Contemplate death and feel a stronger sense of life: an afternoon spent in Auvers-sur-Oise

 

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I’ve always had a great interest in tortured artists. I’m not entirely sure why, but I feel that it has something to do with the fact that there’s a part of me that feels understood by them, the part of me that feels a little lost and always pondering life’s deepest and darkest questions. I find beauty in the way that they bring light to pain, beauty because it’s a natural part of being human and living life. Tortured artists help us to remember that our pain can be used to create beauty.

I’ve always felt intrigued by the works of Vincent Van Gogh, most notably his Starry Night (Yes, I know. I’m completely cliché) and his works displaying the everyday life, painting those everyday moments the way they actually appear, sometimes dreary and sad, the reality of how life can be. It’s not all sunshine and butterflies all of the time (though I like it equally when it is).

That’s why when I learned not only about the beauty of the small village of Auvers-sur-Oise but also about Vincent Van Gogh’s small stay there before his untimely death, I was immediately intrigued and put it on my list of places to go during my Toussaint break.

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A breath of fresh air: getting out of the city

Big cities have a way of charming our souls. We can get lost in those big cities, feeling the weight of the endless possibilities. We may even start to fall in love with those cities, feeling captivated by it’s wonderments.

But sometimes, those big cities can start to feel like black holes of the everyday monotonous routine. We can feel trapped by it, instead of captivated by it. We can start to feel overwhelmed by the familiarity, feeling we need a fresh perspective and a sense of wonderment back in our lives.

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*sigh*: Culture shock and Paris

The first time I attempt to actually give a comment/opinion/try my best to contribute to the class discussion in my compared literature class, my lack of interaction with actual French speakers is minimal, so thus, I stumble over my words, realizing that in some ways I’m forgetting how to speak French, thus making a fool of myself. Did my professor understand what I was trying to say? Most definitely not. *sigh* Well that was awkward.

It’s rush hour, and in trying to get home the man in front of me as I walk onto the metro train stops right in the middle, not realizing that there are about 20 billion other people trying to get on. They start to push me to keep going forward, but I can’t because said man is in the way. Before I can say anything to him though, they push me just enough that I bump into him and the dumbass finally realizes, that oh “yes, sir, this is fucking rush hour in Paris, so quit being a selfish asshole and move into the empty spaces.” *sigh* I hate metro rush hour.

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A small fish bumbling about in a very large pond: finding normalcy in Paris

Today marks a month (4 weeks) since I’ve been living in Paris. It feels both like a long time and yet not enough time since I left the United States.

Last night I was watching the movie Midnight in Paris (ever seen that?), and all I could think was “Wow, if only Paris was actually this romantic,” because let’s be honest, my first month here in Paris hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing as well as the fact that outside of the center of the city, Paris has many parts that are the furthest thing from romantic. In fact, they are just downright normal. That’s right. Normal. Nothing too exciting about a good majority of it. Some parts can even be slightly annoying/repulsive, like the piss-smelling metro at rush hour. For some reason, some locals refuse to move out of your way, even though you keep politely repeating “Pardon, Excusez-moi,” because you needing to get off at this stop is your problem and why should they have to move?

That’s what my life has been about this past month: adapting to my life in Paris and creating a sense of normalcy here, something that has turned out to be the not so easy thing to do. Paris is massive, and I feel quite the small, tiny, microscopic fish in a very large pond.

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