Yesterday, when I was young...

Discussion created by profchiara on Oct 12, 2012
Latest reply on Aug 20, 2013 by jerrycoin

With all apologies to Willie Nelson, that's the way I've started to feel in Paris.  Last time I was here more than a few days, I unaccountably found myself following 1980s footsteps (when I lived here on the rue Corvisart [rented condo]) to the point that it weirded me out.  That was before my bucket list started and maybe it's what started it aside from health issues.  I was retracing steps from the mid-80s and my two years of living in the 13th arrondissement and travelling every day by metro to Palais-Royale to work at the old Biblioth`eque Nationale.  There were also so many personal relationships, so much that was different, exploring a different country at age 34-36 for the first time and at least finding what I did not want (that has nothing to do with Paris).  But it took me out of my comfort zone for the first time ever, and a reminder that the 1980s were not like now -- NO ONE spoke English, and everything was still very Gaullist. Last time, before l'incident `a la Rive Gauche, when I was walking long unwalked streets and just keep following them, my first instinct was to actually think I was going to die soon. BTW, everyone from the plane to CDG to the ticket office was more than friendly today -- they were HONESTLY friendly.  Granted, I was speaking French, but a few spoke English back. That never happened THEN.


But they included places from 1985-7 and the summer of 1995, so it was less easy to figure out. When someone was playing OLD music from an upstairs apartment in the Latin Quarter in 1995 and I heard it again a few years ago, I thought, 'whoa.' Space-time continuum sort of thing.


Now here I am again in Paris on fall break after an awful Air France flight (booked on Delta), though I must say the personnel were great.  The things that were wrong are for another forum.  But I booked it as a Delta vacation since all I will be doing is spending 9-10 hours a day in archives and libraries, and am at a Best Western as a result in the 13th near Place d'Italie (really my comfort zone along with the Latin Quarter -- rue Corvisart is 3 minutes away). 


Today I felt that feeling again (not nostalgia, though).  I just felt like I was back where I had been.  I walked from the minimalist hotel to Place d'Italie and bought the kind of meal I used to as a grad student, except the first thing to confront me unpleasantly was the apparent dissolution of Supermarche Champion in favor of the bigger Carrefour (kind of like our Walmart). Everything else seemed the same and I was so worn out from the trip that I brought bread (but not a baguette this time -- so different -- a heavy duty whole weight fresh made bread that was so much better.  And of course some dinde (turkey) to add to the bread for dinner Then I found pre cuts hunks -- unlike the old cheese counter where you asked in kilos) of my favorite cheese ever -- Merzer, a low fat cheese from Normandy, which I have loved for nearly 30 years but only get when in Paris.  Then the wine aisle, and of course having to buy a tire-bouchon since you can't get them both ways in carry on.)  I got a wonderful bottle of Sancerre red, albeit 2011, and a half bottle of Sauternes (mind you have not drunk them all)!


But somehow time has collapsed. I am staying in acceptable quarters (much better than the 80s since I have a private bath and LCD TV), and yet while I was eating my homemade meal it took me back in time. To a better place? I don't know, and would probably say no. But there was something oddly comforting about it, since I did not have the energy to wait up for a restaurant to open for dinner.


Alas, some parts disturbed me -- watchng TV.. My hotel is mostly French only with a BBC station.  So I watched it.  I got used to the French adopting reality shows about 5 years ago, but now they have their own version of The View.  Amazingly, they also had a dubbed version of Army wives -- that's for you, NUHUSKEr.


Any other such stories, nostalgic, pleasant or unpleasant about revisiting old places?