From Paris To… Winnipeg doesn’t sound particularly glamourous. I am perhaps more acutely aware of that reality than anyone. Which is probably why my trajectory initially went in the opposite direction. From Winnipeg to Paris sounds like a wonderful adventure. And for me, it always has been.
I have so many memories of my first visit to the French capital that come back to me at different times, in different scenarios. Once, our tour guide, a Breton woman in her mid-twenties, told us all what a hard city Paris was to live in – how the hectic metro-boulot-dodo (subway-work-bed) routine that the capital is known for could isolate newcomers, leaving them friendless for not just months but years of their life there. I remember that because my experience has been the polar opposite. I have had the good fortune to be embraced by Parisians, both natives of the city and expats making their home there just like me, on every one of my stays in the city, making wonderful friends in a way that has always felt effortless. Floriane Fosso is one of those friends.
It was Joelle who introduced me to Floriane. I could tell the long story of how I first met Joelle, but suffice it to say that you never know where a chance encounter on social media may lead. From parties to hotel stays and tea dates to shopping Floriane’s collections in her flagship store… to Ian catering the launch party for the launch of her From Paris To… collection in April of this year. It still amazes me that we – well, that he, really – managed to pull it all off, preparing food for a party with two hundred guests in our tiny tenth arrondissement apartment. But it happened, and we have the From Paris To… t-shirts to prove it. (That said, we have virtually no photos, because it was pretty chaotic.)
I’m back in Winnipeg now, with nothing left of our last visit to Paris but memories and a lot of photos. But truthfully, that’s all I can really ask for. Someone once told fifteen-year-old me it would be impossible to go to live in Paris and build a life for myself there in a short time. I would be on my own, they said. It wouldn’t be as wonderful as I imagined. They were utterly wrong, and I am so lucky to have had the chance to prove it.
It’s true – I didn’t plan to go From Paris to… Winnipeg. But if I can’t be in Paris (and the reality is, sometimes I can’t,) then Winnipeg at least puts me closer to it than Vancouver did. Recently, I’ve had a lot of messages about my new city. From questions about places to go to requests that I share more about where I live now. It’s been a pleasant surprise. And, even more surprisingly, I find myself genuinely excited to share more of central Canada with you all. It may not be Paris, but it’s where I’ve landed. And it’s home.