level three - exit the door
I wake up with a sudden jolt and a tingling excitement shaking me to my core. I look at the clock: 9:07am. I smile. ‘I’m in paris’ I think to myself as I put on my coat and scaf and I hear someone getting their bike from the backyard. joy, let’s leave now. I still haven’t figured out how to exit the building on my own. I grab my things quickly and she somehow opens the door, what a magical thing. I walk over to the metro and put my amex in the machine. it doesn’t work, so I try at the window, maybe the man will be able to help me. I walk over to the window and am stopped suddenly in my tracks.
the most beautifully handsome man looks at me with his big, shining hazel eyes and I communicate with him better in french than I expected. d’accord, the machine doesn’t take amex. I left in such a hurry to make the door opening, my other cards are back at the room, ok… let’s go back. "come with me" I say to the metro man. he throws off his uniform vest and picks me up off my feet and carries me back to the apartment. we make sweet, beautiful love and he holds hands with me as we walk back to the metro station to continue our days. I snap back into reality and back to my senses in the underground. my short daydream makes me smile as I say 'au revoir' to the man with hazel eyes.
I go back to my apartment alone and fuss around for a little bit, hoping for the faint sounds of someone exiting the building. I head to the dreaded doors again, god. no one’s coming in or out of the apartment building, as it's now past the time where the majority would be leaving for work. I need to figure this out. I message paul and ask him if there’s a trick to the door… no response. I close my eyes and breathe. I have been here already, I have done this already. I do not believe time is linear, or how we see it at all.
I stare aound the perimiter of the door. b u t t o n… the thought pops in my mind.. I look to my left AHA. a panel of buttons, I slap one, it’s a light. the next, buzzz and the door opens, oh my freaking god. some of the simplest things in life seem so difficult when we are focused on the problem and not the solution.
I go back down to the metro and handsome metro man smiles at me. I come over to him with cash (I know the machine will take this but am just looking for an excuse for him to help me and he most certainly doesn’t mind.) he comes out of his booth and guides me over to the machine. he helps me buy the carnet, a book of ten tickeets. he looks at me with the brightest eyes as I descend down the staris.
as the train arrives to the platform (rather quickly, I think the longest I waited for a train was five minutes, even at odd hours) the train arrives and I depart for my first parisian adventure. I get off at palais royal musée du louvre and make my way straight for the newstand. “une cart” he points to a stand where several maps are diplayed. I take one, cinq… I look at him blankly. numbers have never been my strong suit. ‘funf?’ he’s trying different languages now, this time in german. it always amuses me where people believe I am from when I am not at home. I realise now it's five dollars (I took a semester of german in university, the beginning was fun, but it got really difficult, really quickly.)
I took my map happily away and began walking, my first mission of the day was to find a phone charger, second mission is a place to charge my phone, it’s at less than twenty percent at this point. third mission is to find something to wear tonight, to the yann tiersen concert. I realised quickly how extremely unhelpful a giant map of paris was, and paris is huge.
6. find apple store? nope, I couldn’t do it, even with several kind locals (especially the girl at pret, who wrote down what to say and a good-bye hug) giving me directions. for next trip, I know to buy any adapters and chargers before leaving home country. I planned on purchasing at the airport, first not a smart move because it would have been three times the price. second, I wasn't focused on anything except for finding my way to my new home once I landed.
I walked down the streets that had higher foot traffic in hopes of seeing an electronic store, and alas, after about an hour of wandering around, I had found one! mission number one of the day had been accomplished, and I was now reconnected with one of the most important things to me on this trip, my camera. take as many photos as you feel like, but also remember the importance of seeing your experience through your own eyes. feeling through your senses, listening to the foreign language and most importantly, slowing down, and breathing in your new environment.