Published March 28, 2012
I am incredibly lucky. I am like a cat with 7 lives…or more. I have had the opportunity to change my life, reinvent myself and start (almost) afresh over and over again.
I have lived and made a living in 4 different countries on 2 different continents. When I was 19, I packed two big suitcases and moved to Paris. I just got on the night train and left. Packed way to much stuff. I remember lugging these two huge suitcases around Paris. I didn’t even have a place to sleep that night.
I wasn’t nervous. Just excited. I remember arriving at the Gare du Nord at dawn. It’s a desolate place especially that early in the morning. The substitute home of the homeless and the desperate, the hide-out of young drug addicts and Arabian rubbish collectors in silver and orange reflective vests. And me in the midst of it all, trying to squeeze myself and my massive suit cases into a phone box in my quest to find a place to stay.
I ended up in the Palais de la Femme. My french was that bad I didn’t even realize that it was the female version of the Salvation Army. But it was cheap, and the breakfast was good. Didn’t take me long to find a job as an au pair, looking after other people’s children and household.
Paris is everything it is made out to be…and more. Romantic and outrageously beautiful, and filthy and dark all at the same time. There’s the grandeur of the Champs Elysees with it’s classical, imposing buildings, and the kitsch of the sugary domes and turrets of Sacre Coeur on the top of hill of Montmartre. There’s the the stern, majestic facade of the Louvre which harbours the most famous lady on earth, the one with the mysterious half-smile, Mona-Lisa. And the frivolous narrow alleys around the Moulin Rouge (yes, it still exists) where colorful nightbirds find fun and entertainment of ALL varieties.