Wednesday, December 5, 2012

This Christmas in Paris Style

It’s my favourite time of the year again. For me, December is the warmest time of the year, not on the outside, but inside. I like it because it’s a time where we can do nice things for the people we love and care for no other reason than simply because we love and care for them. So first and foremost, I would like to wish all my friends and family members a merry Christmas and to share this time with the ones you love on this very special time of the year. I don’t know, maybe do something nice for them. I will now share the last part of my trip with you. It’s Paris - The city of love. (I know this is long, but if you have to skip, jump to the last paragraph)

I was really excited for Paris. After All, I’ve heard so much about the city, how it’s like the city of lights, love, romance, and a bunch of other descriptors, but above all I was excited because it was the first city where I will have some ability to communicate with people. I couldn't wait to show off my standard government issue French in high school, of which Ms. Zallen gave me a pity B 73% for my enthusiasm about the language. I am not going to lie, most of that energy came from the wrong place. From my sarcastic attempt to make fun of the language, but in doing so I learnt some, even if it was at a superficial level. Though I was never able to really to string together a sentence, I was able to say the words believably enough.

So we landed and I am reading the signs and I am understanding them perfectly. “Bagages, Taxi, Sortie...” I thought Paris was going to be a cakewalk. As soon as we got into the taxi, we had a problem. The driver didn’t understand where we wanted to go. I knew what the problem was though, the driver didn’t speak very good french, and I didn’t speak French at all it turns out. Because we all know you have to be a minority to drive a taxi at a major city. But it was ok, I saved the address on Google maps and even the map itself on my phone.

Paris is cool. It’s Louis Vuitton on a city scale. It’s glamorous and some parts of the city felt very grandeur. It really was a city that delivers what it promises on the brochure, and looks the way it does like in the magazines too. With 12 million people, you’d expect the streets to be packed, but surprisingly it is not. Unless you’re walking on Champs-Élysées, the most famous street in France. That’s because the city limit is huge, 17,000km2. Compared with New York city, 19 million people living at a space of 10,000km2. Yeah NYC is packed, Paris is not, and the streets... look surprisingly drivable.

The city was definitely very alive and I think I know why Paris is called the city of lights and the city of love. The lights part is pretty self explanatory, the place was bright... like all the time. That’s just the result of a big city in my opinion, it’s not like there’s a choreographed light show going on every night or anything like that. Though it would be a damned great idea, if they can afford it. Paris is the city of love because Parisians invented a lifestyle where they budget time out of their days, weeks, months, and years, and dedicate that time to leisure. Somehow that’s ok in Paris, it’s even valued, like “Oh you found time to just sit here and stare at the river at 2 o’clock on a Monday, damn... you must be very successful, you probably run your own business.” Take another one. “Those guy’s aren’t ordering wine or liquor with their lunch, they must be planning to rob a bank later, they’re up to no good.” The Parisian mentality is just a little different because everyday is Christmas day. Work is always a part-time affair, it should be balanced with a lifestyle. The great Parisians are able to incorporate work into their leisure time. Hence, the fashion industry is very popular in Paris. Paris is not just a city of love, it’s a city of lifestyles, love is just the most expressive form of that lifestyle. Still I can’t help but think that my Paris trip was a little bit of a missed opportunity on my part. I think Paris is best experienced with a romantic companion because everyone’s stress level is so low. You feel like you have an extra hour to spend in your day. Eventually everyone is more passionate and more expressive because that’s what’s normal in Paris. Which brings me full circle back to the holidays and what it’s about. Christmas is like a mini-vacation except you have to go nowhere to experience it. Just like in Paris, everyone’s attitude is different for a while, there’s love in the air. Take this chance, which comes only once a year, and be a Parisian for the holidays. Spread the love, show your care and they will greet you back and you will be loved. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.