The month of hearts has arrived. I feel more inspired. I am happy to say au revoir to Janvier. I don't dislike Janvier. But it isn't as inspiring as Février, in my humble opinion. Maybe it is simply because I love hearts and now they are everywhere. I found this heart carved from Volterra Italian alabaster at Barnes and Noble last night while roaming around looking for ways to spend a gift card. The Ex-Ex got a couple of books and I got a new heart. The check-out guy was funny. He asked me if I wanted a bag for my purchases. I told him no. And he said "So, you are going to walk out carrying your heart on your sleeve." He said that he just couldn't resist saying that. My dad always accused me of wearing my heart on my sleeve. For years I thought that must be a bad thing. I've decided it isn't.
What else am I loving at the moment? Memories of my trip to Paris just a couple of weeks ago. (Okay, so January isn't so bad, after all, if you get to spend a week of it in France...) I had lunch with My Favorite Parisien, who lives in Tel Aviv now, but still has his Paris apartment and remains a French citizen. Having lunch with friends is the ultimate treat to me. Five days a week, I eat in my classroom surrounded by my 13 7th grade advisees. So, lunch with a friend makes me feel like a grown-up. MFP and I made a date (via What'sApp-- free texting to Paris and Tel Aviv and anywhere in the world, mes amis- and the app is free) for Sunday brunch. After checking out the Bastille market, I wandered to the Marais and made my way to the restaurant.
This restaurant is owned by one of MFP's friends. We were offered glasses of champagne.
A very civilized way to start a 2-hour lunch, n'est-ce pas? You know what I love best about eating in France? Well, other than great food in beautiful places. You are never rushed. We arrived right as the restaurant opened, at 12:00, and there were two or three other tables already seated. Within 45 minutes, there was a steady line of customers wanting tables. They were told to come back in two hours. I enjoyed our window table and didn't even consider hurrying. Le Brunch du Dimanche specials were either bagels with Philadelphia (can you guess what is making a splash in France-- oui, cream cheese) or un hamburger sur buns. I admit to getting tickled over the buns part. Neither MFP nor the server understood what I was giggling about. Of course, the buns was/were French-style and delicious. In the middle of my plate is fromage blanc with raspberry coulis. Isn't it beautiful?
My first Parisian burger. It was very good.
Lunch with MFP was so much fun, as always. Back in October, he agreed to take on this year's student group in March so I will see him again very soon. And this time, he won't leave us at the train station. Since we are not having a home stay this year, he will board the train with us for three days in Arles.
After lunch, we went to visit La Mémorial de la Shoah, the Holocaust Memorial. I've walked past it before, but I've never visited. In light of the tragedies that struck Paris in January, I decided to pay my respects by visiting this memorial. It is featured in Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, the story of a young girl during La Rafle, the round-up of the Jews in July 1942 in Paris. MFP stayed with me while we listened to a panel discussion of the liberation of the death camps (with two survivors in the audience) and then he headed off to take care of some things that needed his attention. I wandered around through the exhibits. At the end, there was a film playing and I listened to a couple talking about their experiences post camp.
They were separated in the camps and found each other again at the end in the Hotel Lutetia in Paris. This hotel played a central role in WWII, from a place of refuge for people seeking to escape the Germans in 1939, to a place used by the Nazi to entertain guests beginning in 1940 to finally the center for displaced persons after the liberation of Paris in 1944. The hotel is currently closed, undergoing renovation. Someday I will stroll through the lobby. And I will think of this couple who made me laugh and cry as I listened to their story.
It was a wonderful trip.
Other things I love?
The book I am currently reading, a gift from MFP a couple of years ago.
It is a history of Paris told through selected métro stops.
I've just finished with Saint Denis, my favorite headless saint. I even found a statue of him in Senlis while wandering around there with Mme M.
In keeping with the heart theme, I love this poster of a Matisse print that hangs in my stairwell.
I love the place I work. It is a community, a family, of caring people. After a recent car accident involving three of our basketball players, a mom made this quilt for one of the young men who is still hospitalized with brain injuries. All of our upper schoolers are there. At the moment, it is hanging in our gym. I like to think of it hanging where #12 will be able to see it and know that he is loved.
After listening to a former student (from my first 6th grade class in 1980-81) read poems at his mom's memorial service, I started thinking about poetry. I really do not know much about poetry and, truth be told, I haven't read a lot of it in my lifetime. That needs to change. (Send suggestions, s'il vous plaît.) I do have one book, though, that was given to me in 1992 by the mom of one of my students.
She gave it to me to give to Son #1 and eventually he will get it. But for now, it is in my bookcase. Thank you, Dianne Moss, mother of Ian.
Here is the title poem--
Honey, I Love
by Eloise Greenfield
I love a lot of things, a whole lot of things
My cousin comes to visit and you know he's from the South
'Cause every word he says just kind of slides out of his mouth
I like the way he whistles and I like the way the walks
But honey, let me tell you that I LOVE the way he talks
I love the way my cousin talks
The day is hot and icky and the sun sticks to my skin
Mr. Davis turns the hose on, everybody jumps right in
The water stings my stomach and I feel so nice and cool
Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE a flying pool
I love to feel a flying pool
Renee comes out to play and brings her doll without a dress
I make a dress with paper and that doll sure looks a mess
We laugh so loud and long and hard the doll falls to the ground
Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE the laughing sound
I love to make the laughing sound
My uncle's car is crowded and there's lots of food to eat
We're going down the country where the church folks like to meet
I'm looking out the window at the cows and trees outside
Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE to take a ride
I love to take a family ride
My mama's on the sofa sewing buttons on my coat
I go and sit beside her, I'm through playing with my boat
I hold her arm and kiss it 'cause it feels so soft and warm
Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE my mama's arm
I love to kiss my mama's arm
It's not so late at night, but still I'm lying in my bed
I guess I need my rest, at least that's what my mama said
She told me not to cry 'cause she don't want to hear a peep
Honey, let me tell you I DON'T love to go to sleep
I do not love to go to sleep
But I love
I love a lot of things, a whole lot of things
I love you, too.
I just discovered The Hot Sardines. Before Christmas, I was roaming the aisles of Barnes and Noble, looking for a book for a friend. David Lebovitz' My Paris Kitchen. A song about Paris started playing and I went to the music department to ask about it. Wake Up In Paris.
Bon appétit, Février, and to all people and things loved.