Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bon Voyage

Since I wasn't able to keep up with my blog while traveling I thought I would post some excerpts from the emails I sent to friends and family. This one is about my arrival.

After my arrival I discovered that my housing is actually at the
University of Paris. That in and of itself was thrilling to me. The
campus is beautiful and my room is more than I could have hoped for.
But what blessed me the most was that I was immediately befriended by
two of the residents, Yun from China and Hachim from Algeria. Yun
showed me the ropes ( God bless her!) and took me to the grocery
store. Later Hachim invited me to eat a home cooked dinner that he and
three other of his Algerian friends had cooked! They were surprised
and delighted that I am a fan of their countryman, the violinist
Djamel Ben Yelles, and I can't begin to tell you how much better and
more at home their hospitality made me feel. Who would have thought
that immediately upon my arrival I would be so embraced? Talk about
having your steps ordered.

This morning I had to go out and buy a few odds and ends to prepare my
meals with, so I ventured up where i knew there was a large immigrant
community and the shopping is cheap. I ended up wandering into the
largest open air market I have ever seen. The market was packed and
loud and beautiful. They sold everything from fresh fish to underwear
- but for me the most beautiful thing of course was the incredible
mixture of people from every race and nationality. A lot of Tunisians,
Algerians, Moroccans, Africans, etc ... And let me tell you, I have
really been enlightened on the scope of what is African Attire! But
this is the Paris that I love. The Champs Elysees and Eiffel Tower are
beautiful, but for me it is that Paris is such an international city,
and the immigrants here do not feel the pressure to assimilate. Here
the Africans wear their African attire all of the time.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back Home?

I arrived back in the states last Friday.
After being gone for eight weeks, I find myself once again experiencing reverse culture shock.
The only thing I really missed about home was my sons and the ease of knowing how to function here. (Searching for something as simple as tissue in the middle of Paris when you have a cold and the need is immediate is frustrating to say the least)
But I miss the beauty of the architecture in Europe. The fabulous quality of everyday food. The cities dripping with flowers, and the extreme kindness of nearly everyone I met.

I'm already planning for next year . . .