Paris, France

French Connection

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(Part 2 with Corey D) Arriving at Montparnasse station on Saturday morning was strange because I actually recognized the market that ran just alongside the station’s exit.  This was the infamous set of stalls where a pigeon flew into my hair while my mom was eyeing leather backpacks.  She couldn’t stop laughing about the bird mistaking my messy bun for a nest.

We strolled past purplish -green artichokes and milky white mushroom caps.  The leafy greens and the heirloom tomatoes were also beautiful in the sunlight.  The twenty minute walk to the airbnb was quiet and shaded with trees.  Our host was an avid comic fan.   His posters were of superheroes and of the most recent Marvel movies released in the States. Corey D. finished walking Champs Elysee in perfect time to meet up for crepes with our friends, Rich and Sam. It was at this time that Sam let us know that crepes weren’t actually Parisian, but that her neighborhood did have a wealth of creperies to choose from (crepes are originally from Brittany, a region in the northwest of France).  We ended up as La Creperie de Josselin, where I realized I had eaten with my mom just months before during her trip.  It’s interesting to feel like I ‘know’ parts of Paris now.

After lunch, we hit up popular shoe shops for Corey and Rich, and Amorino gelato for Sam.  As a side note, I recently discovered that Amorino has a location right on Upper Street! Corey and I have made rules about how frequently we can visit.

We made our way through the crowded, beer strewn streets to the stadium.  The Euros match between Wales and Northern Ireland was pretty rubbish, but it was so good to catch up with Corey D about his trip, and to have the opportunity to attend such a major event in a city so close to London.

Our group split up after the Euros as Sam and Rich had a birthday party and Corey D still had places to check off on his Parisian sightseeing list.  We made our way to Le Tour Eiffel, and took some prime shots amidst the Euros fans decked out in team gear.  We had dinner at Tracy’s favorite restaurant in Paris, La Coincidence, on a complete whim! We hadn’t booked but arrived early enough to snag a great table.  The meats were very tasty, and we laughed at how our waiter hailed from Miami.  It’s seriously a small world.  Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get Corey D to Sacre Coeur before heading to our next meet up at L’absinthe Cafe.  We met Aisha and Ismoyla for some good ol’ green fairy hangouts for her birthday weekend. I reminisced thinking about how my first understanding of absinthe actually came from Corey D’s older brother, Starlie. I’m sure he’d be proud of us, traveling together in Paris, retracing a few of his footsteps.

Aisha, Ismoyla, Corey D, Corey and I met up with Sam, Rich, her childhood friends, and some Bloomberg blokes who were also in Paris to see the Euros. It’s an amazing feeling to know that we are from so many different places, and had the opportunity to come together in Paris!  I’m embarrassed to say that after so much effort to meet up, I was pretty wiped out. I didn’t last long at the bars, but in an effort to see more of Paris on Corey D’s last night, we walked all the way back to our flat!  We held philosophical debates, discussed gender politics, went on about women’s studies, suffragettes, and the whole lot.  Yep, an evening stroll with two Coreys and myself making the world a better place.  I thoroughly enjoyed our final evening together, and Corey D was gone before we woke up the next morning.  In his place, he left a nice goodbye note complete with “See you for the wedding in 1 week!”

We needed to hit up L’As du Fallafel on Sunday morning as Corey still hadn’t been.  It didn’t disappoint.  I’d get the appetizer sampler as my meal since it’s basically a deconstructed pita with a few additional yummy dips.  Catching the Eurostar home without guests or friends felt…well…quiet, as Corey D’s trip was the final visit before our major trip to California in just a week’s time.  ((What happened that weekend? Well, it was really the start of our journey together for the rest of our lives.  So many memories that we’ll continue to return to as it was a total blast!))img_7257


Quick Shot:

Saturday

Market near Montparnasse Station (closes by 2pm so visit early)

La Creperie de Josselin (have the cider with your crepe)

Explore Rue Montorgueil and do some shopping in the Marais district

La Coincidence for dinner (book ahead to secure a seat)

L’absinthe Cafe – a fun treat if you’ve never tried absinthe (though this drink didn’t originate in Paris, it was very popular in the community of artists and writers in the late 19th century)

Sunday

L’As du Fallafel– (closed on Saturdays; fun shopping in this area as well)

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Bath, England, Cotswolds, England, London, England, Paris, France, Stonehenge, England

Thankful for…

 

This Thanksgiving, my mom took an eleven hour flight to visit us in London. Here, turkey isn’t on sale until December, we missed sweet potato and pumpkin pie, we didn’t experience Daisuke’s first encounter with sticky rice, and we knew Corey wouldn’t get a day off. Yet, we couldn’t help but feel incredibly grateful for our time together, and with her permission, I’m sharing an email my mom sent me the day after returning from her trip overseas.

I’ve only edited a few sections, as I thought it was best to stay true to her words. Because this post isn’t in chronological order, I’ve added the day to day itineraries at the end of the post.


I am thankful for 2 daughters whom I love and rely on them immensely.

I am thankful for curiosity. It gives you freedom.

I am thankful for you living in London and NY, so I can visit and see another part of the world. 

I am thankful that I like my daughters’ partners. They are fun and love my girls. Lucky.

I am thankful for good street art. Simple and Amazing.

I am thankful that artists are dedicated, creative and can support themselves via their art. (My mom is a beast when it comes to museums).

I am thankful for crows. They are smart and their midnight black feathers are so amazingly beautiful.

I am thankful for sheep who give us wool. A simple fiber to create with and produce clothing that keeps us very warm. (I’m cheating on this one because my mom has all the pics of the sheep… I should mention that she also was thankful for Christmas trees and took a shot every single day. Here’s a brief look).

I am thankful for immigrants/migrants who bring their food culture to new countries to share with anyone and everyone. So delicious. Ottolenghi – what a find! I am thankful for all his cookbooks!

I am thankful for having a personal tour guide for my stay in London and my visit to Paris. You have learned quickly of the city that you live in. I am thankful that you have friends who share their favorites as well and who have the privilege and desire to see the world.

As I took my 1st morning walk back home in Oakland, I realized that I am thankful that I can still walk and run to catch a train. That was some 100 yard sprint I did. I didn’t even have running shoes on! Not bad for an older mom! (We had to run to the catch a train to the Roald Dahl museum. But old? I think not, Mom. You climbed 345 steps up the Eiffel Tower, another 245 up the Arc de Triomphe, and trekked about 10 miles a day to see the sights in two different cities. Check her out!)

love you much.

thankfully,

justme

mom

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Here she is after she climbed to the first level of the Eiffel Tower! Work!


 

Quick Shot (links added here)

Day 1/2: Arrival and dinner at Afghan Kitchen (get a reservation if you can)

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

  • More Stoher bakery for breakfast and the day’s snacks
  • Walk Beauborg and Les Halles’ Jardin Nelson Mandela to see Forum des Halles (underground maze of a shopping mall), St-Eustache (gothic church modeled on Notre Dame), and Bourse du Commerce (commodities exchange)
  • Walk to Notre Dame and Sainte- Chapelle (medieval church) on the Ile de la Cite (the islands in the center of the city)
  • Cross over to the Latin Quarter to see the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore and Boulevard St. Michel
  • Pantheon
  • Markets: Rue de Mouffetard or Marche Edgar Quinet
  • L’as Du Falafel and cab to Gard Du Nord
  • Dinner at Lahore back in London with the wine from Paris (order the lamb chops starter, fish curry, garlic naan, daal tarka… and chicken tikka or lamb curry if you still want more meat)

Day 6

  • Brixton Market for meat, fish, grains, veggies, arts, crafts, fabric, longjohns and yummy lunch at El Rancho de Lalo (get the tripe soup!)
  • Mini Thanksgiving meal

Day 7

  • Royal Arts Academy for the Ai Weiwei exhibit
  • Lunch at Borough Market (the kid goat meal is delish every time)
  • Tate Modern: The World Goes Pop exhibit
  • Walk Millennium bridge and see St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • West End Show: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Day 8

  • Coach tour (Premium Tours groupon) for Stonehenge, Bath, the Cotswolds, and Stratford Upon Avon
  • Dinner at home (leftovers)

Day 9

  • Shakshuka breakfast (Plenty recipe that we made for 3 people)
  • Roald Dahl museum
  • Islington Contemporary Art and Design Fair
  • Ottolenghi (Round 2) Late Afternoon Lunch on Sunday ONLY
  • Packing for home (early train back to Heathrow on Monday)
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