street crossers – past and present

Over the weekend, I went to see an impressionism exhibit at Fort Worth’s Kimbell Art Museum. The entire collection, which includes 21 Renoirs and six Monets, was amassed by a single couple, Sterling and Francine Clark, and are now a part of the Sterline and Francine Clark Art Institute. All of the paintings were originally purchased to hang in one of the couples’ homes – can you imagine?!

My favorite painting from the exhibit was the small Crossing the Street by Giovani Boldini. A snapshot of Paris 1875, a woman is captured crossing the cobblestoned street with flowers in hand is en route to a perfectly normal day. At first sight, I’m drawn to it because it’s a world you and I could easily fall into. Take away the woman’s style of dress, and this scene could be Paris in 2012 (yes, even the horse-drawn carriages can be found regularly in certain parts of the city). The open store fronts, dog-walkers, and people checking-out other people are just as ordinary. And then I realized that perhaps I like the painting even more, because it’s a 19th century version of a 21st century artist, The Sartorialist founder Scott Schuman. I’d like to think he would have maybe shot this women just as Boldini did 137 years ago. Time period forgotten, distinct style always catches the eye.


via

 

 

the hunt (and blog) take a change of course

My thought the first time I saw it was, “This will do for now.” In those first few unpredictable days, I was anxious to get something solid in my new life. What I didn’t realize was that this apartment, now my apartment, on rue de Bellechasse was much more than a teeny tiny home. A little more than poetic, my new graduate school and Paris-based life had come to perch six stories up at the intersection of University Street (rue de Université) and Beautiful Hunt Street (rue de Bellechasse). It took us a while to get to know one another, but what I slowly came to understand was that I was at the center of my dream Paris world. All the places that had run through my high school and college French class day dreams : Musee d’Orsay, the Tuileries gardens, the Seine river, Boulevard St. Germain des Pres were all my most immediate neighbors. The daydreams turned into everyday realities.

I soon discovered – and as you may well be aware if you’ve spent any time on this blog – Paris can take you over. Being one who doesn’t like to miss out, I was swept way. And as I was preparing to return to the United States, I thought a lot about what I might want to bring back with me. However, besides a few good pairs of shoes, what was and is most dear to me are the memories and the feelings I will always carry about the city and the lessons it helped to teach me. I couldn’t have picked a sweeter named street to hover over the past year and a half. Beautiful hunt says it all I think, and that’s why I decided to pick it up and carry it with me now, even though I’ve turned in my keys and walked down its six stairwells for the last time.

We’re all searching for things, hunting for them. Little hunts like what’s for dinner, the perfect party dress, the next cool social media platform, a better toy to distract us – those are the little things that fill our moment-to-moment lives. Broadening the scope though, for most people, the bigger hunt is an unrelenting search for an identity that can they can catch and hold onto with their bare hands. For others, it’s a purpose. Sometimes these identities and reasons-for-being take the form of jobs or other people. Answers, callings, or greater causes. The thing is, at the root of all these things is one full, encompassing hunt that when met, changes our lives. That one capital B big chase of our lives is God. And when we get to Him – our perspective changes. If we let go and see him clearly, our strivings cease because we’ve found the treasure at the end of the quest. Then, with Him, the hunt takes a change of course towards trying to learn how to best live life, how to fully and boldly love and chase after service, peace, and impacting the world for Him and the good of others around us. After we find him, the hunt is never the same. It shouldn’t ever be the same.

I started my blog nearly three years ago on a whim after having spent an entire evening devouring the thoughts, hopes and dreams of a young woman. A year older than me, I felt like she was pulling the words right out of my own mind and onto her own blog. Her words were like a kindle to the flame that had been just been biding time inside me to me, only waiting to be lit. And with that I was off. Porch swings and sunsets were – and still are – two of my most favorite things. One is a place from which to see life while the other is a background for the viewing, but I know find myself more interested in the doing of life and seeing while on the go. And while I am still unsure of where I’m actually going next, I’m confident that the hunt will be a beautiful, albeit sometimes frustrating, frightening or unfamiliar, one.

A blog name may not seem like an important matter, but me coming into this space to write and talk and you to read and share, I think it’s beneficial to set the right banner for us to meet under. In fact, I’m excited about this turn in the blog’s writing. So wherever you are in this hunt, what do you say we go the rest of the way together?

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.


 

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