Bonjour everyone –
as many of you know I was in New York last week. I just got back to Paris yesterday morning, and this morning I’d gotten on the train and left Paris again for yet another week of traveling – this time to South of France and Rome.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write anything about my week in New York since it wasn’t – “Paris-related”. But it turned out I’ve got a few things to write about Paris vs New York ….
There were already a few occasions when I was sharing with people what I thought of Paris and Parisians – beautiful, stylist, efficient , focus, yet distant and cold. People then asked me “Oh like New York / New Yorkers?!” (that included one of my New Yorker friends). And I right away would say “No … it’s different”. But I haven’t been able to successfully explain why… until now (I hope!)
There are many similarities between Paris and New York – the cities and the inhabitants : beautiful, stylish, focus, efficient, yet both can seem uncaring and rude … expecting visitors to not act like tourists, which – when you think of how much money tourists bring to both cities – seem a bit obnoxious to ask. And don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I think tourists should act obnoxiously – I still think that no matter how hot and muggy both Paris and NYC can get, there’s no excuse for a wife-beater tank top, a short short, and a fanny pack to be worn in either cities (especially not at the same time!)!! But tourists bring so much money and economy to both cities, you’d think they’d do more than tolerate the tourists.
Both cities are also quite magical where no matter how much you think you know them, when you explore them a bit more – there are always things that seem new that you didn’t see before! In Paris – I don’t think I’d ever forget the walk I took one evening along the Seine river by the Notre Dame. I’ve been to Notre Dame multiple times, yet this one particular evening as I walked on the side walk by the Seine river, there’s a corner where you could see Notre Dame from the side, with the light on – magnificent. It took my breath away. The same thing happened when I was on the boat cruising the Seine river, and we passed the Eiffel Tower, and just as we got there, serendipitously, it was when the lights were turned on. I started giggling in delight. Giggling. I don’t giggle, yet it was such a delightful view that I did. And it’s the same thing with New York! Every time I visit, though there’s comfort in knowing the neighborhood I’m in (I usually stay in the same hotel if not the same neighborhood), New York never fails to surprise me each visit.
I was really trying to find the best way to articulate that thing I think differentiate these two cities I adore so much. And I found two perfect quotes that I think might just be able to help me with it – one from Dorothy Parker, and the other is from Marilyn Monroe.
I ♥️ New York
London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it. – Dorothy Parker
This is a perfect quote to illustrate what I’ve been trying to highlight. It’s perfect. What it says here about London, Paris, and New York – it’s exactly how I feel about these three cities.
Though when I was thinking about it – I wasn’t just thinking about New York, I was actually thinking more about America, or perhaps it’s the “America” I know, the “America” that perhaps I’ve made up in my own mind… my America. The one quality about America I love ….. is this sense of optimism that America and Americans have, sometimes to the level of silliness. Yet no matter how silly it may seem to be, it is what keeps it honest and always strive for better things. I think this might be what I love about America the most. That no matter how bad things are…. how wrong it can be (and it’s been wrong many times), this silly yet wonderful optimism is the one thing that keeps it moving forward, hopefully to better things. For every Donald Trump, we have Jon Stewart who’d keep reminding us that we, Americans, deserve better than Donald Trump!! And I love that about New York…. about America really.
That Jay Z and Alicia Key’s song about New York … “New York… concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do!” I seriously feel that way when I get there (even on my way there!)… full of anticipation of what could happen! No other cities I’ve visited – gives me this feeling.
Paris, je t’aime ♥️
I am selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I am out of control, and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve at my best. – Marilyn Monroe
I’ve thought about what I want to say about Paris and Parisians – and sometimes when I say my thoughts out loud, they sounded negative. But it wasn’t meant to be negative, really. Paris / Parisians can be a bit like a ‘mean girl’ – it’s fashionable, it’s definitely impatient, it can seem cold …. but what I love about it, and this is why this quote from Marilyn Monroe is perfect for this …. Paris (the city) and Parisians know who they are, what they want, and what they like and don’t like. They’re unapologetic. They actually don’t think “take it or leave it”, they think “I don’t care if you take it or leave it”. They want you to earn their friendships and respects. And I love that about Paris….
I think sometimes we think we should be friends with everyone! Fuck that! I don’t like some people, it should be OK if I choose not to be their friends. Just as I am fine if some people un-friend me on Facebook…. My ego might get bruised, but probably not my feelings! I love that Paris and Parisians are OK with this.
For me – one of the reasons why I love getting older is that I know myself a bit more each year. Know what I like. Know what I don’t like. To know when to hang on to something and be brave enough to let go when things don’t work out. It’s not always easy to do. And being in a city as confident and as unapologetic as Paris, it reminds me that when the dust has settled, you’ll be surrounded with those who have indeed earned your friendship and trust. And that’s …. that’s a blessing.
Funny enough I’ve actually used this quote before on an ex-bf 🙂 I meant it too!! Guess that’s why I love Paris even with all its haughtiness.
I wrote on Facebook the other day about this book “Paris versus New York” that my friend Donna bought for me. The author said that the book was for “lovers of Paris, of New York, and those who are torn between the two.”
I am in the “those who are torn between the two” group.
So I’m going to cop out and say that I hope I’d never have to choose which city I love more since I love them for different reasons. The feelings they invoke when I visit them, or when I think of them, are completely different. So in this case, I’m greedy. I want to have my cake and eat it too.
This got me thinking about my other favorite places in the world ….. my hometown Jakarta, my paradise Bali, my love in the Bay Area San Francisco, my two soul-saver countries, Italy (Rome in particular) and Ireland.
And ….. the best thing about traveling is – you do get to have your many cakes and eat it too!! And there are still so many cakes to it!! How wonderful that is right?!
Anyway – thought I’d share with you guys my quick thoughts on Paris and New York. I am typing all these on my iPhone so I don’t forget what I wanted to share, especially because I’m traveling this week.
I can’t believe how fast the time has passed. I had a moment of panic last night, which I think in part was coz I was jet lag and couldn’t and didn’t sleep all night, when I thought “OMG, have I done everything I wanted to? Have I eaten all the food I wanted to eat? Have I drunk all the champagne and wines I wanted to try?!” That’s when I have to tell myself – “Oh you’re in the future again!!! Come back!!”
So I am trying to stay as present as I could, especially these last few weeks…. My intention is to keep sharing with you my experience through this blog – but if the updates are not as frequent, I do post on Facebook and Instagram a bit more often (I post a lot of pictures there!). Thanks for continuing to play with me! 🙂 ❤ 😊♥️
Till the next one!