Today will always be remembered as the day I truly fell in love with this city.
Nothing in particular has happened to spur this, either; in fact, this weekend was the quietest I've ever spent in Europe. Afternoons at the park, the Louvre on Friday (which sucks), resting on Saturday and Sunday night under Le Tour Eiffel. Surreal.
What's even more surreal is when you bypass the "tourist" threshold. You walk around and feel like you know where you're going. The nooks and tucks of the streets are actually kind of inviting, rather than ominous and empty.
What's most inspiring is the way Time is "spent" here. In the U.S., Time is a border we place around our daily activities as a restraint on "wasting" it. We will eat breakfast for thirty minutes, run for an hour, and make it to work by 9:00 and enjoy a one hour lunch before 1:00 p.m. We may finish many activities in a scheduled manner, but in Paris, Time is supposed to be wasted. It is rude not to. If you get up from a table at a restaurant in less than two hours it is rude. Have another bottle of wine. Enjoy your dessert. Don't be bothered by the taught roundness of your belly telling you to get up and hop in the car. Let the fullness radiate through you.
A life "spent" any other way than in Western Europe is a mistake. Just as a life spent in leisure may be wasted time, if you don't waste time you've waisted your life. What's food if not for enjoying? Why cook a meal and not sit back and drink and talk for hours? What is the sun but if not for laying out in? It's nothing! If you don't give moments in your life the proper time to bloom they are wasted! Only a day not fully appreciated is truly a "waste." How many times have I come home from school-work-internship days at 11 p.m. and had no time for enjoying it? I feel like my most "filled" days are really my most empty. I will not make this mistake again. I will not be rushed.
When I get back to the states, (and this is to your benefit as well as mine, Nanu) I'm planting a garden and refurbishing the backyard eating area. I'm redesigning the layout of my room and I'm not going to flinch at buying wine I like or food I want. I'm going to become a student of the good life; I'm going to read books on wine preparation and how to cook.
I hate people who talk about what they're "going to do" just as much as anyone else; if you can't live up to what you claim you should not claim it in the first place. But I'm dedicated to this. Considering my time here is not even half "over," just imagine how impossible it will be for me to ever return to U.S. normalcy!