Tuesday, June 23, 2009


After an adventurous 24 hour journey, I have arrived.

I spent only a few hours in Paris, essentially running around Le Gare du Nord, falling asleep leaning on telephone poles. Despite the lackadaisical photograph, it is still Paris--temporarily fleeting as I traveled three hours onward.
SUBLIME. I have forgotten how I love this city.

Now I am here in St. Erme at PAF, after waiting for my ride for an hour. I was forgotten, sadly. Not exactly an ominous indication of the residence, just more of a glimpse into the atmosphere of the house. Positive, communal, independent, productive-- "make things available to others" the website commands.

Nariman showed me my room, the bathroom, some studios, the media room, common areas and then left me to figure things out. On my own. Responsible and accountable for myself. My feelings standing here in my room for the next month, enforces that I haven't experienced that in quite awhile, even as a New Yorker. It's a testament to my high sensory city experiences of late.

Haven't I done this before? Don't I do this? Why do we expect things to be/feel the same? Repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat

I arrived right as the grocery store closed, so I was unable to get anything at that time. At around 8, I meandered downstairs, starving, desperate, and admittedly shy and introduced myself to those I hadn't met. Before I could ask for dinner they offered me some pasta from a large pot that had been made and Hannah gave me a nectarine. I am happy.

Last night, it was freezing as I fell asleep on my notebook. My suitcase was prepared for the temperature, but my body was not. I may need my dear Kristine to send me an extra sweater. As the sun managed to stay bright past 10 pm, I am reminded of long summer nights in the French countryside. Some of the other artists were down in the garden eating, but I was too delirious to socialize any further.

I slept about ten hours last night, only waking to run and tinkle with the nun ghosts of the convent. I don't think I have slept that well in awhile. There must have been "Hail Marys" being said over me.

This morning, the grounds keeper, helped me make my coffee even though I probably could have figured it out considering I served it for over a year. Eliminating my usual pride, I had fun letting him caffienate me on an empty stomach. He told me not to speak to him in English because he doesn't understand. Only a few people speak English, which is great for me. I need my French to be more conversational. I am practicing, practicing.

Intermarche, the grocery store, is about 4 kilometers away. I will be taking an electrical bicycle there. Voila! I love large European grocery stores--they're not as intimidating as American ones. The options are hilarious and it's like a scavenger hunt trying to figure what is what. It is best to come with a list and look for things that way. It closes at 1230 and reopens around 230, so I am going to try to go before it closes, otherwise I may pass out from starvation.

A bientot...

Ah, yes, and I must add my neice making the "Cardwell face". This was taken about a week before I left. The reason why I write, my tiny inspiration.

1 comment:

Sadia Shepard said...

Erica, congratulations on finding yourself in the midst of such a fantastic retreat! Your description of arrival reminds me of my first night in Saint Colombe, when I arrived long after everything was shut and you kindly offered me a bowl of vegetables...and I felt that I was in the right place at the right time. Such a nice memory. I'm wishing you great big days of solitude, merriment and productive work ahead!