Hey there. Jealous as I am that you are all in Minneapolis having fun without me, I have to admit that, well, I love Paris. In the Spring, presumably, but also now: there’s something about big cities in the late Fall/ early Winter, I think. Much as I”m not a huge fan of New York, it’s magical this time of year: Christmas stuff just going up, chilly enough that everyone is in dark coats, but not too cold. And Paris also looks heartbreakingly beautiful right now: the cold light is perfect, somehow. Traveling in the summer really does suck in many ways: one of my clearest memories of Prague is going to the Charles Bridge, pushing through hordes of tourists, and then watching it literally shimmer in the heat, as I nearly passed out.

 Right now, in Paris, the annoying tourists like me, who can’t speak French, and say “Oh my goodness!” when the food arrives, much to amusement of the traditionally snotty waiters, are at a minimum, everyone is wearing a dark coat, the streets are busy but not too busy, the cafes are not too crowded and buying your fourteenth crepe from a street vendor seems just the right thing to do.

We almost didn’t get here, as the air traffic controllers went on strike Tuesday. Luckily, thanks to the miracle of time travel, it was Wednesday by the time we actually got here and the strike was over. The metro was also not working for the first few days, then it was going about 1 in 8, then it was “quasi-normal” and now it’s fine. 70% of the population didn’t support the strikes, and everyone seems to approve of the way Sarkozy handled them. I have to say that with a 15% unemployment rate, it’s hard to feel sympathetic to transit workers who can retire at fifty with full benefits. But that makes me feel a little dirty to say.

My family, not being genetically American, has the way of spending American holidays not in America. We spent fourth of July here when I was thirteen. I kept a journal, in which I wrote deep, biting thoughts like how McDonalds was taking over the world and how Mona Lisa was smaller than you’d think in real life. I also worried about my diet alot, deciding that the best way to to spend my time in Paris was counting calories. Yay, being thirteen!

I’m enjoying this trip much more. Instead of my lame journal, I have you guys. Paris is cleaner and pleasanter than it was my first trip: a) because it’s not summer, I guess and b) because it, well, is cleaner. There are trash bags everywhere, laws about dog poop, etc. Nortre Dame, in my memory, was dark and covered in scaffolding. Now it’s sparkling and restored. Also, I’ve being stuffing myself. I’ve discovered this amazing French dish called a canale (spelling?) that is, check this: essnetially a dumpling made out of fish. Dumpling! Made out of fish! My two favorite things! Combined! Last night I dinner, I ordered something that was a chocolate M——. My parents had no idea what this word meant, but I ordered it anyway: chocolate, Paris, can’t be bad, right?

It was like chocolate mouse and chocolate pudding has a love child, and this was it. And it came with something that was like ice cream and whipped cream has a love child, and this was it.

So: Paris. Turns out it’s really beautiful. And the Eiffel Tower is way smaller than you’d think it would be. Chocolate M——- is delicious.

I’m so glad my observations are  way more mature now.

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