Meeting the Eiffel Tower
If you remember from an earlier post, when I arrived in Paris for my French artist residency, I went directly to the south of France. As I departed the underground city subway system for the aboveground train that would transport me to my final residency destination, I did pause. It felt odd to be so close to the Eiffel Tower and not go directly there. But, I didn't.
For me, this was definitely a trust issue. Possibly, my impatience can be the result of anxiety. It may be some thought that things are NOT going to work out. So I have to seize the day. But, this trip was all about trusting. And, I had made it this far. I chose to practice trust I would see the Eiffel Tower before returning to the States.
The Eiffel Tower was something I had only seen in books. Truly, until Wanda's story came into my imagination I had not thought of it a lot. I knew what the Eiffel Tower was. How could I not? It was on Home Goods art and an image I had seen in books and movies. Even though I had not thought of it often, in my heart this structure did hold a mystique. But remember, in my life to that point, I didn't even seriously consider I would get to France. So, I didn't let the idea of seeing the Eiffel Tower in person even become a dream. That would be TOO bold!!
When Wanda's first story unfolded in my mind, the betrayal she felt led her on a trip around the planet to outrace the sun setting on her anger.
As I wrote it, or actually channelled it, I did not know where Wanda was going anymore than she did. But near the end of her day traveling West, she ended up in France, in Paris. She was near the Eiffel Tower as the sun was setting and she was still mad, but so tired. This now made the Eiffel Tower extra special to me. It was near La Tour Eiffel, in a truffle shop, where Wanda first met Beefy Parisian Pig! Voila!
It was after almost a month spent in the south of France at the residency, that I left there - finally seeing the only boar I would spot on a hillside far away. It was like a dot :( I said my good-byes to Noyers, sadly. But more adventures awaited in France.
I took the train north of Paris. Blessedly, I was offered to be a guest with Sophie. She was a close friend of my dear friend Mark. (Mark has magically created multiple Wanda musicals and a song to accompany my boar poem!) I didn't know Sophie until meeting her, but she was so gracious. I would stay a few days with her and her husband before heading back to the US.
Sophie encouraged me to explore and enjoy my time in Paris. Each morning, we would eat a hearty breakfast - a very strong belief of hers. Then, she would send me on my way to the train station. On day one, I knew La Tour Eiffel was the top destination!
Navigating new trains, new stops and new destinations was quite the challenge. In spite of my French lessons and a month in France, I had not absorbed any real French language ability!! Now, a few years later I have more competency. But at that time >> non! I did my best.
On that first morning, I remember packing the travel-worn original plush toys, Wanda Petunia and Beefy Parisian Pig, into my backpack with the Wanda book that inspired this trip. I boarded the train heading south towards Paris. Closer to the city, closer. I still remember coming around a corner, the train car swaying, and there it was: La Tour Eiffel. I could see it in the real for the first time, just as Wanda once had! As the train moved closer, I cried. Getting to this place in the world was truly momentous for me!
Eventually the train stopped. I was in a new neighborhood and had to walk through new streets to find my way there. Of course, I could see it towering over there - a new mecca for me. Once I arrived, I stood at the base and looked up. I walked around and kept looking up.
Eventually, I found a bench and sat down with Wanda and Beefy. We sat for awhile. Then, pulling the book from my backpack, I read them "Love catches up with Wanda Petunia" under the Eiffel Tower.
Anyone passing would likely think it odd that an adult woman was reading to two plush toys under La Tour Eiffel. Alas, I did not care! The three of us soaked up the goodness and sat there, being present. We had arrived, finally. Eventually, Wanda and Beefy went into my backpack positioned so they could see out. Then, we walked around La Tour Eiffel. We watched people, we watched clouds floating overhead. Looking back, I find it interesting I had no inclination to go up and inside this architectural wonder. There were other places to go, and I was truly satisfied just being near it with my pig friends.
I wish I had kept a written itinerary of where I went in what order for the few days I was there. But if it is written somewhere, I haven't found it. Thankfully, I can remember the places... French locations so meaningful and memorable we three would absorb together:
- the Musee Orsay where I would see Van Gogh paintings and other beautiful art, the Notre Dame cathedral, the love locks bridge, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe...
... a most fantastical embroidery shop I'd learned about from Sublime Stitching! I'm sure my path was zigzagging across the city ~ with a falafel and ice cream thrown in for fuel!
I found my way to Montmatre, got lost, met a man in the cemetery who knew the director of Amelie and walked me to the restaurant in the movie. I ate there > where Amelie had cracked her creme brûlée.
There was a large mural with "I love you" in every language of the world. On the street, a unicorn was playing the Amelie theme song on an accordion... I had definitely gone to Heaven! There was a building where Van Gogh once lived and a shop where I purchased a wallet I carry to this day!
Each evening being a guest, I did not stay out too late. On my last evening in Paris, it was getting dusk as I walked by the Louvre on my way to the subway. There wasn't a line, so I just went right in and down! Because it was already late when I arrived, I made a direct VERY LONG walk past many beautiful sculptures and paintings to see Mona Lisa. Tourists flooded the space around her, so I couldn't get too close. She was smaller than I imagined, and yet I had gotten to unexpectedly see her! Happy sigh :)
For two days, I would make my way South to Paris in the morning and North back to stay with Sophie in the evening. On my final day there, she blessedly drove me though the northern French countryside to see the famous church Vincent van Gogh had once painted, the cemetery where he and Theo are buried,
and the cafe where van Gogh lived upstairs and died. I have digressed a bit from Beefy Parisian Pig's story, but not really. Visiting his homeland helped me know him better, his French-ness. I felt the energy of France and just rested in it. I saw a lot of ham dishes.
Part of sharing all this is to also remind you the importance of dreaming and timing and inspired action. Write these 3 words in your journal!
There are words to live with and by!
Let me know what you discover. Maybe you will dream. Maybe you will write of your travels already made. Maybe you will have inspired action to take more travels someday in the right timing!!! I truly hope so.
And, thank you for joining me on Beefy's adventure and on mine!!