Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An American in Paris

I'm sitting in my small and charming apartment in le Marais. Slightly buzzed on côtes-du-rhône, and très contente.

It's hard to write anything other than PARIS IS AMAZING AND I LOVE IT HERE for this post, and while that is true that's rather boring.

Paris is amazing and I do love it here. Everything is beautiful, everything is delicious, and the children (not to mention the rest of the population) are so well dressed.  I can walk 15 minutes from my apartment and be at the Palais du Louvre, which is incredible. I skip home with a freshly baked baguette that requires no butter, or jam, or nutella, or anything it already tastes so good on it's own. I spent Sunday afternoon wandering around the left bank with a gentleman who told me my eyes are brilliant. Life is pretty great here.

A lot of my life feels the same. I work, I see my Thread team every day for huddle, I grocery shop and cook myself food. I wake up and do yoga, and go running. At the same time, everything is scary. Every time I leave my flat it requires concentration and learning and the probability of making a fool of myself, and that is thrilling and fun and nerve-wracking.

I am very much alone here. But I don't feel lonely.

Having this space (literally an ocean's worth of space from real life) with time to think, and walk, and write, and draw, and eat, and read, and sip espresso, and people watch is wonderful.

Maybe one day I'll reach a point in my normal life where I can build real time for all of those things in my day to day. Maybe I'll get better at treating my beloved Pittsburgh like a tourist and forcing myself to go, and see, and appreciate the things I take for granted as a local. Maybe I'll learn to really get out of my comfort zone without having to go half way around the world.

Until then, I'm seeking asylum in Paris.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dirty Dishes

There is a certain satisfaction waking up the morning after you've had a party, and your furniture is still slightly askew, and there is a pile of dishes in your sink, and you're finding glasses set down in corners and on top of bookshelves.

I love it. I love the evidence that there was a bunch of people hanging out in my space. Cleaning up doesn't even phase me because I am so happy that it happened.

In college, at the Polyhouse, after big parties on Saturdays we would spend Sunday mornings drinking pots of coffee and eating waffles, and then the 6 of us would clean all afternoon, trying to get the spilled beer smell out of the living room carpet, and would eventually make dinner. Is it weird that some of my most nostalgic memories from college come from cleaning up after parties with my roommates as opposed to the parties themselves?

I hosted a pot-luck on Friday to welcome home my boss, Ian, from the desert, and as a house-warming for myself. It was crowded and loud and fun and I loved it. This new living situation of mine is wonderful for a lot of reasons, not least of which is that I can entertain again.

I was in the kitchen, getting drinks and helping people find serving spoons for their dishes.

"Kelsey, do you want help putting out the salsa?" asked Heather.

"Sure," I said. "Here are some bowls to put them in," and handed her bowls.

"You can just send them out," said Aunt Janet* "they're ok in the containers they're in."

"Oh no," I said. "I mean, I know no one cares, but they need to be put in pretty dishes."

"I understand," said Heather, scooping the salsa into the bowls.

"My Mom and Aunties would be relieved to know this happened," I explained.

So presentation resulted in some extra dirty dishes. It made the women who raised me proud, even if they don't know it, and it made me happy to see them stacked in the sink the following morning.

*Aunt Janet is technically Ian's Aunt, but everyone calls her Aunt Janet, and I've adopted her as an aunt here in Pittsburgh.