Hello from France.
I'm sitting on the couch of our little holiday apartment (and I mean little as in cute AND very small.). The windows are open and I can hear cars and motorcycles, dogs barking, people speaking French. I'm waiting for Sam to arrive. His plane should have landed, so it won't be long now. I will be glad to have someone to talk to, someone to kiss on the steps of little churches, someone to speak French on my behalf. I've done okay communicating; it's just exhausting and sort of scary.
I've walked A LOT since I got here. Today I walked for four hours. I could have taken the metro but I wanted to see things and now the city makes some sense. I got lost a few times, but what does lost matter when you're in Paris?
I remembered that travel--particularly when you're alone and in a country where you don't speak the language--boils you down to your essential elements. I am feet, eyes, and stomach. I walk, see stuff, and eat when I'm hungry. It's strange to have my mouth closed for so many hours of the day.
And now I shall report a series of small events/observations:
*We flew Icelandair, which I'm a fan of. The stewardesses were tall blondes with hats and ruffley white cravats. The airport in Iceland was small and stylish--dark hardwood floors, strange grey angles, big windows, and tinkling techno-ish music piped over the loudspeaker. I could live there.
*Sam arranged for someone associated with the apartment rental company to pick me up. They were half an hour late, so I was standing by all the people holding signs, craning my neck to see if any of the signs said my name, worrying I was in the wrong place. Finally, I saw a man holding a sign that said "Sami Ruddick." Surely this was a confusion of Sam's name, but Sami also happens to be the name of Sam's ex-girlfriend. (I know, Sam and Sami.) For a moment when I saw the sign, I wondered if I had hallucinated this whole thing: perhaps Sam had married Sami and I was just a crazy stalker trying to crash their honeymoon. I worried the two of us (Sami and I) would arrive at this man at the same time and my lovely bubble would be burst. Luckily, this was not so.
*Yesterday afternoon I walked to Luxemburg Gardens and ate lunch in a green metal chair. It was sunny yesterday, so the garden was full of people. Little kids set toy sailboats out on a fountain, then chased them around and poked them with long wooden sticks.
*After my walk, I was so tired my eyes hurt, so tired I wanted to cry, so tired I accidently put face wash on my toothbrush, and went to bed at 6:30.
*Today, under the Eiffel tower, I saw a group of preschoolers on a field trip, wearing little hats and backpacks, shouting in French, and chasing one another. One little boy had a clear backpack full of small baguettes. I don't know why I loved that little boy and his baguette backpack so much.
*I got accused of hating Africa when I wouldn't sign some petition some man shoved at me. That was odd.
*I read in my guidebook that sometimes people will try to pickpocket you by pretending to find a piece of jewelry on the ground just as you get close. I remembered this AFTER a girl on the path found a gold wedding band and made a big deal about it. I said maybe it belonged to a man walking just ahead of us, and kept going. Then I remembered the scam part and double-checked the presence of my wallet and camera about four hundred times. I have them. I watched other girls do this to tourists several more times, but they didn't seem to pickpocket. I don't get it.
That's it for now, folks. Sam should be here any minute. I hope he'll be willing to talk. I want to speak English.