Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today we visited petit Palais in Paris.

petit Palais
And by the way, today Sabine and I went to the City of Paris' Fine Art Museum called petit Palais.  Because it is a city museum, it is free to enter.  I had never been there before and what a wonderful pleasant surprise it was.  Due to my companion, I didn't take advantage of the audio guide.  Come to think of it, she will be two years old in about 2 weeks which means actually that I haven't used an audio guide for about two years!

If you are in Paris right now and are intrigued by India, there is a temporary exhibit going on right now which is photography called "Women changing India".  It was really wonderful and goes until Jan 8, 2012.  Surprisingly, the pamphlet contained English information so that was nice and again, FREE to get in!

Woman with a Monkey 1908 by Camille Alaphilippe and Sabine

Most of our observations were based on one word descriptions such as: hat, dog, moon, ball, baby or bressie (which is what she calls breasts).  Sadly, I also didn't take many photos - but here are few to give you an idea.

Glorious Ceiling mural
The museum itself was build for the 1900 universal exhibition - and became a museum just two years later.  It contains massive murals on the ceilings/walls, famous paintings, stained glass, flowing stair cases,  elegant sculptures and mosaic tile floors you want to steal. The art ranges from Ancient Greece to WW1.

French Actress Sarah Bernhardt 1876

Outside surrounding the oval gardens.

2012 and resolutions

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.  
-Philosopher Alan Watts

Almost a month to the day since my last entry.  Well, Transition Kitchen was doing some introspection ...and still am. But I do feel some external pressure to work some, if not most, of it out by the end of the year.  That gives me three days! 

I just feel ready for some new lifestyle changes. 

Some I have been already talking big about doing, learning to sew and redoing the living room.  You know, engaging my creative side a bit. 

Some I haven't been talking about, like attempting to create a real sense of community for myself and our family.  There is a lot of thought behind that one that I really do not have the words yet to share.  I will though - because this is a struggle that many of us people living abroad face if not consistently, but certainly intermittently as that is the way it goes.  People come and people go - that is the one thing you can bet on. 

Another thing I want to do is start to see a therapist.  I have some home-sickness issues that are just really hard to express to:

a)my friends back home which can't really understand, not really - and if they can, I don't think they can, so that is the same thing.  Additionally, I really don't want to be a perpetual complainer or downer. 
b)my friends here, some of which wouldn't go back to their native country if you paid them.  There are the others which completely understand and feel the same way that I do, but we don't generally find resolve except it feels good to have someone understand. 
c)People who I have met here but have already left - these are the ones that make me the most mad ;)
d)French people who think I am an American elitist exceptionalist and believe my dissatisfaction with living here to be a slight on them.  Sadly, it took me too long to figure that out!  And poor Hicham, my delightful husband, he tries to be helpful and he is incredibly supportive but at the end of the day, it is my problem. 

This blog has been instrumental in finding my voice again and recording (particularly with photos) many of the days we have lived here.  It has been helpful to go back and look at good times and remind myself that it isn't THAT tragic to live here.  And I do try to be honest and authentic, and not sugar coat to give the impression that my life is fabulous darling. 

So, 2012 here we come and I have a handful of resolutions that I intend to take on, here are just a few... 

  • I am, as I mentioned, still doing some soul searching around what needs to change for 2012.    I also am eager to jot them down and put them down in real-life terms.  For example, not just "blog more" - but "blog every week".  This is down from what I want really, but I do think it is a bit more realistic.  I thrive on deadlines, so most likely I will throw in a "by Sunday 10pm".  And if I do more, hey - that is great!

  • Ironically, I feel that for more balance in my life, I would like to be on the computer less.  As mentioned in a previous blog, I didn't used to own a tv or a computer because I wanted to engage with real life.  But since coming to France, the computer has become my gateway to the world.  Both for providing more stimulation than my wonderful 2 year old can provide (listening to NPR while we are playing with playdoh for example) and for ENGLISH ANYTHING!  So, that needs some adjustment as well.  

Change is usually hard, especially at first, but I am ready for it.  And anyway, it isn't like quitting my job, leaving my friends, selling almost all my stuff and moving to a foreign country!  No, I am talking about lifestyle tweekings. 

  • Another one is going to bed earlier and getting up less tired.  This one may not be reasonable since Hicham, like most French people work until 7pm.  By the time he has biked home, showered and changed it is usually 8:15.  So, going to bed at 10?  Not sure.  Sabine and I used to actually wait until he got home to eat dinner, but when she started going to her morning stop and play place - well, that just wasn't reasonable.  I used to think it was unreasonable to NOT eat as a family - and see, I changed that :(  So, now Sabine and I eat around 6:30 and she goes to be right around 8pm.  Hicham reads her a couple of stories and then nighty night.

  • Another one is giving back more or just plain giving more.  One way I plan to manifest this is to send a card, letter or care package EVERY SINGLE week to someone I love.  I am often bitter that my friends don't call or write me.  Well, do I?  I am gonna start!  So, if you are a reader of this blog and would like a little lil something sent to you - even if I don't know you in person, email me your address and one of these weeks, I will be mailing a little who knows what from Paris.  My neighbor left a little cute treat at our door when we were on vacation - it was so sweet.  My cousins sent a beautiful holiday card - it was so nice to know they were thinking of me/us.  I want to do that for others too!  And on a selfish note, imagine how it will make me feel to do it too!  

In the states, we are set up to do stuff like that from May Day Baskets to Trick or Treating to buying lemonade from a local kid ... (okay, all those examples center around evil sugar - but still - you get what I am saying).  Here not so much, or at least not in Paris, a huge city!  And if you read my entry about making societal change in a foreign country you'll remember that contributing or being a part of something bigger than your little life is harder when abroad.  But if you get creative and ponder other ways that can be manifested, I am hopeful there are ways to share energy - even if just in the form of a postcard to a friend or blog reader!

So, send me your email if you want a surprise in the mail!