I was strolling down Boulevard Haussmann when I heard it: Greek.
It was coming from somewhere behind me. I instinctively turned and saw them. Truth be told, had they not been speaking, I still would have known they were Greek. Perhaps it was the man’s soft eyes and jet-black beard, perhaps it was the woman’s finely done nails and Athenian chic style. Either way, the couple was emitting Greekness and I just knew I had to talk to them:
“Ἐλληνες είστε; (Are you Greeks?)”, I asked.
“Αμἐ! Και εσύ Ελληνίδα φαντἀζομαι. Τι γυρεύεις στο Παρίσι; (That’s right! And you are also Greek I gather. What are you doing in Paris?)”, the woman replied.
I explained that I was here to study jazz choreography at the École de Jazz Paris. They seemed really excited by that. They told me that they had a friend who was studying music there. That’s the thing about Greeks. Whatever you are doing, wherever in the world you are, you can count on there being another Greek somewhere around.
“Why don’t you come meet him?” the man asked.
“Yes, that’s a great idea, Alexandre! I’m afraid we forgot to introduce ourselves. This is Alexandros and I’m Loukia. We’re all going out for drinks tonight, why don’t you join us”
“It’s great to meet you, I’m Elena. And sure, I would love to go for drinks!”
We exchanged numbers and agreed to meet by the metro station on Rue de Saint-Sauveur at 9 p.m. My heart was trembling with excitement. My first night out in Paris! Determined to make the night as perfect as possible, I set out to look for the perfect dress.
Three hours later my mission was accomplished, only my feet were killing me and it was starting to rain.
I left Gallery Lafayette with three new outfits and my wallet much lighter. Feeling guilty about my extravagant spending I decided a home-cooked meal would do before my night out. On the way home, I stopped by a supermarket to pick up ingredients to make pasta. As I walked through the cleaning equipment aisle I tried to ignore the feeling that I was not on top of all the moving-in arrangements as I would have liked. I hadn’t even gotten around to properly cleaning my studio. But there was still time. I had only been in Paris for five days. I determinately turned my back to the cleaning aisle and headed towards the food aisle.
When I got home I sorted out my groceries and started making my special pesto sauce.
As I waited for the pasta to boil I called my parents. They seemed to be set on making me deal with everything I had been putting off. “So did you set up your electricity account?” “Did you go to the bank?” “Why do you not have a French number yet?” I mumbled a bunch of excuses and promised to take care of everything tomorrow. “But, I just don’t understand, what have you been doing all these days?” my mother asked. I didn’t know how to tell her that Paris had swept me off my feet. I spent hours just walking around the city all day, window-shopping at the boutiques, picking up tasty treats from delightful patisseries. I was having an affair with the city, and ignoring my responsibilities. “Just stuff. I promise first thing tomorrow, I’ll go to the bank and try to get everything sorted. I need to go now, my food is ready.”
As I cleaned the dishes I mentally put together my outfit: dress, shoes, jewelry, hair, and makeup. 30 minutes later I was all set to go.
As I headed towards the metro station, I had the distinct feeling that this was the start of something new. The sun was just beginning to set and the sky had that perfect golden pink shade as it dangled between day and night. I took a deep breath to take it all in. The air was intermingled with the smell of flowery perfumes and the delicious aroma of freshly cooked meals coming from nearby restaurants. The bars were just starting to fill up and I could hear the gentle clacking of high heels against the pavement. Everyone seemed to be going places tonight. And so am I, I thought to myself, as I was headed for my first night out in Paris…
By Elena S.