It takes a while to figure out a city, to become a true citizen whose life is based upon the place. One needs to cease the incessant gawking that seems to grip all people when in a new place, and to pick some favorites.
I’m talking about favorite shops, parks, restaurants, specialties. Maybe it’s a certain café that makes coffee exactly the way you like it, or a jazz bar with an attractive pianist. It could be a dusty book store filled with that warm old smell of paper and stories, perhaps it’s a park bench perfectly shaded by a maple tree. We all have our tastes. Every city caters to each. It’s only a matter of looking.
Today I ate at my favorite restaurant, an organic burger place called “L’appetit bio”. The literal translation of this is “organic appetite/digestion”. Speaking of which, I recently learned that “bon appetit” used to mean “I hope you digest this well and have a good bowel movement”. Or, so says my host mother. She could be pulling my leg.
Anyway, I didn’t find this amazing burger stop of mine until well into my fourth or fifth month here. I had to try a lot of not so great kebabs (they can taste pretty funky sometimes), a few bistros and many cafés before I fell in love with the homemade everything and carrot juice in glass bottles and the most deliciously seasoned fries I’ve ever eaten. I’m in love, really.
Otherwise, there is this quaint little café that I am quite partial too a little down the road from my school. It has a life-size light up mannequin of Bender from Futurama, comfy squishy chairs and art everywhere. The art posted up is all for sale, and is done by local artists. I love that all the glasses are different and the patrons are actually encouraged to write notes on the bathroom walls. There’s a surprisingly large amount of profound quotes and beautiful sayings on that wall, though accompanied by the usual amount of vulgarity. They only play my favorite type of music (rock and roll, of course) and there is this giant fluffy dog that roams the store. He looks a little like Chewbacca and is intimidating due to the fact that he’s larger than a grown man, but he’s super friendly and adorable. I could sit there for hours, writing and drinking way too much coffee.
That brings us down to where I am now; the American Library in Nancy. I know it’s a little counter intuitive to surround myself with English books, but due to the fact that it is a large library completely in a language that the majority of the French population does not fluently speak, it is often empty or close to it. It’s the perfect calm environment to do homework, write blog posts, or curl up with a good book. Sometimes, even, the book is in French
It may take a while, and is quite often a hit-and-miss, but finding the perfect space to be happy is the best feeling in the world.