I finished my morning French class and joined W near his work at L'Opera for lunch. We sat down at a posh new-concept Italian restaurant with wood and metal interiors that gave the place a modern yet earthy feel. The entire exterior wall had collapsed and opened like a window, allowing in so much sunlight that it felt like we were on a terrace.
We ordered a delicious tomato mozzarella thin crust pizza and pasta salad to share, then proceeded to poke fun at eachother until the food arrived (apparently now our favorite past time, because well, being nice is just not fun). I demanded that we speak in French, and was surprised by how easily my sentences were forming. I had only been here for two weeks, yet the mentality of a permanent move has given me such enormous motivation that I jump at every opportunity to speak. Even when alone, I find myself sounding out phrases and new expressions, obsessively listening and correcting for pronunciation.
W and I parted after lunch, and I headed back to the 6th arrondisement, an area by Jardin du Luxembourg filled with beautiful 17th century architecture and boutiques. The weather had been extraordinary since my arrival, with nothing but glorious sunshine at a constant low-70s weather everyday. I had never seen Paris bathed in such warm sunlight from morning to night, with days so long that darkness would not fall until nearly 11pm. This made for wonderful outdoor dinners and festivities that lasted well into night (the music festival was just last week).
As I walked around the area window shopping, I felt oddly comfortable and at ease. For sure, language barriers led to moments of frustration and anxiety, dealing with French paperwork and processes prevented all my efforts at efficiency, and there were inevitable moments of angry ruthless comparison to other cities. But I was adapting and the city was growing on me.
It's imperative to keep an open mind, I told myself, and to understand that Paris may never offer what New York had given me, and I should never force upon it what it is not and cannot be. But if I am willing to learn, discover and love it with my heart, it is more than capable of granting me the most extraordinary experiences beyond my wildest dreams.