My fascination for Paris began when I was very young. When I learned that all the artists I love like Picasso, Camille Claudel, and Odilon Redon, and writers like Victor Hugo, Proust, and René Char were inspired by this city, I wanted to be part of their world. Through their images and descriptions, they created a dream of Paris for me. That dream brought me here. As Proust once said: “If we want to make reality bearable, we all have to feed a fantasy or two.” I came to seek inspiration from Hausmannian buildings, the bitter taste of black coffee and the sweetness of croissants, and the calm of the Seine at night. But most of all, I am here to study art and language. I think people have expressed themselves in two ways: art and language since the dawn of time. The artists and writers of Paris have mastered them. I want to master them too
Every morning I wake up at 7 am to run. Early in the morning, it isn’t hot outside. There is no one except the store owners opening their shops. They add a touch of color to the streets by bringing out strawberries and apricots. I am able to appreciate the little things that Paris has to offer. As I run around the Luxembourg Gardens, I have the impression of being part of everyday Parisian life. At 9:45 am I walk to CUPA. In the school building, we are forced to speak French. Sometimes it feels like we’re playing pretend as if we were real French students. I don’t mind pretending because it makes my dream come alive. Sometimes I think that if we pretend enough in life eventually it becomes a reality.After classes, I visit museums. I always bring my notebook and pen. While walking through the galleries, poetry comes to me as I roam the galleries or sometimes I have read something interesting and I write it down. Other times, I find a face captured by an artist who strikes me with emotion that I draw in my notebook. Early on in my time in Paris, I went to the Rodin Museum. In each room, there are mirrors on the walls that reflect the sculptures as if they were real people. It made me think about how people sculpt their identities.
I myself was sculpting a Parisian identity and forming part of this city. I’m trying to sculpt my dream. Like Rodin’s sculptures which have imperfect proportions and faces that sag in an Impressionist style, my vision of Paris is not idealized. I know that there are imperfect lives behind every facade. Every building, every street, every garden is filled with people who pretend to live their dream. Together we live in a collective fantasy. But at the same time, our dreams are what sustain our reality and what helps us find beauty in it all. I can truly say that my six weeks spent in Paris made me feel at once the most alive and the most like I was living in a dream.