“the sign of being at home is the ability to make oneself understood wihout too much difficulty, and to follow the reasoning of others without any need for long explanations”
marc, augé; non-places; verso, london 1995. [my current read and new bible]
i love this definition of home. it certainly pertains to several places in which i call home – melbourne, hamburg, paris and turin. london is a great place to work and it’s certainly more homely than before, but it’s not really home. i often need long explanations to work out why the fuck some of the londoners do what they do.
paris is certainly a place i feel at home in. even with my totally shit french (which most of them forgive, thankfully) i can be understood. there are a few ways in which my modus operandi is supported here, which makes life just flow, unlike almost any other place:
time: everything is open at sensible hours – late. i can go to a gallery until midnight – or even until 9pm during the week. i can buy cool necklaces until 8pm at night and the supermarket around the corner is open until way late. i don’t even know what time it shuts, but it’s always open when i walk past, so that’s fine 🙂 transport runs until late, bikes are open for hire 24/7, clubs until 6am and people are just about. i don’t feel the pressure to subscribe to a 9-5/M-F lifestyle, which makes this very home-like.
art: loads of places to see and experience art. i know that paris hasn’t had a crackin’ art scene for a while, but it’s slowly building again it seems and i’m discovering all kinds of cool places to go. plus, as an artist/student, i get cheap deals all the time – free for some galleries, €1 for others, or just a great price. it feels nice to have my profession ‘valued’ and that is pretty home-like.
diet: while i certainly miss the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables from home, they’re not completely absent (unlike london – hello? everything wrapped in plastic? blech!). and the whole idea of just ambling through the day with some food here and there is great. baguette and coffee, croissant and coffee, pizza and coffee, everything and coffee – i love it! this time around, i’ve been staying with germans who know how to dine like europeans, so it’s been extra ace. i love that dinner is late here and breakfast is late. and lunch is kind of non-existent. just like at home 🙂
whilst these habits are not the only things that make up a home, they’re ones that certainly support me as myself and i don’t have to justify or explain them to others. and, as in the above quote, there is a mutual sense of understanding.
in fact, quite often, paris feels so much like a comfortable pair of shoes that i always forget to take photos here. i end up with no usual ‘artifact’ of my trip here, just a whole bunch of books, drawings, tickets, feelings, memories and some other intangible stuff.
i like that.