I have fallen in love with a dynamic city. I am in London. Who knew….
2 December 2015
The café culture in Paris is a way of life. And this culture, if anything, sets apart the French from the rest of the world. A Parisian is going to stop into a café with someone or alone. They are going to sit down, light up a cigarette and order an espresso, beer or glass of wine. The will in no way be inclined to do anything other than take in the moment and watch people as they walk by. Not one of them will pull out a laptop or proceed to be ‘productive’. A French waiter will never bring you the check until you ask for it. Usually at least twice. You’re practically expected to wile away hours sipping and talking. This is why the Parisian café exists.
As an American I find it difficult to partake in this aspect of their culture. Not because I don’t enjoy espresso and people watching, because trust me, I do! It’s because I not only don’t speak the French language more than ‘un petit peu’, but I also don’t smoke. Add to the fact that I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke and there is no way to find a café where you are not bombarded with it the moment you sit down. This seemingly lovely cultural pass time is wherein lies the widest chasm for me. Even though my ancestry is from Northern France in the Normandy Coast that goes back over 500 years…Je suis Américaine, Je ne suis pas Française.
Relationships between people in France seem very intimate. The double kiss upon greeting, as well as depature. The closeness of couples in public. The sense of comfortability in who they are and how they interact with one another is apparent. Within cities, there are large amounts of individuals who keep to themselves, but those who partake in engaging with others have a welcoming atmosphere to connect.
As an American I do hope to find a way to let the inspiration of French café culture make a difference in how I approach my day to day life. My favorite way to breathe and take a moment is to go for a walk. A walk around my neighborhood, a walk around the lake, a stroll through the city, venturing out when I travel and walking all over the place. That is my favorite way to experience life, though I have to say for the most part it is very solitary. Making a shift in how I spend my free time is something I feel as though I need to do to start letting people back into my life.
The Paris café of yesteryear still graces the essence of the modern day café. Enjoy it if you can!
©2015 Trishann Couvillion | Images not to be used without permission
And I have missed you. Since we last spoke so many things have happened in my life. My prior musings here began just after I had moved to New Orleans around Halloween 2012. My time there was wonderful, albeit it brief. Luckily, I was recently in NOLA for Jazz Fest 2015 ….and to celebrate my upcoming 40th birthday with friends! It was fun! Bourbon & Blues baby!
The reason I have been quiet is that many things, some rather traumatic things have happened since I moved back to Seattle around the beginning of 2013. I landed a full time medical photography job which was wonderful and intense and challenging as I was training in some additional technologies I hadn’t worked with before. I was dating someone who I had grown deeply in love with and yet was rather overwhelmed by as well. After awhile it was best we end our relationship due to the hurtful nature that our relationship had taken, which was difficult but necessary. And in the summer of 2013, just 3 week after purchasing my very first brand new car, I was involved in an auto accident where a semi-truck hit three automobiles and totaled my new car. It only had 675 miles on it. AND it happened while I was on my way to the airport to fly to Long Beach, California for a 4-day weekend to celebrate my birthday. My injuries were ones that progressed after the day of the accident and have altered my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
Within a few weeks after the accident I started to experience horrific, jolt-awake-half-scared-to-death nightmares revolving around the accident. Giant heavy things falling out of the sky and almost crushing me, hard heavy objects slamming into me. One nightmare consisted of reliving my actual car accident, but I was standing right next to the back of my car as it was smashed into. Another involved a gigantic tarantula as it made it’s way into my bedroom, leapt up onto my furniture and then just as it was turning to jump down onto my bed and about to pounce on me, I was abruptly startled awake…Thankfully! So, maybe not surprisingly, I began to lose a lot of sleep. I soon started seeing a psychologist and she diagnosed me with PTSD. As I was losing more and more sleep my full-time medical photography job was getting harder and harder to focus on. Exhaustion was causing my life to fall apart. Three months after the accident I broke down at work one afternoon, having locked myself in the camera room and bawled my eyes out for awhile. I talked with my manager that afternoon and I had to have my hours reduced. Then sadly, five months after the accident I was laid off. So here I was, beyond exhausted, in a tremendous amount of pain, overwhelmed and afraid for my present and future. Anxiety, depression and pain and fear are an awful combo. Yeah, I would say looking back that not only was that afternoon of the accident an awful one, but I had no idea how much that car accident, that one instance, would change the scope of my life for the next 21+ months and counting.
And now, here we are coming close to two years post accident and I am still having to take my life day by day and am still figuring out how to balance earning a living while, dealing with ongoing chronic back pain and getting all the rest my body still literally demands!!
Well, as an ode to allowing myself to envision my life moving forward and to stay true to my dreams I decided a few months ago that since my 40th birthday is approaching and for years I’ve been saving for a ‘trip of a lifetime’ to celebrate, I have made a point to buy a one way ticket to Paris and I leave October 5th! Yay! I am coming back, I just haven’t fully decided exactly when yet. I hope to spend a number of months photographing through some of the most beautiful cities and countries within the Europe while writing and blogging about my experiences. Dreaming about and planning this trip has been such a boost to my state of mind. It has allowed me to smile and enjoy the process of thinking about it and the much needed joy of anticipating it. It has given me something to look forward to. So, all that being shared I would like to invite you to subscribe to my blog so that while I am in Europe you can see what I have been up to, where I have been and share a bit in the experiences that I am sure to have. Photography and writing are two things I truly feel drawn to do and yet have had to be put to the wayside because of the last few years of my life. One day. One day has become my daily mantra as I struggle through trying to feel like myself again. One day is becoming today. It is time to feel like myself again and I am doing everything I can to get back to that place.