Aside from getting acquainted with my host family these past two days, I have wandered around the downtown area. I feel like I am in a movie, and I realize that I am in the honeymoon stage, but whatever. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
On Sunday, nearly everything was closed besides a few cafés. However, I stumbled upon a large market where vendors were selling antiques and other possessions. I stumbled upon old diaries written in perfect cursive, old photo albums full of pictures of families taken 30 years ago, a lot of dishware, old books and maps. It was nice aimlessly meandering through this market. Walking back up Rue Nationale where all the shops are, I wound up at the edge of the Loire River.
People play music there. They sit on the benches with their heads in each others’ laps, or they will be walking down the path hand-in-hand. Some people will come just to eat their baguette and watch the river flow. This is not some romanticized rendering of events to create something interesting–It truly did seem this nice.
With all this extra time on my hands before school starts, I have taken to writing a lot in a journal that I carry around with me. I read 3/4 of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast the summer before last, and what I remember quite well are Hemingway’s descriptions of what it was like to write in the cafés of Paris. Always, always, he would talk about the food and drink–how good it tasted after not having eaten anything all day, what the exact order was so that we too could someday go to the same café and sample what he was having. That was what I was needing today: Hemingway.
I imagine that Hemingway was the type of guy that loves everyone right away, not because of small commonalities, but because he seems to have liked people in general, because he was excited with life and wanted to share that excitement with others. I am no Hemingway scholar, but this is my impression of him–a gregarious, strong-willed story teller who would have been the type of guy to pull you around the city by a strong grip of the hand, recounting amazing stories, and ordering platter after platter and drink after drink until you were both exhausted and warm with content at the same time.
Today, I was wishing that he were with me. I would have asked him what he thought about love and France, and how the two seem to so easily coincide, what he most enjoyed about Paris and the country itself, maybe why he chose to write… who knows? That probably would have been enough. With him, I imagine that a single question would have been all that was needed.
Regardless of whether or not he was here with me, today was nice. I bought some peaches, a baguette, and a yogurt and sat by the river for a couple hours reading, eating, and watching people.