I don’t know if you have been following what is happening in Paris right now (and France as a whole), but my students and I have been reading articles and talking about it all week. You can see some amazing pictures by going here. Basically, the French government is changing retirement age and plans and so the revolution thirsty people have once again sent out the cry “Aux barricades!” to let the government know that no reform comes with a strike. It’s funny because I know that the people have already had strikes over this same issue before. My sweet American students were utterly baffled at the strikes. I tried to explain that sometimes a government tries to do something that is good for everyone in the long run, but it may individually inconvenience people. Thus, my students decided the French were selfish. No, I explained, the right to strike – the duty to strike almost – is something makes the French, French. The ability and desire to be involved in policy making by passionately parading through the streets and missing work is integral to who they are. Thus, my students decided the French were heroes.
As I read articles about gas shortages, and hear stories of long treks to work and missed activities, I miss it. I miss being a city that pulsated with life and history, that ebbed and flowed with the whims of a fickle and passionate people. I miss the art and history, the beauty and culture, la vie parisienne. I miss my beloved Parisian friends, my precious church, and my tiny chambre de bonne at the top of 8 flights of stairs.
Fall has come to Kentucky, and it is beautiful. Last week I took a long crunchy leaf walk, and I couldn’t stop thinking about 2 other beautiful falls that I spent in Paris. So here is a fall picture, one from which I am now very far, but to which I will forever feel exceedingly close.