Another post on recovering (47)

So, a week ago, during one of my (thankfully rarer) low points, I decided to download this app called Mend, which labels itself as a kind of personal trainer for heartbreak. Given the ‘cleanse’ style of this first week on the app, I think the idea is to download and start using it not long after a breakup, but honestly, sometimes three-ish months (holy shit) after is better than nothing.
Using the app has been alright. Sometimes the ‘training’ it provides can feel a little too…simplistic? Surface level? I’m not sure how to describe it because it’s clearly designed in such a way that it can be applicable to a variety of situations, and which can kind of leave you feeling like you want to probe deeper, while knowing that you can’t because you’d be talking to a recording.

Anyway, what I have liked about the app are the journal prompts. I’ve started refocusing my thoughts more on myself than solely on the breakup and all that came with it, and although I’m still not quite where I want to be mentally/emotionally speaking, I feel like I’m slowly getting back there. The key word being slowly.

As I had finished the first week of using the app today – and as my mood was a bit shaky from all the wandering my mind inevitably does when I’ve been reading/studying for a while – I decided to take up the app’s prompt to ‘treat myself’ this afternoon. So I got an ice cream cone from Berthillon.

Perfect lil’ scoop

I’ve mentioned before how much I like black sesame, so you can bet that when I saw it listed as one of their available flavors, there was no way I was changing my mind. And yes, I am aware the scoop is a bit on the smaller end, but you’re paying for quality here. For a treat, I think it did just fine.

I actually could have treated myself a bit more as well, had I left the BNF a bit earlier, but fortunately for my wallet, the bouquinistes were closing up shop for the day by the time I got to the Île St Louis/ Hôtel de Ville area.

Honestly, when books can cost as little as 2eu, there’s precious little that can be done to keep me away.

Overall right now? The ups and downs still happen, but slightly less. At times it gets hard being alone – especially when you’re so used to having someone around to share your day with -, but I’m readjusting I think. And when the days get particularly hard, all I have to do is go outside and see this :
And remember that I’m here.

Coffee hunts (day 16)

Sometimes I do things that others might deem irrational. 
Today for instance, after a meeting, I stopped by Ten Belles for some lunch as well as to pick up some coffee beans, as this morning I realized I would only barely have enough for tomorrow. Unfortunately for me, they were not selling any beans that day, as they were not expecting new stock from Belleville Brûlerie until Friday. I was, somehow, fine with this, until I remembered that contrary to what my brain was telling me, no it was not Thursday today but Monday, and thus I voluntarily placed myself in a dilemma. Or set myself a challenge, if you will, by knowingly skewing my priorities for the day. 

Now, a normal person would have just chalked this up to bad timing and simply picked something else up from the Franprix that was literally two minutes away, but I apparently have a certain affinity for taking on ridiculous side-quests. And so I began trekking around the Marais, handbag heavy with SAT prep books for a course I’m teaching (speaking of : they really haven’t found a way to make these things not weigh 500 pounds, considering how much paper is wasted on these things that always become ‘obsolete’ within the year?), wondering why the hell every shop (all 5 of them) I stopped at that I knew stocked the coffee brand I was looking for was closed on a Monday. Granted, I did finally find what I was looking for, but upon finding it, I couldn’t help but think to myself that maybe this was all a bit too much nonsense. 

Then again, maybe this is another manifestation of me trying to get full control back over my life after things got somewhat upended. It would make sense, wouldn’t it, to try and give even a small f**k you to the universe? 

Pantry essentials and friend reunions (day 13)

When you live with someone for a non-insignificant amount of time, they tend to leave their mark on you in ways that are sometimes so subtle, you don’t even realize they’re there until the person in question is gone. Nowhere has this been more evident for me than in the way I now set up my kitchen.

I’ve always been very fond of cooking. Some might find it burdensome, but for me, there really is nothing better than wielding a chef’s knife to take out my day’s frustrations on an onion. But up until I started cohabitating with my ex (yeah, it still feels strange writing/saying that), I tended to stay within my comfort zone of Greek/California-healthy foods. Living with someone who loved cooking (and eating) as much as I did pushed me to expand my repertoire, and nights spent reading up on techniques or tackling a FoodLab recipe helped reshape the way I think of my kitchen.

I mean, hell, I actually researched and shopped around for a good, but still affordable chef’s knife when I moved back here. 

And so this afternoon found me taking my mom to Tang Frères in the 13th (after stopping by Pho Banh Cuon 14 for, as the name would suggest, pho) to buy a couple of pantry staples whose absence has been nagging at me. I know that general wisdom often says that post-breakup should be a time to come back into yourself as a singular entity, but there are certain elements of my life as a ‘we’ that I don’t think I want to – or should – shake off. One of those things is having fish sauce and sriracha in my pantry. Cooking is my most steadfast form of therapy; the more layers of flavor I can coax out of what I make, the better.

Tonight also saw the reunion of almost all of the Cité Universitaire friends at a vegetarian Indian resto near Gare du Nord (very typical for us). Although we are all pretty much fully entrenched in the real world and don’t see each other as often as we used to, there are certain connections that can pretty much withstand almost anything. Breakups fucking suck, and pulling yourself back up after one can seem a near impossible task. But surrounding yourself with people, whether you’re sharing a meal, catching up on each other’s lives, or even just laughing while reminiscing about a silly game you all once invented involving a volleyball and grass cuttings can be enough to let some brightness back in.

Back in Paris, Day 8

So due to a weird mixup on someone’s (mine, maybe? Who knows) part, my mom’s flight was actually scheduled for today instead of tomorrow. After a quick rush to Châtelet to see her off on the RER on the way to the airport, I went back home to actually get some version of put together before I set out for the day. And since I had an unexpected day to myself, of course I spent the majority of it walking.

Oh, and buying books.

Behold the official reading list for Greece summer 2017. The bottom two books are new additions, the top left a gift from (and written by) a friend, and Genet is there because of course he is. I’m feeling the pull towards his particular brand of sublime destruction at the moment. 

Since I am leaving to spend the next month in warmer climates tomorrow, meals had to be strategized today. I wanted to get a jumpstart on all the healthy eating I’m about to do – as well as to counteract all the pastries I’ve been eating – but choices were somewhat limited, given how the whole city seemingly shuts down in August. Thankfully, Wild & the Moon was open, and as the weather today more closely resembled fall than summer, I opted for a bowl of their stew of the day. Today it was a Thai-style curry.

Thai-style curry over rice and quinoa at Wild & the Moon

Granted, this move towards healthier eating was later practically nullified with a piece of apricot-pistachio tart at Le Loir dans la Théière (accompanied by a pot of Darjeeling tea), but I think the 2.5 mile walk home made up for that.

Apricot-pistachio tart at Le Loir dans la Théière

And now here I am. Alone in this apartment that I will have to fill with myself until the time comes that the lack of his presence no longer affects the way I move through it. There is a certain potentiality for creativity in that though, and the optimistic side of me wants to keep that alive and present.

Because I am here. 
Because I can move through things on my terms, heal on my terms. 

A month away should – will – be good. I still have a dissertation to tackle after all. 

Back in Paris, Day 7

First piece of apartment decor is up. Coincidentally, there is an inherent blend of ‘old v new’ in the display, what with the little pots I made in Cambridge holding up the piece I bought here.

There are so many blank walls in this space. So much white space to fill up, and I feel both a rush of excitement and a pang of…regret?…at the thought of doing it alone. Of choosing what to place where, of defining my unshared living area. It’s times like this when it’s hard not to slip back into thoughts of what should have happened, of what was supposed to happen, especially when you’re still teetering a bit after the rug’s been pulled out from under you. I suppose the only thing that can be done now is to try and find the beauty in the blank space, the space ready to be ‘marked’, ready to evolve with you and ‘as’ you.

And if not that, there are always small successes like trips to Glace Bachir near the still chaotic mess that is Les Halles for a scoop of their signature achta ice cream – it’s got orange flower water as well as masticha in it, a reminder of my Greek homeland I’m due to visit in a couple days – covered in chopped pistachios. Funnily enough, I used to hate masticha when I was younger; now I can’t seem to get enough of it.

A small achta cone at Glace Bachir