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Forks, Portland, Lyon - France, Paris - France, Portland and ending up in Bellingham.... the adventures of my life!

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Backward Culture Shock Series

As I recently came back to Portland for awhile (3 months) I've decided to start documenting the moments in which I stop and say, what that's weird--- knowing that as a Portland girl I would never say that.

Keep Portland Weird.

It's the title of our fair city, the slogan. And of course I am aware of this slogan so why do the weird things suddenly now seem noticeable?

Paris. I realize that I have been living so long in France, where everything has a system and a rule, I forgot what it was like being Portland.

Today's theme for the back shock: parks.

I walked into the Laurelhurst park with one goal in mind- compare to Parisian life. 

Suddenly I am aware of the way Paris life really is so different. First, all the parks are either paved in tar or covered in hills. There is no rocky, dusty in ground substance and sporadic plots of grass.

I remember the first time I saw a Parisian park on my own. I wandered on the way to an interview- Paris was so huge and new to me. I was frightened the minute I stepped off the train. So I went to a park, normally in Portland my escape. I stepped through the gates of the Jardin de Luxembourg and I saw loads of dust. Metal chairs. The worst was the sheer amount of people. Each person was entitled to a minuscule square of grass or to sit on metal chairs that would burn ones butt on a warm day.

I found a 30 inch x 30 inch square of grass and I sat myself on it. As I pulled out my nectarine a group of wasps came at me. I ran away.

Portland parks are so different. You walk in as though you are entering a miniature wildlife- animals are everywhere. There are sounds of cars from the street but nothing too harsh. The best is the size of the trees..

So large they tower as high as the buildings in Paris. Green green and beautiful. Then for the space! In Portland there is a Parisian studio apartment sized plot of grass for you (calculation is about 200 sq ft). 

As I sprawled my toes and stretched I had a slight moment of worry, I almost missed the busy-mess of Paris parks, it all felt too quiet. I expected someone to come barreling around the tree... Until I realized to let it go. I felt the stress from Paris just roll off like the leaves in the wind.
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