06 June 2005

Willing to be willing

From Dan Werb’s review of Lauren B. Davis’s book, The Radiant City:

“People come to Paris to work out something, to try a dream that may very well have failed at home. They believe they can either forget themselves, or find themselves...that’s the thing about Paris: you may not be changed in the way you dreamed of, but you will certainly be altered...[Paris is] a city that is both beautiful and brutal.”

Even before I arrived, I began to get the impression that my stay here would not be easy. I am not sure what my motivation was for leaving home for six weeks and leaving my partner and pets to fend for themselves...but I trust there is something to be learned. I made my plans almost a year ago, and whatever I had in mind then is not apparent to me now. If I allowed it, I could definitely be homesick. But, there is no return from those thoughts and I will not go there.

I tried to explore my environs today, and went to St. Joseph’s, an “American” Catholic church. There were many Filipinos, Sri Lankans, some Africans, a smattering of Brits and others. But, I am certain I was the only American there. It was sort of disappointing. I guess I wanted to commune with some New Englanders or something. Nothing is what you expect it to be in Paris.

Next Sunday I will try the American Cathedral on avenue George V. There seem to be opportunities for socializing. I don’t usually like to socialize. Being a stranger in a strange land has made me willing-to-be-willing.

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