Much as I’m loving living in France, there are some things that just aren’t the same and that give me a little ache when I think about them. This variety of homesickness is a lot less all-encompassing than the kind I had to deal with when I turned up at Yale four years ago (couldn’t tell you why), but for whatever reason this transition has felt much easier.
I do of course have thoughts about why, but that’s a topic for another day.
In the meantime, I’ve been finding it interesting to consider what it is I miss most about home (not necessarily America, but my own life there) and how there are some senses that are missing America more than others. Oddly, I feel like what I’m missing most are specific sounds, more than sights or smells or even tastes (though taste is a close second).
- Autumn color. Take it from an entitled North East girl who has spent all of her autumns surrounded by yellows and golds and oranges and reds. You definitely miss it. Leaves turn yellow and brown here- which is quite pretty- and you get the snow-like leaf shedding in the wind that I love so much, but the wonderland created by the other colors is just missing. Sighing for maples.
- Giant supermarkets. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll choose France’s small stores and open air markets over a Costco or Stop&Shop any day, but there is something oddly compelling (and reassuring) about that almost inappropriate abundance.
- Canada geese
- Sirens. The sirens here sound different and much more musical. I miss our sinister alarms.
- Blasting reggaeton. There are not enough people blasting reggaeton from car windows here. Though mercifully there are more than none.
- English. Hearing people speaking your own language as you walk around. You don’t realize how subconsciously comforting it is until everyone around you is speaking French.
- There isn’t anything tactile at home that I can’t as easily palpate in Versailles, except maybe my bed. It’s very easy to miss your bed.
- Not anything really. The thing about perfume school is that your nose gets plenty of exercise and novelty.
- Good lord home-cooked food. I miss it so much. I am cooking for myself here, but not any of the larger and more time-consuming recipes I would undertake at home. Partly because I’m sharing a kitchen with a host family. Partly because vegan ingredients are harder to find in these parts. Like the French don’t do vegan cheese. Why would they? Their cheese is a national treasure. But Dad’s pizza? My banana bread? Chickpea cutlets? Cornbread? So many foods.
And of course I didn’t list anything relating to the people and animals I miss. Beings are amalgamations of so many senses. The feeling of a hug or of soft cat fur. Every person and animal’s individual smell and the sound of their voice…
I spent yesterday in Paris and I have to say that it was truly one of the best days I have had on four hours of sleep (the other one being that time our flight to Florida was delayed but we still spent the whole next day at MGM/Disney Studios Hollywood/whatever they’re calling it now).
So the agenda was as follows:
- I went in around 11:30 am, got in a bit after noon and went to the Grand Palais to see the Irving Penn photography exhibit that I missed when it was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was really excellent and I’m very glad that I went. I kind of glided over the photography I was less interested in (the close up portraits of cigarette butts, for example) but I was really into the portraits of artists (Colette! Joan Didion! Always DTF Truman Capote!) and the beautiful nudes (which Facebook subsequently made me take down (free the nipple)).
- After about an hour and a half with Irving Penn, I met Luis (a fellow ISIPCA student) and had a very refreshing Perrier while he had lunch.
- And then we went to the Le Grand Musee du Parfum, which was super cool and overlapped a lot with things we’re learning in school- particularly the historical aspects. It helps that the professor who went through perfume history with us is on the artistic board/board of directors/I’m not sure what for the museum.
- The gift shop had some lovely smelling opportunities, which were continued when we visited Jovoy, a niche-oriented perfume shop that wasn’t too far away. Another student (Oliver) met up with us there. (My favorite thing I tried was Romanza by Masque Milano, but I already new I’m very into it, so no big new discoveries.
- We went back to Gare St Lazare, stopped at Jo Malone on the way to try to get Luis a sample or Orris & Sandalwood, failed, and then made the trip home to Versailles.
I think yesterday may actually have been my first all-nighter? To the extent that I have been awake since 8 am yesterday morning (it’s now three minutes after 4 pm, today). And I spent the night hanging around outside in Paris, so I don’t think you can really ask for a better first nuit blanche (all-nighter in French). Interestingly, this also coincided with Paris’ Nuit Blanche music and light festival, so there was lots to see and do. And the Marais is always pretty active on Saturday nights.
I have many more things to say about French Tinder (Did I already mention that there are SO MANY PEOPLE NAMED QUENTIN?) like I now know how to say mind games. These are the important life skills.
But in the meantime I just want to talk about perfume.
As in if I could magically have the samples that I want most (that aren’t on m decant wish list) what would I pick? (Also I bought Rose de Nuit by Serge Lutens on eBay recently and I’m super excited! I have been wanting that perfume for quite literally 6 years.
Also did you know there are more Dior Private Collection scents in the stores in Paris that aren’t available in the US? I have to say I didn’t find any of them particularly enrapturing, but they were fun to visit. My favorite would have to be Jasmin des Anges, which was much more a tart blackberry than a jasmine. But it was a pretty nice blackberry.
Okay, back to the topic at hand.
- Ce Soir ou Jamais- Annick Goutal: A super nice and musky overblown rose that I haven’t yet had the chance to try in any meaningful quality. I think I might love it.
- Rose Trocadero- Jardin Retrouve: I seem to be in a rose mood. I want this to be the fresh green garden rose of which I have been dreaming.
- Kingston Osmanthus- Eric Buterbaugh: Too bad 10 mLs costs three weeks of groceries.
- Equestrian- Sonoma Scent Studio: Obviously I can’t leave alone anything doing with horses.
- Miyako-Auphorie: This one got a whole lot of buzz not too long ago and I still haven’t tried it. But I’m here for fruity suede osmanthus vibes.
- Onyx- Sage Machado: Musky coconut? Neat. I want to try.
- Noir Exquis-L’Artisan Parfumeur: I tried a bit of this in store and one point and think I may be very much a fan. SO cozy!
- A bunch from Zoologist. But if I had to pick it would be Nightingale or Civet. Followed by Dragonfly, Panda 2017, and Elephant.
- Suede de Suede and Dojima- Mona di Orio: There are two new Mona di Orios and I haven’t smelled them yet. Shame.
- Mardi Gras- Olympic Orchids: Speaking of Civet.
- Acqua Celestia- Maison Francis Kurkdjian: I keep smelling this in stores and wishing for a bit of my own.
- Joyeuse Tubereuse- Guerlain: Only if I can’t find my sample. I have the sneaking suspicion it’s still in the USA.
- Tabacca-Costamor/Frank 3-Frank: You know you need to smell it when you’ve been waiting so long the brand and scent name changes.
- Tabac Tabou- Parfums d’Empire: Tobacco, honey, narcissus. Give me.
By the way also all of these from DSH 😛
I did something kind of dumb- which is, having never had a Tinder in America, I created a profile when I got to France.
It’s been a good way to practice French, truthfully, but also I’m learning (and noticing) some odd things. Fill me in- what’s normal for Tinder and which of these are weird specific to a 40 km radius of Versailles?
- I’ve learned a lot of great but not widely applicable/appropriate words and phrases. Some favorites:
Enculer- to ass fuck
Je te mange le cul- I can eat your ass.
- A guy named Adrien who looks weirdly like Adrien Brody.
I do not mind.
- A lot of Yankees hats.
I DO mind.
- A good number who are mutual friends with friends of mine from college and even high school. It’s a small world after all.
- The stereotypical douchebag look (lots of squinting, a fair amount of pouty lips and duck face, etc.) is alive and well across the Atlantic.
- Someone who said their favorite things are penguins and waffles. Am ready to marry.
- Too much facial hair. Although I do understand this is a matter of opinion.
- A lot of people from this Middle East. I think because I am closer to the Middle East here.
- A lot of guys giving health advice in there profiles. Like “Eat healthfully and live well, strawberries are good for the stomach.”
- So much smoking. So much for living healthfully and strawberries.
- A lot of guys named Quentin…?
- Speaking of names… I never realized there were so many Thibaults. I dig it.
- Also a lot of Mehdis.
Heyyy, today’s my first day of grad school at ISIPCA! Who’s panicking? (Low key, me). But it’s a stretch even calling it a day at school. We have an informational meeting at 2:30 and then a big mingle from 5:30 on. Tomorrow is the real deal (taking place from the very reasonable 9:30-5:30, with about an hour break for lunch)(High school break was 28 minutes, 22 if you cut out the three minute passing periods on either side).
This is also the latest in the year that I’ve ever not been in school- for approximately my entire life.
So I’ve been in this beautiful country for about a week and a half and there are so many things to talk about! It’s amazing and beautiful and entirely new!
I’m looking forward to documenting it and writing about it and sharing it, but first I think I’m going to start on a slightly more personal note, which will be a few of my ‘misadventures’ or other weird experiences, thus far. Continue reading “La Vie en Rose #1: Misadventures”
It would have been great if I had managed to get this post up before buying and carrying around my first baguette, because that would have been on the list.
But I took my baguette on its maiden voyage a few hours ago, and in the interest of journalistic integrity I am unwilling to pretend otherwise.
But there are a few other things that seem like essential ‘living in France rites of passage’. Continue reading “Versailles Checklist: Being a French Basic”