Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow


The sun rises over France

I thought doing a weekly photo challenge would spark me out of my blogging ennui. This week’s challenge is foreshadow. I felt like it was kind of a vague but  I went through my Flickr archive to see if anything jumped out at me. And this is what jumped out. This is a photo that I took from the plane as we were flying over France, before we were ready to land in Paris. I will never, ever forget this moment. I was in complete awe. The only other time I have felt this  way was when  my plane descended into New York City for the first time more than 20 years ago – this excitement of entering an unfamiliar place and not knowing what was there. It is a surreal experience. Especially so because it is a half a world away from home. I looked down and studied the landscape as the sun rose over France. I wondered what this place would be like. I wondered about the adventures I would have in the next few days. I hadn’t a clue what to expect.

I think a lot about this trip, the very act of flying across the world to another place. 16 hours before this photo was taken I was in the Portland airport and it was early in the morning. It was dark when we parked our car at the long term parking lot and took the shuttle to the terminal. 16 hours later I was in a place where it was now morning. How incredibly weird. We time traveled. And we ended up in a different world. A different space.


Me and Paris

Visiting Paris = The highlight of my life.

I had an amazing year. Finally. A year that was all good. I can’t think of anything to complain about regarding the past year, and for this I am grateful (’cause the past several years have been kinda painful. Thanks for the break, Universe!)

Travel. If someone had told me a year ago that I would visit France in the coming year I would have called them a liar. But I DID IT! I went to France! And I loved it! And now I want to go back. And I want to visit ALL THE PLACES.

Photography. I had a lot of fun this year with it. I always do but exploring film photography was super fun. I will be doing more of it in the coming year. First on the list of things to do: develop my own film already! (taking it in to be developed is breaking the bank. I need my money to visit ALL THE PLACES.)

Running. I have had an on again/off again relationship with running for most of my life. Regardless, It is my favorite form of exercise and it is important to me. My big running goal has been to run 5 miles. This goal, for whatever reason, had eluded me. Not anymore! This past summer I finally reached that milestone and even surpassed it! Yay me!

Blogging. I moved my blog to WordPress.com about a year ago and in the process have been plugged into an amazing blogging community, the likes of which I haven’t seen in years. I have seriously enjoyed “meeting” and getting to know all of you! And I continue to enjoy being introduced to many amazing and inspiring blogs. Also, I managed to blog everyday this year! Well except for that one day in August. But it’s JUST ONE. Hmm. It appears missed a day in June as well. so two days. I missed TWO DAYS out of an entire year. Do I get a medal? No? oh well. It was nice to check in everyday here. For the most part, it was a very positive experience. I might do it again next year. Or I might take a tiny break. We’ll see.

Favorites of 2012.

Two favorite books:

Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins

Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art

Read them both. They are excellent.

Three favorite albums

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: The Heist

Caravan Palace: Panic

Grimes: Visions 

Happy new year!!!

On finding my roots


Me in Front of the Eiffel TowerThe day before yesterday  a young man approached  the Reference Desk asking for books that would teach him  Gaelic. I found him some books and  we chatted for a bit. He mentioned that he wanted to learn more about his Irish heritage. I asked  if he planned on visiting Ireland soon. “Someday,” he said. I totally understood his need to get in touch with his roots, because I have felt it too.

Later that evening I went to my friend’s  house for dinner.  She thought that we should do something to honor the changing of the season, so she did this ritual before dinner in which she lit a candle and we thanked our ancestors.  She was very eloquent in the way she spoke about this but I can’t really recall all that she said because in my head I was going, “WTF universe! I can’t believe she is talking about this!”

Ever since I went to Paris I’ve had this insatiable need to learn about my genetic roots.  When I was in France I, weirdly, felt like I belonged there.  In a way I have never felt anywhere before. I felt a deep connection. Rafael looked around at the people and said, “Monica, you totally look French.” And, indeed, when I looked around I could  see that also. Even the short time I was there I felt like I understood myself a bit better. My quirky way of being seemed to make sense in France.

It is possible for your genes, for your body, to feel a sense of connection to a place? I don’t know how else to describe it.

The thing is, I don’t have a strong connection to my cultural heritage at all.  My step-dad was Irish and that Irish pride runs super deep with Irish Americans. Crazy deep. But this isn’t really the case so much with people of French descent living in America. In fact, I almost feel weird telling myself  that I am of French descent. I want to also attach “Canadian” to it because my ancestors migrated to Canada from France in the 1600’s. It seems super far-removed to say that I am French in any way. I know very little about the history there, and I don’t know how to speak French at all (I’m learning though!).  Yet I still felt a connection to the place when I was there.

So there she was,  my friend at dinner, talking about connecting with our ancestors. And it was awesome. And so, in my head, I thanked Pierre Boucher, my ancestor who migrated from France to Quebec with his father in 1635, for being my ancestor, for providing me with these genes.

The Louvre

Travel and Other Adventures

The main entrance of the palace

I wanted to write a substantial blog post but the day got away from me so, instead, I am sharing another photo from our trip. Which, actually, is pretty substantial.

I am back at work this week. It’s hard to come back to work after being somewhere so life-changing and fabulous. I haven’t ever traveled outside the United States and the experience of visiting another country was so amazingly eye-opening. I want more of it! I have been bitten by the travel bug.

I am also completely in love with France. I have always had an interest, being that I am French genetically speaking. I have especially been fascinated by the French Revolution. But now I want to learn more. I am totally fascinated by Paris, the people, the history, everything.

For example, I had no idea the the Louvre was the King’s Castle before it became the Louvre. I just had no idea. I find it fascinating that this is not something that I knew. It is like the revolutionaries took over the castle, opened it up for the people as a museum, and then downplayed the fact that it belonged to royalty. I am kind of thinking that is pretty cool. Fascinating, for sure.

Also, seeing this building in person was incredible. It is absolutely mind-blowing in it’s grandeur.  We have  nothing like this here, really. I had no basis for comparison at all. This castle (and this is the first castle I have ever seen in person) drives home how royalty lived, and it really caused me to see the Revolution in a whole new light.

Seeing this history that I have been reading about for so many years was beyond amazing.

Dancers on the Seine

Travel and Other Adventures

The evening of the third day we were in Paris, Raf and I wanted to take a stroll down the river. We walked down the ancient stairs to the riverbank, and noticed that there was quite a crowd of young people hanging out down there. It was really cool. Some of them were in groups, some of them coupled. All of them drinking either beer or wine. Some were chatting with each other, others were reading. Most of them were enjoying the scenery. Everyone was having a nice time. We had a seat and soaked it all in. To our right somebody started playing guitar and singing a Bob Marley song, “No Woman No Cry.” Then they played something with more punch and a couple got up and started dancing. I was all, “if ever there was a moment to snap a photo, this would be it.” So I did.