I’ve been advising her on her NEW business venture of sending sketches of her watercolors in the mail. One lovely example:
And she’s been helping me up my game in the watercolor department for my Paris Letter subscriptions.
Recently, we were on a mission to find me a new watercolor set. We both knew of an art supply store near Bastille, but we both only knew it “by sight.” This means you land at the top of the Métro station, you look around and feel your way down alleyways and through memory banks to remember where the heck that art supply store was that you stumbled upon not so long ago.
So you know, there was a lot of walking and distractions.
First distraction: The chocolate shop of Alain Ducasse…
We tag teamed. I distracted the sales lady while Carol scooped up the samples. I ended up buying two beautifully wrapped chocolate bars. I’m a sucker for design.
Second distraction: We soon came upon a boulangerie with a crowd and got in line. Travel Tip: In Paris, you always want to buy sandwiches from a boulangerie with a long line. Trust the locals.
We sat in the park, ate sandwiches and traded horror stories about the reactions of ladies at La Poste when asking for more than one stamp at a time. Audible laments. Carol explains more here. (Gratuitous shot of my fancy sunglasses included.)
The longer we sat, the more we ate… and well, this is all the chocolate I brought home for Christophe. So sad.
I could say the pigeons got to it, but who are we kidding. Simplement irresistible.
We swept the crumbs off our laps and were up again in search of the art supply stores. After plenty of twists and turns, we found hers. After more twists and turns, we found mine. I scored a new set of paints that were Carol-approved. This selfie is also Carol-approved:
(Not bad for a few years beyond 70!)
A snapshot of Carol at work:
Once I procured my paints and most of the chocolate was gone, she stated that she was DONE. WALKING. She spotted a bus and informed me that she was getting on.
“Do you know where it’s going?” I asked.
She shrugged and off she went.
As I walked to the Métro, I thought of something she had written in her blog post about me, about how she admires my ability to plan.
“Like me, Janice came to Paris to find a new life for herself. Unlike me, she plotted and planned ahead how she could pull it off and sustain herself for 2 years of travel and freedom from a boring desk job.”
On the spectrum of Winging it vs Planning it we are at opposite ends. While it’s true that I’m a planner, in getting to know Carol, I have begun to admire her ability to wing it. I mean, she just got on that bus. Who knows where it would lead. I was thinking this as I meandered around the labyrinth that is the Bastille Métro station. And of course, I found myself on the wrong platform on the wrong line. The train was coming. I thought of Carol. I shrugged and hopped on. I made it home in the end, albeit somewhat circuitously, but at least the journey gave my feet a rest.
There might be something to winging it.