Finding Joy in the Small Things

Slice of Life Challenge Entry #31

It’s in appreciating those small moments that I find joy peeking out. I can’t help, but reflect on joy (my one little word for 2012) as I come up with my final post for the slice of life challenge. This past week in Paris, it all seems like it was a dream. Was I really in Paris? As I remember Paris, all the glamour and glitz, I am reminded of the small things that brought me joy there.

1 out of 6 people in Paris have dogs. I saw people walking their dogs all over the city. I loved seeing dogs with their heads poking out of bags on the subways. I saw dogs not on leashes roaming the parks. Of course, with a lot of dogs, you know what that means. You need to watch out for the dog poo on the streets, but that wasn’t too difficult.

All the subway stations had different feels and designs inside. There was definitely a distinct feel in some stations. I loved being able to find pockets of art, design and inspiration in subway stations.

I loved seeing people carry long baguettes in their bags or in their hand in the morning. I loved being able to go to the boulangerie (bakery) next to our hotel in the morning to get fresh baguettes, pain au chocolat or whatever our hearts desired.

One of the best things to do is walk the streets of Paris at night. There is so much energy and people out. There is so much beauty all around. Restaurants and cafes are full even at 10pm. I wondered what time they go to work in the morning.

As a teacher, I loved strolling around book stores and reading books. Every time I came across a book store, I felt like I found a hidden gem.

Views of Extravagance in Versailles

Slice of Life Challenge Entry#30

Views of Extravagance in Versailles

I wonder what it would be like to wake up and realize that you live in Versailles.

I wonder what it would be like to see beautifully hemmed trees and gardens outside your bedroom.

I wonder what it would be like to have a home so big that you could get lost finding the bathroom.

I wonder what it would be like to have breakfast served  on silver plates.

I wonder what it would be like to have a lake where you can row your boat.

I wonder what it would be like to grow up with acres of green land in your backyard.

I wonder what it would be like to have a separate estate in the King’s palace like Marie Antoinette.

I wonder what it would be like to have painting s that belong in museums on your ceilings.

I wonder what it would be like to live in such extravagance.

 

What do you wonder?

*I’m leaving Paris in a few hours! It has been amazing. Hopefully I will post some more photos and thoughts on Paris later on. 

Sitting Still Silently

I received an e-mail response from my dad telling me how we went to Paris when I was 3 years old and got my portrait drawn by a street artist in Montmartre. After that, I knew I would get my portrait done again. I had a chance to go to Montmartre and after carefully trying to find the “best” artist to get my portrait from, the old guy in the beret was the winner. It cost 30 Euros and he spoke fluent English. He told me that if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have to buy it. How could I say no to that?

“The first five minutes are the most important, so try to stay really still.” He instructed.

“Ok.” I responded.  This shouldn’t too difficult I thought.

I thought I could sit comfortably, but I was wrong. I wasn’t able to lean against my chair as I sat up and had to turn my head towards the artist. I had to keep smiling and stare at him. He kept telling me I was doing a good job posing, keep smiling and look at him. His frequent reassurances were helpful and kept me still.

As people would come and stop to look at the drawing, some even took photos. How funny to think that my drawing is saved on small memory cards belonging to random tourists. I kept smiling and tried to stay still, hoping for the best. He continued to switch pencils, drawing and shading. His eyes would scan my face as he tried to make it as accurate as possible.

“You can move now,” he told me.

It was finally over. Little did I realize how hard it would be to sit still for a good 20 minutes. I was pleased at the end, but wondering, is that what I really look like?

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macarons taste test

Laduree vs Pierre Herme

First stop: Laduree @ the Champs Elysees

Next stop, Pierre Herme @ Galleries Layfayette

Analysis: Laduree gets extra points for presentation and decor. I love the extravagant decorations, signs and pastel colors. It makes you feel like you are transported to the times of Marie Antoinette. It makes you feel like these macarons are worth every expensive Euro it costs. It makes you feel like it was worth waiting on line for. (Luckily, the line wasn’t too long when we went.) For taste, I’m definitely no macarons expert, but honestly I couldn’t tell the difference. I’ve had macarons from Bouchon bakery and a few other places in NYC that were pretty good. I would say that they definitely did taste good, but I’m not sure if they were so much better than other places. Maybe I need to try the other places again to compare? I enjoyed the raspberry and pistachio ones. I do need to try some of their other flavors as well.

Pierre Herme was inside a huge department store (Galleries Lafayette). There were actually two of them inside that store! I was really impressed by these macarons, more for the uniqueness is flavors. We tried infiniment rose (pink),  creme brulee (cream), huile d’olive a la mandarine (green & orange) and infinement menthe fraiche (green). I really liked all of them. They all had unique tastes. The combination of the olive a la mandarine one was especially delicious! The mint green one was a bit more unique flavor. Overall, I was really satisfied. I will definitely be going back and trying the other flavors.

Final result: Go to Pierre Herme if you are looking for best taste. Go to Laduree if you want the complete, I was in Paris, macarons experience.

Brush With Celebrity

Slice of Life Challenge #27

Brush With Celebrity

Students on field trips, couples young and old and little kids all gather.

People lift their cameras above their heads towards her.

Everyone wants a glimpse of her.

Go, go, go

Her beauty, her mystery, and her popularity,

bring us closer to her.

Weaving through the crowds and inching towards the center

Go, go, go

We see her staring right back.

Does she like all the attention?

It’s not easy being a celebrity.

Go, go, go

She looks even more stunning in person.

Fighting against the crowds, we find a way out

Our captured photos provide enough proof for us.

my favorite things: paris edition

Slice of Life Entry #26

Some of my favorite things, found in Paris! I’m starting to fall in love with this city.

1. Dogs. Cute fluffy dogs that follow their owner without a leash. This dog has attitude and swag. I’m just loving all the dogs here!

2. Roses. They are pretty high up there on my list. They are so beautiful yet fragile and prickly. We stumbled across a market on Sunday morning. I love all the flowers here.

3. Olives. Yes, I absolutely love olives. I miss the olive bar at Whole Foods in NYC. This one was a pretty extensive collection of olives. Yum!

4. Salads. Living in Seoul makes me miss really good salads. I had a pretty good salad with egg, tuna and rice today! Yes it was 12 euros (about $15) for the small salad! Even though food is way too expensive here, I’m loving Paris!

5. Baguettes. The bread here is simply amazing. I love all the baguettes. I love that people buy long baguettes in the morning. I would probably do that everyday if I lived here.

Journey to the top?

Slice of Life Entry #25

The Eiffel Tower stretches it’s hands towards the cloudless blue sky.

Long lines that snake around it’s feet.

People with cameras waiting to get to the top.

Will you take the elevator or stairs?

Expected wait time: 2 hours long.

We’ll pass.

We’ll come back another day.

We will get to the top of the Eiffel Tower!

Maybe at night?

Click on the photo below to make it bigger!

Getting Lost in Paris

Slice of Life Entry #24

“Is that the Eiffel Tower?” Asked my friend.

“I think so…” I replied. From the far distance we could see the top of the Eiffel Tower shining it’s beacon of light to the city.

We had finally made it to Paris after a long and tiring 12 hour direct flight from Seoul. We had been up for way too many hours as it was already over midnight in Seoul, but only 6pm in Paris when we arrived. We had made our way by bus from the airport to Mont Parnasse, the area where our hotel was. Now the hard part was trying to figure out how to get from the bus stop to our hotel which should be a “short” walk according to our hotel.

As we wandered through the cobblestone streets with our luggage in one hand and a map in the other we tried to make sense of the roads. We found a few maps on the street, but they ended up misleading us. We were walking for a while, hungry and tired. We were definitely lost in Paris.

I saw a Parisian couple crossing the street and started walking towards them.

“Excusez-moi. Excusez-moi!” I shouted towards them. The tall and good looking couple finally turned around. We showed them the map of where our hotel was and they looked at it and luckily spoke English mixed with some French. They took a good look at our map and told us to walk with them. They walked with us down to the main street to make sure we were going the right way and then gave us further directions.

We finally arrived at our hotel. Whoever said that Parisians were not very friendly were wrong. Tonight, I’m thankful for the help of strangers.

au revoir

Slice of Life  Challenge Entry #23

I don’t know how this will work. Another slice of life writer said how she wrote up all her slices before her break and was going to upload them via her smart phone while she was away. I thought about writing some slices in advance for the next week when I’m in Paris, but I just didn’t have time to do that. So I will be bringing my laptop to Paris and hopefully find time to blog late at night when I’m back in the hotel. Luckily, we will have free wifi at our hotel. So, I’m crossing my fingers, hoping it will all go well. See you soon. Next time from Paris. Au revoir mes amis!