Moment by the Eiffel Tower 6th August 2019.
Here I am, finally sitting by the Eiffel Tower. Before I got here it was too cold but now when the day is coming about it is getting too hot. It is my first whole day in Paris and not sure what the weather is like so I put on black pants but brought a skirt to change to if it gets too hot. It is August after all.
I’m proud that the tea I am drinking I ordered all by myself in French in the small kiosk with dark green plastic chairs close to the Tower. I just had to say ‘thé s’il vous plait’ and luckily the kind guy at the kiosk did not ask any further questions. I am positively surprised to notice how much I remember from taking the French lessons many years ago.
I take a sip of my fruity black tea and think about life. Am I happy? I would explain that I am more content than happy. I am fine with sightseeing alone but at times I do miss to have someone to share the experiences with.
The plan was to visit Noelle (my friend I met during my exchange in Seoul) but she ended up getting her dream job at Disney(!) so I spend the days alone and then meet up for dinner with her. It is great to catch up since we last met in Tokyo before I flew back home to Finland.
Travelling alone means you can do exactly what you want and when you wants to do it. This freedom is nice. And walking 20 or 30 minutes from place A to B means I can catch up on my audiobooks. And soon I’m done with 5 AM Club.
In the mornings it is a bit like getting ready for work. As I get ready for my plans and then go off by myself and try to do as much as I can. I don’t mind as I do want to see a lot but the quote from the movie Into The Wild comes in mind “happiness is only real when shared” explains well how I feel at times. On the other hand I can do exactly what I want and spend as much time as I want in the museums I want to visit.
I gaze at the tower and then at the people around me. Desperately trying to get the perfect shot with the tower. Not an unusual sight is to see a girl all dressed up with nice hair and a small cute dress with the boyfriend in front of her with saggy shorts and messy hair who takes the pictures.
I laugh at this. Partly because the whole concept is amusing. And partly because so would be doing the exact same thing if I was travelling with my boyfriend.
I then wonder about why I want to travel. Experiencing things just to quickly check them off in my list does not feel so valuable. But what is it that I seek then? To experience the real things. See how people are living and actually feel that life. This broadens my view of the world and is something everyone should experience.
This is why so don’t want to go up the Eiffel Tower but to see it from down here. Also why I did not go to London Eye or Big Ben in London. I usually spend only a couple of days in one place and spending three hours of them in a line is just not worth it for me.
I think having the opportunity to stay at someone’s place gives you a better look into the lives of the people who live there. This is why I am happy I could stay at Noelle’s place. She lives with her Grandmother whom is really kind and happy. She is a bit deaf so trying to communicate is interesting. But this way I could stay and see what they have for breakfast and get to know them better as well.
This is the real stuff.
When I arrived in Paris Noelle was at work so I just got to the residence and rang to her, a Grandmother I have never met before and whose place I will be staying at, and thought good that I am not too shy or too introverted. Otherwise that situation could have been a bit awkward.
A lady interrupted my thoughts and came and asked me if I wanted to sign some petition. A bit annoying but she did not stay long. There are also men walking around with lots of miniatures of the Eiffel Tower trying to find someone who wants to have them as a souvenir. But none of those touristy things for me, thank you very much. I try to have so little stuff as possible.
I look at the people around me. And notice I look at the people more that at the tower. I see a couple that is sitting next to me has a picnic and an umbrella and sit there and draw. What a perfect moment.
The sun is setting on the Tower now so it looks almost golden. Gosh, I think. I am finally in Paris!
Sitting there thinking by myself I had unnoticeably played with my teacup with my fingers and forgotten that there was a small amount of tea left. This now dripped on my fingers and I thought it is now time to continue towards Avenue Rapp and then to a museum.
In the audiobook I am listening to, 5 AM Club, they say that the best things in life are experiences. As well as being alone. And around people. And to be in nature. I wonder if this is not exactly what I am doing here. Sitting outside by the Eiffel Tower alone but surrounded by people.
I get distracted by a pop of a champagne bottle and start gathering my things. Walking towards the museum I pass by the group that have a picnic with plenty of Pain au Chocolat pastries and sipping the just opened champagne. What a great sight!