Channeling Rip Van Winkle – in Paris

Paris le Samedi 6 0ctobre 2018.

Enfin!  Nous voila a Paris!

 

This year, arriving in Paris from the US has a Rip Van Winkle feeling to it. First, there’s the fog and sleepiness of jet lag. It’s hard to “get the eyes opposite the holes,” as our group of friends used to say when I was a student here in the early 1960s.  Attacks of somnolence come on all morning (early moring hours at home), even if we did get up at 8:30 Paris time and eat breakfast and go out for a walk.  And spending the first day knocked out and sick from a gluten episode on the plane from an allegedly “gluten free” meal didn’t help!  You’d think the dietitians at a major airline would know that barley contains just as much gluten as wheat!

Then there ‘s the question of what has changed here in a year. New styles – everyone is now wearing bright colored sneakers; new ways of getting around – the Velib’ bike rental stands are empty, perhaps because all the bikes are in use though we haven’t seen any. Instead, what we see in the streets are adult-sized bright green electric scooters that are GPS tracked, so it’s possible to just leave them on the sidewalk when one gets off without risk of losing them. And moving apartments from one little section of the Latin Quarter to another yields new views, further distance from former favorite stores and delightful new proximity to others.  I received a fabulous surprise yesterday morning when I walked out our new front door and discovered myself directly across the street from a side entrance to one of the biggest and best health food stores in Paris – Bio-Coop — which formerly was a bit too far away to patronize then lug home bottles of this and that on foot. But now, to find a regular grocery store, we will need to take the bus to the corner store we patronized in the other neighborhood, which is still the grocery closest to us.

We are now much closer to a hub with 6 different bus lines, including the two that passed through our former neighborhood – making it easier to take buses to go directly just about everywhere.  We are to meet a Unity Licensed teacher later this afternoon.  She figured out a spot to meet that’s about halfway between us, and voila! – one of our now nearby buses goes directly there, halfway across Paris.

One of our errands our first day here was to go to the now nearby Metro station and purchase our monthly transport pass that allows us to take any kind of public transportation day or night as often as we want without further charge.  It’s a real “Open Sesame” to fabulous mobility throughout the Parisian region – including the suburbs. Monet’s Gardens in  Giverny?  Yup, Free.  The palace in Versailles?  Also free. The new multi-cultural center on the northern edge of Paris?  Free.  Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre, Tuileries Garden?  All free. It’s a glorious freedom to be able to go everywhere whenever we want, starting with a bus that leaves from 200 feet from our door.

Over the years, we’ve shopped all over the Latin Quarter, so the stores right around the corner from our new place are delightfully familiar – old friends. I guess this is why, on this fifth annual trip here, it feels important to start building friendships and finding groups to participate in.  We need to populate our French lives with relationships.

It will soon be time to leave for our first bus adventure of this trip.  It’s 8:30 am  in the US – even though we’ve eaten breakfast and lunch, we’re finally (2:30 pm in Paris) !  You can just call us “Rips” as we venture forth to a new day!

 

 

 

About Rev. Rosemary Hyde, Ph.D.

I am a grandmother, a classical homeopath, a mystical poet, and an interfaith minister. I also have a large, enduring place in my heart for Paris. I first spent time in Paris in 1961, as a Fulbright scholar. I remained in France for three years, living also in Toulouse and in Nancy. I have revisited France and Paris multiple times since then, and have come to know central Paris reasonably well. I grew up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, where there were many Franco-Americans, and their language fascinated me. I was fortunate in 6th grade, when my family moved, to find myself in a Catholic French speaking girls' school, where I had the wonderful fortune of becoming bilingual. It still feeds my soul deeply, to visit Paris, speak French, and reconnect with the little French girl in me. I am serving presently as co-minister at Unity Center of Peace in Chapel Hill, NC. I give talks one or two Sundays a month -- please go to the website, www.unitychapelhill.org, and sign up for the weekly e-news to learn what's going on -- special events, seasonal interfaith ceremonies, and Sunday themes and talks. My vision for the Unity Chapel Hill ministry and for myself is to become a loving, uniting presence in the lives of all those who cross paths with us. That's all there is, really -- loving presence. And so it is. Amen. My goal as a minister is to add richness to life for those who resonate to more than one religious tradition or to none -- those with mixed religions as well as the unchurched, untempled, and unmosqued. All of us, whatever our cultural allegiances, hunger for and need support in finding the transcendent joy that's ours to find in this earthly life. All of us need and want to celebrate beautifully the great and small milemarker moments. All of us crave the beauty of prayer as an expression of our participation in universal love. All of us wish to learn a greater vision, to see our lives opening to the Divine. All of us desire deeply to find serenity and peace that lasts no matter what happens today and tomorrow. This is the meaning of Transcendessence. We find the essence of spirit and transcend the narrow constraints of our bodies and egos. Join us today by subscribing, so you won't miss a single poem, message, prayer, or meditation.
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