Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Mid Morning Metro Matters

It has been well documented by many Parisians that the metro is a weird and wonderful place. I thought I would let you all know about a few thoughts I had on this very subject when I was using this particular mode of transport to get to work this morning.

This post first started in my mind yesterday when I was surprised by the man opposite me handing me a drawing he had done of me while I had been engrossed in my book (diamond smuggling truly is a fascinating topic!) Now, I had heard of this kind of things happening but thought it must be urban myth or the kind of thing that happens in the minds of romantics. I had a brief conversation with the man before I had to get off at my stop, in fact the man next to me even applauded this anonymous artist on his piece. So I started to think about this most unique public transport system. Underground rail networks in themselves aren't unique but the Parisian metro has a certain air of intrigue and that isn't just the faint smell of body odour you can't seen to escape.

Considering that the system is over one hundred years old it can't be a secret that it has many stories to tell. Admittedly there are some lines that make you feel like you are entering Dante's Inferno (Line 13 I'm looking at you) but what could be more special than taking the overground line 6 from Passy to Bir Hakeim at just the right time to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle and the faces of the tourists, children and indeed the locals light up with delight.

Even the muscians in the metro can't help but to encourage a smile on the faces of even the mos miserable commuter. Specifically I'm thinking of the band in between lines 1, 8 and 12 at Concorde. The length of the corridor helps to amplify the immense sound that this traditional band produces.You can probably search Youtube and find videos of this ensemble as every time I see them they have a crowd of people videoing them for posterity.

Usually I have my head firmly in a book when taking the daily communte but I find it equally interesting to look up and to observe my fellow passengers, From fashionistas travelling to and from shows to groups of exciteable tourists and all the people in between our common transportation is a poetic leveller in my eyes and one that I can't help but find fascinating.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Self Care

It has been just over 3 years since I started this little experiment to see whether I coul keep up journalling my thoughts and experiences during my time spent here in Paris. I've learnt a lot in the past few years, not just about myself but about the world in general. Of course I've learnt things during the course of my degree but I've always thought that university was for way more than simply learning a few dates and grammatic rules. My journey to this point has definitely not been simple or easy. In fact from the very first day I spent as a resident of this magnificent city I had internal and external obstacles to overcome. Self Care is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot but for me it has been the best skill I have learnt during this highly formative time in my life. 

I've already documented my struggles with my mental health and while self care helps me to deal with this I believe that it can help everyone in their day to day life. Shall we have an example? A few days ago I had an absolutely nightmare of a day in work which involved me being shouted at in Spanish. I got home feeling low and demoralized but I recognized that I needed to take some time for myself instead of the evening out with friends that I had planned. I cooked myself a comforting meal and curled up watching the Great British Bake Off which has to be one of the best mood-improving programmes out there. Self Care isn't about being selfish. It may seem like I was being anti-social not going out but I needed to work on myself in order to maintain my mental wellbeing. If you tire yourself out by trying to do too many things without keeping yourself healthy then you are doomed to fail. 

I wish I had realised all of this sooner. Moving away from home at the tender age of 18 was difficuly emotionally and I wish that I had tried to help myself improve my mood earlier on. Having said that I would never change the journey that I have been on because it has made me the person that I am today, which is lucky because I can't! I'd like my lasting message in this post to be that you have to make yourself your number one priority and that you have to take time for yourself whether that is by taking an entire day in order to clear your mind of all of the negative energy or just a few minutes with a cup of tea quitely watching videos of corgi puppies.