28 November 2009

french kiss

still i am in paris. almost a week now. and for a week, i've wandered her streets, mastered her metro, walked upon her history, beauty, magic, and romance. and it was only today that i began to notice that everyone here is kissing.

everyone but me.

for four years i've been single. though i have dated a time or two, nothing even resembling serious has my attention been taken. and though there was one who i'd've given everything to, for the most part it's because the single life is the one i've most desired.

and here i sit in paris, in this beautiful lit city of romance, seeing the embrace and public affection of lovers.

and i'm jealous.

as much as i love, appreciate, and admire myself for conquering a country(s) whose language i can't speak, i can't help but envy the lovers who populate its streets.

for about me, i don't know what this means. maybe i'm ready for something i'm not sure i can admit (i mean, where's a girl to find a man who wants a nomadic life of changing the world?), but i know i wish that in paris i should have someone to kiss.

a city of love without someone to kiss doesn't really do much for mon amour.


26 November 2009

the normandy enigma

i visited normandy yesterday, and spent a day as lovely as it was somber, with my mind grappling with the serenity of the scene and the horror that succombed those beaches in june of 1944.

on d-day, 6 june 1944, general eisenhower launched the world's greatest invasion. allied forces, more than 150,000 in number, stormed five beaches along the northern coast of france, taking the nazi army by complete surprise, and turning the tide of world war ii. within months, germany surrendered, and the end of the world's greatest and most destructive war came soon thereafter.

i can only imagine what normandy felt, sounded, and looked like during that fateful invasions. bombs rocking the ground, the blood of fallen soldiers coloring red the waves crashing onto the shore, bullets flying, planes soaring overhead, screams of injured troops and civilians filling the air with terror, and the general sense that the hope of the future lie only in the success of this battle. fear, terror, hope, and the stench of death abound.

yesterday, though, it was serene. the beaches extraordinarily beautiful, the weather perfect. off the coast, remains of the temporary harbors remain in tact, providing only an overview of what the coast might have resembled that morning. the day was beautiful, albeit chilly (it is november), and because it's off-season, it was quiet, lonely, and barren. had i not known these beaches are best known for a military battle, i'd never've guessed as much.

the american cemetery is also very beautiful, serene, and because it sits on the cliff overlooking the english channel it's got an incredible view. the pride i felt standing amongst those thousands of crosses and memorial, overlooking the harbor from whence those men and women sacrificed their lives in furtherance of freedom, cannot be expressed. there are some feelings the english language is far too paltry to impart...

though 'twas not an easy journey (it's long and far), the landing beaches, memorials, museums, and cemeteries of normandy are places all americans should experience.


en paree

i'm in love. i could very easily add a "the end" here and be done, but such a lackluster finale is hardly my m.o.

paris is the best city ever!

it helps that i'm staying in a very cool part of the city, montmartre- the bohemian-esque neighborhood, but it's that the city possesses such a romantic aura, the hopeless romantic in me can't help but feel a kindred connection.

for the past few days, i've mostly wandered. with very few destinations in mind, i've just kind of soaked in everything about this wonderful place. obsessed as i am with military history, i've certainly seen things to feed my intellectual curiosity (les hotel invalides, normandy (my next blog), and napolean's tomb), but it's the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of paris that've mostly fed my fancy.

i've accidentally bumped into things like la sacre-coeur and the eiffel tower, and i've gotten caught up in the whirlwind of tourist traps, but it's the side streets, the cafe's, the simplicity of the metro, and the supermarket next door to my hostel, and the immediate surrounding areas that've been the sources of greatest fascination for me.

i really am in love with paris, and have no doubt that i will someday, for some length of time, call her home.

the end.