After a punch in the face by a crazy stranger, a chicken pox ordeal plus a very painful and emotional healing crisis, I still have a complete set of teeth, my sanity intact and the same love for La Ville-Lumiere. A thousand needles pricked my bubble and reality kicked me really hard in my bony ass, but nothing's changed: Paris, je t'aime. Here are the reasons why...
-For some odd reason, I feel welcome here. And no, I don't have many Parisian friends (in fact, I spend most of my time in solitude) and I am still having a difficult time stepping inside the circle of the industry where I want to be. But that doesn't deter me from having this feeling of acceptance that I haven't felt in my home country or Dubai.
-All my life, people repeatedly remind me and emphasize the fact that I am small. Some manager in a bank in Dubai even had this crazy opinion that I won't be able to get a job, just because I am small and skinny (what the?! I am not applying for a construction worker position!!!). Right here, right now I am still small; but I just don't feel...small.
-Almost everybody rides the metro. I love the fact that people wearing H&M clothes can ride and mix in one train with someone sporting a Chanel jacket or a Balenciaga motorcycle bag.
-I love (and hate) the metro. Navigo is there to further punctuate the feeling. The all-access train card is like a ticket to freedom and the key to the nooks and crannies of the fabled city.
-I drooled when I first entered the wonderful world of Louvre. More saliva escaped my lips as I visited more museums. But. I am more amazed by how the streets can be art galleries and art museums themselves.
-Lots of freebies: events, exhibits, magazines, movies, open air piano concerts, music music music, wifi at parks and libraries, haircuts, makeovers, wine tastings, Starbucks samplers, cocktails with overflowing champagne...
-So much to do, so little time. Winter, spring, summer or fall, Paris is alive and booming with all sorts of entertainment.
-I can be the best jologs here without worrying about tarnishing my good name. I can queue up for a bread sampler or free flavored water, or try a free 10-minute yoga in the streets and nobody would care (or do they?).
-I can just retreat to Jardin du Luxembourg or Jardin des Tuileries, sit down, breathe in fresh air and clear my thoughts whenever I feel like a deflated balloon.
-Lots of churches where I can kneel down and pray.
-The French has the finest junks ever. I experience a violent adrenaline rush whenever I go to flea markets and vide-greniers. Everytime I wish that I have all the money in the world to buy all the beautiful used items being peddled by the French.
-Best fireworks (so far). I squeezed myself through the terrifying crowd in Champ de Mars in last year's Bastille Day celebration and witnessed the grandest fireworks I've seen in my life.
-I came here packed with ambition. Until one day, a wise man I've met under the Louvre told me, "Work doesn't define who you are". Thus I came to my senses, unclenched my fists and since then I began to give more appreciation to the more essential things in life.
-My country failed. Dubai failed. Only in Paris did I attempt to learn the thing that I hated most: cooking (as if I have a choice). Not only am I getting better at cooking but also beginning to be an expert in infiltrating open markets. And now ladies and gentlemen excusez-moi but... I am now falling in love with food.
Jardin du Luxembourg