When I submitted the Google survey about meatballs, I didn’t really think anything of it. Pleasantly reminiscing on my voyage to Sweden to try authentic Swedish IKEA meatballs, recalling my fangirl “Meatballs for the People” t-shirt in my dresser drawer, and bethinking my first date here in France had been over a dinner of meatballs, I truly thought nothing of it. With a tap of a screen, I sent mere honest confessions through the Paris-savvy app HOOK straight to the inbox of Merci Alfred.
It all started on Valentine’s Day. And I promise you this isn’t going where you think it is. It happened to be on February 14th, sometime before the Kygo concert, I received a little book the size of a coffee mug. “Things to do Around Paris,” Kahwehgi read in French. “All the things to do just right outside Paris.”
Flipping through the photogenic pages, our seatbelts were soon buckled for Val-d’Oise.
Here’s a little something for you on Val-d’Oise: most folks aren’t traveling to go visit Val-d’Oise. As an archaeological peek into the past, most site-seers steer their way towards the charms and attractions of the “cosmopolitan historic” capital city, Paris. I surely didn’t know much about the department of Val-d’Oise until reading my little mug-sized book. But then I learned about Pontoise, and its maze of 900 quarries hollowing the city’s underbelly into a massive stone-mining regime. I read about its blooming public gardens, hilly landscapes, and sunny river walk. I turned to Kahwehgi.
When I say “art,” you think paint brushes. Maybe pastel crayons. Perhaps shards of broken stained glass. Chiseled statues so life-like you touch it just to be sure it is truly stone-cold. But when people say “art,” my mind jumps to Paris.
Paris has come to enchant me in the world of art. Maybe not enchant all the way through, but surely enrich me. Take my grueling semester of Romantisme everything, or Romantic Era like literally everything, during my Parisian semester abroad. I learned the thing called technique to assess paintings for light, shadows, and human emotions. My trips to the Louvre (or maybe the museum of La Vie Romantique, if we’re staying on theme) had me check-marking different elements of art.
Cool, I thought. Never thought of a painting’s inner emotions via shadows before.
Chicago knows winter better than anyone I know. I speak with a bias, being born and bred in the brutal tundra winters of the Windy City, but currently making home in Paris, I thought it to be cute when the radar broadcasted a little snow for my Frenchie city. Snow cute! I thought, no frozen precipitation will change my Wednesday coffee rendezvous!
Then, it snowed in Paris. And the city senselessly lost their way.
Trains, shut down. Metros, incapacitated. Tramways, forget about it. Even the bus, it got lost somewhere down the last boulevard. Everyone tightened their scarves around their necks hoping someone else with a puffier jacket and more waterproof boots will know what to do.
It’s a winter wonderland of white in the most confusing of ways.
Hate to be cheesy, but I have a story to share. A legitimate story, one written to pay homage towards a beloved American sandwich thousands of miles away from me in a land far, far away.
This story, my friends, is a story about grilled cheese. Written for English tutoring but shared here with you.
Take a seat with me at MataMata Coffee Bar, for I saved us a table outside. Enjoy some peanut butter cookie, for it nearly tastes as much like home as this story reads like the savory goodness of the motherland.