Everything has it’s good and bad sides. Strengths have a shadow side of weakness, weaknesses have the possibility of strengths.
What I call the French attitude — like opening your restaurant only when you want to — is an example of good and bad.
Bad that you don’t have control over when you go there. You don’t get to do what you want. Good that it keeps you spontaneous in the moment. Look, it’s open. Let’s go.
More good than bad to practice letting go of what I think I want. More good than bad to be open to what the moment offers.
A theme of this trip.
We arrived in Paris and the uncertainty of the past days was simply not there anymore. My achy body stopped aching and I had more energy. The toll of stress.
I forgot how much I love Paris, even if it is extraordinarily cold here. We have only a few days. What to do? My acquisitiveness for seeing everything has lessened and I feel free to go with the flow. Just to be present to whatever is in front of us. Let one thing lead to another. So we visited Jean in her new life here and walked around her neighborhood, well outside the tourist areas. We ate in a restaurant that apparently is open only when the proprietor feels like it. There is no menu, only what she has on hand to cook. Very cool. When she learned we were from New York she got her little figure of the Statue of Liberty to show us. Her food was great. Than we went walking in the local markets: the flowers, the chocolate, the fruit, the bread, the fresh fish and meat, the cheese and quince paste. Oh my. A livable city. Of course one must also make it so. Seeing old friends is a pleasure as we recognize one another’s ways with familiarity.
Then, because it was raining, we took a Hop On Hop Off Bus and rode around the city. Learned about the sites. Took a boat ride on the Seine. Ate in Quasimodo’s cave, where I had beef fondue which I cooked in wine.
Margie has left the planning of this trip up to me, which raises lots of complicated feelings. I am proud of myself that I can get around on public transportation, mainly buses. I can pick out what I want to do, which is lovely but then I feel uneasy because maybe she wants to do something different and is not saying. Oy. That is in the realm of manufacturing things to worry about.
Stress works on the body. The mind works on the feelings.
No passport, no flight.
So began our vacation.
No Reykjavik, no Paris.
Air tran, E train, Metro North
Connecticut, not Europe
Shaken, sad, angry,
a stranger offers kindness
She sees that I’m stuck
She frees me from the burden
She says, “Have a cup of tea”