When a young girl in Sweden, I remember that all stores closed in the early afternoon on Saturdays. Errends had to be taken care of during the week or in the morning hours of that day. Now all that has changed, most stores are open late on Saturdays and on Sundays and with the malls one can do shopping also in the evenings.
Here in France, shops are still closed on Sundays and it has an interesting effect on the French way of life. A sense of tranquility spreads. Sundays are for pure joy and relaxing, going to the park or visiting friends.
Normally, I am not the person advocating for time to be tuned back (nor using biblical headings). But is it really a good idea to have access to shoppning every day? What weekday is for relaxing and going to the park in Sweden?
I need no more. I'm done, I'm well, je suis contente!
I fell upon the most magic evening. A friend and I went to Belleville to watch the open ateliers - once a year the artists of Belleville open their homes and ateliers for the public. Suddenly, we were in a crowded room, free kir (white wine and flavour, the classic is cassis/blackcurrent), colorful people, kids, paintings and a sound installation with chanting birds. Someone made a "cling-cling" with a glass and wished us welcome to the concert next door. We went into a church room, beautifully decorated in all white with white candles everywhere. Over the stage it said in gold "Dieu est amour" - God is love. A goodlooking guitar player with an even better looking guitar came in, sat down and started to play. A redhaired singer came in, put on her guitar and started singing French chansons lika an angel, the texts were funny (I could understand quite a lot!), I befriended the older man next to me, and when people sang along...
It was a moment which is hard to explain in the blogformat.
What is up in rest of Europe? France is in celebration mood after the somber rememberance of the victims of the second world war yesterday...8th of May and 61 years since the war ended. Here in France it is of course a national holiday. That the day following the 8th of May has been named "Fête l'Europe" just seems self-explanatory. First there was a war, then EU was created to never have war again! (The Schuman declaration was signed on the 9th of May 1950 and was the beginning of the coal and steel union) Let's have a day for Europe!
- How the French celebrate it? They light up the Eiffeltower and the Arch de Triomphe in blue!
Bush is often critizised for being a stupid guy. This week, he didn't try to prove anyone wrong, he just went with the flow. Do as Bush, embrace what is you. Do as Bush, love your shortcomings. Do as Bush, laugh at yourself.
Um, yeah, and follow this link so you know what I am talking about… http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2006/bush-bridges-p1.php
These little hang-ups that form a life. When you go to live somewhere new it is like blowing your routines up with a big bang. But the funny part is that when the dust settles, new, fresh, little greenish, habits are beautifully framing your life, once again.
After a few months in Paris the dust has settled and I wake up every morning to my sister's voice. She is saying "Tjolahopp" (not possible to translate) in a recording on my cell phone. Then I turn it off about three times before I get up. I shower in the most despicable shower with small flies on the walls – I endure them by singing ANC-songs from the Apartheid times. That makes the flies seem like a tiny problem. Then I get dressed – nowadays fancy office wear – and drink a yoghurt on my way to the Metro. This is a good way of "eating" breakfast even though you have slept away the time to do so. In the Metro, I grab the free paper 20 minutes. It is a competitor to the Swedish success Metro and has won me over because of the simple fact that it is half the size and thereby possible to read in the crowded Metro. I always make sure to look up to when the Metro pass the Eiffel tower, that’s a view I can never get tired of…When the weather is good I get off a station before mine and walk past fruit shops, mailmen, school kids, dog owners and everybody else on the lively 16th arrondissement street. Turning round the corner, I stop at the quartier boulangerie and buy a croissant (I promise, I do) which I eat in front of the computer when checking my emails.
On the way home my routine is not to have a routine. I always try to find a new way home. Today it will be taking Metro 6 to station Franklin D. Roosevelt, changing to M2 which will take me to Place de la Bastille. Ok, this isn't really a straight track home, but rather to a rendez-vous with other OECD interns and with a glass of white wine.
Eternal Student - and now also lecturer - from Sweden living in Ghana with my Ghanaian partner, studying migration and what it does to the higher education system in Ghana. This blog is political, positive and sometimes personal.