My Mother and Jesus

My mother was a good Catholic girl from the Falls in Belfast. She lived at 37 Broadway with her family. She always adored her mother. Always underfoot. A bit clingy. She just wanted, and still wants, unconditional love.

She got a scholarship to go to a good school, St. Dominique’s where she had fun with the Catholic clergy, laughing at the nuns, making fun of her diction teachers, and making everybody laugh. Chasing unconditional love.

She grew up with an unquestioning faith.

It’s funny, but I don’t think she ever thought of the crucifix. Why wasn’t Jesus’ head leaning forward? Why did he look like a WASP?? A White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. He was born Jewish. He didn’t look like he does on the traditional crucifix.

When she first met the boyfriend fated to become my sister’s husband, all she could think about was Jesus and how much he looked like that crucifix.

Vegetarian

It’s difficult to find vegetarian options in Paris for dining out. I saw some beautiful chantrelles in the market the other day, but I don’t know the best way to cook them, and I can’t figure out for the life of me how to turn on the stove!

Luckily, there’s a place where I can get the occasional veggie burger, plus I just discovered a wonderful falafel joint. I really enjoy baguettes, but it’s kind of hard to keep eating delicious cheeses, hummus, and/or veggies, and baguette, and nothing else for over a week!

My French is very sad. Like all situations where I don’t understand (or worse, understand a little!) I assume everything is about me, and negative. It’s exacerbated by the fact that it seems like the French are not like dour Canadians who reserve judgement…the French are very judgemental! It puts me on my guard.

I worry that I am not gracious enough, stylish enough, or so on!

It’s a very difficult atmosphere for those with paranoid tendencies.

Today I went to the Ile de la Cite and Montmartre, took some lovely photos. But I can’t help but remember what one of Paris’ famous permanent denizens once said of being a stranger and how people are strange….Image

Lounge Lizard

I have been luxuriating in the absence of a need to wake up at a set time, sleeping in, waking up, going back to bed…disgusting behaviour, I know.

But I perk up near the end of the day.

Today I went to the Pere Lachaise cemetery. It is the resting place of Paris notables, but it is also a beautiful retreat from the bustle of the city. I was a little worried as I snapped away, that the few people I saw in the cemetery as well didn’t seem to be taking photos. It was odd! Then I spotted another woman taking photos, so I tried to avoid taking photos when others were around. There are more modern graves in the area, so it wouldn’t do for a mourner to see someone clicking pics of their loved one’s resting place…beautiful as the setting is.

I have an extensive shopping list for my return home. Mostly consumables, speaking of which, I tried my first Parisien macaroon today…it was pistachio and absolutely unbelievable. It sandwiched a cream centre…incredible.

Another thing I love which you can’t get in Canada, but I won’t be bringing back are Clementines. They look a lot like Mandarins, but they are harder to peel and way sweeter. It’s a shame we can’t get them in Canada. Many of them here come from Corsica.

Also, the produce here is very different. Tomatoes aren’t those thin-skinned hothouse things that you get in the grocery in Canada (maybe fish-tomato hybrids), the tomatoes are firm and stay firm but no less delicious and very juicy, just not as sweet. But since when did tomatoes have to be sweet?

Another thing I’ve been indulging in is chocolate Madeleines…lovely.

Meanwhile, most of the shopping in Paris I’m doing is Christmas shopping on the Internet! Prices here are so expensive! A ring I keep thinking about is over 80 for a costume jewellery piece that is not silver or even semi-precious…but no less lovely. Argh. I’ve been browsing Etsy looking for something else to fall in love with that’s less expensive…

I am going to try to check out some flea markets over the weekend. Maybe go to Versailles…