary or permanent. It's an important achievement, independent of place, time and anything else. It's something that I have not earned just yet, but am realizing. The last few days reminded me of a time back in March and April when I was just learning this principle and it shook something in me.

A few nights ago, even though it’s more than I’d like to ever admit to myself, much less to unknown eyes, I browsed someone’s profile to find that he too, was on a ‘pilgrimage’… in Spain. A brief description of location was there and comments, one of which I need not mention, tugged inside. This came after recent email communication, albeit brief, along the lines of ‘where are you’, ‘what are you doing there’, questions directed to me, to which the answers are clear but posed for reasons unknown.

So there I was, in the middle of my aunt’s beautiful lounge overlooking the Eiffel tower, the Out of Africa movie running in the background (amazing film), my laptop in my hands; but everything suddenly froze. My eyes were glued to the computer screen and in one second, I am taken somewhere else, back to a time, months ago, when I wandered with many questions on my mind and a bruised heart. And I felt it all over again; that huge confusion. Why is he so interested, asking about my life and not sharing his own? Why ask if you don't really care. I’m not sure I can handle being his friend right now and for this reason, I don’t ask anything because I’m afraid to know. Isnt that honest enough? Makes me no less a coward though, I know. Questions from him confuse me and only make me think that maybe there is another motive. This ‘friendship’ is so limited in information, in real ground - it's just a gnawing at the heart. For what?? All I got was disregard for my presence in Argentina - I was hurt then and obviously still angry for not saying something sooner but after all, I am a part of this stupid game as well and so no one to blame.

In an attempt to break the unknown, and respond to the questions I never asked, I decided to let him know that I know, and to try to put the power back where it belongs – evenly between us on the scale with Lady Liberty – and told him I wasnt aware that he was on a pilgrimage but well done. I have moments when my intuition kicks in and I don’t like it, because it can be right many times and it’s much less comfortable than believing “what you don’t know won’t hurt you”, because not knowing hurts. Back at square one with another aspect of my life. This was 4 days ago - no answer - which may also be an answer.

So bizarre, the timing, that right now, I'm involved in a heritage related project as he is in an actual pilgrimage. Our lives seem to be in parallel but not together. Just might be the lesson of my life and less so, the love of my life, even though it feels like a mix of the two. And he did get the Compostela. Honored, rewarded and one step closer to wherever it is he is going. I think it's time to 'cross' this one out, sadly. I write it, but trust me, I far from feel it. How many more cities will I visit with this feeling? As a citizen of the world, open to anything, I want to let someone else into my heart.

And for historical record, as I write, heroes are lifting the gold miners in Chile, out of the dark and into the light, just like from a womb and back into the world all over again, proving that human will and courage is above all else. If there is a will, there has got to be a way.

Posted by enoura 13:56 Archived in France Comments (0)

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