Emi in Paris

Recently, I started watching Season 2 of Emily in Paris after a long break from watching Season 1. The vibe is the same–cool, fun, trendy. What I like most about each episode is that there’s always a misadventure that Emily runs into but she almost always pulls it off.

I could relate to her efforts to use the French language like saying in the presentation that “Champére est très bien,” because I cannot possibly go beyond five (5) sentences if I were to make a presentation on the spot. Or maybe, I could but then it would be a series of sujet + est + adjectif. ^_^

The difference with this Season is that, compared to the first, I have started to love Emily’s officemates in Savoir, Sylvie, Luc, Julien, well probably Sylvie the least, but she has started to become a bit charming with her i-don’t-care attitude, her being straightforward, and her sexiness. To be honest, though, I still would not want to work with a boss with her kind of attitude. Luc has given some inappropriate comments but she has helped Emily a few times. Julien is petty but he doesn’t bear grudges. The Office would certainly be interesting with these characters.

I am writing this not really to rate the show. (It is not spectacular but it achieves its purpose to entertain and amuse viewers. ) The show made me reminisce some of what I miss most about Paris.

-Sitting on park benches (such as Jardin du Ranelagh) during weekends to relax or to read a novel. Also, during weekdays getting out of the Office for half an hour to go to the nearby Square Henri Collet and eat a packed lunch from the nearby Monoprix while looking at the bushes, trees and sky.

Basking in the late afternoon sun

-Walking to my favorite boulangerie on Saturday mornings and after attending the Sunday 10:30AM mass at the Assomption Chapel which is just across my building on Rue de l’Assomption. I really love their croissant and pain au chocolat. It’s beside a fruit stall where I usually bought apples, grapes, orange, pears, etc.

-For several Sundays as I was nearing returning to the Philippines, I attended the Catholic mass with my 90 year-old neighbor, a very elegant French lady staying two floors above my unit. We would walk around the garden just outside the chapel and talk about how nice the weather is and the lovely flowers, and greet other churchgoers “Bonjour!” Also, I loved visiting random churches during my walks and out-of-town trips such as this one in Provins.

-Prior to the pandemic, attending the holy mass in the St. Bernadeth Chapel and holding hands with fellow churchgoers (mostly Filipino) when singing “Ama Namin.” (Our Father)

-Walking around my neighborhood about two hours after dinner, walking along the Seine, to the Pont Mirabeau, Pont de Grenelle, Pont de Bir Hakeim, Eiffel Tower grounds, Pont d’Iena, Trocadero Gardens, or even as far as Pont Alexandre III and Champs-Élysées.

-Walking with my grandma neighbor to the big lake and small lake. Imagine, I didn’t know that these places existed and they’re just 20 minutes away from my place. There’s an island in the middle. There are ducks, and geese, poule d’eau, and otter (or was it beaver)? She introduced me to Place de Vosges too, this charming place surrounding by beautiful buildings. For her 70th birthday, I treated her to a dinner in Palais Royal Restaurant where I had the most wonderful service and complete course meal.

-Visiting Paris spots like Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre Museum, etc. but more unforgettably areas outside Paris such as Veules-Les-Rose in Auvers-Sur-Oise, Giverny, Mont Saint Michel, Saint Germain, Park des Sceaux, Strasbourg, Versailles, Fontainebleau, Provins (this is the best!) and many other places. I visited Nice and Marseille too but it was for a consular outreach and thus, I only had time to appreciate the place after work hours (dinner time).

-Chatting with the nearby fruit seller in my basic French; Also chatting with the flower shop owner Oz and his assistant Benjamin (which is pronounced Bendzamah in France ^_^); chatting with the Belair shop owner Louisa (I bought my favorite dress in Paris from her shop); chatting with the market vendor who never failed to say “Kumusta?” and even the aged, calm doctor in the neighborhood who always said “I don’t know Tagalog,” in the few times I visited to get a prescription.

Chatting with a statue artist on Pont d’Iena

I can’t list here all the people I talked with outside work (building cleaner, museum attendant, saleslady, Carrefour cashier, random old people at the park, and so many). My French was limited but there’s a lot that Bonjour, Ça va and Merci can reach. My only difficulty was when I’m walking around and I’d be seen by fellow Filipinos having a picnic and invite me to join by calling me “Kabayan.” I would join for a few minutes but then inform that I needed to go. It is not that I did not want to be in the company of my fellow Filipinos, but my work dynamics discouraged that I be close to them nor to let them know that I am a Vice Consul at the Embassy. (How absurd is that. But it’s hard to explain here.)

At a Paris open market on my last Friday in Paris before my flight

-Visiting the gallery of Filipino painters in Paris at 10 Avenue de Champaubert, 75015 Paris.

With Paris-based Filipino painter Dhon De La Paz in his group’s gallery

-Learning French; after my once a week class at the Embassy, I took online private French lessons which were useful in making me learn basic French conversations and verb conjugations; It would have been great to focus only on learning the language for a month and be part of an immersive learning experience in a community, but there was no time.

-Chilling in my apartment during quiet mornings, especially on weekends

A view from my window

-Hosting my Embassy colleagues a few times in my apartment. Our goals were just to relax, eat delicious food, watch a movie at home, and walk in the neighborhood after dinner.

Here playing with my Office mate’s kids one weekend ❤

Of course, I didn’t spend my time just travelling around as what my previous experiences seemed to show. I was also busy with work at the Embassy. I learned much from working at the Embassy for over three years. There were ups and downs. There were great moments but there were really difficult times. These would be part of my Paris memories, not only because it is my first foreign assignment, but also because it was my first time to work and live by myself abroad, especially in a place with a language and culture different from mine.

At the Philippine Embassy in Paris, seated beside the bust of the Philippine National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal

There were things I did which I think are unusual in Paris, but I did them anyway. During the Christmas of 2020 (my third Christmas in Paris), I knocked on the doors of all the apartments in my residential building bringing wrapped gifts (with chocolate, etc.) Only two rooms opened for me, my two neighbors whom I already chat with and whose apartments I was welcomed as a guest a few times in the past). My other grandma neighbor, I gave her the gift when I chanced upon her on the elevator. The others didn’t open their doors. Maybe because I was a stranger, or the rooms are vacant if they’re out, or as my fellow VC and friend from Rome pointed out, they are taking a safety precaution. After all, the threat of COVID-19 was still very much present then.

At the Embassy before we began our Christmas party 2020

And of course, Paris is said to be the City of Lights and the City of Love. I had both. The latter, a good-looking, carefree, goodhearted man. Because of him, Eiffel’s glitter at night became brighter in my last year of my stay in Paris. My train rides to go out-of-town became more thrilling, or as we say in the Tagalog language, kilig. He’s a beautiful person, in and out, even more handsome than Gabriel in my eyes. 😉

But how now? What now? I don’t know. Probably, I’ll see him again when my feet find their way back to Paris or as what he said, he’ll sail a boat to Asia. But to be more realistic, when there’s a compelling reason for the French government to grant me a visa, aside from work, then certainly I would want to come back for a visit. Haha! I’ll see you then, mon chéri. ❤

Author’s Note:

I realized I’ve been writing for an hour. Still, there are so many experiences to share. Next time again. Thanks for joining me in reminiscing my Paris memories.

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