from there to here

Five countries, showing and sharing beloved Paris to my immediate family, graduating with a Masters degree, saying goodbye to a Great Love and returning to home on the range in four weeks has left me trying to catch up with who, what, and where I am. No really, my first night back in Texas I woke up at 3 am completely unsure of where in the world I was.

And since then, I’ve been hiding from the internet. Email, blog, job applications – what are those? It’s an unfortunate habit I pick up like a favorite book anytime I’m at a metaphorical edge. Except, I’m not escaping into a novel’s new world plot, just escaping my own that continues to beckon me forward. I knew there was a problem when I found myself eating cheetos and watching reality tv at 10:45 one morning this week. It just takes time for me to decide one and for all that I’m going to jump (even though deep down, I always know I’m going to jump – that’s what edges are for after all). So finally, one week into re-Americanizing myself, here I am.

Hi.

I’ve traded a high esteem for small for that of large and extra-large. Old for new. Formal for casual. Round plugs for square ones. No phone for iPhone. Walking for driving. Compact for spaced-out. Foreign for familiar. I’m constantly reminded that the two places I’ve inhabited feel more like separate worlds than simply different cities. The first time I came home from Paris, I hoped things would seem odd to me – I wanted to feel different. And now, things just are different…but that’s not to say I don’t fall right back into place here. I excitedly pull into Sonic for my half-price limeade from 2-4 pm. I wander the long aisles of DSW trying on pair after pair of discounted shoes, I drive my car through the city with hardly a thought to where I am going, and I incredulously wonder how anyone can live without the blessed comfort of air conditioning. It seems I’ve become a mélange of a person. It’s true as my dad reminded me in Paris, despite my many attempts to fool the Europas, I am indeed an American, but as years of practiced American behaviors etched into my brain continue to resurface, I continue to unconsciously count seven hours forward anytime I check the hour.

Today I woke up and decided on a whim that it felt like the perfect morning to wander the cobblestones and headstones of Père Lachaise – the mystery and solace of that place would be just right. Oh wait, I thought. That’s not possible. It’s going to take time to fully move from there to here.

The best part is, things that were holes in everyday life before, are one again blessed parts of my day: text messages between old friends, quick phone conversations, last-minute meet ups and family dinners get to all be happy facts of everyday life again. There’s also a new sense of longevity lingering above and around us – I’m here for the unforeseeable future. There’s time for us to all be together and I have a ridiculous amount of things to share and show you. From a dream trip to Greece to a quick trip to London just before Her Majesty’s Jubilee celebrations to saying goodbye to Paris with graduation and family visits in between. I promise not to fare this far away from you and the blog again. Thanks for coming back. We’ll start Monday, with a surprise and new beginning!

See you then,
C

neutrals + color

Dear Paris,

One of the many lessons you’ve taught me this past year and a half is the magic of neutrals. Grey roofs and cream facades leave room for splashes of color. I think you’ve made a lasting impression on me.

Thanks,

Caitlin

pink flamingo

 

Just off of the Canal St. Martin, Pink Flamingo may be the best pizza in town. Stop by and order for a ‘picnique’ and the owner will give you a pink balloon to take with you as you sit by the canal and wait for you pizza. After you stuff yourself silly, stroll up and down the canal going in and out of the oddball bookstores and clothes shops – it’s hipster paradise.


 

antibes, france

On my trip to the South last month, Antibes was my final day trip. A thirty minute train ride along the coast from Nice, Antibes is a relaxed beach town that was originally discovered by the Greeks around the same time as Nice. Today, the town is a relaxed, family-friendly answer to the more hectic Nice and more glitzy Cannes. The town has become a haven for Australians and Kiwis both – and I caught a few of their distinct accents floating above me on rooftop terraces as I wandered the street labyrinth below.

Before the Grimaldi family moved on the bigger, better pieces of real estate, they lived in a mini-palace by the sea. Today, the home is a Picasso Museum. Picasso, who lived in Antibes for some time, left the city a large collection of his paintings in thanks of the inspiration the town had given him. It’s easy to understand, once you’ve stood on the balcony of the Grimaldi home watching the deep blue water wave as the Alps stand at a distance and the ancient city sprawls out inbetween what must have stirred the artist. Once you’ve seen this place, you won’t easily forget it.


senor gaudi

Antoni Gaudi is considered the grand master of Catalan modernism and he spent his life creating art and architecture for the city of Barcelona. Incorporating his various skilled crafts like ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork and carpentry into his work, his works make kooky imprints on the city, that in my mind, make him kind of like the Mad Hatter of Barcelona. Refusing to see the world as everyone else does, love or hate his work, you can’t deny that Gaudi had a point and stuck to it. I’m guessing he didn’t care too much to listen to critics or those that pointed out that his architecture wasn’t how things are ‘normally’ done. The man has a vision and kept with it.

Casa Batillo:

Casa Mila:

Begun in 1915, Gaudi devoted himself to Sagrada Familia until his death. The church has continued to be build since then and has plans to include 18 steeples that are to be finished in 2022.

Park Guell is chaotic with both crowds and visuals. The park sprawls up, allowing for a few of the city and sea beyond if you’re willing to climb. Sprinkled throughout the space are musicians singing, playing the guitar and even square dancing – yes, I kid you not. I’m sure an act as a bizarre as a mass square dancing ‘Cotton-Eye Joe’ in Barcelona, Spain in the type of oddity Gaudi might have smiled at. To me, it’s proof that no matter how far from home you go, home has a way of finding you.

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