Quatre Semaines a Paris

Well, that’s that. Outta Sri Lanka, outta Europe, back in the US, which I must say feels as unreal to me (after ten days) as any place else I’ve been in the world. Actually, in many ways more unreal since the US floats through the world in a bubble of its own making, blithely ignorant of what so much of the rest of the world experiences and lives. Here we still drive hummers and SUVs and don’t ponder that ignoring all speed limits burns gas far more rapidly…at the same time as we expend more energy screaming about gas prices than lobbying our congresspeople to invest in public transit (duh) or letting AAA know we think they’re evil for not having gotten behind higher public spending on pubtrans decades ago, and lower subsidies for roads, armies in Iraq, and all else that prioritizes individuals behind the wheels of cars, rather than in seats on trains. Duh. Enough soap box for now, and sorry to start that way…it’s just, the US and its issues are sometimes so unreal to me.

The Musee d’Orsay remains one of my very favorite places in Paris, and it’s clearly been added to Mom’s favorites list. Above you see the view from within the clock of this former train station now housing one of the world’s finest collections of art, including the ever-popular impressionists; look closely and you’ll see runners in the Paris marathon on the other side of the Seine: this was a great vantage from which to enjoy the marathon! I take this opportunity to remind you that I listen and respond to my beloved readers. Ever-loyal and supportive Ondrej commented some months ago that he wants to see “Paul here, Paul there…” so here you have the first of many self-portraits I took during this period: me reflected in mirrors while taking in the cultural highlights of the museum. Rather artistic, don’t you think? 🙂


To answer the most FAQs I’ve had since returning: Yes, I’m done with MSF for the time being. Yes, I’ll be heading back out with MSF, most likely in the fall (Sept) and most likely somewhere in Africa. Most likely for six months or so. Yes, it’s definitely the right thing for me at this point in my life. Yes, I do get a bit lonely every now and then and it’d be nice to find someone (a gay someone, that is, preferably cute but if wishes were fishes…) as interested in the (out there) world as I am. No, I don’t think doing the work I do makes it any less likely I’ll meet Mr. Right, since staying in LA on the off chance I might meet Mr. Right one glorious day, while doing work that was putting my soul slowly to sleep, wasn’t really working either. Yes, Sri Lanka was depressing and challenging, but I’m incredibly glad I did it and proud that I’ve learned everything I learned there. Yes, it was hard and sad to leave China so suddenly, especially just when my Chinese reading and writing were making major headway…and no, I’ve hardly done anything with my Chinese since last August. Yes, I’ll be in LA all summer. I’m incredibly tired, even seven weeks after leaving Sri Lanka, and I need to just settle in some place where I can sleep and have no obligations, no responsibilities, no one needing anything from me.

That summarizes the answers I’ve given almost everyone since landing. Can I sign off now?

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