Saturday, June 25, 2011

Searching for monsters

Paris, France Saturday June 25th, 2011

It started with the cutest remark: ”…they went there, Nina, to Paris, the monsters are there”. I giggled. My niece knew where I was traveling to when I told her my next destination (she even said “are you going there again?”) it was impressive. “When is day time here it is night time there for you, Nina”…she is smart and has my kind of memory for details.

Monsters then I were sent to find. At first I thought of looking for a poster, a post card or any cut out with the green and blue characters from Monsters, Inc. Perhaps pull an Amelie and take a picture with the Eiffel tower behind. It has been almost a week since I arrived to Paris and every day I take a walk back and forth the same streets, all by myself after finishing work. The sun sets quite late this time of the year here, so I get to enjoy the nice weather and sunny evenings for a little longer.

No signs of monsters though. They are not easy to find. Streets are crowded with multinational visitors as well as multi-layered locals, all somehow captivated by the city, the shops, the scents and the looks – brasseries, pubs, cafes all full. Trendy cigar smoking Parisians sporting their snobby pouts and tiny glasses of wine. Ultra skinny model-like youngsters, filling up ashtrays with yellow cigarette butts, drinking funny looking spirits, speaking rapidly but no food on their plates.

If you don’t ask they just don’t care if you are standing there politely, waiting patiently for a table to be assigned. Finally they push you to a confined place as if being one plus NONE is some kind of defect. For everything else I am so self assured, why is it then that I feel so intimidated by these arrogant Parisians looking down at you? Why do I feel so exposed eating alone in this city? I’ve done bigger things all by myself, much daring than ordering an entrée.

There and then I realized that my search was over… I’d found the monsters all around me – the ones with sharp brown teeth and smelly breath, others with no eyes (or pretending not to see), many with big mouths laughing and chatting in French, laughing at me.

But the worst of the creatures, the scariest and meanest, is the monster inside me. The one that makes me feel small and uncomfortable in my own skin.

The day after, I decided to face the damned creature to tell it straight: stop it! I am in PARIS! It is NOT sad and I am NOT a looser for going out solo…

…so, I am writing this thoughts with my glass of champagne, front row table, spreading butter on my bread at the Louvre Brasserie*, pushing down my inner monster, the sabotage master, cruel judgmental, overwhelming and intimidating evil being…and you know what? It does feel rather great.

To my dear wise day you will come along to one of my trips, but as always, you are here with me.

*Brasserie du Louvre
Place du Palais Royal 75001
Paris - Ph. 01 44 58 37 16


  1. are in paris? nice...

    yes our own monsters are the hardest ones to fight as well...good job going to battle with them...

  2. I love this post! Good for you to recognize the monsters and push them away! (Thank you, too, for the email. Sorry you were unable to comment directly on the post!)

  3. OJ--You are a woman writer with a fierce soul! Drink some wine, savor the bread, and banish those monsters inside of you so that they stay least while you're in such a lovely city.

  4. Hi OJ! I agree with the three before me. And wow, if only I could've met you there, like you joked about on my blog!

  5. It should feel great! Putting a lid or foot on that monster is like climbing a mountain with one leg. I'll have a glass of champagne today in your honor. :)

    Have a great time in Paris.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  6. Hi, OJ! I love this post -- and am more than a tad jealous! Hoping to get back there next spring!

    I think you nailed the monsters! Maybe a photo of the gargoyles on Notre Dame will be a small but thoughtful substitute!

    Savor to the max! I can't wait to hear more!

  7. It's always the monsters within that are the fiercest.

    I am so glad to be back reading about your travel escapades as well as your inner discoveries.



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