are definitely some of the nicest people ever (not that I ever doubted that they would be, but still feel I have to say it).
For those of you who don’t know, my brothers and I were all raised to be huge Parrotheads (and for those of you REALLY not in the know, that refers to fans of the musician Jimmy Buffett). And this weekend he was playing two night in Paris, so of course I had to go!
I had been looking forward to the weekend in Paris for several months both for the concert and the chance to visit old friends and places. And it did not disappoint.
The weekend definitely got off to a bit of a rough start with late awakenings and messed up tickets, but through these incidents I met several amazing people and can’t help but feel that it was just meant to work out this way.
As I said, there was quite the ticket incident within only hours of my train ride beginning, but through it I met a wonderful family from the United States who now live in Holland. They immediately adopted me into their fold, and I am so grateful to them (see you in Rotterdam this summer or sooner maybe?). They even invited me and my friend Kyle, who I met through them, to come stand with them in their AMAZING far stage left seats (we were literally right there above the band!) Everyone else was also super nice, passing out treats from their own hometowns/countries (Swiss chocolates, Scottish pins etc.) and their amazing costumes (parrots, Eiffel towers, and fins abound!) After the concert Kyle and I bumped into my new dutch family again at a nearby bar and we all sat down together to reminisce about how great the concert was (thanks for the setlist guys, it is PERFECT!)
The next day I relaxed, got breakfast with one of my roommates in the Hostel and decided to wander Paris. Having lived there for my ten months of study abroad I felt little need to do many touristy things (except the Eiffel Tower which family tradition says you must ALWAYS visit at least briefly, though I have yet to climb it). I enjoyed just strolling, although was disappointed to not make it to any of the great flea markets Paris holds hidden within her.
That afternoon I met an old friend, Nohemi, for lunch. Nohemi and I studied abroad together in Paris and she now lives there for work (so jealous of you! Then again I love Aix too so can’t complain.) e went to a crêperie up in the 18th arrondissement near Sacre Coeur where I was staying. It was delicious (you are now my Paris go-to for food Nohemi!)
Afterward I decided to go hang out with some of my fellow Parrothead fans before the next concert, even though I’m planning on going to that night’s concert. I met up with Kyle and his mom who had come with him to Paris and managed to get a Saturday ticket. We sat and relaxed with drinks and our fellow Jimmy fans. As the concert was starting and they were finishing their drinks one of the people trying to sell off tickets came up and offered me one.
I had not planned on going to a second concert but decided to give it a try. Through visiting many flea markets back when I lived in Paris I have gotten very good at haggling (it took a while and quite a bit of confidence though!). I told the man, in French, that I only had 25 euros (not true but hey). He said no, as it was worth much more.
‘The concert has already started, so it’s not worth that much anymore, I explained. And I went last night, so I don’t really care that much if you don’t give it to me or not. Either way I only have 25.”
Reluctantly he agreed and I handed over my money. I wasn’t honestly sure if the ticket would work, but it was general standing and I figured worth a try for the price. And it did! So I got to go for both nights! Got some great views and pictures again (convinced a security guard to let us right up next to the stage for some!) and had another great night.
The next day, I had planned to meet up with my host family from when I lived in Paris. As they lived all the way on the other side of town from my hostel I decided to just wander the neighborhood. It is a wonderful neighborhood to stroll, even if parts of it have become very touristy (reminder: I was staying in the 18th, near Sacre Coeur and Montmartre). I walked around, took a few pictures, bought a bottle of fresh squeezed orange juice from a small grocer (love that stuff) and then relaxed for a bit with a hot chocolate (another favorite – most places put real melted chocolate in it, not powder or syrup!) outside a Brasserie and just people watched. A very nice and relaxing morning.
A little before noon I went back to my hostel to pick up my bags and make my way south to the place I called home for ten wonderful months. It was definitely weird to wander the city that I had lived in for almost a year, and yet hadn’t visited for so long. Things were both familiar and new at the same time and the whole weekend was filled with quite the sense of déjà vu. This only increased as I rode my old metro line, walked the streets of my neighborhood that were so familiar, and put in the same code and climbed the same narrow, spiraling stairs back to my family’s flat (I feel like I am starting to gain family all over the world and it is so wonderful!).
Lunch was great and delicious (my host parents are both wonderful cooks) but seeing my French family was even more wonderful. Sitting around the table for a late (and wonderfully long and relaxing) Sunday lunch, it almost felt like I had never left. My little brother and sisters had grown so much and I am so proud of them. I also found that the conversation was much easier to follow than it used to be, and it was so nice to see my own improvement. I stayed for a while afterward and relaxed with my family, playing games with the kids and letting them show me what had changed in the apartment. I was sad to leave at the end of the afternoon, but feel confident that this was not the last time I will see them!
Overall I had a great weekend in Paris. Despite the stress and difficulties at the beginning of the trip I am very glad I went. It is always fun to see old friends and to make new ones. Hoping to see all of them again sometime. In the meantime though, I am back in Aix, ready to get back down to business. Hopefully, soon I will have good news about the apartment, as well as my phone. Tomorrow afternoon I go to visit the second of the three schools I will be working at in Pertuis, and Wednesday I start my orientation.
So it will be very busy, but that’s okay after my nice weekend off in Paris.
For “[She] went to Paris, looking for answers…” to what a Parisian Jimmy concert would entail…
And I can’t wait until the next one!