Ok. So I haven’t written anything about my trip to Paris yet. It has been about 2 months already and I am still playing with my memories and feelings about this trip that I wanted to take for so long. You know the feeling when you slowly eat a piece of the most delicious cake and contemplate it for as long as you can? This is the kind of phenomenon that happened to me and my posting about Paris. I know it’s odd, but sometimes I think that the longer I hold something in my soul and my mind, the essence of this particular memory will remain simply intact for a longer time. It’s like leaving that memory as it is, unconsumed by the triviality of typing and writing about it.
My trip to Paris was like a journey back to my childhood. I know. Odd again. What do I have to do at all with Paris and especially during my childhood. It’s the language. It’s the sweet and melodique French language that have been part of myself since I was 7 years old. In my country back in 1990 we were obliged to study a foreign language starting with the first grade. Not bad, I would say today, but I was totally terrified when I started this process. My fear lasted just one year and then somehow, French became my almost second language and I learned to like everything French. I remember the days when I first learned the “Alons enfants de la Patrie”. I was in the 3rd grade and to these days I remember the anthem like it would be my second nature.
“Sous le ciel de Paris”….another sweet memory that will never vanish from my mind. The melody is there, and there I was in Paris, in front of the Arch of Triumph, trying to figure out if it was reality or if I was still seeing the black and white, boring book with a black and white thumbnail size picture of the same monument in our 5th grade Foreign Language study book. God, I remember those dreams that our French teacher helped us create. The dreams about a beautiful country and the astonishing Paris “sur le bord de la Seine”. I remember how remote were those dreams form all of us, 5th graders from a little communist town in Moldova. Officially the communism was gone, but its air and effects could still be strongly felt everywhere. I recollect studying the Louvre Museum and its major chefs d’oevre. I was in the seventh grade and was getting prepared for a local foreign language and culture competition. I had good teachers who worked out MY imagination and taught me how to love something that we have never seen. She taught me how to make Paris my own. How to be part of this incredibly sophisticated culture. I attribute my cultural stiffness to these early influences in my education. Nowadays, esthetics and the cultural heritage tend to be simply forgotten or replaced with some nonsense.
The Paris reality was a bit bigger than I have ever imagined it. My morning walk from the Arch of Triumph all along the Champs–Élysées, passing through Les Jardins de Tuilleries and arriving at the beautifully sculpted gardens of Louvre, was one of the most iconic from all my trip. The pyramid at the entrance took me once again to my French lessons and my childhood when I remember making dreams. It’s great that they are coming alive now, even though almost 25 years later, but they are certainly fulfilling my soul.