After trains, planes, and long walks lugging luggage, I am back at my grandparents’ house for my last few days in the UK. Over my three weeks here, the weather has shifted from summer to fall and the leaves are starting to change into their autumn colors. My morning yoga on the outside patio has become increasingly chillier with sudden gusts of wind rushing through the garden, whipping up my yoga mat, and challenging my already wobbly poses.
I’d like to take a moment to recognize a new friend sitting by me, well above my head, as I write this letter.
Apparently, it’s spider season at the moment, because my grandparents’ house is filled with these, generally harmless, creepy crawlies. I started off my stay by removing 11 spiders from my bedroom with the help of my uncle. Mostly they’re spindly, slow-moving sand spiders that like to hang around in corners. This one is what my grandpa calls a “traveling spider” and they move extremely fast when they want to. I think I saw this one rush across my bedroom floor and out the door last night, so I suppose I’m happy it’s now hanging out in the living room and not in my bed. I haven’t tried to move it in case it gets grumpy.
Last time I wrote, I was on my way to Paris and what a wonderful trip it was. I spent lots of time with my dear friend A who was an excellent tour guide, saw most of the main Parisian sights, and caught up with a few friends from grad school. Of course, I always end up comparing where I am to Guangzhou and especially so in Paris, because people in China generally love the City of Light. There is no shortage of Eiffel Tower posters, trinkets, and T-shirts in Guangzhou… mainly because most of that memorabilia is made in its factories. It was satisfying to get the real deal for weekend.
I met A ten years ago while studying abroad in Lyon, France- certainly an experience that cemented my love of travel and being an ex-pat. It was wonderful to reminisce and catch up together over delicious French food and beautiful Parisian sights.
I reveled in how French, how Parisian each building, each street corner, each cup of coffee, each croissant was and how generally oblivious Parisians are to how very Parisian all their daily rituals are. A caught me chuckling at one point to a scene of people lining up outside a patisserie, while others sat enjoying a quick petit dejeuner while reading the newspaper or chatting, as a man walked past smoking a cigarette and carrying a baguette. All framed by blue skies, fresh air, and a lack of the hectic, humid, driving, dusty traffic and masses of humanity that characterizes my current hometown.
Petit dej’ typique
We had an absolutely lovely time, spacing out our explorations with delicious eats. I would say my favorite edible item was the gourmet salted caramel éclaire I bought from Les Galéries Lafayette.
We also worked in some new things for A, like taking the Bateaux Mouches river cruise along the Seine, which you only really do if you’re a tourist or with one. And of course visited la Tour Eiffel.
I think Paris is best detailed in photos, so I’ll close this post with more pictures from the trip. Suffice to say c’était manifique.