The Return

After quite a busy and interesting week of work in Paris it’s weird to be leaving all of that gorgeousness behind. Not only Paris is one of the prettiest cities in the world, but it is also filled with culture and constant opportunities to discover new things.

This time, as always, i left something behind, i wish i could explain what it is, but it’s more than something i can touch, it’s a feeling. I am sure this is in part due to the sensation of having the clash of the modern world with ancient history, having current history happening on such strong historical foundations. It’s also about the fact that even in such a big and famous city, they still manage to maintain unharmed some aspects of life that are really unapreciated or forgotten in big capitals like New York, São Paulo or Beijing.

From a meal – all organic, no questions asked – that can be appreciated with time, where each flavor of every ingredient is enjoyed with real passion, to the ritual of actually leaving your office behind during lunch time and sitting quietly at a small restaurant or square to appreciate your baguette sandwich. There is a better sense of time management in Paris, because so many things that we New Yorkers take for granted, like 24 hour drugstores, restaurants and even supermarkets, in Paris people plan their time, and by some magical twist of fate, everything gets done. Not only everything gets done, but surprisingly everything and more: more than anywhere else in the world, people go to museums, concerts, art galleries, take time to sit and talk to friends in cafés, go to church – if it’s their thing – or simply take a stroll with the dog without obsessing over conference calls or the Dow Jones. In a city where getting a taxi is a mission, you make the extra effort to use public transportation, or even take a walk in the rain, when permitted. in Paris, you don’t have to rush through dinner to get to the night club, why would you? They stay open until the early morning, which in consequence allows you to meet a friend at the end of the day for the happy hour, or like they say, the aperitif, which will then lead to dinner, that will lead to drinks which will only then take you to a loud night club. Also on their side, and of all Europe is the easy and cheap access to so much culture from all those other countries that surround them, or the simplest act of driving down to the beach for weekend getaways at the Cote D’Azur or Provence.

In Europe, people make time for having a good and well enjoyed life, the carpe diem is taken seriously, and it’s that very feeling that lacks in America.Our constant obsession for achieving more, and buying things only drives us mad, not to mention advancing in our careers and trying to become an icon of our trade.The key should be to maintain a healthy rythm at work, but not get overly stressed, not care too much about the sillyness of a job that at the end of the day could end up taking from our lives instead of giving us a life. Learning to become more mindful about my life is a big goal that i am sure to reach. Time is of essence in a city like New York, where people are hungry for success and never happy with what they have achieved, in New York, no matter how healthy you eat or how much you exercise, life is still not plenty, because there is always a need that’s unnatended.

I am sure i am preaching to the choir here, but regardless of that and of all the cons about living in New York City, i still always find a reason to come back. I feel that eventually i may end up in Europe, with a house on the beach or by the lake, living my life like a king, a king who runs his own kingdom and still manages to enjoy all the perks of being the guy who runs the show; but right now, well, right now it’s time to work, start building my empire, whatever that may be, and get ready to move on, because the day the ship to europe sails off the american coast, it will probably be for good.

For now,  i leave my friends and some of my favorite spots behind, knowing that whenever i find some time i can just hop in an airplane and fly straight back to the city of lights, after all, isn’t that one of the blessings of living in the century XXI?

— Originally written in october 2010 and recently found in a dusty notepad. —

Author: Gabriel Ruas Santos Rocha

writes for passion, eats for pleasure, travels for wonder.

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